Polk S15s sound better than S50s - Page 2 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #31 of 427 Old 08-04-2019, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
Thanks, I sit at my listening position and hold the mic at my nose. An audiophile friend came over today and listened. He says the s50 is producing bass but it's muddy not tight so I think I can't hear it. The s15 bass is tighter. He thinks s50 is interacting with floor, walls, or glass window in a way that the s15 is not. He suggests s15+sub instead of s50. But, the s15/s10 sound fine to me by themselves. Will s15+sub dramatically improve the sound of Blues vs s15 alone? Are there any Blues instruments or voices in 30-80Hz range? And won't a sub have the same muddy issue as s50 in my room?
No a good sub is designed to play low, some smaller towers struggle with what they are asked to do in the bass departments so setting them to small as you have done can improve things.

Here's frequency response of instruments.

Note that a piano keyboard is noted as the keyboard pictured goes higher and lower than a piano.
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post #32 of 427 Old 08-04-2019, 01:03 PM
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The Bass is a huge part of blues music, and it extends down to 30 Hz. So, yes, having a sub would be to your advantage.



Just as an experiment, move the s50 speakers so they are about 18-24" from any boundary and see how they sound. Clearly, they are positioned way too close to the walls.
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post #33 of 427 Old 08-04-2019, 01:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
Thanks, I sit at my listening position and hold the mic at my nose. An audiophile friend came over today and listened. He says the s50 is producing bass but it's muddy not tight so I think I can't hear it. The s15 bass is tighter. He thinks s50 is interacting with floor, walls, or glass window in a way that the s15 is not. He suggests s15+sub instead of s50. But, the s15/s10 sound fine to me by themselves. Will s15+sub dramatically improve the sound of Blues vs s15 alone? Are there any Blues instruments or voices in 30-80Hz range? And won't a sub have the same muddy issue as s50 in my room?
Some speakers are built to meet a certain price point so compromises are inevitable. A good subwoofer will play the low end much more cleanly and efficiently that most towers. By not being tasked with the low end, you'll get much better clarity thus improving the listening experience.

From personal experience, I'll advise to get a good sub in the $500 range or not get one at all, especially for music. The RSL Speedwoofer 10s being the exception at $399.
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post #34 of 427 Old 08-04-2019, 01:49 PM - Thread Starter
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If it only happens with that one, specific thing, then I would argue that it's the YouTubeTV. Have you tried other 2ch sources?
Thanks, all I have for 2 ch sources are YoutubeTV, FM, and Youtube. Listened to The Intern movie (newer than Friends) and it does not appear to have the shhhh sound that Friends has. I wonder if it is because Friends is an older show having more artifacts when up-scaled to 5.0.
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post #35 of 427 Old 08-04-2019, 01:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Did you already run Audyssey or whatever room correction system that Sony has? If so, turn it off and listen in "Pure direct" mode and see if it makes a difference.
Thanks, I just did and Pure Direct makes no difference to s50/s15/s10.

RayGuy, I'll try the "toeing them in, such that the a line drawn perpendicular to each speaker ... crossing about two feet in front of your head" you mention. But if they cross in front of me, won't L become R?
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post #36 of 427 Old 08-04-2019, 01:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
Thanks, all I have for 2 ch sources are YoutubeTV, FM, and Youtube. Listened to The Intern movie (newer than Friends) and it does not appear to have the shhhh sound that Friends has. I wonder if it is because Friends is an older show having more artifacts when up-scaled to 5.0.
Do you have a DVD player or playstation to try a music CD?
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post #37 of 427 Old 08-04-2019, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
Thanks, I just did and Pure Direct makes no difference to s50/s15/s10.

RayGuy, I'll try the "toeing them in, such that the a line drawn perpendicular to each speaker ... crossing about two feet in front of your head" you mention. But if they cross in front of me, won't L become R?
The only speaker I know that recommends that much toe in is the HSU CCB8.

Try different angles but generally aiming them at the main listening position should be good but some speakers like to be straight ahead.

This is all your manual says and the illustration shows them at least twice as far from the side walls as the back wall.

Listening in 2.1 System
Get the most realistic stereo image by placing speakers as far
apart as the listeners are sitting from them. If room conditions
require that you place the speakers farther apart, you may
choose to angle the speakers toward the middle to support a
more solid center image.
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post #38 of 427 Old 08-04-2019, 02:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
Thanks, I just did and Pure Direct makes no difference to s50/s15/s10.

