What is the Best "Bang for the Buck" Sound-Quality Upgrade? - Page 4 - AVS Forum
View Poll Results: What is the best "bang for the buck" sound-quality upgrade?
New speakers 318 52.13%
Upgrade AVR 71 11.64%
Acoustic room treatment 168 27.54%
Multiple subwoofers 45 7.38%
Replace generic cables 8 1.31%
Voters: 610. You may not vote on this poll

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post #91 of 264 Old 07-19-2013, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by comfynumb View Post

I have to agree with that. Great sounding speakers will still sound good in a poor room. Bad speakers will sound bad in any room.

Not really!
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post #92 of 264 Old 07-19-2013, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by 8mile13 View Post

No, its not. Room treatment is really expensive. Professional acoustic room treatment advise is more expensive than pro-calibration of a TV. When you want to do it right the stuff you use for room treatment is gonne be really expensive - bass traps, diffusors and tube traps. No Best ''bang for the buck'' here wink.gif

Keep in mind that you can not remove a thing once room acoustics is optimized. And once you move to a new location you have to start all over again..

It's gotten cheaper than you think,and the gain in performance to to your setup almost makes it a no brainer smile.gif
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post #93 of 264 Old 07-19-2013, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by audiofan1 View Post

Not really!



My speakers still sound good in my poor room wink.gif
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post #94 of 264 Old 07-19-2013, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by comfynumb View Post

My speakers still sound good in my poor room wink.gif

Maybe its not as poor as you think? wink.gif
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post #95 of 264 Old 07-19-2013, 03:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audiofan1 

It's gotten cheaper than you think,and the gain in performance to to your setup almost makes it a no brainer smile.gif
Where i live professional advise costs €400. The traps ect.. more than €1.000. I'm talking about 2013 prices..
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post #96 of 264 Old 07-19-2013, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by audiofan1 View Post

Maybe its not as poor as you think? wink.gif



Good point!
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post #97 of 264 Old 07-19-2013, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by audiofan1 View Post

Maybe its not as poor as you think? wink.gif

As long as its not ridiculously reverberant, most rooms that measure poorly sound just fine in reality. Give your brain and ears some credit.

For instance....if you had mics in your ears, and used them to measure the frequency response of the same sound from multiple angles, the samples coming from behind you would be comparatively muffled. But in real life, you simply don't hear the change in freq response, it sounds like exactly the same sound from any direction. Your brain just cancels it out and you never perceive the difference, because you've long adapted to it. In the same sense, you just adapt to the majority of what a room is doing to the sound, and you "hear through it." That's the fundamental flaw in room correction at anything but low frequencies....it's solving a problem that your ears and brain don't have.
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post #98 of 264 Old 07-19-2013, 04:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by comfynumb View Post

I have to agree with that. Great sounding speakers will still sound good in a poor room. Bad speakers will sound bad in any room.

There is in fact quite a bit of merit to my post. Good speakers can sound bad in a bad room. How bad depends on the speakers specific characteristics regarding directivity patterns and how that particular speaker and its placement in the room and the listening position interacts with the specific dimensions of the room in question.

Let us clarify what we mean by good and bad speakers. Most here would never consider buying Wal Mart speakers anyway. It would be difficult to make them sound good anywhere. However, it is possible to make mid tier speakers sound fantastic in a good room. Anyone interested in good sound needs to start with the layout. Typically a good room will begin with sound isolation techniques and pay close attention to room treatments. Finishing with a professional calibration (not Audessey) is also a good idea.

The "room playing the speaker" idea is even more true when it comes to the LF's. The way that they interact with the room determines what you hear.

I put it to you again that any acoustic engineer will let you know how important the room is to what you are hearing. If you doubt this then please contact one to verify this for yourself.
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post #99 of 264 Old 07-19-2013, 04:37 PM
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So why does it sound so obviously better when I enable the audyssey curve versus disabling it? (and I'm not talking about the Dynamic EQ or the Dynamic Volume, simply the audyssey curve applied to my movie watching)

I can buy an argument where at a certain ponit of audiophilia my setup would be so amazingly well constructed and well invested in that disabling audyssey would sound better, but I certainly can't buy an argument that tells me in my existing setup, turning audyssey off would improve the sound - I've done this demo a dozen times with visitors and its a no-brainer each time when I ask which sounds better.
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post #100 of 264 Old 07-19-2013, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by comfynumb View Post

