improving bass performance in somewhat large room - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 37 Old 01-21-2020, 12:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Question improving bass performance in somewhat large room

Hello, I've read a lot of these threads and decided to post because I couldn't find one that matched my parameters closely enough. I'm wanting to improve the bass performance of my HT (half movies, half gaming). Anthem MRX 310 with an Emotiva XPA-5 amplifying Aperion Verus Grand LCRs and surrounds, and a Bravus 10D sub in a ~4000+ cubic foot room (20'x16' with a vaulted ceiling that reaches to 15' in the center). The room has three door openings (two of which have heavy curtains), wood paneling, a bunch of furniture with a large ottoman, and a very large area rug over a hardwood floor.

The main thing I'm looking for is to add some focused impact to the sounds. I'd also like explosions to feel better, but I'm looking for things like the impact of a boulder falling onto some rock and splitting open, a heavy tomb door being dragged open, even things like car door slams or superhero punches. Maybe this is mid-bass? Right now I'm not getting as much of that as I feel at friends' houses. Every time I run ARC, my sub's dB are tuned lower significantly by equalization, which initially made me think it was already powerful enough for this size room. After all, if I set the sub to less than halfway on its volume dial and room correction is reducing it even further, that made me think it had enough juice. To position it, I did both the crawl test, and also ran quick measure to help reposition the Bravus until it had the response curve in the attached image, which also shows the correction results.

I reduced the crossovers for the large towers to 40Hz and the center to 60Hz, which improved the tactile feel I'm looking for, but not enough. After reading these threads, it's making me think that the Bravus isn't enough for the mid-bass I'm looking for, and adding a second one wouldn't fix the problem. Plus I know I should be running the LCRs higher anyway, and probably with matched crossovers.

So, I'm considering getting a HSU VTF-15H MK2. I typically listen at -10dB to -20dB (which from reading the Anthem owner's threads makes me think it's equivalent to 0dB to -10dB on most receivers after ARC is run, so if that's true, I often listen at reference or 5-10dB below reference). I don't care about having a deafening sound, nor do I want something that collapses my house. I just want to feel strong, tight bass when substantial things happen on-screen. Size is no object, but good price-to-performance ratio is important, and I can probably go up to about $1000 since I'll be selling my Bravus after this. I currently don't have the time or inclination to dive into DIY. Would the VTF-15H MK2 be reasonable for my application? Is it overkill? I'd be fine going down to the VTF-3 MK5 instead if there's no point in going bigger.

I appreciate any help!
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post #2 of 37 Old 01-21-2020, 01:37 PM
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Most here will tell you to spend more and get at least something like the Rythmik FV18 or PSA V1812. That said going from your small 10" sub to a large ported 15" sub will be more than a night and day difference. Just save up so you can get a second one later on.

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post #3 of 37 Old 01-21-2020, 01:43 PM
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i agree 15inch drivers plus at a minimum.

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post #4 of 37 Old 01-21-2020, 01:47 PM
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My room is a bit larger with 10' ceilings and two 15"'s solved everything, with good placement. With one the bass was still 'directional'.
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post #5 of 37 Old 01-21-2020, 03:34 PM
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post #6 of 37 Old 01-21-2020, 07:53 PM
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The biggest difference between the VTF-15H MK2 and the VTF-3 MK5 is that is VTF-15H would have more low end output. Based on your goals I think you'd appreciate the difference and the extra $ for the 15H would be well spent.


I'm guessing what you're missing relative to your friend's setup is not just raw output (though a single 10" sub in a room your size won't have a lot of presence) but also the sub 30hz output you're not currently getting. The 15 - 30 hz octave is foundational for a lot of low frequency effects and you're getting nothing there now.

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post #7 of 37 Old 01-21-2020, 11:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you all. So it sounds like even though I'm not going for massive explosion sounds, a bigger sub will bring up the mid-bass type effects as well. Given that, I'll go for at least a 15" but also begin researching 18" subs. When my measly 10" was getting turned down in output by ARC (and Audyssey XT32 before that on a Denon AVR), I didn't think I was anywhere in the realm of 15-18" subs. While size is no object for a single sub, I'm not sure I have the configuration to do dual 18" subs at any point in the future, meaning that a single 15" now with a second later, or a single 18" period, are my two options.

