Best way to handle bass management? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 30 Old 01-03-2020, 10:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Best way to handle bass management?

This is for my half finished basement where I listen to stereo music only, no TV/movies, no surround sound of any kind. The setup includes 6 bookshelf speakers and 2 powered subs. The subs and two of the speakers are driven by HK3490 stereo receiver, and the remaining 4 speakers are powered by AudioSource AMP310. It's a big open space so it does take a lot of power to achieve desired volume.

While this setup sounds fine in general, I'm debating whether it would be beneficial to implement some kind of bass management so that the speakers wouldn't have to try to play low end frequencies, and this would help offload the amps as well. Would something like miniDSP HD be the way to go here, or should I get a home theater AVR with pre-outs (maybe Denon X3500H)? Another option would be a PA crossover such as dbx 223xs, but that would mean having to deal with XLR or TRS cables and I'm not sure how this would impact sound quality. Is there another option that I haven't considered?

This is mainly for parties and hang outs, so not necessarily critical listening, although I do value decent sound quality overall.

Thanks!

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post #2 of 30 Old 01-03-2020, 11:08 AM
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If you're willing to put in the work a miniDSP is for exactly this kind of situation, you can use it with software like Room EQ Wizard (REW) and tweak to your heart's content.
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post #3 of 30 Old 01-03-2020, 01:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by qirex View Post
If you're willing to put in the work a miniDSP is for exactly this kind of situation, you can use it with software like Room EQ Wizard (REW) and tweak to your heart's content.
Thanks. I know a lot of people use miniDSP to EQ their subs, but I haven't seen many use it as an actual crossover and feeding the resulting signal to their speakers. I've read some reports of miniDSP introducing additional noise and other artifacts, however, that's just on paper. It's possible that none of this is audible to an average human ear.

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post #4 of 30 Old 01-03-2020, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Pete7874 View Post
This is for my half finished basement where I listen to stereo music only, no TV/movies, no surround sound of any kind. The setup includes 6 bookshelf speakers and 2 powered subs. The subs and two of the speakers are driven by HK3490 stereo receiver, and the remaining 4 speakers are powered by AudioSource AMP310. It's a big open space so it does take a lot of power to achieve desired volume.

While this setup sounds fine in general, I'm debating whether it would be beneficial to implement some kind of bass management so that the speakers wouldn't have to try to play low end frequencies, and this would help offload the amps as well. Would something like miniDSP HD be the way to go here, or should I get a home theater AVR with pre-outs (maybe Denon X3500H)? Another option would be a PA crossover such as dbx 223xs, but that would mean having to deal with XLR or TRS cables and I'm not sure how this would impact sound quality. Is there another option that I haven't considered?

This is mainly for parties and hang outs, so not necessarily critical listening, although I do value decent sound quality overall.

Thanks!
MiniDSP can be a lot of work to get right, but once you do, it's well worth it. Below 100hz or so, in terms of accuracy, smoothness, tightness, and consistency, 4 decent subs placed properly with bass management will knock the socks off even cost no object systems that don't do the same.

What 4 subs are you using?

I have a miniDSP 2x4 that I've yet to hook up to the current system. I use the DDRC 88A to eq my subs, but I plan to incorporate the 2x4 to help with time alignment(currently using manual delay knob and REW to measure). As I mentioned, though, it can be a lot of work, and I've been putting it off..


*Edit - misread and thought you said 4 subs, but my post still applies to dual subs, and 2 subs are easier to integrate(ime) than 4; so that's good.
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post #5 of 30 Old 01-03-2020, 02:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by richard12511 View Post
MiniDSP can be a lot of work to get right, but once you do, it's well worth it. Below 100hz or so, in terms of accuracy, smoothness, tightness, and consistency, 4 decent subs placed properly with bass management will knock the socks off even cost no object systems that don't do the same.

What 4 subs are you using?

I have a miniDSP 2x4 that I've yet to hook up to the current system. I use the DDRC 88A to eq my subs, but I plan to incorporate the 2x4 to help with time alignment(currently using manual delay knob and REW to measure). As I mentioned, though, it can be a lot of work, and I've been putting it off..


*Edit - misread and thought you said 4 subs, but my post still applies to dual subs, and 2 subs are easier to integrate(ime) than 4; so that's good.
Thanks, but my goal here is not really to EQ the subs as much as it is to to take low end frequencies away from my 6 bookshelf speakers.

