Please Help - Muffled sound from HT - Onkyo s760 [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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03-28-2006, 08:03 PM
I've been searching for hours on the net and am getting no where. I have an Onkyo home theater in a box S760 - I just bought a new Hitachi 50" HD LCD tv and had to move all of my components to another part of the room to accomodate the tv. It seems now that the home theater is not very loud and though action scenes come through pretty well through all but the center chanel, regular talking and other sounds coming from the center channel sound lower/muffled (I have to turn up the volume even more to hear dialog at a reasonable level)... simply stated, the sound is not as bright as it used to be. I checked my speaker wire connections they were fine. I even raised the db level for the center channel but that didn't work too well. I did have to place the speaker a bit lower than it was before due to the new tv stand (it's under the tv now) but i don't think that's what causing such a dramatic difference. Any suggestions/help would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks in advance

03-29-2006, 05:26 AM
Not knowing the size of your room, the specific layout of the system, furniture or equipment, and having no idea as to rated wattage of your HTIB or it's speakers... there's little I or anyone can do for you here. I'm sure someone with tiell you that you' might have reached the physiical limts of your HTIB sound system and they might be right. Few people here use such things. Most use dedicated Home Theatre receivers and the best speakers their money can buy. Some even use "separates" where the amp and the processing units are not attached and are therefore more versatile, usually more powerful and certainly more expensive.

Bottom line.. if you want help here you'll have to be MUCH more specific as to your details mentioned in the fiirst sentence in wrote above. Most folks here would've "got the sound right first" i.e. ugraded their HT components BEFORE springing on the big screen T.,V. but that's the way we roll.

Da Worfster

Cal Blacksmith
03-29-2006, 07:10 AM
Gotta agree with Worf101.

You might try to "aim" your center speaker at your ears. Place a book or something under the front to get it aimed to your listening position. HTIB systems are the lowest rung on the HT ladder when it comes to sound quality but many people are happy with them anyway. If the sound was "ok" before, in the same room, it sounds like you have placement issues.

03-29-2006, 07:52 AM
Well, I understand where you guys are coming from, however, I didn't invest in a better audio system for the simple fact that I live in an apartment w/ neighbors who aren't all that sympathetic to the plight of an audiophile (however, that is next on my list of upgrades). The room itself is quite narrow (about 10-12 feet wide by 14-16 foot long). All of the front speakers are about 9-10 feet from my couch. The front speakers are on pedestals at ear level. The center chanel had to be moved and is probably two feet lower than the front speakers and 14" from the ground. The rears are mounted on the wall about 3-4 feet on either side of the center of the couch at just over ear level. I should mention the room placement difference.. where as the system was set up before so that the speakers and tv were closer to the viewer but had wider range (as in the tv/stereo was placed on the wall that was about 14" long and totally open to the rest of the apartment on one side, now all of it is placed along the narrower wall, a bit further away from the viewer and has walls on both sides with the opening in the room being behind the viewer (wish i could draw on here). The Onkyo receiver works just fine and I suspect it will work well with better speakers (the weakest part of the system itself). I am using thicker guage wire than what came with the system. The front speakers are about 9 feet apart from eachother on each side of the television, the center speaker is directly in the center (I have no way of placing it higher due to the tv being too thin on top for a set top placement.. any suggestions on that would be great). All of the speakers are set to "small" on the receiver. Front speakers are set at 3db, center at 5db, rears at 4db and sub set at 100mhz (default setting for the sub). Could the placement of the center speaker make that much of a difference in sound (before it was sitting on top of my 32" sony CRT tv)? I know I don't have high end audio equipment, but figured if I was going to get answer from anyone, it would be you guys.

Eric Z
03-29-2006, 10:32 AM
only4tet, i want to be sure i'm getting your situation: you've had this HTIB prior to the new LCD TV and it sounded fine? then when you needed to move things around and reconnect everything with your LCD TV, it now sounds muffled?

Or is this the first time you're using the HTIB?

03-30-2006, 05:47 AM
Hope you didn't think my post was a put down, just asking for some more information. We all do what we can, when we can. Okay, you went from "wide and shallow" to "narrow and long". Room placement, furrniture and treatments can make a high end system sound like crap so I'm not surprised given the changes, that your sound is now changed. The front mains when they were wider apart were helping your center with the imaging so now that they are narrower together than recommended, when combined with the changed placement of the center channel explains your problem to a tee. I've some suggestions...

