Two Questions: Subwoofer Seamlessness + Receiver - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 07-15-2012, 11:25 PM - Thread Starter
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I currently have a 3.1 setup with my towers being Polk tsi300's, and my center being the matching center speaker. My subwoofer is a very old Acoustic Research AR-S108PS.

I've messed with the crossover frequency on both the receiver and the subwoofer and am having trouble with the subwoofer meshing well. It seems to be overly boomy or completely non-existent. It never kicks in properly with voices at all. I've posted on here before and it is 6 inches from the wall and should be accurately positioned.

My question is whether my receiver is my problem or my subwoofer is my problem. I have a Pioneer VSX-422-k. I've been hearing great things about the Yamaha and Denon and thinking maybe for my speakers I should switch. I'm also wondering if I should switch my subwoofer to a Polk Audio subwoofer for a more seamless sound. As I mentioned before, unless I really crank the AR subwoofer, I can't hear it. I've been thinking about the PSW111 (http://www.polkaudio.com/products/psw111). I work at Best Buy, and this little guy really does well.

I'm totally okay with switching my components out and/or spending money, I just need you experts to justify my spending smile.gif

SIde note:

If the receiver is the case, should I go with a specific one? (Yamaha v. Denon v. Pioneer v. Onkyo v. Sony?!?!) I've heard things about some receiver being "brighter" and what not.
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post #2 of 8 Old 07-16-2012, 04:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradleyedward View Post

I currently have a 3.1 setup with my towers being Polk tsi300's, and my center being the matching center speaker. My subwoofer is a very old Acoustic Research AR-S108PS.

I did a little research. The product's origional SRP was about $250 and it is based on an 8" driver. The product isn't that old - I can find traces of it all over the web, probably from around 2005.

There are two tough-to-solve problems with subwoofers:

(1) Subwoofers that aren't really subwoofer. IMO a subwoofer that isn't clean down to 32 Hz doesn't deserve the name subwoofer. I don't mean just responds I mean loud and clean. A serious subwoofer responds cleanly down to 20 Hz, and a really serious subwoofer is still holding forth strongly at 120 dB (required because our audibility of sounds that low is not so much) 10 Hz.

(2) The fact that subwoofers can easily excite room problems that would otherwise go unnoticed because no speaker in the room was doing much at frequencies that low.
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I've messed with the crossover frequency on both the receiver and the subwoofer and am having trouble with the subwoofer meshing well. It seems to be overly boomy or completely non-existent. It never kicks in properly with voices at all.

I've got a news flash for you - a subwoofer shouldn't have all that much to do with properly-recorded voices. While there are charts all over the web showing that the range of human voices goes down to 60 Hz

682

I am unsure what these guys are smoking. I can tell you that the human voice is typically rich in harmonics, and that even with a wideband microphone and sound system, a swept high pass filter has minimal audible effects on just about any human voice below 120 Hz. If I put on my flaming optimist's hat, I will allow that 95th percentile basso profundo voices might need 85 Hz LF extension to be unaffected by a high pass filter. But that is an extreme situation.

Bottom line, a human voice and a subwoofer with the typical 80 Hz crossover should be in the same room, but not the same loudspeaker, except in highly exceptional situations.
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I've posted on here before and it is 6 inches from the wall and should be accurately positioned.

The rule about speaker positioning is that there is no rule about speaker positioning, especially subwoofers.
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My question is whether my receiver is my problem or my subwoofer is my problem. I have a Pioneer VSX-422-k. I've been hearing great things about the Yamaha and Denon and thinking maybe for my speakers I should switch

Yes, your receiver is an entry-level receiver, but you've heard the unrebutted detailed arguments about all good electronics sounding the same. For now, lets believe them.
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I'm also wondering if I should switch my subwoofer to a Polk Audio subwoofer for a more seamless sound.