I also keep hearing great things about the Monoliths and was considering their 15", but most threads suggest comparing their potential customer service to that of dedicated builders. So I'm a little nervous about going in that direction.

I appreciate all your insights.


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Originally Posted by rhelliott2 View Post
Specifically on this, are you recommending I should go for something like the PSA V1512DF instead of the HSU VTF-15H, even with a several hundred dollar premium?
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post #8 of 37 Old 01-22-2020, 07:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laeus View Post
Thank you all. So it sounds like even though I'm not going for massive explosion sounds, a bigger sub will bring up the mid-bass type effects as well. Given that, I'll go for at least a 15" but also begin researching 18" subs. When my measly 10" was getting turned down in output by ARC (and Audyssey XT32 before that on a Denon AVR), I didn't think I was anywhere in the realm of 15-18" subs. While size is no object for a single sub, I'm not sure I have the configuration to do dual 18" subs at any point in the future, meaning that a single 15" now with a second later, or a single 18" period, are my two options.



I also keep hearing great things about the Monoliths and was considering their 15", but most threads suggest comparing their potential customer service to that of dedicated builders. So I'm a little nervous about going in that direction.



I appreciate all your insights.









Specifically on this, are you recommending I should go for something like the PSA V1512DF instead of the HSU VTF-15H, even with a several hundred dollar premium?
Actually I forgotten to say email PSA for current B-stock. HSU makes great subs, however, with PSA you don't have to pay for a extended Amp warranty.

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/426-p...trade-etc.html
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post #9 of 37 Old 01-22-2020, 07:31 AM
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Bass traps, if that is an option for you. I'm on my third type of subs and although there has been improvement with each upgrade the traps worked even better.
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post #10 of 37 Old 01-22-2020, 09:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhelliott2 View Post
Actually I forgotten to say email PSA for current B-stock. HSU makes great subs, however, with PSA you don't have to pay for a extended Amp warranty.

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/426-p...trade-etc.html
That's very interesting. I checked the thread and a couple of weeks ago they had two refurb V1500s for $1500 total, which is amazing when a new V1512 is $1300. Thanks for the heads up!


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Bass traps, if that is an option for you. I'm on my third type of subs and although there has been improvement with each upgrade the traps worked even better.
I hadn't considered those at all, but they certainly could be an option. Did you do corners and walls? I'm new to the whole concept but it makes sense intuitively.
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post #11 of 37 Old 01-22-2020, 09:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laeus View Post
That's very interesting. I checked the thread and a couple of weeks ago they had two refurb V1500s for $1500 total, which is amazing when a new V1512 is $1300. Thanks for the heads up!
You're welcome! Make sure you email for the lastest of their b-stock
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post #12 of 37 Old 01-22-2020, 10:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laeus View Post
I hadn't considered those at all, but they certainly could be an option. Did you do corners and walls? I'm new to the whole concept but it makes sense intuitively.
All my improvements came from bass traps in the corners, floor to ceiling. I did do some treating of the walls (non bass) but that didn't do much, lower frequencies are the ones to tackle so knowing what I know I would probably have skipped the walls.

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post #13 of 37 Old 01-23-2020, 11:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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All my improvements came from bass traps in the corners, floor to ceiling. I did do some treating of the walls (non bass) but that didn't do much, lower frequencies are the ones to tackle so knowing what I know I would probably have skipped the walls.
Darn. I researched these and it looks like I can't do much with them because three of my room corners have windows that come to within 6" of the corner, and the fourth corner has an angled doorway. I guess I could use free-standing ones that have an air gap to the corners and that I can put up / take down, but the aesthetics would suffer greatly while up, and I'd have to find a nearby place to store them when not in use. It looks like I just have to hope for a bigger sub to begin addressing my bass problems. Thanks for the input, maybe in a future house .
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post #14 of 37 Old 01-24-2020, 11:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laeus View Post
That's very interesting. I checked the thread and a couple of weeks ago they had two refurb V1500s for $1500 total, which is amazing when a new V1512 is $1300. Thanks for the heads up!
You will find (have already found?) in your research that the new "12" series PSA subs are quite a bit better than the older "00" series subs.
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post #15 of 37 Old 01-24-2020, 02:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan P View Post
You will find (have already found?) in your research that the new "12" series PSA subs are quite a bit better than the older "00" series subs.
Ha, crap .

