Recommendations to improve audio system? - AVS Forum
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Old 11-23-2006, 11:34 AM - Thread Starter
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I just completed a home theatre set-up in a small room in my condo. The room is approximately 10 by 13 feet. I tried to use as many of my existing components as possible when designing the system. The existing components are flagged with a **.

Here's the existing set-up:

Monitor - Sony SXRD KDS-R50XBR1
Signal - Comcast Digital Cable HD
DVR - Comcast Motorola PVR (DCT-6400)
DVD Player - Oppo DVD (OPDV-971H)
Receiver - Yamaha AV Receiver (RX-V795)**
Front/Center Speakers - Anthony Gallo A'Diva Ti
Rear Speakers (2) - Anthony Gallo Nucleus Micro**
Subwoofer - B&W ASW1000**

Now that everything is up and running, I am interested in your perspective as to whether it would make a significant difference to upgrade a component or two within this system--particularly with the audio.

Would an upgrade to the receiver make a noticeable difference given the small size of the room?

Would different speakers make a noticeable difference within a small room?

Thanks!

Following are a few images of the set up:

Entering the room--it's only 10 feet deep by 13 feet wide...


View of the subwoofer, front and center speakers, television and other components...


Television and stand with components...


The Anthony Gallo Micros are positioned in the ceiling...
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Old 11-23-2006, 12:46 PM
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I think your receiver is fine. I have no first hand experience with the Anthony Gallo speakers, but they are of the "micro" design. While many of these smaller speakers can sound good when matched to an appropriate sub, I think you would notice a significant improvement with some speakers with a larger driver area.

Maybe you can keep the sphere speakers as surrounds and add something with a little more ummph for the front stage.

The sub should be fine.
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Old 11-24-2006, 11:46 AM
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If you're happy with what you have and just want to maximise its potential for the audio portion, two areas are paramount. Subwoofer integration with the LCR speakers and subwoofer frequency response. Equalising the sub to flatten any peaks and properly setting the crossover point and phase to blend with your Orbs will go much farther for sound quality than just throwing more/bigger components into the mix. A test/calibration disc and an EQ for the sub will be the best investment at the point your at now and the cost is minimal. Spending more money on bigger speakers doesn't make much sense if they still won't be properly integrated with the sub. Nice set-up by the way, clean,simple,sharp and classy.


Kevin
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Old 11-24-2006, 05:26 PM
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I have an older pair on Anthony Gallo's that I use for background music in the living room. When used with a hidden sub it does make non-audiophile visitors raise eyebrows at the seemingly robust sound from such little spheres. But in a head to head comparison with bigger and better speakers they are downright terrible and unsuitable for any half-serious home theater. There is no doubt that your most significant upgrade, by far, will be the speakers. Even where sleek looks matter most, there are offerings such as Infinity Cascade, Definitive Mythos, Vienna Acoustics Schonberg and so many more, which while they aren't too good, are not the pits either. Micro sized speakers are very popular but really not upto the job. If I absolutely had to go with small speakers, a suite of Genelec 6020a with an SVS sub is what I'd settle on. Once you have good speakers, taming bass in the room is the next challenge.

Spending more money on receivers, CD players or cables will yield close to zero sonic improvement.

BTW any center channel will sound much better if it can be positioned above the television.

I like the cool modernist look of it all though!

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Old 11-24-2006, 06:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gnagel View Post

Would different speakers make a noticeable difference within a small room?

Yes. You need much larger speakers to get sufficient midrange output with low distortion and to play low enough to integrate with a sub-woofer using a conventional cross-over frequency (40-120Hz). Something designed for in or on-wall use would be ideal.

Also be sure to use a receiver that has built-in equalization to compensate for the low frequency boosts you're getting from the listeners being close to the rear wall (and speakers close to the front wall).

