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Discussion Starter #1
Note: I wasn't sure where to put this, so moderators feel free to move it...not that you need my permission. :)

I have toyed with budget home theater gear for years and quite enjoy it as a hobby. I'm now a family man, so my time to tinker is limited, but I'm fed up with the sound of my Dayton SUB-120 in our current living room. The room is rather large (16.5 X 20 X 10) with some openings to other areas on three walls. I run the sub at about half volume for balance (I'm a "moderate level listener"), but if I go above that it just feels boomy and uncontrolled. Even at this level it feels boomy, loose and uncontrolled, but at least it is balanced with the rest of the speaker system to my ears. I have minimal bass management in my entry-level Yamaha AVR, but used YPAO to set up the system. I am unable to move the sub ANYWHERE else because it is a living room first (I'm fortunate that my wife lets me keep it!)...it sits to the left of the Polk Monitor 70's. I have Monitor 30's in the rear and a CS2 Center Channel. I am a musician, so I have a keen ear for musicality, yet this setup is more about the home theater experience than music.

As a side note, about a year ago, I purchased a Dayton SUB-800 for $75 and set up the master bedroom with 3.1 sound. The room is smaller of course (14 X 16), and it is a perfect rectangle with no "openings"...typically the doors are shut when we use the home theater in there. I continue to be amazed that, in terms of bass integration, this $75, 8 inch sub sounds MUCH better than the 12 with twice the power in the living room. It's tight, yet for an 8, it gets down there. This constant reminder that there must be more is the source of my living room angst.

Again, I realize I've got budget gear and you get what you pay for. But you also do what you can with what you got. :) So, I called Parts Express and explained my concern...looking to upgrade the sub in the living room, and he suggested that it is likely a room node problem and a "better" sub would actually make the problem worse. He suggested REW software, and while I'd be all over opening that can of worms before I had kids ages 3 and 5, setting this sort of thing up right now is out of the question...though I may be able to borrow an SPL meter and just run some test tones from a Youtube video to glean some insight. He said if I can figure out the frequencies that are peaking, I can control them with a feedback destroyer or PEQ.

I have a basic understanding of some of the principles at play here, but my limitations are: time and budget. I'd be willing to spend up to $500 to have tighter, flatter bass. But I don't want to buy a $500 sub to have the same problem. However, I HAVE considered SVS's guarantee...as if you are not satisfied, they will pay return shipping, but I've never been one to just "try out" products willy nilly and take advantage of vendors.

What do you guys think? Would a better sub solve my issue? Is my budget big enough for that "better sub"? (I simply cannot spend anymore) Should I grab a feedback destroyer off of Ebay for $50 and use it in manual mode and see where I get? I'm hoping some of you with more experience can guide me through this.

Thanks,
Chris
 

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As the old adage goes; with knowledge comes power.

You've already admitted you aren't willing to use REW, and you can't move the sub; so at this point, it's a crap shoot.

I don't necessarily agree that a better sub will sound worse however. That Dayton is definitely an entry level sub, with a minimum amount of power for your size room. I didn't see a frequency response, but who knows what the +-3db point is on that driver. An SVS or similar sub would provide much better bass compared to your current sub; but how that translates to the listening position is anybody's guess. :)
 

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I know you said you can't move the sub, but I would do the "sub crawl" and see if moving it would even help in your case (more than likely would).

If your Yammy doesn't have test tones you can build some here. I build 5 - 8 second tones at various Hz, throw them on my HTPC and play them from there.

And grab an SPL meter app for your phone, like this one for iPhone or this one for Android. Not the most accurate but gives you some feedback, I used the Android app to find a decent WAF location for our sub.

If you can't find a spot that gives you the output/sound you're after then you can pretty much stop at this point. If you do find spot(s), then you just have to convince the wife that she will enjoy the sound sooo much better if the sub is moved to [there]! :D

BTW, might want to do the crawl when the wife and kids are gone. It typically generates looks of disbelief and a lot of head shaking from the other members of the family...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I know you said you can't move the sub, but I would do the "sub crawl" and see if moving it would even help in your case (more than likely would).

If your Yammy doesn't have test tones you can build some here. I build 5 - 8 second tones at various Hz, throw them on my HTPC and play them from there.

And grab an SPL meter app for your phone, like this one for iPhone or this one for Android. Not the most accurate but gives you some feedback, I used the Android app to find a decent WAF location for our sub.

If you can't find a spot that gives you the output/sound you're after then you can pretty much stop at this point. If you do find spot(s), then you just have to convince the wife that she will enjoy the sound sooo much better if the sub is moved to [there]! :D

BTW, might want to do the crawl when the wife and kids are gone. It typically generates looks of disbelief and a lot of head shaking from the other members of the family...
Honestly, it's not just the wife...the room seems to really only have one one way to configure the furniture (between the fixed fireplace, all the "openings"...doorways...entry way leading to hall, etc.). The upright piano has to go on a wall too. We actually have quite a bit of furniture in that room, now that I think about it. Maybe we should just move! LOL. Now I see why in-wall stuff has become so popular.

