Do subwoofers REALLY need to be identical in a duel setup? - AVS | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 20 Old 03-09-2015, 10:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Do subwoofers REALLY need to be identical in a duel setup?

Around half a year ago I purchased a HSU VTF-3 MK4 with the intention of grabbing another one down the road to go duel. It was a good plan until today, when I was informed that the MK4 has been discontinued. So now my single MK4 sits in my theater lonely, and the chances of finding a match are almost zilch.

So how important is it really for the subwoofers to be matching? The sales rep I've been emailing at HSU said that the VTF-3 MK5 would work well with the MK4 with the right placement, but gain matching could be a chore as it's almost double the output (yikes!). What's your guys' opinions on this? Any information regarding placement, gain matching, or anything else with setup would also be greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 20 Old 03-09-2015, 10:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Sportsmaniac13 View Post
Around half a year ago I purchased a HSU VTF-3 MK4 with the intention of grabbing another one down the road to go duel. It was a good plan until today, when I was informed that the MK4 has been discontinued. So now my single MK4 sits in my theater lonely, and the chances of finding a match are almost zilch.

So how important is it really for the subwoofers to be matching? The sales rep I've been emailing at HSU said that the VTF-3 MK5 would work well with the MK4 with the right placement, but gain matching could be a chore as it's almost double the output (yikes!). What's your guys' opinions on this? Any information regarding placement, gain matching, or anything else with setup would also be greatly appreciated.
Need? Not exactly, though most would prefer to have two matching subwoofers.

The VTF-3 Mk4 and VTF-3 Mk5 I cannot see being hard to gain match. Take one at a time, tweak to 72 db (for room correction), after room correction, turn one up, bring it to 9 o'clock position in your receiver, then bring the receiver subwoofer level down to blend with your mains. Then turn the gain off that sub, do the same for sub #2 , use your receiver level to fine tune the sound. Finally, turn both back to 9 o'clock and enjoy your sound!

I would suggest bringing both subs to 72 db and keeping them there, as both subs will likely yield a gain of +3 db together. The volume knobs are too sensitive to tweak well, bring to 9 o'clock and tweak using the receiver sub levels. This will also keep the subwoofer headroom up, as I found with my VTF-3 Mk5 that below 9 o'clock the sub is more boomy and less dynamic.

In fact, you might want to invest in a mid-bass module if you are happy with the bass performance with your VTF-3 mk4. Or sell your VTF-3 mk4 and get the mk 5.

I actually liked the way my VTF-3 mk5 and my BIC America F-12 sounded together, so it is not impossible and will add a dimension to your audio. I hope this helps!

Receiver: Denon X4100
Speakers: Mains: Wave Crest Audio HVL-1, Center: Wave Crest Audio HVL-1, Surrounds: Wave Crest Audio HVL-1, Rear Surrounds: Polk OWM-3
Subwoofer: HSU Research VTF-3 Mk 5
Audyssey Guide for the best sound quality: http://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-spe...ually-try.html
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post #3 of 20 Old 03-09-2015, 11:00 PM
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Another thing is, you can can do what a lot of people do for a secondary subwoofer. See if you can find a used Mk4 on eBay or call HSU and see if they have any. This way you could get matching subs for cheap and do what you want to do.

Receiver: Denon X4100
Speakers: Mains: Wave Crest Audio HVL-1, Center: Wave Crest Audio HVL-1, Surrounds: Wave Crest Audio HVL-1, Rear Surrounds: Polk OWM-3
Subwoofer: HSU Research VTF-3 Mk 5
Audyssey Guide for the best sound quality: http://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-spe...ually-try.html
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post #4 of 20 Old 03-10-2015, 12:20 AM
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If possible, I would try to use the mk4 in a near-field placement and the mk5 where ever it best complements that placement. That way the mk4 won't have to strain to keep up with the mk5.
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post #5 of 20 Old 03-10-2015, 07:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArchonX View Post
Need? Not exactly, though most would prefer to have two matching subwoofers.

The VTF-3 Mk4 and VTF-3 Mk5 I cannot see being hard to gain match. Take one at a time, tweak to 72 db (for room correction), after room correction, turn one up, bring it to 9 o'clock position in your receiver, then bring the receiver subwoofer level down to blend with your mains. Then turn the gain off that sub, do the same for sub #2 , use your receiver level to fine tune the sound. Finally, turn both back to 9 o'clock and enjoy your sound!

