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Rachpoil

Newbie - Help - Unorthodox 5.1 system using R-14M

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Sorry if all this will sound confusing and if its a big post... will try my best to explain all this without giving a headache. I'm new to better quality music listening so hope all this is not difficult to answer.  I'm slowly moving from a Logitech Z-906 system to a more conventional one. Here is my current 5.1 setup:

 

- Yamaha HTR-6160

 

- Klipsch R-14M main front left/rigth

 

- Z906 subwoofer (6 ohms, at 52 Hz, at 10% THD) connected on the A/V subwoofer pre-out going to the Z906 sub's stereo RCA input

 

- Z906 Rear left/rigth and centre (each: 67 watts, 4 ohms at 3.85kHz, at 10% THD)

 

Yamaha A/V is connected to a Win10 PC using a Sound Blaster ZXR (optical + analog multi channels) and a Nvidia video card (DVI/HDMI). I'm trying to get the best settings for listing to 2.1 stereo music. I also play games but i'm more concerned about music quality. Anyone know the best setting i could use one the A/V receiver, Windows 10 and Sound Blaster software? I tried so-many different setting that i don't know anymore myself what sounds better lol think i also need a reset. Here are my main questions for music quality.

 

- A/V receiver: It can support 6 ohms speakers but the Z906 rear L/R and centre speakers are 4 ohms. Can this damage something? Heard mixed stories on that.

 

- Windows 10: What is best 16-bit bit depth or 24-bit? And sampling rate 48kHz, 96kHz or 192 kHz. Most of my CDs have been ripped to MP3s at 320kbps but also have others mostly at around 192kbps.

 

- A/V and Windows: Should the R-14M be set as small or large speakers? And z906 satellites to small?

 

- Windows: What usually sound best WASAPI push, WASAPI  event or Direct Sound (using foobar 2000)

 

- SB ZXR: In general, is it better to use SPDIF, Optical/Speakers or Analogue/Speakers

 

- A/V receiver: When using DTS or DD the music sound canned. Can this be fixed or is it better to use PCM/Straight

 

- If i missed other important settings that should be set please let me know

 

Thank you very much for any help!

 

 

Edited by Rachpoil
typos

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Humm. This thread is pretty quiet. Is it because my questions makes no sense at all? In short what i like to find out are the "recommended" settings (if any) as a point of reference  so that all the components work, as much as possible, in harmony and then from there make small adjustments. And yes, what i intend to do next (unless 4 ohms speakers is a big no-no on a 6 ohms AVR) is get a real sub-woofer. That Yamaha AVR and z906 subwoofer concoction is far from ideal but surprisingly works well enough for now.

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From what I understand your AVR should be ok, but I could be completely wrong on that. 

 

For windows 10 go 24bit 192 kHz. Larger file and most stuff will likely be (upscaled) but if you ever do come to something with that large of a file you will have access to it entirely. 

 

Everything should be set to small. That crosses over the lower frequencies to the subwoofer around 80hz usually. 

 

Personally with what to send to you AVR I like either Uncompressed HDMI or Analog thats been decoded at the source. Optical/Toslink/SPDIF all are compressed signals. 

 

Your receiver should have a pure direct mode. That will give you the "cleanest" "unaltered" quality of your source. Using DD or DTS when its not that track type just adds more processing to your file. Kinda like upscaling SD to HD video from my understanding. Its supposed to work but never really does that great compared to a true HD file. 

 

Hopefully that helps. Others here know much more than me. I found that google and simple searches are my best friends. 

 

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Thank you so much Innocent_George for your recommendations and giving me a direction to start with. This will be very help-full! Really got lost last night with all the available settings from all the components. Never really played with the crossover and the "Pure Direct" mode, thanks for mentioning them. When i tried pure direct it shut-down the AVR panel, sound and video output to the monitor but i will definitely look at what is needed to have that working. That mode is making me very curious the way you describe it.

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When its in Pure Direct Mode it shut everything down? Interesting. From what I understood Pure Direct mode is no processing and just playing what it gets whether its 7.2 or 2.0. No Video either? 

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Was very curious about that option so went and looked for that on my break. From what i read (not the official Yamaha site) it appear that Pure Direct intentionally shut down the AVR panel and most if not all sound processing circuits to eliminate as much electrical interference as possible. That mode seem to work only with HDMI and analogue (not optical) inputs. I don't think it also want's to shut down HDMI video output. That issue is maybe due to using DVI to HDMI from the PC. i also was using optical when it tried it. Got me even more curious! Will try standard HDMI to HDMI when i get back home.

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Optical will not let you push pure HD signal through and will degrade after just a few feet if I remember correctly. It all depends on your source and receiver and how strong the laser is. DVI is the same digital video signal and the receiver cant tell the difference. If you computer has HDMI out I would use that as that will bundle your audio and video together if you get your settings correct on the card.

