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  1. #1
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    What settings do you use for HT/music listening?

    Hello, all-

    I picked up a new receiver yesterday. I happened to be in the local audio/appliance store and they had an open box/return type thing. It was a Yamaha 657 for $320 (msrp is $499)- I was able to get it for $299 after a bit of haggling (half the fun of buying this stuff). Anyway, I'm pretty familiar with the receiver as I have the 5760 (last years model). However, I couple questions popped up when I was playing around with it. In my family room, I have the 5760 and I primarily watch movies down there (not much music listening). The new 657 is in my living room where I will watch the occasional movie, but will listen to a decent amount of music as well. Here are my questions:

    -- What setting for music is the "natural" one? Straight? I know people have preferences of how they like to listen to music, but which option is supposed to be the appropriate one?
    -- What is Pure Direct?
    -- In what mode do you watch your movies in? I'm thinking DTS or DD (your preference if the DVD has both formats). I see Adventure, Sci-Fi, etc- what are those used for?

    Thanks a bunch, everyone!
    Eric

  2. #2
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Didnt come with a manual? You can download them from Yamaha's website and its much easier to read on your computer. It will tell you what each of those thing do.
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  3. #3
    Big science. Hallelujah. noddin0ff's Avatar
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    Hey Eric-

    For two channel the 'natural' one is the one with out any DSP's. That would be the 'effects off' setting. I have an older model so I'm assuming they still use the same terms. If you use the analog inputs for 5.1, the is a 6-channel bypass as well, useful for SACD.

    Pure Direct skips all processing. Even with 'effects off' on a two channel analog input, the receiver still does some digital processing on the signal. What exactly I couldn't say. That's my reading of the manual. Pure Direct bypasses this processing.

    Adventure, Sci-Fi, Sports, etc. are DSP (digital signal processing) modes. They add effects like signal delay, reverb, emphasising frequencies to simulate different venues. I usually just stay in normal mode. Enhanced and 70mm are probably my next picks. They spead the sound stage out more and give a sense of open space. I don't really like using them, but for instance, Lawrence of Arabia had a different feel in 70mm. Sci-Fi is suppose to really isolate sounds to give a feel of a void behind them. etc etc.

  4. #4
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Sweet buy for $300!!! I know the 5760 well, the 657 is a bit better still.

    For movies I use a lot of programs, because I absolutely love the DSP's Yamaha has for movies. This was what tipped the balance for me when I was shopping. I just find most other manufacturers DSP's to be more destructive than useful.

    I always watch a movie with just normal, un-enhanced Dolby Digital or DSP first, sometimes doing a quick scene test to see if I prefer something, but usually I give the DVD the benefit of the doubt, it was designed to sound that way. But for most action/sci-fi movies, I find the DSP's make the atmosphere "larger" without introducing unwanted reverb or false imaging. Some purists are likely to shun me here, but I don't think they give DSP's a chance. You use the "Sci-Fi/Action/Adventure" DSP modes to spice up the DD or DTS track a bit. It supposedly recreates the ambience of some nice, large theaters and tailors the sound presentation to a "style" of movie. I dunno about that, but they're fun.

    I will engage the ES/EX processing every single time since even matrixed, psuedo 7.1 sound better to me than the 5.1 processing (with the exception of a few Xbox games which for some reason collapse to the rear too much).

    For music, well, I'll use the Jazz or Concert Hall very occasionally, maybe 1 every 100 listens. Probably not even that. I find them more destructive and gimmicky usually. Once every now and then it's kind of neat to add a bit of hall reverb to Sarah Brightman or someone.

    I have tried the PLIIx Music setting. I actually like it. Sometimes it does a surprisingly convincing job of turning 2-channel to multi-channel. Sometimes it sucks eggs, but it's worth a try.

    Straight mode disengages most of the processing and is perfect if you connect your CD player via optical cable. It allows you to continue to use a subwoofer and take advantage of the bass management settings.

    Pure Direct Mode bypasses the processing circuitry and follows an analog route. The sub won't work, but it's the "purest" form of 2-channel audio.

