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Discussion Starter #1
Wanted to hear some opinions from people on their preferred method of bass reproduction.


Last month I bought 2 Vienna Acoustic Weberns and love them. But obviously with a 60-25Khz range I needed bass. So I just got an Hsu STF-1 yesterday to fill the void and am not sure if I like it. However, I don't think this is necessarily the result of the brand (especially given the good rep of Hsu). I think it just might be a personal taste issue.


It produces plenty of bass, although it feels a bit "soft". Also seems to have a general "boom" to it. Now, I know alot can be done with placement, tweaking, etc., so I'm not jumping to any conclusions yet. But I am curious to know if the bass from a sub and the bass from full range speaker woofers are different in characteristics. I realize alot of this is subjective but that's okay...just want to hear some opinions. :)
 

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Maybe you have them crossed over in your processor too high? If so, some of the Weberns' 60Hz - 150Hz (for instance) could be going to the sub instead of the fronts. This upper bass above 60-100 Hz is localizeable, and so you're hearing it come from one corner of the room.


Also, when you didn't have the sub, the Weberns were being fed bass that it couldn't handle. This I'm sure interfered with the speaker's ability to produce the upper bass and mids that it should be adept at. Perhaps it is those characteristics that you personally found pleasing. Upon adding a sub to the mix, the woofers of the Weberns are then freed up to do what they do best. As a result, perhaps the upper bass frequencies got a big boost relative to what you were hearing before, and this sound displeasing to you. Just a theory.


Are these Weberns mounted with the wall bracked or on some sort of shelf or table?


Since the Hsu is regarded to be a more "musical" sub and not at all boomy and loose, that shouldn't be the problem, unless yours is damaged or defective.


And, as you alluded, room placement is critical. If it's in a corner, move it to one of the "thirds" of a wall. Check it's phase and polarity. Listen to the sub alone from different locations in the room. You'll find that in some areas you're in nulls and other areas you're in peaks for different bass frequencies. Placement and equalizing can mitigate these problems.
 

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You probably have the sub level too high. You shouldn't *hear* the sub, but rather you should just have the low bass restored. On most program material, the difference shouldn't be dramatic.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the posts. Great link btw....although now I need some aspirin. What a headache. ;)


Here are the combinations I tried. The location of the sub is about 2' from the corner and 7" from the front wall. It's basically just below the right Webern which is mounted on the front wall. The width of wall is about 9'.


1. Large speaker setting

a. A/V cross at 80; LFE+Main

b. A/V cross at 80; LFE

c. A/V cross at 60; LFE+Main

d. A/V cross at 60; LFE


2. Small speaker setting

a. A/V cross at 80; LFE

b. A/V cross at 60; LFE


So far I think option 1c is the best for me, although 1a is right there as well.


Basically I want to leverage the Webs as much as possible since they are better speakers than the sub (nothing against Hsu but the Vienna are just higher up on the speaker food chain). I also want to keeo as much bass on the wall so to speak, at least as much as it makes sense.


I need to re-read that article link again though since it addresses many of my questions/concerns. Then I need to check the article's numbers against the Hsu STF-1's numbers to make the decision as to how high to set the cross. Meaning, is the STF-1 "good enough" to set my cross at 80 or above considering my Weberns can go to 60.


Finally I think the volume is definitely something I need to fiddle with as well.
 

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I think all the options under 1 indicates that the main speaker would handle the whole spectrum.


For your Weberns, you should probably use 2b, since signal below 60hz intended for the main speakers woudl be redirected to the sub.


The main speakers are placed in a location for best imaging and soundstaging, but those positions might not be optimal for bass smoothness. That is where the sub comes into play. It is not bound by the position of the main speakers and could be placed anywhere that provides the best sound and integration with the main speakers.


If your speakers are servo controlled Infinity IRS, it might be one thing, but they are barely able to go below THX's minimal spec (they might even roll off earlier, depending on your room).
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The reason I like 1c is that I will leverage the weberns to their fullest extent. When the signal hits 60 or below it will then route to the sub as well. So the thinking here is that the sub is being used to "fill in" what the weberns cannot reproduce. When I tried small it felt like the sound from the mains wasn't as full. I'll try it again though. FYI - I listen mostly at low-med volumes so over-taxing the mains is not likely to happen.