I get what your saying, but if your getting enough power to your gear and have no noises or hums from any of them, what are separate grounds going to do? My speakers are dead quiet and I don't have separate circuits for everything. I wouldn't mind having a couple of more separate circuits for my gear, but as long as I'm not lacking for power I expect to hear no difference when they are installed. There are many myths associated with expensive wires and power being "conditioned" and honestly there is zero proof anywhere to support these claims, just high end companies making them. Look at the blind tests online and it's split nearly 50/50 down the middle.

comfynumb, You bring up some good points. Yes, there are more "conditioners" out there than you can shake a stick at, some doing more harm than good. The same goes for cables and what all, I will not entertain any arguments of any such sort, to do so would futile. I am glad you are not having any power issues at this time, it seems to me that noise in one's power supply is usually attacked with a power conditioner with claims of grandeur. While the real problem is overlooked, hence the dedicated ground circuit(s).

Steve
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post #101 of 264 Old 07-19-2013, 04:52 PM
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The best upgrade is of course whatever emerges from a realistic analysis of the problems in the existing installation, combined with realistic expectations.

I was tempted to select "acoustic treatment," not because every room needs them but because it was the only choice that even acknowledges that the room is as important as any of the components in determining how most systems sound.

But every one of the listed choices, or some combination of them, can be the right answer under different circumstances. In a small, dead room where listeners are seeated close to the speakers, the speakers themselves will be the primary determinant of the sound of the system. Even then, the shape of the room could make a second sub a worthwhile investment.

In larger rooms, power becomes increasingly important and, assuming well-chosen speakers, upgrading the amplification can make a big difference.

The last change I made in my setup was to move the CC speaker from below the screen to above it. Made a huge difference.

But you can throw thousands of dollars into a system without achieving your goals if you don't understand how the room affects the sound. And some rooms will never sound good.

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post #102 of 264 Old 07-19-2013, 04:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mo949 View Post

I can buy an argument where at a certain ponit of audiophilia my setup would be so amazingly well constructed and well invested in that disabling audyssey would sound better, but I certainly can't buy an argument that tells me in my existing setup, turning audyssey off would improve the sound - I've done this demo a dozen times with visitors and its a no-brainer each time when I ask which sounds better.

It's probably louder. Without a measuring system of some sort, you really don't know.

But keep it on, anyway!

smile.gif


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Did you really need to quote that entire post in your reply?
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post #103 of 264 Old 07-19-2013, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by comfynumb View Post

Ugh, misquoted again. Dude adding a sub to one you already have is what I meant, assuming you've already sent your lowest bass to your sub already, adding one more or six more doesn't do a thing but give you more bass. But +1 for teaching me that you can use the word poppycock in an AV thread biggrin.gif

Your assumption is incorrect. It doesn't just "add more bass." There are many proven research that shows that one subwoofer is good, but two is better (one centered on the front wall and one on the back wall) and 4 is best (one on the center of each wall). You still calibrate them for the same SPL, so you aren't making anything louder (or as you put it, "adding more bass"). You are using the multiple sources of low frequency information to get rid of the peaks (loud spots) and nulls (quiet or no-bass) spots. I tried to say that earlier, but it must have gotten missed.

Sure, I can take both of my subs and get more SPL out of them than a single sub, but again, one good sub gets plenty "loud" and a 2nd sub ideally works towards not making it louder, but making the bass more "even" in the room.
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post #104 of 264 Old 07-19-2013, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by comfynumb View Post

Oh stop it, if you can hear the difference between bass and stereo bass with all the other speakers playing at the same time you have bionic hearing biggrin.gif
But I do see your point.

You are flat out wrong. I hate to be blunt, but your argument is so false that you have no idea. Let me try yet one more attempt to help you to understand. I don't blame you, it is our fault for not explaining it in a clear way for you.

I've already said this before, but let me break it down a little better.

I have 2 rows of 4 seats. Lets just say seats 1-8 for simplicity.

I can sit in my seat (seat 3) and the bass sounds great. It should, because that is where I sit so I've taken steps to ensure that. The bass sounds equally good in seat #2 right next to it. However, seats 1, 4, 5, 8 (outside of the two rows) have louder, more "pronounced" bass. That is due to the long frequency waves of the bass. In the seats 6 & 7 in the middle of the back row, there is almost no bass to be heard. That is because the sound waves dip down right at those locations, just like they are higher where the bass is "too loud".

Adding a second subwoofer adds more sound wave sources, meaning that the sound waves overlap each other and the 2nd sub starts to add bass to where there wasn't enough (its peaks fall where the nulls of the other sub do) and its nulls fall where the first sub's peaks are. These help to give the same bass/LFE effect levels at each seat.