    To be honest, I had 3 receivers in my home of various makes and I couldn't hear any added "purity" or quality, using these modes, I think it's just there to shut up receiver bashers more than anything, but it doesn't hurt.

  5. #5
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    Beauty is in the Eyes of the Beholder

    Technically, listening to just 2 speakers & no sub is the correct choice for music but I prefer listening to 5 channel & sub all natural sound listening to CD's as it gives the sound for me more depth. Other people prefer 2 speaker & a sub sound. The best answer is for you yourself to figure out what sounds best for you.

    In regards to movies & TV, I also have 5 channel & a sub natural sound, so if it is truly in 5.1 sound it will come out that way. I usually listen to 5.1 dolby digital surround sound on DVD's unless DTS is the other option but most people here prefer DTS.

  6. #6
    all around good guy Jim Clark's Avatar
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    When it comes to 2 channel sound you're going to have to do some comparisons to see what sounds best to you. I think a lot of it will depend on your source. While anecdotal, my experience bears this out nicely for my needs. When I was using a Denon 3802 as a pre/pro and an Onkyo DX 7211 as my CDP I found that simply setting the Denon to "stereo" produced the best sound. However, when I changed my CDP to a Jolida 100a I listen exclusively to "direct" and get far superior sound by leaving the tubed output stage intact. In the end, you may find you can't tell the difference but until you try it with your equipment you'll never know.

    Something else to consider, depending on your speakers and the options on that particular model of receiver ( I'm not familiar with it at all), direct mode may disable the sub output. Not a good thing if you're running a sub/sat combination. The best models would make having the sub on/off a user adjustable option. My ancient Denon still uses the sub in direct mode and I hate it. The only solution is to turn it off, no big deal. The real problem is remembering to turn it back on. Anyway, just something else to consider when listening to music.

    I don't jack with all of those DSP's so I wouldn't have a thought either way but it looks like you've got plenty of comments on those already.

    jc
    "Ahh, cartoons! America's only native art form. I don't count jazz 'cuz it sucks"- Bartholomew J. Simpson

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    Thanks for all the replies, everyone- very helpful information! I agree with I should choose what sounds best to me, but I just wanted to go in a bit educated so I know what I'm messing with.

    Skokhead- The receiver did come with everything (including the receiver), but I was still confused. I don't know what it is about this stuff- I get the basics, but sometimes need a little help with the specifics.

    Noddinoff- Thanks for the info- that's exactly what I thought, but wasn't 100% sure about the pure direct. Thanks again.

    Kex- I agree about the nice deal for $300- I just 'happened' to drive by the store on the way home yesterday- glad I did- now I have some music upstairs in my living room. I messed around with the Straight mode yesterday and liked it. I also fooled with the Pure Direct mode and was wondering about the bass- now I get it. I have the 5760 in my family room and like it a lot! Small difference between the 2. One is XM with the 657 (no big deal for me because I'm not into satellite radio- I like it, but I'm not ready to drop cash on it). Also, another tone is included with the YPAO feature- if I remember correctly, it a higher pitched noise that isn't with the 5760 (almost like whistling).

    EG- I totally agree with beauty being in the eye of the beholder. I just wanted to get some education on the topic.

    Jim- Thanks for you response- great perspective!

    I'll mess around more when I get home from work today. I'll also peek at the manual again. I think it will make more sense now that I have a running start.

    One more question- when I select Pure Direct, the whole display turns off or goes into sleep mode (seems like that). Everything is still working with music and volume. Do you know why it does that? Is it because it is the purest mode and doesn't need anything else? Hence, showing that nothing else needs to be used from the DSPs/other options? Just wondering.

    Thanks again.
    ez

  8. #8
    Big science. Hallelujah. noddin0ff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Z
    One more question- when I select Pure Direct, the whole display turns off or goes into sleep mode (seems like that). Everything is still working with music and volume. Do you know why it does that? Is it because it is the purest mode and doesn't need anything else? Hence, showing that nothing else needs to be used from the DSPs/other options? Just wondering.
    Mine (older model) doesn't do that. I press a little button, there's a little hiccup in the sound, but everything stays the same. Display still on.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Z
    One more question- when I select Pure Direct, the whole display turns off or goes into sleep mode (seems like that). Everything is still working with music and volume. Do you know why it does that? Is it because it is the purest mode and doesn't need anything else? Hence, showing that nothing else needs to be used from the DSPs/other options? Just wondering.
    Pure Direct shuts off all video processing and displays. In theory, this is to avoid any crosstalk between the video and audio chain. The idea is to make the receiver as close a facimile of a passive pre as possible. It's not of course, but in audio it's generally accepted that the less you have between the source and the speakers, the better off you are.

