Help calm my fears--my VP160 sounds bad

Posted by: Bayne

Help calm my fears--my VP160 sounds bad - 02/29/12 10:40 PM

So, as some of you may know, Iíve been doing some renovations in my home theater. Iím nearly finished. All I need is for my Primacoustic panels to arrive. I decided a couple days ago to hook-up my speakers and finally get a feel for my new VP160. Besides the new center speaker, my system includes a Denon AVR-3808CI, 2 M60ís, 2 QS8ís for sides, 2 M2ís for rears, and an EP500. With the exception of the VP160, all my speakers are v2ís. When the VP160 first arrived I hooked it up to my TV set-up in the living room and it sounded very nice, but in the home theater it is very thin and tinny--almost as if the dialog is coming from a tin can. Iíve run the Audyssey on my Denon and this is what it gives me:

Crossover Freq:
Front 40Hz
Center 40Hz
Surround A 90Hz
Surr. Back 60hZ
LFE+Main 80Hz

Channel Level:
Front L +4.0dB
Front R +3.5dB
Center +1.0dB
Subwoofer -9.5dB
Surr. A L -1.0dB
Surr. A R -1.0dB
Surr. Back L +2.0dB
Surr. Back R +0.5dB

I think Iím overreacting as my room has a good 12 feet of exposed walls between the front speakers and the listening position. That space it where 8 of my 12 acoustic panels will go. The room has new carpet where before the floor was laminate with an area rug. I had 4 homemade panels beforeó2 on each wallóand the acoustics were fine. Whatís interesting is I think if I sit really close to the VP160 it seems to sound fine, but take a few steps back and suddenly the sound becomes thin. I tried switching the Audyssey EQ off, and there seemed to be a slight improvement, but I think and hope the real culprit is the bare walls. Does that sound right to you? Can those walls really make that much of a difference? Do you think the Audyssey settings are off? I know Iím worrying too much. I really should have waited for my panels to arrive, but I really wanted to hear the VP160.

Going forward I plan to wait until I install my panelsóhopefully next week. If that doesnít make a difference Iíll try the VP160 upstairs again to see if it still sounds as great as when it first arrived. I can also get back my VP150 thatís currently living a friendís home and do a side-by-side comparison.
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Help calm my fears--my VP160 sounds bad - 02/29/12 10:49 PM

Did you put your finger on each driver to see if it was moving?

I know mine sounds different depending on the source material.
Posted by: Bayne

Re: Help calm my fears--my VP160 sounds bad - 02/29/12 10:57 PM

Everything is moving. I made sure of that.
Posted by: St_PatGuy

Re: Help calm my fears--my VP160 sounds bad - 02/29/12 10:59 PM

Bayne, the bare walls means the sound is just bouncing around in there. The panels and other furniture and wall hangings should help break up the even surfaces.

A couple years back I went to see "Sherlock Holmes" in the theater. We got there early and sat dead center and the sound was atrocious. I had a hard time understanding half the dialogue because is sounded like everyone was speaking into a barrel. When we were leaving, it was then I noticed the walls were bare concrete. They must've been remodeling and taken down the soft wall coverings. So, I knew the movie wasn't mixed bad, it was the room.

So, when your VP160 sounds okay when you get closer to it, you are taking the room out of the equation. I think your are getting some horrific reflections in there.
Posted by: dakkon

Re: Help calm my fears--my VP160 sounds bad - 02/29/12 11:07 PM

Originally Posted By: Bayne
Can those walls really make that much of a difference?



Yes they can.


How far away from the wall is your 160? the distance from the walls can also make a significance in the sound of a speaker.

Can you take any photos of your current setup?


not knowing your current setup, i would say try to pull the VP160 away from the wall. There are several articles on speaker placement floating around the internet.

start reading at about page 9, also the diagram on page 12 may help illustrate a problem that you may have in your room..
http://www.wilsonaudio.com/pdf/manual_sash1.pdf

you may notice, that almost the entire manual is dealing with speaker placement.....
Posted by: 2x6spds

Re: Help calm my fears--my VP160 sounds bad - 03/01/12 01:30 AM

Hello Bayne

I'm sure you've already checked the polarity of all your speakers, but you may want to take another pass at it. Tinny sound, lack of bass, are symptoms of an out-of-phase set up.

Hope it's that easy a fix.
Posted by: Spoiler

Re: Help calm my fears--my VP160 sounds bad - 03/01/12 06:13 AM

Originally Posted By: 2x6spds
Hello Bayne

I'm sure you've already checked the polarity of all your speakers, but you may want to take another pass at it. Tinny sound, lack of bass, are symptoms of an out-of-phase set up.

Hope it's that easy a fix.


Good suggestion...For Audyssey to read 90hz from the VP160 is unusual, even for a VP150!
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Help calm my fears--my VP160 sounds bad - 03/01/12 06:40 AM

Originally Posted By: 2x6spds
Hello Bayne

I'm sure you've already checked the polarity of all your speakers, but you may want to take another pass at it. Tinny sound, lack of bass, are symptoms of an out-of-phase set up.

Hope it's that easy a fix.

