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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Guys, Ive been a member of this forum for a few years now. I mostly read post after post to try and learn more so I dont sound like a moron when I post, hopefully it worked, let me know when you are done reading this...


Im looking for some suggestions on how to get more umphhhh out of my system.

My current set up is as follows...

AVR - Denon 2805

Fronts (Towers) - Polk Audio RTi10s (Overall Frequency Response 20Hz-27kHz )

Center - Polk Audio CSi5 (Overall Frequency Response 45Hz-27kHz )

Side Surrounds (Bipole/Dipole bookshelfs) - Polk Audio FXi30s (Overall Frequency Response 50Hz-27kHz)

Back Surrounds (Towers) - Polk Audio RT10 (Overall Frequency Response 30Hz - 25kHz)

Subs - 2 SVS PB10s


My room is somewhat squared so the placement is pretty much surrounding the listening area. Although the right side of the room is open to another room and the left surround speakers are a little further away from the sweet spot then the rights. The Subs are on both sides of the Front towers, I separated them cause I figured it would fill the room more.


I currently have my Denon set to 80hz on the crossover and all the speakers set to small. However, yesterday I played around with setting the speakers to large and having only LFE going to the subs.

Normally my low end gets kinda muddy and distorted. I like a lot of LFE but sometimes it feels like to much mid is coming from my subs and I lose some of the really low feel. The sub gets down to 17 or 18 hrz so I think I should be able to FEEL those suckers. After I set everything to large, the mids were almost gone but it seemed like I FELT the lows even more then usual.


Im just looking for suggestions from the pros (you guys) on how you would go about setting up this system. It may not be the best equipment, but for some reason I dont think Im getting the full potential from it.


Thanks in advance guys....sorry about the long post by the way.

Merlin
 

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The RTi10s take a good bit of power to run them well. Setting the fronts to large will increase the load those speakers are required to produce, and therefore put more strain on your receiver. I tend to think the RTi10s can sound nice with receiver power, but really open up with add'l, dedicated power. I think this because until _very_ recently I had your exact same front speaker/center setup, and the addition of separate amplification dramatically improved the sound from those mains. But you asked about how to improve your existing setup, not purchase new stuff.


Because I think you maybe overdriving the receiver and underpowering the fronts, I would switch that back to small and experiment with sub placement and response there. Those two PB10s can probably sound a lot different in the proper places. Are they colocated? Right on top of each other? I, too am learning about the importance of sub placement, as I have to pretty new PB12+/2s.


Experiment with crossover settings with the speakers set to small. Might surprise yourself.


You don't mention anything about room treatments. I've learned that the room is probably the most major thing you can work on to improve your sound. Have you treated reflection points? Bass traps?


Just last night I was working in a far corner of my room, near a glass door that I thought was WAY outside of the listening environment. Damned if I didn't hear the source material bouncing right off that door, much to my surprise! I have SO much to learn.
 

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First thing you You should do is 100% Stack these subs one right on top of the other. Be sure they are in a corner for maximum THUMP in the lowest frequencies.


When you do that, you will FEEL that low end punch down to 20hz.


But remember, the PB-10 is tuned to 20hz, after that the frequency response rolls off pretty quickly. In room you should be able to get 18hz, but not at the level Dual PB-12NSD's could do since they are tuned for that 18hz signal.
 

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Hi Merlin,

I have polk rti12 fronts, and a denon 3805, and I use a professional power amp between my denon and the rti's. It has the effect of giving more power to the 12's, which are demanding and a bit tough for the 3805 to drive to full potential, and also relives the load from the 3805 for the center and surrounds, improving them slightly as well. The main improvement is in dynamic capability, meaning that passages of music or movies with lots of stuff going on, and lots of sharp peaks and stuff in volume and frequency, sound better with the addition of the amp.