RayGuy, I'll try the "toeing them in, such that the a line drawn perpendicular to each speaker ... crossing about two feet in front of your head" you mention. But if they cross in front of me, won't L become R?
Haha. No, L won't become R, but it will change how the reflective sound (vs direct sound) interacts with the room. Give it a try.
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post #39 of 427 Old 08-04-2019, 03:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Try other lower crossover points. 50hz might be the sweet spot.
50Hz seems to sound slightly better than 80Hz but I can't tell for sure. Do some freqs interact with a room more than others? If so, lower than 50Hz is muddying my room unlike higher than 50Hz. If so, s15/s10+sub is the way to go. I'll likely do s10+sub since cheaper and stands are easier to get for s10.
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post #40 of 427 Old 08-04-2019, 03:22 PM - Thread Starter
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No a good sub is designed to play low ... Here's frequency response of instruments.
OMG, this is really helpful. I listen to jazz too and now see there's a whole lot of instruments I just haven't been hearing. Swapping s50 for s10 gives me flexibility to add sub later and delay spending the $$ now. Looks like it is the way to go. One big question I have is will s15+sub be reasonably better than s10+sub? If not, s10 is cheaper, higher WAF, and stands are cheaper too.
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post #41 of 427 Old 08-04-2019, 03:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Haha. No, L won't become R, but it will change how the reflective sound (vs direct sound) interacts with the room. Give it a try.
Very interesting! Bass tightened up and brightness decreased. Almost want to keep the towers now. But I think s10+sub will still be richer based on what I'm learning in this thread.
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post #42 of 427 Old 08-05-2019, 07:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by RayGuy View Post
The Bass is a huge part of blues music, and it extends down to 30 Hz. Just as an experiment, move the s50 speakers so they are about 18-24" from any boundary and see how they sound. Clearly, they are positioned way too close to the walls.
Wow, that's Willie Dixon! Thanks for the info re freqs. My audiophile friend said the same thing - move s50 from walls. They did improve so positioning was an issue earlier, you were right. From reading more reviews on avsforum, I think no matter where I place the s50, it won't produce low music (in my room) as well as s10+sub. And the s50 is ugly pulled out so far into the room. As you said, room can conspire against me. Thanks for the great advice! I'll ask my wife if we can convert our house into an anechoic chamber :-) this music system was supposed to take 1 hr to purchase and setup and be about $700 when I began back in March :-)
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post #43 of 427 Old 08-05-2019, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
OMG, this is really helpful. I listen to jazz too and now see there's a whole lot of instruments I just haven't been hearing. Swapping s50 for s10 gives me flexibility to add sub later and delay spending the $$ now. Looks like it is the way to go. One big question I have is will s15+sub be reasonably better than s10+sub? If not, s10 is cheaper, higher WAF, and stands are cheaper too.
For the extra $30 I'd go with the S15s.

For your needs, mostly music, and it doesn't sound like you listen at massive volume levels, this sub might be perfect.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NQQQRDZ...cr_wdg_tit_rfb

I've bought two factory renewed subs over the years and they look and work as new.

Often it's just a return that was reboxed rather than a sub that broke.
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post #44 of 427 Old 08-05-2019, 10:29 AM
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The S10 would probably need a 100-120Hz crossover point, so the sub would be required to be in the front of the room, near the speakers. The sub would need to be capable up to about 140-150Hz, to provide a clean crossover range (it's not a wall, it's a slope). The S15 is a better speaker, in that it has quite a bit more mid-bass, allowing you to cross over at 80Hz, giving you sub placement options other than just the front of the room (Anything above 80Hz produced by the sub can lead to what's called sub-localization, where the sub stands out and does not integrate well with the main speakers). The tweeter is the same, but asked to do less in the S10 (because it's crossed over at a higher point, which may account for the cleaner treble you allude to).

The ML sub recommended above would be a good starting point, as it is currently priced at less than half it's original cost. Good quality sub, that can handle upper-bass well, while not becoming a one-note wonder, as so many cheap subs do. Also, it is a reasonable size, as many cheap subs are quite a bit larger (but poorer performers, appealing to the "bigger is better" crowd). It has 29Hz low end extension, so you can hear all of what Willie is doing on that Upright Bass!

BTW, sub placement is crucial to getting good sound, so have more than one placement option available.
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post #45 of 427 Old 08-05-2019, 12:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Some speakers are built to meet a certain price point so compromises are inevitable. A good subwoofer will play the low end much more cleanly and efficiently that most towers.
I understand a sub will play bass more cleanly. But if the s50 bass is interacting with the room to become muddy, won't a sub do that too (in my particular room)?

