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post #1 of 25 Old 03-14-2011, 11:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Hello,

I am a network engineer so I am a very technical person, however I am a noob when it comes to audio setup.

I have a question about my current setup. I have a relatively inexpensive receiver connected to 5 speakers (front L/R, center, rear L/R). I do not have a subwoofer connected. The front two left and right speakers are larger than the remaining speakers, they are 3-way speakers with 12" woofers. It seems to me that these front two speakers are underpowered and therefore do not produce the appropriate amount of bass.

The question I have is this: How can I supply extra power to these two speakers? Keep in mind that I am not very familiar with amps and pre-amp outputs, etc. I am willing to learn if someone is willing to help me learn.

I will inventory my setup when I get home this evening to provide additional details and specs.

Thank you.
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post #2 of 25 Old 03-14-2011, 01:34 PM
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1.Do not assume that the speakers are underpowered because they are larger. Larger speakers are often more efficient than smaller ones.

2.The easiest way is to get a better, more powerful AVR.

3.If your present AVR has preamp outputs (line-level, ~2V or so), you can connect the L/R outputs to a more powerful external amplifier. Just remember, you will have to re-balance the channel levels after you do this.

4.If your present AVR lacks preamp outputs, it is possible to add them but, probably, not worth the effort. See Option 2.

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post #3 of 25 Old 03-14-2011, 01:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmck2011 View Post

Hello,

I am a network engineer so I am a very technical person, however I am a noob when it comes to audio setup.

I have a question about my current setup. I have a relatively inexpensive receiver connected to 5 speakers (front L/R, center, rear L/R). I do not have a subwoofer connected. The front two left and right speakers are larger than the remaining speakers, they are 3-way speakers with 12" woofers. It seems to me that these front two speakers are underpowered and therefore do not produce the appropriate amount of bass.

The question I have is this: How can I supply extra power to these two speakers? Keep in mind that I am not very familiar with amps and pre-amp outputs, etc. I am willing to learn if someone is willing to help me learn.

I will inventory my setup when I get home this evening to provide additional details and specs.

Thank you.

Much depends on what "relatively inexpensive receiver" means (what it turns out to be), as it probably does not have the needed pre-outs you would need. These are simply inputs/outputs (main in/pre-outs....but outputs in your case) that allow for other equipment to be added, which can allow your current AVR's signals to be sent out to another amp. Something like - CD player output > 50wpc AVR (your current rcvr) preout >more powerful amp > your speakers.

You have a few choices:
1. Buy a new, more powerful AVR.
2. Buy a new AVR that has decent power, but has pre-outs, allowing for another amp (which you'd have to buy) to be connected.
3. Buy a sub woofer which can improve bass (if old AVR has even has sub output?)
4. Buy/exchange front speakers for more "efficient" speakers with higher SPL (sound pressure level).
5. Buy an old secondary amp like Audio Source which would allow your current front L&R speaker wires to connect to, be amplified, and then go to your speakers.

And I'm sure I've overlooked a couple of other options. Options 1 & 2 could end up costing about the same, depending, but Option #2 will likely cost you over $500, while Option #1 could get you 5.1 or even 7.1 with say, 100-120wpc for just a couple hundred dollars.

I just realized that if you have a center channel, than you should have a sub-out connection. Depending on your level of expectations, seriousness and all that......Option 3...adding a subwoofer... might make the most sense. If your need for a bass bump is marginal...you can get a cheap sub that might make you happy, and for prices that range from $50 to...well...way up there (over a grand). The "avg guy" is usually happy with a 80-100watt, $100 sub. But again, all this depends on things none of us know about you or your needs...and what your future needs might be.

A new AVR will get you current with all the latest connections (HDMI for example), and almost certainly give you 7.1 ch capability which is pretty much standard in even lower priced offerings now.

Think of what your future needs might be before spending wasted money on what might be a temporary fix. You can always put your "old system"...or parts of it...in another bedroom, basement, garage, or even give it to someone. LOL, I have enough amps, AVRs and speakers laying around here (even after giving my kids a good bit) that I could probably give 4 neighbors complete home theater set-ups. It's a sickness .
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post #4 of 25 Old 03-14-2011, 02:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

1.Do not assume that the speakers are underpowered because they are larger. Larger speakers are often more efficient than smaller ones.

2.The easiest way is to get a better, more powerful AVR.

