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How loud are you listening for room shaking bass?

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 
After much deliberation, I recently bought a PA-120 due to its price point and great reviews. However, I guess I hyped it up for myself so much that it was a pretty big let-down.

At first, I thought it could be a number of things, including:

Got a bunch of comments about the room being too big, so I went ahead and measured the thing instead of eyeballing (I apologize for that guys), revised numbers below: ~3062.5 ft, less than half of what I originally posted. My bad.

1. My limited room placement options
2. Fairly open space (~25x25x12ft) *EDITED: Actual is: 17.5x20x8.75 = ~3062.5ft^3*
3. Lack of MultiEQ (only have 2EQ)
4. Maybe it's just not that good of a sub after all...

Then, I got to thinking: Maybe these guys here just have their receivers turned up to monster levels?

I listen to my music and movies at "normal" levels--I can hear the dialogue clearly, and the "loud" part of the movies are.. well, "loud".. (loud enough that I wouldn't want to be listening at that volume late at night)

In the stores though, when they're demoing some HT system, they usually crank the thing because I guess many people are impressed by sheer volume. This, I feel is a bit on the "too loud" side.

So... the question is, all these posts about picture frames shaking, angry neighbors, termites being scared away, etc:

When you're scaring animals and small children with your subwoofer(s), do you have it turned up to unnatural listening levels? I mean, even in the movie theaters, while impressive, the bass is certainly not giving me a lung massage. How loud do you have your system turned up to get your money's worth?
post #2 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by BadEars View Post

After much deliberation, I recently bought a PA-120 due to its price point and great reviews. However, I guess I hyped it up for myself so much that it was a pretty big let-down.

At first, I thought it could be a number of things, including:

1. My limited room placement options
2. Fairly open space (~25x25x12ft)
3. Lack of MultiEQ (only have 2EQ)
4. Maybe it's just not that good of a sub after all...

Then, I got to thinking: Maybe these guys here just have their receivers turned up to monster levels?

I listen to my music and movies at "normal" levels--I can hear the dialogue clearly, and the "loud" part of the movies are.. well, "loud".. (loud enough that I wouldn't want to be listening at that volume late at night)

In the stores though, when they're demoing some HT system, they usually crank the thing because I guess many people are impressed by sheer volume. This, I feel is a bit on the "too loud" side.

So... the question is, all these posts about picture frames shaking, angry neighbors, termites being scared away, etc:

When you're scaring animals and small children with your subwoofer(s), do you have it turned up to unnatural listening levels? I mean, even in the movie theaters, while impressive, the bass is certainly not giving me a lung massage. How loud do you have your system turned up to get your money's worth?

Well, I'm tempted to lay blame on the 7500ft^3 room. That's just a really large room for that sub. I'm sure with careful placement you can get some good results, but I don't think that one of them is going to be thunderous SPL. Poor sub's probably working like The Little Engine That Could to fill that space.
post #3 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by BadEars View Post

I listen to my music and movies at "normal" levels--I can hear the dialogue clearly, and the "loud" part of the movies are.. well, "loud".. (loud enough that I wouldn't want to be listening at that volume late at night)

Radio Shack SPL meters are pretty cheap. You may want to pick one up and use quantitative measurements instead of qualitative descriptors in your discussion. There are people on this forum who think listening with 90 dB peaks is pretty loud and others who feel that 115 dB of WOTW pod scene is the warmup volume.

Keith
post #4 of 40
Maybe this will help, at least you know what others may be going by.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1252556
post #5 of 40
I have a concrete floor with carpet over it. You really can't shake concrete very well, but my couch still shakes on loud peaks (115-120 db). That's just from the sound in the room. I have been to a couple friends houses and in a smaller room over crawl space their floors shake with a lot softer spl levels. I would imagine 95-100 db can shake their floors given the right frequencies. And yes you have a very very large room. My room is about 4000 cubic feet and I have a Danley subwoofer in there. You need more subs.
post #6 of 40
Umm, about as loud as it goes. Gotta crank it up when cleaning the house.
http://www.youtube.com/user/looneybo.../3/OPCwYrdKv0c
post #7 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by BadEars View Post

After much deliberation, I recently bought a PA-120 due to its price point and great reviews. However, I guess I hyped it up for myself so much that it was a pretty big let-down.

I think it's a combination of HUGE room and cheap sub. I don't know the PA-120 so I skimmed the big avsforum thread on it, and it seems like a bidget sub with unclear specs, and who's ebay seller is a real tool and hangs up on people and such.

But 7000 cubic feet is huge. You'd need more woofage than a budget sub can provide to get satisfactory action.
post #8 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by vraxoin View Post

Well, I'm tempted to lay blame on the 7500ft^3 room. That's just a really large room for that sub. I'm sure with careful placement you can get some good results, but I don't think that one of them is going to be thunderous SPL. Poor sub's probably working like The Little Engine That Could to fill that space.

^^^This is your answer. 200 watts RMS, a 12" driver, and a port, driving 7,500'+ cubic feet... I'm guessing you'll need *at least* 2, maybe 3 or 4, of those subs to get room shaking bass.

