New Dolby Atmos processor. Poor sound quality

I have just bought a new Dolby Atmos processor. Rather expensive . Launched recently.
And I hate the sound.
l have been used to  Bass and Treble tuning
The unit has for each of the 14 channels  : Frequency-Bandwidht-Gain-Crossover- Polarity.
I do not understand anything about that.
It doest not come with EQ Auto Corrector tuning. There will be an upgrade availlable in a few months ,at an extra cost of 2500$. It must be done by an autorised dealer.

Is it possible to make adjustement by myself to change the sound.
Or should I hire a audio tecnician .
l am from Canada and I have bought the processor directly from the US manufacturer. They do not have dealers in Canada. So , l can’t go and talk to my dealer as it should normaly be done.


p.s.  This is a interview about tuning adjusment .

Gordon Shackelford – Krell

Published on: August 19, 2017

Technology Insider Group

Nearly every custom project I’ve ever dealt with was based on the reality that the folks who are paying for these systems don’t have the time or inclination to learn all about custom install. They simply and rightly expect a reliable setup that functions flawlessly, is bulletproof, easily controlled and whose performance screams value and money well spent. This is why the recent push for do-it-yourself smart home products baffled me, because it goes against the grain of the true value-add that an excellent integrator brings to the scene. Even the simplest do-it-yourself setup is too complicated for most of the customers I’ve dealt with. Whether it is Nest, Sonos or Harmony remote controls, my clients could never be bothered with anything more than basic instructions involving as few button pushes as possible.

I have been thinking about returning the processor. I received it August 20. And asking for a refund. But I do not know the US consumer laws .

Any suggestions ?
You might want to consider actually mentioning the make and model of the processor. 


Erik squires
I prefere not to disclose the name.
It may  be me who is not fit for complicated audio gear
Before buying this unit , the reviews that I have read were very positive about the sound of this processor.
Probably, those who wrote the reviews are audio specialist that know how to do the right set up..
I am well over sixty , l may be too old for technology.

My other audio gears are :
MC 8207 power amp
Rotel RMB 1075  power amp
Pro iDSD DAC Streamer
Cambridge 752 BD  BlueRay
Focal Chorus 836 W  As front
Focal CC 1000 BE as center
Dali Epicon 6 as  surrounds
Epos elan 35  as  rear
Keff R 50 as front  height
Psb imagine XA   As rear height
Monitor  audio  and PSB as Subwoofer
power cords are  2 PS Audio PerfectWave Ac 12  and  1 PS AudioAC 5.
2 power conditionner
LG  DVD recorder
All interconnect are XLR by BIS audio
Buying  everyting new would cost me about 60 000$

anything else, you  would like to know?

zzrider - Everyone talks brands and models here. 

But if you have no auto-eq but you DO have built in EQ's then you had better know what you are doing. 


can someone explain to me why whenver I ran any sort of EQ, it just made my listening sweet spot smaller, and the bass really messed up if you stood up? sort of like it applied some kind of effect where the bass was really loud as if my head was at the back of the room.

I agree.  There's not much we can do if you don't disclose the name of the processor.  HT Processors nowadays are usually somewhat complex to setup.  The EQ function can be challenging to work with.  It sound like the unit has a fully parametric EQ/filter mechanism.  This really requires in depth knowledge of acoustics and frequency response.  It may be that you need somebody with RTA software, such as Room EQ Wizard (REW), to measure what each channel is doing. 

That being said, if you're not getting good sound out of it, then a few possibilities:

1. The unit is brand new and needs to be broken in (burn in of all electrical components).  Give it 100-200 hours of constant running before making a decision.  Since the unit is fresh, it could sound bright/harsh/thin and without bass.  It can go through many changes during break-in.

2. The unit could just be poorly designed. I have actually had a couple very expensive processors in my system that just could not cut the mustard (contrary to many other opinions).  One was a Theta Casablanca IV, which was very expensive and came with Dirac room correction.  I just could not get it to sound good - it was very bright/solid-state/sterile sounding and just did not even come close to sounding as good as my very old Krell HTS 7.1 (the Krell just sang!).  The other was the Bryston SP3, which I could appreciate, but was too laid back in the mids/early highs to be exciting and engaging enough.  I think the Bryston had a poorly designed DAC/digital board (they used a generic off-the-shelf DAC/DSP board solution).