    Hope this helps.

  10. #10
    Big science. Hallelujah. noddin0ff's Avatar
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    Eric- do you mean the display on the reciever or the menu display on your TV?

  11. #11
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    noddinOff- I'm talking about the receiver display. Topspeed hit it right on the head. Thanks!

    I also re-read my manual when I got home today and it states the samething Topspeed said about shutting of processing and displays. Obviously when I mess with the volume, the display comes back temporily to see the volume level.

    Now I understand the manual and options/settings tons better.

  12. #12
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Wow Eric,
    Great deal. Congrats.

    Looks like you got a good crash course as well. Enjoy the new receiver.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  13. #13
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    Thanks, GM! I was happy with the deal, too! It's nice when things work out this way. I do now know tons more about the settings and DSPs- still trying to see what's best for me. It's almost too many options, but I'd rather have too many than too little. Also, movie listening isn't a big issue because I'm just going DD or DTS with nothing else.

    I think I'm enjoying the Straight option for music listening.

  14. #14
    Suspended markw's Avatar
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    I tried all 31 ice cream flavors only to find that plain vanilla was my favorite.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Z
    Thanks, GM! I was happy with the deal, too! It's nice when things work out this way. I do now know tons more about the settings and DSPs- still trying to see what's best for me. It's almost too many options, but I'd rather have too many than too little. Also, movie listening isn't a big issue because I'm just going DD or DTS with nothing else.

    I think I'm enjoying the Straight option for music listening.
    Your tastes shadow mine but on rare occasions I've been known to play with my Denon's "5 channel stereo" mode. ...but not fo very long.

    FWIW, if you still have any VHS tapeds (or two channel movies) DPL2 can, IMNSHO, improve the cinema experience.

  15. #15
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Z
    Thanks, GM! I was happy with the deal, too! It's nice when things work out this way. I do now know tons more about the settings and DSPs- still trying to see what's best for me. It's almost too many options, but I'd rather have too many than too little. Also, movie listening isn't a big issue because I'm just going DD or DTS with nothing else.

    I think I'm enjoying the Straight option for music listening.
    I played with them all. For DVD's I like DTS or DD (EX/ES).
    For TV, Sci-Fi makes me happy for most shows. Sports get's the sports opption.
    The wife likes some of the music settings for when she plugs her Kareokie mic in.
    I listen to music in 7 channel but turn off the center & rear channels. I also turn the surrounds down to 50% and the pressents to 33%.
    Pure dirrect is good but my speakers don't go low enough to do without the sub.

    Anyway, enjoy the new toy. Many years of happy listening.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  16. #16
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    GM- Good point with the Pure Direct; I'm in the same boat as you- my fronts don't go low enough so I prefer using the sub- I think that's why the Straight option works best for me.

    One more quick thing- if want my TV sound to go through my speakers, I just need to run audio cables out from my TV and into my receiver audio in, right? I don't have a cable box or anything- just my SDTV, DVD player, and receiver.

    Thanks!

  17. #17
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    That depends on how you have your TV hooked up now.
    I have the cable going straight to my DVD-R and then to the TV. So I ran an optical cable from the DVD-R to the receiver.
    If your cable goes straight to your TV and you have audio outputs on the TV then you can go that way.
    I think it depends a lot on what input and outputs you have available on your TV & DVD.
    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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    i have a 7.1 setup in my basement. The room/setup make all the difference.

    in my original room using 5.1, i preferred Logic7 for music and PLII for movies (non DD/DTS).

    now, in the basement running 7.1, i prefer DTS neo6 music/cinema for tv and music. Logic7 doesn't have the same effect in this room. I don't have PLIIx so can't comment.

