Denon Amp setup with Polk PSW505 Sub and various speakers: need advice - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 06-16-2013, 09:48 AM - Thread Starter
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I have a budget setup.
My Amp is a Denon 1612.
Front Speakers are Pioneer SP-FS52-LR.
Surround speakers are Sony B3000.
Center channel is Sony CN5000.
My (new) subwoofer is a Polk PSW505.

I've had the rest of the setup for a bit over a year. I just added the subwoofer.

I setup the system using the Denon "Audyssey" setup help thing built into the amp. Denon "Audyssey" uses a microphone placed at the position of a listener to automatically adjust the levels of each channel. The mic came with the amp, and the adjustment is software in the amp. It does a much better job than my fumbling with the levels myself. Generally, sound is nice and clear.

My question has to do with how the level of the subwoofer seems to vary depending on the source material.

If the source material is a true 5.1 (Dolby, DTS etc) then the subwoofer is almost too powerful. If the source is two-channel stereo the subwoofer level is very weak. It is weak whether I use the stereo, pro logic, or any of the other 2-channel or upscaled two-channel audio output settings.

If anyone is familiar with Denon amp setup, can you give me any advice on how to get the subwoofer to act more consistently, regardless of the audio source material?

I'm guessing that it is a consequence of movie soundtracks simply having the subwoofer channel intentionally boosted to the extreme. I have simply been turning the volume on the sub down or up depending on the source (using the knob on the subwoofer's amp). If I leave the subwoofer volume low from watching a movie, then when I switch to listening to music in 2.1, the bass is anemic. If I leave it at a moderate setting, the bass is over the top when watching a 5.1 movie or TV show.

Any advice on getting the setup to perform more consistently is welcome.

Cheers
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post #2 of 10 Old 06-16-2013, 12:07 PM
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Not sure about the Denon but many avr's have an adjustment for this. In my Onkyo there's a sub menu called audio adjust, then within that LFE level, can set by type of signal. Some 2 channel sources just don't have much bass content especially as compared to LFE content. You might try a thread dedicated to your Denon model or range of Denon model....

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post #3 of 10 Old 06-16-2013, 12:08 PM
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Never mind, don't think what I had proposed would help. You should try a dedicated Denon thread for your model or range of model, though...

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post #4 of 10 Old 06-16-2013, 04:10 PM - Thread Starter
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For future searchers: I posted this on the Denon XX12 thread. I was linked to detailed info on my receiver's auto-setup software (Audyssey).

It helped.

Here's my reply from that thread:

Well, your advice to read the Audyssey 101 guide helped a bit. I had the gain/volume on my sub's amp set at about 50%. Deep in that Audyssey guide it lets you know that if Audyssey is adjusting the sub level down or up a lot, that you should turn the gain down so that it can match the levels properly. Apparently my Sub is a lot more powerful than the rest of my system. I ended up setting the volume of the sub very low to get Audyssey to fall within the +/-3.5db range.

I also went ahead and set the crossover being sent to the sub from the other channels at 80 (rather than the 40 which Audyssey selected). This really won't help my specific problem but it will reduce the workload of my AVR amp if I want to listen loud.

I've been watching movies and listening to music for a couple hours now. My solution has been two-fold (besides getting the volume level corrected on my sub's amp). First, I cranked up the level of my center channel. I think that the mixing of movies and TV are too big for my tastes. If I boost the center level I can keep the overall level down and get rid of some of the over-the-top bass (along with the overdone swelling music in films). Second, since I have my center channel jacked up, I'll just listen to music in stereo mode (2.1) so my center channel adjustment won't mess up the levels of my music too much.

Other feedback is welcome.

Thanks for your help.
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post #5 of 10 Old 06-16-2013, 08:22 PM
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What was the avr setting your sub trim originally was set to? I assumed you had that part setup well but I didn't think to ask and many do not balance the gain settings on the sub to achieve the best balance with the avr (one might start with say the 50% position but often you end up much lower, 1/4 to 1/3 is what my various subs work best with). On my avr the stereo provides sub output whereas pure 2 ch doesn't. I believe on the Denon's there's a setting to "double" the bass.

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post #6 of 10 Old 06-17-2013, 02:56 PM
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When your source is 2-channel stereo, the receiver subwoofer output should not be putting anything out. That's how the receiver works.

