What will I gain by building a full range center channel? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 82 Old 09-14-2019, 07:32 PM - Thread Starter
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What will I gain by building a full range center channel?

I see a lot people running titans and similar type speakers but I always wondered, what would you gain by doing this with a center? Isn’t a center mostly dialog anyways?
I have three htm12’s and I just got done building 35hz MTM’s (l&r) which essentially made them full range SIMILAR to titan type speakers but I did not build one for my center. After spending some time with the new setup it does make me wonder....
Should I make a third MTM for my center to match all three fronts? What would I gain? Is there really that much content being played under 80hz through the center? Or is just another sub for room modes?
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post #2 of 82 Old 09-14-2019, 08:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Audiophile75 View Post
I see a lot people running titans and similar type speakers but I always wondered, what would you gain by doing this with a center? Isn’t a center mostly dialog anyways?
I have three htm12’s and I just got done building 35hz MTM’s (l&r) which essentially made them full range SIMILAR to titan type speakers but I did not build one for my center. After spending some time with the new setup it does make me wonder....
Should I make a third MTM for my center to match all three fronts? What would I gain? Is there really that much content being played under 80hz through the center? Or is just another sub for room modes?
Just do it and dont look back. Nothing compares to having a large center with authority to effortlessly reproduce whats in the channel. I run mine full range it goes right down to 20hz.

Also the assumption that its only dialogue is grossly mistaken... Have a look at Dark Knight Rises. Center is 3rd one down. Its by far the most active channel



Edge of Tomorrow, again, 3rd down:




Here is my system, I'm actually right in the middle of building a third one of my large 1.8m high L/R towers to have a complete matching LCR for my new house, they are around 350L those huge speakers. The more rectangular center I have been using for the past few years is a 150L box. there is something about it, the speaker just vanishes, into the room and the voices sound great. Dont forget some male voices get really deep. I dont like having that stuff crossing to a subwoofer.



And here is a center design I've sold a couple of... this one is 166L, its got a real punch to it.



Finally, if you want to see what the center channel can do, play Blade Runner 2049, first 5 minutes, and mute, or unplug every other speaker in your system. The amount of bass coming from that channel in that film is staggering.
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post #3 of 82 Old 09-15-2019, 06:43 AM
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Center channel gets almost everything. Dialogue, sound effects, music, bass. It needs to be robust.
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post #4 of 82 Old 09-15-2019, 07:07 AM
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But with bass management, you're not missing anything... correct? Only difference is the bass is coming from subs, versus the center channel in front of you.
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post #5 of 82 Old 09-15-2019, 07:46 AM
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Vs what? 80-250hz at or near reference with a single small midwoofer is very difficult. If you already have a HTM-12 you upgraded the mains for stereo music listening, you are fine. If you upgraded the mains because you thought you needed “more” for movies, then you will want to upgrade the center too.
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post #6 of 82 Old 09-15-2019, 09:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveCallas View Post
Vs what? 80-250hz at or near reference with a single small midwoofer is very difficult.
True. I have a very compromised setup for a center channel right now due to size constraints. Two 4 inch woofers and a tweeter. In a too-small of a box. It'll play "right at" reference, down to about 140, where it begins to roll off from the small box.

It's crossed to the sub at 120. Sounds great.

But yes, I would prefer a beefier center and mains... for the sole fact of not always wanting to turn my amplifier on!
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post #7 of 82 Old 09-15-2019, 10:32 AM
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Do it! I had five full-range towers as my floor channels all built to hit 20HZ with ease and it was AMAZING, I had set the subs to only play LFE what that channel was intended for, non this having subs play all speakers set to small bass crap......This small 80HZ bs speakers is a huge waste and in my opinion pollutes the experience. I like my sound where it is supposed to be and sound the way its supposed to sound.



Unfortunately I cant run them in current place. If you can, do it! Use what ever example you want but all boils down to the same thing, massively better sound and experience. I was tinkering around a couple days ago listening to a few mock-up speaker configurations and used Godzilla King of the monsters and listening to a speaker set to small was insulting to the sound. having a full range was exhilarating and sounded more natural- and before someone makes a lame claim of inadequate subs----I have two 11FT3 tuned to 11hz and they dont start dropping until 10HZ
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post #8 of 82 Old 09-15-2019, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Remy.Alexander View Post
I was tinkering around a couple days ago listening to a few mock-up speaker configurations and used Godzilla King of the monsters and listening to a speaker set to small was insulting to the sound. having a full range was exhilarating and sounded more natural-

lol... it's because you more than likely had it setup in the "double bass" configuration. With a large hump in the bass region. We always think louder sounds better.

