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Old 08-05-2014, 09:11 AM - Thread Starter
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5.0 surround sound setup - I need some advice

Hi, I am a surround newbie, and I have a small living room where I would like to setup speakers for a small 5.0 home theater system.

Because of the neighbors in the surrounding apartments, loud volume and deep bass from a subwoofer is not possible in any way. I am not interestet in roomshaking bass effects, instead I am looking for realistic reproduction of voices/dialog and surround effects at low-medium volume.

I am thinking of getting four bookshelf speakers and a center speaker, but no subwoofer.

How would such a setup work?

Any suggestions on how to get it to work in the best possible way?

Is it possible to exclude/turn of the LFE effects in the receiver, so the speakers do not have to play the lowest frequencies?

Would it put to much strain on the receiver running all five speakers without a subwoofer?

I have a Marantz nr1604 surround receiver that I want to use in the setup.

Thanks!
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Old 08-05-2014, 09:12 AM
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What is your listening distance and budget? Will these be in stands, wall-mounted, or placed on a shelf?

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Old 08-05-2014, 10:03 AM - Thread Starter
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The distance from hotspot to the center speaker will be around 3.0m and 3.5m to the left and the right speaker. The distance to the back speakers is not certain yet, but around 3.0m. The speakers will be on stands and/or some kind of shelf. My budget limit is 2000 dollars.
But will it work without a subwoofer?
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Old 08-05-2014, 10:25 AM
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Are you from Canada?

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Old 08-05-2014, 10:31 AM - Thread Starter
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No no, I am from the otherside af the planet, the small country Denmark. Why?
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Old 08-05-2014, 10:43 AM
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No no, I am from the otherside af the planet, the small country Denmark. Why?
So, we can have an idea of what speakers are in your area - it will keep us from posting links in the USA
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Old 08-05-2014, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by JPDK View Post
No no, I am from the otherside af the planet, the small country Denmark. Why?
Being your from Europe I would check out the Kef Q-300's. They should be readily available. Nice top end and a solid mid-range w/out sub. Very clear at low volume. 2 pair and a matching center will put you at your budget, (in USD). You won't get Godzilla stomps but you well get a nice coherent sound that will make you and your neighbors happy.
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Old 08-05-2014, 10:57 AM
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Look at Q Acoustics - should be a nice system for you somewhat needs for an apartment
2 pairs of the bookshelf
http://www.qacoustics.co.uk/2020i-stereo-speaker.htm

The center
http://www.qacoustics.co.uk/2000ci-centre-speakers.htm

This would be a smaller bookshelf
http://www.qacoustics.co.uk/2010i-stereo-speaker.htm

Should be no wall pounding bass from this set-up

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Old 08-05-2014, 11:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for your suggestions so far, I am looking at the links right now.

Will the LFE signal from the receiver be directed to the bookshelf speakers, when there is not a subwoofer in the system? And how would the bookshelfs handle that? Will it have a negative effect on the sound quality?

As I asked earlier, is it possible to turn of/down the LFE effects in the receiver, so the speakers do not have to play the lowest frequencies? Or is it turned down automatically when subwoofer set to no in the receiver?
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Old 08-05-2014, 12:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JPDK View Post
Thanks for your suggestions so far, I am looking at the links right now.

Will the LFE signal from the receiver be directed to the bookshelf speakers, when there is not a subwoofer in the system? And how would the bookshelfs handle that? Will it have a negative effect on the sound quality?

As I asked earlier, is it possible to turn of/down the LFE effects in the receiver, so the speakers do not have to play the lowest frequencies? Or is it turned down automatically when subwoofer set to no in the receiver?
The bass will come from the speakers - the bookshelf speakers with their built in crossover,
will filter out the lowest heavy bass. The Q Acouistics will not have heavy bass notes.

In 2 channel stereo other than direct or pure direct, you can control the bass some more.

