I think its worth requoting OP here. Suggestions about doing detailed measurements and buying multiple huge subs make sense, just not IMHO for this user
. He's a family guy. I'm guessing has budget restraints. Maybe have WAF restraints, based on the fact I don't see the bookshelf surround speakers anywhere. Sooo... (emphasis added)
Originally Posted by HarpNinja
In a HT theater context, I don't know what a sub is supposed to sound like. I have a budget system with the Andrew Jones system. I know the sub is a weak point.
I tried a subwoofer crawl and ended up with the sub near the front left corner a few feet from the screen wall. For my late night viewing with Audyssey and Dynamic EQ, I get plenty of bass,..., but it feels a bit boomy.
Any help to a newb? I don't need super loud - I just want the bottom end to fill in and not overpower the room. My priority is late night listening when the kids are asleep. 99% movies and video games.
Do you have the SP-PK52FS Pioneer setup? Looks like it from your pics on page two of this thread.
The floor standing speakers look competent, but with only 5 1/4" woofers, they will not go down really low (IMHO). As nonsensical as it sounds, in the receiver's bass management option (if present) set even these big speakers to "small" which really just sends frequencies below the bass crossover to a sub. It is said to make the main speakers more efficient (they don't get tuckered out and overworked trying to make sounds their woofers aren't good at, AND lets them work on frequencies they ARE good at). It assigns LF along with ULF to a speaker (sub) which is designed specifically for those sounds.
I think someone mentioned turning off the dynamic EQ (Yamaha calls it Adaptive Dynamic Range Control, which limits the range of the amplitude of the sounds as the volume decreases). Probably a good idea for any critical listening. I wouldn't test-listen to booming movies like Roland Emmerich extravaganzas. Instead get a copy of Diana Krall's first album, Stepping Out. It has lots of lovely ULF bass energy, in addition to some nice drum solos. The family might like it, too.
Now if you have the SP-PK52FS, I know nothing about that sub's performance, but the Amazon description of 8" woofer doesn't tell me it can get very low. Maybe not get very loud. Even a Hsu VTF-1 (or PB-1000? Guys?) is likely an improvement. A Hsu VTF-2 or PB-2000 or equivalent will probably open your ears up to what you think you're missing. Maybe you can run that Pioneer sub down to next to the couch and turn it down, and it could be a sort of mid-bass module. Here's where Basshead and others experienced in placement, measurement, fine-tuning can help.
When you have one of these really capable subs in place, even in just the same place you have the Pioneer sub, you can do a test. Set all speakers small, set the bass crossover to 80 Hz (a THX default value). Turn off all EQ and bass/treble adjustments. Turn off dynamic anything. Just plain Jane "through" or straight. Play Diana Krall's "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" track. Now enable whatever Pioneer calls a "pure direct" mode which disables the bass management and plays all the music just through the left and right speakers. Is anything missing? THAT'S what the bass is supposed to sound like with the sub, the quality that you sense is missing. No scientific measurements required, you should hear even a slight difference in the drums and maybe the other instruments' lower harmonics. Go back to normal mode with bass mgmt sending low stuff to the sub.
Now turn the volume down to late evening level. You should still feel/hear that ULF from the drums, just not tickling your arm hairs. That's the difference between a 8" wannabe woofer and a 12" who's your daddy subwoofer: the bigger sub can move the air even if the volume isn't cranked. All this is just my unscientific opinion. Someone's going to come in and tell you I'm wrong. I don't care.
Now, you have kids, so I presume you have the BD or even DVD of Finding Nemo in the house....? Good. Play the scene towards the end when Darla ("Wake UP, Fishy!!") is banging on the fish tank with her finger. Generally regarded as a supremely obvious demonstration of ULF. IF you don't have it, but have Wall-E, how about the scene when Eve blasts the derelict tanker/cargo ships and they fall over like dominoes. Note that both of these scenes don't have a wide range of thundering Michael Bay nonsense going on, but some distinct ULF audio that you can hear and feel.
To your original question (topic title): I'll bet my next paycheck that you NOW know what bass is supposed to sound like.
Apologies if y'all think I've hijacked the thread. I personally think we're throwing way too much info at OP.
Hint: if you buy an SVS sub, you can send it back within the in-home audition period, no money risked. Hsu doesn't offer this last time I checked, BUT I and at least a few others confidently recommend their VTF line. I have a smaller room than yours, and the VTF-2 is plenty. Might work for you, or maybe the VTF-3. Did you tell us your budget or WAF restriction? I may've missed it.