Do I really need a subwoofer to get LFE for home theater? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 02-21-2013, 02:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Until now, I have used my stereo setup for music & movies. I now have an AVR with a LFE ( Low-frequency effects ) output.

From the owners manual, I cannot tell if I am missing the LFE signal. It says that the LFE and bass frequencies of channels set to Small go to the sub. If No Sub, "bass frequencies" are sent to speakers set to Large. It says nothing about the LFE signal with No Sub. I have read that LFE and low-frequency are not the same.

Someone told me, that without a sub, I am not getting the LFE signal, that it is not sent to my fronts - is this true?

I have never felt the need for a sub. My Fronts are full range (20 - 20khz) with 12' woofers, each powered by their own ( 500wRMS continuous ) power-amp - plenty of headroom.

Do I really need a sub to get the LFE signal? Am I missing something without a sub?
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post #2 of 21 Old 02-21-2013, 03:02 PM
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I've read that if you haven't got a sub, LFE is re-directed to your mains. And I've read that it isn't. I hope someone is able to provide, or to link to, a definitive answer.

-- Edit --
Wiki (which is not necessarily definitive) says:
Quote:
However, when there is no subwoofer, the bass manager would direct the LFE channel to the main speakers. This is the only time the LFE channel would not be sent to the subwoofer.

-- Edit #2 --
An interesting article: Bass Management and the LFE Channel
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post #3 of 21 Old 02-21-2013, 03:22 PM
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Depends on your AVR - which are you using? Also, what are your FL/R speakers?
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post #4 of 21 Old 02-21-2013, 04:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan P View Post

Depends on your AVR - which are you using? Also, what are your FL/R speakers?

AVR = Pioneer SC-1222-k

Fronts = Vintage JBL L-166's I've had since new.
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post #5 of 21 Old 02-21-2013, 05:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eljaycanuck View Post

I've read that if you haven't got a sub, LFE is re-directed to your mains. And I've read that it isn't. I hope someone is able to provide, or to link to, a definitive answer.

Same here. Since I could not find a answer in my AVR manual, thought I'd try here.
Quote:
Originally Posted by eljaycanuck View Post

-- Edit #2 --
An interesting article: Bass Management and the LFE Channel

Thanks for the article, one of the best I've read. I have also looked at wiki but like you, I have seen other info suggesting that the LFE is not always sent to the Large speakers, when no sub.

One post I read, maybe on this forum, from someone like me - good fronts, no sub - said that when he finally got a sub, he did hear effects that were not there before, in a movie he was familiar with - I think Star Wars. Which is why I am wondering if I am missing something.
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post #6 of 21 Old 02-21-2013, 06:23 PM
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I didn't think I needed a sub until I got a sub.
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post #7 of 21 Old 02-21-2013, 07:09 PM
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Simply put, LFE is part of a digital signal. (it is the .1 in a 5.1, 6.1 etc..etc..) Regular analog does NOT have a LFE channel.

However, I can only recommend getting a good quality sub to go with how ever you use your audio system. Buy quality as inexpensive (aka cheap) subs are a waste. Trust me when I say stay away from those types of subs, I say this from my own wasted time and money.
I have had dual 15" woofers in my front pair and thought I didn't need a sub. I was SO wrong. A better than average sub makes a world of difference. Especially @ low volume.

A couple of years ago I got a steal of a deal on an Infinity P2 12" sub @ 700 watts for $100 at Ultimate Electronics before they closed. I couldn't be any happier with this sub if I got it for free.

Try one, I know you will notice a HUGE difference.

Thanks for reading my post. Enjoy the Sound.
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post #8 of 21 Old 02-21-2013, 10:06 PM
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Same here, I am running full range 3 way Cerwin Vega 15" speakers in the front and full range 12" Cerwin Vega speakers in the rear, also a very nice Cerwin Vega center all have been re-coned and re-done by Midwest speaker here in MPLS, MN, I did not think I needed a sub, these things rock and handle up to 300 watts no problem, I just bought my Klipsch TH-350, what a world of difference, I might actually get a second one and put it in the back of the room, I need to find some SBR cerwin vega speakers first, right now I am just runnning 5.1, but that .1 sure does matter.

