Even after having some of the best speakers connected with an AV receiver, you might need something else to improve the audio with Audyssey Dynamic EQ. Creating a Home Theater might be not as easy as you think. In this article of Audyssey and Dynamic EQ, we will guide you through the whole process.
Audyssey and Dynamic EQ work with room acoustics, human hearing capability and allow you to adjust bass or treble as per your need. This room calibration technique will improve the sound quality and make it more natural sounding. Some notable technologies in Audyssey are: Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume.
Before using Audyssey and Dynamic EQ, you need to make sure that you understand about room acoustics and its improvement methods. Speaker placement will play huge role during Audyssey and Dynamic EQ setup. Also, make sure to save each file so that you can choose the one that shows the best results.
What is Audyssey Dynamic EQ?
Different AV receivers come with some kind of calibration technique and among them Audyssey is one of the best technology. This room correction technology is often found in popular brands like Onkyo, Marantz and Denon receiver. Using this technology, you can improve your room acoustics and its effects on sound.
Other brands like Sony use DCAC (digital cinema auto calibration) and Yamaha receiver has YPAO (Yamaha Parametric Room Acoustic Optimizer). The use of Audyssey and Dynamic EQ helps to check and correct things like: speaker size, distance between speaker/subwoofer from MLP.
It also allows user to tweak speaker or subwoofer volume level, crossover and make sure the cables are connected correctly. The Audyssey and Dynamic EQ along with Dynamic Volume make sure you hear the dialogues and whispers in the movie.
It also creates a balance so that your kids won’t jump with a sudden explosion in the movie. It effectively performs ‘denoise and dereverberate’ and takes our home theater experience to another level.
In this section, I will introduce you to some basic terms used in Audyssey and explain their function.
What is MultiEQ?
This technology is known to reduce the effect of room acoustics. One thing to understand is, if you have poor room acoustics and you don’t improve it, and then the MultiEQ Audyssey will not magically change anything.
The MultiEQ minimizes distortion and filters out ‘interactions’ with different objects in a room.
What is Dynamic EQ?
Audyssey Dynamic EQ explains how human brain perceives sound and how human hearing works. Dynamic EQ is an equalization that works with loudness. In low playback volume, according to equal loudness contour curve, human can’t hear treble and bass very well.
So, at low volumes, the Dynamic EQ boosts up bass. But along with it, it also boosts up the surrounding. The Dynamic EQ Reference Level Offset gives you three options to choose from. The 0 dB (Film Reference) is the default setting. The movies should be ideally listened in this position.
You can choose from:
- 5dB: choose this one for files that have broader ‘dynamic range’ like classical songs
- 10dB: this is for jazz music or any other content with broad dynamic range as well as TV
- 15dB: choose this one for pop/rock music
Dynamic EQ, on or off?
We often come across questions like, Denon Audyssey 32XT: Dynamic EQ on or off? Many audio experts simply ask you to turn Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume off to achieve accuracy in audio.
If you turn it off, a Tone control setting will pop up where you can adjust bass and treble. One thing to understand is that, boosting bass and surrounding might not always be accurate or better.
The effect of Audyssey Dynamic EQ on Subwoofer Response is that, it will enhance the bass at low volumes. In some cases, users don’t like the over emphasized bass and surrounding effects. The sound doesn’t remain natural any more so they prefer to turn it off.
Overall, it comes down to personal preference. Just because the bass and surrounding sounds enhanced in music or movies doesn’t mean it was intended to be so.
There are cases where users enjoy -15dB while listening to music, -10dB for watching TV or sometimes movies, and 0dB for movies. However, the loud surrounding can be distracting and annoying in some cases.
What is Dynamic Volume?
Auddyssey Dynamic Volume narrows down the difference between maximum and minimum volume levels. This is important if you think the surrounding background noise doesn’t let you hear low-volume sounds like dialogues or whispering clearly.
So you need to turn volume up but, this will also increase the high –volume sounds like explosions. Then you need to turn the volume down and as a result, you seem to be continuously pressing the remote rather than enjoying a movie.
With Dynamic Volume, you can hear the dialogues clearly and not be blown away by explosions. So this gives you balance.
Can I turn Dynamic Volume off?
Yes, Dynamic Volume is a personal choice to have. If you have a studio or quiet home theater and you want to enjoy sudden booms and explosions in a movie, then you can turn it off.
When should I turn it on?
The best case scenario to turn Dynamic Volume on is when you are watching movies with your family where kids and elderly will adore a balanced sound. Between Audyssey Dynamic EQ vs Dynamic Volume, you can turn on one setting and turn off another as per your need.