In surround mode - trying to control the bass with tone controls - can be more of a negative
effect with overall sound quality.

All in all, sound sources with no bass - can bring an annoying/distracting sound.

If you have a real fear of some bass - then it would be best to use head-phones late at night.

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Old 08-05-2014, 12:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the answer, some bass is alright, as long as it is not that roomshaking LFE/deep bass effects.

Both the Q Acoustics and the KEFs looks interesting, I will try to find some reviews to read.

I have also been looking at these speakers which is a Danish brand: Dali Zensor1 and Dali Zensor Vokal.
http://www.dali-speakers.com/en-US/L...-1/ZENSOR.aspx

And another Danish brand System-audio: SA Saxo1 and SA Saxo10
http://www.system-audio.com/_en-GB/l...xo_1/SA_saxo_1
http://www.system-audio.com/_en-GB/l..._10/SA_saxo_10

Those are just some of the speakers I have been looking at. I have to say that it does not have to be a Danish brand, they have just caught my atention. Do you know these speakers or think they might do the job, as a 5.0 system?
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Old 08-05-2014, 12:54 PM
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You can't go wrong with Dali, they would be an excellent choice. Try and listen to some before you make the purchase, but I would put them on your short list.
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Old 08-05-2014, 12:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JPDK View Post
Thanks for the answer, some bass is alright, as long as it is not that roomshaking LFE/deep bass effects.

Both the Q Acoustics and the KEFs looks interesting, I will try to find some reviews to read.

I have also been looking at these speakers which is a Danish brand: Dali Zensor1 and Dali Zensor Vokal.
http://www.dali-speakers.com/en-US/L...-1/ZENSOR.aspx

And another Danish brand System-audio: SA Saxo1 and SA Saxo10
http://www.system-audio.com/_en-GB/l...xo_1/SA_saxo_1
http://www.system-audio.com/_en-GB/l..._10/SA_saxo_10

Those are just some of the speakers I have been looking at. I have to say that it does not have to be a Danish brand, they have just caught my atention. Do you know these speakers or think they might do the job, as a 5.0 system?
Dali is a popular brand - and is liked by a lot of people - and they can work for you.

Do not know much about the Saxo - If I were you, I would try to get more info on them.

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Old 08-05-2014, 03:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JPDK View Post
Will the LFE signal from the receiver be directed to the bookshelf speakers, when there is not a subwoofer in the system? And how would the bookshelfs handle that? Will it have a negative effect on the sound quality?

As I asked earlier, is it possible to turn of/down the LFE effects in the receiver, so the speakers do not have to play the lowest frequencies? Or is it turned down automatically when subwoofer set to no in the receiver?
The LFE effects are not so much additional new sound, but rather bass emphasis that is added because a subwoofer can handle it. In other words, no advantage to you really if the LFE is added into the main speakers. I wouldn't worry about it.

What I would look for is a speaker that is rated to at least 60hz or lower +/- 3db since you don't have a sub. And be wary of speakers that don't' have the +/-3 db rating. Even though they may claim 60hz or less, the output might not be very usable (not much volume).
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Old 08-06-2014, 10:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the answers.

I think I will take a closer look at Dali. There is a hi-fi-store in the City I live in, I can see that they have different kinds of Dali speakers, that can be heard in the store. The other speakers I have to buy over the internet, without hearing them first, something I am not so happy about.

If I have more questions I will return to the thread.
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Old 08-06-2014, 10:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JPDK View Post
Thanks for the answers.

I think I will take a closer look at Dali. There is a hi-fi-store in the City I live in, I can see that they have different kinds of Dali speakers, that can be heard in the store. The other speakers I have to buy over the internet, without hearing them first, something I am not so happy about.

If I have more questions I will return to the thread.
My understanding is that Dali is one of the excellent values to be had there in terms of price/performance in the EU. Focal Chorus might also be worth looking into--French made speaker.

