Issues with new Polk PSW505 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 10-10-2013, 08:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello,

My crappy old subwoofer died last week and after reading glowing reviews on amazon and newegg I purchased Polk PSW505. After setting it up I am very disappointed with the unit. I am wondering if it's defective and should I just have amazon exchange it or is it my receiver settings (or something else) ?

Basically the bass volume is extremely low. If the volume knob is anywhere between 0 and 50% I can't hear/feel any bass coming out at all. Once I move it half way I can hear a little bass and once it's set to max I can definitely hear the bass but it's nothing to write home about. Based on reviews I was expecting a lot more.

Here is my setup - the sub is connected to Pioneer VSX-1121-K receiver using RCA cable. Subfoower output on receiver, LFE IN input on the sub. It is in front of my couch, next to my right front speaker which is set in the corner of the room. I set all my speakers on the receiver to SMALL and set my subwoofer to PLUS. Crossover frequency set to 80. I have tried different modes (DTS Master Audio, Dolby Pro Logic IIx, Extended Stereo, etc), played from different sources (HTPC, Bluray, SACD, XBOX).

I'm just not getting the bass I was expecting. After reading the reviews I should get great bass at 30-50% level, and ground shaking bass at full power. Should I just exchange the unit ?

thanks
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post #2 of 23 Old 10-10-2013, 08:11 PM
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Could simply be your expectations were too high. What was the sub that died? How big a room are you using this in? What are your other speakers?

Have you tried moving the sub around or doing the sub crawl?

edited after rereading OP

"I realize that somebody playing free music isn't as commercial as a hamburger stand. But is it because you can eat a hamburger and hold it in your hand and you can't do that with music? Is it too free to control?" - Don Van Vliet (aka Captain Beefheart) discussing commercial success in the music biz


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post #3 of 23 Old 10-10-2013, 08:19 PM - Thread Starter
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OMG I think I figured it out. Right after I installed my sub I ran the MCACC calibration. When I went in to check my settings just now it turns out it set my sub volume to -12. Once I changed it to zero it is finally rocking like it should ! I can't believe that's the one thing I missed.
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post #4 of 23 Old 10-10-2013, 08:23 PM
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It doesn't sound like the unit is defective, so I wouldn't exchange it for another one. Have you had a sub in that room before? What is the size of the room? The 505 is a decent sub for what it is, but it isn't going to have much output below 30hz in most rooms...if the room is really large, even less. You can't expect a sub like to pressurize a room like a car audio sub does in a car. Just not enough output and low frequency to fill a large space. Did you run the setup on the AVR to set the level for the sub? if so, what did it return as the results? If it was anywhere in the +/- 5 db range, the sub is working correctly and the level on the sub is correct. If not adjust the level on the sub until you get the AVR to return a result in that range. Then if you want more base, adjust it in the AVR rather than the subs volume knob. You can also experiment with different placements that might help get the type of response you want. (try walking around the room to find where the bass is the loudest, then place the sub as close to that spot as you can). You could also try a nearfield placement next to your chair or couch where you sit if that is possible.
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post #5 of 23 Old 10-10-2013, 08:24 PM
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I guess I took too long typing...glad you figured it out.
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post #6 of 23 Old 10-10-2013, 08:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gulo View Post

OMG I think I figured it out. Right after I installed my sub I ran the MCACC calibration. When I went in to check my settings just now it turns out it set my sub volume to -12. Once I changed it to zero it is finally rocking like it should ! I can't believe that's the one thing I missed.

MCACC doesn't really eq the sub either, though. You still might experiment with position if you haven't already. Forgot to ask about the trim level set in the avr too! smile.gif

"I realize that somebody playing free music isn't as commercial as a hamburger stand. But is it because you can eat a hamburger and hold it in your hand and you can't do that with music? Is it too free to control?" - Don Van Vliet (aka Captain Beefheart) discussing commercial success in the music biz


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post #7 of 23 Old 10-10-2013, 11:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by lovinthehd View Post

MCACC doesn't really eq the sub either, though. You still might experiment with position if you haven't already. Forgot to ask about the trim level set in the avr too! smile.gif

Yeah I will try to run it again. Not sure about trim levels, I would have to check.

After playing music for last couple hours I can tell if was definitely the soundwoofer level setting on the receiver. Once I increased if from -12 dB to 0 everything works like I expected and the house is shaking even with physical volume knob turned just half way. tongue.gif
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post #8 of 23 Old 10-10-2013, 11:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gulo View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by lovinthehd View Post

MCACC doesn't really eq the sub either, though. You still might experiment with position if you haven't already. Forgot to ask about the trim level set in the avr too! smile.gif

Yeah I will try to run it again. Not sure about trim levels, I would have to check.