Maybe I could move the sub around more than I can front towers to find best position. In my room, the sub could actually go anywhere along the front wall as well as to the right or left of my couch. Is that enough positions to give me a chance at tight bass?
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post #46 of 427 Old 08-05-2019, 01:06 PM - Thread Starter
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For your needs, mostly music, and it doesn't sound like you listen at massive volume levels, this sub might be perfect. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NQQQRDZ...cr_wdg_tit_rfb
What speaker stands do folks recommend for s15? For s10, I bought Mounting Dream 32" ($42 on Amazon). For s15, I found TransDeco 24" ($107) but 24" will be too short: s15 tweeter will be at my tummy level. There is a Transdeco 32" but will be too tall I think. Hence I'm thinking of the s10.

Would you recommend the Polk hts10? It'll aesthetically match my other Polk speakers. I understand brand/tonal match does not matter for sub, but aesthetic is important to me.
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post #47 of 427 Old 08-05-2019, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
What speaker stands do folks recommend for s15? For s10, I bought Mounting Dream 32" ($42 on Amazon). For s15, I found TransDeco 24" ($107) but 24" will be too short: s15 tweeter will be at my tummy level. There is a Transdeco 32" but will be too tall I think. Hence I'm thinking of the s10.

Would you recommend the Polk hts10? It'll aesthetically match my other Polk speakers. I understand brand/tonal match does not matter for sub, but aesthetic is important to me.
That stand would work well with either speaker; if need be just place the S15s upside down on the stand.

The tweeter height is only 3.5" higher on the S15 vs S10.

The upped -3db point for the HTS10 is 120hz while the Dynamo 500 is 200hz.

But the S10 could work well with the HTS10 with a 100hz crossover and the sub near the front speakers.
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post #48 of 427 Old 08-05-2019, 01:25 PM - Thread Starter
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The S10 would probably need a 100-120Hz crossover point, so the sub would be required to be in the front of the room, near the speakers. The tweeter is the same, but asked to do less in the S10 (because it's crossed over at a higher point, which may account for the cleaner treble you allude to).
The s10 spec says low end is 67Hz. I understand this is probably more like 75Hz for -3dB so it should still go down to 80Hz, right? or have experiments shown that the -3dB is 100Hz?

What do you mean by "tweeter is the same, but asked to do less in the S10 (because it's crossed over at a higher point"? I thought the tweeter crossover for s10/s15 would be the same. The only difference being s15 goes down more.

In my listening, the drums/guitar/violin on both are good. The s15 has too piercing highs, while s10 has good highs. Voices were clearer on s10.
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post #49 of 427 Old 08-05-2019, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
The s10 spec says low end is 67Hz. I understand this is probably more like 75Hz for -3dB so it should still go down to 80Hz, right? or have experiments shown that the -3dB is 100Hz?

What do you mean by "tweeter is the same, but asked to do less in the S10 (because it's crossed over at a higher point"? I thought the tweeter crossover for s10/s15 would be the same. The only difference being s15 goes down more.

In my listening, the drums/guitar/violin on both are good. The s15 has too piercing highs, while s10 has good highs. Voices were clearer on s10.
If you prefer the S10 by all means go that route.

Note when Sound & Vision tested the Signature series here's what they found.

https://www.soundandvision.com/conte...iew-test-bench

S60 -3db point 44hz. Claimed 26hz, difference = 18hz.

S35 -3db point 99hz. Claimed 53hz, difference = 46hz.

S20 -3db point 52hz. Claimed 39hz, difference = 16hz.

Your S10s claim 67hz so best case it is actually 83hz, worst case is 113hz.

Easy way to check assuming you have an SPL meter or SPL app on your smart phone is to use these test tones at a given volume level and see what output is at 200 hz and then at 110hz, 100hz and so on. That way you can see where it drops off significantly in your room vs in a test chamber like Sound & Vision did their measurements.

https://www.audiocheck.net/testtones...rsts20-200.php
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post #50 of 427 Old 08-05-2019, 02:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
The s10 spec says low end is 67Hz. I understand this is probably more like 75Hz for -3dB so it should still go down to 80Hz, right? or have experiments shown that the -3dB is 100Hz?

What do you mean by "tweeter is the same, but asked to do less in the S10 (because it's crossed over at a higher point"? I thought the tweeter crossover for s10/s15 would be the same. The only difference being s15 goes down more.

In my listening, the drums/guitar/violin on both are good. The s15 has too piercing highs, while s10 has good highs. Voices were clearer on s10.
Ignore that comment, turns out the tweeter is crossed over at 2.5k for all three speakers (S10/15/20). Don't know why you are getting such disparate results in the treble region. Positioning?

