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post #1 of 34 Old 06-27-2014, 10:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Home Theater Lacks Bass When Playing Music

Hello All,

I'm sure this has been addressed over the ages, but I didn't find my answer via search so here we go.

As the title suggests, I'm looking for feedback on potential reasons why my HT setup lacks bass when listening to music.

System Infos

Receiver - Pioneer VSX-1121
Mains/Center - Polk Monitor 60/CS20
Sub - SVS PC12-NSD

My receiver has the typical auto calibrate feature, which I have used. My speakers size is set to 'small', and my crossover is set to 80hz (though I've changed this to 120, 100, and 60 is the past). With this configuration, movies are astronimcally great in terms of bass. Terminator Salvation, in particular, was terrifying at times with the amount of rumbling coming from the SVS. Point here is that I think the setup is good to go to produce bass.

So back to my main issue. Music through this system lacks bass in a big way. Granted, most of the music I play comes from my iPod, and I understand that compression = loss of dynamics. But even if I play a CD I get the same results (the only disc I have with a substantial amount of bass is the first John Legend album).

To put it in perspective - I have that same album on my iPod. Playing that album on my iPod in my CAR (2009 Ford Flex with factory stereo)sounds better than the CD does on my HT system.

Are HT generally just not that great at reproducing bass from music? I mean, if I'm watching a movie, and the soundtrack has music with a lot of bass, the SVS shakes the house. That is very confusing and a little frustrating. In any case, any input would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for reading,


Shaun

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post #2 of 34 Old 06-27-2014, 01:04 PM
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You may just like more bass and autoclibration set the bass to be balanced with the mains.
The avr should have a setting to disable auto EQ and adjust the bass and treble. Also, make sure the loudness control is set to on. You can also turn the sub level up on the avr.

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post #3 of 34 Old 06-27-2014, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by derrickdj1 View Post
You may just like more bass and autoclibration set the bass to be balanced with the mains.
The avr should have a setting to disable auto EQ and adjust the bass and treble. Also, make sure the loudness control is set to on. You can also turn the sub level up on the avr.
Thank you for the response. I have adjusted the EQ manually already as well, and I pretty much always have 'loudness' set to on.

Is it normal to have to adjust the level of the sub when you listen to music? I would think the bass output *should* be equal regardless if I'm watching a movie or listening to music. Again, in movies, the effects are amazing in terms of bass output, and music in a movie shakes the house as well. It's just much weaker output from the sub when I pop in a disc or connect my iPod.


Shaun
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post #4 of 34 Old 06-27-2014, 03:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sketterman1981 View Post
Thank you for the response. I have adjusted the EQ manually already as well, and I pretty much always have 'loudness' set to on.

Is it normal to have to adjust the level of the sub when you listen to music? I would think the bass output *should* be equal regardless if I'm watching a movie or listening to music. Again, in movies, the effects are amazing in terms of bass output, and music in a movie shakes the house as well. It's just much weaker output from the sub when I pop in a disc or connect my iPod.


Shaun
Sounds like (another pun!) your AVR is causing the issue. Are you listening in stereo or pure direct mode?

With my system I usually have to turn the bass down a few dbs with music. I listen in stereo mode. When listening in any of the multi channel music modes I lose a lot of the bass.

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post #5 of 34 Old 06-27-2014, 06:01 PM
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I have a Pioneer SC 35 and find the bass OK with music and movie. The comment on pure direct, direct and other sound modes could be a problem. If anything, I am turning down the bass.

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post #6 of 34 Old 06-27-2014, 09:20 PM
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There is also the issue of dynamic range. Movie soundtracks have a lot more dynamic range than typical popular music released in the last 15-20 years. When the bass does come on with movies, the greater dynamic range creates a bigger impression (even if it isn't necessarily louder than a CD). It could also be a room issue--upper bass frequencies might be caught in a null where the lower frequencies (lower than typically found in music) are either fine or even overly boosted. If possible, moving the sub (even a relatively short distance from where it is now) might make a big difference for that upper bass. Just a thought.
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post #7 of 34 Old 06-28-2014, 09:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sketterman1981 View Post
To put it in perspective - I have that same album on my iPod. Playing that album on my iPod in my CAR (2009 Ford Flex with factory stereo)sounds better than the CD does on my HT system.
Your car (and car speakers) is probably emphasizing certain bass frequencies that you prefer. Or your room could be sucking out some of the midbass frequencies (my guess is that the midbass is where the difference would be for music).

