Speaker (subwoofer) hi-level attenuation device? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 33 Old 06-12-2019, 07:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Speaker (subwoofer) hi-level attenuation device?

Hi, I am looking for a basic, hopefully inexpensive device that I can insert into the middle of a hi-level speaker wire to attenuate the signal.

What I am specifically looking to do is this. I have a standard subwoofer amp with a single powered output (230W 4ohms), and 4 bass shakers (50W 4ohms each) wired up to 2 couches. Each couch has 2 shakers that are wired in series and then the 2 couches are wired in parallel.

This is what I have:
https://www.parts-express.com/dayton...ndle--300-9012

Wired like this:


Since the couches are built differently, I am getting an unequal bass shaker feel between them.

I would like to add a speaker wire attenuator so that I can lower the power of the bass shakers on the couch that vibrates more strongly, so that it matches the other weaker response couch.

Any ideas of what I can do to achieve this?

I hope this is the right section as I didn't really see any better place to ask this sort of question.

Thanks!
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Last edited by SirMaster; 06-12-2019 at 07:33 AM.
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post #2 of 33 Old 06-12-2019, 07:43 AM
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A rheostat? A few bucks for a light dimmer at your local hardware store.
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post #3 of 33 Old 06-12-2019, 07:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by smcmillan2 View Post
A rheostat? A few bucks for a light dimmer at your local hardware store.
Thanks, I didn't know that's all I needed. But I guess I should have figured as a speaker signal is just a simple electrical voltage / current signal.

I thought maybe something else like the current or voltage range or something would maybe require something more for audio.

Do you think I need to worry about how the rheostat affects the signal across the frequency range? Like should it be a relatively flat attenuation? Since bass shakers essentially work like a speaker.
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post #4 of 33 Old 06-12-2019, 08:00 AM
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The trouble with attenuating at the "end", as you've discovered, is that there's a lot of power involved that you need to dump off as heat. You can put either a series or parallel resistor (or a few of them) on the circuit that services the chair that you want to attenuate, but it'll have to be a beefy enough resistor(s) to take the power involved. Before thinking about that path any more, would it be feasible to try and manipulate the shakers on the chair you want to attenuate? How about some rubber spacers at the mounting points that will absorb some of the vibration?
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post #5 of 33 Old 06-12-2019, 08:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jcmccorm View Post
The trouble with attenuating at the "end", as you've discovered, is that there's a lot of power involved that you need to dump off as heat. You can put either a series or parallel resistor (or a few of them) on the circuit that services the chair that you want to attenuate, but it'll have to be a beefy enough resistor(s) to take the power involved. Before thinking about that path any more, would it be feasible to try and manipulate the shakers on the chair you want to attenuate? How about some rubber spacers at the mounting points that will absorb some of the vibration?
That's not a bad idea, to absorb some vibration on the more powerful one. I don't need them to be perfectly equal, just more equal would be nice.

I'm not even sure how much power is going to the shakers, and given how a subwoofer signal is certainly not constant or even very powerful for very long (short bursts), resistors may still work I would imagine. Maybe I could attach a rheostat to a heatsink.
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post #6 of 33 Old 06-12-2019, 08:50 AM - Thread Starter
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If I did go the rheostat route what do people think about something like this or similar?

https://www.amazon.com/Electronics-S.../dp/B012SKDWPO

It says 200W, so it can probably handle the heat generation of my system?

They sell it in like 5, 50, 100, and 200 ohm versions. How would I know what ohms I want?


Unfortunately I don't know how any of this stuff works (which is why I'm here). I assume that the ohms rating is the maximum resistance? So the 50ohm is 0-50 with the dial, and if I get a higher ohms one I will just be turning the knob less?

Anyone have a ballpark guess as to what ohms or what wattage I should look for in a rheostat with my posted setup?

Last edited by SirMaster; 06-12-2019 at 09:04 AM.
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post #7 of 33 Old 06-12-2019, 09:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Thinking about this more.

Wouldn't putting a variable resistor on one side of my parallel wiring mess up the ohms of everything?

Would increasing the resistance of one side of the parallel affect the other side somehow? Or could it even damage my amp somehow?
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post #8 of 33 Old 06-12-2019, 09:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Now I am simply looking at something like this.

https://www.amazon.com/SVC100-Impeda...007U2GVY0?th=1

Not sure if that will work with my wiring and stuff yet but I think it would.

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post #9 of 33 Old 06-12-2019, 10:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SirMaster View Post
Now I am simply looking at something like this.

https://www.amazon.com/SVC100-Impeda...007U2GVY0?th=1

Not sure if that will work with my wiring and stuff yet but I think it would.

Yeah, I over-simplified saying light dimmer. I was just about to post the link to that volume control you already found.
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post #10 of 33 Old 06-12-2019, 10:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smcmillan2 View Post
Yeah, I over-simplified saying light dimmer. I was just about to post the link to that volume control you already found.
Yeah has I was reading about light dimmers I saw that they alter the sine wave to change average voltage so would not work for audio.

