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  1. #1
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    Denon AVR-1601 and new blu-rays

    Howdy all, been a few years since I trolled these forums and I've always found great help here, so I have a "perceived" dilemma I need help with...

    Gear:
    Denon AVR-1601
    Samsung BDP 1500 blu-ray
    Mirage FRx-7 center and fronts
    Infinity bookshelves rear

    I have a Denon AVR-1601 and while it has performed amazingly for years now, I am curious if the following is an actual issue or my perception.

    I've recently purchased the Samsung BP 1600 blu-ray player and while watching Constantine last night I thought the center channel was muffled and dull. I'm running toslink from the blu-ray to the AVR, and IIRC the output for 5.1 on Constantine is Dolby HD?

    If so, is there any issue having the blu-ray decode HD audio and send it via toslink (as in the AVR-16901 altering the HD decoding) or is there a better way to go, including a new Denon receiver?

    Or was it an anomaly?

    Thanks all!

    - Josh

  2. #2
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JStudrawa
    Howdy all, been a few years since I trolled these forums and I've always found great help here, so I have a "perceived" dilemma I need help with...

    Gear:
    Denon AVR-1601
    Samsung BDP 1500 blu-ray
    Mirage FRx-7 center and fronts
    Infinity bookshelves rear

    I have a Denon AVR-1601 and while it has performed amazingly for years now, I am curious if the following is an actual issue or my perception.

    I've recently purchased the Samsung BP 1600 blu-ray player and while watching Constantine last night I thought the center channel was muffled and dull. I'm running toslink from the blu-ray to the AVR, and IIRC the output for 5.1 on Constantine is Dolby HD?

    If so, is there any issue having the blu-ray decode HD audio and send it via toslink (as in the AVR-16901 altering the HD decoding) or is there a better way to go, including a new Denon receiver?

    Or was it an anomaly?

    Thanks all!

    - Josh
    Josh, unfortunately you are not hearing Dolby TrueHD through the toslink connection. You are hearing Dolby Digital through the toslink connection. Since your Blu ray player does not have 6 channel analog output, the only way to access HD audio is through the HDMI connection, of which your receiver does not have.

    You will have to purchase a new receiver to get HD audio. Your player has the built in decoders, but there is no way for you to access that audio, as you player only has 2.0 analog outputs. Your receiver has the multichannel inputs, but since your player does not have the complimentary outputs, you are dead in the water as far as HD audio.
    Sir Terrence

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  3. #3
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    That, or buy a Blu ray player that features analogue mutlichannel outputs. Otherwise, stick with non-HD sound and be happy

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the replies, guys. Can you shed some light on the other side of the coin?

    With Constantine, the audio options are Dolby HD for English. That's it, I think. If so, am I getting an odd translation of it thru the toslink and into a DD receiver?

    Sorry if I am not explaining it well. For lack of a smarter explainer (me), it seems the player is outputting Dolby HD and the AVR is trying to send DD to the speakers, making the center channel dull.

    Is this even possible?
    Samsung LN52A630 LCD
    Denon AVR-790
    Samsung BD-P1500
    Mirage FRx-7 center and fronts
    Roku

    PC - X-Fi Extreme Gamer & Logitech Z5300E 5.1

  5. #5
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JStudrawa
    Thanks for the replies, guys. Can you shed some light on the other side of the coin?

    With Constantine, the audio options are Dolby HD for English. That's it, I think. If so, am I getting an odd translation of it thru the toslink and into a DD receiver?

    Sorry if I am not explaining it well. For lack of a smarter explainer (me), it seems the player is outputting Dolby HD and the AVR is trying to send DD to the speakers, making the center channel dull.

    Is this even possible?
    So you understand how this works(Josh, I think I remember you!).

    If you choose Dolby TrueHD in the disc menu, but are using the toslink output, the player reverts to the accompanying Dolby Digital track. Unlike Dts, Dolby TrueHD is not backwards compatible with Dolby Digital, so there must always be a separate Dolby Digital track when there is a Dolby TrueHD track on the disc. You may not see a English Dolby Digital track in the menu, but it is there for those in your position.

    There must be something else going on if you hear a dullness from the center channel. Do you hear this from the other channels as well, or is it only the center speaker?

    Next question; Have you calibrated your system for matched volumes from all channels, and equal distance to your listening seat? A dullness from the center channel could mean there is a mis-alignment between the L/R mains and the center channel. The dullness could signify the center is farther back than the L/R mains either electronically or physically.
    Sir Terrence

    Titan Reference 3D 1080p projector
    200" SI Black Diamond II screen
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  6. #6
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    I've done ear-based calibrations for volume, and measurement settings for delay, and had no issues for the year I have been in this house. Granted, it may be a less than stellar mix on the DVD, I don't know.