As to the crossover region, both the sub and the speaker need to have reasonable response for approx. an octave above/below the crossover point. As mentioned, the crossover is not a brick wall, it is a slope (typically 12dB per octave), where the speaker's sound is GRADUALLY decreased as the frequency dips below the crossover point. Similarly, the sub's output is also gradually decreased in the frequencies above the crossover point. It's important that both speaker and sub continue to have output past the crossover point, otherwise there is a dip in the overall frequency response.
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post #51 of 427 Old 08-05-2019, 04:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Easy way to check assuming you have an SPL meter or SPL app on your smart phone is to use these test tones at a given volume level
Thanks so much, I downloaded the Sound Meter app. On the link you sent, should I play the sounds listed under "The Sound Files"? And where should my phone be: an inch in front of speaker or at my seating position?

When my room is silent, the app registers 10 dB, probably from AC, is that ok?
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Don't know why you are getting such disparate results in the treble region. Positioning?
I bought the s15 new and the s10 used. I think the s10 is broken in and hence sounds less harsh and more warm than the s15. Both produce the same amount of bass. Once the s15 breaks in, it'll likely give more bass and be less harsh.

I'm leaning towards s10 for fronts crossed over at 100 Hz. I could place the sub 2 feet pulled away from all walls in front of the base of the stand of the s10 (so the sub will be between L s10 and me). Would this reduce directionality of the 80-100 Hz music? I'd hate for the sound to be directionally broken up between the s10s and the sub so some music is coming from one side of the room.

Does a sub have L/R channels? If the sub is crossed over at 100 Hz but placed on the left wall, is that ok?
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post #53 of 427 Old 08-05-2019, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
I bought the s15 new and the s10 used. I think the s10 is broken in and hence sounds less harsh and more warm than the s15. Both produce the same amount of bass. Once the s15 breaks in, it'll likely give more bass and be less harsh.

I'm leaning towards s10 for fronts crossed over at 100 Hz. I could place the sub 2 feet pulled away from all walls in front of the base of the stand of the s10 (so the sub will be between L s10 and me). Would this reduce directionality of the 80-100 Hz music? I'd hate for the sound to be directionally broken up between the s10s and the sub so some music is coming from one side of the room.

Does a sub have L/R channels? If the sub is crossed over at 100 Hz but placed on the left wall, is that ok?
Typically, the bass is summed and sent to the sub via the Sub Out RCA jack on the back of the receiver.

As to the sub position, no way to really know until you try it. Just have alternate positioning available in case your first choice does not work well. It's the room that controls how the bass works. You just have to find a way to work with the room and not against it. Sometimes, just turning the sub 90 degrees (in the same position) can have an effect! Keep an open mind and maintain your persistence.

Interesting that the difference may be that one speaker is broken in and one isn't. You might leave the music on while you are out of the house, to get the S15s up to speed.
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post #54 of 427 Old 08-06-2019, 08:08 AM - Thread Starter
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As to the crossover region, both the sub and the speaker need to have reasonable response for approx. an octave above/below the crossover point.
By octave, do you mean 10 Hz? Sorry I don't know formal music. I just listen.
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post #55 of 427 Old 08-06-2019, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
I understand a sub will play bass more cleanly. But if the s50 bass is interacting with the room to become muddy, won't a sub do that too (in my particular room)?

Maybe I could move the sub around more than I can front towers to find best position. In my room, the sub could actually go anywhere along the front wall as well as to the right or left of my couch. Is that enough positions to give me a chance at tight bass?
Not necessarily. The sub can and should be placed for optimal performance which is rarely at the same spot as your towers.
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Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
Thanks so much, I downloaded the Sound Meter app. On the link you sent, should I play the sounds listed under "The Sound Files"? And where should my phone be: an inch in front of speaker or at my seating position?

When my room is silent, the app registers 10 dB, probably from AC, is that ok?
You just want the meter to read 85db at about a meter or so from the speaker but start at a low volume and then adjust till you get to 85db at 200hz.

Then see what the reading is at 150hz and record the reading, then in 10 db increments down to 80hz and let us know what you get.

When I did that simple test with my LX16s this is what I got.

I started at 200hz at 85db.

160 83 7.0
140 84 8.0
120 90 14.0
100 74 -2.0
80 77 1.0
70 68 -8.0
60 79 3.0
50 70 -6.0
40 66 -10.0
30

This is what I got with my subs in play albeit I had the SPL off to one side by several meters and started at 86db at 200hz.

