Suggested settings for my 'new' HT set-up - AVS Forum
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Old 11-10-2012, 03:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello all,

I just ordered a new front 3 and would like some suggestion on set-up settings. This is my first 'real' HT set-up and although I've read a ton, I'm not sure I grasp it all. Help is greatly appreciated and I'll be as thorough as I can. The surrounds and sub I got for free and would like to hold off on upgrading for awhile, so don't knock them too much!

As far as listening style it's mostly movies, video games, and TV.

RECEIVER
Pioneer VSX-1020K

Surround System Class7.1 channel
Amplifier Output Details 110 Watt - 8 Ohm - THD 0.05 % - 7 channel(s) ( Surround )
Sound Output Mode Surround Sound
Built-in DecodersDolby Pro Logic IIx , Dolby Digital Plus , Dolby Digital ,DTS decoder ,DTS-HD Master Audio ,DTS-ES Matrix 6.1 ,DTS Neo:6 ,DTS-ES Discrete 6.1 ,Dolby Digital EX ,Dolby TrueHD , DTS 96/24
Surround Sound EffectsFront Stage Surround Advance
Digital Sound Processor (DSP) Yes
Response Bandwidth 20 - 20000 Hz
Signal-To-Noise Ratio 100 dB
Built-in Equalizer

FRONT 3
Polk Monitor70 Series II

Driver Units Tweeter Complement: one 1" cloth dome
Driver Complement: four 6.5" Bi-Laminate driver
Power Rating 20-275W
Frequency Response 30Hz-25kHz
Nominal Impedance 8 Ohm
Sensitivity 90db
Connectors Inputs: Dual (bi-amp) 5 way binding posts

Polk CS1 Series II

Driver Units Tweeter Complement: one 1" cloth dome
Driver Complement: two 5.25" Bi-Laminate driver
Power Rating 20-125W
Frequency Response 55Hz-25kHz
Nominal Impedance 8 Ohm
Sensitivity 89db
Connectors Inputs: 5 way binding posts

SURROUNDS

Bose Model 141

Max (RMS) Output Power 80 Watt
Recommended Amplifier Power 10 - 80 Watt
Nominal (RMS) Output Power 40 Watt

SUB

Infinity Alpha 1200S

500-watt RMS amp
12" front-firing driver
Frequency response 28-150 Hz (±3dB)
Continuously variable 50-150 Hz crossover
Phase switch
Line-level stereo RCA inputs with LFE/normal switch

As for the questions I'd like answered:

This may help: It's the back panel of my sub: http://www2.crutchfield.com.edgesuite.net/pix.crutchfield.com/ImageHandler/fixedscale/900/900/products/2002/108/x108A1200SC-b.jpeg

1.) Where should I set the SPEAKER crossover at on my receiver? My options are 50Hz, 80, 100, 150 or 200.
2.) What's the best way to hook the SUBWOOFER up? I have options for high level in and high level out but currently just have it hooked up through a coax cable. I've never seen the high level options for hook-up before.
2.) Where should I set the SUBWOOFER frequency at? My options are anywhere from 20 to 80.
3.) Where should I set the SUBWOOFER crossover at? My options are anywhere from 50-150.
4.) Where should I set the SUBWOOFER level at? My options are anywhere from -14 to 0.
5.) Where should I set the SUBWOOFER width at? My options are anywhere from 4.5 to 49.5.
6.) My SURROUNDS are currently set-up to the right and left of my couch facing each other. Is this recommended? I can tell my receiver they are either behind me or to my sides facing each other.

I just ran the auto-calibrate for my first set-up (don't have the new front 3 yet) with a few minor tweaks and it does sound good. However, I like optimization so if there's a more optimal way for set-up and tweaking (pending I can move speakers) I'd love to know. When I get the new front 3 I'll likely auto-calibrate again and see how it goes. I just have a feeling my crossovers will need to be tweaked.

THANK YOU everyone for your help. I know this is pretty noob-ish stuff but I appreciate bearing with me.