After playing music for last couple hours I can tell if was definitely the soundwoofer level setting on the receiver. Once I increased if from -12 dB to 0 everything works like I expected and the house is shaking even with physical volume knob turned just half way. tongue.gif

Trim level is the sub level in the avr you already said was the issue.

"I realize that somebody playing free music isn't as commercial as a hamburger stand. But is it because you can eat a hamburger and hold it in your hand and you can't do that with music? Is it too free to control?" - Don Van Vliet (aka Captain Beefheart) discussing commercial success in the music biz


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post #9 of 23 Old 12-04-2013, 02:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gulo View Post

OMG I think I figured it out. Right after I installed my sub I ran the MCACC calibration. When I went in to check my settings just now it turns out it set my sub volume to -12. Once I changed it to zero it is finally rocking like it should ! I can't believe that's the one thing I missed.

I will have to check this out because I think my sub died last night! No audio is coming through it at all !!!
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post #10 of 23 Old 12-04-2013, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by gulo View Post

Yeah I will try to run it again. Not sure about trim levels, I would have to check.

After playing music for last couple hours I can tell if was definitely the soundwoofer level setting on the receiver. Once I increased if from -12 dB to 0 everything works like I expected and the house is shaking even with physical volume knob turned just half way. tongue.gif

IF the AVR set it to -12 (which I assume is the lowest setting available) it is because the sub was already too loud. After room correction is run the sub trim level should be somewhere in the middle, not at either extreme. By cranking it up to 0 you are running the sub at least 12db hot, and more than likely a lot more than that. This is another case where the receiver did its job correctly, but the listener prefers the bass to be WAY louder than the rest of the spectrum. To each their own, but you might try letting your ears adjust to a more correct sound, in the long run you might get more out of it.
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post #11 of 23 Old 12-04-2013, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Audiophile2k View Post

IF the AVR set it to -12 (which I assume is the lowest setting available) it is because the sub was already too loud. After room correction is run the sub trim level should be somewhere in the middle, not at either extreme. By cranking it up to 0 you are running the sub at least 12db hot, and more than likely a lot more than that. This is another case where the receiver did its job correctly, but the listener prefers the bass to be WAY louder than the rest of the spectrum. To each their own, but you might try letting your ears adjust to a more correct sound, in the long run you might get more out of it.

So this was actually my problem with the sub. The receiver setting was so low that I couldn't hear the sub at all leading me to believe that it had died on me.
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post #12 of 23 Old 12-04-2013, 09:23 PM
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In most cases you shouldn't "hear" a sub as an independent source of sound...it should blend seamlessly with the other speakers. That is what your AVR was trying to accomplish. Depending on if you are running your mains full range or using a low crossover point, with most music you won't hear it at all until there is a significant low bass tone beyond what the mains/crossover can do. But again, if it is well integrated, the sound will seem to come from the mains and not the sub. On the other hand if you are running your sub extremely beyond that level, it will make its presence know at all times by constantly emitting a boom and thud that is not at the same level as the mains.
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post #13 of 23 Old 12-05-2013, 01:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Audiophile2k View Post

In most cases you shouldn't "hear" a sub as an independent source of sound...it should blend seamlessly with the other speakers. That is what your AVR was trying to accomplish. Depending on if you are running your mains full range or using a low crossover point, with most music you won't hear it at all until there is a significant low bass tone beyond what the mains/crossover can do. But again, if it is well integrated, the sound will seem to come from the mains and not the sub. On the other hand if you are running your sub extremely beyond that level, it will make its presence know at all times by constantly emitting a boom and thud that is not at the same level as the mains.

Please explain to me what crossover is and how it effects speakers? I can build a computer but can't figure this out because it's so subjective. Lol
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post #14 of 23 Old 12-05-2013, 07:09 AM
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Please explain to me what crossover is and how it effects speakers? I can build a computer but can't figure this out because it's so subjective. Lol

After your AVR runs the room correction software, go into the settings it created. Make sure ALL speakers are set to small, and the crossover is set to 80hz. The crossover tells the AVR what frequencies to send to the sub and what to send to the rest of the speakers.
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post #15 of 23 Old 12-05-2013, 12:11 PM
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After your AVR runs the room correction software, go into the settings it created. Make sure ALL speakers are set to small, and the crossover is set to 80hz. The crossover tells the AVR what frequencies to send to the sub and what to send to the rest of the speakers.