Although I'm not sure what the difference between 1d and 2b is now that I think about it. If it is LFE and not LFE+Main, then anything below 60 will only be played by the sub just as in 2b. I must be missing something....
 

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When the speaker is set to large, it usually means there is no bass management for those speakers. Meaning that it will produce the full range signal. Which pre/pro or receiver is this one from?
 

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What is your AV processor / receiver?


As the article referenced notes, it makes a big difference on what the slope of the AV's crossover is. If it's a shallow, more gentle slope (12dB / octave), you may want to set the crossover higher. If it's a steeper slope (such as 24dB per octave), you may want set it lower.


As lwang mentioned, I think that for those speakers you set to large, it'll ignore any crossover at all and send the full range signal to those Weberns. If you leave your Weberns at "large", any bass in the FL and FR channels will be lost, if it's in the range of 20 Hz to 60 Hz (give or take some depending on how the Weberns roll off at the bottom of their range). That might be the majority of the bass in a soundtrack! I'm not sure what the LFE / LFE + Main settings do in your AV, but I doubt you want the low frequency effects data going to your front speakers.


I can empathize with your feeling that the Weberns are in a more expensive class. But from what I've heard and read and seen, when someone *really* has "full range speakers," it's because there's a sub-like driver and amp in their tower speaker.


For instance, for your speaker manf. Vienna Acoustics, let's look at some of their speakers.

In your Schöenberg Series, there's a tower speaker that's three times as expensive as your Webern...it's the Schöenberg itself. It's big, but its freq response goes down to "only" 40 Hz. That's 20 Hz lower than what your speakers will do, but still these Schöenbergs need a sub. The Subson would give us those bottom octaves.

The only Vienna Acoustics speakers that would be able to be set as "large" would be the Mahler (goes down to 22 Hz) and the Strauss (down to 27 Hz, but at $6,000 you'd afford a nice sub to provide down to 15Hz for home theater).


You can justify your nice Weberns in that they have a special cabinet design that limits standing waves building up inside, they look extremely sexy, they may have a very flat response (no exaggerated peaks and dips in its frequency response) and so they'll always produce just what the artists intended. You'll hear aspects of strings and flutes and voices that those of us with lesser speakers will not. However, it doesn't necessarily mean that they can extend to lowest octaves, and in fact, their specs suggest they don't extend terribly low at all. That's okay, that's what subs are for, and that's what crossovers are for (when the speaker is set to "small".


I'll paste in here part of the last paragraph of the afrementioned article:

========

"If you want consistent bass response from each channel of your 5.1 system, in our opinion, you're best to set all speakers to "Small", set them all to the same crossover point, and set that point no lower than what you are comfortable throwing away from the LFE channel. If your main left and right speakers are genuinely full range (be honest now!), then you are better off running them full range as opposed to high-passing them at a ridiculously low frequency. Short of that, high passing floor-standing speakers at 70 Hz is not "wasting" them in any way shape or form and in fact will more than likely extend their dynamic range thanks to the relief they'll be getting from the high-pass. "

========


Enjoy!
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by goombawa
The reason I like 1c is that I will leverage the weberns to their fullest extent. When the signal hits 60 or below it will then route to the sub as well. So the thinking here is that the sub is being used to "fill in" what the weberns cannot reproduce. When I tried small it felt like the sound from the mains wasn't as full. I'll try it again though. FYI - I listen mostly at low-med volumes so over-taxing the mains is not likely to happen.


Although I'm not sure what the difference between 1d and 2b is now that I think about it. If it is LFE and not LFE+Main, then anything below 60 will only be played by the sub just as in 2b. I must be missing something....
Not to put too fine a point on it, but if there was something there to "leverage", you wouldn't need the Hsu, would you? ;)


Even though the Weberns roll off at 60Hz, when the size is set to Large, the electronics are still pushing that current to them. That will have two deletirious effects.


First, the bass management will depend on the Weberns to do something in the "stated" range, and will send signal to them that doesn't produce much output. The net effect will be a suppressed low bass, and a reinforced mid-bass (in the 60-80Hz region) when you turn up the sub to achieve a calibration level. Loose and boomy.