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post #6 of 30 Old 01-03-2020, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Pete7874 View Post
Thanks, but my goal here is not really to EQ the subs as much as it is to to take low end frequencies away from my 6 bookshelf speakers.
The miniDSP can do both. If you want the best sound, you definitely don't want your bookshelfs playing full range. A simple crossover will definitely improve your sound, and if you ever want to improve then sound even more via bass EQ, you'll have that option.
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post #7 of 30 Old 01-04-2020, 05:33 AM
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I haven't found out much information on the PA120s, so I can't offer much help. Bass management usually refers to electronic analysis and correction of the bass output. That said, it sound like you're more interested in doing it by good placement of the subs, using that to give the best bass. The research that I trust on this subject is in this article: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/00d...e976a1a72e.pdf For you, the relevant section is 4, where the authors state that the best placement of 2 subs in a rectangular room is at the mid points on opposite walls. I concur. This placement cancels the main standing waves in the room, and all notes are treated more equally regardless of where the listener sits.

If your subs have pre in and main out, that is, high and low pass filters, that's the way to go because it will leave all of your Denon's power to drive your satellites and give greater clarity to the mid frequencies of them. Otherwise, use the sub out to them.

There are other threads which discuss the Audyssey room correction and how to adjust it for best results. Generally, you are Not looking to achieve flat frequency response in a room, but a gently sloping frequency response of about 1 db/octave, or about 10 db from the bass to the treble. Otherwise the sound will seem too bright.
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post #8 of 30 Old 01-04-2020, 06:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Elkerton View Post
I haven't found out much information on the PA120s, so I can't offer much help. Bass management usually refers to electronic analysis and correction of the bass output. That said, it sound like you're more interested in doing it by good placement of the subs, using that to give the best bass.
Sorry for not being clear. All I really want to do in this case is filter the output to all my bookshelf speakers so that they don't receive full range signal.

A typical home theater receiver has a bass management function where it sends bass frequencies to the sub, and all other frequencies to the speakers. But in my basement, I currently don't have a home theater receiver. I have a stereo receiver (HK3490) which does not have a bass management funciton, so I'm looking for another way to high pass the signal to the speakers.


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If your subs have pre in and main out, that is, high and low pass filters, that's the way to go because it will leave all of your Denon's power to drive your satellites and give greater clarity to the mid frequencies of them. Otherwise
That's an idea. One of my subs does have line level in and out connections with an 80 Hz high pass filter, so I could try to utilize that. Thanks.

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post #9 of 30 Old 01-04-2020, 07:38 AM
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Well if you already have a sub with a high pass filter (you’d be surprised how many do not have a HPF, usually only a LPF), id definitely use that. The only downside is, it’s too bad the HPF is non adjustable but if it’s for parties and you need some more volume and efficiency for parties and such then I think 80hz or even slightly higher would be ideal. Just make sure you have high quality interconnects.

Do it all or don't do it at all.


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post #10 of 30 Old 01-04-2020, 08:14 AM
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It's too bad that both subs don't have a high pass filter, but one is better than none. Fortunately, your HK 3490 has pre-out, main-in, so that at least one channel has the high pass filter. Most subs' high pass filters are set at 80 Hz, but the subs' x-overs are variable. Play.

I have always wondered if, when a sub output from a receiver is used, whether the receiver then has a high pass filter. Perhaps you've answered my question. I have always used separates and not a receiver, and have never researched this, so don't know.

Good luck and happy listening.
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post #11 of 30 Old 01-06-2020, 04:58 PM
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Do use your HK as a preamp to your power amps? If so, I would use the HK bass managment facility by setting all your speakers to small which will route all bass from all channels to your subs. Set the crossover on the HK to 80 Hz if your speakers are easily capable of playing down to 80 Hz.

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Originally Posted by 3db View Post
Do use your HK as a preamp to your power amps? If so, I would use the HK bass managment facility by setting all your speakers to small which will route all bass from all channels to your subs. Set the crossover on the HK to 80 Hz if your speakers are easily capable of playing down to 80 Hz.
HK3490 does not have bass management.

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post #13 of 30 Old 01-07-2020, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Pete7874 View Post
HK3490 does not have bass management.
In my secondary room I have an old NAD 7250PE with pre outs/main ins which I "assume" is what Line 2 on your amp is but the manual is not super clear.