1. Center Channel Placement - You can''t put the center on top of the T.V. cause it's too narrow. To get around this you can put a shelf up just over the back and top of the monitor to hold the CC. You could put it on the floor in front and tilt it up at your ears, not the best solution but one I've done in other systems as well. Check to see if someones making a CC mount for you particular brand of TV or for other "thin top" TVs. Get your CC at ear level again, by hook or crook.

2. Calibrate Your System - I don't know if your HTIB has provisions for the volume, distance and phase adjustment of individual speakers, but if it does then you should calibrate your system. Get a sound pressure level meter, about $35 at Rat Shack. Read the stickies or threads here on system calibration, adjust individual speaker volumes until you're a consistant 75 or 85 dbA across the board.

Both of these things should help your system get "back into round" and help you to more efficiently annoy da neighbors. Hope this helps...

Da Worfster :6:

03-30-2006, 09:13 AM
It would seem that there's definitely something amiss from what you describe that goes beyond changing the placement. My recommendation, if you haven't tried this already, is to disconnect everything, all powercords, cables, etc, count to 10 (well actually 30) and reconnect everything methodically and see if that helps. Also, calibration is a must.

To the AR regulars: We need to begin educating our visitors that size/cost point has little to nothing to do with the volume/neighbor sensitivity ratio. It would seem this guy is not the first person to equate small/cheap equipment with keeping the volume and sound at a friendly level. We know that's just not the case. In fact, one can argue the opposite. One benefit from my mid-level receiver is that I get clear, detailed sound at low volumes. Even Ed was impressed. I can testify personally, that my father's HTIB cannot reproduce intelligible sound at low levels. In fact, I'm constantly turning it up just to hear everything. So, let's get out there and EDUCATE! and make these newbies go broke buying fancy equipment.

03-30-2006, 09:25 AM
worf - no, i didn't feel put down or insulted - i know i have a cheap stereo

I will try everyone's suggestions, but just to answer a few questions.. yes i had it hooked up for over a year now and it just started sounding like this when i moved everything. I will try unplugging and reconnecting all of the cables and power.

I plan on getting new speakers soon anyways (any suggestions?) - nevermind, im opening my self up for a lot more questions there.. more specifically, any suggestions for a speaker set up for under $2000 (front, rear, center). Also the receiver is an
Onkyo HT-R520 (6.1 100w per channel, DTS, etc.) - any reason why i shouldn't keep the receiver and just upgrade the speakers?

Anyways, thanks again for all the help, i will try all of those suggestions tomorrow or saturday and let you know what ended up working.

03-30-2006, 10:13 AM
Speakers: hang out in the speaker forum and do a search/browse for similar threads for your budget, but you want to look into Polk, Energy, B&W, Paradigm, etc.

Yes, you should consider a new receiver because the receivers, typically, in the HTIB configuration incorporate too many compromises and restricted functionality. But, on the other hand, you don't need to go broke getting a new receiver. One in the $4-500 range should suffice for efficient speakers and whatever your needs may be.

Cal Blacksmith
03-30-2006, 11:18 AM
For $2k you can get a KILLER setup if you buy used. If you don't mind larger boxes for your speakers, you could buy 3 pair of Klipsch Heresy speakers for about $350 per pair and a nice mid level receiver for about $500 (new) leaving about $400 for a used sub. The setup would be perfectly matched for timber and though Heresys don't dig REAL deep, the sub should fill in the rest. You would have to go a LONG way to get a better setup for anything near the price!

Getting good prices on the speakers will likely take some patience but it would be worth it.

03-30-2006, 01:31 PM

Excellent advice from everyone. As far as a systems goes, you can put together something nice for 2K or maybe less. You can also consider upgrading slowly since you have gear to work with already. I recently put together a system that's in your price range. Here are my thoughts once I finished:

There are many directions to go, so make sure you have some fun and I'm sure the guys will keep giving you more excellent advise as you start your shopping.

04-02-2006, 09:19 AM
Thank you guys very much, this has been a big help. While i didn't have a lot of time this weekend to change around my system, i have repositioned the center channel which did make a much bigger difference than I ever thought it would. I will start looking into new ht set ups this week and will check through the forums here while making a decision on what to get... Actually the used idea would probably be a good idea for me. I'll keep checking everything out. thanks again

04-02-2006, 09:49 AM
Turn up volume in your center channel through receiver