You should also turn it on if you have a ‘loud living room’. If the noise from kitchen or any other activities hamper your listening experience, then Dynamic Volume will do this for you.
Guide to setup Audyssey and Dynamic EQ:
Before starting the setup procedure, you need to realize that, to get the most out of Audyssey, you need to buy the Audyssey MultiEQ Editor app.
Improve room acoustics:
The reflections and diffusions on walls and objects affect the sound quality. Based on your room setting you may need to take some extra care and buy some products to do so.
- Foam panels on walls may reduce acoustic absorption.
- Acoustic diffusers are used to add some scattered reflections in a room.
- Next try to soundproof the room by using heavy or dense material. For instance, block any air gap in window or door.
- To minimize reverberation and distortion, use heavy curtains on doors and windows.
Perfect speaker placement:
Before diving into Audyssey, the next important thing is speaker placement. You can check this guide for details. Along with main speakers, the subwoofer placement is also crucial. In some cases you can follow the user manual for placing them correctly.
For bookshelf speakers, ideally, you should place them making equidistant between you and the speakers so that it forms a triangle. Then ‘toe-in’ the speakers and always make sure the speakers are at ear level.
Multiple subwoofers are very important to improve sound quality. This enhances and makes the bass response smoother. Two or four subwoofers will be the best way to start. When you include multi-sub with Audyssey EQ and place them properly, the consistency between one seat to another will decrease. This enhances the EQ effect on the overall listening area.
If you have 4 subs, then you can try to place them on four corner of the room. You can also try placing them on the midpoint between two points of a wall. So you can place 4 subs in 4 mid points of 4 walls. You can also place two subs at ¼ and ¾ distance on the front and rear walls.
The Audyssey has SubEQ HT which is needed if you have multiple subwoofers. In case you have only one sub, you don’t need this feature.
Turn off any surrounding noise:
Make sure you start using Audyssey during nighttime or where no one is around. Turn off cellphones, geysers, AC, and any equipment that can produce hissing or any kind of noise. The Audyssey may pick up on slight noises from the surrounding which we don’t want.
The mic comes with a cardboard stand but we recommend you to buy a microphone stand with a boom arm and avoid using the given stand.
The Audyssey recommends you to measure in 8 different positions near the Main Listening Position of MLP. It recommends staying 2ft. or 24 inches within the listening position but experts recommend remaining within 20 inches. If you have chairs that allow headrests, avoid doing so and recline it.
Enter the app and it will ask you about how many speakers and sub you have. And it will begin calibration.
Adjust subwoofer level:
Here you need to adjust the subwoofer level. Here you need to adjust the subwoofer volume so that it remains within the green area. Follow the app and place the mic at the seating ear position and complete the measurements
If Audyssey tells you there is a phase error, check the connection between the AVR and speaker. If the connection is ok, it might be a false phase error alert. So, continue
Check the results:
Do not follow the Audyssey blindly. Check the distances it calculated. Check the speaker and subwoofer distance. Sometimes the distances of the subs are not accurate which might arise from delays that occurred during processing in the subwoofer.
If the Audyssey shows higher distance, then you may leave it. However, if it shows smaller distance, you should correct it manually.
To make things simple, follow these rules:
- Set all speaker to small
- Set the crossover at 80Hz
- Turn off Dynamic EQ
- Choose the option 1 roll-off because it takes some time to do so.
- Turn off midrange compensation (not needed for high-performance speakers)
Anemic Bass adjustment:
Audyssey may reduce the bass by -3dB to -6dB. So do the following to solve anemic bass:
- Use SPL meter
- If you want 70dB frm your sub, calibrate it t 75dB
- Once audyssey run is complete
- Run pink noise
- If you have two sub, calibrate them to 72dB
Flat vs reference:
Choose the flat settings because of the fact it doesn’t roll-off the highs. However, based on personal preference, you can also choose it to reference.
- Turn off Dynamic EQ
- Then Turn off Dynamic Volume
- Turn off LFC, you can use it if you don’t want room shaking bass.
- Save files, also keep the original.
You can adjust and tweak the curve according to your needs. If you are not aware or don’t know what you are actually doing, avoid it.
Limit the filter response:
Limit the frequency between 500-700Hz. The audio will be natural and realistic.
Listen to some known music, and then adjust Tone control if you want.
Pros and Cons of Audyssey and Dynamic EQ:
- Improves sound via room calibration
- Very easy to setup using the app
- Comes with detailed instructions
- Dynamic EQ improves low-volume content
- Easy to save multiple files
- Available with popular receivers
- Sub EQ HT deals with multi-sub
- Tweaking target curve may give poor result
Several AV receivers support Audyssey including the following:
- Denon AVR-X8500H Flagship Receiver
- Marantz AV Receiver SR8012
- Onkyo TX-NR818 7.2-Channel Network A/V Receiver
The Audyssey settings in all receivers remain almost the same. The older Onkyo receiver like the Onkyo TX-NR818 doesn’t support the Audyssey Editor app. Along with that, it doesn’t support Sub EQ HT. So, in Onkyo TX-NR818, the calibration process will be done through the receiver.