I originally bought a 100 watt Pioneer, great ratings, 4.5 stars from many people, but I did not think it was enough to match what I was running, so I returned it and got the Klipsch 350 watt, its great...
I was going to stay all Cerwin Vega, but they want a good $800 or so for their sub that matches my speakers, the Klipsch blends in nicely and rattles the floors.

I don't think I need any bass shakers, especially if I get a second one...

Hope that helps.

Ivan
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post #9 of 21 Old 02-22-2013, 05:49 AM
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You will always hear an improvement with movies if you have a suitable subwoofer (meaning a sufficiently good one with significant output at 25 Hz).

Approximately twenty years ago, I purchased a ported, passive 15" subwoofer with outboard amplifier that I put with a quadrophenic system with four good floor standing speakers that each had significant output at 35 Hz. The subwoofer improved music significantly (it had its own built-in cross-over).

With one of my systems that has full-range, floor-standing speakers with significant output at 35 Hz, I purchased a well-regarded 12" subwoofer that did not have significant output below 30 Hz (at least in my application). I replaced it with a 15" sealed subwoofer with significant output at 25 Hz that made a significant difference (at least with movies).

"I have never felt the need for a sub. My Fronts are full range (20 - 20khz) with 12' woofers, each powered by their own ( 500wRMS continuous ) power-amp - plenty of headroom." Specifications for bass from manufacturers, particularly of the type of powered full-range speakers that you have, can be problematic. It you actually took measurements, you might find that you have little output at 25 Hz. The lack of output at 25 Hz can also be true with some standalone subwoofers that have manufacturer's specifications indicating that they go down to 25 Hz. You need to check with individuals in this forum for the recommended subwoofers.

If you purchased the Hsu VTF3.4, I suspect you would be surprised by how much bass you were missing with many home theater applications.
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post #10 of 21 Old 02-22-2013, 06:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happy2Lurk View Post

My Fronts are full range (20 - 20khz)
That they may be, but it's extremely unlikely that you can get the best placement for both below 80Hz and above 80Hz with what amounts to having your subs and mains in the same cabinet. That limitation is what led to the creation of separate subs/mains in the first place.

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post #11 of 21 Old 02-22-2013, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wwinkler View Post

... Specifications for bass from manufacturers, particularly of the type of powered full-range speakers that you have, can be problematic. It you actually took measurements, you might find that you have little output at 25 Hz. ...

Actually, I do not have, "powered full-range speakers." What I had was a separate preamp, two separate power-amps, running mono, one into each L/R speaker. My preamp developed problems and rather than getting a preamp/processor, I decided on a AVR with preamp outs. I've added a center and surrounds - just no sub (yet). I have had measurements taken (while I was present) verifying the 20-20k range - just FYI.

I want to thank everyone for their input. I have submitted my question to Pioneer. Hopefully I will get an answer. If it turns out that the LFE is lost without a sub - I guess I'll be sub shop'n.

My problem is that I am happy with what I got. From what I've read, I would likely have to spend $1k+ to get a sub that won't detract from what I have. I have seen a lot of reviews (both user & professional) reporting sloppy base, port noise, distortion - I don't have any of that now. Not sure I can justify $1k+ but I have also seen a number of, "didn't know what I was missing" reports. I have considered buying a sub locally just to try it but don't like the idea of taking advantage of good return policies.

Thanks again, I'll update, when / if I get a response from Pioneer.
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post #12 of 21 Old 02-22-2013, 01:46 PM
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There's a couple of ID sub companies that offer in-home trial periods. Give it a shot. Im positive you'll have an "eye opening" experience once you add some woofage, ESPECIALLY when it comes to HT.
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post #13 of 21 Old 02-22-2013, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by RickMa View Post

I didn't think I needed a sub until I got a sub.

