The acoustic characteristics of any listening space adversely affect the sound quality of even the best audio system. Audyssey Laboratories has developed a series of technologies to address this problem. If your receiver has an Audyssey badge, it employs a version of one such technology, called MultEQ. MultEQ will automatically test the acoustics characteristics of your room and optimize the speakers in your new system to maximize their performance.
Basic Audyssey MultEQ calibrates the system for as many as six different seating positions; essentially everyone gets a “good seat”, not just the lucky person sitting directly in front of the display. Its use greatly improves the sound quality of any home theater system.
Audyssey MultEQ XT calibrates the system for up to eight different seating positions, and it uses more and higher quality filters for better results, especially in the bass region, i.e., frequencies below 200Hz. As a result, bass is more impactful and is more evenly distributed throughout the room.
Audyssey MultEQ XT32 uses even higher quality filters and more of them for the best possible results. The processing power required for MultEQ XT32 allows for two additional Audyssey technologies. Audyssey Low Frequency Containment (LFC) further improves bass quality in the room while minimizing how much bass energy leaves the room, thereby not disturbing others. Audyssey Sub EQ HT allows for the separate calibration of two subwoofers, providing even distribution of bass throughout the room.
Audyssey Dynamic Volume
Dynamic Volume makes volume stay within the maximum and minimum limits you set so you can watch the game and have a conversation, or enjoy the latest blockbuster without waking the kids. Audyssey Dynamic volume does this by sensing the impending arrival of very loud sounds (such as television truck commercials, exploding bombs, etc.) and automatically reduces the difference between normal and extra-loud programming. It also adjusts soft sounds, so they are within an audible range. There are three settings (plus off) for Dynamic Volume: Day (minimum effect), Evening (moderate effect), and Night (maximum effect).
Music, movies and games are mixed at high volumes and they are meant to be played back at high volumes (that is their reference level). In the studio, composers, musicians and engineers hear every detail. But in a home theater, people often turn the volume down and the sound quality suffers -- voices change and bass and surround sound disappear. Audyssey developed proproetary methods that calculate the difference between reference level and playback level in real time. Dynamic EQ is the first technology of its kind to combine information source levels with actual output levels in the room while taking into account human perception and room acoustics. Dynamic EQ automatically adjusts subwoofer and surround speaker levels for maximum performance at any playback volume. We naturally hear less bass and surround sound information as the volume is decreased. Dynamic EQ automatically increases both bass and surround levels as the volume is reduced, delivering the same quantity of bass and level of immersion that is naturally audible at higher volumes.
Audyssey DSX operates independently from the rest of their technologies. DSX expands a home theater system beyond a traditional 5.1 configuration. A 5.1 surround sound system has three speakers across the front of the room; one on either side of the display and one placed below or above the display. These speakers are often referred to as the LCR’s; left, center, and right. The other two speakers are surround speakers, placed beside and slightly behind the main seating position. The “.1” refers to the subwoofer.
A good 5.1 surround sound system can sound very good, but it has its limitations. If the left and right speakers are relatively close to the display, the apparent width of the sonic image is constrained. Audyssey DSX offers the option of front wide speakers placed to the left and right of the main front speakers to broaden the width of the soundstage, making the audio experience more impressive, engaging, and believable. Audyssey DSX also offers the option of front height speakers, ideally placed above and behind the left and right speakers, with two potential benefits. If the LCRs are low relative to the height of the display, the audio can seem disconnected from the video. Front height speakers can “lift” the sonic image, creating a more cohesive connection between audio and video. An added potential benefit of front height speakers is to project more acoustic energy toward the ceiling, creating the illusion of sounds moving overhead.
Bass in small rooms is notoriously difficult to get right. Bass lovers will try almost anything to enhance bass output. Many believe adding a second subwoofer will solve the problem – this is true in part, but only if the second subwoofer is properly integrated, not simply added on to an existing set-up. Audyssey SubEQ HT ensures that the level and delay for each subwoofer is correct before integrating them into the equalization solution.
This new technology is a huge leap forward from the days when adding an additional subwoofer was accomplished by adding a y-chord to the subwoofer output of an AVR. Now, the process is automated and produces better results because it is fully integrated with MultEQ. The process takes only a few minutes and results in rich, full bass for everyone in the room.
Everyone, at one time or another, has been annoyed by the unpleasant thumps of a neighbor watching a movie or listening to music late at night. While high frequencies are easily stopped by walls and other obstacles, low frequncies go right through them. Audyssey did exhaustive research on how bass wavelengths interact with wall materials such as cement and wood typically used in home and apartment construction. Once the frequency range that most readily pass through walls was identified, they developed a process not only to reduce those frequncies, but also apply psychoacoustic processing that restores the perception of low bass for listeners in the room. Low Frequency Containment (LFC) is the process of improving bass quality in the room while minimizing how much bass energy leaves the room, thereby not disturbing others.