I would suggest bringing both subs to 72 db and keeping them there, as both subs will likely yield a gain of +3 db together. The volume knobs are too sensitive to tweak well, bring to 9 o'clock and tweak using the receiver sub levels. This will also keep the subwoofer headroom up, as I found with my VTF-3 Mk5 that below 9 o'clock the sub is more boomy and less dynamic.

In fact, you might want to invest in a mid-bass module if you are happy with the bass performance with your VTF-3 mk4. Or sell your VTF-3 mk4 and get the mk 5.

I actually liked the way my VTF-3 mk5 and my BIC America F-12 sounded together, so it is not impossible and will add a dimension to your audio. I hope this helps!
This sounds like level matching. Gain matching is usually performed with Identical subs. This way one sub will not be overdriven. Level matching non-identical sub is fine and just as good of a technique. I even level match my Identical subs.
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post #6 of 20 Old 03-10-2015, 07:49 AM
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It should work fine....as ShadyJ mentioned, try and place the MK4 closer to the LP and the MK5 where it compliments it in terms of smoothest response. Then level match them.

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post #7 of 20 Old 03-10-2015, 09:11 AM
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As mentioned, place the MK4 nearfield if possible. This will help offset some of the output advantage that the MK 5 has. Also, DO NOT adjust the gain on the sub after Audyssey. This is terrible advice, as you will be adjusting the subs a totally unknown, random amount...might be 3 dB, might be 15.

A better way to do things would be to set each sub individually to 77 dB prior to running room correction. When both subs are on, this will put them at 80-82 dB, which will cause your AVR to set your sub trim around -5 to -7. After Audyssey, adjust your subwoofer trim in your AVR up by 3-6 dB to taste.
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post #8 of 20 Old 03-10-2015, 01:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bear123 View Post
As mentioned, place the MK4 nearfield if possible. This will help offset some of the output advantage that the MK 5 has. Also, DO NOT adjust the gain on the sub after Audyssey. This is terrible advice, as you will be adjusting the subs a totally unknown, random amount...might be 3 dB, might be 15.

A better way to do things would be to set each sub individually to 77 dB prior to running room correction. When both subs are on, this will put them at 80-82 dB, which will cause your AVR to set your sub trim around -5 to -7. After Audyssey, adjust your subwoofer trim in your AVR up by 3-6 dB to taste.
Terrible advice? Funny, I was able to get a BIC America F-12 that pushes a whole 150 watts and my HSU VTF-3 Mk 5 to play together using the exact method I outlined! If I can do that, and it was easy might I add, someone can do he very same thing even more easily with a VTF-3 mk 4.

I have found, being an owner of the VTF-3 mk 5, that the sub needs to be at the recommended 9 o'clock position to sound best, lower than that the sub gets harder to tame and more boomy (or too quiet). Another factor is how sensitive the gain control is on the subs, why mess with that when you get far more control with the receiver level?

Do not be so easy to dismiss advice, especially when it is sound. I was able to get totally different subs, in different ballparks, to sound good together using the very method I suggested. It is not level matching, obviously the more powerful sub will end up at a lower level than the other subwoofer. Using the gain knob on the back of the subs is the exact same thing, with less control....why limit control?

I also have setup a friend's system with a Polk and Klipsch subwoofer, using the exact same method. He loves the sound and I was surprised they sounded good together, so my "terrible advice" worked just fine. Multiple times!

Unreal how people dismiss things so easily without even understanding it is the exact same thing using a more precise method. Actually, I find your advice terrible because ideally you want your sub levels in the receiver to be at 0 when you run room correction. After room correction, you turn your subs up (especially if they are made by Hsu) to 9 o'clock then adjust levels in the receiver and enjoy better sound quality. If you get both subs to 72 db (if you have the rest of your speakers at 75 db), the +3 db gain from running both subs will blend perfectly with your mains. For example, my HSU levels in the receiver ended up at -8 and my BIC was like -2.5 or so. Sounded amazing, actually, because the BIC handles a lot of midrange. So there is nothing "random" about this, what do you think Audyssey would do to get a 600 watt sub to match with a 300 watt sub that could be in different room gain areas? One sub would end up lower than the other in the receiver levels, same exact thing!