I don't think that there are any technical justifications for the idea that there is any special preference for main speakers and subwoofers of the same brand. What there is technical justification for is a preference for subwoofers that are real subwoofers. Frankly, I don't think you have one!
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As I mentioned before, unless I really crank the AR subwoofer, I can't hear it. I've been thinking about the PSW111 (http://www.polkaudio.com/products/psw111). I work at Best Buy, and this little guy really does well.

So you want to upgrade from a $250 8" subwoofer to an 8" 250 subwoofer? So you when you upgrade your Ford Fusion, you are going to get what, a Lincoln MKZ that is essentially the identical same car built on the identical same production line out of mostly the identical same parts? Trust me, aside from the trim and fancy-schamacy they drive the same.

Bzzzzzzzzt! Did you chug a 64 oz cold drink right before you made that decision so that your excuse is brain freeze? ;-)

Your next subwoofer needs to have at least a 12" driver and come from a company that is known for making good subwoofers. I'm thinking about 5 or more pictures of Ben Franklin hitting the counter! If you are hung up on Polk, who are a just fine company, what do they sell that fits the bill?

Then be prepared for a swords and battle-axes fight with your room. Good bass doesn't have a price, it always comes at some expense in sweat and tears.
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post #3 of 8 Old 07-16-2012, 10:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the in-depth reply! I actually went ahead and ordered the Polk. Part of the reason I'm sticking around the 8" size is because I live in a duplex unfortunately, thus I can't have overpowering size. And I realize the subwoofers are pretty similar in specifications, but I'm thinking the AR sub may be somewhat shot. We've had many issues with it over the years. Thank you much for the advice!

So what's with people saying Denon receiver are "bright"?


Screw it:

I'll cancel my order and get this:
http://www.polkaudio.com/products/psw125

Better?
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post #4 of 8 Old 07-16-2012, 10:52 AM
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You're in good hands with Arny, so I'll address this only:
Quote:
Originally Posted by bradleyedward View Post

So what's with people saying Denon receiver are "bright"?

Most audio gear these days is flat with a fraction of a dB over the entire audio range. So unless all Denon receivers are defective (doubtful), this is just another audio myth. Or faulty perception. These articles may help:

A common-sense explanation of audiophile beliefs
Perception - the Final Frontier
Audiophoolery

--Ethan

RealTraps - The acoustic treatment experts
Ethan's Audio Expert book

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post #5 of 8 Old 07-16-2012, 11:00 AM - Thread Starter
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LAST question, I promise.

I think my Pioneer came with some kind of microphone, but it's long gone by now.

So if I go with a Yamaha (keeping in mind I have no experience with sound metering and have no equipment) will the "Yamaha Parametric Room Acoustic Optimizer" help my sound out at all?
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post #6 of 8 Old 07-16-2012, 11:42 AM
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If you are concerned about subwoofer performance, you might should look at Denon. Audyssey MultiEQ (and better versions) room correction software applies EQ filters to the speakers AND the sub to help flatten the response at the listening position. The lower level Yamahas with YPAO only EQ the speakers, not the sub.

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post #7 of 8 Old 07-16-2012, 04:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradleyedward View Post

Thanks for the in-depth reply! I actually went ahead and ordered the Polk. Part of the reason I'm sticking around the 8" size is because I live in a duplex unfortunately, thus I can't have overpowering size. And I realize the subwoofers are pretty similar in specifications, but I'm thinking the AR sub may be somewhat shot. We've had many issues with it over the years. Thank you much for the advice!
So what's with people saying Denon receiver are "bright"?
Screw it:
I'll cancel my order and get this:
http://www.polkaudio.com/products/psw125
Better?

I admit it, I was thinking of the DSW Pro 660wi
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post #8 of 8 Old 07-16-2012, 04:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradleyedward View Post

LAST question, I promise.
I think my Pioneer came with some kind of microphone, but it's long gone by now.

Get a replacement here:

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=pioneer+mcacc+mic

Before you throw the baby out, at least learn its name:

Read up on MCACC here:

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1112470/official-pioneer-mcacc-thread
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