Are my speakers "Large" or "Small"? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 404 Old 05-28-2007, 10:08 AM - Thread Starter
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So, I just got a new Harman Kardon AVR-247 and used the EZSet EQ to determine the size of my speakers. Here are my speakers:

Polk Rti70's in the front
Polk CS1 center
Polk R15's in the rear

It determined that the Rti70's and the CS1 are "Large" speakers and the R15s are "Small". Does that sound correct? I'm fairly certain that the Rti's should be "Large" since they handle low frequencies effeciently, but I was not sure about my CS1 center being "Large". It doesn't really seem to have much bass response.

Anyway, just by reading through some forums, I've gathered that you shouldn't always trust the automatic setup of the receiver, so I thought I would ask, especially on the CS1.

Thanks in advance...
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post #2 of 404 Old 05-28-2007, 11:03 AM
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I would say all small. You could get away with the fronts set to large.... but not the center.
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post #3 of 404 Old 05-28-2007, 11:06 AM
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If you have a sub, the common advice is to set all your speakers to "small". Do you have a sub? If not, the EZSet probably made the right choices.

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post #4 of 404 Old 05-28-2007, 11:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Yes, I have a sub (12 inch Infinity Perfect, so it is plenty strong). So, should I set the Rti70's to Large or Small? I feel like I'd be wasting potential if I set them to small, but maybe not?

So if I am setting all of my speakers to small, what should I set the crossover freq to be for each one with my setup?
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post #5 of 404 Old 05-28-2007, 11:35 AM
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The -3 dB point of the RTi70's according to the Polk website, is 40 Hz. If you set them to "Large" they will be sent a full-range signal. Since they can't reproduce the < 40 Hz information, it is *lost*... gone forever, never to be heard. If you set them to "Small", your receiver's Bass Management will redirect the bass below the crossover to the subwoofer, which is the best speaker in your system to reproduce the full bandwidth of it. Instead of "wasting potential", you will be using your system mose efficiently.

Also remember that removing the bass from the mains will remove it from the main amps. This will give the amps more headroom so they can play louder and/or with less distortion.

The final argument for the "Small" setting is that the speaker positions for best imaging and soundstage are rarely ever the same places as the best place for bass response. Send the bass to the sub and then place the sub where it integrates best with the room and the listening position.

Actually, these are all really good arguments for saving some money and buying bookshelf speakers in the first place, but that's a whole differnt discussion.

Good luck.

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post #6 of 404 Old 05-28-2007, 11:39 AM
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post #7 of 404 Old 05-28-2007, 12:12 PM
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Set all your speakers to Small. For all the reasons Craig said above.

You are not wasting potential because you are redirecting bass to the appropriate speaker than can actually handle it, and thus you are hearing MORE information.

Some receivers can be made to set the crossover for the rear and fronts independently. If so, set the fronts to something like 40 or 60, and the rears to 60-80, but if not, then set them all to about 80Hz as a start, and try 60

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post #8 of 404 Old 05-28-2007, 12:15 PM
 
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Small.

If you have to ask, they're small.
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post #9 of 404 Old 05-28-2007, 05:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craig john View Post

If you set them to "Large" they will be sent a full-range signal. Since they can't reproduce the < 40 Hz information, it is *lost*... gone forever, never to be heard.

Craig

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post #10 of 404 Old 05-29-2007, 08:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by warpdrive View Post

Set all your speakers to Small. For all the reasons Craig said above.

You are not wasting potential because you are redirecting bass to the appropriate speaker than can actually handle it, and thus you are hearing MORE information.

Some receivers can be made to set the crossover for the rear and fronts independently. If so, set the fronts to something like 40 or 60, and the rears to 60-80, but if not, then set them all to about 80Hz as a start, and try 60

I can set them independently. I currently have them all set to "Small", with the center and rear cutoff at 80, and the fronts cutoff at 60.

I cannot hear a difference if I set the rears/center and fronts to 60/40 respectively. Should I do that instead just out of principle?

Also, since my receiver is filtering out the frequencies, should I have my sub crossover set to 60 or 80 Hz as well, or just leave it all the way up at 200 Hz?
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post #11 of 404 Old 05-29-2007, 08:26 AM
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You should leave the crossover on your sub all the way up. As far as the small vs large debate, some people like to let the low end response of their main speakers roll off naturally. You should try out the large setting with some familiar music and then compare it to the small setting and see which you prefer.
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post #12 of 404 Old 05-29-2007, 08:58 AM
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Craig said it best.