John
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Old 11-12-2012, 08:40 AM
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You are going to want to re-calibrate when you get your front 3 in the mix. Those auto-calibration programs set the phase, distance, channel level and EQ's all of your speakers in an effort to gain seamless integration of your speakers and to compensate for acoustic issues with your room, so having all your speakers together when you calibrate is optimal. One way to "adjust" your calibration is to auto-calibrate, check it out, then re-calibrate using different microphone positioning. This will change the parameters of the calibration and may provide improvements to your overall sound, or it might not.

Check this site here: http://www.thx.com/consumer/home-entertainment/home-theater/surround-sound-speaker-set-up/

and here: http://www.dolby.com/us/en/consumer/setup/connection-guide/home-theater-speaker-guide/index.html

for proper speaker setup depending on if you are going 5.1, 6.1 or 7.1 (or more if you want) However if your room is preventing a perfect setup, don't agonize over it. If you setup is close to the optimal models, your auto-correction programs may help compensate for any problems that may arise. Just make sure there is proper spacing between your speakers and that they are all pointed at the main listening position.

If you haven't already, check out the Home Theater setup sticky in this section of the forum: http://www.avsforum.com/t/824554/setting-up-your-home-theater-101

It has a ton of useful links to read. The two I listed above are probably the go-to sites for speaker placement, but there is a ton of other useful links in that thread that will expand your knowledge on the subject.

Good luck! Let us know how it sounds when you get your main speakers.
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Old 11-12-2012, 09:16 AM
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As for the questions I'd like answered:
1.) Where should I set the SPEAKER crossover at on my receiver? My options are 50Hz, 80, 100, 150 or 200.

The generic answer is 80hz. The more complicated answer is that it depends on your speakers. Your main three speakers should be fine crossed at 80hz. The reason for 80hz is that most capable speakers are fine down to around 80hz and most capable subwoofers are fine playing up to 80-100hz. Above that, many subs start to perform poorly (many but not all) so 80hz is sort of the universal compromise between where speakers start to under perform and subs start to under perform. Your surrounds may need to be crossed over at a higher frequency to cover holes in their capability. Research around on the web to see if you can find what the frequency response of those bose speakers are, and cross them over just a little higher than the listed response.
Quote:
2.) What's the best way to hook the SUBWOOFER up? I have options for high level in and high level out but currently just have it hooked up through a coax cable. I've never seen the high level options for hook-up before.

Most people simply use the RCA connections. I believe that is the most common type for subwoofers.
Quote:
2.) Where should I set the SUBWOOFER frequency at? My options are anywhere from 20 to 80.

I'm not sure what this is in reference to. If it is in reference to how low the sub can play, bottom it out (20). Your subwoofer says it is capable down to 28hz, but oftentimes this number can be variable depending on how it reacts with your room acoustics.
Quote:
3.) Where should I set the SUBWOOFER crossover at? My options are anywhere from 50-150.

Not 100% about this one. My gut says to set it at 150 and your receiver (which should be set to 80ish) will only send the sub what you tell it to. With the sub set at 150, it shouldn't be cutting off any frequencies your receiver is sending it.
Quote:
4.) Where should I set the SUBWOOFER level at? My options are anywhere from -14 to 0.

Some will tell you this is a matter or preference. Others will say this is a calibration issue. Most users around these parts tend to have theirs set at the 12 o'clock position (like in the picture you linked). When you auto-calibrate your system, start your Sub Level at the 12 o'clock position. Then check the level that the receiver puts the sub at after calibration. If the Sub level is negative, increase the sub level on the back of the sub. If the sub level (in the receiver) is positive, dial it back on the back of the sub. After adjusting, re-calibrate. The end goal here is to adjust the sub level and re-calibrate till you get the receiver's Sub Level to read at 0 (neither negative or positive). Once you've done this, the sub is properly calibrated to produce the optimal volume level for your room. A lot of people around here like to then dial up the knob on the back of the sub a tick or two for wow-factor. The goal is to find the 0 point first, then adjust to your preference from there.
Quote:
5.) Where should I set the SUBWOOFER width at? My options are anywhere from 4.5 to 49.5.