My current setup is pioneer elite vsx 42 receiver, polk monitor 70 towers, polk cs2 center, and pioneer Andrew Jones BS22 speakers for the rears... So I should still set all speakers on small? What's the reason for that?
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post #16 of 23 Old 12-05-2013, 01:39 PM
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My current setup is pioneer elite vsx 42 receiver, polk monitor 70 towers, polk cs2 center, and pioneer Andrew Jones BS22 speakers for the rears... So I should still set all speakers on small? What's the reason for that?

Depending on how the AVR handles bass management, there are several reasons to set the speakers to small. IF the AVR uses "double bass" it will send the same signal to both the sub and the other speakers...this will cause the frequencies reproduced down to the speakers lower limits to be several db higher than the frequencies below the lower limit, making for a very uneven frequency response. IF the AVR does not do that, it will not send the sub the signals it is sending the other speakers, and only send it .1 information found in movie soundtracks. That means any bass being sent to the other channels below what your speakers can produce is not being produced by anything...basically that information is just missing during playback. (this could be why you were not hearing much bass). The third reason to use the crossover and set all your speakers to small is because doing that will make your AVR much more efficient. Lower frequencies take a lot more power to reproduce than higher notes, by taking that strain off your amp, you are in essence doubling the power of your amplifier. Subs are meant to do one thing...and that is reproduce only the lowest few octaves. When the 6in drivers in your main try to do that, even though they can reproduce reasonable output down to about 35 - 40hz, they are doing it with MUCH higher distortion than your sub can do it. By relieving those small drivers of that load, they will be able to play everything over 80hz with lower distortion, more headroom, and greater dynamic range. The ONLY time it makes sense to set the speakers to large is when you don't have a sub.
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post #17 of 23 Old 12-05-2013, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Audiophile2k View Post

Depending on how the AVR handles bass management, there are several reasons to set the speakers to small. IF the AVR uses "double bass" it will send the same signal to both the sub and the other speakers...this will cause the frequencies reproduced down to the speakers lower limits to be several db higher than the frequencies below the lower limit, making for a very uneven frequency response. IF the AVR does not do that, it will not send the sub the signals it is sending the other speakers, and only send it .1 information found in movie soundtracks. That means any bass being sent to the other channels below what your speakers can produce is not being produced by anything...basically that information is just missing during playback. (this could be why you were not hearing much bass). The third reason to use the crossover and set all your speakers to small is because doing that will make your AVR much more efficient. Lower frequencies take a lot more power to reproduce than higher notes, by taking that strain off your amp, you are in essence doubling the power of your amplifier. Subs are meant to do one thing...and that is reproduce only the lowest few octaves. When the 6in drivers in your main try to do that, even though they can reproduce reasonable output down to about 35 - 40hz, they are doing it with MUCH higher distortion than your sub can do it. By relieving those small drivers of that load, they will be able to play everything over 80hz with lower distortion, more headroom, and greater dynamic range. The ONLY time it makes sense to set the speakers to large is when you don't have a sub.

Very informative post. Thank you very much..... Reading the technical part is helping me to understand this a bit more.
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post #18 of 23 Old 12-31-2013, 10:08 PM
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I know you want to hear your sub, but please consider the good advice Audiophile2k has given you and turn the volume control on the sub down until running the MCACC sets the subwoofer trim close to zero. I prefer zero +/-3dB but +/-5dB will work too.
The Polk sub is pretty good in its price class, so it should be a significant step up in quality over the HTIB sub you are accustomed to.
Problem is you are used to the one note wonder subwoofer which was probably also not correctly integrated with the rest of the speakers.
Bass really should not be thump thumpity thump, all that does is annoy the neighbors.
Bass is actually music or sound effects that adds depth and richness to the sound and has a tactile presence that you can feel.
Feeling it does not mean it makes your heart hurt.
If you are used to nothing but thump thump thump you may feel like you are missing the bass, but the truth is you have been missing the bass all along.
Give Audiophile2k's recommendations a two week trial, if you still don't like it you can always crank up the volume knob on the sub and set the AVR trim as high as you want too.

