New tech for music/surround sound.. [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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Dr. Seuss
12-09-2004, 07:45 PM
I'm upgradding my Onkyo TX-SV414PRO which only has Dolby Pro-Logic Surrond Sound tech to the SR502 which make this statement in it's add: You also get innovative Pro Logic IIx decoding, which lets you transform stereo music and older surround sources into convincing 6.1 surround sound. I just order the receiver yesterday and am waiting for it arrive. Although I do like HT quite a bit, I'm a much bigger music buff. Is there anyone who uses their system more for music than HTS that can comment on what I can expect from the Pro Logic IIx? Thanks in advance.

12-10-2004, 04:36 AM
The PLIIx mode is kind of neat and I think really works well with music DVD's and DTS tracks etc with 5.1 encoding.
For stereo music, the results are mixed, IMO. I much still prefer the accuracy and realism of 2-channel stereo over the PLIIx processing for 2-channel sources.
I think most will agree PLIIx's real benefits are better separation and spaciousness in surround tracks for movies/tv.

Dr. Seuss
12-10-2004, 05:48 AM
Hmmm. I wondering if I've made the right decision on upgrading then. I've really enjoyed my 414 (have had it for about 8 yrs.) and I hate to spend the money if it's not going to give me better sound. It's impossible to compare my 414 at home to the 502 by listening in the sound studio at Circuit City because the acoustics of the room are differnt not to mention most importantly that I have different speakers. Is there anyone who can comment on whether or not I should expect noticeably better audio quality from this upgrade?

12-10-2004, 05:55 AM
For home theater purposes, or multi-channel music, again, I would argue you can expect a good deal of improvement over the older Pro-Logic model.

Perhaps you can explain to us what you intend to use this mostly for...50/50 music/home theater? 30/70? Do you prefer the processed sound when listening to music, or the natural stereo mode? Do you intend to take advantage of Dolby Digital/DTS processing for movies?

If you are a stereo (2-channel) music buff, you might consider investing in a higher-quality stereo integrated amplifier from NAD or something instead of a home theater receiver.

Dr. Seuss
12-10-2004, 06:06 AM
I would say my listening habits are 65% music, 35% Home Theatre. Your reply brings up another question that I've been wondering about. What am I losing in audio quality by going with a HTS system as opposed to a pure stereo system? I want the absolutely best music quality I can get but still be able to enjoy the Home Theatre effects when I watch movies. However, I can't afford two seperate systems. So what should I consider?

12-10-2004, 06:11 AM
Did you listen to music in DPL on your old receiver? If so, that's a primordial taste of what DPL2 will offer. It's a little more defined but, IMNSHO, I have to agree with Kex in that music recorded in two channels sounds better in two channels.

You should be looking at this purchase as a means to add DD and DTS to your home theatre experience. Believe me, it's a quantum leap over DPL for movies, particularly if they are two channel sources such as VHS tapes.

FWIW, I've been known to experiment with DPL2 for music and on a few, rare occasions have found the effect, well, amusing but ultimately return to the plain vanilla two channel mode.

I hopw you're not being led down the primrose path here. From your other post, I gather that music is of the utmost importance to you. You may well be better served by spending a goodly sum on a two channel system and maintaining a smaller, but ultimately very satisfing HT system. While my Denon/Athena HT does a "pretty durn good" job with music, itcan't hold a candle to my separate NAD/Rotel/Magnapan two channel system.

If you want to see thw whole systems, check out, member systems under "Markw*"

You're gonna spend a lot of money and invest a lot of real estate to get an EXCELLENT music system from a HT system. Either that, or choose your compromises now and learn to live with them

Dr. Seuss
12-10-2004, 06:22 AM
From everyone's comments/advise/etc., I'm starting to lean toward the following decisions. Let me know if this sounds like a resonalble solution. The HTS receiver was only around $200 so I haven't lost much and will probably be able to tell a noticeable difference in my movie viewing experience, so it's probably worth the money just for that. That amount wont make any real difference in my ablility to save up for a really good two chanel system for music listening. I've lived with my old system this long so another couple of yrs shouldn't make that much of a difference. Not to mention upgrading what I consider to be bottom of the line speakers will probably provided enough improvement to satisfy me until then. When doing research for my big upgrade though, you would suggest a pure 2-Channel system, even if stepping up to $1500-$2000 price range; or can you get a system in this range that will do both beautifully? My guess is that a pure 2-channel stereo system at any price range is always going to sound better that a HTS receiver at the same price level, no matter what the make or model. Thanks again for your comments.
p.s. To answer your question, listening to music on my current system (which only has Dolby Pro Logic) in surround mode sounds horrific. I definitely prefer a truer, cleaner sound for my music. Are CD's now not being recorded in multi-channel formats for the technology in the new receivers?

12-10-2004, 06:26 AM
What am I losing in audio quality by going with a HTS system as opposed to a pure stereo system?
This is very debatable, I would suggest you pay for a HT receiver, you are paying for the multi-channel capability, and more importantly all the fancy processing and input/output features. When you buy a stereo amplifier/integrated etc, you usually get a larger, better power supply, more "real" power and dynamic capability that results in better sound for music. Don't worry though...A/V receivers have plenty of power these days and can sound very good too. For many people like yourself, it's the best compromise. Onkyo makes good stuff.

I want the absolutely best music quality I can get but still be able to enjoy the Home Theatre effects when I watch movies. However, I can't afford to two seperate systems. So what should I consider?
I think you're on the right track. What I would suggest is you consider the most available power in a home theater receiver that you can afford, while balancing your processing and input connectivity needs. Also, try to find a receiver in your budget that has pre-outs, so that you can hook up an external high-quality power amplifier to the receiver some day if you so desire. This will allow you to "upgrade" the 2-channel aspect of the system, while relieving the receiver of a lot work when powering 5 channels or more. In my experience this helps a/v receivers alot, and later on when it's time to upgrade your receiver to the latest processing features, you'll still have a quality amplifier.

I might also add, you should probably start another thread to get a few more people interested...try to include something about these questions in the title to attract "looking for a/v receiver for 70/30 music/ht use". State your situation lots of good advice on these forums. Getting them to read your threads is sometimes tricky, especially if the subject changes part way through.

12-10-2004, 07:40 AM
Remember, if you have a finite amount to be devoted to speakers, you can apply that to either 2 stereo speakers or 5 (or 6) HT speakers. I'll leave the sub out of the equation since they add to either setup.

Likewise, I'm sure there are other hardware costs to be factored in also. By choosing to use two speakers you can apply some extra dinero towards a better amp/preamp or receiver.

And, if you have the opportunity, try to seek out a local Magnapan dealer in your area. If you've never heard planar speakers andwhat they can do to acoustic music, you may be in for a revelation. Entry to that game starts around $550/pair with a 60 day free trial by mail but, be aware, they do like a good bit of clean power to sound their best. ...and a sub doesn't hurt either.