Some diffusion on the rear wall will help with harshness.
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Old 11-24-2006, 06:48 PM
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Actually, given the distance from the rear wall, broadband absorption would be called for. And yes, any hardware that aids in the competent correction of room modes (many receivers probably do more harm) will be a plus.
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Old 11-24-2006, 06:59 PM
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I would try to mount the center channel above the tv so that it is closer inline with the mains. Also, you may want to replace the front 3 speakers with some larger speakers with more oomph. Depends on your budget.
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Old 11-25-2006, 08:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZombieTheater View Post

Subwoofer integration with the LCR speakers and subwoofer frequency response. Equalising the sub to flatten any peaks and properly setting the crossover point and phase to blend with your Orbs will go much farther for sound quality than just throwing more/bigger components into the mix. A test/calibration disc and an EQ for the sub will be the best investment at the point your at now and the cost is minimal. Spending more money on bigger speakers doesn't make much sense if they still won't be properly integrated with the sub.

Thanks!

I am not very familiar with how to properly set the subwoofer. I did run through the Sound & Vision Home Theatre Tune-Up DVD (with a sound level meter) to set the Volume and Phase.

For the crossover, my A'Diva manual reads as follows:

"If the receiver has selectable crossover settings, you may want to experiment with the higher settings, typically 80 Hz, and the higher alternative of 120 Hz. We prefer the sound with the 80 (or 100 Hz) setting."

My receiver has a fixed crossover setting of 90 Hz and I have my subwoofer set at the 100 Hz setting.

I have no idea how an equalizer for the sub would work or how to calibrate the sub any further.

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Old 11-25-2006, 09:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:


There is no doubt that your most significant upgrade, by far, will be the speakers.

Any thoughts on the Axiom M22 speakers?
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Old 11-25-2006, 09:03 AM
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First, larger, standard speakers for L/R.
Second, reposition and/or replace the center as well.
Third, acoustic treatment for bass and to absorb the first sidewall reflections.

Kal Rubinson

"Music in the Round"
Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile
http://www.stereophile.com/category/music-round

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Old 11-25-2006, 09:41 AM
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I have to agree that those Gallo's are some of the worst I have heard and measured. The attached frequency response is from one channel with a Gallo subwoofer.

I would look at replacing all of your speakers except the subwoofer as the first move. Your near wall seating position is also very problematic for flat frequency response. EQ is going to be a requirement to achieve reasonable frequency response. Room treatments will also help if you are willing to go that route.

I would also consider...
  1. Measurement equipment (TrueRTA, measurement microphone, preamplifier, good SPL meter, Goldline 5.1 test disc) to properly setup your system
  2. Professional setup assistance
  3. Yamaha RX-V2500, 2600, 2700 or 4600 to parametric EQ all channels (requires measurement equipment or professional help to use properly)
  4. Behringer DSP1124P to EQ the subwoofer in room response (requires measurement equipment or professional help)

 

Gallo Speaker Response.pdf 17.943359375k . file
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Old 11-25-2006, 11:50 AM
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I have a room the same size, and all I can say is good luck getting the bass smoothed out.

Your sub position is about the worst possible. I know because that's where mine sat for a while. I'm guessing your mid bass range is virtually non-existent. Unfortunately the fix is to move it away from the corner, which probably causes WAF problems. Try sitting it right in front of the left front speaker and see how it sounds. I just recently started moving my sub around and found that the farther I get it away from the walls the better the frequency response. Which sucks for me since my sub is a SVS tube that's about 4 feet tall.

Another possible fix is a two sub setup, one in each midpoint of the left and right walls. That layout has been shown to drastically improve frequency response in problem rooms. And of course acoustic treatments are a must.

Other than that I agree with what others have said about getting some real speakers and putting the center over the TV instead of under it. The Gallo's are probably ok for the surrounds. IF your receiver lets you set the surround crossover frequency independent of the mains.
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Old 11-25-2006, 10:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WallyWest View Post

I have a room the same size, and all I can say is good luck getting the bass smoothed out.

Your sub position is about the worst possible. I know because that's where mine sat for a while. I'm guessing your mid bass range is virtually non-existent. Unfortunately the fix is to move it away from the corner, which probably causes WAF problems.

Well, here's what I've done so far...

1- I moved the chairs 18 inches from the wall. This seemed to help with the rear surrounds.



2- I placed the center speaker above the screen. Previously, it was on the bottom shelf of the TV stand and was nearly on the floor. This made a noticeable improvement in sound quality.