I have no idea what subwoofer width is. Any one else have any experience with this sub or one similar? I'm curious about this myself!
Quote:
6.) My SURROUNDS are currently set-up to the right and left of my couch facing each other. Is this recommended? I can tell my receiver they are either behind me or to my sides facing each other

Yes, your surround setup is where it should be for a 5.1 system. If you were setting up 7.1 with rear surrounds, then your "side" surround should be a foot or two forward of your couch, depending on the distance from your seating position to the tv/screen (then your rear surrounds would go directly behind you to the left and right of your couch). For a 5.1 system, the surrounds can go either directly in line with your couch, or slightly behind your couch. Just make sure they are pointed directly at the center of the listening position.
.
Quote:
.
THANK YOU everyone for your help. I know this is pretty noob-ish stuff but I appreciate bearing with me.
John

Everyone is a noob at some point. I still consider myself a noob to this stuff, even though I've been coming to this site for over 7 years...
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyT13 View Post

Hello all,

I just ordered a new front 3 and would like some suggestion on set-up settings. This is my first 'real' HT set-up and although I've read a ton, I'm not sure I grasp it all. Help is greatly appreciated and I'll be as thorough as I can. The surrounds and sub I got for free and would like to hold off on upgrading for awhile, so don't knock them too much!

As far as listening style it's mostly movies, video games, and TV.

RECEIVER
Pioneer VSX-1020K

Surround System Class7.1 channel
Amplifier Output Details 110 Watt - 8 Ohm - THD 0.05 % - 7 channel(s) ( Surround )
Sound Output Mode Surround Sound
Built-in DecodersDolby Pro Logic IIx , Dolby Digital Plus , Dolby Digital ,DTS decoder ,DTS-HD Master Audio ,DTS-ES Matrix 6.1 ,DTS Neo:6 ,DTS-ES Discrete 6.1 ,Dolby Digital EX ,Dolby TrueHD , DTS 96/24
Surround Sound EffectsFront Stage Surround Advance
Digital Sound Processor (DSP) Yes
Response Bandwidth 20 - 20000 Hz
Signal-To-Noise Ratio 100 dB
Built-in Equalizer

FRONT 3
Polk Monitor70 Series II

Driver Units Tweeter Complement: one 1" cloth dome
Driver Complement: four 6.5" Bi-Laminate driver
Power Rating 20-275W
Frequency Response 30Hz-25kHz
Nominal Impedance 8 Ohm
Sensitivity 90db
Connectors Inputs: Dual (bi-amp) 5 way binding posts

Polk CS1 Series II

Driver Units Tweeter Complement: one 1" cloth dome
Driver Complement: two 5.25" Bi-Laminate driver
Power Rating 20-125W
Frequency Response 55Hz-25kHz
Nominal Impedance 8 Ohm
Sensitivity 89db
Connectors Inputs: 5 way binding posts

SURROUNDS

Bose Model 141

Max (RMS) Output Power 80 Watt
Recommended Amplifier Power 10 - 80 Watt
Nominal (RMS) Output Power 40 Watt

SUB

Infinity Alpha 1200S

500-watt RMS amp
12" front-firing driver
Frequency response 28-150 Hz (±3dB)
Continuously variable 50-150 Hz crossover
Phase switch
Line-level stereo RCA inputs with LFE/normal switch

As for the questions I'd like answered:

This may help: It's the back panel of my sub: http://www2.crutchfield.com.edgesuite.net/pix.crutchfield.com/ImageHandler/fixedscale/900/900/products/2002/108/x108A1200SC-b.jpeg

1.) Where should I set the SPEAKER crossover at on my receiver? My options are 50Hz, 80, 100, 150 or 200.

Run The built-in MCACC system optimization facility and it will give you a suggestion that includes more factors than anybody can do on an online forum.
Quote:
2.) What's the best way to hook the SUBWOOFER up? I have options for high level in and high level out but currently just have it hooked up through a coax cable. I've never seen the high level options for hook-up before.

You are doing it the best way now. The high level options on your subwoofer are for people who aren't using a receiver with bass management.
Quote:
2.) Where should I set the SUBWOOFER frequency at? My options are anywhere from 20 to 80.

Set this and all other Bass Optimization Syste, knobs full counterclockwise.
Quote:
3.) Where should I set the SUBWOOFER crossover at? My options are anywhere from 50-150.

Full clockwise (150)
Quote:
4.) Where should I set the SUBWOOFER level at? My options are anywhere from -14 to 0.

As high as you can without hearing hum.