Question: CAN less than optimal placement of a sub be overcome with processing? Wouldn't a sub with a different resonant frequency and lab frequency response curve theoretically change all of this anyway?
 

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Honestly, it's not just the wife...the room seems to really only have one one way to configure the furniture (between the fixed fireplace, all the "openings"...doorways...entry way leading to hall, etc.). The upright piano has to go on a wall too. We actually have quite a bit of furniture in that room, now that I think about it. Maybe we should just move!
Might be onto something there... ;)

Gracepreacher said:
CAN less than optimal placement of a sub be overcome with processing?
I'll leave this to the (much) more experienced around here than I.

Gracepreacher said:
Wouldn't a sub with a different resonant frequency and lab frequency response curve theoretically change all of this anyway?
You actually have a way to test this, although the subs you have are quite similar. Have you tried the SUB-800 in the living room? If so, do you notice any difference?

Really, @bass addict already summed it up. If you can't move the sub (any sub), then how it will sound at your MLP is at best a crap shoot.
 

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Question: CAN less than optimal placement of a sub be overcome with processing? Wouldn't a sub with a different resonant frequency and lab frequency response curve theoretically change all of this anyway?
Absolutely, but only to a point. If you are sitting in a null, no amount of processing is going to change that. And every sub will still perform within the room it's placed in. Nulls and boosts, don't play favorites. Sub A at 40hz will perform the same as Sub B at 40hz in respect to the LP. Sub A may play louder than Sub B, but as a whole, it will still be affected the same percentage as a whole in relation to the FR. You can boost nulls, or cut peaks, but at the end of the day, you are sill working within the parameters of the FR you have been dealt based on LP and sub placement.

If nothing else, I'd recommend what has been mentioned earlier. Grab a disc with 1/3 octave tones and a db meter; and see exactly what is going on at the listening position. The curve may be great, and a new sub will make a huge difference (which I'm inclined to believe it will anyways, just based on the current sub you're using :) )

Processing is a huge help when trying to smooth out a frequency curve, or apply a house curve or the like. Processing also won't make up for a poor performing sub, which in your case, I think you would qualify.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
OK. I borrowed the SPL meter, and at lunch I went home and got these measurements using a Youtube video with test tones (I know...pretty shady, but quick to pull up on my Roku!). I used the "slow" and "C-weighted" settings. Unfortunately, this meter has tight ranges in which you can measure at one time, and I did find out that at 25 Hz (where this test video starts tones) sounded so awful with port noise, I didn't bother counting it.

30 Hz 98.5
35 Hz 93
40 Hz 87.5
45 Hz 81
50 Hz 80
55 Hz 77.5

I'll repeat the test when I have more time...sorry this data is pretty incomplete, but I do think it is accurate. This does explain a bit why it feels so boomy when I turn it up...did I mention explosions are plenty loud? :)
 

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That is some serious room gain lol. You've got a pretty wicked house curve built right in. :)

I'd like to see measurements up to about 100hz to get a better idea of what's going on. At this point, an eq would really help out and be a pretty easy fix.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
That is some serious room gain lol. You've got a pretty wicked house curve built right in. :)

I'd like to see measurements up to about 100hz to get a better idea of what's going on. At this point, an eq would really help out and be a pretty easy fix.
OK. Another round of tests. Different test tone video that went a little higher.

Dayton SUB-120 in my Living Room:
20Hz 68.5
25Hz 75.5
31.5Hz 84.5
40Hz 75.5
50Hz 67
63Hz 58
80Hz 64.5
100Hz 66.5
125Hz 66.5



Then, I pulled the same subwoofer into the bedroom....smaller room, sealed:
(Keep in mind I didn't take the time to try to use the same volume in the two tests, so when comparing, think of relative peaks and valleys.)
20Hz 76.5
25Hz 83.5
31.5Hz 90.5
40Hz 92.5
50Hz 79
63Hz 76.5
80Hz 67.5
100Hz 58
125Hz 56

Now what is the thought???
 

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Talk nice to the wife or take her out to dinner..
Then try another location for the subwoofer...

Just my $0.02... ;)
 

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OK. Another round of tests. Different test tone video that went a little higher.

Dayton SUB-120 in my Living Room:
20Hz 68.5
25Hz 75.5
31.5Hz 84.5
40Hz 75.5
50Hz 67
63Hz 58
80Hz 64.5
100Hz 66.5
125Hz 66.5

Now what is the thought???
I personally don't think that's that bad of an initial response. I have seen, and had, much worse than that. Cut down the peak at 31hz and maybe knock down the adjacent frequencies a hair, and boost 63 hz a bit (boosting upper frequencies is a lot less drastic than lower), and you really have a fairly decent curve.

20hz is fine and the sub is probably rolling off a bit at that frequency. I'm also not sure how accurate your meter is down low, so it might be a bit higher there FAIK.

