Noobie SUB Questions - Journey to the unknown and perfection - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 01-20-2013, 12:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello guys, i am starting this thread as a personal "Ask and learn" topic, but i hope it would help a lot of people in the future.

I am in the search of buying a sub woofer, and i have been searching the internet for the best candidate in my budget (500€ top).

As i was searching for it, i learned and discovered a lot of things that opened my eyes, and let me tell you this.... i didn't like what i saw.
Buying a sub is a nightmare as you keep learning and learning. But in the end that seemed to be the easiest thing in the sub matter.

I found out that when you buy a speaker, and especially a sub, you will likely not get 100% the best performance that you could get in your room. This is because of the room size, room decoration, room shape, room bass management. You will have things like Nulls and Peeks. You will have floors moving and trembling. You will not be able to 'hear' your sub, because it will be in the wrong place in your room, or you will be unsatisfied because the speaker is too small to cover your open space.

When i was asking people how should i calibrate my sub, what is the best way to configure a sub, i was getting the same stupid answer over and over again. "Each sub behaves differently in every room, so we can't tell you how to configure your sub". Well my answer to them is 'bulls**t'!. Yes i accept the fact that the VALUES that each configuration need are not the same, but the way and the process is the same! You just have to find what are the best values - configs for your place. In order to do that, you need someone to tell you, that you have to do this and that.

Since i am still learning and have a lot of questions, i have been asked to open a new thread, so that we can keep it together.

The following questions have been asked in the SVS PB-1000 topic, so i am just copy-pasting them here.

As i said, i am not an expert or anything. I am a noobie who wants to stop being a noobie on this subject. I will use the second post, so that i can concentrate all the info i am finding over the internet about subs, and people with real life experience can comment on them. It will be a guide on how to configure your sub to reach the best values you can get. I am guessing some will be VERY easy to do, and some will be very hard to do. We will see rolleyes.gif


So here are the questions i have made so far and the answers i have got from some very friendly guys in here (Thank you all)..

PLEASE keep in mind that the following questions have already been asked and answered in another topic. I will continue asking questions, and of course everyone can ask, so that we can get answers...




Q) Can i use two different subs in the same room?

A) You could, but don't try it. It will be a nightmare matching them both, and for that you need more than average knowledge. Suggested opinion is to not try it, as it will cancel each other out.



Q) Ways of making my sub sound better? (This is just a simple question, with a fast and simple answer fom ElJay)

A)
Quote:
Assuming the rest of your system is already in place:
Step 1: Connect the sub to your AVR.
Step 2: Do a sub crawl to determine which 1-3 locations provide the best output at the listening position. Place the sub in the location which offers the best compromise between output and real life (aesthetics, WAF, etc.)
Step 3: Run your AVR's auto-calibration program.
Step 4: Go into the AVR's speaker set-up menu and tweak channel levels by ear.
Step 5: Sit back and enjoy.

Beyond that, you can:
- Purchase an SPL meter to measure - and, optionally, to chart - the frequency response (FR) of your speakers and sub.
- Purchase a device such as a Dayton OmniMic - or purchase a microphone and use freeware like REW - to view various elements (levels, EQ, decay, etc.) of your system's response on a laptop in real-time. If you have additional equalization equipement - see next bullet - this real-time visualization is very helpful.
- Puchase an EQ device such as a miniDSP, and peform additional calibration tweaks.
- Et cetera.


Q) what would someone gain from using a device such as MiniDSP for his sub.

A) "the ability to EQ the sub for a flatter in-room response."

Q) so i suppose that our goal when we EQ a sub (or a speaker) is to have a flat response. got that. but how do we achieve this? what do we 'change - configure' in order to achieve that. i have read something about octave, but that made me even more confused.

A) A flat response (see a graph of any SVS sub on their website) means that between a range of frequencies - say, 20Hz to 150Hz - a sub plays a certain level of output with a variance of no more than 3dB above or 3dB below (+/-3dB) that level. IOW, output remains consistent across the frequency range. This is a good thing.

In-room response, because of interactions with boundaries and other objects, is unlikely to be flat: There will be peaks and nulls (the opposite of peaks) at one or more frequencies. Room EQ software - which you get with Audyssey or miniDSP - manipulates (to the extent that it can) the signal that is sent to the sub to compensate for those peaks and nulls. It tries to "flatten" the FR curve.

Q) 1) a peak means that the sub sounds higher than it should and null means that you can't hear as much as you should?
2) what the dsp changes in order to achieve that result? (flat response) it lowers / higher the db when it detects sounds at specific frequencies? for example when it sees that is used to be peaks there, it lowers the db of the sound coming in, and when it detectes a sound at a null frequency, it adds more db?