Quote:
5.) Where should I set the SUBWOOFER width at? My options are anywhere from 4.5 to 49.5.

Set this and all other Bass Optimization Syste, knobs full counterclockwise.
Quote:
6.) My SURROUNDS are currently set-up to the right and left of my couch facing each other. Is this recommended? I can tell my receiver they are either behind me or to my sides facing each other.

I just ran the auto-calibrate for my first set-up (don't have the new front 3 yet) with a few minor tweaks and it does sound good. However, I like optimization so if there's a more optimal way for set-up and tweaking (pending I can move speakers) I'd love to know. When I get the new front 3 I'll likely auto-calibrate again and see how it goes. I just have a feeling my crossovers will need to be tweaked.

The next step after doing what you can with the receiver's MCACC, the next step is to set up your own acoustic measurement system, which is covered by stickys and other threads.
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by NuSoardGraphite View Post

The generic answer is 80hz. The more complicated answer is that it depends on your speakers. Your main three speakers should be fine crossed at 80hz. The reason for 80hz is that most capable speakers are fine down to around 80hz and most capable subwoofers are fine playing up to 80-100hz. Above that, many subs start to perform poorly (many but not all) so 80hz is sort of the universal compromise between where speakers start to under perform and subs start to under perform. Your surrounds may need to be crossed over at a higher frequency to cover holes in their capability. Research around on the web to see if you can find what the frequency response of those bose speakers are, and cross them over just a little higher than the listed response.

That's what I thought. My current set up is at 100Hz but my fronts are just small bookshelfs right now. When I dropped it to 80 the mids weren't doing much and I definitely notice an improvement at 100 so when I get the new front 3 I'll drop it to 80Hz again. Unfortunately, I don't see the capability in my receiver to adjust just the surround crossover. It's an all or nothing setting. However, I don't think it'll matter too much as I just read they have a single speaker cone in each cabinet, and therefore do not need a crossover to split the high frequency signals from the low frequency ones.
Quote:
Most people simply use the RCA connections. I believe that is the most common type for subwoofers

Glad to hear I got something right!
Quote:
I'm not sure what this is in reference to. If it is in reference to how low the sub can play, bottom it out (20). Your subwoofer says it is capable down to 28hz, but oftentimes this number can be variable depending on how it reacts with your room acoustics.

The sub frequency is the first knob at the top left corner in the picture. I'm guessing this is how low you want the sub to go. I think it's currently set at 50Hz but I'll drop it to 20 and adjust if necessary.
Quote:
Not 100% about this one. My gut says to set it at 150 and your receiver (which should be set to 80ish) will only send the sub what you tell it to. With the sub set at 150, it shouldn't be cutting off any frequencies your receiver is sending it.

If I do set the sub to 150, would that then make my fronts turn to mids (regarding the four woofers)? I guess I thought the speaker crossover setting on my receiver was only a setting for the speakers themselves, not the sub. Basically, the setting would differentiate what would target the highs and mids. If I have this mixed up in my head, please let me know. I just don't want the sub to hit 150 and essentially negate the woofers in my fronts as I'd like to use those as mids and make the sub handle most/all of the lows.

I just read I can actually negate this setting if I turn the Low-Pass Filter to 'off.' If I do that, then the crossover is set by the receiver. Basically what I'm setting is the highest point at which the subwoofer reproduces sounds. I'm thinking I should turn the filter on, set the receiver to 80 and calibrate. I think it's currently set to off but I'll have to double check.
Quote:
Some will tell you this is a matter or preference. Others will say this is a calibration issue. Most users around these parts tend to have theirs set at the 12 o'clock position (like in the picture you linked). When you auto-calibrate your system, start your Sub Level at the 12 o'clock position. Then check the level that the receiver puts the sub at after calibration. If the Sub level is negative, increase the sub level on the back of the sub. If the sub level (in the receiver) is positive, dial it back on the back of the sub. After adjusting, re-calibrate. The end goal here is to adjust the sub level and re-calibrate till you get the receiver's Sub Level to read at 0 (neither negative or positive). Once you've done this, the sub is properly calibrated to produce the optimal volume level for your room. A lot of people around here like to then dial up the knob on the back of the sub a tick or two for wow-factor. The goal is to find the 0 point first, then adjust to your preference from there.

