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Bass Level questions (noob)

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
I recently bought a cheap 5.1; I have connected to a Media PC.

I don't have an audio meter to do measurements.

With the 5.1 I have a remote control with two knobs that allow me to set "Volume" of the main 5.1 and "Bass" for bass level.

Is there a way to know when there's too much bass? Or not enough?

Is it better to set the volume level with the "Volume" knob, or with the audio controls of my video player/windows volume controls?

Thanks
post #2 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Polcius View Post

I recently bought a cheap 5.1; I have connected to a Media PC.

I don't have an audio meter to do measurements.

With the 5.1 I have a remote control with two knobs that allow me to set "Volume" of the main 5.1 and "Bass" for bass level.

Is there a way to know when there's too much bass? Or not enough?

Is it better to set the volume level with the "Volume" knob, or with the audio controls of my video player/windows volume controls?

Thanks

Go here http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=824554 and this site can answer most questions on setting up a HT. Scroll through the info and enjoy.

Bill
post #3 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Polcius View Post

I recently bought a cheap 5.1; I have connected to a Media PC.

I don't have an audio meter to do measurements.

With the 5.1 I have a remote control with two knobs that allow me to set "Volume" of the main 5.1 and "Bass" for bass level.

Is there a way to know when there's too much bass? Or not enough?

Is it better to set the volume level with the "Volume" knob, or with the audio controls of my video player/windows volume controls?

Thanks

Since you don't have an SPL meter, you are going to have to set it by ear. Turn the Bass level to its lowest setting. While playing a music CD or DVD, set the master volume to a level you like. Now start to turn up the Bass level until it sounds right. Next, play a movie and see if it sounds balanced between the speakers and the sub. From that point forward, use the master volume.

A better way to get good volume matching is to buy an SPL meter.
post #4 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ransac View Post

A better way to get good volume matching is to buy an SPL meter.

Are these expensive?
post #5 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Polcius View Post

Are these expensive?

Expensive? Depends on you.

$45 at Radio Shack for the analog meter
$50 at Radio Shack for the digital meter
post #6 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Polcius View Post

Is there a way to know when there's too much bass? Or not enough?

Does it sound tubby? Then there's too much. Thin? Then there's not enough. I'm really not trying to be glib, here...

Frank
post #7 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Weasel9992 View Post

Does it sound tubby? Then there's too much. Thin? Then there's not enough. I'm really not trying to be glib, here...

Frank

Hehe I know...

But in some movies it sound tubby and in others its sounds thin, and I don't if they're supposed to sound that way...

Anyway, thanks
post #8 of 29
Although it will almost certainly come down to personal preference, Weasel9992 has it right IMHO. Personally speaking, I really don't like being able to "hear" the sub as its own source. It should just provide that level of "foundation" to your music and provide "weight" at the same time.
post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by NMG View Post

Although it will almost certainly come down to personal preference, Weasel9992 has it right IMHO. Personally speaking, I really don't like being able to "hear" the sub as its own source. It should just provide that level of "foundation" to your music and provide "weight" at the same time.

That's exactly it. The sub should be totally transparent, as it were. It's pretty easy to get 90% of the way there...it's really dialing in that last 10% that takes a month.

Frank
post #10 of 29
Thread Starter 
In normal dialog I'm not supposed to hear the sub, OK.

But I assume it's normal to hear it in explosions, plane flyovers...
post #11 of 29
Note that with a cheap 5.1, the sub may be playing high bass to compensate for the lack of bass in your mains. In which case you may hear lower registers of voices coming from the sub. So if you can, keep the sub near the front mains and center speakers.
post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Polcius View Post

In normal dialog I'm not supposed to hear the sub, OK.

But I assume it's normal to hear it in explosions, plane flyovers...

Well, that's what we're saying...since the sub is producing frequencies that are essentially omnidirectional, when it really hits hard during explosions, gunshots or whatever, you'll hear the transient from the mains and the really low information from the sub. The transient (the "bang" of a gunshot, for example) should be localized...you should be able to tell which side of the image it's coming from. The low "boom" should come from kinda everywhere.

With music it's going to be a different thing.

Frank
post #13 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ransac View Post

Since you don't have an SPL meter, you are going to have to set it by ear. Turn the Bass level to its lowest setting. While playing a music CD or DVD, set the master volume to a level you like. Now start to turn up the Bass level until it sounds right. Next, play a movie and see if it sounds balanced between the speakers and the sub. From that point forward, use the master volume.

A better way to get good volume matching is to buy an SPL meter.

When you say master volume, you are referring to my speaker system's volume knob, right?
post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Polcius View Post

When you say master volume, you are referring to my speaker system's volume knob, right?

Yes. The master volume is the one you use to increase/decrease the volume of all channels together.
post #15 of 29
Thread Starter 
I think I've set it right, but, is it normal if the bass knob is like at a 7am position? I mean, why would people want so much bass? (why is the knob so big XD).

I had it at 50% and the explosions seemed to sound better, but in the case of a deep male voice, I heard the subwoofer a lot. Following your guidelines, when someone speaks, I shouldn't hear the sub at all. Right?