And if that's what YOU like, then more power to you!
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post #9 of 82 Old 09-15-2019, 12:35 PM
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I have 4 1/2" bookshelfs for my LCR and good subwoofers and it sounds amazing to me.


The bookshelfs are rated to 60hz or so I think and YPAO sometimes puts the crossover at 40hz for the corner mounted ones so they do have some mid-bass capability for such small speakers.
But I have them all set to crossover at 100hz and I can not hear any difference - REW says they produce flatter in-room response at that crossover and it protects them a bit just in case......


I also experimented by connecting small subs as active mains and running the bookshelfs from the subs - effectively making an active 3-way speaker capable of 30hz. I then set them to Large in the AVR so my real subs were now only getting the LFE signal and once again I could hear no difference.


So from my experience in my room and with my ears full range didn't make any difference.


What made a difference was when I used all identical speakers for LCR - seamless front soundstage.


I then took this a step further and now all 11 speakers (7.x.4) are identical and this was a huge improvement to the overall sound - totally seamless and much more immersive.


So to answer your question - yes go with a 3rd identical MTM for your centre - but not necessarily for the reason you were asking
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post #10 of 82 Old 09-15-2019, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by lknhomeaudio View Post
lol... it's because you more than likely had it setup in the "double bass" configuration. With a large hump in the bass region. We always think louder sounds better.

And if that's what YOU like, then more power to you!

Wait let me understand this, So having a full range meant double bass was enabled? Make no sense man-


If "configurations" was indicating "AVR Setup" its not. I was referring to my physical speaker configuration. I was swapping between a build that is not meant for full range vs one that is.
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post #11 of 82 Old 09-15-2019, 01:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Remy.Alexander View Post
Wait let me understand this, So having a full range meant double bass was enabled? Make no sense man-


If "configurations" was indicating "AVR Setup" its not. I was referring to my physical speaker configuration. I was swapping between a build that is not meant for full range vs one that is.
On the AVRs I'm familiar with, if you run fronts on LARGE(full range), then no bass goes to the subs. UNLESS you have it on "double bass" or "LFE + BASS", at which point bass plays through the mains AND the subs. Which would cause an unnecessary hump in the bass region of your response where the frequencies from mains and subs are overlapping.
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post #12 of 82 Old 09-15-2019, 03:23 PM
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The center track has from 0hz up.
It often has more bass in it than the LFE track, or any other track...
If the directors or movie-mixers didn't want it on that track, they wouldn't of PUT it there.

If you read the Dolby Atmos spec for large theaters, if I recall correctly, it mentions that in addition to the LFE subwoofers, they recommend having dedicated surround-subwoofers if they aren't large.
I believe they noted that center subwoofers can also be deployed to handle the bass in those tracks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lknhomeaudio View Post
On the AVRs I'm familiar with, if you run fronts on LARGE(full range), then no bass goes to the subs. UNLESS you have it on "double bass" or "LFE + BASS", at which point bass plays through the mains AND the subs.
As I understood it, LFE bass should always flow out of the LFE pin, unless you have the subs set to "off", at which point they'd be added to the mains if large.
If you enable LFE+, that's up to the user.

In any case, there will ALWAYS be a hump in the bass, since the bass is supposed to be 10db hotter than the mains.

The only problem I have with bass management, is that it compresses the LFE track when you enable it!
Every pair of beds added robs it of 6db of dynamics; with 7 beds that's a 21db drop in dynamic range!!!
Not only that, but deep vocals come out of the subwoofer (or get muffled/chopped off), and other effects such as door-slams that should be anchored at the screen, now are coming from all the way AROUND you! That's not likely what the director intended.

Let's say for example, in the nun, you have a ghost stomping in a circle around you. The bass will pan from speaker to speaker. If they are small, it won't pan, it will sound weak and omni-directional (or likely worse... just coming from one front corner!)