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Old 08-21-2014, 08:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JPDK View Post
Hi, I am a surround newbie, and I have a small living room where I would like to setup speakers for a small 5.0 home theater system.

Because of the neighbors in the surrounding apartments, loud volume and deep bass from a subwoofer is not possible in any way. I am not interestet in roomshaking bass effects, instead I am looking for realistic reproduction of voices/dialog and surround effects at low-medium volume.

I am thinking of getting four bookshelf speakers and a center speaker, but no subwoofer.

How would such a setup work?

Any suggestions on how to get it to work in the best possible way?

Is it possible to exclude/turn of the LFE effects in the receiver, so the speakers do not have to play the lowest frequencies?

Would it put to much strain on the receiver running all five speakers without a subwoofer?

I have a Marantz nr1604 surround receiver that I want to use in the setup.

Thanks!
JPDK,

This is in reply to some of your question in the Marantz NR-1604 thread.

I've attached the room mode graphic based your room dimensions given of : Length=5m, Width=5m, Height=2.55m in equivalent feet:


As advised previously, if you sit in the middle of the room (due to square foot print) there would be large variations in the bass.

Your room volume is closer to medium size > 2,200 cu.ft. The low frequencies and bass will act as waves and interact with each other within the room boundaries. These low frequencies require significant power to reproduce the signals from your source, else you'll get clipping/distortion. You will need a sub woofer to fill that space if going with satellites/bookshelf speakers or large floor standers + decent amp.

What you want is to do is reproduce clean and low distortion sound from the speakers and minimize room interaction so that at low to medium listening volumes, it is clear. People generally turn up the volume (in particular the dialogue) due to bad room acoustics as they cannot hear the sound track clearly. This is where complaints from the neighbor comes in.

Experiment with your current sat speaker, sub and Main Listening Position locations. Your current speakers are Cambridge Audio Minx Min11 with the x300 sub. For the front sound stage consisting of the Front Left (FL), Front Right (FR) and Center (C) speakers - try the FL and FR speakers located at 0.25L and 0.75L along the front wall. Where L stands for length. Have the center speaker at 0.5L along the front wall and pointed to your ears.

Look at the room modes in the graphic. The Main Listening Position (MLP) needs to be between the peaks and nulls. Try the 38% rule as a starting point. So 38% from the front wall this is either: 1.9 m (6.23') or 3.1(10.17').

For sub location, try placing it at 0.5L along the front wall as this is where a deep null for all axial, tangential and oblige waves interact. I.e. same place as your center speaker. By placing the sub at the null point you are counter acting the waves and helping to reduce the peak to null variation at the MLP. If this initial location doesn't work out for you, try the sub woofer crawl as outlined in Axiom Audio's youtube video.

After you've adjusted speakers/sub and MLP, re-run Audyssey setup on your Marantz NR-1604. You might get a pleasant surprise.

It would be better if you can do an in room frequency sweep it would reveal a lot of the issues you are currently hearing. Try REW (it's a free program) and a calibrated USB mic from Cross Specturm Labs (costs about USD$100). There is step-by-step guide and a dedicated thread to discuss this at AVS.

After doing the above and you're still not happy with the sound of the Min11, maybe time to look at alternatives. Room treatment is a cost effective way to improve sound quality for some additional cost. If room treatments is aesthetically not possible then - be prepared to pay some $$$ on a new front sound stage with better speakers. Maybe a combination of both?
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Last edited by steveting99; 08-22-2014 at 01:34 AM. Reason: typo and clarification
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Old 08-22-2014, 08:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Steveting99,

My initial thoughts were that I did not need a subwoofer and to build a system without one. But I got the cambridge audio minx system because I liked the very wide sound dispertion from the special BMR drivers in minx satellites.

But I have really been on and off about whether or not to have/use a subwoofer in my system, because it has been difficult to implement it properly in my livingroom. I do not want it to be too loud or make too much noise, it has to be subtle. And the fact that the minx min11 can sound a little thin, is why I have been thinking of bookshelfs instead of the satellites and subwoofer. But of course it would be better if I could make my current system work properly.