Now, can I hear that I have, as you call it, "stereo" subwoofers in my seat? Heck no. But I can now go to each of the seats and have a more consistent bass/LFE experience due to the second sub. Hopefully that helps explain it a little.

Yes, you can crank things more, but again, that isn't the point. No, you can't hear the difference between a single and "stereo" subwoofers like you said. The idea is to make each listing position have the same bass experience and using the multiple subs help to reduce the peaks, increase from the nulls, and make the bass sound great in the whole room.
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post #105 of 264 Old 07-19-2013, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by emcdade View Post

Some of the Audyssey fans here should listen to the Home Theater Geeks podcast with Paul Hale from QSC. His take on the matter is illuminating to say the least. I just spent $4k on Martin Logan speakers. I would much rather listen to what I paid for than listen to what Audyssey thinks a speaker should sound like to a microphone in my room.

Speakers make the biggest bang for your buck up until you start paying for furniture grade cabinetry and finishes. Acoustic treatments are over-rated unless you have floor to ceiling and wall to wall hard surfaces. Amps all sound similar so long as they can adequately drive your speakers to your personal reference level. A nice sub will be a nice bang/buck upgrade if your main interest is home theater, less so if you are more of a music listener with towers.

Many "experts" and recording studios would greatly disagree with you on the acoustic treatments. Most rooms are drywall/sheetrock walls and ceiling. That makes them a hard surface, so I guess that you ARE right. Since that is what most people have, then they would benefit from acoustical treatments.

My room currently has a "dead" front wall with corner bass traps, very plush carpet with a thick pad, add the furniture to the room, and the uneven surfaces to create some diffusion, and I still get echos in my room. Most theater rooms have echo in them. Heck, most living rooms/family rooms do too.
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post #106 of 264 Old 07-19-2013, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by 8mile13 View Post

No, its not. Room treatment is really expensive. Professional acoustic room treatment advise is more expensive than pro-calibration of a TV. When you want to do it right the stuff you use for room treatment is gonne be really expensive - bass traps, diffusors and tube traps. No Best ''bang for the buck'' here wink.gif

Keep in mind that you can not remove a thing once room acoustics is optimized. And once you move to a new location you have to start all over again..

That is if you go with the full, top of the line experience. Then yes, it may not be great bang for the buck because it is costing a LOT of bucks.

I am getting 90% of the way there for some research, build time, and about $500. It is that last 10% that really puts limits on what you can change in the room, plus costs a lot to get there. To some people, they have the cash to do it.

So yeah, that one is relative.
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post #107 of 264 Old 07-19-2013, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by nickbuol View Post

Your assumption is incorrect. It doesn't just "add more bass." There are many proven research that shows that one subwoofer is good, but two is better (one centered on the front wall and one on the back wall) and 4 is best (one on the center of each wall). You still calibrate them for the same SPL, so you aren't making anything louder (or as you put it, "adding more bass"). You are using the multiple sources of low frequency information to get rid of the peaks (loud spots) and nulls (quiet or no-bass) spots. I tried to say that earlier, but it must have gotten missed.

Sure, I can take both of my subs and get more SPL out of them than a single sub, but again, one good sub gets plenty "loud" and a 2nd sub ideally works towards not making it louder, but making the bass more "even" in the room.

Here:

http://mehlau.net/audio/multisub_geddes/

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Did you really need to quote that entire post in your reply?
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post #108 of 264 Old 07-19-2013, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by nickbuol View Post

It is that last 10% that really puts limits....

Pretty much true of anything, no? wink.gif


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post #109 of 264 Old 07-19-2013, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by mo949 View Post

So why does it sound so obviously better when I enable the audyssey curve versus disabling it? (and I'm not talking about the Dynamic EQ or the Dynamic Volume, simply the audyssey curve applied to my movie watching)

I can buy an argument where at a certain ponit of audiophilia my setup would be so amazingly well constructed and well invested in that disabling audyssey would sound better, but I certainly can't buy an argument that tells me in my existing setup, turning audyssey off would improve the sound - I've done this demo a dozen times with visitors and its a no-brainer each time when I ask which sounds better.

That is because Audyssey is turning up and down certain frequencies as they are perceived at your listening position. You can not eliminate echos, ambient sound, and other "room" issues with Audyssey. I mean, as mentioned before, you can't change the laws of physics. It just is trying to compensate for certain things that it can. That *should* yield better sound for where you place the microphones with some compromises (if you have a 250Hz drop at mic spot 1, 2, 5, 6 and Audyssey turns up the frequency output at 250Hz to make up for it, then it might be a little "high" at mic spots 3, 4, 7, 8.