I have a MiniDSP 2x4 in there as the crossover to my dual subs and it works great, no additional noise and indeed far far quieter than the old analog crossover I had in there before.

I used a Umik and REW to EQ the subs a bit as a side benefit.

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post #14 of 30 Old 01-07-2020, 11:54 AM - Thread Starter
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In my secondary room I have an old NAD 7250PE with pre outs/main ins which I "assume" is what Line 2 on your amp is but the manual is not super clear.
Yup. I have main pre outs, but after that signal is processed (by something such as miniDSP or another crossover device), it has to be brought back into the receiver using the "main in" connections. Otherwise, the HK's amp will not get any signal to play.

Normally, when an external amp is not used, the "pre out" and "main in" are linked together with a set of jumpers.





Quote:
I have a MiniDSP 2x4 in there as the crossover to my dual subs and it works great, no additional noise and indeed far far quieter than the old analog crossover I had in there before.
In addition to feeding your subs, do you also feed the high pass signal from miniDSP back to your amp to power the main speakers?

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Originally Posted by Pete7874 View Post
Yup. I have main pre outs, but after that signal is processed (by something such as miniDSP or another crossover device), it has to be brought back into the receiver using the "main in" connections. Otherwise, the HK's amp will not get any signal to play.

Normally, when an external amp is not used, the "pre out" and "main in" are linked together with a set of jumpers.





In addition to feeding your subs, do you also feed the high pass signal from miniDSP back to your amp to power the main speakers?
Yes, NAD 7252PE pre outs go to MiniDSP which then sends the signal to a NAD amp which I use for a center channel and then that amp sends the signal back to the 7250PE.

Works great.

I use an 80hz crossover.
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post #16 of 30 Old 01-07-2020, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Pete7874 View Post
While this setup sounds fine in general, I'm debating whether it would be beneficial to implement some kind of bass management so that the speakers wouldn't have to try to play low end frequencies, and this would help offload the amps as well. Would something like miniDSP HD be the way to go here, or should I get a home theater AVR with pre-outs (maybe Denon X3500H)? Another option would be a PA crossover such as dbx 223xs, but that would mean having to deal with XLR or TRS cables and I'm not sure how this would impact sound quality. Is there another option that I haven't considered?
To offload the main speakers, can you just insert 50hz FMOD RCA high-pass filters (https://www.amazon.com/FMOD-Crossove...s&sr=1-1-fkmr2) in the HK pre-out/main in loop so that the HK internal amp and Audiosource external amp only sees the high pass signal? Presumably the HK sub output would still have full bass output (I'm assuming it wouldn't be affected by the pre-out/main in loop, but that would need to be confirmed). FMOD's are available in various frequencies -- what works best depends on your individual speaker models. Generally, 70hz might be more appropriate for bookshelf speakers.


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post #17 of 30 Old 01-07-2020, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by pjp View Post
To offload the main speakers, can you just insert 50hz FMOD RCA high-pass filters (https://www.amazon.com/FMOD-Crossove...s&sr=1-1-fkmr2) in the HK pre-out/main in loop so that the HK internal amp and Audiosource external amp only sees the high pass signal? Presumably the HK sub output would still have full bass output (I'm assuming it wouldn't be affected by the pre-out/main in loop, but that would need to be confirmed). FMOD's are available in various frequencies -- what works best depends on your individual speaker models. Generally, 70hz might be more appropriate for bookshelf speakers.


I bought some of those and it was a waste of money IMHO.

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post #18 of 30 Old 01-07-2020, 03:04 PM
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Would something like miniDSP HD be the way to go here
I'm not a fan of inserting DSP in the sub output of an analog system. In my system, the DSP added too much delay in the sub path to sound aligned with the mains -- sounded much better to use simpler sub EQ controls (not as powerful as DSP EQ-wise, but no added delay to sub).

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or should I get a home theater AVR with pre-outs (maybe Denon X3500H)? Another option would be a PA crossover such as dbx 223xs, but that would mean having to deal with XLR or TRS cables and I'm not sure how this would impact sound quality. Is there another option that I haven't considered?
When you have DSP for both mains and subs in an AVR, then the DSP delay isn't an issue (because it applies to both mains and subs), but my experience is it sounds better for 2-channel music to keep everything analog (or for an AVR to keep it in "pure direct" to bypass DSP for 2-channel music).
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post #19 of 30 Old 01-07-2020, 03:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Presumably the HK sub output would still have full bass output (I'm assuming it wouldn't be affected by the pre-out/main in loop, but that would need to be confirmed).
Unfortunately, the sub outs would be affected by this.