Another point is unless your fronts go JUST as low as your sub, running them "large" will yield a loss of low bass. If you overlay a speaker with flat 40-120 Hz response on top of a speaker with flat 20-120 Hz response, and calibrate the level, there will be lower 20-40 Hz response. If your goal is more bass without considering quality or extension, and if you think it sounds better, run your fronts "large." I've never heard it sound better than running the fronts "small" with ample subwoofage, though.

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post #13 of 404 Old 05-29-2007, 11:44 AM
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I have a similar receiver to yours (HK AVR340). I have "smaller" fronts than you do (JBL bookshelf with one 8" woofer), and I have my fronts set to "Large". Don't forget that you can manually go into the setup and have the lows go to BOTH the fronts AND the sub. That is actually an option. IMHO, having all the bass go to the sub is okay for movies but sounds un-natural for music, (though I think this applies to me because I have a ported sub). If you have the bass sent to the mains as well as the sub then the sub will support any shortcomings of your mains, and at least for me I think this sound better. However... I have a JBL center with dual 5 1/4" drivers, which I would think are pretty substantial compared to all those cube speakers sold in HTIB systems, so I initially wanted to set my center to "Large" as well, (against the auto settings with the mic). Well, turns out the if you read the manual closely, it says that having the center set to large will prevent ANY bass in the center channel from going to the sub. So now my center is at "small". One final thought, the HK's are able to memorize these settings for independent inputs, so you can set it a certain way for movies ("DVD" input), and then a different way for music ("CD" input). My problem is that my CD player IS my DVD player.
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post #14 of 404 Old 05-29-2007, 12:00 PM - Thread Starter
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So I've read through some forums here and over at Audioholics, and I have noticed that many people recommend setting the crossover frequency to at least 10Hz above the lowest frequency that your speaker can reproduce.

My question is this: are they talking about the absolute lowest frequency that it can reproduce (for the Rti70's, it is 28Hz), or the lower 3dB point (for the Rti70's, it is 40Hz). So basically, if I follow what they said, should I be setting the crossover frequency to ~38Hz or more, or ~50Hz or more?
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post #15 of 404 Old 05-29-2007, 12:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbaldus View Post

So I've read through some forums here and over at Audioholics, and I have noticed that many people recommend setting the crossover frequency to at least 10Hz above the lowest frequency that your speaker can reproduce.

My question is this: are they talking about the absolute lowest frequency that it can reproduce (for the Rti70's, it is 28Hz), or the lower 3dB point (for the Rti70's, it is 40Hz). So basically, if I follow what they said, should I be setting the crossover frequency to ~38Hz or more, or ~50Hz or more?

10 Hz above the -3 dB point is the *minimum* you should go. The better advice is an octave above the -3 dB point. For your mains, that would be 80 Hz.

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post #16 of 404 Old 05-29-2007, 12:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craig john View Post

10 Hz above the -3 dB point is the *minimum* you should go. The better advice is an octave above the -3 dB point. For your mains, that would be 80 Hz.

Craig

Craig is right. You want a bit of overlap for the best seamless blending of your sub to the mains. My 60Hz answer in my previous was too low for your satellites 80Hz is most likely going to give you the better blending. I've gotten away with setting my crossover exactly at the -3dB point because I was able to calibrate my response perfectly using a SMS-1. But in general, you should opt for a higher cutoff rather than force it to be too low.

Remember, don't think of it as "losing potential", you are simply optimizing the bass blending across your speakers.

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post #17 of 404 Old 05-29-2007, 12:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by craig john View Post

10 Hz above the -3 dB point is the *minimum* you should go. The better advice is an octave above the -3 dB point. For your mains, that would be 80 Hz.

Craig

Really, an entire octave above the -3dB point? So, for my center speaker, which has a -3dB point of 65Hz, I should be setting it to 130Hz? Or should I only apply that analogy to the mains?
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post #18 of 404 Old 05-29-2007, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by dbaldus View Post

Really, an entire octave above the -3dB point? So, for my center speaker, which has a -3dB point of 65Hz, I should be setting it to 130Hz? Or should I only apply that analogy to the mains?