So mic placement and where you sit has a big impact on it.

Again, I love Audyssey. I even just made a recommendation to a friend who was looking for a new AVR and told him to make sure that he got Audyssey XT, and if possibly XT32. I also know that he is not going to have a single bit of room treatments in his new place. I am just going to use room treatments and Audyssey to get great sound. Some people can't put treatments up for whatever reason, and Audyssey can certainly help. Some people don't like it though. It just isn't the full "magical cure-all" that some people are saying it is. Not saying you...
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post #110 of 264 Old 07-19-2013, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by LastButNotLeast View Post

Pretty much true of anything, no? wink.gif

Some are the last 20% too. biggrin.gif

Alright, I've beaten this topic to death. I've tried to add some real world experience, plus research results, and some people don't want to listen to anyone else. I've gone through almost all of these "bang-for-your-buck" improvements and have tried to offer actual results information. Some people are slamming other things that they haven't even tried.

Then again, I guess I did that too with expensive cables... It is the most unproven and controversial of the mix as far as any benefit for the massive expense, so I am ok with that.

Everyone else enjoy this thread. I am moving on. Thanks for the debate everyone. cool.gif
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post #111 of 264 Old 07-19-2013, 06:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mo949 View Post

So why does it sound so obviously better when I enable the audyssey curve versus disabling it? (and I'm not talking about the Dynamic EQ or the Dynamic Volume, simply the audyssey curve applied to my movie watching)

I can buy an argument where at a certain ponit of audiophilia my setup would be so amazingly well constructed and well invested in that disabling audyssey would sound better, but I certainly can't buy an argument that tells me in my existing setup, turning audyssey off would improve the sound - I've done this demo a dozen times with visitors and its a no-brainer each time when I ask which sounds better.

Audyssey is unquestionably improving your low frequencies....so that might be the improvement people are hearing. It's only what its doing to the mids and highs that's questionable. If audyssey just corrected the lows and left the mids and highs alone...it might sound even better.

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post #112 of 264 Old 07-19-2013, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by 8mile13 View Post

Where i live professional advise costs €400. The traps ect.. more than €1.000. I'm talking about 2013 prices..

Its not expensive
some speakers ive seen cost a fraction of acoustic treatment panels and other acoustic gear, its the room that dictates how the final sound will be.

Some 500$ speakers can worth 500$ of good sound in proper room.
Some 1000$ speakers can worth 500$ of good sound in non- acoustics rooms.

There one thing in common that good audio dealers have......acoustic rooms anyone would buy speakers sounding bad in exibition rooms ?? i dont think so.

Projector Mitsubishi HC5

Projector Optoma hd300x 

Av receiver Onkyo TX-NR 818

Oppo 103D

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Q7000 5.1

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post #113 of 264 Old 07-19-2013, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by nickbuol View Post

You are flat out wrong. I hate to be blunt, but your argument is so false that you have no idea. Let me try yet one more attempt to help you to understand. I don't blame you, it is our fault for not explaining it in a clear way for you.

I've already said this before, but let me break it down a little better.

I have 2 rows of 4 seats. Lets just say seats 1-8 for simplicity.

I can sit in my seat (seat 3) and the bass sounds great. It should, because that is where I sit so I've taken steps to ensure that. The bass sounds equally good in seat #2 right next to it. However, seats 1, 4, 5, 8 (outside of the two rows) have louder, more "pronounced" bass. That is due to the long frequency waves of the bass. In the seats 6 & 7 in the middle of the back row, there is almost no bass to be heard. That is because the sound waves dip down right at those locations, just like they are higher where the bass is "too loud".

Adding a second subwoofer adds more sound wave sources, meaning that the sound waves overlap each other and the 2nd sub starts to add bass to where there wasn't enough (its peaks fall where the nulls of the other sub do) and its nulls fall where the first sub's peaks are. These help to give the same bass/LFE effect levels at each seat.

Now, can I hear that I have, as you call it, "stereo" subwoofers in my seat? Heck no. But I can now go to each of the seats and have a more consistent bass/LFE experience due to the second sub. Hopefully that helps explain it a little.

Yes, you can crank things more, but again, that isn't the point. No, you can't hear the difference between a single and "stereo" subwoofers like you said. The idea is to make each listing position have the same bass experience and using the multiple subs help to reduce the peaks, increase from the nulls, and make the bass sound great in the whole room.