Instead of Godzilla completing a circle around you, it will sound like a mouse, with 10db-hot dissociative omni-directional thumping.

Not that you would probably notice in an all-small system... but there are often parts in a movie when the LFE subs are totally silent, and only the speakers are producing bass, or vice-versa. If you enable bass-management, then the subwoofers will always be playing bass, and never from the speakers, which is not at-all the intended effect!
Monotone droning subwoofers UGH!!!

Always use all-large whenever you possibly can and keep LFE+ disabled...
Then everything will play as it was meant to be played.

What makes matters worse, is they then grow so accustomed to their subwoofers always making bloody noise all the time, that they then wonder why it sounds weak/broken. When the opposite is actually the correct mindset.

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post #13 of 82 Old 09-15-2019, 03:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lknhomeaudio View Post
On the AVRs I'm familiar with, if you run fronts on LARGE(full range), then no bass goes to the subs. UNLESS you have it on "double bass" or "LFE + BASS", at which point bass plays through the mains AND the subs. Which would cause an unnecessary hump in the bass region of your response where the frequencies from mains and subs are overlapping.



Ah I see what you're saying, With "Large" set only LFE is going to the subs and all bass intended for that specific channel is directed to that channel and not subs- With D&M anyway.
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post #14 of 82 Old 09-15-2019, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by BassThatHz View Post
The center track has from 0hz up.
It often has more bass in it than the LFE track, or any other track...
If the directors or movie-mixers didn't want it on that track, they wouldn't of PUT it there.

If you read the Dolby Atmos spec for large theaters, if I recall correctly, it mentions that in addition to the LFE subwoofers, they recommend having dedicated surround-subwoofers if they aren't large.
I believe they noted that center subwoofers can also be deployed to handle the bass in those tracks.



As I understood it, LFE bass should always flow out of the LFE pin, unless you have the subs set to "off", at which point they'd be added to the mains if large.
If you enable LFE+, that's up to the user.

In any case, there will ALWAYS be a hump in the bass, since the bass is supposed to be 10db hotter than the mains.

The only problem I have with bass management, is that it compresses the LFE track when you enable it!
Every pair of beds added robs it of 6db of dynamics; with 7 beds that's a 21db drop in dynamic range!!!
Not only that, but deep vocals come out of the subwoofer (or get muffled/chopped off), and other effects such as door-slams that should be anchored at the screen, now are coming from all the way AROUND you! That's not likely what the director intended.

Let's say for example, in the nun, you have a ghost stomping in a circle around you. The bass will pan from speaker to speaker. If they are small, it won't pan, it will sound weak and omni-directional (or likely worse... just coming from one front corner!)

Instead of Godzilla completing a circle around you, it will sound like a mouse, with 10db-hot dissociative omni-directional thumping.

Not that you would probably notice in an all-small system... but there are often parts in a movie when the LFE subs are totally silent, and only the speakers are producing bass, or vice-versa. If you enable bass-management, then the subwoofers will always be playing bass, and never from the speakers, which is not at-all the intended effect!
Monotone droning subwoofers UGH!!!

Always use all-large whenever you possibly can and keep LFE+ disabled...
Then everything will play as it was meant to be played.

What makes matters worse, is they then grow so accustomed to their subwoofers always making bloody noise all the time, that they then wonder why it sounds weak/broken. When the opposite is actually the correct mindset.

Perfection! lol well said. I HATE watching a movie and something like Godzilla is stomping about and it sounds flat and lifeless and all you hear is subs playing the good stuff. I have ran 4 subs in all 4 corners of my 17X13 room and i can still easily place the bass and where its not supposed to be radiating from. No im not super human and can magically do something unexplained- but i do have two ears and they know when a sound is coming from somewhere its not intended to be...lol




Sorry for the ramble and non sense this week long cold is depleting my brain cells
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post #15 of 82 Old 09-15-2019, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Remy.Alexander View Post
Ah I see what you're saying, With "Large" set only LFE is going to the subs and all bass intended for that specific channel is directed to that channel and not subs- With D&M anyway.
Correct! And if you do Large, combined with LFE+main, the mains AND the sub will play that bass, and you will have a hump in your response down to however low your mains play. It will definitely make more noise lol
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post #16 of 82 Old 09-15-2019, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by BassThatHz View Post





since the bass is supposed to be 10db hotter than the mains.




