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I agree it is a little ironic that Chris' comments with respect to XT-32 never got incorporated into the FAQ. They could probably be treated similarly to the alternative approach to setting the LPF for LFE. The standard recommendation is 120hz, but there are some good reasons given for using 80hz.
To me, the whole issue of bass management is so idiosyncratic to the individual goals and audio system of the user, though, that it is difficult to come up with one-size-fits-all guidelines, anyway. The FAQ attempted to establish some simple principles which would apply to the great majority of cases. And I think it does that very successfully. I also think it is assumed that people like yourself who are interested in questioning those principles will post on the thread. At which point, you will start to hear different perspectives, and alternative approaches to some of the Standard Operating Procedure listed in the FAQ. If the FAQ were completely sufficient, in and of itself, we probably wouldn't have had another 24,000 posts since it was created.
With respect to this whole discussion of Chris' 2011 recommendations, though, and what is really the "proper" way to configure your crossovers, I see bass management as something closely associated with Audyssey, but distinct from it, as well. I believe that this is an important point. For instance, you will often hear that Audyssey, or room EQ in general, doesn't care if you are watching 5.1 movies or listening to music. It's purpose is to improve the room/speaker interaction by eliminating some (much) of the treatable distortion. I think that idea is correct: Audyssey doesn't care what your specific audio goals are. It will simply try to improve your overall audio quality by eliminating distortion in the room. But you care what your audio goals are, and in my opinion, that's where bass management starts to get complicated, and starts to diverge from Audyssey as a purely room correction system.
If you are a serious home theater enthusiast (HT is what Audyssey was originally designed for), then you may wish to try to approach Reference volumes with your system. And that goal will drive your satellite speaker choices, your subwoofer speaker choices, your amplifier choices, and your bass management choices. I have read that the average person listens to audio systems at a volume of about -25 to -20 on the Relative scale. I don't know for sure whether that's true, but from what I have seen on this thread, I would say it's in the ballpark. So, let's take the low end of the average and say that you want to watch a 5.1 movie at -24db. (We will just deal with this at average volume levels, for simplicity. Peak volumes would obviously be much higher.) Let's also assume that you have fairly efficient speakers in a not too large room. So, at -24db, let's say you are using only 15 watts per channel. You want to experiment and push your system toward Reference. No problem, you increase the MV by 3db to -21, and you are still using only 30 watts per channel. That's easy for any modern AVR. Increase to -18 and you have to double the power again, to 60 watts. Still no problem. But if you want to get to -15db, now you will need 120 watts per channel, and most AVR's will be clipping by that point. And some speakers may start to have trouble handling that power, as well. If you want to get to -12db (still pretty far from Reference), you will need 240 watts per channel. And so on, with a doubling in power for every 3db. Of course, we are listening at slightly more than double the total volume that we started with by the time we get to -12. A lot of people, including myself, simply don't like listening at very loud volumes, irrespective of distortion. That's probably why average listening volumes are in a much lower range, and why most AVR's don't go much over 120 watts per channel.
But, even making reasonably favorable assumptions regarding the initial power demands at -24db, we can see that the idea of trying to approach Reference volumes requires extremely efficient speakers that can handle lot's of power, really good subs, strong external amplifiers, and good bass management. For the great majority of systems, it would be very important to transfer the load from your satellites to your subs if you are trying to get up anywhere near the -15db range or higher. And you certainly may want to do it at even lower volumes, as well. If you are serious about approaching Reference volumes, though, it will drive many of your equipment choices. But what if you aren't trying to trying to approach Reference volumes? What if your goals are completely different? This is where I think the disconnect comes in with respect to bass management.
If you are content to listen at that presumed average range of -25 to -20db, or so, transferring the load to your sub(s) is a little less important, particularly if you have XT-32. And that is what I think Chris was addressing in Ask Audyssey: the typical user with XT-32 who listens at typical, relatively low volumes. In that case, depending on your own assessment of the sound, and of the capabilities of your satellites and sub(s), crossovers of 60, or even 40, may work perfectly well for you, if that's where your AVR set them.
Or, if your audio system is primarily a music system (as mine is), and HT is distinctly, or even somewhat secondary to that, then lower crossovers, or even running your speakers as Large, may be very viable options. And your goals here may have resulted in deliberately different equipment choices compared to the person who was trying to achieve a Reference HT system. Again, Audyssey doesn't really care about your specific audio goals. It simply tries to EQ the sound to improve room/speaker interactions.
In my opinion, this is often why it is so difficult for us to communicate when we discuss some of these issues. Our goals can be so different, and with them our perspectives, that we find ourselves assuming that others share our own goals, and craft our advice accordingly. This is also why I think the whole subject of bass management is so complicated. You not only have to understand the basic principles of bass management, you also have to clearly understand what your own goals are. And then once you know what you want to accomplish, you have to figure out how best to do that with your room, your system, and your set-up. It's a pretty individual and personal process. It's also pretty hard to get all of that into a set of general guidelines.
I hope people will forgive the length of this post, but I have been thinking the last couple of days that this issue needed a little more discussion, and this was cathartic if nothing else.
Last edited by mthomas47; Today at 09:21 AM.
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