I also run all 5 speakers as small. It also increased my dynamic capability. My subs are 2 Mirage S-12's, and I have no muddying like you describe. And yes, I can "feel" the bass in movies and stuff. I was watching Star Wars (the original) this weekend and when the Death Star blows up the planet, the couch was shaking all over the place, and my wife came down from upsatairs and said the floor (above my tv room) was shaking pretty strongly. 2 PB10's should definitely get you some kind of tactile effect (depending on the size of your room- how big is it, and how big is the open space? That counts in sub calculations)


So my advice, all things being equal to my room, would be:


1) MANUALLY calibrate your system!!!! the best and cheapest upgrade ever- your subs might be drowning out your other stuff because maybe they are too high. Do a search on "calibrate" and you'll find lots of instructions.

2) Maybe try a power amp for your towers. The 10's aren't as demanding as 12's, but I bet it still leads to an improvement over the 2805 alone.

3) Download the bass frequency tones from realtraps.com and plot your subwoofer response- This is wicked easy to do as well, even by hand. It will show you if you have nasty peaks or nulls in your bass that are being introduced by how the bass interacts with your room. This helped me too, and caused me to stack both my subs in one location, instead of having them spread out. Without plotting, I didn't know the extent of my problem. Just knew something sounded "off"

4) Try placing your PB-10s (stacked, or close together), as close to your seating position as possible. Near placement is *awesome* for subs.

5) do a search on "crawl test"

6) all speakers SMALL, all the time.


That stuff should get you started, and I bet most of the steps would help in some way (except the amp suggestion, that one I don't know about for sure, since I don't know how tough the 10's are to drive)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Wow, thanks a bunch for your responses guys. Its going to take me a few minutes to respond to everyone. Im also making a quick drawing of my basement so you will be able to see what Im referring to. Be back shortly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Schwingding /forum/post/0


The RTi10s take a good bit of power to run them well. Setting the fronts to large will increase the load those speakers are required to produce, and therefore put more strain on your receiver. I tend to think the RTi10s can sound nice with receiver power, but really open up with add'l, dedicated power.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cneely8 /forum/post/0


I have polk rti12 fronts, and a denon 3805, and I use a professional power amp between my denon and the rti's. It has the effect of giving more power to the 12's, which are demanding and a bit tough for the 3805 to drive to full potential, and also relives the load from the 3805 for the center and surrounds, improving them slightly as well. The main improvement is in dynamic capability, meaning that passages of music or movies with lots of stuff going on, and lots of sharp peaks and stuff in volume and frequency, sound better with the addition of the amp.

Ive actually been thinking about getting an amp but been putting it off cause I just dropped a ton of cash on my PS3. BUT, bonus time is next month, so maybe Ill look into the amp then. Any recommendations would be welcome.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Schwingding /forum/post/0


Because I think you maybe overdriving the receiver and underpowering the fronts, I would switch that back to small and experiment with sub placement and response there. Those two PB10s can probably sound a lot different in the proper places. Are they colocated? Right on top of each other?
Quote:
Originally Posted by bgillyjcu /forum/post/0


First thing you You should do is 100% Stack these subs one right on top of the other. Be sure they are in a corner for maximum THUMP in the lowest frequencies.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cneely8 /forum/post/0


4) Try placing your PB-10s (stacked, or close together), as close to your seating position as possible. Near placement is *awesome* for subs.

You guys all mention stacking these bad boys. I will give that a try tonight. However, you also mention placing them close to a corner. This leads me to what I think is my real issue. My room.

I have a pretty big basement, see pic


Now of course this isn't to scale but it's a pretty good representation of the basement. The rears are usually on the side walls about 3 feet behind the side surrounds. I move them in front of the pool table when watching a movie or playing PS3.

The TV and front stage is a little to the right of the room simply because I have 2 windows right above where the PB10s currently are. This puts my DLP right in the middle of the wall so Im kinda limited in that respect. However, the closest corner is to the far left of the room.

If I did stack the PB10s in the corner, would I face them towards the sweet spot or keep them facing straight ahead?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Schwingding /forum/post/0


You don't mention anything about room treatments. I've learned that the room is probably the most major thing you can work on to improve your sound. Have you treated reflection points? Bass traps?

Just last night I was working in a far corner of my room, near a glass door that I thought was WAY outside of the listening environment. Damned if I didn't hear the source material bouncing right off that door, much to my surprise! I have SO much to learn.