Only when multi-channel is engaged, and that's not the hump I'm talking about lol

When bass management is occurring, and LFE+Main is selected, you lose that smooth transition from mains down to the subs. Since they are both playing the same frequencies at the same time, you will have extra dB, in the overlapping frequencies, as far down as your mains will play.(Give or take cancellations and other weird things going on with the room)



Quote:
Originally Posted by BassThatHz View Post
Let's say for example, in the nun, you have a ghost stomping in a circle around you. The bass will pan from speaker to speaker. If they are small, it won't pan, it will sound weak and omni-directional (or likely worse... just coming from one front corner!)
Good point. And it proves that bass REALLY isn't all that omni-directional! :-D

I know I can detect it's direction down pretty low.
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post #17 of 82 Old 09-15-2019, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by lknhomeaudio View Post
Only when multi-channel is engaged, and that's not the hump I'm talking about lol

When bass management is occurring, and LFE+Main is selected, you lose that smooth transition from mains down to the subs. Since they are both playing the same frequencies at the same time, you will have extra dB, in the overlapping frequencies, as far down as your mains will play.(Give or take cancellations and other weird things going on with the room)





Good point. And it proves that bass REALLY isn't all that omni-directional! :-D

I know I can detect it's direction down pretty low.

I dont use LFE+Main never have and never will
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post #18 of 82 Old 09-15-2019, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Remy.Alexander View Post
I dont use LFE+Main never have and never will

Okay, got gotcha!
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post #19 of 82 Old 09-15-2019, 06:07 PM
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Isn't it then like having a single sub and seat to seat consistency suffers? Aren't the waves so big that it really doesn't matter if your center or any other speaker makes the wave below say 80hz?
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post #20 of 82 Old 09-15-2019, 06:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BassThatHz View Post
Let's say for example, in the nun, you have a ghost stomping in a circle around you. The bass will pan from speaker to speaker. If they are small, it won't pan, it will sound weak and omni-directional (or likely worse... just coming from one front corner!)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Remy.Alexander View Post
No im not super human and can magically do something unexplained- but i do have two ears and they know when a sound is coming from somewhere its not intended to be...lol
You guys aren't alone. Paul Hales has a good discussion of "Local Bass Management" (crossing over the LCR to subs on the front, crossing over the left side surrounds to subs on the left side of the room, etc....."Get the kick-drum out of my Butt!" mainly starting at about 56:00:




It makes me curious to try it...when I can afford a Trinov.... Either that or a really tall stack of MiniDSP's!
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post #21 of 82 Old 09-15-2019, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Remy.Alexander View Post
Do it! I had five full-range towers as my floor channels all built to hit 20HZ with ease and it was AMAZING, I had set the subs to only play LFE what that channel was intended for, non this having subs play all speakers set to small bass crap......This small 80HZ bs speakers is a huge waste and in my opinion pollutes the experience. I like my sound where it is supposed to be and sound the way its supposed to sound.

Unfortunately I cant run them in current place. If you can, do it! Use what ever example you want but all boils down to the same thing, massively better sound and experience. I was tinkering around a couple days ago listening to a few mock-up speaker configurations and used Godzilla King of the monsters and listening to a speaker set to small was insulting to the sound. having a full range was exhilarating and sounded more natural- and before someone makes a lame claim of inadequate subs----I have two 11FT3 tuned to 11hz and they dont start dropping until 10HZ
Yeah I have noticed how much cleaner my subs output seems to be when the LCR is set full range, and calibrated to put out down to in my case 25hz. The sub sound much less busy when its sending mainly LFE only.
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post #22 of 82 Old 09-15-2019, 08:49 PM
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So much stuff in this thread....

4.5” midwoofers unfortunately will definitely NOT cut it crossed at 80hz playing anywhere near reference.

Godzilla or whatever else stomping in a circle played with speakers as full range will not yield 360 surround bass effects. Below a certain frequency the bass is not locatable.
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post #23 of 82 Old 09-16-2019, 05:45 AM
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? Who was referring to you? Post #9 bro
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So I’ll be honest. I was always (and mostly still am) of the crowd that believes that crossing over the mains to the subs at 80 (or around there depending on room) is typically better. The reason I feel this way is bc that allows you placement options which LCR typically do not have. Reading this forum makes me feel I may be missing something by not running full output but in the end I’m still not totally convinced. Would love to know what everyone is running for crossovers etc and why.