Though, is a single V1512 better than dual V1500s in a way that is relevant to my situation? i.e., if the dual V1500s would be good enough, and I'd get the benefit of going dual subs this way?
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post #16 of 37 Old 01-27-2020, 10:58 AM
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You'll get better response if you posted this question in the PSA Subwoofer thread.
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post #17 of 37 Old 02-19-2020, 03:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Wanted to update all you helpful folks and let you know that based on your input and a lot more research I decided to start with a PSA V1512df. It was right around my budget due to being $150 cheaper than the front-firing version, and it seemed like the new 12-series drivers are able to hold their own against the next size up of the previous drivers, meaning I could stick to 15" instead of having to contemplate 18" even in my larger room.

Placement took a ton of effort before I was able to find a spot that didn't neuter the sub below 30Hz, which wound up being a spot that also had mild nulls in the 55Hz and 80Hz regions, but it was the best I could do (see attached image). I then ran ARC multiple times with various attempts at target levels, bass boost, and high-frequency tilt to dial in a house curve, followed by some spl measurements to confirm levels as well as to phase match the sub to the mains. Crossover was set to 80Hz by ARC.

After many runs of room correction, I have gotten to a setup that definitively sounds better than my outgoing Bravus. That part is great. Most of the time, the feel of explosions and the rumble of car engines or ship thrusters is phenomenal. Brings a total smile to my face. Scenes like Chapter 4 of Tron: Legacy when the Recognizer is landing, or Chapter 11 of Transformers when the Autobots are arriving, sound incredible.

There are some remaining issues that I can't figure out though. I have to dork a lot with the MV and the Subwoofer trim on my AVR for different movies for it to sound good. For example, Ender's Game when they're about to begin the final "simulation" sounds incredible at -10MV and -2dB on the sub. However, something like Transformers: Age of Extinction I have to run at -18MV and -3dB sub or things are borderline painful and the bass doesn't sound good. (note that this is on an Anthem MRX310 which runs much louder than other brands for a given MV, so add ~10 to these MV levels). Is this just how things are with different Blu-Rays?

More importantly, certain sounds still don't have punch when it seems they should. Certain specific explosions, like the Stark missile that explodes on Tony in the intro to Iron Man, have practically no punch at all. I have done spl analysis using a 20Hz - 200Hz sweep from Home Theater Gurus on YouTube, and the spectrum looks ok with small 1-2dB dips at 55Hz and 80Hz, but I'm not convinced that's what's going on. Or maybe the resolution on the iOS apps I'm using isn't high enough to detect truly deep nulls?

Finally, certain frequencies occasionally sound boomy. This is very rare. I've checked the response and correction curves (happy to post the detailed PDF from ARC Genesis) and can't see anything obvious. Then again, this whole setup is in a living room, which comes with many built-in caveats.

At a high level, I can tell that this is a superbly capable subwoofer, and when it's working well in my room (70%+ of the time), I'm absolutely giddy at what it can do. At this point, it's clear to me that I will be saving up for a second V1512df + UMIK to finish out the bass situation. Just hoping to diagnose these remaining issues.

Thanks again everyone!
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post #18 of 37 Old 02-19-2020, 05:08 PM
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^^ what is the FR in red?
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post #19 of 37 Old 02-20-2020, 03:25 AM
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Are you experiencing similar results with the same source?


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post #20 of 37 Old 02-20-2020, 09:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laeus View Post
Wanted to update all you helpful folks............!
Do you still have your crossovers set to 40Hz? If so, you need to bump that up to at least 80Hz and experiment with even higher crossovers (90Hz, 100Hz). Now that you have a capable sub, you need to utilize it. According to the specs I found here, your speakers have a -3dB point of 45Hz (could differ in-room). Based on that, a crossover of at least 80Hz would be recommended but if higher crossovers sound better, so be it.