I never give advice blindly, having messed with my HSU VTF-3 Mk 5 for a week, I have discovered that the sub sounds better at 9 o'clock and brought back down using the receiver levels than say running it at 8 o'clock or lower, you lose the dynamics and the sub gain knob is too sensitive to fine tune your volume.

The near field advice will work, but if you run the Mk 5 at a lower level than the Mk 4, you accomplish the same thing without having to put your sub so close. If the OP wants to do that and has the room for it, by all means but for example, there is not way I was able to run the BIC closer than my VTF-3 and I found no need to do that. I simply put the VTF-3 mk5 in an area with less room gain (left side of entertainment center) and the BIC on the right (lots of room gain). This helped with the level matching.

In order to dial in 2 subs together, you NEED a SPL. You can do it by ear, sure....but you will likely be way off.

Receiver: Denon X4100
Speakers: Mains: Wave Crest Audio HVL-1, Center: Wave Crest Audio HVL-1, Surrounds: Wave Crest Audio HVL-1, Rear Surrounds: Polk OWM-3
Subwoofer: HSU Research VTF-3 Mk 5
Audyssey Guide for the best sound quality: http://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-spe...ually-try.html

Last edited by ArchonX; 03-10-2015 at 02:09 PM.
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post #9 of 20 Old 03-10-2015, 02:00 PM
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I've been talking with SVS about getting an Ultra to pair with my plus. They've told me that this setup would work well under a few conditions, namely I run the speakers in the same tune and don't mix their boxes with their cylinders. Through the reading I've done, I've discovered that using Room EQ wizard is also going to be necessary to make this work.

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post #10 of 20 Old 03-10-2015, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArchonX View Post
Terrible advice? Funny, I was able to get a BIC America F-12 that pushes a whole 150 watts and my HSU VTF-3 Mk 5 to play together using the exact method I outlined! If I can do that, and it was easy might I add, someone can do he very same thing even more easily with a VTF-3 mk 4.

I have found, being an owner of the VTF-3 mk 5, that the sub needs to be at the recommended 9 o'clock position to sound best, lower than that the sub gets harder to tame and more boomy (or too quiet). Another factor is how sensitive the gain control is on the subs, why mess with that when you get far more control with the receiver level?

Do not be so easy to dismiss advice, especially when it is sound. I was able to get totally different subs, in different ballparks, to sound good together using the very method I suggested. It is not level matching, obviously the more powerful sub will end up at a lower level than the other subwoofer. Using the gain knob on the back of the subs is the exact same thing, with less control....why limit control?

I also have setup a friend's system with a Polk and Klipsch subwoofer, using the exact same method. He loves the sound and I was surprised they sounded good together, so my "terrible advice" worked just fine.

Unreal how people dismiss things so easily without even understanding it is the exact same thing using a more precise method. Actually, I find your advice terrible because ideally you want your sub levels in the receiver to be at 0 when you run room correction. After room correction, you turn your subs up (especially if they are made by Hsu) to 9 o'clock then adjust trim in the receiver and enjoy better sound quality. If you get both subs to 72 db (if you have the rest of your speakers at 75 db), the +3 db gain from running both subs will blend perfectly with your mains (unless you have a huge room. For example, my HSU level ended up at -8 and my BIC was like -2.5 or so. Sounded amazing, actually, because the BIC handles a lot of midrange.

I never give advice blindly, having messed with my HSU VTF-3 Mk 5 for a week, I have discovered that the sub sounds better at 9 o'clock and brought back down using the receiver levels than say running it at 8 o'clock or lower, you lose the dynamics and the sub gain knob is too sensitive to fine tune your volume.

The near field advice will work, but if you run the Mk 5 at a lower level than the Mk 4, you accomplish the same thing without having to put your sub so close. If the OP wants to do that and has the room for it, by all means but for example, there is not way I was able to run the BIC closer than my VTF-3 and I found no need to do that. I simply put the VTF-3 mk5 in an area with less room gain (left side of entertainment center) and the BIC on the right (lots of room gain). This helped with the level matching.