Eat Fresh...... smile.gif
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post #14 of 21 Old 02-25-2013, 04:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Pioneer replied to my question - pretty quick, just not very helpful:

"Thank you for contacting Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc.

LFE is the bass frequencies.
When you set sub woofer to NO, all the low frequencies are sent to the speakers that are set as LARGE.

Sincerely,


Rocky
Customer Service Representative"

As I said in the opening post, I have read that the LFE and bass frequencies are not necessarily the same. So, either Pioneer does lump them together or Rocky is not aware of the distinction. In either case, I will be getting a sub. No need for recommendations. There are plenty of those on this forum and others.

I consider this thread closed unless someone has the "definitive answer" that eljaycanuck was hoping for.
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post #15 of 21 Old 02-25-2013, 04:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happy2Lurk View Post


As I said in the opening post, I have read that the LFE and bass frequencies are not necessarily the same.
There's a lot of confusion over that. Anything coded as LFE on the source media will go to the LFE output, if you use subs. So will everything below the crossover frequencies you program into the receiver for each of the speakers. If you have no sub it all goes to whichever speakers you set as 'large'.

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post #16 of 21 Old 02-25-2013, 05:50 PM
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It really depends. IMO most avrs cannot process lfe to front speakers well. Most systems with enough speaker to compensate already have a subwoofer.

Its a marketing thing, its quite popular now to just do satellites and a sub, so most room correction assumes you have one.

But then again... Not every listener loves bass heavy systems.
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post #17 of 21 Old 02-25-2013, 06:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happy2Lurk View Post

AVR = Pioneer SC-1222-k

Fronts = Vintage JBL L-166's I've had since new.

If these are your speakers:



I don't think you *want* to send them the LFE channel. Most recording engineers record the LFE channel bass redundantly in the L/R channels anyway. The key difference is that the LFE channel gets a 10 dB boost on playback. I'm sure your speakers sound great, but they will built at a time when the LFE channel didn't even exist. They're not designed for the kind of output the LFE channel demands. If you really want to experience the LFE channel, get yourself a subwoofer, (or two.) Also, you can then use Bass Management and redirect the deepest bass from the main channels to the sub. This will make your amps and speakers sound better.

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post #18 of 21 Old 02-26-2013, 07:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happy2Lurk View Post

One post I read, maybe on this forum, from someone like me - good fronts, no sub - said that when he finally got a sub, he did hear effects that were not there before, in a movie he was familiar with - I think Star Wars. Which is why I am wondering if I am missing something.

Yes, that was me. I had a crappy sub that was only good down to 40hz maybe 35hz. My mains could go lower and on the star wars mix (a new hope) the very first big blast has bass in the LFE and not in the mains. (Tantive IV's first big hit)
I no longer have a sub so I can't retest it.

The bass was not just louder but it was playing different bass notes.

My War of the worlds seems to have all the bass in the mains (I think), I did not notice anything new, it was just louder with a sub.

I have an older Marantz reciever, one below the flagship model at the time with DVI ports and a full copper bottom.
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post #19 of 21 Old 02-26-2013, 09:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craig john View Post

If these are your speakers:



I don't think you *want* to send them the LFE channel. Most recording engineers record the LFE channel bass redundantly in the L/R channels anyway. The key difference is that the LFE channel gets a 10 dB boost on playback. I'm sure your speakers sound great, but they will built at a time when the LFE channel didn't even exist. They're not designed for the kind of output the LFE channel demands. If you really want to experience the LFE channel, get yourself a subwoofer, (or two.) Also, you can then use Bass Management and redirect the deepest bass from the main channels to the sub. This will make your amps and speakers sound better.

Craig

lol - channel B fronts. smile.gif

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post #20 of 21 Old 02-26-2013, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by vision-master View Post

lol - channel B fronts. smile.gif


Oh, the horror, the horror...

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post #21 of 21 Old 02-26-2013, 10:06 AM
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Kabuki LFE, eek.gif

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