Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: central coast, CA
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I know this may sound condescending but I think your perspective of home theater/home audio music subwoofers has been muddled by your high exposure to pro audio subs with really high SPL upper bass. I didn't read through this entire thread but I wouldn't be surprised if you were a big car subwoofer buff as well. I was pretty big into car subs so switching over to home audio I was underwhelmed at first too. It's relatively easy with high efficiency drivers to get really high output at 40 hz+ but very difficult to get high output below 30hz with those drivers. When you are used to upper bass in the 120-130db + region you definitely won't be happy with a typical home theater geared sub that can do maybe 120db at 40+ hz. On the other hand it may do 110db+ near 20 hz which is something very few pro audio subs will do. Some people go for a high efficiency driver for upper bass and a nice HT sub for the lower stuff or they just get a bunch of subwoofers such that altogether they can get that huge punch they are used to. Most of the cerwin vega stuff is pretty good bang for the buck because you get huge output for relatively low price, however they don't have great extension so they aren't recommended as often as others on forums such as this.
None the less, you definitely have your gain settings totally messed up and I can't imagine how bad it would sound to have your low end that much more prominent than the rest of the music. In comparison, I have a sub set to about 40% on the gain of the sub and -8db on the receiver.. And that is with it calibrated several db's hot.
It is common for people to run equipment 6-10 db hot, and even more if you go to a best buy or some other low end consumer store where they demo speakers/subs. I feel like they just turn the bass all the way up and people are amazed by it even though it sounds like garbage to anyone who has heard a nicely integrated system.