noob sub-woofer question - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 02-07-2010, 06:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi--

I have a Pioneer receiver attached to two Polk RT1A1 bookshelf speakers and (soon) a Polk CSi3 center speaker. I use this mostly for CDs and MP3s, secondly for TV and DVDs. (Not a multi-thousand-dollar set-up, true, but I'm saving for my one-year-old's college fund.)

My two questions: how much of a difference will a subwoofer make in my system, especially for the music? And, do I need to use a Polk brand subwoofer to go with my Polk speakers, or will something else do? Any recommendations?

Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 9 Old 02-07-2010, 07:36 PM
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a sub will make quite a difference, especially for when watching movies. i know you said HT is 2nd place, but not having a sub is really no fun when watching movies

regardless of how bass-heavy you like your music, a sub will help get you a nice, full sound. and will make any music sound MUCH better when listening at a louder volume. i would possibly consider getting that before the center channel if youre primarily using the system for 2ch stereo

and you dont need a Polk sub specifically; just make sure whatever sub you may purchase will properly hook up to your receiver

2.0 > 7.1
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post #3 of 9 Old 02-08-2010, 04:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks. I went for the center speaker over the subwoofer because, when I was watching TV or movies with the speakers, the dialogue seemed low down in the mix, or perhaps a bit off. Not out-of-sync, just sort of far away from the action on the screen. From what I had read, a center speaker is supposed to help with something like that. That, and I got a great deal on he center speaker I got.

The subwoofer will be my next purchase, when I can swing it.
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post #4 of 9 Old 02-08-2010, 07:59 AM
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Since you're taking some time to save up, my advice would be to do a LOT of research. IMO, most inexpensive subs just have a lot of "whomp"...which, while it might be fine for adding some punch to the latest blockbuster...is distracting and unmusical when it comes to 2-channel listening.

In a musical system, the idea is for your sub to blend in with your monitors. So again, I would really get a lot of suggestions and feedback about the best models in your price range; maybe in the Subs forum. Also maybe elicit opinions from those who own Polks similar to yours...for models that have a similar tonal balance (although, as pointed out earlier...does not necessarily have to be a Polk sub). And once you get the sub, don't discount doing research and experimenting with the placement; it'll have a lot to do with getting the most out of your sub, and getting the sound just right so that it compliments your monitors.

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Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything. -Plato
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post #5 of 9 Old 02-08-2010, 09:35 AM
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i can +1 for what CD said, take lots of time when finding a sub, and listen to as much as you can.

so have you already purchased the center speaker? there was a thread regarding voices sounding a little... distant, and it was concluded the user had a nightmare for a room, acoustically speaking. you might have a similar problem. i understand acoustic panels and such arent cheap and may not mix well with the decor of the room, but something as simple as moving your speakers farther away or closer together may make a HUGE difference

2.0 > 7.1
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post #6 of 9 Old 02-08-2010, 11:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for your help. I may ask around in the subwoofer forum as well.

In the room that I have my speakers and TV in, I can either set the speakers directly on either side of the TV (~2.5 feet apart), or place each ~6 feet away from the TV on either side. The room isn't huge, but contains a wood stove that makes the placement of things tricky (and perhaps effects the sound in some way?), and those are really the only two options. Closer together didn't seem like a great option for listening to music, but the way they are positioned now really seems to separate the sound from the TV. I'm hoping a center channel helps me out a bit here. I'll post back once it comes and I can set it up.
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post #7 of 9 Old 02-12-2010, 01:44 PM
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In the room that I have my speakers and TV in, I can either set the speakers directly on either side of the TV (~2.5 feet apart), or place each ~6 feet away from the TV on either side.

~6 on either side for stereo separation more would be better obviously dependent on how far back you sit. One little easily remembered trick is to align the speakers just slightly in front of the line the speakers make with the TV. So as the speakers radiate you don't get a weird refraction off the TV.
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post #8 of 9 Old 02-12-2010, 06:25 PM
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I have a Pioneer receiver attached to two Polk RT1A1 bookshelf speakers and (soon) a Polk CSi3 center speaker. I use this mostly for CDs and MP3s, secondly for TV and DVDs. (Not a multi-thousand-dollar set-up, true, but I'm saving for my one-year-old's college fund.)

My two questions: how much of a difference will a subwoofer make in my system, especially for the music? And, do I need to use a Polk brand subwoofer to go with my Polk speakers, or will something else do? Any recommendations?

Just to clear things up, exactly how are you listening to your "tv" when you watch it? Because if your just sending a 2 channel signal to your receiver, a center channel speaker will just be an ornament... you wont get anything out of it.. How are you planning to hook it up to your system, and how do you have your audio from your cable/sat etc.. hooked to your receiver?

I suppose your receiver may have a 3 channel stereo setting, however I doubt you will be happy with the way that sounds..

Just want to make sure your getting what you need.
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post #9 of 9 Old 02-13-2010, 07:48 AM - Thread Starter
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I've gotten the center speaker, and it makes a huge difference when I watch TV or movies. Dialogue is much more pronounced and doesn't feel far away.

My receiver is a 5.1 Pioneer VSX 819H, so I have the option of adding a subwoofer or rear speakers later. The cable box hooks up to the receiver with a HDMI cord (video and sound, not just pass-through). What's confusing is that there are about three stereo sound settings and a dozen surround sound settings, so I'm doing a little trial and error to see what sounds best. It's true that, with some settings, the center speaker becomes fairly useless (as do the front speakers), but I think I've found the right setting to take advantage of the center and front sound.

When I'm listening to CDs, I set the receiver to stereo. I can set it up to use the center speaker, but I prefer the stereo sound for music. I'm guessing most in this forum would agree.

My next step, somewhere down the line, is a decent subwoofer. I've read the above replies, and I'm sure it would make a difference. But since I'm not usually blasting music (I have a one-year-old, with another on the way), how big of a difference do you think adding one might make?

One thing I think I've noticed (and perhaps this is for another thread) is that with music made within the last ten years or so (or, at least music that appears to have been made with a serious production budget), the bass does appear to be slightly weaker. When I listen to older music, I don't seem to have this issue as much. Sure, I'm making a pretty gross generalization, but does anyone else think that more contemporary music has been made to take advantage of subwoofers?
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