    I don't 'critical listen' to music so i rarely listen in pure 2 channel. Sounds boring to me.

    good thread.

  19. #19
    Audiophile Wireworm5's Avatar
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    On my Yamaha Rx-v2200 using multiple speakers and a sub, 6 channel stereo soundfield is the best. I use this for music and movies. However the other day I was adjusting the parameter settings on the Concert Hall 2 soundfield. On default settings this soundfield as well as others don't sound that good. Adjusting the parameters for room size, liviliness, initial delay,reverberation time, delay,level. I was able to improve this soundfield to the point of being almost as good as 6 channel stereo. With careful listening and tweaking of these settings, I could probably improve it even more. But this is tedious with manual adjusting. I imagine on the new models with automatic calibration of these parameters this would be a piece of cake.
    With 6 channel stereo soundfield, I then use pure channel direct bypassing tone controls. However I don't notice much difference with it on or off since my tone controls are set to flat. I also use bass extension feature which allows the music to extent to the lower frequencies.
    As for movies or concert dvds given the choice DTS is the best.

  20. #20
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    Tarheel and Wireworm- Thanks for your input!

    I agree with messing around to find the best options for me. I'm listening to music right now in the Straight mode and it sounds pretty good. I've been messing around with the settings and it's still a bit overwhelming. I sorta wish there weren't all these options because it would be so much easier to just turn on music or a movie and you're done. Also, they all sound pretty similar to me- I know some sound better than others, but there are only a few that sound. Regardless, it's fun and interesting- especially since I can learn more from some folks here.

  21. #21
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    The best part is that when you don't feel like messing with what's best or not you can just push that straight button and it will be fine. When you do feel like playing around, you have plenty to play with.
    Time for Smallvile. Gotta go.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  22. #22
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    It depends...

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Z
    Hello, all-

    I picked up a new receiver yesterday. I happened to be in the local audio/appliance store and they had an open box/return type thing. It was a Yamaha 657 for $320 (msrp is $499)- I was able to get it for $299 after a bit of haggling (half the fun of buying this stuff). Anyway, I'm pretty familiar with the receiver as I have the 5760 (last years model). However, I couple questions popped up when I was playing around with it. In my family room, I have the 5760 and I primarily watch movies down there (not much music listening). The new 657 is in my living room where I will watch the occasional movie, but will listen to a decent amount of music as well. Here are my questions:

    -- What setting for music is the "natural" one? Straight? I know people have preferences of how they like to listen to music, but which option is supposed to be the appropriate one?
    -- What is Pure Direct?
    -- In what mode do you watch your movies in? I'm thinking DTS or DD (your preference if the DVD has both formats). I see Adventure, Sci-Fi, etc- what are those used for?

    Thanks a bunch, everyone!
    Eric
    Usually if I'm using the HT for music I'll set it for 6 channel stereo. Does the Yamaha have a setting like this? In my Pioneer this sends the same info to all left & right channels. Also it sends the outup of speakers set to "small" to the sub. It sound nice, and "BIG", although I mosty listen this way for backround music, as with audio I'm still a stick-in-the-mud stereo guy.
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  23. #23
    golden ear
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    it would all depend on your preference. listen and stick to what sounds best for you. as for me, i use normal when watching concert DVDs, spectale when watching DVD movies and no effect when listening to music CDs.

  24. #24
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    accastil- thanks for your $.02! i understand it all depends on preference; that's why i wrote that in my first post. i just wanted to hear about what other people prefer- i like to try different things and sometimes i don't know what else is out there until i ask others.

  25. #25
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    re: pure direct... and if somebody mentioned this already and I missed it, sorry.. I think you have the answer about how direct bypasses most of the processing. whether it sounds better, I think, depends on a couple things I didn't notice anyone mentioning, mainly whether you'll miss the bass. properly set up, a stereo pair of speakers can image and provide a nice soundstage to the sweet spot (whereas a surround 5.1 speaker set up will do the surround thing, of course). with 'direct', the receiver won't put any signal out to the sub, so... if your mains go low or the music doesn't, no problem. but if there is a lot of bass below your left and right speakers' capability, you'll miss the sub.. just another consideration.

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