A) Yes. A peak at a frequency means that that frequency will be played louder than the rest of the frequencies in the sub's "flat" (+/-3dB) frequency range. A null means the frequency will be played more quietly.

Very un-technically-speaking, the DSP would test the sub, measure the response and load into memory an EQ profile that would take all incoming signals and boost* or cut them as required to output to the sub a "flat" signal to play.

Q) what is a stereo sub? 2 subs or connection related?

A) Stereo subs usually refers to two subwoofers. Stereo bass, as I (possibly inaccurately) understand it, requires two subs, each receiving the distinct low-frequency content of the channel with which it is associated. Example:
- run a connection from the left main speaker-level output on your AVR to the left speaker-level input on the subwoofer, and then from the left speaker-level output on the subwoofer to the left main speaker; and
- run a similar connection for the right main speaker.

Q) ah.... ok i understand. well i suppose the AV receiver should do that on it's own. i don't think the subwoofer should give power to the mains, since it doesn't have enough power. isn't that right?

A) The sub never powers the mains. The AVR sends the powered signal "through" the sub to the mains, but the circuitry within the sub takes just the signal and uses the sub's amp to power the signal for the sub only. (And the crossover - or low-pass filter - determines the range of the lower frequencies that the sub will play.)
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post #2 of 20 Old 01-20-2013, 12:51 PM - Thread Starter
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This is the second post that i will fill in time, while i get the facts rights. I hope it will be a guide at some point smile.gif
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post #3 of 20 Old 01-20-2013, 12:52 PM - Thread Starter
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And this is where my first question comes on this topic :P

1) i have bi-wire my fronts and i would like to keep it this way. the other thing is that i use my speakers 80% for movies and 20% for music. So i am connecting my AV to the LFE and it is fine on this subject.

But does this mean that my sub will not play as well for music as it could? or does the AV handle that so i am fine either way?


2) A lot of people mention an RCA Y-Splitter , to connect from the AVR to the Right and Left input of the sub. I have read that it gives 2-3 db more than connecting just one in the LFE. Anyone tried it or have any opinions on this?
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post #4 of 20 Old 01-20-2013, 01:21 PM
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I hear bi-wiring does nothing. Splitting the wire before the speaker or after the speaker has the same end result.

My question:

If I have a set of TSI-100 rated down to 60hz, would a TSI-100 at 80hz sound / feel the same as a PB1000 at the same 80hz? Would it sound the same if both are set to equal db?

The PB1000 spec sheet say it can go to 270hz, if both the TSI-100 and PB1000 both played a 200hz test tone at the same db, would the effect be equal?
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post #5 of 20 Old 01-20-2013, 01:22 PM
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Quote:
1) i have bi-wire my fronts and i would like to keep it this way. the other thing is that i use my speakers 80% for movies and 20% for music. So i am connecting my AV to the LFE and it is fine on this subject.

But does this mean that my sub will not play as well for music as it could? or does the AV handle that so i am fine either way?
Once your sub is connected to your AVR and calibrated to / integrated with your system, the type of content shouldn't matter. The sub doesn't care whether the 20-80Hz range of frequencies are music or movies. What will likely be different and what you may notice is the level of bass in the recording. Music may have less bass or bass mixed at a lower level, so you won't get the same punch or slam general level of output as with movies. If you find the bass to be lacking, you can always go into your AVR's speakers set-up menu and boost the subwoofer level (and drop it back down later on, if desired).
Quote:
2) A lot of people mention an RCA Y-Splitter , to connect from the AVR to the Right and Left input of the sub. I have read that it gives 2-3 db more than connecting just one in the LFE. Anyone tried it or have any opinions on this?
The concensus is that using a Y-splitter increases the level of the signal to the sub so, with the volume knob on the sub at the same level, the output will be louder. But ultimately, the sub will never be able to deliver more than the max output it's designed to put out. Aside from using the boosted signal to help activate the auto-on function on a sub that may require the extra signal to active that function, there's no benefit to using a Y-splitter.

Just as there's no benefit to bi-wiring your fronts, but since you've already decided to go that route, and since there's no harm in doing it, I won't belabour the point. wink.gifsmile.gif
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post #6 of 20 Old 01-20-2013, 01:36 PM - Thread Starter
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well bi-wire and bi-amp is another confused subject on the internet.