AV has been a hobby of mine for around 25 years. That said I'll try to put this in a way you will understand. I really hate to be spoken to in such a condescending manner, and if you can't help it please pick someone else. I'm being nice here.
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post #114 of 264 Old 07-19-2013, 06:53 PM
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Ok I think I see the point now. I understand I don't know what I don't know. Thanks.
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post #115 of 264 Old 07-19-2013, 07:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by comfynumb View Post

Ugh, misquoted again. Dude adding a sub to one you already have is what I meant, assuming you've already sent your lowest bass to your sub already, adding one more or six more doesn't do a thing but give you more bass. But +1 for teaching me that you can use the word poppycock in an AV thread biggrin.gif

Your assumption is incorrect. It doesn't just "add more bass." There are many proven research that shows that one subwoofer is good, but two is better (one centered on the front wall and one on the back wall) and 4 is best (one on the center of each wall). You still calibrate them for the same SPL, so you aren't making anything louder (or as you put it, "adding more bass"). You are using the multiple sources of low frequency information to get rid of the peaks (loud spots) and nulls (quiet or no-bass) spots. I tried to say that earlier, but it must have gotten missed.

Sure, I can take both of my subs and get more SPL out of them than a single sub, but again, one good sub gets plenty "loud" and a 2nd sub ideally works towards not making it louder, but making the bass more "even" in the room.

If you only took one mic measurement at the mlp, would two subs create greater headroom for low frequencies after eq than 1 sub? I think that's the benefit for a one seat theater, no?
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post #116 of 264 Old 07-19-2013, 07:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mo949 View Post

If you only took one mic measurement at the mlp, would two subs create greater headroom for low frequencies after eq than 1 sub? I think that's the benefit for a one seat theater, no?
6dB more, which does translate to greater extension after EQ.

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post #117 of 264 Old 07-19-2013, 07:41 PM
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For Home theater I think a good sub is your best bang for the buck. For music it is speakers. Of course,I think it depends on where you are starting from. Crappy speakers? Get some decent bookshelf speakers with at least a 5" woofer and a decent sub. Got good speakers? Get a great sub - it will make good speakers sound better than great speakers without one (for HT anyway - not as much for music).. Efficient speakers don't need tons of power to sound good, but if your speakers are less than 90db/W, then get a better receiver or separates if you have issues with clipping .
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post #118 of 264 Old 07-19-2013, 09:10 PM
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Here is an interesting post on the second sub subject.
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1239291/db-increase-by-adding-second-sub

There was not total agreement or 100% clarification however I do think that if the second sub is placed within 1/4 wavelength of the first then you should see a 6 db gain. Now if we put this into a real room we will not see 6 db's gain at all listening positions in most cases because of cancellations and peaks. If we place the subs further apart we will see a 3 db gain.

At any rate the best reason for adding a second subwoofer is to balance the in room response. The second sub if placed correctly will make the room more consistent between the listening positions. Now from there it is much easier to EQ the bass and tame the room modes. If one desires more bass it is a better idea to just get a more powerful single sub in the first place.

Here is part of a post from Dennis Erskine about multiple subs. He explains it better than I could hope to.
Quote:
Two subs, or four subs, or 5000 subs in a room will not provide you smooth bass response! It will only provide consistent bass response in the seating region. Once you have consistent response through out the seating area, it becomes much easier to calibrate out modal response./QUOTE]

And calibrating out modal response in the LF region is definitely something we should all be interested in!
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post #119 of 264 Old 07-20-2013, 05:31 AM
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I voted for multiple subs. A good sub system changes the entire experience and can stay with you through other upgrades. Especially if you go DIY. You can reuse your drivers and amps in different enclosures depending on your space and needs.

The real bang for your buck however, is free. It's reading through all the knowledge and experience of all the smart people here on the forums. The ones using real science to measure results not their golden ears. Once you realize that, you can save tons of money.
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post #120 of 264 Old 07-20-2013, 12:29 PM
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I'll strongly second the argument for good speakers first. Of course, a nice McIntosh amp can make mediocre speakers sound better than their price would suggest, but good speakers will sound good with any reasonable amplifier, so start there. Room treatments can make a big difference, too, but a typical room won't be so heinous that one couldn't distinctly tell the difference between mediocre and good speakers played back in it. As for subs, they can make a big impact, but how much they add depends on the speakers they are augmenting. With two 12 inch woofers in a properly tuned system, I wouldn't miss not having my sub so much. With my current Legacy Audio Victoria speakers that have substantial frequency response but only 7" woofers, I like having a sub in the system.
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