I think he was referring to your satellites? I think 80Hz for your center is a fine starting point.

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post #19 of 404 Old 05-29-2007, 12:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by warpdrive View Post

I think he was referring to your satellites? I think 80Hz for your center is a fine starting point.

I don't have any satellites (check out my original post). My mains are Rti70s (big towers) and my center is a CS1 (dual 5 1/4" woofers). I was wondering if setting the crossover frequency to be an octave above the -3dB point was just for the mains or if it applied to the center as well for the best blending. With my HK, I am able to set the crossover freq for the mains, surrounds, and center separately.

Thanks for your input!
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post #20 of 404 Old 05-29-2007, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by dbaldus View Post

I don't have any satellites (check out my original post).

I used the wrong term, I meant "rears".

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post #21 of 404 Old 05-29-2007, 01:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craig john View Post

The -3 dB point of the RTi70's according to the Polk website, is 40 Hz. If you set them to "Large" they will be sent a full-range signal. Since they can't reproduce the < 40 Hz information, it is *lost*... gone forever, never to be heard.

Craig

I have a question about this. If I have a sub, I setup my speakers as large, and my receiver is setup to send the LFE to both the large speakers and the sub, then I shouldn't loose any of the signal right? Won't it send the lower portion of the signal to both the sub and the fronts? The sub should play everything the fronts can't handle and then all of the speakers should blend in nicely, right?

I have ERA Design 4 speakers and the creator of the speakers had suggested setting it up this way. I tested every combination and this worked the best.
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post #22 of 404 Old 05-29-2007, 03:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpgxsvcd View Post

I have a question about this. If I have a sub, I setup my speakers as large, and my receiver is setup to send the LFE to both the large speakers and the sub, then I shouldn't loose any of the signal right? Won't it send the lower portion of the signal to both the sub and the fronts? The sub should play everything the fronts can't handle and then all of the speakers should blend in nicely, right?

I have ERA Design 4 speakers and the creator of the speakers had suggested setting it up this way. I tested every combination and this worked the best.

If you set your main speakers to "Large" and sub output to "Both", you will be sending them a full range signal. If your mains can handle that signal without distortion, *and* you can find good locations in your room for both imaging and bass integration, then you'll be fine. The only thing you'll give up is some amplifier headroom. If you have plenty of ampage, you're good to go.

However, you're speakers have a -3 dB point of 55Hz, an impedance that drops to 6 ohms and a sensitivity of 84 dB. There is *no way* I would send these speakers a full-range signal. They can't reproduce it anyway and you'll be using a lot of of *needed* amplifier power to amplify a signal that is not going to be reproduced. With their low sensitivity, you need all the amplifier power you can get to drive them in the range they're capable of.

Try setting them to "Small" and crossing at 80 Hz.

Just my $0.02.

dbaldus,

I would just set all the crossovers to 80 Hz. If you crossover higher than that, the higher frequencies in the sub can make it localizable. 80 Hz is the best compromise in your situation.

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post #23 of 404 Old 05-29-2007, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by mpgxsvcd View Post

I have a question about this. If I have a sub, I setup my speakers as large, and my receiver is setup to send the LFE to both the large speakers and the sub, ..........................

If your receiver is like most receivers, the LFE doesn't go to the LARGE fronts with that setup. All the LFE still goes to the subwoofer and the subwoofer only. What that setting does is send redundant L+R channel bass to the subwoofer. So the LARGE fronts and the subwoofer both will play back your L+R channel bass. In other words, with that setup, your subwoofer plays back exactly what it would play if your speakers were set to SMALL, but the fronts still play as LARGE.

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post #24 of 404 Old 05-29-2007, 07:28 PM
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It's taken me three years to accept the fact that my front powered towers (w/ a -3dB of 25Hz) should be run as "Small". When I finally did my homework and proper calibrating of them and the sub, everything I heard told me that I'd been stubbornly and obstinately wrong.

Bass is much cleaner now that it comes from one source instead of three. It's also more powerful, probably due to less comb filtering of low frequencies. The power amp rarely goes RED anymore since it doesn't have to deal w/ the bottom octave. I've tried every possible connection possibility over the years. All, that is, but the one that worked best. Don't get me wrong now. All the options sounded very acceptable and some were very good. I just didn't expect the "All Small" option to make such a difference, especially with big tower speakers. Old opinions die hard.