Thanks
post #16 of 29
As you gain more experience listening to music and movies, your tuning-by-ear abilities will improve. You should try to attend some live music events like a symphony orchestra to get a feeling of how music sounds. You will notice that most of the time, the low frequencies enhance the overall sound, but they should almost never be overwhelming or overpowering. Of course there are exceptions. And movies are a different beast altogether.

Tuning by ear will take some time (a couple of hours) and many listening tests (this is the fun part anyways). I like to do a quick listen with some reference material with the sub turned all the way down to see what the main speakers sound like for music or movies. Then I crank the sub toward max and listen to the reference material. You will probably notice that at both extremes it doesn't quite sound natural. With the sub turned down, it will sound weak and incomplete, and with the sub turned up high, you will notice that it seems overwhelming and you can even point out where the sub is located. You will also want to turn the crossover to a low frequency (I think many people suggest 50Hz or lower). This will greatly depend on the other 5 speakers and their frequency response. If they can only go down to 80Hz, then you will need to set your sub a little higher, otherwise, you will have a gap in the sound. You also don't want to crank the crossover up to 120Hz - 200Hz because you will get a lot of annoying bass, especially during typical male speaking. I would experiment with this just so you get a feel of what I mean.

In the end, I like to set my sub to a level that it just blends with the rest of the speakers, so it is not too loud and not too soft. Like they mentioned above, the sub should be transparent.

One reason the bass knob has so much more range is because every room and setup is different. If you are in a smaller room, then you might not need as much bass as someone in a really large room. Also, some people are just bassheads and like to crank it all the time.

If you wanna hear some deep male voices, check out Tim Storms. He has the Guiness record for lowest male voice. He can hit as low as 8hz. Here's a video of him singing: http://www.mitchfewell.com/Amazinggracevid.html

Good luck with your level setting.
post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Polcius View Post

I think I've set it right, but, is it normal if the bass knob is like at a 7am position?

The biggest problem with setting the sub's gain knob to the 7am position is that when you watch movies at night, you have to keep changing it to the 7pm position.
post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ransac View Post

The biggest problem with setting the sub's gain knob to the 7am position is that when you watch movies at night, you have to keep changing it to the 7pm position.

I might have to hook up a sub to my alarm so I can wake up to bass at 7am!! Good idea.
post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ransac View Post

The biggest problem with setting the sub's gain knob to the 7am position is that when you watch movies at night, you have to keep changing it to the 7pm position.



Frank
post #20 of 29
Thread Starter 
Hahahahaha... Thanks for the "answers" XD

@MagicTK: I have these speakers: http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Surro...3873988&sr=8-1

And from what I've read, they seem to have the crossover at 120hz. I don't know how to change it (or if I can change it, because I've read that some speaker systems have the crossover "built-in"), and I think that's the "problem".
post #21 of 29
Looks like you are stuck with the preset crossover frequency, unless you feel like learning about circuits, which can be fun.

So you will have to just play with the overall volume and the bass level control. My computer speakers have the same controls, and if play around with them, I can get a decent balance, although not ideal.

Tom
post #22 of 29
If you put the sub up by the front speakers, you won't notice the bass from voices coming from somewhere besides the center speaker.
post #23 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyberbri View Post

If you put the sub up by the front speakers, you won't notice the bass from voices coming from somewhere besides the center speaker.

Yeah, I will try putting the sub closer to the center speaker. Thanks
post #24 of 29
Thread Starter 
BTW, Is there a way (without a SPL meter) to check the crossover frequency?

Thanks
post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Polcius View Post

BTW, Is there a way (without a SPL meter) to check the crossover frequency?

Thanks

You'll just have to trust your equipment.
post #26 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ransac View Post

You'll just have to trust your equipment.

I mean, to know what it is (80hz, 120hz...).

After some more testing, there's something that really bugs me: I hear the sub appearing heavily in deep male speaking, but only at certain words, and commonly in words that have strong "p" consonants.

I know it's pure nit-picking, but even at the lowest bass setting I can notice it.
post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Polcius View Post

I mean, to know what it is (80hz, 120hz...).

After some more testing, there's something that really bugs me: I hear the sub appearing heavily in deep male speaking, but only at certain words, and commonly in words that have strong "p" consonants.

I know it's pure nit-picking, but even at the lowest bass setting I can notice it.

I just meant that without measuring tools, you have to trust the settings are doing what they are supposed to do. You can try lowering the crossover a little at a time until the vocals disappear.
post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Polcius View Post

I mean, to know what it is (80hz, 120hz...).

After some more testing, there's something that really bugs me: I hear the sub appearing heavily in deep male speaking, but only at certain words, and commonly in words that have strong "p" consonants.

I know it's pure nit-picking, but even at the lowest bass setting I can notice it.

First, it sounds like you have a pretty mushy crossover point. If it's not specified in a manual somewhere, chances are that it's at 70Hz or 80Hz. Second, you've got something going on in the 50-70Hz region, which is where the plosives ("B" and "P") are in many tracks.

Frank
post #29 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Weasel9992 View Post

First, it sounds like you have a pretty mushy crossover point. If it's not specified in a manual somewhere, chances are that it's at 70Hz or 80Hz. Second, you've got something going on in the 50-70Hz region, which is where the plosives ("B" and "P") are in many tracks.

Frank

Yeah, I didn't like the sound of the sub at all and decided to exchange the set.

The sub was faulty, because the new one has much smoother bass.
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