2 channels is 2 channels...not 2.1.

The way to get around that is to connect the subwoofer speaker level input terminals to the main L/R speakers for its input signal, rather than to the receiver.

Just connect the speaker-level input terminals of the sub directly to the L/R speaker terminals on the speakers with 16 or 18 gauge speaker wire and set the sub for a rolloff of around 50 Hz to match your main speakers.

Remove any cables between the receiver and subwoofer.

That way the sub will work exactly the same as long as the front 2 speakers have audio going to them.

I would also suggest that you dump the Sony center speaker and get the Pioneer CS22 speaker. That should improve things.
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post #7 of 10 Old 06-17-2013, 03:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

When your source is 2-channel stereo, the receiver subwoofer output should not be putting anything out. That's how the receiver works.

2 channels is 2 channels...not 2.1.

The way to get around that is to connect the subwoofer speaker level input terminals to the main L/R speakers for its input signal, rather than to the receiver.

Just connect the speaker-level input terminals of the sub directly to the L/R speaker terminals on the speakers with 16 or 18 gauge speaker wire and set the sub for a rolloff of around 50 Hz to match your main speakers.

Remove any cables between the receiver and subwoofer.

That way the sub will work exactly the same as long as the front 2 speakers have audio going to them.

I would also suggest that you dump the Sony center speaker and get the Pioneer CS22 speaker. That should improve things.

Can't make blanket statements about receivers like that....my Onkyo receiver in stereo mode creates a .1 channel for 2 channel sources (but does not in direct or pure direct modes). I believe my old housemate's Denon would do that also but it's been a few years.

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post #8 of 10 Old 06-20-2013, 12:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovinthehd View Post

What was the avr setting your sub trim originally was set to? I assumed you had that part setup well but I didn't think to ask and many do not balance the gain settings on the sub to achieve the best balance with the avr (one might start with say the 50% position but often you end up much lower, 1/4 to 1/3 is what my various subs work best with). On my avr the stereo provides sub output whereas pure 2 ch doesn't. I believe on the Denon's there's a setting to "double" the bass.

It was at -12 (which was the maximum. I had the gain at about 50%. I ended up setting the gain on the sub at about 20% and it still goes to -3.
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post #9 of 10 Old 06-20-2013, 12:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

When your source is 2-channel stereo, the receiver subwoofer output should not be putting anything out. That's how the receiver works.

2 channels is 2 channels...not 2.1.

The way to get around that is to connect the subwoofer speaker level input terminals to the main L/R speakers for its input signal, rather than to the receiver.

Just connect the speaker-level input terminals of the sub directly to the L/R speaker terminals on the speakers with 16 or 18 gauge speaker wire and set the sub for a rolloff of around 50 Hz to match your main speakers.

Remove any cables between the receiver and subwoofer.

That way the sub will work exactly the same as long as the front 2 speakers have audio going to them.

I would also suggest that you dump the Sony center speaker and get the Pioneer CS22 speaker. That should improve things.

On my denon, "stereo" definitely puts a signal out to the sub.
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post #10 of 10 Old 06-20-2013, 01:27 PM
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commsysman's suggestion will work, but is certainly not necessary. With modern digital receivers, setting speakers to Small enables bass management so that low frequencies from full range channels are sent to the sub. That is a simpler, more straightforward approach than his suggestion for wiring speaker connections through the sub so that it can do the bass management.

As for the differing levels mentioned by the OP, there's really no fool-proof solution for that. Movies have a dedicated .1 channel whose sole purpose is to facilitate deep bass that can play louder than anything in the full range channels. Stereo music rarely has that kind of strong bass. Bass management will redirect the lowest frequencies from the main speakers to the sub. But, it doesn't boost the levels.

But, here's the good news: Denons allow the end user to set different channel trims for each Surround Mode. Plus, there's the Quick Select function to memorize specific combinations of settings, including SW volume, for easy access. So, if you find the sub is too loud with multichannel sources, you can lower it a bit in the AVR and then that lower level will be used for that type of processing. Similarly, you can crank up the sub output in the AVR for the stereo Surround Mode and that higher trim will be used for that type of audio. You should not need to manually adjust the levels on the sub itself the way you've been doing it. Channel Trims and Quick Select are described on pp44-45 of the owners manual.
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