3- I moved the subwoofer away from the far corner of the room. There was not a noticeable difference.



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Old 11-26-2006, 12:48 AM
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if you cannot replace your speakers at the moment, the best thing you can do is to crossover the subwoofer at something like 150hz. Even though the bass would be very directional coming from the subwoofer, you need it because those speakers are just not up to the task of delivering 90hz-200hz material which is basically the entire male vocal range!! If you cannot increase the receiver crossover past 90hz, you will not get much improvement in the mid bass region with your current setup.

Your first step would be to find front Left, Center, Right speakers that match (perhaps identical) and can be crossover at 90hz as that is what your receiver forces. Small bookshelf speakers typically operate well for 90hz crossover. Things like the X-LS offerings from av123, the bookshelf speakers from SVS, 601s3 from B&W, Paradigm mini monitors, even the Paradigm Atoms if you are on a smaller budget.
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Old 11-26-2006, 07:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonomega View Post

if you cannot replace your speakers at the moment, the best thing you can do is to crossover the subwoofer at something like 150hz. Even though the bass would be very directional coming from the subwoofer, you need it because those speakers are just not up to the task of delivering 90hz-200hz material which is basically the entire male vocal range!! If you cannot increase the receiver crossover past 90hz, you will not get much improvement in the mid bass region with your current setup.

Again, I am new to all of this, so please forgive these basic questions. Why would it make a difference if the crossover for the sub was set at 100hz (as it is now) versus a higher reading (like 150hz)?

My speakers are set to small (at a 90hz crossover), so my sub reproduces the LFE plus the diverted bass (90hz and below) from the speakers when they are set to small. It's my understanding that anything above 90hz is going through the speakers and only the 90hz and below frequency is making it to the sub. So, wouldn't any crossover on the sub above 90hz achieve the same thing since nothing above 90Hz is going to the sub anyway?

Male (and female) vocals sound very realistic through the speakers, so it doesn't seem like the set-up is missing anything as drastic as the entire male vocal range.

Here are some specifications from my Anthony Gallo A'Diva speaker manual (in the event that this might help):

Frequency response: 90Hz - 22kHz (76Hz - 22kHz on wall)
Sensitivity: 87dB
Nominal impedence: 8 ohms
Power handling: 120 watts
Driver: 3" full range (paper-damped titanium)
Crossover: none

Not knowing much about any of this, I thought that these speakers would be perfect (in terms of crossover) for my receiver. I noticed that the speakers have a frequency response of 90Hz to 22kHz. So, I thought that the speakers would "handle" anything from 90Hz and above while the sub would take care of anything 90Hz and below. Since my receiver has a fixed crossover of 90Hz, it seemed like the perfect match--again, only in terms of crossover.

I orginally owned the Gallo Micros (which could not reproduce frequencies nearly as low as the Gallo A'Divas. So, I replaced my front and center speakers with the A'Divas---in part so that the crossover would match up with my system. Also, the A'Divas are a larger sphere and my initial research led me to believe that the titanium version produced higher quality sound.

Please help...

Thanks again!
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Old 11-26-2006, 07:40 AM
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gnagel,

Look at the frequency response I posted for your speakers. They are rolling off strongly below 200 Hz.

The subwoofer should almost always be set at the max frequency when the crossover is being handled in the receiver.

Your position change for the subwoofer was too small to matter. Your chair placement is better, but will likely dominate any move in the subwoofer.
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Old 11-26-2006, 11:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gnagel View Post

I moved the subwoofer away from the far corner of the room. There was not a noticeable difference.

Yeah, you gotta get it 12 to 18 inches at least away from the walls to really notice any difference. I know, in this size room you can't really move it too much or it'll be sitting on your lap.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gnagel View Post

Not knowing much about any of this, I thought that these speakers would be perfect (in terms of crossover) for my receiver. I noticed that the speakers have a frequency response of 90Hz to 22kHz. So, I thought that the speakers would "handle" anything from 90Hz and above while the sub would take care of anything 90Hz and below. Since my receiver has a fixed crossover of 90Hz, it seemed like the perfect match--again, only in terms of crossover.

