Question Room EQ on a budget? Audyssey XT vs XT32 vs MiniDSP

wfowlerm

Novice Member
Hi Guys,

Hope you can offer me some expert knowledge and advice.

I recently decided I could no longer tolerate the poor sound quality from our TV so make the decision to get a 5.1 system, with a grand plan of maybe one day adding atmos.

I was reluctant to go for a home theatre in a box solution having read I would get better quality building up my own.

What I’ve wound up with now is 4x Q Acoustics 3010, 1x Q Acoustic 3090c, 1x BK XXLS400 and a Denon AVRX450BT.

I picked most of the above up from RicherSounds as reduced or clearance stock, with the exception of the BK XXLS400 which was an ebay purchase, making setup so far around £750.


For the most part I’m reasonably happy. TV viewing is a decent improvement, and music is enjoyable.
But I am finding myself quite frustrated by the movie experience.

My sub placement isn’t terrible, but isn’t quite ideal either. With that in mind I had planned to add a DSPeaker Anti-mode or a minidsp 2x4 to tame and tune the sub.

A lot of the content I’ve been listening to recently (usually mkv files played back on an xbox one using VLC) has had issues beyond just sub control it seems, vocals are coming through too quite and action too loud.

I’m having to ride the volume throughout the film which is very boring. Currently receiver doesn’t seem to be very effective at reigning it in, regardless of settings.

These issues have lead me to think about the following solutions;
- Upgrade the receiver to something with a more powerful room EQ [Audyssey MultEQ XT] with app control, such as the AVRX2400 [£349] that has

- Upgrade the receiver to something even more powerful [Audyssey MultEQ XT32] ? Such as the AVRX3400 [£529] but these were end of line and probably all gone now, leaving the AVRX3500 available at [£899] Ouch.

- Add a signal processor in line such as the MiniDSP nanoAVR HD with UMIK [Approx £360] for the non dirac version, and an EXTRA £250 ish for the upgrade to dirac if required.

- Or whatever else someone can recommend?

The receiver is still within 28 days return policy, so I can take it back and get a refund of £135 towards an alternate receiver.

Maybe my first step should be getting a UMIK so I can diagnose the responses I’m getting.

Trying to do what I can on a limited budget.

Looking forward to any suggestions, Thank you!
 

Rambles

Distinguished Member
A minidsp with Dirac comes in at about £1000, and is restrictive on how it can be used. I would not go down that route.

A better receiver would be a good idea. Maybe an Arcam AVR390 or NAD T758v3 which come with Dirac. Or a higher tier Denon with Audyssey XT32. Those are all good options.

However, your current set up shouldn't be that bad that it is unusable. We might be able to improve on that by looking at speaker placement, simple room treatments, and settings. Does your AVR have Audyssey of the non XT32 variant?
 

mb3195

Distinguished Member
Agreed with @Rambles regarding the minidsp, way too much hassle and too expensive, it also most likely wouldn’t suit your existing avr.

If budgets allow, then the Arcam and NAD are good choices, however, they are a lot more expensive than what you had mentioned, so I would strongly suggest something like a second hand denon 4300 or Marantz 7100 or 7200 you should be able to pick these up for around £500 I would guess. Make sure you get audyssey XT32 if audyssey is the route you take.

Another option (and probably the best option) would be a second hand anthem, something like a 510 should be a similar sort of price and would sound awesome.
 

wfowlerm

Novice Member
@Rambles & @mb3195 Thank you both very much for the feedback.

Room treatments is on my list of things to do. It's currently quite a hard room with wooden floors, no curtains, leather sofa (if that makes any difference). Hopefully it will be carpeted at some point, and maybe I can get some incognito sounds panels up behinds some canvas prints.

I guess I'll park the idea of the MiniDSP in that case.

The Arcam AVR390 and NAD T758v3 both look like they'll be outside my budget, but thanks for the suggestions.

My current receive has a non specific room correction, it is not Audyssey.

I'll check out some second hand Denon's and Marantz as suggested.
Would the AVRX3400 meet the spec you're suggesting? I think that has XT32 and is substantially cheaper than the AVRX3500.
It's now out of production, but maybe I can get lucky and find a left over somewhere.

Is XT32 a substantial improvement over the non XT32 flavour? Is the app any good?

Thank you both very much again, really appreciated.
 

Rambles

Distinguished Member
Would the AVRX3400 meet the spec you're suggesting? I think that has XT32 and is substantially cheaper than the AVRX3500.
Yes, definitely a good option or even a 3300 if you can find one (probably used).

Is XT32 a substantial improvement over the non XT32 flavour? Is the app any good?
I have only used XT32 not XT but I would imagine the improvements to be noticeable but marginal. Although room correction is nice to have it is not the difference between a system being usable and not usable. It is more refinements than night and day changes.

I had a Marantz SR7011 and a Denon 4400 and I liked the app a lot as it meant that I could limit the EQ to just the lower frequencies (known as Schroeder), as I personally don't like what room correction does to my speakers above around 350hz or so. But it does do very good things to the bass and lower frequencies.

I have a nasty and noticeable peak at 80hz on my centre speaker, which makes male voices sound very boomy and annoys me enormously. When I used Audyssey to correct that, it made the dialogue sound digitized and unnatural. Now I have an Arcam and use Dirac, it does it much better, no booming and nice natural sounding dialogue.

Your experience may be different of course.

How have you set up your current AVR, have you at least got an SPL meter or app at the main listening position and check that all the levels are matching? Try that and putting the AVR in direct mode and playing some 5.1 soundtracks and see how that sounds.
 

mb3195

Distinguished Member
XT32 will do a much better job on your subwoofer than XT.

Good luck, but definitely keep in mind an anthem. The ARC room correction is almost as good as Dirac, better than audyssey and a piece of cake to use.
 

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