In addition to the effect of the speakers (and to some small extent, the electronics, depending on whether there is EQ or not), every room/space is different and effects the sound differently.

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post #8 of 34 Old 06-28-2014, 01:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Kini62 View Post
Sounds like (another pun!) your AVR is causing the issue. Are you listening in stereo or pure direct mode?

With my system I usually have to turn the bass down a few dbs with music. I listen in stereo mode. When listening in any of the multi channel music modes I lose a lot of the bass.
My receiver has a 'dedicated' mode for iPod use called Neural Surround. I was playing around with all the different modes my receiver has this morning. The Pro Logic 2 Music mode seems to give me the greatest amount of bass response, followed closely by the Neural Surround mode. Either way, though, not very impressive. I certainly never have to reduce the gain on my sub, or the bass in the receiver for music. I wish that was the problem haha! If I'm listening to a CD I'll just chose Stereo (or what is 2.1 for my receiver).

Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post
Your car (and car speakers) is probably emphasizing certain bass frequencies that you prefer. Or your room could be sucking out some of the midbass frequencies (my guess is that the midbass is where the difference would be for music).

In addition to the effect of the speakers (and to some small extent, the electronics, depending on whether there is EQ or not), every room/space is different and effects the sound differently.
My room is definitely an issue. My house layout is very open, so I don't have a room with great acoustics. Still, though, movies really are impressive in terms of bass. So I could say that my room size/layout is bad, or whatever, but it doesnt take away the fact that everything has great bass (including games), except for music.


One thing I did discover today - I used my Wii to get on Youtube and I played a song that I have on my iPod "Sail" by Awolnation. Stangely (or not?), the Youtube video of this song had better bass than my iPod. I don't know, maybe this is all normal, or my sub just isnt very musical.
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post #9 of 34 Old 06-28-2014, 01:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Ovation View Post
There is also the issue of dynamic range. Movie soundtracks have a lot more dynamic range than typical popular music released in the last 15-20 years. When the bass does come on with movies, the greater dynamic range creates a bigger impression (even if it isn't necessarily louder than a CD). It could also be a room issue--upper bass frequencies might be caught in a null where the lower frequencies (lower than typically found in music) are either fine or even overly boosted. If possible, moving the sub (even a relatively short distance from where it is now) might make a big difference for that upper bass. Just a thought.
I've read some info on what you are saying about movie soundtracks. Seems they have a dedicated channel for LFE, and that plus the better dynamic range, as you said, could be the reason I'm getting lack-luster bass performance with music. I'm considering moving the sub around the room a bit, but easier said than done! Keeping it where it's been, I played some music with bass and walked around my whole living space looking for some sweet spots. They seem to be just below listening level, which I found strange. Hopefully moving the sub a few feet one way or the other can make that difference.
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post #10 of 34 Old 06-28-2014, 01:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sketterman1981 View Post
My room is definitely an issue. My house layout is very open, so I don't have a room with great acoustics. Still, though, movies really are impressive in terms of bass. So I could say that my room size/layout is bad, or whatever, but it doesnt take away the fact that everything has great bass (including games), except for music.


One thing I did discover today - I used my Wii to get on Youtube and I played a song that I have on my iPod "Sail" by Awolnation. Stangely (or not?), the Youtube video of this song had better bass than my iPod. I don't know, maybe this is all normal, or my sub just isnt very musical.
It's not that your sub is not musicial. No way that a Ford Flex factory stereo produces better bass SQ than the PC12. All the components in an entire Ford Flex stereo system probably cost less than the PC12 (from a manufacturing stand point). lol

Given that you like a song better of Youtube than off your ipod, then it's some other part of the signal chain coupled with the fact that you probably like some part of the bass EQd more for some bass frequencies. Sounds to me like you need EQ to play with. See if you can install an EQ app on your iPod or a music player that has a graphical EQ for you to experiment with.

How long have you had the PC12-NSD?