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I bought some of those and it was a waste of money IMHO.

In what way were you disappointed? They are too simple to not work -- just need to be careful about picking the right ones (e.g. correct crossover and high pass (for mains) vs low pass (for subs or shakers)).
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In what way were you disappointed? They are too simple to not work -- just need to be careful about picking the right ones (e.g. correct crossover and high pass (for mains) vs low pass (for subs or shakers)).
With my old analog crossover I used some to strip out the highs going to the subs as the crossover knob on the Rolls Analog crossover to nothing so the subs, (which lack their own crossover knob), were still playing up to 200hz.

Adding some of those rated to strip out everything above 70hz did nothing.

The MiniDSP cured all those ills and cleaned up the signal going back to the preamp.

Some analog purists would say that adding a digital crossover in between the pre outs and main ins is heresy but it worked perfectly for me for a total investment of $200 for the MiniDSP and Umik and allowed me to EQ the subs as a bonus using the MiniDSPs parametric EQ function to knock down the highs in the subs after running REW.

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post #22 of 30 Old 01-07-2020, 03:40 PM
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Unfortunately, the sub outs would be affected by this.
Bummer regarding sub outs, but I think you could put a RCA Y-splitters on the left/right pre-outs and use one side of the Y to directly to drive the powered subs and the other side of the Y to loop back through the FMODs to "main in" on the HK. You'd have to test, but since the HK doesn't have any sub controls, I suspect pre-out left/right will drive your powered subs just as well as the sub output -- even if levels or frequency content differs between pre-out and sub out, you should be able to compensate with the sub level & crossover controls. Hopefully your powered subs have left and right RCA inputs.

If you didn't find that driving the sub with pre-out left/right was as good as using the sub output, you could still could filter the bass output on 4 of the 6 speakers by putting the FMODs between the HK preamp outputs and the Audiosource MP310 inputs.
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post #23 of 30 Old 01-07-2020, 05:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Bummer regarding sub outs, but I think you could put a RCA Y-splitters on the left/right pre-outs and use one side of the Y to directly to drive the powered subs and the other side of the Y to loop back through the FMODs to "main in" on the HK. You'd have to test, but since the HK doesn't have any sub controls, I suspect pre-out left/right will drive your powered subs just as well as the sub output -- even if levels or frequency content differs between pre-out and sub out, you should be able to compensate with the sub level & crossover controls. Hopefully your powered subs have left and right RCA inputs.
Instead of using these FMODs, I can just send full range signal to one of my subs, and have to sub high pass it back to me at 80 Hz.

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post #24 of 30 Old 01-07-2020, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Pete7874 View Post
Instead of using these FMODs, I can just send full range signal to one of my subs, and have to sub high pass it back to me at 80 Hz.
If your sub does that and has high-pass RCA outs, then that should do the trick. It's helpful to know what subs you have to see what's available function-wise, but if you've confirmed high-pass RCA outs, then that's a great solution.

If you're not a purist, an old-school an analog graphic equalizer in that loop (in place of a the FMOD) would allow you could cut out the lowest bass from the bookshelves fairly precisely while also shaping the rest of the frequencies to your preferences. Something like an ADC "Sound Shaper" can be picked up used for very little investment.


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post #25 of 30 Old 01-07-2020, 07:54 PM - Thread Starter
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If your sub does that and has high-pass RCA outs, then that should do the trick. It's helpful to know what subs you have to see what's available function-wise, but if you've confirmed high-pass RCA outs, then that's a great solution.
The one that has high pass RCA outs is SVS 25-31PCi.

I just have to figure out a way to send signal to the other sub (PA120). Hoping that using RCA Y-splitters from the HK receiver will work but I'm concerned about weakening the signal. One split of the "Y" would go from HK to SVS sub, then to AudioSource amp, and then back to HK. The other Y split would go from HK to the PA120 sub.

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post #26 of 30 Old 01-07-2020, 08:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete7874 View Post
The one that has high pass RCA outs is SVS 25-31PCi.

