A couple of weeks back I blogged about setting up my Onkyo TX-NR3007
Now that I’ve had it for a couple of weeks (even if I was out one of
what have I learned?
A lot, actually, but not all of it is directly related to the Onkyo
TX-NR3007. Some is just “modern home theater” stuff, but since I
learned it while messing with this receiver I figured it’s as good a
place as any to put it.
Electrical relays are annoying. I stepped up from a low-to-mid-range
Yamaha receiver bought a little over 10 years ago to a new, modern,
upper-mid-range receiver. My old receiver had one set of circuitry to
process everything so there was no switching going on. In this new
receiver (and, I gather, most newer receivers), different sets of
circuits process different audio input types. When different circuits
switch on, they make a clicking noise because there’s an electrical
relay switching them on and off. This clicking is not quiet (though it’s
not loud, either - it’s just audible) and gets annoying.
TV broadcasters need to get their acts together with respect to sound
signals. Say you’re watching an HD broadcast on a national network.
That broadcast will probably have full Dolby Digital sound coming with
it. Now the commercial break hits and switches to the local network
affiliate… who shows a standard-def commercial with stereo sound. The
relays on the receiver switch over to process the stereo sound (click!)
and then the national network plays a full HD commercial so the sound
switches back to Dolby Digital (click!) and then back to local affiliate
(click!) and then back to the TV program (click!). This gets really,
really annoying. I actually watched one local commercial that switched
audio signal types from stereo to mono and back every three seconds for
the full 30 second spot (click click click).
I also noticed that the Showtime HD broadcast for The United States of
Tara inevitably has two or three hiccups where the sound broadcast
flickers for just a fraction of a second… but it’s enough for the
receiver to realize the sound dropped (click) and came back (click).
That’s happened for a couple of weeks in a row.
A little forum searching and talking to folks and it turns out this
isn’t news, just news to me. Having the lower end receiver that didn’t
know the difference between the signals meant I was a bit on the
(Note that this signal switching doesn’t happen if, say, you’re watching
a movie on Blu-ray or something. Once the signal’s set and running, it’s
set. On the other hand, the Blu-ray disc menus may be in stereo sound
while the movie’s in DTS or something, so the signal will switch if you
toggle back and forth.)
UPDATE 4/28/2010: A commenter reminded me of something I left out -
the clicking is primarily around switching between audio processing
circuitry, so if you force all of the input typesto use the same
audio processing modethen you won’t get the clicking. The problem
you’ll run into here is that there are very few processing modes
common to all of the input types, so you end up with a “lowest common
denominator” scenario. I have my receiver set to process everything
surround with the “THX Cinema” mode and everything not surround with
“Neural THX Cinema.” This has drastically reduced, but has not
eliminated, the click. I want the THX processing, but you can’t process
stereo input as full THX surround, hence the need for the “Neural THX
Cinema” setting - it approximates surround with the limited input. If I
switched to something else I could possibly find a setting that all the
inputs support, like Dolby Pro Logic IIz, or I could turn the audio
processing off and just let the raw signal play through, but then I’d
also be missing out on some of the features that I originally chose the
receiver for to begin with.
Calibrated sound is awesome. I thought my old receiver sounded good,
but after running through the auto-setup with this new receiver, I found
that I had my rear speakers set far lower (volume) than I should have
and the balance was a little off. Now that it’s set up right, it’s an
amazing, noticeable difference.
A calibrated video image may not “look right” to you. As part of the
install, I borrowed a copy of the Spears & Munsil HD Benchmark
from my friend Alex. As long as I was getting my sound set up right,
might as well set the picture up right… right? I got the whole thing
calibrated correctly and, as expected, the picture was not quite as
bright and “poppy” as it once was, but you were able to see the subtle
differences in darker tones and so forth a lot clearer. That said, I
found that some video sources (like Xbox 360) sort of assume you’re
running with the high brightness/high contrast thing going so the menus
are a little dark. I also found myself in a couple of discussions with
Jenn about how things didn’t “look right.” So, as it turns out,
“correct” may not be “right” for you. For now I’ve gone back to the
original video settings on the TV and will probably look more at this
for the future, probably coming up with a happy medium that isn’t quite
“perfectly calibrated” but isn’t as high contrast, either.
Pandora through your receiver is awesome. I like
Pandora and I ended up subscribing to it
because now I can really take advantage of that higher-quality feed and
the other additional benefits - listening directly through the receiver!
I’ve actually used the service more since I got the receiver just
because it’s so convenient and cool. (There is a huge cool factor to
getting Pandora through the receiver.)
Internet radio is awesome. Along with the Pandora support, the
receiver comes with vTuner built in (and free) so I’ve been enjoying
The receiver runs hot… sometimes. I can’t really predict this
one. I can watch a movie for two hours and it’ll be nice and cool… or
I can watch a half-hour TV show and the thing will be so hot on the top
you can’t hold your hand on it. I can’t figure out the pattern. I will
probably look into some sort of fan setup to vent the hot air. The whole
back of the entertainment center where the receiver is has a hole cut
the size of the receiver (because it was too long to fit entirely) so
it’s not like there’s no circulation. I’ll have to watch this.
The PS3 (older models) can’t bitstream Dolby TrueHD or DTS Master
Audio. Apparently the newer PS3s have the ability to do this, but
older PS3s (like the one I have with the backwards compatibility) decode
Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio and stream it to the receiver as 5.1
or 7.1 PCM. Old hat for
but sort of surprising to me. This isn’t a huge problem, but it does
mean I can’t take advantage of the decoder in my receiver for this and
instead have to rely on the PS3. I’d honestly rather have the receiver
doing that decoding… but it’s not enough for me to warrant getting a
new PS3 or a different Blu-ray player. Not yet at least.
Anyway, I’m still learning stuff, and as I figure it out I’ll post it.
This is what I’ve learned so far, and so far I like the receiver a lot.
The clicking thing had me a little worried and still sometimes makes me
jumpy, like I wonder if the receiver is misbehaving or if there’s
something wrong every time it switches… but it’s not, it’s just the TV
broadcast being flaky.
Hope this helps!