In order to dial in 2 subs together, you NEED a SPL. You can do it by ear, sure....but you will likely be way off.
I realize you don't understand why, but trust me, your advice was bad. Anyone on these forums with experience setting up subs will agree. You don't adjust the gain on the sub after running room correction. Changing the sub gain a totally random, unknown amount after room correction, from a position in which you cannot even hear how it sounds at the MLP, makes no sense. Again, there is no way to tell if you are adjusting the sub level 2 dB, 5 dB, or 15 dB when you do this. So there is no way to tell how far out of calibration you have just made the sub by changing the gain after room correction. This is the WRONG way to do it. If the sub needs to be at 9:00 in order to function properly, so be it. Set it to 9:00 and run room correction. You DO want the sub trim in the AVR to be negative after room correction. The reason for this is two fold. First, room correction almost always sets the subwoofer level lower than most people prefer. By getting the sub trim in the -6 to -9 region after Audyssey, you can then turn the sub up an exact, known amount from the MLP until it sounds good. This will typically be 3-6 dB for most users. Instead of using, in your words, the sub gain knob which is "too sensitive to fine tune your volume". The second reason for this method is that it allows you to run the sub hot, to taste, without exceeding 0 in your AVR's subwoofer trim, which has been known to clip the signal. Accuracy is better than a blind guess. You mention to not so easily dismiss advice, especially when it is sound. This is good advice that new members with limited experience should keep in mind.
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post #11 of 20 Old 03-10-2015, 08:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bear123 View Post
I realize you don't understand why, but trust me, your advice was bad. Anyone on these forums with experience setting up subs will agree. You don't adjust the gain on the sub after running room correction. Changing the sub gain a totally random, unknown amount after room correction, from a position in which you cannot even hear how it sounds at the MLP, makes no sense. Again, there is no way to tell if you are adjusting the sub level 2 dB, 5 dB, or 15 dB when you do this. So there is no way to tell how far out of calibration you have just made the sub by changing the gain after room correction. This is the WRONG way to do it. If the sub needs to be at 9:00 in order to function properly, so be it. Set it to 9:00 and run room correction. You DO want the sub trim in the AVR to be negative after room correction. The reason for this is two fold. First, room correction almost always sets the subwoofer level lower than most people prefer. By getting the sub trim in the -6 to -9 region after Audyssey, you can then turn the sub up an exact, known amount from the MLP until it sounds good. This will typically be 3-6 dB for most users. Instead of using, in your words, the sub gain knob which is "too sensitive to fine tune your volume". The second reason for this method is that it allows you to run the sub hot, to taste, without exceeding 0 in your AVR's subwoofer trim, which has been known to clip the signal. Accuracy is better than a blind guess. You mention to not so easily dismiss advice, especially when it is sound. This is good advice that new members with limited experience should keep in mind.
Oh here we go, your opinion is different than mine, so now all of AVS does it your way and the "people like me" do it my way. Implying I have no experience or know nothing and do not even understand why I do not know it. Gee, that's original...

Now that you put me to school, my turn. This is not my first rodeo, subwoofer, or experience with Audyssey. I am in my 30's and had the first receiver that had room correction (Pioneer) and one of the first Audyssey equipped AVR (Onkyo). I have owned a lot of different receivers, and I have tried everything to wring every last bit of quality out of everything I have owned. I have experience with Dirac, Arc, Audyssey, YPAO, MCACC, and Sony's auto correct (cannot think of the name offhand but it does not do much anyhow.)

I have done your way, I have done what Audyssey and Denon tell me to do (put the subwoofer at 75 db), in fact my Denon tells you to do that in the setup. I have set my subwoofer hot and guess how it sounded after Audyssey ran? Like utter crap...my speakers were wrong, there was a lack of dynamics, and the subwoofer sounded either too low or boomy. You cannot have the sub at 9 o'clock and then do auto calibration in my room, it is much too loud and the end result is bad.

Now here is what is the truth...there is NOTHING random about my way, that is just your way of trying to seem more knowledgeable. I mentioned using a SPL meter...you must have missed it! So your points of me being "random" or "not knowing how many decibels I am raising the gain" are convenience statements. There are numerous ways to do this, my method is using a SPL and my ears....seems to work every single time with great results. The SPL even tells me how much I am changing things, so simply writing down the results allows me to bring it back to how it was.

