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Finding "Balance"

post #1 of 55
Thread Starter 
balance_zps5443c594.jpg

The above graph is a representation of my current struggle - finding the right balance of bass for movies and music.

The purple line is basically my un-EQed response, Audyssey on. Despite the way it looks, this response sounds awesome with music, to my ears at least. It sounds really good with movies as well, however I'm missing a lot of the ULF obviously.

The blue line is after EQ with the Mini DSP. This response sounds good with movies, however I lose a lot of the "chest punch" without the hump at 80hz (to be expected). I do get more ULF with this response, but overall I don't like it as much as the purple response. With music, the blue response is completely underwhelming.

To transform the purple response into the blue response, I had to boost my sub gain by about 18db (probably more than I needed to) and use some massive cuts on the EQ - this sacrifices a lot of headroom and I can tell, especially in the ULF range. I'm sure I can mitigate this by not boosting so much and giving up some extension.

It seems like no matter what I do, if I remove that hump at 80hz, the bass just becomes much less satisfying to my ears....is there something wrong with me?? (I'm guessing it's more likely there's something wrong with my room.)

Here's my room (considering a wall there in red, but probably won't happen due to WAF). Completely untreated. Total cubic footage is around 4880. Subs are 4 PSA XS15s.

LivingRoom2_zps52e7068d.jpg
post #2 of 55


That is the GP response of your subs. I'm sure they're great subs, but clearly they're not "bottom dwellers." I would not boost the LF's nearly as much as you have. Restore some of the headroom you've lost with that massive boost and then you can also restore some of the 80 Hz response. I would be looking for flat to 20 Hz response, not flat to 10 Hz.

Craig
post #3 of 55
Thread Starter 
Thanks Craig!

So, according to that ground plane measurement and my purple response, I'm getting a little bit of cabin gain even with my giant space - that's good. I really should have known that. redface.gif

I should basically just flatten out those humps at 30 and 80hz on the purple trace and leave it at that - is that what you're recommending? I've done that, and while it still sounds good with movies, music just loses all impact especially at lower MV settings (I usually listen to music at around -30 to -20, with Dyn EQ on).
post #4 of 55
Some guesses...

You could get Audyssey Pro or other EQ that lets you tune it to your taste, so you can find the perfect compromise between the two curves.

That massive low frequency boost is chewing up your amp power and/or driver extension (like Craig said), and distorting everything. An 18db boost uses 6x the power!

Audyssey shouldn't actually be doing that much boosting. It is supposed to identify the low-frequency extension of your sub, and stop boosting below that frequency, so it can roll off naturally. If you have control over your rumble/high-pass filter on your sub, you may be able to change that into a setting where Audyssey can correctly identify the sub's limit.

Have you tried moving your rear subs to the corners (and recalibrate)?

Are your subs wired so Audyssey can time-align them? For example, front 2 with sub 1 out and back 2 with sub 2 out. Then, sit horizontally centered. Lack of time alignment can cause sloppy bass.

Perhaps try moving your listening position closer to the middle (and recalibrate). You could use the REW room simulator to give you an idea of front-to-back response for sub placement and listener position. Since your room is open on the side, the side-to-side response won't be correct. Really, the REW simulator won't be very accurate for you, but it might give you some helpful insight into problem seating and sub locations.
post #5 of 55
Some people just don't like a completely flat response and prefer a house curve with a little hump. I don't strive for a flat response since I use my system more for music. Not that one is right and the other is wrong, it is just what you like.
post #6 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by rcohen View Post

Some guesses...

You could get Audyssey Pro or other EQ that lets you tune it to your taste, so you can find the perfect compromise between the two curves.

That massive low frequency boost is chewing up your amp power and/or driver extension (like Craig said), and distorting everything. An 18db boost uses 6x the power!

Audyssey shouldn't actually be doing that much boosting. It is supposed to identify the low-frequency extension of your sub, and stop boosting below that frequency, so it can roll off naturally. If you have control over your rumble/high-pass filter on your sub, you may be able to change that into a setting where Audyssey can correctly identify the sub's limit.

Have you tried moving your rear subs to the corners (and recalibrate)?

Are your subs wired so Audyssey can time-align them? For example, front 2 with sub 1 out and back 2 with sub 2 out. Then, sit horizontally centered. Lack of time alignment can cause sloppy bass.

Perhaps try moving your listening position closer to the middle (and recalibrate). You could use the REW room simulator to give you an idea of front-to-back response for sub placement and listener position. Since your room is open on the side, the side-to-side response won't be correct. Really, the REW simulator won't be very accurate for you, but it might give you some helpful insight into problem seating and sub locations.


