How I Set Up My Own AVR

Keep in mind that AVR settings are kind of personal, and will vary as the equipment changes. I decided to do a walk through on some of my own Denon X6200W AVR settings, not to proclaim it as the right way to do it, but just to show the way I do it. Some or all of the settings I use may not be right for you, but my hope is that some may benefit from seeing how I adjust my settings and why.

Tip: the Denon X6300 comes with 11 channels now, and the Denon X4300 and Marantz SR-7010, SR-7011, and SR-6011 are all 9 channel, allowing 4 height effect Dolby Atmos and DTS:X speaker configurations, and most if not all offer Auro 3D as a paid upgrade. The Denon X6300 allows 4 height, but also back/rear surrounds as well, I would need to add an external amp to do that with the X6200w. I also really like the Sub EQ HT feature on these units, it does a really nice job.


10 thoughts on “How I Set Up My Own AVR”

  1. Hi Ryan,

    On behalf of all the home theater fans, we greatly appreciate your effort and time for sharing with us all the home theater stuff.

    I kinda have the same system and speakers like yours. I have the Denon AVR X6200W 9.2 atmos. I recently renovated my basement and set up a home theater in a 13’x19′ room running 7.2.4.

    I have the prime towers, center and 4 satellite for surround, 2 subs of pc-2000 and 4 jamo 8″ ceiling speakers.

    After odyssey configuration, I have set all speakers to small and 80htz for all the crossovers with LFE 120 htz. like the common way. my friend came over and he is a well experienced audio guy and told me that the current set up sound was not sounding good and lack of dynamic home theater sound.

    Then we run odyssey again and after we set the main to large with the rest to small. the crossover for the main is 40 htz, center 60 htz, and the rest is 120 htz with LFE + Main. He told me that with this setting , the sound is much better and he was satisfied. Lol.

    So I want to ask for your expert advise if this setting is right and good because I could not tell huge difference after listening to both different settings. Please advice if you could in details which way is better and how I should tell the difference. Or which movie I should use to test the difference.

    Also I like to enjoy 2 channel music. Please tell me which set up is the best to listen to stereo or direct music.

    Thanks very much for your time.


  2. Hi Ray,

    I’ve been down this road already. You can check out my Large VS Small write up, it explains what it all means. For sure, there is no right and wrong, but can tell you that on my old Denon X2000 with the speakers all set as “Large”, I could see the AVR dim a little when I was really cranking it. That never happened with the speakers set to “Small”. I can understand the desire to run the speakers as “Large” but “Small” actually gives you a little more headroom before reaching limits of both speakers and AVR, transferring the load to the Subwoofer amps.

    In a good system, it can be hard to tell the difference between different crossover settings. The Prime Towers are good to 32 hertz. I run them “Small” at 90 hertz, shifting the heavy lifting to the subs. They still put out sound as far down as they will go, it’s just with less power under the crossover setting.

    2 channel is another animal. You can do it with or without subs, Direct or on the Music Stereo setting. There are also some settings you can play with in the Speakers/manual/2ch playback menu. I did some intense critical listening to see if there was a difference in speaker cables, which I honestly didn’t enjoy (took the fun out of listening, more like a test) and in that case I ran them Large no subs, no EQ. I like having the subs involved myself, speakers set to small. Best bet is to close your eyes as you switch between settings.

    Glad you find this stuff useful, that is my goal. Again, there is no right or wrong, your ears should have the final say. I used to think LFE + Main and speakers set to Large was the way to go. Now I run them Small. Neither is “wrong”.

    -Ryan B.

  3. Hi Ryan, Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us.
    I have 5.1 setup with jamo s606 front, center and surround speakers connected to my Denon AVR 2313. I tried set it up the way you recommended as you use denon too. The problem is when I’m listening to music on multi channel stereo or watching movie on that mode, my surround speakers are much loader than my front and center. Also on stereo mode which only fronts are playing I have to volume up amp to get good sound.
    I like to fill the room when sound system is playing something so I use multi channel stereo.
    Can you please help me to get that right.


  4. If you have an SPL meter, use the Speakers/Levels/Test tones to get them all equal. If you don’t, there are a few smart phone apps that work OK and are better than nothing. Have you run Audyssey? That should level the output of each channel as well. If you have the “Dynamic EQ” option in the Audio menu, that can help at lower volumes, but I would avoid “Dynamic Volume”.

    Are the speakers all from the same line? I had a set of speakers that were the same brand and comparable price range, but the center was just blaring, and I had to turn the level way down on that channel. The SVS speakers have been pretty consistent, from Tower to Satellite they put out pretty even volume assuming the appropriate crossover. It could just be a level thing, or a big enough difference between the fronts and surrounds that you’re getting spikes at certain frequencies in your surrounds that you don’t get with the front channels.

  5. I tried to adjust level and made them sound more consistent. But still not %100. Anyway I think this speaker package not very ideal for music playback in multi channel stereo. 2channel listening mode is fine and accurate. btw I wanted to ask about floorstanding speakers or sort of best speakers for listening to music. I might upgrade my sound system to only 2 front channel but decent ones plus maybe 1 or 2 sub depends on frequency range of speakers. Your subwoofer list is awesome. Any recommendation or list about top floor standing speakers if they are the best choice for music playback.
    Thanks in advance

  6. I would run 2.2 (dual subs) if I was going 2 channel. All day. I have been very impressed with the SVS Prime Towers. Regular speakers are more subject to personal choice though, lots of options out there, where with subwoofers there are only a handful that I can get excited about. The Prime Towers are well worth a listen. Here’s an article on their design process that I find interesting: Designing Prime Speakers

  7. Thanks Ryan for your reply. I really appreciate your help.
    I’m keep watching your videos on your youtube channel and they’ve been so helpful to me.
    Thanks again

  8. Hi Ryan
    I have the Denon AVR 6300H upgraded with Auto and I am in the process of expanding my 5.1 system to 10.2. My fronts, center and surround are currently externally amplified by a Parasound multichannel amplifier (forget the model #). Based on your comment at the top of this link it sounds like I would NOT need external amplification for the 5 height speakers – is that correct?
    Also due to room configuration the current surrounds and the new height surrounds are behind the couch … does that mean that these should actually be plugged into the rear surround and rear height surround?
    Very much appreciate your blog !


  9. Hi John, I think you will be good just using the Parasound for the ear level and letting the on-board Denon amp channels handle the heights. Follow the on screen amp channel configuration, as I recall it didn’t make as much sense as it should have, but when I matched the on screen layout it worked great. When I went based on just the back panel of the AVR for the speaker channels, I got it wrong. Can’t remember the exact layout, just that the on screen layout on the Deneon amp configuration menu was correct.

    As far as configuration (rear height, rear surround, etc..) the best advice I can give is to go with the closest visual representation. My setup isn’t fully represented, so I just go with the closest, which in my case has the rear heights as ceiling mount, even though they are height mount. How much it affects it? That’s debatable, but so long as it’s close you should be good. I use the Auro 3D configuration since all 3 formats will work that way, basically each ear level with a corresponding height.

    More importantly, make sure you’re getting the full Atmos and DTS:X signal by disabling “BD Audio Mix” or “secondary audio” on your Blu Ray player. Some people upgrade and don’t realize that they aren’t getting the full Atmos signal. Makes a world of difference.


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