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  1. #1
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    Some Sound improvement My Cosmic Revelation By Accident!

    Hopefully someone can explain this one because I at least now improved my DVD sound quality by total illogical actions. As you know (disregard my previous post I'm going to try to delete it), I ordered a Denon 3801 Receiver and a Harmon Kardon 31 DVD player in an effort to improve sound quality, mainly on my CD's from B+ to A+, without changing my Orb Audio Mod 1 Speakers & Supereight Sub. Anyway, the HK DVD player arrived today and I hooked this up via an optical cable to my JVC DVD/receiver and also connected the HK DVD receiver to my TV by component cables. The CD sound from the HK DVD player even when hooked up digitally to my receiver was not as good as the CD portion of my JVC receiver (played through the built in DVD player). However, when I played a DVD, Master & Commander- thanks to the guy on this site who recommended it for the sound, the sound quality from the HK DVD player was significantly better. A Night and Day Improvement! I then tried to figure out why a significant improvement for DVD sound but a 15% or so decline in CD sound compared to my existing set up. Using a Beavis & Butthead "Lightbulb Idea" revelation, I decided to check the HK DVD settings which I had not adjusted & I believe were at the factory default. I discovered that the HK DVD was set for Large Speakers as opposed to the "Small" setting I have on my receiver, the distance was 12 feet for the front as opposed to 9 feet on my receiver and the rears were 10 feet as opposed to my 3 feet on the JVC unit.. The DB's on the HK DVD player were set on 0 while on mine they're at 4 accross the Board with an 8 for the sub. I then experimented and changed the HK DVD player's settings to match my JVC receiver's settings and the DVD sound declined in sound quality significantly. So I reset the HK DVD player back to the factory default settings with the exception of changing it to widescreen 16:9 aspect and progressive scan as opposed to interlaced.
    As things stand now, I am going to listen to CD's via the built in DVD receiver player and DVD's via the HK DVD player. Why these settings improve the DVD sound I don't understand at all. I'm also going to experiment with putting the receiver's settings at the HK settings and see if that improves CD quality.
    Lastly when the new Denon 3801 receiver arrives, I'll probably tinker again, but if I like my JVC receiver setup with the 2 DVD players better, the Denon gets Ebayed unless someone here is interested in getting it for $475 with shipping.
    What is going on??????????????????????????????????????
    Last edited by hershon; 03-22-2005 at 04:40 AM.

  2. #2
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    Difficult to say, but I now I wonder if the JVC unit has a more direct path when processing digital connections...that is, less conversion. A Dolby Digital or DTS bitsream is sent to the appropriate decoder, but the PCM digital feed might be subject to an additional level of processing/conversion that the integrated DVD/JVC unit is not. This is a guess on my part, but I've heard other units do this before.
    Also, since this unit is an integrated DVD/CD/Receiver solution, I wouldn't be surprised if less importance was placed on inputs to keep costs down...why spend more money on inputs if the unit has an internal "direct-line"?

    Can you connect the DVD analog outs to the JVC receiver and by bass the DACs in the receiver?

    Quite frankly, using the optical out of the DVD player and what I assume to be an equivalent digital connection in the JVC DVD section, I'm amazed that you heard a difference at all...The JVC DAC should be processing the same 1's and 0's from both sources equally. This leads me to believe that there could be a few additional settings that need to be tweaked in the H/K or something.

  3. #3
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    I'm going to do some more testing later today in regards to playing CD's. Like you, I thought worst case scenario, the CD's would sound the same as being played through the
    Hk's as opposed to the built in DVD but they don't, they're worse while DVD''s through the HK's are better. I should mention, if this makes a difference, maybe it does to you, when I play back the DVD's on trhe HK I'm listening to what essentially is the "Auxillary" option the JVC receiver & when I'm playing back the CDs I'm listening via the "DVD" option on the receiver. The receivers settings though are he same.


    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    Difficult to say, but I now I wonder if the JVC unit has a more direct path when processing digital connections...that is, less conversion. A Dolby Digital or DTS bitsream is sent to the appropriate decoder, but the PCM digital feed might be subject to an additional level of processing/conversion that the integrated DVD/JVC unit is not. This is a guess on my part, but I've heard other units do this before.
    Also, since this unit is an integrated DVD/CD/Receiver solution, I wouldn't be surprised if less importance was placed on inputs to keep costs down...why spend more money on inputs if the unit has an internal "direct-line"?