3. The new HT Processor sound could just not be the type of sound you're looking for.

What processor did you use before?

I usesd an old Rotel  RSP 1069 who went out of order , twice this spring.

My new processor is Acurus ACT 4  by Indy Audio Labs
But I do not want  put the blame only on the unit.
l have admiration for the two co founders who bought the electronic section from Klipsh in 2009.
I  E-mailed theme about the poor sound  quality of my unit ( their new baby )
they asked me about my speakers and my sources.
It has been Three days now ,And I haven’t  heard from them.

Sory,for my bad temper

Dolby builds professional gear and it's possible that they use trickle down technology throughout their entire line of processors.

On the website it states some of the features:
  • Individual amplification and equalization of the surround speakers
  • Support for bass management of the subwoofers
Unless you understand parametric EQ and acoustics, this unit may be too advanced for your situation. You also state that your model is manually controlled, making it more difficult to learn.
The audio and acoustic engineers who use this type of gear also have a background in music or play an instrument. 

I don't understand, are you having trouble with Dolby Atmos or the 
Acurus ACT 4 ?
I have probleme with Acurus ACT 4

lt is like you buy an expensive car with great expectations  and you realise that you must be a F 18 pilot to understand how to drive it.
Acurus ACT 4  retail price is 9500$

´´ There's not much we can do if you don't disclose the name of the processor.´´ 

just kidding
l took a couple of Tylenol arthritis , and I feel already better.
I will try  Room EQ Wizard (REW)

thanks  auxinput
I would like to underline that audio gears is the most expensive material thing that l own.
I drive an Mazda B 4000 4X4 1999 pick up truck.
Music is important in my life, for many reasons.
A bit like the link below ( but not as much )
It was some months ago, a audessy 32, and a pair of KEF ls50

Hi zzrider - that ACT 4 is so new that I don't think anyone here has direct experience with it.  I was also asked about this processor by a friend and I could not comment on it.  There aren't any "internal pics" on the net to show us how Acurus has architected the electronics.  It's so difficult to say what your problem is. I would suggest:

1. Let the unit run for 100-200 hours (maybe 8 days straight) to burn in all the electronics and electrolytic capacitors.  You are likely to get a significant change in sound quality - usually an improvement.  Then make a decision.

2. Think about what it is that you don't like about the sound.  Is it a bright/sterile character that you don't like?  Or is it a lack of bass or certain frequencies?  Maybe you can learn more about the parametric EQ in the unit so that you can tune certain frequencies.

Give it some time and try to work with the unit.  I found that sometimes I have had to sit with something for a couple weeks before I decided on whether it was good or not.

Thanks a lot, auxinput.
the sound is very bright and very harch.
No matter the source, power cord, audio mode. Even in stereo mode
( two channel ) the sound is very .unpleasant.

l am going to follow your advice, take some time, calm down.
After all , there are worst things in life.

I appreciate your effort for my case

bright/harsh can definitely be a characteristic of new equipment.  After burn-in it should settle down a lot.
d2girls - 

Auto room correction varies a great deal in quality. For the best results you need to take multiple measurements so you get a good average. 

Bass modes in particular are poorly treated by an eq with a single mic reading.  For this, you need bass traps and multiple location measurements. Actually, room treatment always helps and often helps EQ work better. :) 


I used the mic that came with the amp, and took 8 separate meausmentd in different parts of the room. Amp was a denon x3300w
can someone explain to me why whenver I ran any sort of EQ, it just made my listening sweet spot smaller, and the bass really messed up if you stood up? sort of like it applied some kind of effect where the bass was really loud as if my head was at the back of the room.
@d2girls - this is pretty much the same experience I had when I was trying to get Dirac room control setup.  It does funny things to the phasing and frequency response so that the audio sounds like it's in your head instead of way out in front of you.  Some of these room correction systems try to affect phasing because they are trying to fight room nodes or first reflections.  The end result can be poor audio quality.
Setup should be as follows

#1 Speaker Size / Crossover points
#2 Measure distance with a tape measure
#3 make sure the EQ profiles are set to flat.

In order to FULLY configure an ACT4 You will need to do some room measurement.