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post #11 of 34 Old 06-28-2014, 01:59 PM
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it may be your AVR with the speakers set small might be the issue on 2 channel.
try setting them to large and see what happens. if your AVR sees 2 channel it may be
drawing the sub from those speakers set small, large will open up the freq range.
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post #12 of 34 Old 06-28-2014, 02:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post
Your car (and car speakers) is probably emphasizing certain bass frequencies that you prefer.
So much this.
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post #13 of 34 Old 06-28-2014, 02:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post
It's not that your sub is not musicial. No way that a Ford Flex factory stereo produces better bass SQ than the PC12. All the components in an entire Ford Flex stereo system probably cost less than the PC12 (from a manufacturing stand point). lol

Given that you like a song better of Youtube than off your ipod, then it's some other part of the signal chain coupled with the fact that you probably like some part of the bass EQd more for some bass frequencies. Sounds to me like you need EQ to play with. See if you can install an EQ app on your iPod or a music player that has a graphical EQ for you to experiment with.

How long have you had the PC12-NSD?
Lol so true about the Ford haha! I'm going to look into an app that can help. I think it's the fact that it's an iPod. Probably the compression in those aac files. I'm sure others out there have great results doing the same thing though, but it is what it is I guess.

The good news -Used the Wii again to get on Youtube and searched for some 'bass test' tracks. Listened to quite a few, and one in particular just blew me away. Definitely nothing wrong with my sub lol. Windows in the house were rattling, floor was shaking, and when I laughed out loud and how great it sounded, my voice 'wobbled' with the bass (if that makes any sense at all).

Thanks for all the feedback everyone, it is greatly appreciated!


Shaun
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post #14 of 34 Old 06-28-2014, 04:31 PM
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Change the subwoofer setting in MCACC from yes to plus.
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post #15 of 34 Old 06-28-2014, 05:41 PM
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What's that saying don't hate the player hate the game. But when it comes to bass it's the player. Get a Velodyne, doesn't even have to be the latest model. A CHT or DPS 10 or 12 for $150 or less.

I was able to find a CHT-10 in great cond from an ebay seller who happened to be pawn shop 30 miles from our home. Nobody bidded except for me so I got it for $49 no shipping costs I picked it up person. I found a VX-10 for $75 an 07 model. These vintage models were built like Ford tough so don't worry if you see the date mfg back in 01. Your SVS is great for movies like Age of Extinction but when you want tight accurate clean seamless bass for music there's no substitute for a Velo for that price.

And when you're content with it for music. Now put it next to the SVS for action movies & you 'll see it ain't no slouch either in that dept. I better run for cover now before the fan boys come-a-looking for blood so adios happy hunting.

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post #16 of 34 Old 06-28-2014, 06:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sketterman1981 View Post
I've read some info on what you are saying about movie soundtracks. Seems they have a dedicated channel for LFE, and that plus the better dynamic range, as you said, could be the reason I'm getting lack-luster bass performance with music. I'm considering moving the sub around the room a bit, but easier said than done! Keeping it where it's been, I played some music with bass and walked around my whole living space looking for some sweet spots. They seem to be just below listening level, which I found strange. Hopefully moving the sub a few feet one way or the other can make that difference.
For more bass i moved my sub to the corner of the room which was a meter from where it was and it made a huge difference to the sound in movies. I sat it on a sub riser which i got from Auralex which rose it up of the floor also.

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post #17 of 34 Old 06-28-2014, 07:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sketterman1981 View Post
Lol so true about the Ford haha! I'm going to look into an app that can help. I think it's the fact that it's an iPod. Probably the compression in those aac files. I'm sure others out there have great results doing the same thing though, but it is what it is I guess.

The good news -Used the Wii again to get on Youtube and searched for some 'bass test' tracks. Listened to quite a few, and one in particular just blew me away. Definitely nothing wrong with my sub lol. Windows in the house were rattling, floor was shaking, and when I laughed out loud and how great it sounded, my voice 'wobbled' with the bass (if that makes any sense at all).
High bit rate AAC is very, very good. It can often be virtually indistinguishable from lossless, and is certainly as good as YouTube.

If you are hooking up your iPod via the a cable from your headphone jack, you probably could improve the sound a little by using an LOD cable . This would bypass the headphone amp and give it direct signal from the iPods internal DAC. Just make certain if you have a very new iPod version that it doesn't use lightning adapters instead. If it does, probably a way to get a cable that sends digital directly to your receiver and lets the receiver decode it.