My method:

Pre-room correction: Bring subwoofer gain to where Audyssey reads 72 db (This will make subwoofer level after correction at a 0 value, which is ideal!). Ask people where your sub level should be ideally after calibration....ask Audyssey itself. Almost everyone knows after calibration of any system, ideally your sub would be at 0 level in your receiver....this has lots of benefits including EQing your speakers properly

After room correction: Bring subwoofer gain to 9 o'clock. Use SPL (oops no randomness) and bring subwoofer down to preference (75db for me), 78 if you like hot and 72 if you just want bass emphasis (randomness is lacking). I am usually at -7 at 9 o'clock...allows me to do exactly what you are saying is the reason....I can turn it up or down as needs be and go right back to 0 and then turn gain down until my SPL reads the same as it did after finishing Audyssey. Considering my Sub was at 71 db after Audyssey, I could also bring my sub (now set at 9 o 'clock) right down to 71 if I chose. Now my sub is at exactly the same level but I increased headroom on my HSU subwoofer, so it would be more dynamic.

Does Audyssey know your preference or is it god? No it is designed to bring your system to a flat response and correct for room errors...this is why there are tons of people who hate it and tweak it after. I do not like the end result if I keep my HSU at 8 o'clock (where it ends up) and my sub sounded no where near as good. I have NEVER liked the way Audyssey has handled subwoofers and I am not the only one.

I will give you a challenge. I will setup Audyssey...first your way and then do it my way, then I will bring 5 people and see which sound they prefer...your way or mine. If everyone on AVS does it your way, like you claim, then I am proud to know I found a better way than a whole community. I will even record it with a high quality mic and see what people on here think. I bet you my way sounds a hell of a lot better...I know because I tried it!

Lastly, do you have a HSU VTF-3 Mk 5 subwoofer? Do you have a Denon X4100 it is hooked into? If I own it, found it works perfect for me and produced a better result than other ways (I tried everything I read of or was suggested), do you not think I know more than someone like yourself who claims to know so much? If it worked for me, has all the benefits you listed, and sounds great after...is that not the goal? Or is there something magical that your way does to make things better than great? My way is repeatable, tweakable, and able to be measured.

Receiver: Denon X4100
Speakers: Mains: Wave Crest Audio HVL-1, Center: Wave Crest Audio HVL-1, Surrounds: Wave Crest Audio HVL-1, Rear Surrounds: Polk OWM-3
Subwoofer: HSU Research VTF-3 Mk 5
Audyssey Guide for the best sound quality: http://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-spe...ually-try.html

Last edited by ArchonX; 03-10-2015 at 09:13 PM.
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post #12 of 20 Old 03-10-2015, 09:16 PM
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The whole reason to use the AVR's LFE level to adjust volume is so you don't lose a precise point of reference which you probably would if you adjusted sub volume by the sub's gain knob. However, if you are calibrating by an SPL meter, you can use the sub's gain knob to adjust volume without fear of losing your point of reference as long as you keep track of your SPL meter's measurements. It takes the sub's level out of Audyssey's hands, but if you know what you are doing, the result can be the same. Anyway, ArchonX, I think you are getting too defensive about bear's reply. I would recommend rebutting his remarks with less emotion. If he isn't convinced by your method, I wouldn't worry about it.
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post #13 of 20 Old 03-10-2015, 09:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllenA07 View Post
I've been talking with SVS about getting an Ultra to pair with my plus. They've told me that this setup would work well under a few conditions, namely I run the speakers in the same tune and don't mix their boxes with their cylinders. Through the reading I've done, I've discovered that using Room EQ wizard is also going to be necessary to make this work.
REW would be the best way for sure, but I would not say "need". You can do exactly what you want to do, it just might take a little more work and patience to get the best end result.

Besides the nay-sayers, if you have a SPL you should be able to do exactly what I told you. If not, do it which way you feel is best or try it and see what happens...but my method works perfectly and has in multiple instances.

I think the only issues you would have is if you find one of your subs resides in a null or if you try and do it by ear. Always put the more powerful subwoofer in the location that seems to have less room gain. Not only will this make up some of the power difference, the more powerful sub will have an easier time if there is a null there. Always take advantage of your room, which is the final speaker.