Bright and Harsh could be because the low end is getting rolled off / not configured.
Speaker Layout Screen: To setup the ACT 4 output configuration according to the particular speaker layout in the room, simply touch the buttons corresponding to the room loudspeaker positions. The layout screen indicates the layout description in industry-standard numeric terms on the lower right as changes are made. The audio bed section determines which ear-height loudspeakers are enabled. The height section selects between top front, top middle and top rear loudspeakers or none. Upward firing or “dolby enabled” speakers are selected here as well. Finally, select the number of actively driven subwoofers in the system (up to three). Changes are made to the ACT 4 and its audio output immediately in response to layout changes on this screen 

Speaker Layout #1, Distance are there, Appropriate crossovers and sizing, start with 80hz.
Analog – ADC Sample Rate: For analog inputs i15 – i20, the sample rate for the A/D converter or ADC can be adjusted for maximum conversion quality. Sample rates can chosen from 48kHz+ For Analogue Audio Sources Turn up the sampling Rate
Thanks biudrain , l appreciate
But every things you wrote ,have already been done, properly.
what do you mean by : ...the low end is getting rolled off / not configured.
l have to admit that I am not perfectly bilingual. French is my first langage.
the sound is harsh , bright and not very detailed.

anyway,if it does not improve , I can always try to sell it.
I am going to loose money but it is still better than loosing my mind
bi0drain is trying to indicate that if your bass management in ACT 4 is not configured properly (i.e. subwoofer not loud enough or improperly configured), then the sound could be thin/weak and without punch/power.  However, I think that is completely different than bright/harsh.
Lets triage
2 channel stereo balanced
1 digital source
Assign a digital coax or hdmi to the source, impedenfe mismatch or you got a lemon, call acurus

Set the device to bitstream
Test tone in stereo, listen to a 2ch cd in stereo with the front set to large

Post removed 
As l wrote to auxinput  :  No matter the source, power cord, audio mode. Even in stereo mode
( two channel ) the sound is very .unpleasant..

BlueRay  ( HDMI ) , Pro iDSD streamer DAC (XLR) and DVD Player  (coaxial ) are  already set to bitstreem. 

According to the owner’manual, stereo mode is the best audio mode of the ACT 4.

I have an other issue with the unit ( the third ), l E-Mailed the technical service yesterday. Until now, I have been answered by the co founder of the company.
But I haven’t heard   from them ( about EQ tuning ) for the past 4 days .
I am affraid , if they learn about my thread here, I will not be on their beloved  client list.

Before ,posting a discussion thread here, I have tried everything.

Except  frequencies, bandwidth , gain, crossover,  as mentionned in the begining of my thread.
talking to me about those items is the same to me than talking Norwegian.
The owner’s manual identifies those settings ,without explaining what they are and what it does.
My understanding , as I mentionned to the co founder of Indy Audio Labs, is that the average client who buys that expensive kind of audio gear is not 20 ,30 or 40 years old. At this stage of their  life, they have other priority with their money.
The 50 years old and over costumer, on average, contrary to the kids today, is not a electronic or computer wizard. He is not an audio engeneer either.
In my honest opinion.
It is also the opinion of  Gordon Shackelford – Krell as mentionned
on this tread.


Rick Santiago, co founder and chief engeneer at Indy Audio Labs
send me an E Mail this morning  with extended informations about EQ settings.
He gave his setting recommandations ( frequencies-gain- bandwidth - low shelving filter- high shelving filter )for the kind of sonic experience I like : classical music , accoustic and brasillian accoustic jazz.
IMHO , it is out of reach for the average audiophile.
You better have a good and toughtful dealer .
The sound is very good
There is another ACT 4 in my place.

Thanks everybody for you help
Greatly appreciated
Post removed 
It is out of reach, my sigma ssp is the same way to get the most!!! Out of it
Happy to hear it’s working out for you. I have been in similar positions with new gear that sounded worse than what I was replacing. A lot of things go through your mind but at least you had a happy ending.  Enjoy!
Thanks again

the adjusment  numbers that I have received for my EQ tuning 
´´ affect ´´  or ´´ touch ´´ 53  entries.
Classic :  Baroque
Acoustic : Eric Tingstad - Nancy Rumbel-David Lanz
Brasilian Acoustic Jazz  : Tom Jobim-Vinicius Toquinho 
Post removed