So I started looking for audio specific speaker volume control.

I might even get this box so I can turn the shakers on and off for each couch, and adjust the volume of each couch.

https://www.amazon.com/Speaker-Selec.../dp/B00VS7HD5E

Thanks for everyone's comments, it helps my thought process.
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post #11 of 33 Old 06-12-2019, 11:07 AM
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Adding resistance is also going to reduce the damping factor, making the shaker response sloppy.

Noah
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post #12 of 33 Old 06-12-2019, 11:18 AM
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most would just use separate amp channels and run at different levels
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post #13 of 33 Old 06-12-2019, 11:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Well I only plan to attenuate 1 couch slightly, to bring their feel in line with the other couch so hopefully its not too much damping effect.

I will have to see how it ends up and can always return the cheap knob box if I don't like what it's doing.

At least it's much cheaper than a second amp. But if it really doesn't feel right, I will have to consider dampening the vibrations physically, or buying another amp.
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post #14 of 33 Old 06-12-2019, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SirMaster View Post
Yeah has I was reading about light dimmers I saw that they alter the sine wave to change average voltage so would not work for audio.

So I started looking for audio specific speaker volume control.

I might even get this box so I can turn the shakers on and off for each couch, and adjust the volume of each couch.

https://www.amazon.com/Speaker-Selec.../dp/B00VS7HD5E

Thanks for everyone's comments, it helps my thought process.
For the money, that's the box you want right there.
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post #15 of 33 Old 06-12-2019, 01:01 PM
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At least it's much cheaper than a second amp.

You should be able to find an old used stereo receiver (thrift store, craigslist, ebay, garage sale) for next to nothing, and use the balance control.

Noah
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post #16 of 33 Old 06-12-2019, 01:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by noah katz View Post
You should be able to find an old used stereo receiver (thrift store, craigslist, ebay, garage sale) for next to nothing, and use the balance control.
I'm not picturing how I would set that up for use with the bass shakers though.

I run the LFE out from my main AVR into a subwoofer amp which has a mono amp out that goes into all 4 of my bass shakers via speaker wire.
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post #17 of 33 Old 06-12-2019, 01:12 PM
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Parts Express has speaker "L-PADS" with up to 100-watt capacity (enough for your Bass Shakers):
https://www.parts-express.com/cat/speaker-l-pads/306
https://www.electronics-tutorials.ws...ttenuator.html

FYI: OSD Audio SVC300 is some sort of AUTO-TRANSFORMER that has DISCRETE [NOT continuous] Volume Reduction Levels of 1/2, 1/4 and 1/8....which may or may NOT suit your needs. Also note that it uses (WAY TOO SMALL) Transformers [you select which coil winding tap to use]....which I suspect would SERIOUSLY Attenuate Sub-Woofer Freqs....esp. lowest Freqs going to the Shakers. Their literature tries to downplay this shortfall, simply saying "minimal bass roll-off"....HA! I don't believe it for a minute....might be OK for small Ceiling Speakers but NOT Shakers. IF you decide you might be interested, be sure to contact mfr for more detailed info re Freq. Response Curve:
https://www.osdaudio.com/300w-impeda...uct.attachment
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post #18 of 33 Old 06-12-2019, 01:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by holl_ands View Post
Parts Express has speaker "L-PADS" with up to 100-watt capacity (enough for your Bass Shakers):
https://www.parts-express.com/cat/speaker-l-pads/306
https://www.electronics-tutorials.ws...ttenuator.html
Hmm those do seem perfect.

https://www.parts-express.com/speake...8-ohm--260-265

Maintains 8ohm impedance which is what my shakers are since I keep 2 at 4 ohms each for each couch wired in series.

I guess I'll try this out for 14 bucks.
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post #19 of 33 Old 06-12-2019, 01:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by holl_ands View Post
FYI: OSD Audio SVC300 is some sort of AUTO-TRANSFORMER that has DISCRETE [NOT continuous] Volume Reduction Levels of 1/2, 1/4 and 1/8....which may or may NOT suit your needs. Also note that it uses (WAY TOO SMALL) Transformers [you select which coil winding tap to use]....which I suspect would SERIOUSLY Attenuate Sub-Woofer Freqs....esp. lowest Freqs going to the Shakers. Their literature tries to downplay this shortfall, simply saying "minimal bass roll-off"....HA! I don't believe it for a minute....might be OK for small Ceiling Speakers but NOT Shakers. IF you decide you might be interested, be sure to contact mfr for more detailed info re Freq. Response Curve:
https://www.osdaudio.com/300w-impeda...uct.attachment
Wow, thanks for looking into that documentation.

So you are saying the L-Pad should be the highest quality too, least effect on my bass signal?