Receiver: Denon X4100
Speakers: Mains: Wave Crest Audio HVL-1, Center: Wave Crest Audio HVL-1, Surrounds: Wave Crest Audio HVL-1, Rear Surrounds: Polk OWM-3
Subwoofer: HSU Research VTF-3 Mk 5
Audyssey Guide for the best sound quality: http://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-spe...ually-try.html
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post #14 of 20 Old 03-10-2015, 09:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post
The whole reason to use the AVR's LFE level to adjust volume is so you don't lose a precise point of reference which you probably would if you adjusted sub volume by the sub's gain knob. However, if you are calibrating by an SPL meter, you can use the sub's gain knob to adjust volume without fear of losing your point of reference as long as you keep track of your SPL meter's measurements. It takes the sub's level out of Audyssey's hands, but if you know what you are doing, the result can be the same. Anyway, ArchonX, I think you are getting too defensive about bear's reply. I would recommend rebutting his remarks with less emotion. If he isn't convinced by your method, I wouldn't worry about it.
I just hate when people act like you do not know what you are doing and it is an attitude prevalent here, but I agree with you. I did edit my response a bit but my message stays the same.

But you are correct on what you said and a point Bear is missing...there are multiple ways to end up with a similar final result. My sub will be better than Audyssey set it, and just as blended as someone doing it his way. My way just makes the HSU have more dynamics and goes by what even HSU says to do themselves, but I found it works on other subs too.

Good points though, on everything you said.

Receiver: Denon X4100
Speakers: Mains: Wave Crest Audio HVL-1, Center: Wave Crest Audio HVL-1, Surrounds: Wave Crest Audio HVL-1, Rear Surrounds: Polk OWM-3
Subwoofer: HSU Research VTF-3 Mk 5
Audyssey Guide for the best sound quality: http://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-spe...ually-try.html
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post #15 of 20 Old 03-11-2015, 05:15 AM
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Sell the Mk4.

Buy two Mk5's.

The Mk4 is still a very well regarded sub and you'd likely get good money for it. Obviously you'll have to kick over a bit of extra coin to make up the balance of cost of a Mk4 v a Mk5 but, if you were going to buy a Mk5 anyway, as your second sub, dual Mk5's will be significantly superior to dual Mk4's.
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post #16 of 20 Old 03-11-2015, 05:41 AM
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As long as their LF roll off is very similar, I wouldn't worry about mixing the two.

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post #17 of 20 Old 03-11-2015, 05:42 AM
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ArchonX, I suppose we can agree to disagree. I don't think many people will agree with you that you should manually adjust the gain on a sub AFTER Audyssey. It's just a bad idea, especially for most new people who will totally screw up their calibration more than they realize.

An easier, and totally accurate method is to simply run room correction so that the subwoofer trim lands around -7 or -8 to begin with....no innacurrate fiddling with the gain knob after room correction needed, since not everyone owns an SPL meter. Those with AVR's with room correction do not need an SPL meter to calibrate their system, so this method works for everyone, not just the few who have a stand alone SPL meter. Simply adjust sub trim in AVR up after calibration....from the MLP, where you can actually hear what you are doing. No, it should not be at 0, as you then have no way to turn the sub up from the MLP an exact amnount while listening to it, without risk of clipping the signal(due to going to high on the trim in the AVR). Maybe going up 3 dB from calibration in the AVR will sound good, maybe its 6. But you can hear what you are doing this way and know exactly how much you are increasing sub output. Your way gets there, but in a more complicated manner that requires more measurement gear. There is also no need to turn the gain up some random, unkown, imprecise amount AFTER room correction with this method. Even if someone had an SPL meter, which not everyone does, why go by the meter from a position in which you cannot even hear the sub properly? I see no reason to make the process more complicated and less precise than it needs to be.

There are plenty of new people who have manually tried adjusting their sub gain knob up, then wonder why their sub is bottoming out on movies. It's hard to tell if they have randomly turned it up 5 dB, or 20. Again, not everyone has an SPL meter. Even if they do, there is really no reason to make things more complicated.

Last edited by bear123; 03-11-2015 at 06:01 AM.
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post #18 of 20 Old 03-11-2015, 06:13 AM
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I'm not going to debate methods (I'm not expert enough to do that for subwoofers) but I can say for certain it is pos to make two different subs work well together. I did a lot of reading, used REW, did A LOT of trial and error setups but was able to integrate a ten year old Boston Acoustics PV900 (a competent sub in its day, but not a spectacular performer) and an SVS PB2000 last summer. The key was to place the weaker sub near field and away from the walls (next to my centre seat). After many measurements (I have an Anti-Mode 8033, not Audyssey) and various gain settings on each sub (after the lengthy search for a place to put the Boston), I got a much better overall performance (naturally with the new sub)--especially given my placement limitations for each sub.