160 89
150 87
142 90
134 89
126 87
120 89
112 88
106 89
90 85
80 86
71 86
60 80
75 85
50 80
40 82
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Geoff A. J., California
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post #57 of 427 Old 08-06-2019, 09:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by gajCA View Post
160 83 7.0
140 84 8.0
OMG this is so helpful, a really practical test I can perform tonight. What is the 7.0 and 8.0 in the last column?? Looks like your towers do go down to 40Hz without subs.

I'm beginning to think like you guys. I don't want to cross the s10 at 100Hz because then deep male voices or part of instrument may come from sub which may be far from speakers to avoid muddy interaction with room. But if I cross the s10 at 80Hz to avoid directionality, the s10 should go down to 70Hz at 3 dB which it clearly does not. At best, the s10 3dB is probably 80Hz. s10 will work only if sub is placed near front, which it may well not be as my s50 have shown. The front wall is a muddying place for bass. In fact that may be the reason s10 sounds better than s15. The increased bass of the s15 is likely muddying the sound because the s15 is also along front wall. The s10 does not become muddy regardless of placement probably because it's making so little bass.

Best place for sub will probably be side wall. While this is between front L/R and me, if crossed at 100 Hz for s10, higher bass above 80Hz will appear to come from 10 o'clock or 11 o'clock.

Keeping s15 fronts will work without measuring 3dB points of either s10/s15 because 3dB of s15 is highly likely below 80Hz. Hence I can blindly position the hts10 wherever for best sound and crossover at 80Hz without all of this thinking.
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post #58 of 427 Old 08-06-2019, 09:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by pase22 View Post
Not necessarily. The sub can and should be placed for optimal performance which is rarely at the same spot as your towers.
Thanks, if the hts10 sub is crossed at 100Hz to support the s10, will that tax the sub? It's 3dB is 120Hz. however, I find playing my s50 tower below 80Hz appears to tax it. Will crossing the hts10 at 100Hz shorten it's life or place major demand on it?
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post #59 of 427 Old 08-06-2019, 09:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
OMG this is so helpful, a really practical test I can perform tonight. What is the 7.0 and 8.0 in the last column?? Looks like your towers do go down to 40Hz without subs.

I'm beginning to think like you guys. I don't want to cross the s10 at 100Hz because then deep male voices or part of instrument may come from sub which may be far from speakers to avoid muddy interaction with room. But if I cross the s10 at 80Hz to avoid directionality, the s10 should go down to 70Hz at 3 dB which it clearly does not. At best, the s10 3dB is probably 80Hz. s10 will work only if sub is placed near front, which it may well not be as my s50 have shown. The front wall is a muddying place for bass. In fact that may be the reason s10 sounds better than s15. The increased bass of the s15 is likely muddying the sound because the s15 is also along front wall. The s10 does not become muddy regardless of placement probably because it's making so little bass.

Best place for sub will probably be side wall. While this is between front L/R and me, if crossed at 100 Hz for s10, higher bass above 80Hz will appear to come from 10 o'clock or 11 o'clock.

Keeping s15 fronts will work without measuring 3dB points of either s10/s15 because 3dB of s15 is highly likely below 80Hz. Hence I can blindly position the hts10 wherever for best sound and crossover at 80Hz without all of this thinking.
No, my LX16s are not towers, they are 5.25" bookshelves and are rated with a -3db point of 60hz which is a bit optimistic looking at my crude results.

This is in my secondary room and I was unable to get a sub near the front three so have two small inexpensive subs, (Yamaha SW012) under each end table and the bass seems to come from everywhere and nowhere unlike when I had just one sub under one end table.

So you could do the same albeit with a sub that doesn't get much love on AVS but I think they work just fine for mostly music.

This is the current version of that sub.

https://www.bestbuy.com/site/yamaha-...E&gclsrc=aw.ds

I bought the second one from these guys and it looks and works just like the first one I bought new.

https://www.accessories4less.com/mak...r-black/1.html
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post #60 of 427 Old 08-06-2019, 09:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vikram Iyengar View Post
Thanks, if the hts10 sub is crossed at 100Hz to support the s10, will that tax the sub? It's 3dB is 120Hz. however, I find playing my s50 tower below 80Hz appears to tax it. Will crossing the hts10 at 100Hz shorten it's life or place major demand on it?
The S10 is a little on the small side. Try to keep the S15's at least. The S15's will have better dynamics and would be better overall. Yes you can cross at 100-120hz, but you risk localization from the sub. It won't shorten it's lifespan, no.
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Kef LS50,Q200C, Q100, SVS SB-2000, Denon AVR-X3400H, NAD 216, Panasonic 50" Plasma, Xbox One.
Bedroom: JBL Loft 50 , Loft 20, Bic F-12, Denon AVR-S710W, PS3, 32" Insigna LED.
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