All in all, a BFD for a few bucks, and a few minutes of your time, and you'll be golden.
 

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OK. Another round of tests. Different test tone video that went a little higher.

Dayton SUB-120 in my Living Room:
20Hz 68.5
25Hz 75.5
31.5Hz 84.5
40Hz 75.5
50Hz 67
63Hz 58
80Hz 64.5
100Hz 66.5
125Hz 66.5



Then, I pulled the same subwoofer into the bedroom....smaller room, sealed:
(Keep in mind I didn't take the time to try to use the same volume in the two tests, so when comparing, think of relative peaks and valleys.)
20Hz 76.5
25Hz 83.5
31.5Hz 90.5
40Hz 92.5
50Hz 79
63Hz 76.5
80Hz 67.5
100Hz 58
125Hz 56

Now what is the thought???
I'm still a noob at all this but i can see 31 hz has a 10db increase , this will cause the boomy affect . If you can tame that 31 hz down to make it 75db it should sound better . (REW will show this on a graph ) I have read all over the place on the net if 30hz to 50hz is not flat it will sound boomy it needs to be constant and no big dips or spikes .

I have learnt most of this after building my mini marty, i had to tame 35hz area and boost 45hz to get it flat

If im wrong i dont mind being told by the experts , like i said im still a noob lol
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Alright. As much as I'd like a new sub, I'm now convinced that some EQ is in order first. However, it looks like I have a few options ranging from about $60 on Ebay for a Behringer DSP1124P on up to the thousands. I'm curious what would be recommended for this guy that wants it to be easy. Is the MiniDSP more user friendly than the Behringer stuff? Does it require extra software purchases, or just the currenlty $105 box: http://www.minidsp.com/products/minidsp-in-a-box/minidsp-2x4 ?? I have a mic I could use for RTA.

Another question I have is, since I have a hole in my sound at mid-bass, if you guys think it would be worthy running YPAO on my Yamaha RX-V375, but dropping the crossover down to 60 Hz (or dare I suggest 40 Hz)? What about turning the "extra bass" setting ON (to output LFE both in my L/R and sub). I have Polk Monitor 70's for front L/R. Does anyone know how these options would affect my CS2 center? If I have a way to correct this with what I've got, I'd rather do that, not as much for expense but I'm running out of space for gear (which is why the MiniDSP is a bit attractive, if I need to buy something).

I don't expect my sub to necessarily "tighten up" (I remember reviews saying to make sure and cross it over low enough because it sounds pretty bad above 80 Hz), but getting these mid-bass frequencies back in the mix can only be healthy.

Please advise on the processing gear or trying the tweak to the receiver auto-setup.

Thanks so much,
Chris
 

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Is the frequency control on the back active with low level input? If so, have you tried various adjustments? Have you reversed the phase control?

I would also try reducing the volume on the sub and increase it on the AVR in small increments.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I would also try reducing the volume on the sub and increase it on the AVR in small increments.
I'm not sure I understand how this would help? This wouldn't help boost the mid-bass and cut the low bass, if it is all being handled by the sub, would it?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Is the frequency control on the back active with low level input? If so, have you tried various adjustments?
I believe it is active, but my understanding was that you should not "double cross-over", and since the AVR applies an active crossover, wouldn't adding an additional cross-over from the subwoofer just cut the mid-bass frequencies out further, thus making this problem even worse?
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Well, my wife is feeling sick, so I'm taking a break from running test tones in the living room. I've been doing some serious research and I was excited about this Anti-mode as a possible automatic, small form factor solution to my room issues. I found a rare open box available for $250. However, I started to wonder what receiver DSP's such as Audyssey, YPAO, and MCACC did in the way of EQ on subs. Talk about having to really dig for info. The consensus seems to be that if you have Audyssey MultEQ and above, then something like an anti-mode is usually unnecessary. It looks like I could easily upgrade receivers to something with Audyssey MultEQ for similar money, AND get a few more features and a little more power. I'm currently looking at the Denon X1000. Do you guys think Audyssey MultEQ will do a decent job taming my room, especially when it comes to the sub? My understanding is that I currently have next to nothing in the way of sub EQ with YPAO entry-level.

Edit: I pulled the trigger on an open box Denon X1000 for $250 after studying up on Audyssey MultiEQ XT. I'll of course report back once I receive it and get it all set up and have some time to listen. This means I hopefully will have a very gently used Yamaha 375 for sale soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Sorry it has been so long since I updated here. I did find the Denon X1000 with Audyssey to give a superior sound overall, but I didn't feel like I got the sub to sound much better because of it. I did end up moving the subwoofer just to experiment and found a better spot for it. Then, I went ahead and bought the Outlaw LFM-1 Plus on sale. Man, that made the biggest difference of all. That sub is much tighter and controlled and has plenty of output for my room. Thanks to everyone who helped me think through these things.
 
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