When I get the front 3 I'll definitely re-cal along with the sub level. As with others, I like a little more boom boom!
Quote:
I have no idea what subwoofer width is. Any one else have any experience with this sub or one similar? I'm curious about this myself!

This is totally new to me as well. If it helps, I found the instruction manual and it's officially called the Bass Optimization System Bandwidth Adjustment. It doesn't say much regarding it, but gives a process to tweak and fine tune so I'll have to play with that one a bit.
Quote:
Yes, your surround setup is where it should be for a 5.1 system. If you were setting up 7.1 with rear surrounds, then your "side" surround should be a foot or two forward of your couch, depending on the distance from your seating position to the tv/screen (then your rear surrounds would go directly behind you to the left and right of your couch). For a 5.1 system, the surrounds can go either directly in line with your couch, or slightly behind your couch. Just make sure they are pointed directly at the center of the listening position.

Yes, this is a 5.1. I did read that I should move the surrounds 2 feet above my ears. However, I can't tilt the surrounds to face my ears, so I assume the optimal set-up then is to keep them at ear level and not raise them?
.
Quote:
Everyone is a noob at some point. I still consider myself a noob to this stuff, even though I've been coming to this site for over 7 years...

Your help is tremendously appreciated, so thank you! I'm glad to hear I'm on the right track!
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Old 11-12-2012, 11:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

Run The built-in MCACC system optimization facility and it will give you a suggestion that includes more factors than anybody can do on an online forum.
You are doing it the best way now. The high level options on your subwoofer are for people who aren't using a receiver with bass management.
Set this and all other Bass Optimization Syste, knobs full counterclockwise.
Full clockwise (150)
As high as you can without hearing hum.
Set this and all other Bass Optimization Syste, knobs full counterclockwise.
The next step after doing what you can with the receiver's MCACC, the next step is to set up your own acoustic measurement system, which is covered by stickys and other threads.

Thank you for your help! I'm going to check these out tonight even though I don't have the new front 3 yet. I know a few of my settings are pretty off on the sub which was really my main concern, along with setting the right crossover. I'll let the MCACC do the rest and do some minor tweaking if needed.

I'm loving a forum that'll help the noobest of noobs too!
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Old 11-12-2012, 12:19 PM - Thread Starter
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arnyk,

You're saying I should set the sub crossover to 150, which would mean I'll have to turn the Low-Pass Filter on. Thusly, I'll be bypassing the receiver's crossover setting for the sub as well. Is this still recommended even though the front 3 are more than capable of handling frequences as low as 35Hz? I suppose the sub will provide more punch than the front woofers though, which is more what I'm looking for.

Thank you for the advice - just making sure I'm on the right track.
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Old 11-12-2012, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnnyT13 View Post

arnyk,

You're saying I should set the sub crossover to 150,

NO, I'm saying that you should set the high pass filter on the sub as high as possible.
Quote:
which would mean I'll have to turn the Low-Pass Filter on.

No. I'm saying that you should put as many parameters as possible relating to the sub under the control of the AVR, because it sees the big picture.

Quote:
Thusly, I'll be bypassing the receiver's crossover setting for the sub as well.

No, my instructions are intended to put the receiver's crossover in control.
Quote:
Is this still recommended even though the front 3 are more than capable of handling frequencies as low as 35Hz?

Yes. Just because your mains can handle some deep bass doesn't mean that your system will sound best if they handle deep bass.

Quote:
I suppose the sub will provide more punch than the front woofers though,

Yes.
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Old 11-12-2012, 03:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

NO, I'm saying that you should set the high pass filter on the sub as high as possible.
No. I'm saying that you should put as many parameters as possible relating to the sub under the control of the AVR, because it sees the big picture.
No, my instructions are intended to put the receiver's crossover in control.
Yes. Just because your mains can handle some deep bass doesn't mean that your system will sound best if they handle deep bass.
Yes.

Gotcha, from the way I'm reading it, I'll be bypassing the Crossover setting on the sub if I turn the filter off, no matter where it's set to so that's where I misinterpreted your answers.
The filter is only an on/off switch (then setting the frequency if it's turned on). Here's what I'm looking at: http://oi45.tinypic.com/24yvgat.jpg

I'll check the filter tonight and turn it off if it's not already, set the other tweaks and try and at least nail down the sub before I get the front 3 going.