Now, if I had it to do over again would I still get towers or stand-mounted speakers? It would still be towers with a -3dB of at no higher than 40Hz. Sometimes you may want to shut the sub off and enjoy "stereo bass". And you'll never have that mid-bass "hole-in-the-middle".

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post #25 of 404 Old 05-30-2007, 05:26 AM
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Originally Posted by GLBright View Post

... Sometimes you may want to shut the sub off and enjoy "stereo bass". And you'll never have that mid-bass "hole-in-the-middle".

That was the approach I took since I have to use my setup for just plain audio as well as for home theater. However, since I've read some pretty good points here, I'll have to play around some to see if I continue to prefer my speakers as Large versus Small. I always advocate using a technique that works best for the listener/viewer rather than dogma but it never hurts to consider alternatives. It's all a matter of taste but it never hurts to continue training the palete.

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post #26 of 404 Old 05-30-2007, 06:12 AM
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Some receivers can be made to set the crossover for the rear and fronts independently. If so, set the fronts to something like 40 or 60, and the rears to 60-80, but if not, then set them all to about 80Hz as a start, and try 60

If you use your sub(s) for music then I recommend they be blended in lower rather than higher, so mostly I find that when I drop down to 60, 55, or even 50hz, I enjoy the sound of my front soundstage and the tightness of my bass better. Experimenting with this also taught me to ignore the older conventional wisdom of crossing over "one full octave above the 3db downpoint of the speakers", I don't believe it's neccesary and, in fact, a horrible idea if using an all bookshelf configuration.

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I've gotten away with setting my crossover exactly at the -3dB point because I was able to calibrate my response perfectly using a SMS-1.

Yes, some types of outboard (and a few inboard) correction gear can allow for such solutions.
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However, you're speakers have a -3 dB point of 55Hz, an impedance that drops to 6 ohms and a sensitivity of 84 dB. There is *no way* I would send these speakers a full-range signal. They can't reproduce it anyway and you'll be using a lot of of *needed* amplifier power to amplify a signal that is not going to be reproduced. With their low sensitivity, you need all the amplifier power you can get to drive them in the range they're capable of.

Try setting them to "Small" and crossing at 80 Hz.

Dave Solomon from ERA was knocking hard on the door of our store long before we agreed to carry his speakers and he (along with the others he works with) knows good audio, and a while back he started talking about "natural rolloff" blending or the use of lower crossover settings when setting up his speakers and this was about the time I was discovering the same thing (challenging the "one full octave above" theory). HE MANAGED TO QUITE EFFECTIVELY SET-UP AND DEMONSTRATE THIS. One thing to keep in mind though is that Dave firmly believes in having TONS of front end amperage and therefor isn't worried about effeciancy or headroom concerns to the extent you may be. Taking away the strain that the VERY LOWEST frequencies can put on amp and speakers is generally a good idea for most systems so "LARGE" is not the way to go, but depending on your available crossover configurations in your pre-pro or receiver, I would experiment with setting the crossover point lower than 80...try the 60-50 hz range for your mains.

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post #27 of 404 Old 05-30-2007, 07:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

If your receiver is like most receivers, the LFE doesn't go to the LARGE fronts with that setup. All the LFE still goes to the subwoofer and the subwoofer only. What that setting does is send redundant L+R channel bass to the subwoofer. So the LARGE fronts and the subwoofer both will play back your L+R channel bass. In other words, with that setup, your subwoofer plays back exactly what it would play if your speakers were set to SMALL, but the fronts still play as LARGE.

According to my Yamaha manual it will send the LFE to "BOTH" the fronts and the sub.


I totally understand that in theory you should run your speakers as small speakers if you have a sub. However, I do think these ERA speakers break that mold. I did extensive testing again this morning and it definitely sounded better if I set the speakers to large and set the receiver to send the LFE channel to Both.

Here is the equipment I am using and the reasons why I believe that Dave from ERA is right about setting these speakers to large.

1. Era Design 4 front and center speakers.
2. ERA Design 3 rear speakers
3. Yamaha HTR-5790 receiver
4. Rotel RB-985 5 channel 100 watt amp
5. Yamaha YST-215 sub(I know this is a crappy sub. It will be replaced soon.)