I can see that a subwoofer plays an important part in getting good home theater sound and that it gives some options to manage the bass in the receiver. It just need to be controlled and fine-tuned. And that is the tricky part because my livingroom has some acoustic problems.

I will try to work with the advice you have given and run Audyssey again.
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Old 08-22-2014, 08:43 AM
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So did you get the subwoofer with the Minx? They absolutely were designed to be paired with one. They don't have the low end extension for decent midbass output. They will always sound thin without one.

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Old 08-22-2014, 09:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Yes I did. The min11 speakers are combined with the cambridge audio x300 subwoofer. It has a frequency response of 33Hz (-6dB) - 200Hz. It should be capable to work with the small satellite speakers.
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Old 08-22-2014, 10:12 AM
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Yes I did. The min11 speakers are combined with the cambridge audio x300 subwoofer. It has a frequency response of 33Hz (-6dB) - 200Hz. It should be capable to work with the small satellite speakers.
If it's not too small for your room and your listening volumes. Subwoofer performance is greatly impacted by the room size, including any open areas.
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Old 08-22-2014, 11:55 AM - Thread Starter
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cel4145,

Do you think the satellites or the subwoofer is to small for my listening room - my livingroom is around 5m x 5m and room height is around 2.55m?
Can you explain how room size impacts the subwoofers performance - does a small room amplify the subs performance, so it gets louder or the opposite?
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Old 08-22-2014, 01:59 PM
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Experiment with different positions for the sub. Sub position is the most important factor in the bass response within a room. Look up "Sub crawl" on this site for the salient details.
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Old 08-22-2014, 02:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JPDK View Post
cel4145,

Do you think the satellites or the subwoofer is to small for my listening room - my livingroom is around 5m x 5m and room height is around 2.55m?
Can you explain how room size impacts the subwoofers performance - does a small room amplify the subs performance, so it gets louder or the opposite?
Subwoofers work by pressurizing a volume, so the bigger the volume you have, the more sub you need. Whether the satellites work well is up to you, if they get loud enough for you then no reason to change. A bigger main will offer better dynamics and a fuller sound, but you trade size for that better sound.

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Old 08-22-2014, 02:56 PM
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Subwoofers work by pressurizing a volume, so the bigger the volume you have, the more sub you need. Whether the satellites work well is up to you, if they get loud enough for you then no reason to change. A bigger main will offer better dynamics and a fuller sound, but you trade size for that better sound.
+1

The speakers radiate sound toward you, whereas bass is omnidirectional. So speaker distance from the listening position + listening volume is the factor, whereas sub performance you have to take into consideration the size of the whole room.

So by sounding thin, do you mean the speakers don't have any midbass? In that case, very well could be the sub. Now subs will perform differently depending on where they are placed in a room relative to the listening position. And it can also be advantageous to have dual subs for providing a smoother frequency response through a wider listening.

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Old 08-22-2014, 05:07 PM
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Your speakers are only good to around 150 hz - the crossover needs to be set high in your
receiver, to at least 150 - 180 hz > also make sure the sub crossover is turned all the way up.

That size sub is mainly to pick up lower bass notes - if placed and set up right, it will give
you better and deeper bass than a lot of good bookshelf speakers and some cheap towers

Your main concern was that you did not want too much bass to begin with - so check your
set-ups and do a subwoofer crawl and then decide from there. See if the balance improves,
and you may need to go higher than 160 hz

Subwoofer Crawl

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Last edited by zieglj01; 08-22-2014 at 05:19 PM.
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Old 08-22-2014, 08:12 PM
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Quote:
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Steveting99,

My initial thoughts were that I did not need a subwoofer and to build a system without one. But I got the cambridge audio minx system because I liked the very wide sound dispertion from the special BMR drivers in minx satellites.