Thanks guys!
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Old 11-12-2012, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnnyT13 View Post

That's what I thought. My current set up is at 100Hz but my fronts are just small bookshelfs right now. When I dropped it to 80 the mids weren't doing much and I definitely notice an improvement at 100 so when I get the new front 3 I'll drop it to 80Hz again. Unfortunately, I don't see the capability in my receiver to adjust just the surround crossover. It's an all or nothing setting. However, I don't think it'll matter too much as I just read they have a single speaker cone in each cabinet, and therefore do not need a crossover to split the high frequency signals from the low frequency ones.

I'm not as familiar with Pioneer receivers and MCACC. I have a Denon with Auddessey, and it allows you to crossover each speaker individually, which I really like, because my main speakers are pretty capable down to below 50hz, but my surrounds and center only go down to about 80hz before dropping off considerably, so I am crossing them at a higher point (100hz) than my main speakers (80hz). Check your manual and the Owners Thread for the model of Pioneer reciever you own. See what suggestions you get. If your sub can handle it, crossover at the point to where your surrounds start sounding poor. It's not really going to have a detrimental effect on the rest of your speakers as long as your sub is up to the task.
Quote:
The sub frequency is the first knob at the top left corner in the picture. I'm guessing this is how low you want the sub to go. I think it's currently set at 50Hz but I'll drop it to 20 and adjust if necessary.

Yeah, you want to drop that to where you are getting the most from your sub. Bottom that sucker out, then play a movie with big explosions and see how it sounds now.
Quote:
If I do set the sub to 150, would that then make my fronts turn to mids (regarding the four woofers)? I guess I thought the speaker crossover setting on my receiver was only a setting for the speakers themselves, not the sub. Basically, the setting would differentiate what would target the highs and mids. If I have this mixed up in my head, please let me know. I just don't want the sub to hit 150 and essentially negate the woofers in my fronts as I'd like to use those as mids and make the sub handle most/all of the lows.

I just read I can actually negate this setting if I turn the Low-Pass Filter to 'off.' If I do that, then the crossover is set by the receiver. Basically what I'm setting is the highest point at which the subwoofer reproduces sounds. I'm thinking I should turn the filter on, set the receiver to 80 and calibrate. I think it's currently set to off but I'll have to double check.

As Arnyk said, you want the receiver handling the bass management. Putting your Subwoofers crossover at 150 allows the receiver to send it what you tell it to (the crossover setting in the receiver) without the Sub touching it. There may be a setting in MCACC or the receiver where you can allow bass of a certain frequency out of both your speakers AND your sub. You may want to experiment with this and have your main 3 speakers output lower mid-bass (100hz to 150hz) along with your sub just to see how it works out. I'm not sure if MCACC lets you do this, but Auddysey does.
Quote:
When I get the front 3 I'll definitely re-cal along with the sub level. As with others, I like a little more boom boom!

Most of us do. Nothing wrong with boosting the bass volume a decible or so. Just don't boost it so loud that it drowns your the movies dialogue!
Quote:
This is totally new to me as well. If it helps, I found the instruction manual and it's officially called the Bass Optimization System Bandwidth Adjustment. It doesn't say much regarding it, but gives a process to tweak and fine tune so I'll have to play with that one a bit.

Let us know the results after you play around with it for a bit. I'm in the market for a subwoofer and if it helps, I'll be on the lookout for one with a Bass Optimization System. (I'm not a purist. I have no problem turning on optimization if it improves my listening experience)
Quote:
Yes, this is a 5.1. I did read that I should move the surrounds 2 feet above my ears. However, I can't tilt the surrounds to face my ears, so I assume the optimal set-up then is to keep them at ear level and not raise them?

Yes, ear level is totally fine. Many people put their surrounds on stands at ear-height. THX and Dolby both recommend a height of about 2 feet above ear level, but this is just a suggestion, not a hard-fast rule.
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Your help is tremendously appreciated, so thank you! I'm glad to hear I'm on the right track!

No problemo. Keep lurking and keep experimenting. The best and most fun way to learn this stuff.

Stand tall and shake the heavens...
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