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Well, i will sleep less silly tonight : ) All that time i thought optical was as good if not better than HDMI audio. Thanks for explaining the difference so well. The problem may be on the TV/monitor then. I use a Samsung TV as a PC monitor and remember i needed to set the HDMI input on the TV as PC (it was DVD before). That option made a huge difference for screen clarity when using the TV HDMI port for the PC but it may not play well somehow when the AVR is in Pure Direct mode. Will try to set the TV HDMI back to DVD when listening to music. If i can't fix the AVR/TV video issue i will connect the PC directly to the TV (AVR to TV is only useful for the AVR onscreen setup menu) and use an other HDMI cable from the video card dedicated for audio; oh and use that for onscreen set-up while at it. But i always try to avoid using redundant cables if i can help it. Thanks again for all your help, really appreciated!

Edited by Rachpoil

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Yes, it's a 2008 model. But last year i did the same thing to my friends brand new LG TV and again it made a good difference. We both have Nvidia cards so don't know if it's a Nvidia thing.

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Man! Thank you so-much  I_G for pointing me to that Pure Direct option the AVR... it worked wonders!!! The best description i can give is that instruments, bases and singer are no longer competing against each other... they are all in harmony!!! :D I used Direct Sound in foobar 2000 from the video card HDMI port to the receiver and it gave the best results. Also disabled all Windows "sound protection" and "sound enhancement" from Windows 10 and "I think" it made a positive difference. And also that z906 subwoofer concoction play very well with your 80hz recommendation on the AVR. :D Only problem is that i can now tell witch MP3 were done at low quality... Man I_G if i could buy you a couple of rounds i would haply do sow! And sell that useless $200 SB ZXR to offer you a good snack!!!

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Pure Direct is designed to simplify the signal path and turn off any sources of interference in the AVR.  It can improve the sound, but it also disables the subwoofer output.  This is mentioned in the owner's manual.

 

Since I find that the subwoofer is needed for accurate sound reproduction, from bottom to top, even when listening to acoustic folk music, Pure Direct is a setting I very rarely use.  Straight is the mode I use most of the time.  It eliminates any modification of the signal and provides clean sound, along with sending the appropriate signals to the subwoofer.

 

For listening from another room, or when I want the side La Scalas to sound like big weightless headphones, I use 9 Channel Stereo.  This is also good for viewing large sports events, where the sound of the announcer and the crowd seem to come from all around.  You don't need 9 speakers for that; it just means that the signal goes to all the connected speakers, however many there are, divided into Left and Right channels.  In the 6.1 system that I use, this means that the left main and left surround speakers get the Left channel, the right main and right surround speakers get the Right channel, and the front centre and rear centre speakers get a blend of Left and Right.

 

When listening to TV sound, the AVR senses if the station is broadcasting a surround signal and switches automatically to SUR. DECODE, and the dialogue and main audio goes to the left, centre. and right front speakers, while applause and background sounds (if they're coming from the back) go to the surround (and rear centre) speakers.

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Thanks Islander for your information. Yes, i probably will have better sound using DTS and DD when listening to movies that support these than Pure Direct. But as far as music is concerned i find that Pure Direct offered considerably better sound than Straight. Fortunately the subwoofer is working and sounds ok when using Pure Direct. Even my games had better sound and all surround speakers were working individually. I only needed to set the Windows 10 speakers to 2.1 when listening to music and 5.1 when playing games. But strangely that useless SB ZXR would not have the subwoofer work even using analogue multichannel. When using HDMI i noticed that the only time the subwoofer would not work was when i used any WASAPI in foobar 2000. An advantage of using a dedicated HDMI cable for the sound is that i no longer need to open the AVR to have video. An other big plus is that i now have sound in Linux Ubuntu. Since 2012, Creative never made their useless SB ZXR work in Linux. Think i will sell that ZXR this weekend and put that money toward replacing the remaining z906 speakers.

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I use to go back and forth on using Direct/Pure Direct VS stereo.  Pure and Direct will bypass tone controls, and some of the processing.  The quality all depends on the particular avr.  I find in an acoustically Tx room, Direct may have some advantages for short listening sessions.  What I mean by that is not having the flattest FR allows certain frequencies to be emphasized a bit more and sound more dynamic.  With extended listening times, it can be more fatiguing.

 

It takes time to get use to a flat response but, once you have did it, the music is very nice and just well balanced.  Audio is highly subjective and to each their own liking.  I no longer use Direct or Pure, just stereo with all the DSP going.  

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Hey man. Glad to hear it worked out for you! As others have mentioned to each his own! If it works for you thats all that matters! Enjoy!

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