3.If your present AVR has preamp outputs (line-level, ~2V or so), you can connect the L/R outputs to a more powerful external amplifier. Just remember, you will have to re-balance the channel levels after you do this.

4.If your present AVR lacks preamp outputs, it is possible to add them but, probably, not worth the effort. See Option 2.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dbx123 View Post

You have a few choices:
1. Buy a new, more powerful AVR.
2. Buy a new AVR that has decent power, but has pre-outs, allowing for another amp (which you'd have to buy) to be connected.
3. Buy a sub woofer which can improve bass (if old AVR has even has sub output?)
4. Buy/exchange front speakers for more "efficient" speakers with higher SPL (sound pressure level).
5. Buy an old secondary amp like Audio Source which would allow your current front L&R speaker wires to connect to, be amplified, and then go to your speakers.

None of those would help the bass if there is problem with room acoustics. http://www.realtraps.com/art_basics.htm
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post #5 of 25 Old 03-14-2011, 02:22 PM
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Since your into networking lets put this in terms of the OSI networking model.

Starting at the physical layer what are your speakers? What brand of amp?

What are your room dimensions (L/W/H) what is your seating distance?

An audiophile likes to talk about how much they spent and how good it sounds.

A DIY'er likes to talk about how little they spent and how good it sounds.

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post #6 of 25 Old 03-14-2011, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by bcruiser View Post

None of those would help the bass if there is problem with room acoustics. http://www.realtraps.com/art_basics.htm

Well, um, yes...but I also didn't think to ask him if the polarity was correct. Or should I point out that "realtraps" won't help him either, if all or any of the other things we've mentioned are the problem?
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post #7 of 25 Old 03-14-2011, 02:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcruiser View Post

None of those would help the bass if there is problem with room acoustics. http://www.realtraps.com/art_basics.htm

Quote:
Originally Posted by dbx123 View Post

Well, um, yes...but I also didn't think to ask him if the polarity was correct. Or should I point out that "realtraps" won't help him either, if all or any of the other things we've mentioned are the problem?

Ummm, sure.

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post #8 of 25 Old 03-14-2011, 06:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbx123 View Post

Or should I point out that "realtraps" won't help him either, if all or any of the other things we've mentioned are the problem?

OP didn't say there was clipping. In this case, only #3 of your initial suggestions may help IF placed properly but that's part of working on room acoustics.
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post #9 of 25 Old 03-15-2011, 08:26 AM - Thread Starter
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The receiver is a Pioneer VSX-517. It is a 5.1 receiver that puts out 110W per channel. It does have a sub output, but it does not have any pre-amp outputs.

I agree that adding a sub would be the simplest solution to provide additional bass, however I can not think of a decent place to put a sub in my room given the current configuration. I was hoping that I could "boost" the bass output of the two front speakers to avoid having to find a spot for a subwoofer.
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post #10 of 25 Old 03-15-2011, 09:44 AM
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What speakers are they? How far from the walls are they placed? How big is the space they're in? How far away are you sitting from them? If you move around the room, is there any place were the bass is better?

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post #11 of 25 Old 03-15-2011, 09:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmck2011 View Post

The receiver is a Pioneer VSX-517. It is a 5.1 receiver that puts out 110W per channel. It does have a sub output, but it does not have any pre-amp outputs.

I agree that adding a sub would be the simplest solution to provide additional bass, however I can not think of a decent place to put a sub in my room given the current configuration. I was hoping that I could "boost" the bass output of the two front speakers to avoid having to find a spot for a subwoofer.

WHAT IS YOUR SEATING DISTANCE?

WHAT ARE YOUR ROOM DIMENSIONS?

WHAT ARE THE EXACT SPEAKER MAKE AND MODEL?

Come on if you're a tech/it worker you now better than not to provide this sort of detail when repeatedly asked.

An audiophile likes to talk about how much they spent and how good it sounds.

A DIY'er likes to talk about how little they spent and how good it sounds.

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post #12 of 25 Old 03-15-2011, 11:06 AM
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Is it possible that you have ALL of your speakers setup as SMALL and NO SUB
therefore all the bass below your selected crossover point is vanishing?
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post #13 of 25 Old 03-15-2011, 11:14 AM
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post #14 of 25 Old 03-17-2011, 09:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for your replies.

