Onkyo TX-NR807 A/V Receiver Page 2

Let me briefly review a couple of key conclusions: It was a chore to Make direct comparisons between the DSX and DPLIIz height modes because I had to cycle through numerous other modes to get to them. It took three presses of the remote’s Movie or Music buttons to get from DPLIIz to DSX; getting from DSX back to DPLIIz took 13 presses. I didn’t have the benefit of an immediate transition from one to the other. Even so, I kept at it, and I didn’t hear any gross differences. What I did hear was so minor that I could have imagined it. The height effects were generally amorphous. Dolby states that its height processor is designed to pick up on nondirectional elements. If the resulting effects weren’t amorphous, the processor wouldn’t be working properly. Audyssey hasn’t shared many details on the inner workings of its processing, either.

In my previous attempt to listen to height enhancement, I found it “transformative” for some movies but “not as striking” for music. This time, my listening notes for the movie sessions include stray height highlights but no obvious gotcha moments. I’ve concluded that the effect depends heavily on source material and is negligible in many movies. How- ever, my music notes contain more references to height sweet- ening than they did last time.

Associated gear included five Paradigm Reference Studio 20 v4 speakers running full range, two Paradigm Cinema 70 speakers for the height channels, Panasonic DMP-BD35 Blu-ray player, Luxman PD-289 turntable, Shure V97xE phono cartridge, and Bellari VP530 tubed phono preamp.

Movie Mode Switching
Powder Blue is a low-key and compassionate narrative that follows Los Angeles residents (an ex-con, a stripper, a suicidal priest, etc.) through lives of quiet desperation. The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack includes an opening oceanside scene where whispering surf was audible through the height speakers via DSX, but only when I walked up to them and checked. In a later scene with rain—a frequently cited example of height-enhanced content—I was surprised to hear the height channels momentarily strengthening the side fill between the front and rear parts of the room. I’d noticed this in a previous review with width enhancement, but I never noticed it with height enhancement. The MultEQ room correction gave strip-club music a good thump, and rhythm sections in other brief musical interludes were pleasingly deep-bottomed within the limits of my subless system.

I’ve become so addicted to the comforts of low-volume listening modes that I got only two minutes and nine seconds into The Chron- icles of Riddick before I engaged Audyssey Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume to mitigate the extremes of the DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. The main title hadn’t even rolled yet. I’ve pre- viously used Dynamic Volume at its highest setting (the choices are Heavy, Medium, Light, and Off). This time I selected Medium and was happy with the result. The soundtrack had some dramatic forcefulness, but it wasn’t fatigu- ing, and I quickly settled on a one-size-fits-all master volume setting. In some early narration, Vin Diesel’s voice had a vivid texture, resulting from both high-quality amplification and possibly a little Dynamic EQ magic. Despite several scenes that feature vast open spaces or caverns, height effects were insignificant from the seating area. But MultEQ pumped some respectable midbass effects out of the Paradigms’ ordinarily reticent aluminum-coned woofers, and again, Onkyo’s amps must share the credit.

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