    Can you connect the DVD analog outs to the JVC receiver and by bass the DACs in the receiver?

    Quite frankly, using the optical out of the DVD player and what I assume to be an equivalent digital connection in the JVC DVD section, I'm amazed that you heard a difference at all...The JVC DAC should be processing the same 1's and 0's from both sources equally. This leads me to believe that there could be a few additional settings that need to be tweaked in the H/K or something.

  4. #4
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    The Aux/DVD settings shouldn't matter...What the receiver is doing behind those is what I'm curious about...

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    The Only Other Difference Is

    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    The Aux/DVD settings shouldn't matter...What the receiver is doing behind those is what I'm curious about...
    The only other difference which I forgot to mention previously is the JVC is set on the "Mid" dynamic Compression Range and on the HK DVD player it is set to off- full surround dynamic range no effect applied.

    I listened to both DVD players again this morning and no change to anything I posted previously. There is a night and day differnce with DVD discs. The HK DVD player sounds more immediate and real. Like I'm actually in the scene if that makes sense. The only thing I can think of is maybe the HK DVD settings are taking priority over the settings set on the DVD Receiver. The settings on the DVD receiver are the same for both the "DVD" channel and the Auxilary channel for which I played the HK player.

    CD's however sound inferior on the HK as opposed to the built in DVD player. What is going on?

  6. #6
    Forum Regular anamorphic96's Avatar
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    Hershon,

    Did you only listen to the Beatles disc in CD or did you listen to many others as well. One reson I ask is that Master and Commander has some of the best sound ever recorded for movies and comparing it to a Beatles album might not be the best test. The Beatles albums where recorded well for there time. But dont hold up that well to a well mixed modern recording.

    One other question as Kex asked. Try using the analog outputs from your HK.

  7. #7
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    First, turn off that rediculous dynamic range compression nonesense...make sure there's no compression going on...I don't know why they do that...My guess is it sounds better in Sears, Best Buy, etc where there's a high noise floor and lots of background stuff going on.

    You want as big a difference between loud and quite sounds as possible, otherwise that little kid in The Sixth Sense will be whispering about the dead people he sees as loud as T-Rex roars in Jurassic Park (well, okay maybe not quite, but you get the idea).
    Come to think of it...I should check for those silly settings on my 2 new DVD units...

    Try again, you should notice that at least the JVC unit sounds different...
    I'm a little curious about the distance settings, speaker size settings, etc on your H/K DVD unit...I could be wrong, but I don't think they should affect anything when the unit is passing a DTS or Dolby Digital bitstream to the receiver...should only affect the analog stuff - analog outs, DVD-A/SACD if applicable.

    What's the model # of your JVC unit...I'm going to have to go find one of these...

  8. #8
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    I listened to the first 8 minutes or so of Master & Commander on the HK and then did the same on the built in JVC. As I said there was a night and day difference for the better with the HK player.

    In regards to the Beatles CD I played, again there was almost a night and day difference for the reverse. The JVC player sounded immediate and real while the HK sounded lifeless and sterile.

    When I tried listening to the HK via Analogue, I just wasn't enamored with the sound as it sounded less pokier. The same thing happened when I've tried a Marantz and Onkyo CD player to the JVC receiver. I'll try it again later though. This is all madness!

  9. #9
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    Kexodusc

    Thanks for your help. I appreciate it. I do know for CD's the sound is best on Mid. I'll try putting on a DVD with the dynamic range compression off on my JVC. Mid is the default setting on the JVC. The receiver number is JVC RX-DV31SL. Here is a link with the specifics.http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...lance&n=507846
    Click technical for specifics, product for description, etc.
    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    First, turn off that rediculous dynamic range compression nonesense...make sure there's no compression going on...I don't know why they do that...My guess is it sounds better in Sears, Best Buy, etc where there's a high noise floor and lots of background stuff going on.

    You want as big a difference between loud and quite sounds as possible, otherwise that little kid in The Sixth Sense will be whispering about the dead people he sees as loud as T-Rex roars in Jurassic Park (well, okay maybe not quite, but you get the idea).
    Come to think of it...I should check for those silly settings on my 2 new DVD units...