I just have to figure out a way to send signal to the other sub (PA120). Hoping that using RCA Y-splitters from the HK receiver will work but I'm concerned about weakening the signal. One split of the "Y" would go from HK to SVS sub, then to AudioSource amp, and then back to HK. The other Y split would go from HK to the PA120 sub.
First Y RCA splitter: Pre-out of HK feeding
1. SVS input
2. PA120 input

Second Y RCA splitter: SVS output feeding:
1. HK "main in" input
2. Audiosource input

I don't think there would be any loss of signal at all. It's common to split RCA outputs to multiple inputs. If you have very long runs to the subs, then maybe get a better RCA cable, but I don't think there will be any loss. Just sure you are always splitting an output to go to multiple inputs -- you never want to combine two outputs.
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post #27 of 30 Old 01-08-2020, 08:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by pjp View Post
First Y RCA splitter: Pre-out of HK feeding
1. SVS input
2. PA120 input

Second Y RCA splitter: SVS output feeding:
1. HK "main in" input
2. Audiosource input
Thanks. My plan was to avoid the second Y RCA splitter and instead just run stereo RCA cable from SVS output to Audiosource input, and then another stereo RCA cable from Audiosource pre-out to HK "main in" input. Not sure which one would be better or if it'd make any difference.

Quote:
you never want to combine two outputs.
About that. If I use the First Y RCA splitter as noted above, I will end up with two RCA wires (left and right) going into the PA120, but the PA120 only has a single RCA input. My plan was to combine left and right into a single RCA for feeding the PA120. Would that be OK?

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post #28 of 30 Old 01-08-2020, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete7874 View Post
Thanks. My plan was to avoid the second Y RCA splitter and instead just run stereo RCA cable from SVS output to Audiosource input, and then another stereo RCA cable from Audiosource pre-out to HK "main in" input. Not sure which one would be better or if it'd make any difference.
It probably doesn't matter either way -- splitting the SVS seemed cleaner to me than running it though the audiosource, but the audiosource is likely hard-wired input to output, so it probably makes no difference at all. It seems like the RCA cables could be a lot shorter between audiosource and HK, so that seems like a better approach.

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About that. If I use the First Y RCA splitter as noted above, I will end up with two RCA wires (left and right) going into the PA120, but the PA120 only has a single RCA input. My plan was to combine left and right into a single RCA for feeding the PA120. Would that be OK?
Unfortunately you can never combine outputs together. Combining outputs creates a short circuit of sorts because you are combining two different signals together, which isn't good for the source equipment and probably won't sound right either. You can drive the PA120 with either the left or right channel only and still typically get something like 95% of the benefit since subwoofer-level bass frequencies don't typically vary that much left to right (it depends upon how each song was mixed in the recording process, but you probably won't notice a difference using only one channel to drive the PA120).
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post #29 of 30 Old 01-08-2020, 10:44 AM - Thread Starter
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You can drive the PA120 with either the left or right channel only and still typically get something like 95% of the benefit since subwoofer-level bass frequencies don't typically vary that much left to right (it depends upon how each song was mixed in the recording process, but you probably won't notice a difference using only one channel to drive the PA120).
My concern with using only left or only right channel was that now I'll have a Y-spliter with one end not connected to anything. Would this potentially cause some channel imbalance due to different resistance of each?

Or if I only use Y-splitter for left channel (coming out of HK) but not for the right channel, wouldn't this again result in differing signal levels (left vs right) due to varying resistance? I suppose that's what the balance knob is for...

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post #30 of 30 Old 01-08-2020, 11:40 AM
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My concern with using only left or only right channel was that now I'll have a Y-spliter with one end not connected to anything. Would this potentially cause some channel imbalance due to different resistance of each?
To avoid having any open connectors, you can use a splitter for only the channel you will be driving the PA120 with and you can use a direct cable on the other side that won't be used for the PA120. There is no harm in having an open RCA output (no so for an input where it could pick up noise), but you wouldn't want the dangling RCA to be able short itself out if it hit a metal conductor.

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Originally Posted by Pete7874 View Post
Or if I only use Y-splitter for left channel (coming out of HK) but not for the right channel, wouldn't this again result in differing signal levels (left vs right) due to varying resistance? I suppose that's what the balance knob is for...
I think all inputs are very high impedance, so they are essentially transparent to the output source. It shouldn't make any difference or cause any imbalance to have one output split and the other not split.
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Last edited by pjp; 01-08-2020 at 12:22 PM.
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