The problem that I run into is that my sub is not much better than the speakers at producing the LFE channel. I can turn off the sub and the sound is not that much different when listening to music. The Rotel amp gives me decent power for the speakers. The other thing is that I need to run the rear D3's as small and my receiver will only allow 1 crossover point. Therefore, if I have to set the crossover to 80Hz for the rears then I can not set the crossover for the fronts at 60Hz. As a compromise(not really much of a compromise) I can set the front speakers as large and give them the full range from their channels and the BOTH setting will send the LFE channel to them as well as the sub. My testing definitely showed that the sound blends better with the front speakers set as large.

Now when I get a decent sub this all might change but I still think that I will probably crossover lower than 80 HZ to try to use the ERA speakers to their full potential.
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post #28 of 404 Old 05-30-2007, 08:11 AM
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set the x-over at 60 now and try , as this will have very little effect on the rears considering how little info they get down low......

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Maybe someday in the future we will be able to quantify perceived Sound Quality .
(But not today....)

Earl Geddes Ph.D.
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post #29 of 404 Old 05-30-2007, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Schadenfreude View Post

set the x-over at 60 now and try , as this will have very little effect on the rears considering how little info they get down low......

Yea I tried that and there were some rare scenarios(LOTR fight scene where elephants were falling around you) that I felt like the rears were not holding up as well. The point is that the way I have it right now. Everything below 80 HZ and everything in the LFE channel goes to both the front speakers and to the SUB. That way the front speakers roll of nicely and the sub comes up to meet them. For my setup this is the best I could get.
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post #30 of 404 Old 05-30-2007, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by mpgxsvcd View Post

According to my Yamaha manual it will send the LFE to "BOTH" the fronts and the sub.


I totally understand that in theory you should run your speakers as small speakers if you have a sub. However, I do think these ERA speakers break that mold. I did extensive testing again this morning and it definitely sounded better if I set the speakers to large and set the receiver to send the LFE channel to Both.


My Sony receiver also sends LFE and redirected small bass to both the R & L main speakers and the subwoofer, but only when I set the R & L mains to large, and all other speakers to small, and have the subwoofer output turned ON. I have been using that setting for years, but my main speakers go down to near 40 Hz (integrated subwoofer in R & L mains - dual 6.5" drivers cover 40 to 80 Hz).

However, I have verified this LFE distribution with DD test tones. Most instruction manuals are not clearly written, so you should verify that this function works the way you read it. With content like Master and Commander, you can see the difference in how much the woofer of your mains moves during action scenes when LFE does go to the mains. Simply toggle the subwoofer ON and OFF and see if anything changes in your main R & L speakers.

I blend the mains with my subwoofer Low Pass filter set to around 50 to 60 Hz, and it sounds very good.






Quote:
Originally Posted by mpgxsvcd View Post


Here is the equipment I am using and the reasons why I believe that Dave from ERA is right about setting these speakers to large.

1. Era Design 4 front and center speakers.
2. ERA Design 3 rear speakers
3. Yamaha HTR-5790 receiver
4. Rotel RB-985 5 channel 100 watt amp
5. Yamaha YST-215 sub(I know this is a crappy sub. It will be replaced soon.)

The problem that I run into is that my sub is not much better than the speakers at producing the LFE channel. I can turn off the sub and the sound is not that much different when listening to music. The Rotel amp gives me decent power for the speakers. The other thing is that I need to run the rear D3's as small and my receiver will only allow 1 crossover point. Therefore, if I have to set the crossover to 80Hz for the rears then I can not set the crossover for the fronts at 60Hz. As a compromise(not really much of a compromise) I can set the front speakers as large and give them the full range from their channels and the BOTH setting will send the LFE channel to them as well as the sub. My testing definitely showed that the sound blends better with the front speakers set as large.

Now when I get a decent sub this all might change but I still think that I will probably crossover lower than 80 HZ to try to use the ERA speakers to their full potential.



ERA Design 4 tests

http://www.stereophile.com/budgetcom...ra/index4.html

Even though the ERA 4's roll off kind of high, that does not mean that you can not set them as large. Unless you have a huge room and are driving the speakers to their limits, it is no big deal one way or the other.

See figure 7 for integration results (same method that you use).
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