    Try again, you should notice that at least the JVC unit sounds different...
    I'm a little curious about the distance settings, speaker size settings, etc on your H/K DVD unit...I could be wrong, but I don't think they should affect anything when the unit is passing a DTS or Dolby Digital bitstream to the receiver...should only affect the analog stuff - analog outs, DVD-A/SACD if applicable.

    What's the model # of your JVC unit...I'm going to have to go find one of these...

  10. #10
    Forum Regular anamorphic96's Avatar
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    hmmmm.....Could ther be some sort of DSP mode that is being engaged when the JVC is running DVDs and gets disengaged when you switch to a different input. Just a thought. Receivers can have weird interfaces sometimes.

  11. #11
    Forum Regular anamorphic96's Avatar
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    They mention something abouta DAP processor. Is this turnded off on both inputs ? This could be it if its on. Most DSP modes can make things sound fake and artificial.

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    What is a DAP Processor?

    I have no idea what this is or any inputs for it on the JVC. The JVC's basic adjustable inputs are Db's, bass, treble, distance of speakers, crossover, dynamic range compression, LFE (? I have this on 0).

    The one thing the HK DVD 31 player seems to have that the JVC's built in DVD player doesn't have is a Wolfson 192kHz/24-bit audio D/A converter, whatever that means.

    To me it doesn't make sense that DVD's played on the HK at ridiculous settings on it as well (large speakers instead of small, distances of 10 feet instead of 3 feet for the rears) would sound so much better than my built in JVC DVD player yet CD's on the same HK DVD player sound so much worse than my built in DVD player. I am totally obsessed in trying to find an answer! The only thing I can think of is, the built in JVC DVD playerr has no individual set up on the receiver other than the same set up I mentioned for all the receivers channels (TV, VCR, Auxillary, DVD) and maybe somehow the HK's DVD settings are overriding those of the receiver.


    Quote Originally Posted by anamorphic96
    They mention something abouta DAP processor. Is this turnded off on both inputs ? This could be it if its on. Most DSP modes can make things sound fake and artificial.

  13. #13
    Forum Regular anamorphic96's Avatar
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    The DAP processor creates the HALL, STADIUM, CINEMA sound modes you here on alot of gear. It a soundfield simulator in a sense. Check your manual there should be something about this. I read t his from the link tyou gave. Keep in mind the soundfields could have diferent names on your unit as well.

    One other thing to note is the JVC unit is going to be compromised in certain areas due to the fact they had to put so much equipment into one box. Corners where probably cut in certain areas to get the low price point. D/A converters tend to be a corner that gets cut. Wolfson converters are VERY good and get used in alot of high end equipment. Arcam is the first to come to mind. This could very well be the difference.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by hershon
    The one thing the HK DVD 31 player seems to have that the JVC's built in DVD player doesn't have is a Wolfson 192kHz/24-bit audio D/A converter, whatever that means.
    This is good...very good
    Quote Originally Posted by hershon
    To me it doesn't make sense that DVD's played on the HK at ridiculous settings on it as well (large speakers instead of small, distances of 10 feet instead of 3 feet for the rears) would sound so much better than my built in JVC DVD player
    As I said...the DVD player is only sending the 1's and 0's from the Dolby Digital or DTS bitstream to the receiver I believe...the DVD player is doing no processing, so the distances, small settings, etc had no effect for the movie (and probably not for the CD).
    Quote Originally Posted by hershon
    yet CD's on the same HK DVD player sound so much worse than my built in DVD player. I am totally obsessed in trying to find an answer! The only thing I can think of is, the built in JVC DVD playerr has no individual set up on the receiver other than the same set up I mentioned for all the receivers channels (TV, VCR, Auxillary, DVD) and maybe somehow the HK's DVD settings are overriding those of the receiver.
    Hmmm, not if you're using the optical or digital out puts from the H/K to the receiver...

    Hershon, I wonder if maybe you could invite some other people over to your place to solicit opinions on a variety of CD's. It could be that you are use to the JVC sound, and maybe even prefer it. But you could very well be in the minority, with many in favor of the H/K? Maybe there's some sort of inexplicable synergy in your integrated unit...

    Personally, with digital outputs involved and not analog, I cannot see how you can possibly be noticing any difference other than volume. Both dvd players should only be sending 1's and 0's to the receivers decoder and processors..since these are receiving the exact same info, the sound should be the exact same. Unless there's another setting we're missing?
    Could be the H/K just isn't good for playing CD's? I dunno?