Same thing happened to me, on the other side of my pool table there is a closet. The other day those closet doors were rattling and I couldn't tell where the rattle was coming from. It took me 15 minutes walking around the room to figure it out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cneely8 /forum/post/0


So my advice, all things being equal to my room, would be:

1) MANUALLY calibrate your system!!!! the best and cheapest upgrade ever- your subs might be drowning out your other stuff because maybe they are too high. Do a search on "calibrate" and you'll find lots of instructions.

3) Download the bass frequency tones from realtraps.com and plot your subwoofer response- This is wicked easy to do as well, even by hand. It will show you if you have nasty peaks or nulls in your bass that are being introduced by how the bass interacts with your room. This helped me too, and caused me to stack both my subs in one location, instead of having them spread out. Without plotting, I didn't know the extent of my problem. Just knew something sounded "off"

5) do a search on "crawl test"

1) I normally let the Denon do the auto set up, but it seems somewhat inaccurate in the sense that it set almost every channel to 12. And I know for a fact that all my channels are not an equal distance away from the sweet spot. I have a sound meter so Ill try to manually do it tonight.

3) I will have to look up a post or something on how to do this.

4) Will do



Thanks again guys, I really appreciate the advice. I cant wait to get home and give this all a go!!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by FJ Merlin /forum/post/0



You guys all mention stacking these bad boys. I will give that a try tonight. However, you also mention placing them close to a corner. This leads me to what I think is my real issue. My room.

I have a pretty big basement, see pic


I'd stack them in that front left corner and just have them facing straight out. (no need to angle them at all)


100% promise you'll notice a MAJOR difference in sound quality and output right away.


Report back when you have them set up like this with your thoughts
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ok bgilly, Im gonna tackle those suckers tonight. Ill let you guys know the results tomorrow morning when I get back into the office.


Thanks again



Oh, also...I found a post on this forum, cant find the link of course but I know it was on this forum. Someone said they used a pro audio amp to power thier fronts. I think he said he picked up a Crown XLS202 and it blew him away. I know most Home Theater amps run a mint. Is this Crown good enough or am I being to frugal?
 

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One thing - if you don't have an SPL meter, you need one. Get a Radio Shack digital, about $40-50. Also get a setup DVD called Avia (does audio and video). Besides the calibration tones, you can run "sweeps" and watch the SPL meter readout to get a quick idea of how flat or bumpy your frequency response is with different placements.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by FJ Merlin /forum/post/0


this isn't to scale but it's a pretty good representation of the basement.

Any chance you can move things around? Symmetry is very important, and the way it is now you have a reflecting wall on the left and none on the right. Ideally you'll exchange places with the pool table, so the speakers are at the bottom of your drawing facing up.


--Ethan
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer /forum/post/0


Any chance you can move things around? Symmetry is very important, and the way it is now you have a reflecting wall on the left and none on the right. Ideally you'll exchange places with the pool table, so the speakers are at the bottom of your drawing facing up.


--Ethan

Lord knows Ive thought about that option. However, my cable connections are on the wall the DLP is currently on. I would have a bit of remodeling to do if I wanted to move this around like you suggested. And as you know, remodeling an already finished basement for the sake of my AV system does not have a very high WAF rating



I see what you mean though Ethan, Ideally that would be the best position for the system.
 

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If I recall correctly, Ed Mullen and others have stated that they get better SQ when they place stereo subs inside the mains. Try swapping the L/R sub with the L/R mains.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by ransac /forum/post/0


If I recall correctly, Ed Mullen and others have stated that they get better SQ when they place stereo subs inside the mains. Try swapping the L/R sub with the L/R mains.

So instead of outside the mains like I had them originally? I could try that as well.


Last night I moved them around quite a bit and to be honest, didnt notice much difference. My basement drawing isnt quite close enough to the actual measurments, my left corner is about 10-12 feet away from the center channel so it is a lot further into the corner then my drawing represented. Maybe Ill take an actual picture to show you guys.

But, first I stacked them to the left of the left main, sounded pretty good but still didnt feel it like I think I should. I then moved them all the way over into the corner and recalibrated (the auto setup on the Denon) and it almost sounded weaker. I kind of expected that though since the corner is so far to the left.

