AVS Forum banner

Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,193 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For a whole bunch of reasons, many of them related to room esthetics and WAF, I recently decided to replace my fronts with the Newton MC-300 satellites and P500 sub from Cambridge Soundworks. They'd gotten several good reviews, I'd had good experiences with the local CSW store and, most important, they sounded great in the store: the kind of disciplined, smooth response I like for classical music, with no boom-y resonance in the sub and with a very airy, open sound without sharp edges at the high end.


When I got them home and set up, however, it was a different story entirely. The sub was fine, and, as I'd hoped, the outboard controller allowed me to partially tame a nasty room resonance at around 70hz. The high end was smooth and detailed, and the imaging was great. BUT, the overall sound was just plain THIN. Male voices lacked depth, and there was clearly a lower mid-range hole in music of every type.


Running low freq sweep tests confirmed the problem. Response just dropped right off a cliff at around 105 - 110 HZ, not to reappear until the sub kicked in around 80. The drop-off was so severe (-20db or more at 100hz) I could have sworn there was some kind of high-order filter in the speakers.


A trip to the store with my Avia disc and meter in hand confirmed the source of the problem. The MC-300 satellites do, in fact, roll off sharply below 120hz. In the store, however they had the bass crossover set above 120 so that sub picked up smoothly and everything was cool. (Or maybe they weren't using bass management at all. I couldn't find out)


On the other hand, my Onkyo 898 receiver has the crossover locked at 80hz (I believe that's part of the THX spec) resulting in that all-too-obvious hole. Since I'm not ready to toss my the receiver, the MC-300s went back to the store and the search goes on.


My bottom line on this Newton combo: IF, and only if, you can set your bass crossover up around 130 HZ, this is a really fine speaker for the money (the 2 satellites and the sub were $855 before tax.) The sub has dual 8-inch drivers in an acoustic suspension enclosure, so going that high is no problem. However, if your receiver, like many, only allows an 80hz crossover, you will NOT be a happy camper.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,598 Posts
Couldn't you just set the front speaker config to LARGE and let the Newton crossover do it's thing?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,193 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
To do that I'd have to take the sub off the sub output of the receiver and run it from the high-level L/R speaker outputs. That would mean giving up bass management and a clean LFE channel on movies.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,598 Posts
Oh, I didn't realize you have no line level outputs on your receiver. That would have solved the problem. Too bad, I agree they are quite a good value.

How about mating the sub with the M60's or the M80's?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,720 Posts
Quote:
Originally posted by Spoffo


On the other hand, my Onkyo 898 receiver has the crossover locked at 80hz (I believe that's part of the THX spec) resulting in that all-too-obvious hole. Since I'm not ready to toss my the receiver, the MC-300s went back to the store and the search goes on.
Spoffo,


The 80Hz rolloff for the SURROUNDS is part of THX spec.


However, as Buzz points out - you should be able to set your Onkyo 898 to allow the full range to be passed to the mains.


Also on many receivers/processors - there is a difference between rolloff and crossover. You can often either set the

system so that it "rolloffs" the mains - that is it doesn't send low frequency signals to speakers that can't handle it.


However, you can usually also set the system to crossover - to send any signals the mains can't handle to the sub.


Additionally, how do you have these speakers hookuped up? Since this sub-sattellite system is substituting for a full

range main speaker - they should be fed off the mains output [including the sub] and not the LFE channel.


If you hooked the sub to the LFE channel directly, and the satellites to the mains; and you weren't able to redirect

the low frequencies in the mains channel to the sub - you would have exactly the problem you have reported.


Dr. Gregory Greenman

Physicist
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,720 Posts
Quote:
Originally posted by Spoffo
To do that I'd have to take the sub off the sub output of the receiver and run it from the high-level L/R speaker outputs. That would mean giving up bass management and a clean LFE channel on movies.
Spoffo,


I see your problem - see my previous post.


The combination of sub and satellites are substituting for a full-range mains speaker. They should be connected to the

mains output.


The satellites are not full range speakers.


So you don't have both a full range speaker for the mains and a subwoofer that can be hooked to the LFE channel.


You have a sub-satellite combo that serves as the mains - and should have been fed from the L/R speaker outputs.


In the absence of being able to redirect the bass in the mains to the sub - you really needed a 2nd subwoofer if you

wanted to duplicate the functionality of full-range mains plus subwoofer.


Dr. Gregory Greenman

Physicist
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,193 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The Onkyo does have line level Main L/R outputs for people using an outboard power amp. However, they don't anticipate looping that output through an external crossover (i.e. the Newton Sub contol unit) and then back into the receiver for the L/R mains. I suspect that something like that could be cobbled together through a weird combination of input settings, but the question is, why should I?


Both Onkyo and CSW recommend that with a set-up like this, the front L/R mains be set for "small", thus directing all the energy below the receiver's crossover (AND the LFE) to the sub, and that the sub be connected to the dedicated "sub" line-level output. Clearly, the expectation by Onkyo is that "small" front speakers will perform down to the 80hz crossover. More importantly, the marketing from CSW promises the same, and their user manual recommends this same setup with Dolby Digital receivers. Yeah, If this were some cheapo computer sub/sat system, I would assume that I would need to run the sub off a full-range signal. But the MC-300 is marketed as a quasi high-end speaker suitable for DD HT systems.


(by the way, I did try setting the receiver for "Large" front mains with the sub removed the system, and the roll-off with the MC-300s was the same. It's in the speakers, not the electronics.)


My temporary fix has been to mount a pair of old, but beloved, Small Advent bookshelf units as front L/R (set for "Small") with the P500 sub running off the line-level "sub out." The Advents never had a terribly impressive bottom end, but they sound really good with the P500 sub, and measurements confirm that the combo has a nearly flat response thru the 80hz crossover and right down into the 20s.


Buzz: I did some sweep tests on the M60s and M50s, and they're both real nice - much better than the MC-300s - I would have switched to them, but my installation requires wall mounting and the M-50/60/80 series is rear-vented.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,598 Posts
Glad to hear the old Advents are doing the job for you.
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top