I wasn't intending to use both (I was planning to put the Boston in the living room) but even with the Anti-Mode, I had a problematic, narrow dip that wouldn't go away. The Boston effectively acts as a "null compensator" and cancels the dip. Away from the walls it loses low end boundary gain and doesn't attempt to "keep up" with the SVS. I have a graph that shows my results (and an SVS advisor told me my results were unlikely to greatly improve within my limited placement options even with another SVS sub--didn't try to "upsell" me, which I greatly appreciated). I will dig up the graph and post it.

Now I don't want to overstate the case. I'm sure if I had an even better sub than the Boston I could improve the curve, particularly if I had more placement options. Also XT32 or Anthem's ARC would probably give me a better outcome still (even with my Boston). But I got a major improvement overall with my current gear and the Boston is not insignificant to those results. So yes, it is possible to make different subs work together nicely. But it's a lot of work (or fun--depends on your tolerance for trial and error). I should note I also have some home made bass traps that measured well with REW when I installed them, but the graphs for those measurements were lost on a failed hard drive and I didn't bother measuring without them this time.

The first graph (below, left) shows the two subs working together in their final positions, but with no Anti-Mode (so no EQ) applied. The scale is not the same as in the second chart (so the curves are shaped a bit differently) but the general information remains valid. As you can see, the SVS by itself shows a considerable peak at around 22hz and a considerable dip at around 45hz. Adding the PV900, well away from the walls (no major boundary gain) adds a bit of output from about 33-35hz and up, but more importantly, it eliminates the dip around 45hz (something an EQ system, by itself, cannot do). So even with mismatched subs, I get a better curve than the SVS alone. Of course, below 35hz, the SVS is doing all the heavy lifting (when my Boston was placed where the SVS is now, it had better output below 35hz, but nothing near what the SVS put out). However, as expected, the large peak around 22hz, while fun for a few minutes, is far from ideal.

The second graph (below right and re-configured to a scale suggested by the SVS advisor, which he told me was the default scale for proper comparisons) shows the benefits of adding the Anti-Mode into the equation. The green trace was the SVS alone with no EQ (so the same as the blue trace on the first graph, though a second measurement taken, accidentally, at a lower output--the bump at 22hz would look more impressive if taken at the same output as the purple/pink trace). The Antimode with SVS alone flattened the peak nicely (purple/pink trace) and narrowed the dip around 45hz but deepened it. Adding the Boston sub to the SVS and Anti-Mode led to the red trace, getting rid of the dip at 45hz. Again, I'm sure there is improvement possible, but I'm quite satisfied with the results. The EQ and the two subs, even though mismatched, combine to create a far better overall bass experience than I'd ever had in any of my setups.

To get to that point, I took advantage of an empty household last July and devoted about 36 hours over a weekend to reading, measuring, moving the sub(s), lather, rinse, repeat. From this I've concluded I will never have a home cinema setup without at least 2 subs ever again. Funds and space allowing, some day I'll try with 3 or 4 (though I'll probably go "whole hog" and make sure they're identical--although two different SVS advisors suggested in my specific current setup, I may actually be benefitting more from unmatched subs than a matched set--YMMV).
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Last edited by Ovation; 03-11-2015 at 07:57 AM. Reason: added graphs to illustrate effects of two unmatched subs working together
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Whew, theres some heated point making being made here. For what its worth, when I added my PC-Ultra to my set up I had to match it with my PC12+. They're very similar subs, same amp, almost identical enclosure, but the Ultra has the beefier TV12 driver than the 12.4 driver in my plus. I called SVS and what Ed told me was pretty simple and I think it would work with most similar but not identical subs.

Set the subwoofer test tone on your AVR to 0
Use the volume knobs on the subs to individually set each of them to 75db
Turn both subs on and run your room correction software.

Easy peasy

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post #20 of 20 Unread Today, 07:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BNestico View Post
I called SVS and what Ed told me was pretty simple and I think it would work with most similar but not identical subs.

Set the subwoofer test tone on your AVR to 0
Use the volume knobs on the subs to individually set each of them to 75db
Turn both subs on and run your room correction software.

Easy peasy
Essentially... what "CraigJohn" and others have suggested before when setting up non-matching, multiple subs - "level-matching" the subs.

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