    I'm looking at the Denon AVR-590 at the moment, but as you say... if the player won't output HD thru toslink I'll research more of the cabling I'd have to do for HDMI. I was happy with Toslink for sound, HDMI for video but now if it's all HDMI, I need to go all to TV then TV to AVR I guess.

    Thanks again, and wasn't sure if you'd recall who I was. Good stuff, and you and Adam and Woodman and the rest helped a ton.
    Last edited by JStudrawa; 02-18-2010 at 01:32 PM.
    Samsung LN52A630 LCD
    Denon AVR-790
    Samsung BD-P1500
    Mirage FRx-7 center and fronts
    Roku

    PC - X-Fi Extreme Gamer & Logitech Z5300E 5.1

  7. #7
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JStudrawa
    I've done ear-based calibrations for volume, and measurement settings for delay, and had no issues for the year I have been in this house. Granted, it may be a less than stellar mix on the DVD, I don't know.

    I'm looking at the Denon AVR-590 at the moment, but as you say... if the player won't output HD thru toslink I'll research more of the cabling I'd have to do for HDMI. I was happy with Toslink for sound, HDMI for video but now if it's all HDMI, I need to go all to TV then TV to AVR I guess.

    Thanks again, and wasn't sure if you'd recall who I was. Good stuff, and you and Adam and Woodman and the rest helped a ton.
    Josh, doing calibration by ear is not a good thing. Our ears are not good measuring devices, as they lack the sensitivity to ascertain small gain changes. It is most likely a difference in volume from the center to the L/R speakers that is causing the problem. Constantine has a pretty good mix, so it is not the soundtrack that is the problem. I have this disc, and I have no issues with dull dialog. But then again, I am not using the toslink connection, I am using HDMI.

    The TV to AVR route is not going to work. Your television internal decoding mixes the output down to 2.0, and that is all you will get to the AVR. The best route is to either get a Bluray player with 6 channel analog outs, or a receiver with HDMI. This is the only way you are going to get HD audio.

    Good to see you again bro. It has been awhile.
    Sir Terrence

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  8. #8
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    Yeah I know Just that it's been "fine" for the other 150 DVD's I own. I know you're right, boss.

    Well then I go looking at the Denon AVR-790 and AVR-1910. Just need to figure out what's different about them.

    As always, thanks for the input and time to explain things. We can argue over SPL meters and my ears in the future

    Speaking of, is the Denon acoustic setup any good or should I use an SPL meter?
    Samsung LN52A630 LCD
    Denon AVR-790
    Samsung BD-P1500
    Mirage FRx-7 center and fronts
    Roku

    PC - X-Fi Extreme Gamer & Logitech Z5300E 5.1

  9. #9
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JStudrawa
    Yeah I know Just that it's been "fine" for the other 150 DVD's I own. I know you're right, boss.

    Well then I go looking at the Denon AVR-790 and AVR-1910. Just need to figure out what's different about them.

    As always, thanks for the input and time to explain things. We can argue over SPL meters and my ears in the future

    Speaking of, is the Denon acoustic setup any good or should I use an SPL meter?
    Denon uses Audussey, and for that you can forget the SPL meter. It does everything for you.
    Sir Terrence

    Titan Reference 3D 1080p projector
    200" SI Black Diamond II screen
    Oppo BDP-103D
    Datastat RS20I audio/video processor 12.4 audio setup
    9 Onkyo M-5099 power amp
    9 Onkyo M-510 power amp
    9 Onkyo M-508 power amp
    6 custom CAL amps for subs
    3 custom 3 way horn DSP hybrid monitors
    18 custom 3 way horn DSP hybrid surround/ceiling speakers
    2 custom 15" sealed FFEC servo subs
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    THX Style Baffle wall

  10. #10
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by JStudrawa
    Yeah I know Just that it's been "fine" for the other 150 DVD's I own. I know you're right, boss.

    Well then I go looking at the Denon AVR-790 and AVR-1910. Just need to figure out what's different about them.

    As always, thanks for the input and time to explain things. We can argue over SPL meters and my ears in the future

    Speaking of, is the Denon acoustic setup any good or should I use an SPL meter?
    Listen to sir talky , he knows all about stuff that is "muffled and dull".
    Just a hunch, but BLU ray discs, when giving you a standard DD soundtrack(the only kind you can get through toslink) is the full bandwidth of DD(on a DVD its several hundred KBS
    less).
    Could be your receiver has trouble digesting a full bandwidth DD signal.
    NOT TO MENTION WATCHING A MOVIE WITH KEANU REEVES in it.
    You HT might be rejecting your movie, it might have better taste than you do.
    Keanu hasnt done anything decent since SPEED
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  11. #11
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Listen to sir talky , he knows all about stuff that is "muffled and dull".
    I guess dealing with your stupidity this last year has definitely given me exposure to muffled and dull. You can add technoidiot and clueless to that as well since you have a lock on those to.
    Sir Terrence

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    9 Onkyo M-508 power amp
    6 custom CAL amps for subs
    3 custom 3 way horn DSP hybrid monitors
    18 custom 3 way horn DSP hybrid surround/ceiling speakers
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  12. #12
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    Well, ignoring the previous 2 posts...

