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  1. #1
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    RX-V3800 first impressions

    I hope I'm not being obnoxious by starting another thread about this purchase, but the other one was too long and full of a bad experience so I didn't want it to cloud what will be an ongoing review. And I mean a long ongoing review (learning curve and all).

    Just to reiterate a couple of things, the packing of the unit was outstanding. You'd never know there was another box inside. It included a manual that was not a Xeroxed copy, the registration card was there and I immediately registered it on Yamaha's website under an account I created.

    Details: I know I'm old and out of shape but this 38 lb unit felt like 50, which doesn't help much when trying to maneuver it in & out of the cabinet. That said, I'm pleased that all surfaces are metal (not sure about the volume knob, but at least it didn't wobble when I turned it up & down), and the front access door has a nice smooth, dampened action when you manually open and close it. As the pictures show, it has a clean uncluttered front panel which is fine with me, and it lends that aspect to some measure of child-proofing (not that that's a concern). As mentioned before the back panel is some serious business! If RCA still gets royalties from that plug design, they're in good shape. It's a bit overwhelming at first but the manual grays out every connection that's not needed when it's explaining what gets connected where, most of which is obvious even to me. The speaker terminals are stacked one on top of the other which is different than what I used before, but it does make it easier to bundle all of the wires together when I'm routing them down the back of the cabinet. Like I said I'm going to replace the banana plugs with ones that the wire can be fed through from the back and also grip the insulation as well as the set screw that tightens down over the bare wire. I had a couple of instances where the Dayton audio plugs fell out because I have to connect them to the bare wire from the side of the plug, which means they rout down, hit the shelf and then make a sharp turn exiting the cabinet. I don't like that.

    I made all the speaker connections, connected my DVD changer via digital coax and fired it up. The first CD (for you rush fans) was Snakes & Arrows. The receiverís default setting was DTS: Neo Movie mode and the first thing I heard was more base response from the sub. This was good because if youíll recall, with my previous receiver, good clean, clear base was sorely lacking in my room. I have moved the sub though, and I now have two out of six acoustic panels in place (more or less), so Iím sure those two changes had an effect. I also have the mains bi-amped, but the default setting for that is Off which I didnít realize until later. When I switched to DTS Music, it didnít sound good, which scared me. 2 Channel stereo sounded bad, and Pure Direct sounded bad too.

    The next thing I did was prepare for the auto EQ program. I mounted the microphone on my cameraís tripod as recommended, put it in the center of the room and arranged the existing furniture to simulate approximately what the room will resemble when all is said and done. I plugged in the mic and the unitís display showed GUI: RX-V3800, which I took to mean that the program will output info to the receiverís display, but not so. Despite this, I pressed enter as shown in the manual; I heard some sounds from the speakers, but then nothing else. I assumed it was done, but when I tried following further instructions ( > to display resultsÖ < to run the program again), nothing showed on itís display. So I just unplugged the mic and started playing another CD. I didnít notice any changes in SQ and 2 channel mode still sounded bad, so I said okay, maybe I need to have a monitor connected so I can see what the unitís trying to do, and tell me, so I wheeled out my heavy a$$ed CRT TV from the bedroom and connected itís Component video inputs to the Component Monitor out at the receiver. I wasnít sure if I was even going see anything on the TV, but sure enough when I turned things on again the TV was showing a background from the receiver. Nice picture too. A musical instrument of some kind. So I pressed Setup Menu on the remote and up popped the receiverís setup options. I said ALRIGHT! The GUI itself resembles FIOS's main menu where the top level of options is on the left and when you press the down or up arrow it imitates a rolling wheel with the selected one sliding inside a box in the center. You then press the right arrow to go to that options subset... and so on. This is the first piece of A/V gear that I've ever owned that has OSD, so I can't compare it to any other maker's OSD. Nevertheless, I like it but it's another case where I have to turn on the TV to do anything with the receiver, just like I have to do with a couple of DVD-A's that I own. I guess I still can't put my 25 year old 19" TV out to pasture quite yet.

    -Continued on next post-

  2. #2
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    Okay, round two of Auto EQ. I plugged the mic in again and this time the OSD popped up and went right to the auto calibration option. I pressed enter on the romote and off it went. I watched it to see what tests it was running (it updated the screen with each tests completion), and when it finished it went back up one menu level that showed items like retry, view results.. so I entered to see how things went. It showed that I had the right front and both surround speakers connected out-of-phase. It even showed a graph of the right, left and sub frequency response curves, and with each one that it indicated as out, the corresponding graph showed a large dip at the higher end of the scale (I think. Not remembering if the X-Y axies were labelled). Well, I didn't believe that I crossed up on three speakers, and there was no indication on the results display to tell me which one of the bi-amped speakers was out, but I reversed connections on the on the ones in question, reran the setup and this time it completed successfully. I exited out of the setup menu, unplugged the mic and plugged in Pink Floyd Division Bell for a serious listen (well, not real serious since I STILL CAN'T HEAR out of my left ear).