I will also make sure to keep a close eye on the temperature of the L-pad.
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post #20 of 33 Old 06-12-2019, 01:44 PM
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Since L-Pads are PURELY Resistive, they work all the way down to DC (0-Hz).....so NO Low Freq Roll-Off of any kind.
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post #21 of 33 Old 06-12-2019, 02:23 PM
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I'm not picturing how I would set that up for use with the bass shakers though.

Use an RCA Y adapter to feed the LFE signal into, say, the CD input on the receiver.

Connect a pair of shakers each to receiver's L & R speaker terminals.

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post #22 of 33 Old 06-12-2019, 02:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Use an RCA Y adapter to feed the LFE signal into, say, the CD input on the receiver.

Connect a pair of shakers each to receiver's L & R speaker terminals.
But I would still need bass management. A high-pass filter for the shakers. I do not want them reacting to audio above about 60Hz as it gets distracting.

My subwoofer amp has a high-pass knob that I can adjust and that's where I am getting the filtering from.

I do not want the same high-pass on shakers as my actual sub, so I can't do the filtering in my main AVR since there is not a separate high-pass filter for each LFE out. My actual sub needs to go up to 120Hz for proper LFE track and my mains are crossed over at 80Hz and surrounds at 100Hz, so my actual sub needs to play up there.

But I need a separate lower filter for my shakers so they stay below about 60Hz.

Seems this L-Pad will be the best solution.
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post #23 of 33 Old 06-12-2019, 02:55 PM
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Is this the solution where you can experience the bass without your neighbors experiencing the bass?

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You can always turn it down, but you can only turn it up so much (before you run out of power, excursion or structural integrity).
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Is this the solution where you can experience the bass without your neighbors experiencing the bass?


Lol yes in an apartment.

However, in my experience bass shakers can add a great effect to your viewing in any system that has the seating not placed on suspended wood.

Even with multiple powerful subs running hot you don’t quiet get the same level of tactile feedback that you would get if your seating was on a flexible suspended floor.

For that if your seating has to be on something like concrete, you can add bass shakers to give a similar experience.
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post #25 of 33 Old 06-12-2019, 04:20 PM
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Lol yes in an apartment.

However, in my experience bass shakers can add a great effect to your viewing in any system that has the seating not placed on suspended wood.

Even with multiple powerful subs running hot you don’t quiet get the same level of tactile feedback that you would get if your seating was on a flexible suspended floor.

For that if your seating has to be on something like concrete, you can add bass shakers to give a similar experience.
That's why I am going to try the passive platform on the concrete. With the option of going boss later. Chasing low extension far field gets expensive fast lol. Not to mention it clashes with WAF.

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post #26 of 33 Old 06-12-2019, 08:12 PM
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But I would still need bass management...

I see.

If the L-pad doesn't work to your satisfaction, another way would be to connect a pot to the sub amp output to the input of a cheap used receiver or integrated amp.

Or as mentioned earlier, just mount the too-strong shakers with rubber grommets; the tighter you screw them down, the stronger they'll be and have more high freq content.

If you use lag studs (one end machine thread and one end wood thread), you can hold the adjustment with double nuts on the machine threads.

Noah
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post #27 of 33 Old 06-12-2019, 08:12 PM
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I’m not sure if this will work, but you might be able to run two of the shakers in parallel and the other two in series. That should deliver more power to the parallel set. Someone here should be able to fact check that.
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I’m not sure if this will work, but you might be able to run two of the shakers in parallel and the other two in series. That should deliver more power to the parallel set. Someone here should be able to fact check that.

Good idea!

The cheapest and most elegant solution, if it gives an acceptable level reduction.

Noah
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post #29 of 33 Old 06-13-2019, 08:45 PM
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I’m not sure if this will work, but you might be able to run two of the shakers in parallel and the other two in series. That should deliver more power to the parallel set. Someone here should be able to fact check that.

How would they be connected to the mono amp output terminals though?


Putting two shakers in series across the output presents an 8 Ohm load.
Adding a 4 Ohm shaker in parallel presents a 2.67 Ohm total load.
Adding another 4 Ohm shaker in parallel drops the overall impedance down to 1.6 Ohms.
***That might be too low of an impedance for the amp to handle! It could distort, shut down, or damage itself if not self-protected properly.***
(The parallel connected shakers would receive 4 times more power than the series connected shakers in this configuration though)


Instead you could connect two shakers in series and then add the two parallel connected shakers in series with that, making a total of 4 + 4 + 2 = 10 Ohms.
That's an easier load on the amp, but your overall power output capability will drop from 230 Watts down to only 92 Watts. That might be too low for what you need.
(Also, now the series connected shakers will receive 4 times more power than the parallel connected shakers in this configuration. The opposite of the first configuration)
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post #30 of 33 Old 06-13-2019, 10:16 PM
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I'd just get a nx1000d and be done with it.

At best: Resisting the power drops your efficiency in half. Say 450w is pulled from the wall, 150w of actual vibs and the other 300w is all heat and wasted power bill.
At worst: it burns down your house or melts into your carpet.

and then there is the damping factor and reactance (for some the suggested solutions).
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