Its not Audyssey, Alan said he used a mini dsp to boost the low end. I think Craig John is spot on, aim for flat to 20hz. He is killing all the mid bass slam by boosting those ulf frequencies. Take 2000watts and divide it by 6... basically he turned a 2000 watt sub system into 333watts.
post #7 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by basshead81 View Post

Its not Audyssey, Alan said he used a mini dsp to boost the low end. I think Craig John is spot on, aim for flat to 20hz. He is killing all the mid bass slam by boosting those ulf frequencies. Take 2000watts and divide it by 6... basically he turned a 2000 watt sub system into 333watts.
Ah...I misread that bit about Audyssey vs. MiniDSP. So, the Audyssey did cut the boost, like it's supposed to.

Yeah...all the low frequency boost is clearly a problem.
post #8 of 55
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by basshead81 View Post

Its not Audyssey, Alan said he used a mini dsp to boost the low end. I think Craig John is spot on, aim for flat to 20hz. He is killing all the mid bass slam by boosting those ulf frequencies. Take 2000watts and divide it by 6... basically he turned a 2000 watt sub system into 333watts.

That made me LOL! smile.gif

I really can be an idiot at times. redface.gif

However....I did not boost the ULF with the Mini DSP...well, sorta not. I cut the mid frequencies with the DSP and then boosted the overall gain...so, pretty much the same idiot move either way! tongue.gif

Anyways, did some more tweaking tonight and basing my tweaks on Craig's advice, I think I ended up looking much better. I was also able to tame the previous graph's 80hz hump by tweaking the distance.

Purple trace is Audyssey on/No EQ, red trace is Audyssey on/with EQ, 1/6th smoothing:



Waterfall before EQ:



And after EQ:



Spectrogram before EQ:



And after EQ:



EQ filters:



I'm not crazy about that +6 filter at 52hz, but I tried it without it and it didn't sound as good. Is that a horrible thing to leave it in there?

I have to say, I'm very impressed by the images....I've yet to be able to give it a real workout (too late, wife asleep), but at moderate levels (-20) movies and music seem to sound very balanced! Not sure if I know what I'm really looking for - but that spectrogram "after EQ" looks like a huge improvement to me! wink.gif

I won't be able to give it a real test until after T-Day, but I will report back after I watch some movies this weekend! Thanks for steering me in the right direction....finally! smile.gif
post #9 of 55
I dont think it takes as much power to boost mid bass frequencies so you may be good there. I like the looms of that graph much better for a combination of music and movies.
post #10 of 55
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rcohen View Post


Have you tried moving your rear subs to the corners (and recalibrate)?

Are your subs wired so Audyssey can time-align them? For example, front 2 with sub 1 out and back 2 with sub 2 out. Then, sit horizontally centered. Lack of time alignment can cause sloppy bass.

Perhaps try moving your listening position closer to the middle (and recalibrate).

I've spent literally weeks pushing subs around my room...believe me when I say I am 99% certain the current placement is the best I can do in my room. (Yes, I've tried the corners...and just about every other open piece of floor along a boundary!)

Moving the MLP is not gonna happen (WAF).

I can time align very well (even individually) with the Mini DSP and have proven this to myself just tonight by taming my 80hz hump. smile.gif

Thanks for the response though, it is very appreciated!
post #11 of 55
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by basshead81 View Post

I dont think it takes as much power to boost mid bass frequencies so you may be good there. I like the looms of that graph much better for a combination of music and movies.

Looms??

I'm assuming that's supposed to be "looks". smile.gif

Thanks for your input basshead, I value it just as much as Craig's.
post #12 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan P View Post

Looms??

I'm assuming that's supposed to be "looks". smile.gif

Thanks for your input basshead, I value it just as much as Craig's.

Lol ya typo! Thanks for the kind words...smile.gif
post #13 of 55
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan P View Post

I should basically just flatten out those humps at 30 and 80hz on the purple trace and leave it at that - is that what you're recommending? I've done that, and while it still sounds good with movies, music just loses all impact especially at lower MV settings (I usually listen to music at around -30 to -20, with Dyn EQ on).

OK, apparently I have NOT done that because it sounds much better now than any previous iteration of settings....sorry Craig.
post #14 of 55
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by basshead81 View Post

Lol ya typo! Thanks for the kind words...smile.gif

Yeah, thought it was some new AVS term I wasn't in the loop on yet. wink.gif
post #15 of 55
That 52hz 6dB boost; did you move the microphone either side of the MLP to check if it is a global dip?

I can relate to you "balance" issues I'm struggling a little myself striking a balance between good ULF while maintaining good punch.

