Sub sounds too loud at certain frequencies - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 6 Old 07-20-2019, 12:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Sub sounds too loud at certain frequencies

I have a 5.1 setup with a Polk PSW10 sub, Polk R30 tower speakers, PSB Center Image C4, and polk rears. I have an Onkyo receiver that came from an HTIB, with no sub line out so I'm using speaker level output for the sub connected to the left input. A low end setup by avsforum standards but I'm happy with how it sounds for the most part.

However, I find that when the sub plays sustained bass at certain frequencies, it is annoyingly load, overpowering the rest of the sound. The system is in a fairly small space and the sub is near the corner. It's used for 80% movies/tv and 20% music, and this is a bigger problem with music. I'm not sure if what I'm hearing is distortion, or if the sub is just unbalanced, or maybe I just don't like low sustained bass.

Is this something that would improve if I got a better sub? Most of the subs people recommend in this form seem way overkill considering SPL wise my current 50 watt sub is more than enough. Should I just go with a 5.0 system, and get better tower speakers that can go lower?
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post #2 of 6 Old 07-20-2019, 01:38 PM
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Could be any number of things. first of all, the nature of rooms means you don't have even response at all frequencies. You have peaks and nulls all over the place. Position of sub can play a factor here and since it sounds like you are corner loading so it's possible some frequencies are getting even more punch. One thing you can do is play with positioning of the sub in the room. Second, the PSW10 also does not have the cleanest sound and the most even frequency response. Third, you don't have any bass management via the receiver of any kind which could also be exacerbating the issue. Especially since you have both the speakers and the sub trying to produce the same frequencies at the same time.

The first two things I would do is 1. experiment with placement of the sub 2. get a new receiver with proper bass management. This does not need to be an expensive proposition and how much you spend is largely determined by what features you want on the receiver.

Longer term, you should consider a better quality subwoofer. This does not mean necessarily louder if that is not what you want, but one with cleaner sound and better frequency response. One thing to keep in mind with big subs is that you can always turn them down and it is nice to have the overhead (the less it has to work, generally the less distortion).
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post #3 of 6 Old 07-20-2019, 04:45 PM
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The best weapon you have to tame boomy bass is positioning, both the sub itself and the seating. For instance, if you are sitting up against a rear wall, you are almost always going to have bass issues. In addition, putting a sub in a corner gives you the loudest bass but not necessarily the most even bass response (as you are learning). So, play around with sub positioning and move that couch off the wall, if that's where it currently sits.

Is this one of the ELAC subs with built-in room tuning capability?

One other thing. Since you are running the front pair full range, how does the bass sound with the sub off? Are the speakers also in a corner or up against a wall? If so, move them away from these obstacles, maybe 8-18 inches. Be sure the mains are clean in the upper bass registers, or adding the sub will just exacerbate the problem.

Lastly, what are you using for a crossover point on the sub? You need to pick up where the mains leave off, so the duplication of bass frequencies is minimized.
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Last edited by RayGuy; 07-20-2019 at 04:54 PM.
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post #4 of 6 Old 07-21-2019, 01:40 PM
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Sub sounds too loud at certain frequencies

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarevok1 View Post
I have a 5.1 setup with a Polk PSW10 sub, Polk R30 tower speakers, PSB Center Image C4, and polk rears. I have an Onkyo receiver that came from an HTIB, with no sub line out so I'm using speaker level output for the sub connected to the left input. A low end setup by avsforum standards but I'm happy with how it sounds for the most part.



However, I find that when the sub plays sustained bass at certain frequencies, it is annoyingly load, overpowering the rest of the sound. The system is in a fairly small space and the sub is near the corner. It's used for 80% movies/tv and 20% music, and this is a bigger problem with music. I'm not sure if what I'm hearing is distortion, or if the sub is just unbalanced, or maybe I just don't like low sustained bass.



Is this something that would improve if I got a better sub? Most of the subs people recommend in this form seem way overkill considering SPL wise my current 50 watt sub is more than enough. Should I just go with a 5.0 system, and get better tower speakers that can go lower?


Hate to say this, but what you’re experiencing is the nature of the beast when using really cheap “subs”. That sub only goes down to 40hz. It’s exacerbating the mid bass and that is why it stands out. I had the same issue with my first “subwoofer” years ago before I bought a real sub. Accurate and clean bass that goes down to 20hz is what’s needed for surround sound but it’s not super cheap and it requires a decent amt of power. What you don’t realize is that when you buy a good sub, the extra power isn’t noticed bc most if not all of the distortion and that mid bass bump is gone. Buy something like the below, and you’ll be shocked at what decent bass sounds like. It’s not loud like you’re currently thinking. It will improve the rest of your speakers as well bc that sub you’re using is (like you already realized) distorting what you’re hearing thru the rest of the speakers. The one below is what most on here would recommend for around $500 which is arguably the least amt you can spend for a decent sub. You do need an AVR with a sub out and bass management as previously suggested as that’s likely part of the problem as well. Set the cross overs with the new AVR at 80hz and you’ll improve your situation dramatically. Fair warning...when you hear a good sub you will think it’s weak bc you’re used to hearing all that distortion.

http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/vtf-2mk5.html



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post #5 of 6 Old 07-21-2019, 02:04 PM
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+1^

Great advice already posted. Cheap subs (often described as one note wonders) are sort of just that, they will pound loud in the mid upper bass frequencies to give you the impression that they are loud. They are often very peaky as you have described in your post.

Repeating what has already been said,,,,, a better sub good down to at least the low 20's Hz +/-3db and an avr with bass management will be a game changer. Of coarse (also great advice already mentioned) sub/mains/MLP placement within your room is crucial.

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post #6 of 6 Old 07-21-2019, 04:45 PM
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Points made above are correct. To be blunt, the Polk PSW10 is one of the least impressive subs available mass market. I had one and know exactly how it sounds. One thing you can do to help matters is get the sub out of the corner. Corner loading increases the output and is likely exacerbating the problem. DO a sub crawl and find the best place for this sub that is NOT a corner.

Subs>RBH I-12e, I-12. HSU VTF-15H mk2. Monolith THX 12(x2), THX 10(x2). XTZ 1X12. SVS PB-1000(x2). Speakers>JBL Studio 270/235c/230/225c. Sony CS3/CS8/CS5. QA 3020i/3090Ci, 2020i/2000c. Monolith Cinema 5bs. Polk RTiA1/CSiA4. Other Audio>Sony MDR-Z7m2,V6, XB900n,700,XB32,XB31. Sennheiser HD58X,HD4.50,PC37X. HiFiMAN HE4XX. Philips SHP9500. SIVGA SV004. SA HDTwo. HyperX CloudPS4. TB Elite AtlasAero. LG FH6,RK8,RK7,PK5. HK Onyx Studio4(x2).
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