An SPL app on your phone will not give you accurate subwoofer readings at all, phone mics are not made to pick up the lower frequencies. Your plan to purchase a UMIK-1 is a good one, and you should dive in sooner rather than later!

Yes, levels on blu rays can vary from disc to disc. However, most folks on the forum are able to find a single subwoofer trim setting that works well for most movies. There are those who adjust settings for each and every movie, but they are in the minority.

Your comments about certain effects not having the "punch" you were expecting will probably come down to nulls in your response...it will all become clear once you get your UMIK and get REW up and running.
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post #21 of 37 Old 02-20-2020, 09:54 AM - Thread Starter
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^^ what is the FR in red?
Hi, that was the measured response according to ARC Genesis (which uses a calibrated mic).
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post #22 of 37 Old 02-20-2020, 10:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fakerus View Post
Are you experiencing similar results with the same source?


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I'm not exactly sure what you mean -- as in, are these repeatable if I play the same movie sequence multiple times? I'm always using the Blu-Ray playback on my PS4 Pro through my Anthem receiver.

Quote:
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Do you still have your crossovers set to 40Hz? If so, you need to bump that up to at least 80Hz and experiment with even higher crossovers (90Hz, 100Hz). Now that you have a capable sub, you need to utilize it. According to the specs I found here, your speakers have a -3dB point of 45Hz (could differ in-room). Based on that, a crossover of at least 80Hz would be recommended but if higher crossovers sound better, so be it.

An SPL app on your phone will not give you accurate subwoofer readings at all, phone mics are not made to pick up the lower frequencies. Your plan to purchase a UMIK-1 is a good one, and you should dive in sooner rather than later!

Yes, levels on blu rays can vary from disc to disc. However, most folks on the forum are able to find a single subwoofer trim setting that works well for most movies. There are those who adjust settings for each and every movie, but they are in the minority.

Your comments about certain effects not having the "punch" you were expecting will probably come down to nulls in your response...it will all become clear once you get your UMIK and get REW up and running.
Whoops, I should have mentioned that the crossovers got bumped to 80Hz and I left them there. But I hadn't even considered going up to 90 or 100, thanks for that suggestion. And for the additional bump on UMIK/REW . I'm in the middle of launching my company's product but things will calm down soon for me to get more serious about this. Main thing that concerns me is sub placement -- the other possible locations in the room were knee-capping anything under 30Hz, so even if REW shows some higher-frequency nulls where I wound up placing the sub, it might just prove to me that I need a second sub asap. Thank you again Alan.
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post #23 of 37 Old 02-20-2020, 10:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laeus View Post
Hi, that was the measured response according to ARC Genesis (which uses a calibrated mic).
I am quite confused what the measured red FR is from. I am not sure what ARC measures there (not familiar with it). It rolls off way too high (above 300hz) for a sub and way too soon for speakers.
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post #24 of 37 Old 02-20-2020, 10:21 AM - Thread Starter
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I am quite confused what the measured red FR is from. I am not sure what ARC measures there (not familiar with it). It rolls off way too high (above 300hz) for a sub and way too soon for speakers.
I was confused as well. It's an average of full sweep measurements, so attached here are the raw measurements from all five positions (I isolated just the sub at MLP). It's easy to see the 55Hz and 80Hz nulls here.
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post #25 of 37 Old 02-20-2020, 11:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laeus View Post
There are some remaining issues that I can't figure out tough. I have to dork a lot with the MV and the Subwoofer trim on my AVR for different movies for it to sound good. For example, Ender's Game when they're about to begin the final "simulation" sounds incredible at -10MV and -2dB on the sub. However, something like Transformers: Age of Extinction I have to run at -18MV and -3dB sub or things are borderline painful and the bass doesn't sound good. (note that this is on an Anthem MRX310 which runs much louder than other brands for a given MV, so add ~10 to these MV levels). Is this just how things are with different Blu-Rays?