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post #25 of 82 Old 09-16-2019, 07:23 PM
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Reading this forum makes me feel I may be missing something by not running full output but in the end I’m still not totally convinced. Would love to know what everyone is running for crossovers etc and why.
The HPF's for my LCR's are DC.
The HPF's for my surrounds are DC.
The HPF's for my LFE's are DC. (Ignoring the HzHorn...)

Not only that, I apply a low shelf boost to each of the beds and LFE subs individually to flatten it to 2hz (or as low as-possible...)
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post #26 of 82 Old 09-16-2019, 07:31 PM
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Well, let's not fool ourselves too much here...
The only seat that could ever be considered in-phase (and even that much is a big IF), is the golden seat.

Every OTHER seat MUST BE a non-equidistant multi-point vector, thus NEVER "in-phase" / "time-aligned".

The chance of anything ever being in phase is near-zero, especially once you factor in non-symmetrical walls & placements with limited dsp horsepower (shared, non-discrete etc...)

and that is regardless of the XO point. (Above the 1/4wave room threshold at least...)
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post #27 of 82 Old 09-16-2019, 07:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BassThatHz View Post
The HPF's for my LCR's are DC.
The HPF's for my surrounds are DC.
The HPF's for my LFE's are DC. (Ignoring the HzHorn...)

Not only that, I apply a low shelf boost to each of the beds and LFE subs individually to flatten it to 2hz (or as low as-possible...)
flat to 2Hz???

Okay, what you have is not a fair comparison at all! This is like trying to compare a giant boulder to a tiny grain of sand. Lol

...2 Hz. That's just crazy to think about. You are definitely a 1 percenter my man.
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post #28 of 82 Old 09-16-2019, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by SteveCallas View Post
So much stuff in this thread....

4.5” midwoofers unfortunately will definitely NOT cut it crossed at 80hz playing anywhere near reference.
Off topic I guess but these don't have any problems playing at 0MV and sound good doing it (better than my 6" towers of the same make and series). But I haven't measured the room - its only my untrained ears and I don't listen above -10MV.


Back on topic I retried my trick of running my small (dual 5.75") subs with above mentioned 4.5" booskhelfs as active 3-way LR speakers and set them to Large. This was on a different receiver to before and this time there was a marked improvement in overall SQ as well as the bass. (I suspect my previous receiver was a $3300 dud - Marantz SR7012 and it never sounded good and was replaced with a 2ndhand Yamaha RX-A3040 which never sounds bad!!)


I will continue to pursue this and do more testing (once my receiver is fixed with a new HDMI board ) but it looks like Large is the better sounding option.


Quick question - I assume as soon as Fronts are set to Large that is when only LFE is sent to the subs or do all speakers need to be set to Large for this to happen ?
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post #29 of 82 Old 09-17-2019, 03:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Quick question - I assume as soon as Fronts are set to Large that is when only LFE is sent to the subs or do all speakers need to be set to Large for this to happen ?
Answer — Once the fronts are set to large ONLY lfe will go to your sub for your fronts, your surrounds and center from (my understanding) will still send bass to your sub too, under xo. And your experiment probably produced better dynamics as well.

But..... say you run the titans (just an example) the sub on them is still only tuned to 35hz which means you still want to run a xo of 40hz to protect them, right?
So when is it okay to actually set your av xo to full even when you have truly capable mains? Only when your setup like @BassThatHz ?This is the part that confuses me because xo’s are meant to protect your speaker as well, right? If you run full with a port tune of 35hz are you more at risk of sending bad noises to your titans? I’d assume anytime your under port tune (pass band) but.....(?)

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post #30 of 82 Old 09-17-2019, 03:54 AM
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If you wanted to do that and were concerned about distortion/damage for the mains, you'd want to just put a high-pass on them. This might actually be easy to do depending upon your processor--if you have XT32 with the App you can simply draw a target curve with the high-pass built in for the mains. I haven't tried this with Dirac but I would assume you could do the same thing with that.
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