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    Feel free if you want to have any of your friends check out my system, play their DVD/Cd's, etc. I'm in Chatsworth in LA. Paul PCI on this board has been over & I've checked out his system as well both with his speakers & mine. I think he generally is in agreement with most of my opinions as to sound quality heard when we tested out some CD's etc. He hasn't heard this new DVD player yet and I'm also hoping he can help me set up the Denon 3801 receiver when it arrives. My sister & her husband & son, who aren't gung ho stereo nuts also have agreed with my assessments.Worst case scenario is I'm keeping this HK DVD player just to play DVD's and reselling the Denon 3801 receiver.

    I totally agree with you on paper with most of what you're saying. However, some high end places insisted the more expensive DVD brands give out better digital sound. These places also claim that $250 power cords/plugs improve sound & when I've tried (and returned) those out, if anything they made the sound worse. On my JVC receiver, so far when I connected a Marantz Cd player, an Onkyo Cd player, a Denon 1910 DVD player and now this Harmon Kardon DVD player, by analogue instead of digitally by optic cable, the volume as well as the sound quality for my ears, was significantly worse. I.E., I had to turn the volume controls up a few DB's and the sound was thinner/weaker. I actually have a pretty good sensitive ear as I use to do record producing for some groups/musicians you probably have heard of, what I don't have is technical knowledge like you and some of the other people on this board. I'd be very surprised if people heard things differently then I do, as to whether sound quality is
    different and to what degree.

    I really don't think its a matter of being use to my JVC's sound, for instance when I heard Paul PCI play the Foo Fighters (A group I've never listened to- my tastes are pre 1989's) on CD on his Yamaha Receiver with B&A bookshelf speakers, I thought that sounded fantastic and was all set to try to buy the same system, when he played my Beatles Cd which sounded horrible to me & much better when we heard it through my Orbs connected to the Yamaha. So I put a halt to that. I also heard his 5.1 TV/DVD sound which sounded much better than mine.

    I guess what I ultimately don't understand is, if hypothetically this HK DVD player gives incredible DVD sound on my existing receiver/speaker set up, wouldn't it then follow that CD's would sound as relatively good as well? But they don't. To quote Homer Simpson, "Duh"!
    Last edited by hershon; 03-22-2005 at 02:19 PM.

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    Anamorphiv96

    For CD's. I listed to it under the All Natural 5 speaker & sub sound which is unprocessed natural sound- I prefer that to natural 2 channel & a sub sound. For DVD's, I listen to it under the dolby digital 5.1 surround sound automatic setting. So I don't use the DAP at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by anamorphic96
    The DAP processor creates the HALL, STADIUM, CINEMA sound modes you here on alot of gear. It a soundfield simulator in a sense. Check your manual there should be something about this. I read t his from the link tyou gave. Keep in mind the soundfields could have diferent names on your unit as well.

    One other thing to note is the JVC unit is going to be compromised in certain areas due to the fact they had to put so much equipment into one box. Corners where probably cut in certain areas to get the low price point. D/A converters tend to be a corner that gets cut. Wolfson converters are VERY good and get used in alot of high end equipment. Arcam is the first to come to mind. This could very well be the difference.

  17. #17
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    Hershon, what you call lifeless and sterile cd sound may actually be what others call a neutral sound. Most H/K products I have heard are not as bright as the other mass market stuff. Also, i find a lot of the cheaper cd/dvd/universal players to be quite bright so maybe that's the kind of sound you like?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by mazdamanic
    Hershon, what you call lifeless and sterile cd sound may actually be what others call a neutral sound. Most H/K products I have heard are not as bright as the other mass market stuff. Also, i find a lot of the cheaper cd/dvd/universal players to be quite bright so maybe that's the kind of sound you like?
    At least I'm happy with the DVD sound coming out of the Harmon Kardon. Why the Cd sound doesn't follow this is what I don't quite understand. At worst case scenario, I've invested $250 to get great DVD sound on my existing system which I can play my CD's on the built in JVC DVD player. The best case scenario is when the Denon 3801 I ordered arrives & is hooked up, DVD's still sound as good with the Harmon Kardon & CD's sound better than me built in JVC DVD player. Failing that, I sell the 3801, it retailed when it came out I believe for $1200, I bought it for $450 with shipping, for a similar price.

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