    Apply all the normal cliches. I heard instruments, voices and effects I never heard before, much more presence in the room, a palpable sound field and good bass response. Yes, bass is better but as other have said, there's much room for improvement. The bad thing is, hearing so much detail for the first time was pretty much ruined by the fact that my left ear is like 6 - 8 dB down, which again is very annoying. I listened to the CD in Neo: 6 music, 2 channel stereo and pure direct. I have to be honest, the room filling effects of DTS pretty much made the stereo modes... well, boring (sorry purists, I guess I'm just spoiled). I later plugged in a Jazz CD but didn't sit down to give it a good listen, although when I was walking through the room, some of the instruments caught my attention (read... gave me goose bumps!)

    So, that's pretty much where I am right now. I didn't do much with the video end of things because when I connected my DVD player to the DVD Component In at the receiver, all I saw was picture tearing as soon as I turned the player on. I think I may be conflicting with the receiver's GUI interface because when I press the setup option on the remote, I can see that the OSD is up, but the picture is still tearing. I'll play around more with that tonite.

    Thanks for reading this.

  3. #3
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Looks like you are having some fun there Rich. I remember going through all this. It took me several years before I almost stopped tweaking things.
    Be sure to check the phase on those speaker wires carefully. These auto set-up features are notorious for saying that speakers are out of phase when they really are not. They did the same to me. Check and double check for yourself. Don't take the receiver's "word" for it. Some speaker manufacturers switch the phase on the tweeters to give you smoother highs. This throws those auto features into a tizzy.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  4. #4
    Forum Regular ldgibson76's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMichael
    Looks like you are having some fun there Rich. I remember going through all this. It took me several years before I almost stopped tweaking things.
    Be sure to check the phase on those speaker wires carefully. These auto set-up features are notorious for saying that speakers are out of phase when they really are not. They did the same to me. Check and double check for yourself. Don't take the receiver's "word" for it. Some speaker manufacturers switch the phase on the tweeters to give you smoother highs. This throws those auto features into a tizzy.
    You see GM, Audio is more important! "Tweaking for several years!"

    And to you Rich, great review so far. Real world experience, unlike the pro reviewers. They usually test with peripheral gear that ridiculously high end and rarely mimics most readers actual experience at home. The Jazz CD scenario was a perfect example. You're doing great. You'll be tweaking for eons! I know I did with my Yamaha RX-V3000!
    ldgibson76
    Chance favors the prepared mine.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMichael
    Be sure to check the phase on those speaker wires carefully. These auto set-up features are notorious for saying that speakers are out of phase when they really are not. They did the same to me. Check and double check for yourself. Don't take the receiver's "word" for it. Some speaker manufacturers switch the phase on the tweeters to give you smoother highs. This throws those auto features into a tizzy.
    Sounds like it would be a good idea to switch them back the way they were then huh?

    Through all the years that I've connected, unconnected, moved, adjusted...etc., I've always been very anal about connecting speakers with correct polarity. Truth is, I didn't know until reading a post here recently that no harm can occur if they are reversed. I've never associated + & -/red & black with anything other than DC.

  6. #6
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich-n-Texas
    Sounds like it would be a good idea to switch them back the way they were then huh?

    Through all the years that I've connected, unconnected, moved, adjusted...etc., I've always been very anal about connecting speakers with correct polarity. Truth is, I didn't know until reading a post here recently that no harm can occur if they are reversed. I've never associated + & -/red & black with anything other than DC.
    No harm? Not to the equipment, but it will kill your base.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  7. #7
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    I don't get it. What base?

  8. #8
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich-n-Texas
    I don't get it. What base?
    If you have the polarity reversed on your speakers, the bass waves can cancel each other out. While one speaker is pushing the other is pulling. When these two waves meet, you get zip for bass.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  9. #9
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    Ah, but you said "base". A mortal sin in this community GM.

  10. #10
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich-n-Texas
    Ah, but you said "base". A mortal sin in this community GM.
    No one was injured in my usage of the word base.
    This has been an AR public announcement
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  11. #11
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    Sacrilege!!! I'm glad you picked up Rich, I was about to have a heart attack. Shame on you GM!

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  13. #13
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE BASE
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  14. #14
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    No wonder it took so long for the friggin' page to load.