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post #18 of 34 Old 06-28-2014, 09:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zoey67 View Post
What's that saying don't hate the player hate the game. But when it comes to bass it's the player. Get a Velodyne, doesn't even have to be the latest model. A CHT or DPS 10 or 12 for $150 or less.

I was able to find a CHT-10 in great cond from an ebay seller who happened to be pawn shop 30 miles from our home. Nobody bidded except for me so I got it for $49 no shipping costs I picked it up person. I found a VX-10 for $75 an 07 model. These vintage models were built like Ford tough so don't worry if you see the date mfg back in 01. Your SVS is great for movies like Age of Extinction but when you want tight accurate clean seamless bass for music there's no substitute for a Velo for that price.

And when you're content with it for music. Now put it next to the SVS for action movies & you 'll see it ain't no slouch either in that dept. I better run for cover now before the fan boys come-a-looking for blood so adios happy hunting.
not a fanboy, and not trying to start a fight here...but what exactly is a different sub going to do in this situation? can't say i've ever heard that particular velodyne sub, but i have heard others in that price range and can tell you it doesn't hold a candle to the SVS here. i'd be curious to hear your thoughts on what makes a velodyne better in the OP's situation. it sounds to me like it is either a settings issue, placement issue, or possibly just the compression of the original audio signal that is causing the problem. i've been exposed to many different subs, and the SVS is certainly no slouch and plays music very well, and i truthfully have not heard a single velodyne that i would take over the SVS...but that's just me.

OP, double check your settings in the ipod as well. many forget that there are different EQ settings that may boost the bass levels in the IPOD itself, which may give you the boost you are looking for. other than that, try switching to "large" and see if that helps for music. just don't forget to switch back for movies.
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post #19 of 34 Old 06-28-2014, 09:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post
High bit rate AAC is very, very good. It can often be virtually indistinguishable from lossless, and is certainly as good as YouTube.

If you are hooking up your iPod via the a cable from your headphone jack, you probably could improve the sound a little by using an LOD cable . This would bypass the headphone amp and give it direct signal from the iPods internal DAC. Just make certain if you have a very new iPod version that it doesn't use lightning adapters instead. If it does, probably a way to get a cable that sends digital directly to your receiver and lets the receiver decode it.
just curious, but i have an HTC one x with beats audio that engages when headphone jack is plugged in. i tried searching and didn't find any LOD cable for my phone. what are your thoughts on whether the LOD would improve the signal over the headphone jack in this situation? do they even make such a cord for my phone?
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post #20 of 34 Old 06-28-2014, 10:50 PM
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I don't think Android phones have LOD capability.

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post #21 of 34 Old 06-29-2014, 02:03 AM
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Just sounds like a crossover issue, if speakers are set to large, sub won't be active in music.

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post #22 of 34 Old 06-29-2014, 06:49 AM
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If you can get some measurements with REW for both movie and music mode, it should make it clear what's going on. Right now, everyone is just speculating.
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post #23 of 34 Old 06-29-2014, 09:31 AM
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I don't think Android phones have LOD capability.
Not sure what LOD means, but I can connect my Note 3 via HDMI to my AVR and the sound/video quality is great. 1080p
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post #24 of 34 Old 06-29-2014, 11:30 AM
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post #25 of 34 Old 06-29-2014, 02:26 PM
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Not sure what LOD means, but I can connect my Note 3 via HDMI to my AVR and the sound/video quality is great. 1080p
Some Android phones and tablets have USB audio capability, too, for hooking up a DAC.

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post #26 of 34 Old 06-30-2014, 07:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you everyone for the feedback. FWIW, speakers are set to small. If I set them to large, it doesn't let me choose the crossover freq (at least not that I can see), so I leave them set to small. I use a standard iPod cable to connect to the AVR, so the iPod settings are ignored. I prefer it that way actually. I don't like to use extra gain / eq on input devices. Just a personal preference.

Also, Im not one who jumps on any one brand. I chose SVS because the PC-12 was in my price range, and SVS was the only company (again in my range), that would ship the sub to Japan. I'm sure any good brand would make me happy as well, but I have zero complaints with this one. To each their own, no question.