I think I need to run some of those sound sweeps you guys recommended.


I already have a SPL and the Avia disc. So Ill run with that this weekend.


Quote:
Originally Posted by cneely8 /forum/post/0


My amp is a power amp like the Crown, and even a bit cheaper. So the crown should be fine. In fact, there is an entire thread (HUGE) in the amps/receivers section called "my new amp is making me grin from ear to ear!" that is full of folks raving about the improvement from "cheap" power amps like the Crown and mine.

cneely, thats the post I was talking about, I forgot what it was titled. My buddy here at work refuses to think I can get clean power from a cheap power amp. He seems to think that a 400 watt Krell or Rotel will sound HEAD AND SHOULDERS better then this Crown and any other cheap pro audio amps. Personally, I think its worth a try since it would save me close to 800 bucks.

cneely, what power amp do you use?


Also, since we are on the subject, if my Denon already pushes 100 watts a channel, is it safe to assume that I need an amp that pushes more then 100 watts a channel? Or is it just a matter of having a seperate amp powering the fronts to take the load off of the Denon? So I could get an 80 watt/ch amp and still get better sound? Im not sure that question makes any sense....
 

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You could get a 15 watt power amp and better sound. Might not be LOUDER but certainly a whole lot better. What you are after is amplification hardware that drives your speakers to the volumes you want without approaching max capacity - and clippage that will blow your tweeters.


Power ratings on AVR amps are funny and not always indicative of real world situations. Somewhere around here there is an article on actual performances of various AVRs and amps vs claimed/published specs.


A separate 100 watt amp with its own dedicated power supply should, in theory, do a better job than the one in your AVR. My experience has shown that to be the case for sure.


You definitely don't NEED an amp that is more than 100 watts per channel, but it depends on your listening preferences as well as the demands of your room. My knowledge and experience is very limited, so I'm going to beg off and ask the others to finish up from here.
 

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>cneely, what power amp do you use?


Mine is a cheap Samson sx 1800 amp from Sam Ash Music (find it online at samash.com). It is $349, all the time (ignore what they claim about special pricing- it's always that price).


Here's the deal with respect to quality: download the manual for the amp I mentioned, and check the specs. (I know, specs don't tell the whole story, but bear with me). The specs on even my cheap pro-amp completely destroy the specs for the Denon I have (3805) in every respect. So, assuming all manufacturers lie about the specs, it's SO far above and beyond my Denon, that unless they lie like 10 times more than Denon, it seems like it is capable of more than the Denon, on paper, anyway. The Crown is supposed to be pretty quality stuff according to all the users on the forum, but at the time I was buying I went for 400 watts at $349, versus like $500-600 for a comparably rated Crown.


Then, I actually tried it with and without an amp- and again, it was better.


>He seems to think that a 400 watt Krell or Rotel will sound HEAD AND SHOULDERS better then this Crown and any other cheap pro audio amps.
Or is it just a matter of having a seperate amp powering the fronts to take the load off of the Denon?


Taking the load off did help in my case. My towers got better from the amp, but my surrounds and center also improved with the decreased load.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by cneely8 /forum/post/0


Rule of thumb I've seen is that if your speakers can handle X watts continuous, then power them with an amp that can do 2-3 times X. So if the speakers can handle 200 watts continuous, use a 400-600 watt per channel amp.


>Or is it just a matter of having a seperate amp powering the fronts to take the load off of the Denon?


Taking the load off did help in my case. My towers got better from the amp, but my surrounds and center also improved with the decreased load.

I did not realize that about getting 2-3 times the power my mains can handle. I honestly thought to get less power. Dont ask me why. My mains are rated to go up to 300 watts. So if I went with a Crown 602 I should be ok. But you mention the Samson, I happen to have a Sam ASh flyer right here at my desk and I see the Samson SX1800 which boasts 400 watts a channel for cheaper (like you said) then the Crown. I may think about this Samson, seems like a great bang for the buck.


Just when you think you know something, you learn something new every day.

Thanks again guys for all the advice.
 
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