Spectrogram looks nice though. There's a little less energy higher up, both before and after eq, have you tried to solve that?
post #16 of 55
Thread Starter 
I did check my wife's chair (chair in right of diagram). My chair is in red, hers in blue. Look pretty close to me:



Yeah, the energy issues above the crossover (currently 90hz) is my mains....I think my only solution for that is (maybe) room treatments, and they are on the "to-do" list. Any suggestions?
post #17 of 55
Ok that looks pretty good, your seat to seat variation. Not sure how much you smoothed this last graph? but looks like 120-170hz there's some issues. Dip in red is not in blue vice versa. Room treatments, possibly moving the left right speakers back and forth could help. It's room interaction, but it doesn't look too bad though.

Due to room dimensions, placement of the left right front spealer and seating positions, I had great variation across the sofa around 70-150hz as well. It was pretty much solved using some rear subs and quite alot of treatments. Spreading subs out and adding alot of acoustically treatments is really just to the way to go for perfection:) Next up for me, is adding some tuned traps to work on the last troubleareas.
post #18 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan P View Post

Purple trace is Audyssey on/No EQ, red trace is Audyssey on/with EQ, 1/6th smoothing:



smile.gif Happy Thanksgiving, Alan!

Craig
post #19 of 55
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by clausdk View Post

Ok that looks pretty good, your seat to seat variation. Not sure how much you smoothed this last graph? but looks like 120-170hz there's some issues. Dip in red is not in blue vice versa. Room treatments, possibly moving the left right speakers back and forth could help. It's room interaction, but it doesn't look too bad though.

Unfortunately, my mains cannot be moved - Klipschorns. Gotta go in the corner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by craig john View Post

smile.gif Happy Thanksgiving, Alan!

Craig

Right back atcha Craig! Thanks again for the advice...seems so simple now. wink.gif

As far as treatments go, I've been looking at getting 4 of the GIK 244 Bass Traps, 2 in each rear corner like so:



Would this be worth the $280?? Would just 2 on the back wall be enough?
post #20 of 55
Thread Starter 
So, I got to do a little bit of critical listening over the long weekend - very little though, too much family around. rolleyes.gif



Still using the red trace above - everything sounds really good (movies and music) until I crank it up. When I get anywhere above -10 MV I start to hear what I can only describe as "straining" from the subs - it sounds to me like the subs are reaching their limits and just giving up. I thought that maybe it was the 6db bump at 52hz, but I tried it without it and it sounded the same...good until -10, then it all gets sloppy.

This is with the subs running about 4db hotter than where Audyssey set them....I tried it with less boost (2db) and the bass is just too weak for my tastes. I thought about trying the rear subs in the corners again....with the extra room gain, they may not run out of steam as early...but haven't had time to try it out yet.

Anything else obvious I should try?
post #21 of 55
Thread Starter 
Thinking about this a little more, I keep wondering if I can tweak my sub distance & phase settings better since I have the ability to set all 4 sub distances independently with the Mini DSP.

Right now, I am using one global setting for all 4 subs in the AVR for distance, phase on all 4 is set to "0" (produces highest SPL at MLP).....can anyone describe the correct way to set each sub individually using the Mini DSP + REW?
post #22 of 55
Yes, turn off eq and audyssey an take a baseline measurement. Treat front and rear two as groups. I think max delay is in your minidsp is 7.5 ms, so start with rear subs delayed 7.5 and measure. Rinse and repeat with different amount of delay to rear group. Now you can compare baseline to different delays. Once you have found the best time alignment between your two groups of subs now ready for eq and audyssey. Now can tweak sub distance in avr to manipulate time alignment between sub system and mains.
post #23 of 55
Thread Starter 
Thanks Luke - but what exactly am I looking for in REW that will tell me when I have distance set correctly?? Is it just the smoothest FR over the crossover...or is there another graph that could tell me more?
post #24 of 55
Here is mine with 0 delay baseline (black), 7.5ms to rear (blue), and 6.5 ms to rear (red). Just subs with 80hz cross on. I picked 6.5 ms to rear then did eq.

post #25 of 55
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Luke Kamp View Post

Yes, turn off eq and audyssey an take a baseline measurement. Treat front and rear two as groups. I think max delay is in your minidsp is 7.5 ms, so start with rear subs delayed 7.5 and measure. Rinse and repeat with different amount of delay to rear group. Now you can compare baseline to different delays. Once you have found the best time alignment between your two groups of subs now ready for eq and audyssey. Now can tweak sub distance in avr to manipulate time alignment between sub system and mains.

For the "baseline measurement", should all sub distances be set to "0" or to the distance Audyssey came up with (9.9')?

Are you saying I should set the distance in the AVR to 7.5ms? This makes sense so I can layer the Mini DSP delay (max 7.5ms) on top for a total available delay of 15.0ms, but I'm not sure how to calculate this as my AVR only has settings in feet.