Another issue is that, if you run calibration through receiver, by default the Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume will remain ON. You can’t change these settings when the THX listening mode is active. This is when the Loudness Plus and Preserve THX Settings is enabled.
If the Dolby Volume is set to ON, the Onkyo Dynamic EQ and Volume can’t be changed. They will remain Off.
In Denon and Marantz models, you can use the Audyssey MultEQ Editor app. With Denon AVR-X8500H and HEOS speaker, you need a mic Denon Audyssey Sound Calibration Microphone . The calibration process takes more than 1 hour. If you are wondering, Denon Dynamic Volume: light, medium or heavy, which one is for what?
- Heavy: highest adjustment between the maximum and minimum volume of audio
- Medium: moderate adjustment
- Light: minimum adjustment
- OFF: Not using Dynamic Volume.
If you set the Denon Audyssey Dynamic Volume to ‘Yes’, it will automatically set on Medium. Also, if you set the Denon Audyssey Dynamic EQ to ‘On’, you can’t perform Tone setting adjustments. You can choose one from 5dB, 10dB and 15dB while setting Denon Reference Level Offset.
The Marantz Dynamic Volume and EQ measured by Audyssey mic for Marantz ensure improved sound. With Sub EQ HT you can perform multiple subwoofer settings. Here, if the sound is in ‘Direct’ or ‘Pure Direct’ mode, you can’t change settings of MultEQ® XT32”, “Dynamic EQ”, “Dynamic Volume” and “Audyssey LFC”.
The case is similar if the sound mode is in “DTS Virtual:X” or “+Virtual:X” . Marantz manual suggests you to use the ‘Reference’ settings which are good for movies. Audyssey Dynamic Volume offers you to choose one from the following:
- Reference (Default): roll-off at high-frequency range. Good for movies.
- L/R Bypass: this uses reference option along with bypassing MultEQ® XT32 to the ‘front left and right speakers’.
- Flat: choose this one if you are using the system in small room
Dirac is another popular tool like Audyssey. This ensures the sound quality improves whether you are listening at home, in headphones or in cars. Dirac calibration software is quite reliable which creates acoustic model.
Then it tries to identify the surrounding and its bad effects on the audio. It adjusts ‘timing and amplitude’ of sound so cover up the lacking. The sound will be clear and have punchier bass. Dirac suggests you to use this miniDSP UMIK-1 USB Measurement Calibrated Microphone .
IntelliVolume is used by Onkyo receivers. With this, you can adjust volume level of each device separately. This helps to create a balance and adjusts accordingly if the loudness of one component is higher than the other. You can choose within -12dB to 12dB.
Receivers like the Onkyo TX-NR737 7.2-Ch A/V Receiver . it comes with a calibrated microphone which you need to setup during the process.
The main purpose of Audyssey and Dynamic EQ is to improve the sound quality that might be hampered by the room acoustics or our hearing capabilities. You should take measurements within 20 ft. of MLP according to experts. Also, multiple measurements will lead to accuracy.
Instead of falling into the controversy of Audyssey Dynamic EQ vs Dynamic Volume, you can simply run the experiment with enabling and disabling them. This means, after calibration is complete, you need to run some music and test which one suits you the best.
For instance, audiophiles will not like the inclusion of Dynamic EQ because it will give rise to certain tones that isn’t present. Not all manipulation will give best results. Also, you need to save each file and check to rematch the results like ‘distance’.
To conclude, Audyssey and Dynamic EQ is definitely a great tool. With few experiments, you can find the ideal settings for you. However, you need to make sure you have decent or audiophile speakers, subwoofers and AV receiver.
FAQs of Audyssey Dynamic EQ
This part of the article is going to answer some of the question that are arising all over the internet.
Is bass management and LFE the same?
No, these are different. The bass management should be done on the AVR given that you own a subwoofer. Audyssey suggests to set all speakers to ‘small ‘. This will improve low frequency section.
LFE is present in a 5.1 system where the bass comes from the subwoofer. You should adjust the LFE Lowpass in the AVR to 120Hz.
Why active speakers show out of phase?
When connecting active speakers with Audyssey, it can show that the speakers are out of phase or there is a phase error. Speaker manufacturers often make the polarity of one driver out of phase. This is done to overcome the crossover problem in a speaker. So you can continue with the setup.