Small Desktop Setup - Subwoofer Connection options - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 01-04-2013, 11:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey everyone, Happy New Year and Happy Friday!

I have a quick question regarding the best way to hook the Subwoofer up to my new computer audio setup.

The setup is as follows:

Computer -> USB DAC -> Amp -> Passive Speakers

The Amp is connected to the DAC via RCA. The Amp has only speaker level output. The DAC, however, has a second minijack line out (not headphone out, actual line out). I originally planned to connect the Sub directly to the DAC via that second line out (minijack to RCA cable). My sub, however, does not have a stereo RCA line in. Only a Mono / LFE "Sub In" or speaker level inputs.

Thus my options are:

1. Standard speaker level setup as follows: Amp -> Subwoofer (set crossover) -> Speakers. This is currently my plan as it's the simplest most common setup. My only concern: will I lose significant audio quality to the speakers by running the audio through the additional sub circuitry?

2. Alternate speaker level setup. Simply hook two speaker wires to each Amp terminal. So Amp -> Subwoofer and Amp -> Speakers in parallel. The Sub is powered so there shouldn't be an impedance issue. Positive is the speakers are now direct to amp. Negative is a messy setup, difficult with good wire. Also the speakers will get full range audio which could be a Pro or a Con.

3. Buy a stereo -> mono downmixer. DAC stereo line out -> downmixer -> Sub In. Negative is additional expense, and how well this will actually work.

Thoughts on this? Right now I am planning on option 1 as the Sub is of decent quality so there *shouldn't* be a significant hit on audio quality. That said... I'd love some more "expert" opinions smile.gif.

Here are the exact components:

DAC: iBasso D7
Amp: Dayton DTA-100a
Speakers: Audioengine P4
Subwoofer: BIC V1020

Thanks!
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post #2 of 3 Old 01-04-2013, 07:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jahutch View Post

1. Standard speaker level setup as follows: Amp -> Subwoofer (set crossover) -> Speakers. This is currently my plan as it's the simplest most common setup. My only concern: will I lose significant audio quality to the speakers by running the audio through the additional sub circuitry?

That is your cheapest config. with the fewest pitfalls. The fixed high-pass is one potential pitfall, the speaker's amps still being run full-range is another (actually, it isn't a pitfall as much as it's less than optimal).
As for adverse effects from the sub's high-pass, that's to be determined by you.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jahutch View Post

2. Alternate speaker level setup. Simply hook two speaker wires to each Amp terminal. So Amp -> Subwoofer and Amp -> Speakers in parallel. The Sub is powered so there shouldn't be an impedance issue. Positive is the speakers are now direct to amp. Negative is a messy setup, difficult with good wire. Also the speakers will get full range audio which could be a Pro or a Con.

Potential con: There could be a very broad overlap, between the top of the sub's passband and the bottom of the speaker's passband, where both the speakers and sub are producing the same frequencies. Depending on phase, this could lead to a peak or a null in the overlapping region.
If your speakers are bass-shy, you could throw a kludge at it by dropping the low-pass of the sub to a point where the speaker's natural roll-off will put them sufficiently down in level to make a decent blend. This is less efficient since the speakers are still attempting to play full-range and the sub isn't being used to its full potential.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jahutch View Post

3. Buy a stereo -> mono downmixer. DAC stereo line out -> downmixer -> Sub In. Negative is additional expense, and how well this will actually work.
Thoughts on this? Right now I am planning on option 1 as the Sub is of decent quality so there *shouldn't* be a significant hit on audio quality.

You could make a summing box with a few resistors, some hook-up wire, a small project box and a few RCA jacks. Why Not Wye?

If money is tight, I'd go with option #1.
If you can swing $150, I'd consider a MiniDSP with Advanced 2.1 plugin.

Two would seem to be two too many to me too.
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post #3 of 3 Old 01-05-2013, 02:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks a lot for the input! Based on this I've stuck with speaker level for now smile.gif.
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