Yes, the max delay in the Mini DSP is 7.5ms.

It kind of makes sense to me to let Audyssey measure the front 2 subs alone and then use that distance as my "baseline", then adjust the delay on the rears from there...would this be the correct method?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Luke Kamp View Post

Here is mine with 0 delay baseline (black), 7.5ms to rear (blue), and 6.5 ms to rear (red). Just subs with 80hz cross on. I picked 6.5 ms to rear then did eq.


Thanks, that helps.
post #26 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan P View Post

For the "baseline measurement", should all sub distances be set to "0" or to the distance Audyssey came up with (9.9')?

Are you saying I should set the distance in the AVR to 7.5ms? This makes sense so I can layer the Mini DSP delay (max 7.5ms) on top for a total available delay of 15.0ms, but I'm not sure how to calculate this as my AVR only has settings in feet.

Yes, the max delay in the Mini DSP is 7.5ms.

It kind of makes sense to me to let Audyssey measure the front 2 subs alone and then use that distance as my "baseline", then adjust the delay on the rears from there...would this be the correct method?
Thanks, that helps.

In my example the only thing playing are my subwoofers, so the subwoofer distance setting will have zero bearing on them. I got the best starting point utilizing the delay function to the near subs as they are closer. This way I get the multiple subs best response over the range they will be covering before I integrated into the rest of the system. YMMV
post #27 of 55
Thread Starter 
Now it all makes sense! I forgot that the AVR distance setting is only to integrate the subs with the mains....brain no worky today. redface.gif

Still confused about one thing - where do I set the sub distance in the AVR before performing your method above?

Also, do I want to delay the rear subs (closest to me) or the front subs (furthest from me) with the Mini DSP? In my head it makes sense to delay the fronts, but in your example it's the rears. confused.gif
post #28 of 55
If only the subs are playing, the distance doesn't matter. You want to delay the signal to the rear subs, as their sound will reach you before the subwoofers that are further away. The speed of sound is ~1.1 ft/ms.

Here is how I would do it.
Leave it to whatever audyssey set it at. Turn off aud, and minidsp eq. Leave sub distance alone until after get the lfe channel right by unhooking mains and setting proper delay to rear subs with minidsp. Then move to subs/mains crossover with sub distance tweak, then eq subs with mini, then run audyssey again, tweak sub distance one final time and verify pre and post aud. results, enjoy.
post #29 of 55
Thread Starter 
Sometimes I just need things s-p-e-l-l-e-d o-u-t for me before I understand them....thanks again Luke! I look forward to giving this a shot tonight!

BTW, your avatar kinda creeps me out man. eek.gifsmile.gif
post #30 of 55
Thread Starter 
OK, here are the results of last nights efforts!

First up, my "baseline" - all 4 subs, no mains:



After tweaking the 2 rear sub's distance with Mini DSP - ended up at 3ms:



I then added in the mains and tweaked the sub distance in the AVR - I tested all the way from 0' to 20' in 1' increments. 5' and 19' gave the best traces.

Purple is 5', blue is 19':



This is where I think I messed up a little. It may be a "six of one, half a dozen of the other" type of thing, but I thought the 19' trace looked a bit better than the 5' trace and decided to use the 19' as my base for EQ.....then I forgot to change the distance in the AVR before I EQ'ed, so I ended up using the 5' distance. redface.gif

Anyway, here is the trace after EQ:



Before (purple) & after (red):



While EQ'ing and listening a bit, I was still hearing some of that "sloppiness" down low so I went in and changed my House Curve from "20 6, 80 0" to "30 5, 80 0" and that sounded much tighter down low - My theory was that I was getting too much room gain around 30hz and bringing it down might help with the resonance. This was a great improvement, but I was still getting some weirdness from 100hz to 150hz so I raised the "EQ Cutoff" in REW from 80hz to 120hz and it smoothed it out with a filter at 115hz.

I sat down and had a listen. It was late and the wife was asleep so I couldn't really crank it up, but at moderate levels it sounded outstanding! The bass in music was extremely tight and detailed and watching the opening two scenes from Pacific Rim never sounded as good! I'll need to crank it over -10 tonight, but I really think my issues have been solved! I really think getting the distances tweaked just right made a huge difference. Thanks Luke!!

I do think that I'm on to something with the change in the House Curve - I may even flatten it out more and see what I get....I think that my room, with that natural resonance right around 32hz, is making me really tone it down in that area. Previous to this, I thought that the steeper the rise from 80hz to 30hz the bettter (I've had it as steep as 12db, now around 8db) , but now I'm thinking maybe the more I tone down around 32hz, the better....?

BTW, have I mentioned how much I love the Mini DSP?? wink.gif
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