But I have really been on and off about whether or not to have/use a subwoofer in my system, because it has been difficult to implement it properly in my livingroom. I do not want it to be too loud or make too much noise, it has to be subtle. And the fact that the minx min11 can sound a little thin, is why I have been thinking of bookshelfs instead of the satellites and subwoofer. But of course it would be better if I could make my current system work properly.

I can see that a subwoofer plays an important part in getting good home theater sound and that it gives some options to manage the bass in the receiver. It just need to be controlled and fine-tuned. And that is the tricky part because my livingroom has some acoustic problems.

I will try to work with the advice you have given and run Audyssey again.
JDPK,

It's going to be hard to assist you without room measurements. When you say the Min11 sounds thin, it could be due to a number of factors.

The room plays a major factor in what you hear.

Some of the suggested recommendations by AVS members are great and if it works out for you by ear then all is good. If you've tried the suggested speaker and listening positions and still not happy with the sound, it's time too carry out a 15Hz to 300Hz low frequency response to see where the problems are.

AVS member Jerry Austin has written an easy step-by-step guide in carrying out room measurements here:Simplified REW Setup and Use (USB Mic & HDMI Connection) Including Measurement Techniques and How To Interpret Graphs

It has a treasure trove of information. Have a read of the guide and post your results here or over at the REW thread for assistance.

Verify what you are hearing with measurements.

Maranatz NR1504, Oppo BPD-93, MTV 7000D, LG LW6500, aTV, WDTV Live, Harmony 650 remote, KEF E301, MiniDSP(2x4), Rythmik F12G
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Old 08-23-2014, 03:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for your advice everybody.

I will try that subwoofer crawl and experiment with the position of the sub. I will also try to get a larger carpet on the floor in my livingroom, that will cover a larger area of the floor. I hope that will reduce sound reflections in the room and give me a better sound experience.

I experience the thinness in the sound as something that is lacking in the lower midrange/upper bass area. But the minx min11 are small speakers and maybe that weakness is something I have to accept, when choosing small speakers with smaller drivers.

Room measurements will have to wait because I don't have the right equipment in the moment.
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Old 08-23-2014, 04:54 AM
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Originally Posted by JPDK View Post
I experience the thinness in the sound as something that is lacking in the lower midrange/upper bass area. But the minx min11 are small speakers and maybe that weakness is something I have to accept, when choosing small speakers with smaller drivers.
A cube speaker that you can hold in your hand, can only give so much - there are
compromises and limitations - it is what it is. It can not replace, or take the place
of a good bookshelf speaker.

__________________________________________
Who and Where - is the Way, the Truth and the Life?

Speakers > MB Quart VS05, Boston VS260, Snell K7
Subwoofer > Mordaunt Short Aviano 7
Receiver > Tascam PAR-200, Pioneer VSX-30
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Old 08-23-2014, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by JPDK View Post
Thanks for your advice everybody.

I will try that subwoofer crawl and experiment with the position of the sub. I will also try to get a larger carpet on the floor in my livingroom, that will cover a larger area of the floor. I hope that will reduce sound reflections in the room and give me a better sound experience.

I experience the thinness in the sound as something that is lacking in the lower midrange/upper bass area. But the minx min11 are small speakers and maybe that weakness is something I have to accept, when choosing small speakers with smaller drivers.

Room measurements will have to wait because I don't have the right equipment in the moment.
Hi JPDK,

Would like to check the setup of your satellite and sub is to the receiver. If yours is different, would like to understand why.

In your Marantz NR-1604 receiver, under the speaker setting, there is a tab for crossover. What is the crossover setting you've set for the Min11 satellite? Is the crossover setting for all speakers or individual?

On the NR-1604, have you set all your speakers to "SMALL" in the speaker configuration? For the bass setting, the subwoofer mode should be LFE and the LPF for LFE set to 120Hz.

On your x300 sub, are you using the LFE input?
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