In the Pioneer for initial setup go into the speaker menu and set all the speakers to small and the crossover to 80Hz, don't use the SW Plus setting since this will tell the Pioneer to send bass to the speakers and the subwoofer, you can try that setting later if you need to.
In the setup menu tell the MCACC to keep your speaker settings and run the calibration.
Keep doing this and adjust the volume on the sub until the auto cal sets the sub channel trim close to zero.
Once this is achieved, give it a chance to grow on you.
If not satisfied raise the sub trim in the AVR up 2 or 3dB, this will make the sub louder than the speakers by the amount you increase the trim level.
If still not satisfied try setting the sub setting in the AVR to SW Plus.
Good luck.
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post #19 of 23 Old 01-01-2014, 01:46 AM
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Originally Posted by chashint View Post

I know you want to hear your sub, but please consider the good advice Audiophile2k has given you and turn the volume control on the sub down until running the MCACC sets the subwoofer trim close to zero. I prefer zero +/-3dB but +/-5dB will work too.
The Polk sub is pretty good in its price class, so it should be a significant step up in quality over the HTIB sub you are accustomed to.
Problem is you are used to the one note wonder subwoofer which was probably also not correctly integrated with the rest of the speakers.
Bass really should not be thump thumpity thump, all that does is annoy the neighbors.
Bass is actually music or sound effects that adds depth and richness to the sound and has a tactile presence that you can feel.
Feeling it does not mean it makes your heart hurt.
If you are used to nothing but thump thump thump you may feel like you are missing the bass, but the truth is you have been missing the bass all along.
Give Audiophile2k's recommendations a two week trial, if you still don't like it you can always crank up the volume knob on the sub and set the AVR trim as high as you want too.

In the Pioneer for initial setup go into the speaker menu and set all the speakers to small and the crossover to 80Hz, don't use the SW Plus setting since this will tell the Pioneer to send bass to the speakers and the subwoofer, you can try that setting later if you need to.
In the setup menu tell the MCACC to keep your speaker settings and run the calibration.
Keep doing this and adjust the volume on the sub until the auto cal sets the sub channel trim close to zero.
Once this is achieved, give it a chance to grow on you.
If not satisfied raise the sub trim in the AVR up 2 or 3dB, this will make the sub louder than the speakers by the amount you increase the trim level.
If still not satisfied try setting the sub setting in the AVR to SW Plus.
Good luck.

Thank you for the great post. I will reread it when it is not 4am! lol
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post #20 of 23 Old 01-04-2014, 01:12 PM
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I will investigate this today....
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post #21 of 23 Old 01-06-2014, 08:36 AM
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I have the PSW505 with two pairs of vintage bookshelf speakers-KEF C-40 with dual 8"drivers and B&W 601se-all driven with a very cheap Sony 7.1 receiver, and I too first expected the "thump" like a disco set up or something. Only after letting the setup run as it wanted for a couple weeks did I finally accept that the sound was great-it was my expectations of the windows cracking or at least my butt to feel it - that were in error.

This setup is about 80%-90% music and the rest for gaming. in games, the bass does a journeyman job in reproducing explosions-no windows cracking but I've had to tone it down because I'm sure it's much too loud for the neighbors at 3:00a.m.!

I plan to upgrade the sub-let's face it; it's a bit out of its league with these bookshelf speakers, but for now, it's doing its job just fine. This setup is near-field, in a small room, and it's the replacement sound system for my PC, so of course it's not the typical setup. I know-2 sets of speakers for near-field? But I just can't decide which pair sounds better, and really, it's such a lush sound, I can't bear the thought of removing one set or the other. hehehe. I haven't done it yet, but I do have a couple of fairly nice center channel speakers to use. So far 2.1 has been more than adequate.

i7-2600k @4.4ghz/gtx 780(stock clocks)/Samsung 830 @256gb/WD Veloc. 1TB/Sound via Sony 7.1ch cheapo/B&W 601se/KEF C-40(dual-8"driver mini-towers)/SVS PB-1000 sub/FiiO E17 Alpen DAC/Audio Technica M50 headphones(never used! heheh)/Crossover 2560x1440 monitor
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post #22 of 23 Old 03-11-2014, 04:37 PM
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I had a Velodyne HGS12 and will admit it was a nice sub but I must admit for the money the polk psw505 is worth every penny. I have a Onkyo TX-SR 806 with Polk Monitor 70's as fronts, Polk Monitor 60's as rears, Polk CSI5 Center and Polk Monitor 40's as Surrounds with 2 Polk PSW505'S. I can honestly say I'm super happy with the set-up. From Music to movies it kick a$$.
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post #23 of 23 Old 03-11-2014, 04:51 PM
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By the way.. Polk on Ebay has the PSW505 Sub on sale for $174.99 Free Shipping.
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