  15. #15
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    ROFL I think we got'm pissed

  16. #16
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich-n-Texas
    No wonder it took so long for the friggin' page to load.
    Daddy sang BASS (mama sang tenor)

    I too liked pro logic music and neo six modes, but eventually went back to two channel.
    Give up on the YPAO (or whatever) pull out the sound meter
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  17. #17
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    I like using the auto set-up and a test meter. The YPAO does a fine job on some things, but it's good to check for yourself.
    As much as this pains me to type, I agree with Pix. (I think I just threw up a little in my mouth) The Neo6's and like are fun but in the end I also went back to 2 channel for music. STRAIGHT mode has become my favorite. Whatever comes in, goes out (plus the sub). Minimal processing.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  18. #18
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    Can I use the mic to manually do things like run the polarity test, check the results, make corrections at the speaker terminal then rerun the test? I suspect I can because, even without the mic connected I can go into those menus, select the "wiring check" test and then enter, but when I check the results there's no change in the results dialog. This happens even when I go to a speaker, swap + & - and rerun the test.

    I say that if I had the mic connected, the result would reflect the wire swap.

    Edit: I looked this up in the manual but it looks like I can't make manual settings changes when in Auto (individaul tests then check result), but instead I have to start the test from the beginning, or go into full manual mode. No biggie. Also, I saw a note in the troubleshooting guide for YPAO which verifies what GM said earlier about polarity. I'll change them back to what they were.
    Last edited by Rich-n-Texas; 02-26-2008 at 07:01 AM.

  19. #19
    Forum Regular ldgibson76's Avatar
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    Hello Rich!

    Any new developments in your RX-V3800 integration thus far?! Have you discovered anything new or exciting?! And did you receiver the banana plugs yet?!
    ldgibson76
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  20. #20
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by GMichael
    I like using the auto set-up and a test meter. The YPAO does a fine job on some things, but it's good to check for yourself.
    As much as this pains me to type, I agree with Pix. (I think I just threw up a little in my mouth) The Neo6's and like are fun but in the end I also went back to 2 channel for music. STRAIGHT mode has become my favorite. Whatever comes in, goes out (plus the sub). Minimal processing.
    You agree with me?
    Now I will have to reevaluate EVERYTHING

    You like the ypao because you're lazy.
    And I hate to agree with you (just threw up on my crack-ho) but in this case Ypao
    might be better, if for no other reason than the receiver is probably smarter than rich
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by pixelthis
    You agree with me?
    Now I will have to reevaluate EVERYTHING

    You like the ypao because you're lazy.
    And I hate to agree with you (just threw up on my crack-ho) but in this case Ypao
    might be better, if for no other reason than the receiver is probably smarter than rich
    Correct. I can use it as a good starting point because for one thing it's organized; runs the proper tests in the right order as opposed to me guessing which calculation I should pick, and when I should run it. Plus, there are no variables like an ear that's stopped up, an anebriated(sp?) brain, especially on Fridays and Saturdays ( ), and it runs in about two minutes. I know full well that further tweaking will be necessary, but that's fine, I'll learn something. In the meantime I've gained a major improvement in sound quality across the entire spectrum.

    I sat in the room last night and listened to one of my Genesis DVD-A's; I used DTS 96/24 and I'm now starting to feel the mid & low freq's in my chest. That's something that, no matter how high I cranked the volume on my 5740, I could never feel. This is good. The sub's got more punch and tightness, and I know that when the rest of the acoustic panels are in place there should be a drastic improvement from that perspective.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by ldgibson76
    Hello Rich!

    Any new developments in your RX-V3800 integration thus far?! Have you discovered anything new or exciting?! And did you receiver the banana plugs yet?!
    Id, the banana plugs (28 pairs) shipped yesterday afternoon. Shipping charge was a bit steep, but they're coming via UPS. Say what ya want about UPS, then I'll say something about DHL.

    I discovered last night that the Music Enhancer mode brings harshness to all the frequencies, and then I remembered... oh yeah, that's for MP3's. Sounded nasty when the Jeff Beck CD was spinning.

    Quote Originally Posted by Id
    Oh yeah, once everything is set up, will you evaluate the DSP modes to see if there has been an improvement in execution over your last Yammie?! Remember that at one time, that was Yamaha's primary weapon, if you will, in their AVR's. Now with the new Hi-Rez formats, the question is whether or not the DSP's have lessened in importance
    I scrolled through these a couple of days ago but I haven't applied them yet to any content. I'll get to it ASAP.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMichael
    As much as this pains me to type, I agree with Pix. (I think I just threw up a little in my mouth)
    How the hell does he come up with these things?? Another of the funniest things I've read. You're in a league of your own GM

  24. #24
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pixelthis
    You agree with me?
    Now I will have to reevaluate EVERYTHING

    You like the ypao because you're lazy.
    And I hate to agree with you (just threw up on my crack-ho) but in this case Ypao
    might be better, if for no other reason than the receiver is probably smarter than rich
    And then, he returned.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  25. #25
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    How the hell does he come up with these things?? Another of the funniest things I've read. You're in a league of your own GM
    Thank you. Thank you.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

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