Craig
post #9 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Looneybomber View Post

Umm, about as loud as it goes. Gotta crank it up when cleaning the house.
http://www.youtube.com/user/looneybo.../3/OPCwYrdKv0c

LOL. Your windex bottle looks like it's being attacked by a veloci-rapper.
post #10 of 40
Thread Starter 
Well, alright then fellas. Looks like I need to get myself a sound meter. Maybe I just don't have my sub level set high enough? Audyssey 2EQ did set it to what I thought was a little low, but even after boosting the trim ~5db, when I play the level test tones on the receiver, the sub volume still seems significantly lower than the other channels (or maybe my ears just aren't picking up the test tones from the sub as well?).

Anyhow, it *IS* memorial day sunday.. let me see if I can find a Young MC song and a bottle of windex to do some high volume testing.
post #11 of 40
My room is over 6000+ and open to other parts of the house. I have 2 Epik Empire subs with Audyssey Sub EQ and Audyssey Pro. It does fill the area with bass and you need 2 or more subs for that area.

Bill
post #12 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by BadEars View Post

Well, alright then fellas. Looks like I need to get myself a sound meter. Maybe I just don't have my sub level set high enough? Audyssey 2EQ did set it to what I thought was a little low, but even after boosting the trim ~5db, when I play the level test tones on the receiver, the sub volume still seems significantly lower than the other channels (or maybe my ears just aren't picking up the test tones from the sub as well?).

Anyhow, it *IS* memorial day sunday.. let me see if I can find a Young MC song and a bottle of windex to do some high volume testing.

You can turn the volume up all you want and mess with calibration all day long. Your room is to big to expect that sub to fill that room with hard hitting bass. Proper sub placement will help an inadequate sub sound bigger, but this still has its limits of gain. The next thing you will find is that the bass will sound a little better after you have cranked the gain and the volume on the receiver up, but now the downside is that you will be working the sub to death to do this. Then you may start bottoming it out. The sub will most likely not do this with music. It will happen with movies because they have a much larger dynamic range than music. The bottom line is that you can't move enough air with that sub in that room to get the results I think you are looking for. That doesn't mean you still can't enjoy it. You just have to expect the outcome to be less. You need to use 2,3, or 4 subs to get the outcome you where talking about. My room is smaller than yours and Im using 4 15inch subs all calibrated to a moderate level. I can hit 115db to 120db peaks. Im not bragging but your initial question was about how loud bass peaks are in some of our rooms. In my room this is enough to knock pictures crooked and make door knobs buzz. Having those things happen is really not that cool. I have tried to reduce this as much as possible because the more other things in the room that are rattling, like the walls and floor. All objects resonate with enough bass vibrations passed through them. Those added things resonating are coloring the bass that you are hearing. Decoupling the subs helps a lot with these issues as well as other things I have done. Having a lot of bass is great but it brings on a whole list of issues that often need to be dealt with. The result of not solving these issues results in slow, sloppy, muddy bass.
post #13 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Secret Squirrel View Post

You can turn the volume up all you want and mess with calibration all day long. Your room is to big to expect that sub to fill that room with hard hitting bass.

I measured and revised my room size, which turns out to be less than half of what I initially posted.

Is my room still too big for this sub?
post #14 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by BadEars View Post

I measured and revised my room size, which turns out to be less than half of what I initially posted.

Is my room still too big for this sub?

When you "revised" the room size, did you include all the space that is "open" to the area the subwoofer is in? It all needs to be included.

Even at half that space, your sub will struggle to pressurize/shake it. You need at least one more.

One thing you can do is corner load it. Place it in a corner. You get about 6 dB more output from the corner reinforcement.

Craig
post #15 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by BadEars View Post

I measured and revised my room size, which turns out to be less than half of what I initially posted.

Is my room still too big for this sub?

I agree with craig john on this. Your room is still too big for that sub to really hit like you want. I also agree that you are still going to need more subs to get there. Possibly 1 or 2 more. At least one more, possibly more.
post #16 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by craig john View Post

When you "revised" the room size, did you include all the space that is "open" to the area the subwoofer is in? It all needs to be included.

Even at half that space, your sub will struggle to pressurize/shake it. You need at least one more.

One thing you can do is corner load it. Place it in a corner. You get about 6 dB more output from the corner reinforcement.

Craig

I'm not quite sure what you mean by space that is "open" to the area the subwoofer is in. I didn't subtract the space taken up by "stuff" in the room though, so it probably is smaller.

Well, I made a drawing of my room and how the speakers are setup and direction they're facing:



It's a pretty awkward room, IMO. Any suggestions on placement?
post #17 of 40
Open space that you need to include are any other rooms that are connected to your listening room that can't be closed off by a tight door seal. This includes nooks and crannies in the main room, or open hallways to other rooms, or connected rooms. For example my living room and kitchen are in the same space. My kitchen is behind my listening area and to the left. As well as a hallway that leads to the other parts of the house. All of this space, the kitchen and hallway all need to be included in the measurement because in my case it can't be closed off in any way from the listening room. From the looks of you drawing your measurements look fine, but are those door ways open, or can they be closed off? If they are open they need to be taken into consideration also.
post #18 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by BadEars View Post

I'm not quite sure what you mean by space that is "open" to the area the subwoofer is in. I didn't subtract the space taken up by "stuff" in the room though, so it probably is smaller.