More importantly, certain sounds still don't have punch when it seems they should. Certain specific explosions, like the Stark missile that explodes on Tony in the intro to Iron Man, have practically no punch at all. I have done spl analysis using a 20Hz - 200Hz sweep from Home Theater Gurus on YouTube, and the spectrum looks ok with small 1-2dB dips at 55Hz and 80Hz, but I'm not convinced that's what's going on. Or maybe the resolution on the iOS apps I'm using isn't high enough to detect truly deep nulls?
Unfortunately movies can vary a ton in how well they implement bass. There are several posts (Ultimate List of Bass in movies w/frequency charts, Bass EQ for filtered movies) that can visually show you what to expect. Many newer Disney/Marvel movies are severely lacking. The overall volume level can vary a lot also. I keep an Excel list of the volume I play so I know where to start on a re-watch. You might need -5 MV for something like Black Panther, but -15 on Interstellar is VERY loud. The good news is that the sub performs great when it's allowed to. The Bass EQ thread is something you will want to check out if you want to make them all (well, almost all) sound great.
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post #26 of 37 Old 02-20-2020, 12:18 PM
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If "feel" is what you're after, you may also want to check out the BOSS over here:

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/19-de...l#post57611912
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post #27 of 37 Old 02-20-2020, 12:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by microwiz View Post
All my improvements came from bass traps in the corners, floor to ceiling. I did do some treating of the walls (non bass) but that didn't do much, lower frequencies are the ones to tackle so knowing what I know I would probably have skipped the walls.
I have gotten good results with GIK bass traps ( with scatter plates ) on my walls. It's transformed the sound in my theater for the better. Even my wife commented that it sounds way better! Rather than derail this thread, check out my theater thread instead.
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post #28 of 37 Old 02-20-2020, 01:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Spidacat View Post
Unfortunately movies can vary a ton in how well they implement bass. There are several posts (Ultimate List of Bass in movies w/frequency charts, Bass EQ for filtered movies) that can visually show you what to expect. Many newer Disney/Marvel movies are severely lacking. The overall volume level can vary a lot also. I keep an Excel list of the volume I play so I know where to start on a re-watch. You might need -5 MV for something like Black Panther, but -15 on Interstellar is VERY loud. The good news is that the sub performs great when it's allowed to. The Bass EQ thread is something you will want to check out if you want to make them all (well, almost all) sound great.
That Bass EQ thread is fascinating and something I wasn't aware of at all. Awesome, thank you.

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Originally Posted by m0j0 View Post
If "feel" is what you're after, you may also want to check out the BOSS over here:

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/19-de...l#post57611912
I have a ButtKicker drilled into my couch, which augments shake very nicely, but it doesn't help with punch as much. I take it the BOSS setup helps with both?

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Originally Posted by Craig Peer View Post
I have gotten good results with GIK bass traps ( with scatter plates ) on my walls. It's transformed the sound in my theater for the better. Even my wife commented that it sounds way better! Rather than derail this thread, check out my theater thread instead.
Thank you, will check out your thread. I looked at the thickness required for corner traps and probably can't do anything because of the placement of windows and doorways in my living room. In your experience, would wall traps help for bass? Or is it too low bang-for-the-buck compared to thick corner traps?
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post #29 of 37 Old 02-20-2020, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Laeus View Post

Thank you, will check out your thread. I looked at the thickness required for corner traps and probably can't do anything because of the placement of windows and doorways in my living room. In your experience, would wall traps help for bass? Or is it too low bang-for-the-buck compared to thick corner traps?
They do work, especially GIK's Monster bass traps. Send them an email, photos of your room and discuss things with them. I was only able to put corner traps in 2 corners in front part way, but the larger improvement was an enclosed side of my theater where only wall hung bass traps would work. And work they did. You can also hang 1' x 4' traps vertically in the corners - I did that too.
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post #30 of 37 Old 02-20-2020, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Laeus View Post
That Bass EQ thread is fascinating and something I wasn't aware of at all. Awesome, thank you.



I have a ButtKicker drilled into my couch, which augments shake very nicely, but it doesn't help with punch as much. I take it the BOSS setup helps with both?



Thank you, will check out your thread. I looked at the thickness required for corner traps and probably can't do anything because of the placement of windows and doorways in my living room. In your experience, would wall traps help for bass? Or is it too low bang-for-the-buck compared to thick corner traps?
Oh yeah, with HoverBOSS, and now HoverBOSSDisc, you will get punch and wobble for sure, and if you really like punch, you will want to look into BOSSBack!
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