Onkyo (i have onkyo 609) is telling lies that their AV can bi-amp a speaker, when they actually mean bi-wire. In this case of bi-wire i am guessing that the AV is doing the crossover handling instead of the speaker. To tell you the truth i haven't used my speakers (B&W 603 S2) with this AVR, without bi-wire, so i don't know if there is a difference in the sound or not.

I would like to test a 7.1 system as my AVR can handle it, but in my room i can't place surround back speakers unfortunately. And if i could, the speakers would be satellites of Logitech z5500 speaker system, as i can't afford buying a new set of speakers right now and the space is limited.

Back to the Y-Splitter thing. Is there ANY chance that the sound may be richer with a Y splitter? Meaning more details coming in the sub processor.
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post #7 of 20 Old 01-20-2013, 01:46 PM
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Have you head about Pro Logic IIz?

The z is about having an extra 2 speakers above your front mains. Maybe you could try that?

The Denon 2113 I got the other day has the option of the extra 2 speakers being either behind you, to the side of you, next to your front mains, and above your front mains. So many options!

I think the Y-Splitter thing could equally be achieved by turning up your sub 3db, from what I hear.
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post #8 of 20 Old 01-20-2013, 01:51 PM
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Onkyo (i have onkyo 609) is telling lies that their AV can bi-amp a speaker, when they actually mean bi-wire.
Bi-wire means running two sets of wires from the L speaker terminal to the upper and lower terminals on the left speaker, and running two sets of wires from the R speaker terminals to the upper and lower terminals on the R speaker. One amp (or amp channel) powers each of the front speakers, each of which is connected to it via two (bi-)wires.

Bi-amping means you use two amps (or amp channels) to power each of the front speakers. With an AVR - possibly the 609, if it says so in the manual - you can usually assign the rear L+R surround amp channels to front speaker duty. Connection would be something like this:
- front L +/- terminals to upper terminals on L speaker
- rear-surround L +/- terminals to lower terminals on L speaker
- front R +/- terminals to upper terminals on R speaker
- rear-surround R +/- terminals to lower terminals on R speaker

When you bi-amp or bi-wire, remove the jumpers between the sets of terminals on each speaker.
Quote:
Back to the Y-Splitter thing. Is there ANY chance that the sound may be richer with a Y splitter? Meaning more details coming in the sub processor.
No. A stronger signal does not enhance "richness".

-- Edit --
According to the product page, the 609 does not have bi-amp capability.
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post #9 of 20 Old 01-20-2013, 02:02 PM - Thread Starter
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yes i told you that smile.gif Just bi-wire. I can't use bi-amp in my case because Onkyo 609 doesn't have pre-out unfortunately. I wish i could trade my 609 with a 709

as for what Ak Gara said. You mean front Height and front Wide. My room is 2 meter heigh, and it wouldn't help if i used front Height since the distance between the Front speakers and the Front height will be too small. I hear that the Front Wide is the best option someone could use, but this is out of the question too for my room. PLUS Onkyo is not including Front Wide in this models (i hate those guys for that, and for Audyssey 2EQ instead MultiEQ

But let's keep this topic about sub smile.gif
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post #10 of 20 Old 01-20-2013, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by TeDeV View Post

yes i told you that smile.gif Just bi-wire.
You also said "Onkyo ... is telling lies that their AV can bi-amp a speaker", and I pointed out that their product page does not say the 609 can bi-amp.
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post #11 of 20 Old 01-20-2013, 04:45 PM
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Great discussion, great questions. I admit I was starting to get lost in the discussion.

I have "bi-wired Paradigm floor standing speakers in the past. The only pair I ever noticed a difference was the old 5SEMK3s maybe because it had the big 8" woofers. I noticed the highs from the tweeters did better.

There are a lot of budget subs out there and, unfortunately I am starting to think that something like the BIC Pl-200 or maybe even the older Polk Audio 505 is all I will go with in the family room as an an interim measure. The SVS PB-1000 is my preference right now. If the wife does not really like deep base at least it will be accurate? She even baulked at moving the Paradigm Titans in which are still great for a small home theater. She just does not like speaker stands.

I am looking to re-format the man cave and there I could get 2 subs and almost bought those 2 VX-11s for less than $300 to test the stereo sub idea out. They would be easy to sell here in Canada later.

She thinks my real strategy is to update the man cave. It's not but she is playing into my hands.

