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#382606 - 09/09/12 11:16 PM Harshness question and break-in w/new receiver?
VoicOfReason Offline
old hand

Registered: 04/19/12
Posts: 78
Loc: Northwest Arkansas
I feel kind of lost and hopeless right now. I have Axiom M80V3's, Vp-180, and QS8's. Everything sounded awesome with my Denon 2807. But, it was having problems, so I upgraded to an Onkyo NR818. Both system run the Emotiva XPA-5 to all speakers. Simply put, NO MATTER what I do, I cannot get rid of a brand new harshness that I am hearing with the new Onkyo receiver. It is not absolutely terrible and obviously just a defective component, but it is very clearly there so much so that I cannot play at high volume any more and enjoy it like I used to (just weeks ago with old Denon). I've tried everything on the Onkyo including turning down the treble setting by 10db and running pure audio. But, it is there in every speaker at every listening mode.

Also, recently both woofers went out on my VP-180 at once (this occurred before I got the Onkyo receiver and actually while it was just sitting there un-used). So, I'm wondering if my XPA-5 is clipping at all and causing the harshness which is merely co-incidental with me upgrading to the Onkyo receiver.

Any advice, tips? I've spent so much money on everything and I love the XT32 feature of the 818. If I go with a different model with XT32, like a Denon 4xxx series, I will be paying another $600 at least.

One of my thoughts is that perhaps since most of my Axioms are pretty new (except for the QS8's), that because the Onkyo may be pushing more treble in to all the speakers, that maybe all the speakers new a brand new break-in period. I've read that new owners of Axioms can sometimes hear a harshness that disappears after break-in.

I'm really not sure what to do at this point.

Thanks in advance.


Edited by VoicOfReason (09/09/12 11:18 PM)
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Epson 8350 * Denon 4311CI * XPA-5 * M80/VP180 * 2 QS8's+M2v3-DSX * SVS PC13-Ultra ** Buttkicker LFE

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#382607 - 09/09/12 11:20 PM Re: Harshness question and break-in w/new receiver? [Re: VoicOfReason]
CV Offline
Founder, Axiom Upgrade Club
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Registered: 07/20/06
Posts: 11694
Loc: Richland, WA, USA
Have you tried taking the Emotiva out of the chain to see if there's any difference?

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#382608 - 09/10/12 12:14 AM Re: Harshness question and break-in w/new receiver? [Re: VoicOfReason]
VoicOfReason Offline
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Registered: 04/19/12
Posts: 78
Loc: Northwest Arkansas
OK, here's a quick update. I watched some of Iron Man 1 on Blu-Ray tonight and actually all sounded VERY good. There was definitely more high-frequency material being reproduced compared to the Denon, but it's like the harshness isn't really there. At least, not at all bad.

So, my tentative conclusion is that it has to do merely with music listening and perhaps simply because I'm hearing the hi-freq. difference between DVD and Blu-ray.

Sound plausible anyone?
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Epson 8350 * Denon 4311CI * XPA-5 * M80/VP180 * 2 QS8's+M2v3-DSX * SVS PC13-Ultra ** Buttkicker LFE

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#382610 - 09/10/12 02:33 AM Re: Harshness question and break-in w/new receiver? [Re: VoicOfReason]
JohnK Offline
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Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10634
Peter, there should be no audible difference between the amplification provided by the 2807 and 818 within their designed limits(with the 818 having just a very small, probably insignificant maximum output capability edge).There should be nothing in the way of greater treble output that would require a break-in of either the speakers or your ears.

You should follow the suggestion CV mentioned, i.e., running the speakers on the 818 alone to see if some problem has developed with the XPA-5. If the problem still exists(with tone controls and Audyssey correction not in operation)there's a fairly remote chance that the particular unit of the 818 which you got is defective.

There shouldn't be any difference in DVD vs Blu-ray audio which would cause what you report.
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#382613 - 09/10/12 07:49 AM Re: Harshness question and break-in w/new receiver? [Re: JohnK]
VoicOfReason Offline
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Registered: 04/19/12
Posts: 78
Loc: Northwest Arkansas
But, I'm not using the amplification on either the 2807 or the 818. I'm using all the pre-outs to a XPA-5.

WIth movies there is clearly a better sound with the 818. It sounds MUCH different. The 818 is much better except for the harshness in music.