I've received a very helpful private response from another forum user. It appears as though it is not worth trying to squeeze any more low-end bass out of my speakers as they are only rated down to 60hz.

It looks like I am going to have to find a decent subwoofer and then find a spot for it in my living room.
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post #15 of 25 Old 03-17-2011, 10:55 AM
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Silly question but do you have those speakers set to "large" in your receiver's settings?

My speakers (studio 60's) are rated supposedly down to 46 hz and they'll shake a room just fine on a similar receiver. I'm not an audio expert but is the difference between 46hz and 60hz extremely noticeable?
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post #16 of 25 Old 03-17-2011, 12:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsnkiefer View Post

Is it possible that you have ALL of your speakers setup as SMALL and NO SUB

That is not possible in most AVRs.

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post #17 of 25 Old 03-17-2011, 02:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

That is not possible in most AVRs.

Notes from the manual:
1 If you select SMALL for the front speakers the subwoofer is fixed to YES. Also, the center, surround, and surround back speakers can’t be set to LARGE if the front speakers are set to SMALL. In this case, all bass frequencies are sent to the subwoofer.

So, you can set all speakers to "small", but as you alluded, you need to have a sub connected for bass.
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post #18 of 25 Old 03-17-2011, 02:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post

Notes from the manual:
1 If you select SMALL for the front speakers the subwoofer is fixed to YES. Also, the center, surround, and surround back speakers can’t be set to LARGE if the front speakers are set to SMALL. In this case, all bass frequencies are sent to the subwoofer.

So, you can set all speakers to "small", but as you alluded, you need to have a sub connected for bass.

Just because thats how it routes internally, doesn't mean that it will help if things aren't connected; you can do exactly what was proposed and if no subwoofer is connected be spinning your wheels. Yes you guys are entirely right, and I'm not contending that - but it is *possible* to do what was suggested if things are connected improperly.


To rmck2011:
What might be a consideration, depending on space, would be different speakers (some of the DefTech and Polk speakers have powered subs built-in); otherwise yes a subwoofer would be the best option especially if your speakers are only good down to 60hz.


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post #19 of 25 Old 03-17-2011, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by walbert View Post

Just because thats how it routes internally, doesn't mean that it will help if things aren't connected; you can do exactly what was proposed and if no subwoofer is connected be spinning your wheels. Yes you guys are entirely right, and I'm not contending that - but it is *possible* to do what was suggested if things are connected improperly.

I don't think anyone is contending anything. It's quite simple, no sub connected, front speakers set to "small"... bass will be compromised.
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post #20 of 25 Old 03-17-2011, 03:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post

I don't think anyone is contending anything. It's quite simple, no sub connected, front speakers set to "small"... bass will be compromised.

But only if you lie to your AVR and say you have a sub connected.

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post #21 of 25 Old 03-17-2011, 03:39 PM
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"Lie" is not the issue.
Set the fronts to "small", the receiver defaults (assumes) you have a subwoofer (set to "YES"). It's just a matter of reading and understanding the operating manual.
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post #22 of 25 Old 03-17-2011, 03:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post

"Lie" is not the issue.
Set the fronts to "small", the receiver defaults (assumes) you have a subwoofer. It's just a matter or reading and understanding the operating manual.

Not all AVRs do this, some prioritize the programming so that you cannot select "SMALL" unless you have already selected "SUB=Yes" and will revert to "LARGE' if you subsequently select "SUB=No." I did not bother reading this particular manual but was speaking generically.

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post #23 of 25 Old 03-17-2011, 03:49 PM
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No problem... take a look at my posts above. The "note" states how it functions. Also there is a link to the manual if you'd like more detail in regard to the operation of the receiver as it pertains specifically to this thread. Not generically.
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post #24 of 25 Old 03-17-2011, 05:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post

No problem... take a look at my posts above. The "note" states how it functions. Also there is a link to the manual if you'd like more detail in regard to the operation of the receiver as it pertains specifically to this thread. Not generically.

Thanks but no thanks. I can accept your quotes and your interpretations without going to the source. Perhaps it is my professorial habit to generalize, if at all possible.

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post #25 of 25 Old 03-18-2011, 12:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks again for the continued replies. I will check the speaker settings again to see how the "Small" "Large" settings are applied to each speaker. I'm 90% sure I already set these and that I set the subwoofer to "No" when I first installed this receiver, but I'll double-check.
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