    For the avr790 and 590, am I paying just for another input or two?

    I'd like 4hdmi inputs (I have 3 devices so far) but are there other 4 input avr's as good for less? I only have experince with Denon
    Samsung LN52A630 LCD
    Denon AVR-790
    Samsung BD-P1500
    Mirage FRx-7 center and fronts
    Roku

    PC - X-Fi Extreme Gamer & Logitech Z5300E 5.1

  13. #13
    LMB
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    Quote Originally Posted by JStudrawa
    Well, ignoring the previous 2 posts...

    For the avr790 and 590, am I paying just for another input or two?

    I'd like 4hdmi inputs (I have 3 devices so far) but are there other 4 input avr's as good for less? I only have experince with Denon
    Checkout Marantz

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by LMB
    Checkout Marantz
    Thanks. I am seeing the $599 NR1501, I'll compare that with the Denon receivers.

    I'm assuming there is something special about 50W in analog vs. 90W on the Denon which they do not notate.

    I figure anything will power the Mirage speakers fine.

    I appreciate the suggestion.
    Samsung LN52A630 LCD
    Denon AVR-790
    Samsung BD-P1500
    Mirage FRx-7 center and fronts
    Roku

    PC - X-Fi Extreme Gamer & Logitech Z5300E 5.1

  15. #15
    LMB
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    Quote Originally Posted by JStudrawa
    Thanks. I am seeing the $599 NR1501, I'll compare that with the Denon receivers.

    I'm assuming there is something special about 50W in analog vs. 90W on the Denon which they do not notate.

    I figure anything will power the Mirage speakers fine.

    I appreciate the suggestion.
    Denon and Marantz are owned by same company

  16. #16
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    Right, so obviously one is a level higher thanthe other and i need to figure out if those differences are worth the money.
    Samsung LN52A630 LCD
    Denon AVR-790
    Samsung BD-P1500
    Mirage FRx-7 center and fronts
    Roku

    PC - X-Fi Extreme Gamer & Logitech Z5300E 5.1

  17. #17
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by JStudrawa
    Right, so obviously one is a level higher thanthe other and i need to figure out if those differences are worth the money.
    Marantz is way better than Denon, but that might not stay that way, now that they are owned by the same company.
    Marantz is more audiophile than Denon.
    AS FOR NUMBER of inputs, cant have too many.
    I have four on my receiver and they are all full.!!!
    Not to mention one of my component and my 7.1 line in.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by JStudrawa
    Right, so obviously one is a level higher than the other and i need to figure out if those differences are worth the money.
    Why exactly is that "obvious?" Want to put a Marantz NR1501 up against a Denon AVP-A1HD-CI/POA-HDCI combo? Probably not. Neither would a Denon AVR-590 want to wage war with a Marantz AV8003.

  19. #19
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    It is obvious from the marketing stand point that any multi product line company would tier their products and pricing scenarios so as not to cannabalize themselves, but rather provide a step or leap frog approach.

    Now I am not saying that one is always better but the Marantz at $600 better be a step above the $500 Denon. Of not, why have the $600 Marantz?
    Samsung LN52A630 LCD
    Denon AVR-790
    Samsung BD-P1500
    Mirage FRx-7 center and fronts
    Roku

    PC - X-Fi Extreme Gamer & Logitech Z5300E 5.1

  20. #20
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    I know Ebay members aren't authorized dealers, but the Denon AVR790 can be had there...

    $339 + $20 for refurb...
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=370340490112

    Or $376 + $20 for new...
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Denon-AVR790-7-1...item5639f3d4b9

    Now I don't shy away from refurbs, as I don't put much stock on scratches or dents as long as it's factory spec still (I'd buy used from most of you in a heartbeat, for example), but does anyone have any knowledge of the seller or any warnings they'd like to give before I pull the trigger?

    Thanks, guys.
    Samsung LN52A630 LCD
    Denon AVR-790
    Samsung BD-P1500
    Mirage FRx-7 center and fronts
    Roku

    PC - X-Fi Extreme Gamer & Logitech Z5300E 5.1

  21. #21
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    You Need to Get Blu-Ray with Analog Outputs or Change Your Receiver True Audio is a M

    You Need to Get Blu-Ray with Analog Outputs or Change Your Receiver True Audio is a Must. I confess I didn't read many of the replies but True Audio is a Must. I actually notice the spectacular True Audio sound a lot more than the improved picture on my Blu-Ray. I have a Denon 3801 without HDMI soI bought a Blu Ray player with analog outs and the sound is fantastic. You are missing out on a night and day difference if you don't get True Audio.

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