I've narrowed it down to placement. Unfortunately, my options are very limited in that regard. When I play those high-bass YouTube videos, I'm able to locate all the sweet spots in the entire house lol. But I also find all the not so sweet spots where the bass almost disappears, and those are everywhere, including the listening position. It is what it is, I just have to deal with it until we get a new house later in life lol. Movies still kick ass, I'll stick to music on my PC or in the car. Thanks for all the feedback. This is the best community on the web :-)


Shaun
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post #27 of 34 Old 06-30-2014, 02:10 PM
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Came across this thread while doing some research. I think you're giving up too quickly. youtube uses 192kbps AAC (if the source quality supports); you haven't said how you have formatted music on your iPod, but as others have noted, an iPod is capable of very high quality music. Since youtube music plays as you expect with speakers set to small and current subwoofer placement, I suspect that the problem is how your AVR processes different inputs. I don't know anything about your Pioneer, but if you could provide additional info, I'm pretty sure others here can suggest other things to try. My Denon will do odd things depending on the input, like when I switch to the HDMI input to which my PS3 is connected, it drops the center and surround channels until I manually correct from the remote control (Mode = STD).

Movies = goodness - what is the source, and into what AVR input does your player connect?
Do you use this same source for music CDs?
youtube = goodness - what is the source, and into what AVR input is it connected?
iPod = rubbish - into what AVR input does your iPod connect? if not a USB, what kind of adaptor is in between?

Have you checked that there is any signal going to the subwoofer at all when using the iPod or playing a music CD? What is confusing to me is that the Pioneer correctly processes the 2.0 stereo signal of youtube but not of a CD. Maybe that is related to how the different inputs are processed, and that may be something for which there is a setting.

Brian
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post #28 of 34 Old 06-30-2014, 02:16 PM
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No Bass

Quote:
Originally Posted by sketterman1981 View Post
Hello All,

I'm sure this has been addressed over the ages, but I didn't find my answer via search so here we go.

As the title suggests, I'm looking for feedback on potential reasons why my HT setup lacks bass when listening to music.

System Infos

Receiver - Pioneer VSX-1121
Mains/Center - Polk Monitor 60/CS20
Sub - SVS PC12-NSD

My receiver has the typical auto calibrate feature, which I have used. My speakers size is set to 'small', and my crossover is set to 80hz (though I've changed this to 120, 100, and 60 is the past). With this configuration, movies are astronimcally great in terms of bass. Terminator Salvation, in particular, was terrifying at times with the amount of rumbling coming from the SVS. Point here is that I think the setup is good to go to produce bass.

So back to my main issue. Music through this system lacks bass in a big way. Granted, most of the music I play comes from my iPod, and I understand that compression = loss of dynamics. But even if I play a CD I get the same results (the only disc I have with a substantial amount of bass is the first John Legend album).

To put it in perspective - I have that same album on my iPod. Playing that album on my iPod in my CAR (2009 Ford Flex with factory stereo)sounds better than the CD does on my HT system.

Are HT generally just not that great at reproducing bass from music? I mean, if I'm watching a movie, and the soundtrack has music with a lot of bass, the SVS shakes the house. That is very confusing and a little frustrating. In any case, any input would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for reading,


Shaun
I have the same receiver. The sub only fires with Dolby digital 5.1 sources. (This is my HTR for the kids so I have not trouble shot either stereo or pro-logic not firing)
Take a look at page 68 of the manual. It may have to do with the THX Sub setting

Last edited by alphatango; 06-30-2014 at 02:26 PM.
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post #29 of 34 Old 06-30-2014, 03:00 PM
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youtube is 2.0 192kbps AAC and the sub is working correctly with youtube, so there is an LFE output at least in some use cases. I looked at the manual online



There is an LFE indicator that shows whether there is an LFE signal being output or not, that's something to check with each input. I did not see that it will not output LFE unless it's a x.1 source, and the OP's youtube experience confirms that. Setting front speakers to 'small' or SW to 'yes' means all signals below the crossover go to LFE output if I'm reading correctly. There is an additional 'Plus' setting if 'Yes' is chosen, but it isn't clear to me what that does. LFE level is separately adjustable if you want to reduce output, but I don't see where that needs to be set for each input.

Brian
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post #30 of 34 Old 06-30-2014, 03:05 PM
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Sorry, messed up manual link, and still can't quite figure out how to show it as an actual link:

http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/St...ions082911.pdf

Brian
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