Is this even possible? Well, yes and no. My simple answer to you is to get Secrets of Audyssey, after all you spent $1000s on that receiver that comes with a rather brief user guide. I am not just saying this to sell you stuff, but because I spent many years listening to – frankly – crap sound on my Denon and Marantz receivers. In fact, I switched to Yamaha – and its excellent YPAO R.S.C. – and was utterly impressed by the uptick in sound quality. I then added Dirac Live and was totally blown away!
However, not to be deterred – and refusing to believe Denon, Marantz and especially Audyssey got it so badly wrong – I went on a quest to understand what made each technology tick. I got the top of the line Yamaha, Denon and Pioneer receivers in our newly built home theatre and went to work on reading white papers, manuals, whatever I could get my hands on. This was all in the quest of answering this simple question: can I get Audyssey sounding as good as Dirac Live?
What Did I Find Out?
Well, Audyssey can sound as great as Dirac Live, but it does require a lot more work. However, once you get it sounding great, you get the benefit of having proper Loudness Compensation (Dynamic EQ) and state of the art Dynamic Range Compression (Dynamic Volume), both of which Dirac Live lacks – unless you get a receiver with THX Loudness Plus + Dirac Live. (Update Jan 2022 – THX Loudness Plus cannot be enabled while Dirac Live is engaged even on the latest round of receivers – this is quite an oversight by manufacturers in my opinion.)
In addition, Audyssey can handle multiple subwoofers with ease, which is more problematic with Dirac Live.
What Is The Secret?
There are a few things:
- You must have room treatment in the correct places. Whatever you read on forums, it is not optional and doing your own “house curve”… well, you might as well get a Yamaha or something with Dirac Live. Read more here.
- You do need to follow correct speaker aiming and setup.
- You must decide whether imaging or frequency averaging is more important to you. Hint: you should go with imaging and apply the appropriate microphone positioning techniques. Read more here.
- Set up Audyssey correctly after the setup has run. Read more here and here.
All of these are explained in a lot more detail in Secrets of Audyssey but there is a lot on this blog for free to get you started and get a great uplift in sound quality.