The crossover isn't a brick wall. At 90hz and down your main speakers get their volume reduced by a certain number of decibles per octave. How steep that curve is depends on the type of crossover. Same thing with the sub. At 90hz and above the subs output is reduced. The two dovetail together to (hopefully) produce a smooth transition.

With the way you're setup right now you should turn the crossover settings on your sub all the way up. If you set it at 90hz you'll be applying two filters to your 90hz and up range on the sub. Your receiver is already lowering the subs output above 90hz, so you don't want the sub to do it as well. That will result in a really steep dropoff that leaves a hole in the 90hz+ range. Your sub may also have an input on the back marked Xover. If you plug the cable into that it will bypass the subs built in crossover.

Alternately you could disable the receiver's crossover entirely. Since your speakers start rolling off below 90 hz anyway you don't really need it. If you have this option set the receiver's bass output to "both", meaning it sends full range sound to your main speakers and the bass portion to the sub as well. Even in this case leave the subs crossover all the way up because the receiver is still managing the bass output itself.

*disclaimer* That's how my old Yamaha receiver worked, if your receiver has a "both" option you should find out exactly what it's doing in that mode before deciding how to use it.

Quote:


I orginally owned the Gallo Micros (which could not reproduce frequencies nearly as low as the Gallo A'Divas. So, I replaced my front and center speakers with the A'Divas---in part so that the crossover would match up with my system. Also, the A'Divas are a larger sphere and my initial research led me to believe that the titanium version produced higher quality sound.

They are better, but the bottom line is a speaker that size no matter how great it is simply can't produce much volume, and it can't play well in the lower range. It's a matter of physics.

Ideally you want your mains to play well down to 60hz or so. That way a crossover of 80hz will work very well without any holes in the mid bass range. Personally I prefer main speakers that are near full range, with a -3db point around 40hz. I think 80hz is really too high a crossover point, 60hz is better.
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Old 11-26-2006, 06:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all of the input.

I've made a few additional adjustments...

The subwoofers crossover is now at the highest setting and the subwoofer has been moved another foot from the wall.

I'm contemplating replacing my front and center speakers, but I'll wait a while before making a final decision on that.
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Old 01-13-2007, 03:55 PM
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You'ld hear a huge improvement in sq by going with larger speakers.


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Old 01-14-2007, 04:41 PM
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Here are a few suggestions for main speakers with reasonably deep bass (well below 80 Hz, so you could easily use 80 Hz crossover), from brands that get good notices on these forums, and might work in your limited space. I'm looking especially at some of the "slim / minitower" designs. All should provide bigger and better sound especially bass than your existing speakers. I tried to avoid any rear-ported designs (which need to be "stood off" from the wall for best sound quality and hence take more space in the room).


Energy Take TWR. 44.25 H x 6.5 W x 4.25 W. Unusual design with four 4.5 inch elliptical woofers can be mounted on wall, need some height but very compact in other dimensions. Freq. response 52 Hz - 23 kHz +/- 3dB.

http://www.energy-speakers.com/v2/pr...age.php?id=32#


The rest are more conventional towers that must stand on the floor.

Focal JMLab Chorus 714S or Chorus 714V. I believe the 714V are replacements for 714S, hence you may be able to find clearance specials on the 714S, which are slightly smaller of the two. 35.4 H x 7.9 W x 10.6 D. Freq. response 50 Hz - 28 kHz +/- 3 dB.
(need to navigate menus on their page to get to the speaker of interest)

http://www.focal.tm.fr/accueil_en.htm


KEF iQ5. One of most compact minitowers, three-way design with dome tweeter mounted in center of midrange driver, supposed to improve off-axis dispersion characteristics. 32 H x 6.9 W x 10.3 D. Freq. response 43 Hz - 40 kHz (maybe +/- 3 dB).

http://www.kef.com/qseries/products.htm


And finally here is one I liked when I auditioned it, depth is slightly greater than others which might be a drawback in your room:

PSB Image T45. 36 H x 7 W x 14.625 D. Freq. response 35 Hz - 23 kHz +/- 3 dB.

http://www.psbspeakers.com/product.php?pId=14&sId=3
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