A question for ElJay that's off this thread. Have you heard of these made in Canada Sinclair speakers?
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post #12 of 20 Old 01-20-2013, 05:04 PM
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Can a center-out be used as a sub-out? I have an old receiver that does not have a sub-out.
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post #13 of 20 Old 01-20-2013, 05:31 PM
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A question for ElJay that's off this thread. Have you heard of these made in Canada Sinclair speakers?
I've heard of the brand but unfortunately I don't know anything about them. There's this owners thread on AVS, but not much action in it. Their Brighton 50B system gets a good review here.
Quote:
Can a center-out be used as a sub-out?
Short answer: No.

Medium answer: Yes, if you don't want any bass. smile.gif

Longer answer: A subwoofer pre-output contains the low frequency content (below the crossover point) from all speaker channels + the content from the LFE channel. A center-channel pre-output contains only center-channel audio, and only the frequencies above the crossover point.
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post #14 of 20 Old 01-20-2013, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by eljaycanuck View Post

I've heard of the brand but unfortunately I don't know anything about them. There's this owners thread on AVS, but not much action in it. Their Brighton 50B system gets a good review here.
Short answer: No.

Medium answer: Yes, if you don't want any bass. smile.gif

Longer answer: A subwoofer pre-output contains the low frequency content (below the crossover point) from all speaker channels + the content from the LFE channel. A center-channel pre-output contains only center-channel audio, and only the frequencies above the crossover point.

good explanation, thanks. I've been told by someone else that in my case a center-out would still work because I'm not using a modern surround receiver. Here's the conversation

that post is assuming you're using a modern surround receiver. From your post, yours is just a regular stereo receiver, no processing is done, the center out is just a sum of L & R
That receiver isn't a "true" surround receiver. It doesn't have different signals for each channel, rear L&R are mirrors of front L&R and center is a sum of L&R.
It's essentially a stereo receiver with 3 more speaker outputs. Using the center out for the sub will still work


Is he right about this? I should have mentioned what receiver I'm using, if this truly makes a difference.
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post #15 of 20 Old 01-20-2013, 06:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t3ss View Post

Can a center-out be used as a sub-out? I have an old receiver that does not have a sub-out.

I kinda of Agree with ElJay but also disagree.

If your AVR has no sub out then i would think all channels are full range from the Line outs and or Speaker outs.
So in this case I think it would work.

Also are not all channels in 5.1 and 7.1 full range? So you can use full range speakers at all locations?

I think in many AVR's with LFE or Sub out the menu selection you make will decide what frequencies are sent
to the discrete channel. And this is also why some have choice of speaker size selection.
I wish the manufacturers would be more specific of what range of frequencies are sent to the speakers when in the size selection menu.

As they say try it out and see.

Athanasios
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post #16 of 20 Old 01-20-2013, 06:19 PM
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A regular stereo receiver with full-range, center-channel output? Huh. Well, in that case, he may be right: You could send the center-channel output to the subwoofer, and use the crossover* on the sub to blend it with the mains.

----
*One of the things I learned on AVS was that the crossover on a sub is a misnomer. It's actually a low-pass filter (LPF, a.k.a. a high-cut filter). It will allow the sub to play all frequencies up to the value selected / prevent the sub from playing all frequencies above the value selected.

So, in the case described above, you send a full-range signal to the sub and the value (say, 80Hz) to which you set the LPF ("crossover") determines the range of frequencies the sub will play.

Adjust (raise or lower) the LPF to obtain the best blending of sound with the mains (which, by their inherent limitations, will only be able to play down to a certain frequency before their useful output rolls off).
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post #17 of 20 Old 01-20-2013, 06:36 PM
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Ok Just looked up Dolby Digital info.

http://www.dolby.com/uploadedFiles/Assets/US/Doc/Professional/42_DDFAQ.pdf


All Channels in Dolby Digital are full audible range. So from 20hz to 20,000 hz and they suggest the same full range speakers on all channels
for the best surround sound experience. The LFE channel is programed to be twice as loud as the other channels.


Hmm so now I'm thinking of 5 PB1000's at each speaker and a PB12 NSD for LFE only wink.gif lol

Athanasios
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post #18 of 20 Old 01-20-2013, 06:49 PM
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Quote:
Hmm so now I'm thinking of 5 PB1000's at each speaker and a PB12 NSD for LFE only wink.gif lol
Are you sure that's enough? confused.gif

biggrin.gif
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post #19 of 20 Old 01-20-2013, 06:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eljaycanuck View Post

Are you sure that's enough? confused.gif

biggrin.gif

Ok Dual PB12 Nsd.s biggrin.gif


nashou!!!!
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post #20 of 20 Old 01-20-2013, 07:00 PM
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