My thought too.
Posted by: SirQuack

Re: Help calm my fears--my VP160 sounds bad - 03/01/12 07:44 AM

If your saying just by taking a few steps backward, and the center sounds thin, that does not seem to me a problem with bare walls. It should not change that drastically. You did run Audyssey from multiple locations in the seating area, not just the primary seat, at ear level? Audyssey does check for correct polarity, so that should not be it, but I guess you could make sure you have + to + and - to -.
Posted by: Andrew

Re: Help calm my fears--my VP160 sounds bad - 03/01/12 07:55 AM

Here are the steps I would go through to isolate the cause of the VP160 sounding thin:

Disable all auto EQ functions and tone controls in the Denon. Set the fronts to large and set the sub to "No". Disconnect your right front M60. Put the Denon in pure direct mode. Put on a stereo recording and listen to the left M60 only. Make some notes on the sound, perceived bass, full or thin, etc. Now swap the left channel cable to the VP160, without moving the centre from it's correct position. Play the tracks again and compare your notes. If the VP160 sounds thin in comparison then it's either an issue with the speaker or the room/placement. If it sounds OK you now know it has something to do with the receiver set up. I always do a manual setup, which is time consuming but far more accurate than any auto EQ because your ears are involved! If you want to play with Audyssey after you have the system dialed in properly, go for it!
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Help calm my fears--my VP160 sounds bad - 03/01/12 10:01 AM

After you do all that Andrew suggested....

Audyssey is as much of a pain in the ass as it is a blessing. You really need to take your time with it, and make damn sure the house (and neighbors) are quiet, and move the mic to all eight spots. Make sure to use a tri pod to hold the mic too, not YOU. It must point straight up, always. Get rid of all your pillows, blankets, whatever. If someone drives by with a hole in their muffler while in the middle of the cal session, start over.

Then after you are done screwing around with Audyssey, get your good old RS meter out and verify channel levels. You'll most likely have to set the mains/center to large, or at least move the X-over up to 80. Do not ever lower a X-over.
Posted by: Bayne

Re: Help calm my fears--my VP160 sounds bad - 03/01/12 10:07 AM

Guys, thanks for the advice. I have checked to make sure the cables are correct. I'm using Axiom bulk cable and know that the side with the logo on it is the red side. I plan to move the VP160 upstairs tomorrow afternoon and if it sounds as good as the first time I heard it, I'll know it's no the speaker.

I'll take some photos of the room tonight and post them.

Dakkon, thanks for the helpful manual. There is no doubt that I'm getting serious slap echoes in the space between the speakers and the listening position. I suspect the acoutsic panels will help eliminate this.
Posted by: Bayne

Re: Help calm my fears--my VP160 sounds bad - 03/01/12 09:42 PM

Here's some photos of the home theater as it is today. Hopefully next week my acoustic panels with arrive and I can improve the space. The good news is, when I came home from work today I took the VP160 upstairs and hooked it up to my TV in place of my VP100. Everything sounded fine and I even put in the Blu-ray I've been viewing to test the system. The dialog was fine. Bigger sound than the VP100, and a huge improvement over what I was getting in the theater. So the speaker is probably not to blame. I've re-checked the connection, and unless the labeling on my cables is flawed, the speaker must be in phase. I'm getting serious slap echo and am thinking that it must be so pronounced that it's making a good speaker sound bad. Once the panels are in place, I'm going to re-run the Audyssey then do a manual set-up and see what happens. In the meantime, does anyone have any suggestions on speakers placement?












Posted by: CV

Re: Help calm my fears--my VP160 sounds bad - 03/01/12 09:44 PM

Gorgeous!
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Help calm my fears--my VP160 sounds bad - 03/01/12 10:16 PM

It only takes a second to reverse the connections on the speaker (only).
Posted by: dakkon

Re: Help calm my fears--my VP160 sounds bad - 03/01/12 10:24 PM

If you can, i would pull the 160 away from the wall a little bit...


Also, in the mean time, you could use some blankets as sound panels... if you dont mind putting a couple holes in your wall.... hang the blankets from the wall to get rid of the hard surface of the wall.... That is what i personally would do in the mean time. i would think 1 blanket on each wall would be sufficient to tell you if you are having an echo problem...

i would also verify each end of the cable, both on the speaker and the receiver, or what ever you are using for power.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Help calm my fears--my VP160 sounds bad - 03/02/12 11:41 AM

What a beautiful room!
Posted by: cb919

Re: Help calm my fears--my VP160 sounds bad - 03/02/12 12:00 PM

The room does look great Bayne.

Just had another thought - since you are familiar with the VP100 sound, why not bring it down to the HT and see if the sound from VP100 is also affected by the room?
Posted by: Bayne

Re: Help calm my fears--my VP160 sounds bad - 03/02/12 01:00 PM

Moving the VP100 will happen if, after the panels get installed, the sound remains the same. Right now the room is too bright, acoustically speaking. Later today I'm going to wire the center speaker out of phase and run the Audyssey. It should pick up the error.
Posted by: Bayne

Re: Help calm my fears--my VP160 sounds bad - 03/02/12 05:39 PM

Hahzah! Never so relieved to see an error message. I switched the speaker wire on the VP160 and the Audyssey told me it was out of phase. So no question about that.

But the really good news is that my Primacoustic panels arrived today. I'll be able to pick them up tomorrow and finally see if they can tame my room.
Posted by: 2x6spds

Re: Help calm my fears--my VP160 sounds bad - 03/02/12 08:12 PM

Good deal!
Posted by: dakkon

Re: Help calm my fears--my VP160 sounds bad - 03/06/12 12:34 AM

Bayne, did you get your panels installed? pic's? any difference?
Posted by: Bayne

Re: Help calm my fears--my VP160 sounds bad - 03/06/12 10:01 AM

Yes, the panels made a huge improvement. No echo and a much improved center channel experience. You can see some pictures in the gallery section.

I'm watching several movies this week, playing a lot of Mass Effect 3, and listening to as many CD's as I can get in so I can give an educated opinion of the VP160 by the end of this weekend. All I'll say now is VP160=uber detail.
Posted by: dakkon

Re: Help calm my fears--my VP160 sounds bad - 03/06/12 10:12 AM

ok, i though that was your current room, but wasn't 100% sure if it was the current room or the previous room...