Well, I made a drawing of my room and how the speakers are setup and direction they're facing:



It's a pretty awkward room, IMO. Any suggestions on placement?

To put your issue in perspective, THX Ultra2 spec's are designed around a 3,00 cubic ft. room. They *require* 2 subs that carry THX Ultra2 certification to fill that space. To expect your single 12" sub, with a 200 watt amp to do it is simply asking too much. A second one, placed in the other corner would help significantly. You could get 3 to 6 dB more output than what you currently have, plus the potential for more even frequency response.

Craig
post #19 of 40
Place the sub next to the couch.
post #20 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by craig john View Post

To put your issue in perspective, THX Ultra2 spec's are designed around a 3,00 cubic ft. room. They *require* 2 subs that carry THX Ultra2 certification to fill that space. To expect your single 12" sub, with a 200 watt amp to do it is simply asking too much. A second one, placed in the other corner would help significantly. You could get 3 to 6 dB more output than what you currently have, plus the potential for more even frequency response.

Craig

Craig, 3ft^3 was for the THX Micro2 spec. It was developed for the little people who live in your walls.
post #21 of 40
Thread Starter 
Ok, I understand what you guys mean by open space now. Yeah, actually, the left opening on the drawing doesn't have a door and opens into a small hallway, which would add a bit to the size.

It sounds like adding one (or more) sub(s) is what's required for a-dinousaur-just-smashed-into-my-livingroom bass. What a bummer..

What about just decent, even, accurate bass (not necessarily wall shaking) at comfortable listening volumes--is this enough?

I ran some test tones, and the seating position is at or near a couple nulls at several frequencies--I read that audyssey cannot correct for room bass nulls, so will I gain much from upgrading to a receiver with MultiEQ?

(Someone tell me "no", because you guys are gonna make me poor lol)
post #22 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ransac View Post

Place the sub next to the couch.

In my drawing, placing it next to the couch (yellow box) would pretty much put the sub square in the middle of the room. Isn't this a subwoofer placement party foul?
post #23 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by BadEars View Post

In my drawing, placing it next to the couch (yellow box) would pretty much put the sub square in the middle of the room. Isn't this a subwoofer placement party foul?

What about the other side of the couch. Hard to tell what's there.
post #24 of 40
Have you tried playing the test tones then manually adjusting subwoofer distance in the setup menu? I did that and it fixed my bass hole at 80hz and 90hz. My speaker bass was canceling out my sub bass because audyssey improperly set my distance
post #25 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ransac View Post

What about the other side of the couch. Hard to tell what's there.

Ah.. yeah.. no, can't put it there.. there's this weird corner broom closet there with a door that opens out and hits the couch. Yeah, it's weird.
post #26 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by donsantos View Post

Have you tried playing the test tones then manually adjusting subwoofer distance in the setup menu? I did that and it fixed my bass hole at 80hz and 90hz. My speaker bass was canceling out my sub bass because audyssey improperly set my distance

I saw your post about that--did you check all the other frequencies after this change? (wondering if this created a problem at another frequency)

Also, out of curiosity, which test tones are you using? (I used the RealTraps files)
post #27 of 40
You said in the first post that the subwoofer is loud, maybe even too loud to listen to.....

I don't see what the problem is? Or is it you just want the subwoofer to shake things around the house or what? You should not have purchased an entry level subwoofer then, I would look into an SVS since the gap between $200-300 and $450+ is huge.
post #28 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by BadEars View Post

Ah.. yeah.. no, can't put it there.. there's this weird corner broom closet there with a door that opens out and hits the couch. Yeah, it's weird.

I know I can't see all that's in the room and the drawing is not to scale, bu you can think about rotating everything 90 degrees clockwise or counterclockwise. This would open up your bar for some bar stools and you could place the sub next to the couch or near it.

I always try the cost-me-nothing options first.
post #29 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by vraxoin View Post

Craig, 3ft^3 was for the THX Micro2 spec. It was developed for the little people who live in your walls.

Good one!
post #30 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AzN_plyR View Post

You said in the first post that the subwoofer is loud, maybe even too loud to listen to.....

I don't see what the problem is? Or is it you just want the subwoofer to shake things around the house or what? You should not have purchased an entry level subwoofer then, I would look into an SVS since the gap between $200-300 and $450+ is huge.

The "loud" in the first post refers to overall sound, not solely the subwoofer. The question in the first post was just to get an idea of the overall volume people are listening to, for room shaking bass, as indicated by the thread title.

As for a better sub, this market is big enough to swallow any amount of money you have to throw into it. We all choose a price-to-performance point that we're comfortable with, and only time will tell if this was the right choice for me. I'm just trying to get feedback on my setup to see if I can optimize what I have now to a performance level that I'm happy with.
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