Let's say someone is using smallish (bookshelf/monitor) speakers in an apartment and does not wish to run a subwoofer for various reasons (not wanting to be a bad neighbor, etc.).
If you run room correction software such as Audyssey without a subwoofer, then the front speakers are set to "Large/Full-Range". This will cause all low frequency LFE content to be sent to your small speakers which probably can't play below about 40Hz without the potential for damage when listening to movies at reasonably loud volumes (-20dB down from reference levels). I actually started a thread about this in the speaker forum if anyone cares to read it (Protecting smaller speakers from low LFE frequencies in a system without a subwoofer
). The consensus is that the potential for speaker damage definitely seems to exist under such a scenario.
The only real workarounds seem to be:
1. Turn off Audyssey and set the speakers to "small" which then enables the crossover (it is disabled if you don't have a sub hooked up). One could then set the crossover point to 40Hz to keep low frequency content out of the speakers. Your smallish speakers probably can't play these frequencies anyway, so protection is gained and nothing is lost. However, if you do this (at least in my older Denon 3311 AVR), setting the speakers to "small" forces the "subwoofer" setting from "no" to "yes". The addition of this new speaker/subwoofer (which doesn't really exist) forces Audyssey to become disabled, as Audyssey thinks that a new speaker has been attached and this invalidates the previous calibration. So this workaround only "works" if you want to leave Audyssey (and all associated Audyssey features like Dynamic EQ, Dynamic Volume, etc.) disabled.
2. Hook up a sub. Run Audyssey with the sub attached and then turn off the sub (or lower the volume significantly) after calibration if you want to be a good neighbor. Obviously this is a ridiculous solution if someone doesn't wish to use/own a sub in a small apartment. Depending on building construction techniques, subwoofers and apartments can be a very bad idea in some cases. Some buildings are built better than others in this regard.
Are there any AVRs that would allow you to do what I've described in workaround number 1 above while still using Audyssey? My older Denon will not, as my Denon forces the subwoofer to "yes" when indicating that your speakers are "small" after running Audyssey and this in turn forces Audyssey to be turned off. Do newer Denon AVRs still behave this way?? I was actually thinking of upgrading my AVR to the Denon x4200 but I'm guessing it behaves the same way as my older model.
Alternatively, if the AVR manufacturer allowed someone to set a separate high-pass filter for the speakers to limit certain content (i.e. below 40Hz) from being sent to the speakers, this would also solve the potential speaker damage issue with low frequency LFE content. Do any AVRs allow this??
This problem seems like a significant oversight by AVR manufacturers and/or Audyssey. If you can in fact damage smallish speakers when watching movies at moderately high volumes without a subwoofer attached, why can't we keep those damaging frequencies out of the speakers somehow??