I really do think I'm hearing the difference between DVD and Blu-ray. I can hear those things in general. In fact, I can hear the high-pitched sound of security systems and even those mosquito ring tones that usually only kids can hear.
_________________________
Epson 8350 * Denon 4311CI * XPA-5 * M80/VP180 * 2 QS8's+M2v3-DSX * SVS PC13-Ultra ** Buttkicker LFE

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#382615 - 09/10/12 08:18 AM Re: Harshness question and break-in w/new receiver? [Re: VoicOfReason]
Murph Offline
axiomite

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 6955
Loc: PEI, Canada
What musical material are you listening to? One thing that myself and many others found is that once you move up to truly accurate speakers your experiences will swing two ways. There is the joyful nirvana from listening to quality recorded music but then there is a lot of very poorly recorded music. Accurate speakers will take the poor part and present it to you accurately....poor.

This is especially prevalent in a lot of rock & pop music from the 80s onward where producers compressed their music to horribly levels to try and present the loudest possible sounding experience. It was fine back then in the day of boomboxes and then the move to really cheap earphones (Yes, I'm pointing at you Apple!) but a lot of music I used to enjoy, I now am less enthused as I can now hear the very audible results of the compression. In a nutshell, the instruments sound all blended and mashed up together instead of being distinct and clear. Your brain adjusts a bit if you listen to a whole album like this but if I'm playing random tracks, the differences between the good and bad material can be very distracting and often disappointing.

Mind you, this doesn't really necessarily equate to what you are describing as extreme sharpness, but it is something to consider.

Another is that once you play something so loud that the amp is pushed beyond it limits, you ears start to get annoyed because the clipping creates audible distortion. It can be very subtle at first. More of an uncomfortable feeling verses a true noticeable distortion. When you get that feeling like you just want to turn something down even though it might not be above your normal comfort zone for volume, it may be clipping.

Again, it doesn't really fit your scenario from your description. However, my point is that there can be a lot of factors.

There are many lists of top notch musical recordings in this board that you can use to test your speakers to rule out some badly recorded music. Check out the
Stunning Recordings thread. Also, grab your db meter again and let us know what peak volume levels you are hitting in both the movies and music.

Other than that, removing/swapping things around is the only way to truly isolate an blatant problem if the gear somewhere is at fault.
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#382617 - 09/10/12 08:36 AM Re: Harshness question and break-in w/new receiver? [Re: Murph]
VoicOfReason Offline
old hand

Registered: 04/19/12
Posts: 78
Loc: Northwest Arkansas
Yeah, I am kind of leaning that way in the sense that I am starting to think that the Onkyo brings out the original recording in a way that the Denon did not. Couple that with accurate speakers like the Axioms and now I'm just hearing the difference between DVD and Blu-ray. Like I said, Blu-ray last night sounded very very good, but all the music I've tried have been DVD's. Not sure if my BDT-500 player will play blu-ray music discs, but that might be worth trying.
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Epson 8350 * Denon 4311CI * XPA-5 * M80/VP180 * 2 QS8's+M2v3-DSX * SVS PC13-Ultra ** Buttkicker LFE

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#382618 - 09/10/12 08:39 AM Re: Harshness question and break-in w/new receiver? [Re: VoicOfReason]
Ken.C Offline
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Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 18044
Loc: NoVA
Are you mentally comparing the receivers with Audyssey on or off? I'm puzzled.
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#382619 - 09/10/12 08:43 AM Re: Harshness question and break-in w/new receiver? [Re: VoicOfReason]
VoicOfReason Offline
old hand

Registered: 04/19/12
Posts: 78
Loc: Northwest Arkansas
Sorry, I meant CD's, though DVD's may be same problem.
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Epson 8350 * Denon 4311CI * XPA-5 * M80/VP180 * 2 QS8's+M2v3-DSX * SVS PC13-Ultra ** Buttkicker LFE

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#382620 - 09/10/12 08:44 AM Re: Harshness question and break-in w/new receiver? [Re: Ken.C]
VoicOfReason Offline
old hand

Registered: 04/19/12
Posts: 78
Loc: Northwest Arkansas
Originally Posted By: Ken.C
Are you mentally comparing the receivers with Audyssey on or off? I'm puzzled.


In both cases, CD's are brighter/harsh. Blu-rays are not. I've compared with Audyssey on AND with it off.
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Epson 8350 * Denon 4311CI * XPA-5 * M80/VP180 * 2 QS8's+M2v3-DSX * SVS PC13-Ultra ** Buttkicker LFE

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