Second, you risk clipping the Weberns if your amp can't keep up. That could be nasty.


Set them to Small and work from there.
 

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Yep, set them to small. You aren't "leveraging" the Weberns by playing them full range. You are, in fact, stressing them more than you have to. That crossover will be low enough in frequency that there shouldn't by an discernable crossover distortion. By releiving the Weberns of the lowest octave, you reduce intermodulation, doppler, and harmonic distortions in the upper bass/lower midrange frequencies. That should give an audible improvement.


I know it seems contradictory to run a large floor standing tower speaker as "small" but it really is the best option. If you can use a crossover point of 60Hz instead of the more typical 80Hz that will probably accomplish much of what you want to do. But at 80Hz you are only "losing" a bit of the performance capability of the Weberns anyway (but again, you aren't really losing performance but gaining it by sending the lowest frequencies to a separate driver more capable of handling them).
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Once again, all great replies. Thanks... :D


As to my A/V it is a Denon 3803. I have the Hsu cross switch set to out so it uses the A/V cross (currently at 60Hz)


Eyeleron - as for what LFE+Main means, per the Denon manual:

"When the LFE + Main playback mode is selected, the low freq signal range of channels set to "Large" are produced simultaneously from those channels and the sub channel. In this playback mode, the low frequency range expand more uniformly through the room, but depending on the size and shape of the room, interference may result in a decrease of the actual volume of the low freq range.


Selection of the LFE play mode will play the low frequency signal range of the channel selected with "Large" from that channel only. Therefore, the low frequency signal range that are played from the sub channel are only the low freq signal range of LFE (only during Dolby Digital or DTS signal playback) and the channel specified as "Small" in the setup menu."



How do I find the slope of the 3803's crossover?


I think I get what everyone is saying about "leveraging" my webs. I think a good "compromise" would be small @ 60Hz and not 80...that way the webs will at least get signal down to 60. And since I don't have a surround system yet (center and rears) I listen in stereo mode. Need to let my cc cool down. :(


P.S. I'm not too concerned about taxing the webs though cause I don't listen to much more than -10dB (listening area is about 9x11.5. although total room is about 21x11.5) Apartments are such a pain. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Got another question.... the stf-1 is downfiring and ported.... would a sealed enclosure offer more consistent bass (i.e., less nulls) in a difficult room setup? The thing is, spending more money only seems to mean 1,000,000W of power which is totally overkill for my room. So I guess what I'm trying to find is the best, *lowest* power sub available (which apparently is a contradiction in terms). I think the Hsu is good and I will likely stick with it, but I want to make sure I've covered all the bases.


Any thoughts on ported vs. sealed wrt bass consistency?
 

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Have you used an spl meter to balance your sub to your mains?


Is the bass tone control flat? If not set it flat because you want need it with the sub.


If you have not balanced your sound with an spl meter this can make the sub noticeable as we have a tendency to set the level to high.


If you don't have an spl meter you can take a swag at calibrating by trying this technique. Set your sub level in the A/V to -5 db. Then turn the sub's volume control all the way down. Play some music with consistent bass and listen at the prime listening spot for 10 - 15 secs. Then go to the subs volume control and pretending the volume control is the hour hand of a clock, move it up one hour. Then go back to your seat to see if there is any difference in sound. Keep repeating this until the sub's volume begins to reinforce the low end of the music while not overpowering it.
 

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Nothing intrinsicly better between ported and unported design. It's in the overall package and that could be either.


You could send yours back and try another sub. Outlaw Audio offers a 30 day approval period for their LFM-1 sub. $579

www.outlawaudio.com
 

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Discussion Starter #16
TRC - do you mean to keep the a/v setting at -5dB permanently? Currently it is set to +15dB, and to get any real volume on the sub I need to turn the sub knob to around 80%. I know this seems high but I think the STF series has a "loose" attenuation setting, e.g., 0-75% of the knob turn = 20% of the volume... 75%-100% of the knob turn = 80% of the volume.
 

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"TRC - do you mean to keep the a/v setting at -5dB permanently? Currently it is set to +15dB, and to get any real volume on the sub I need to turn the sub knob to around 80%. I know this seems high but I think the STF series has a "loose" attenuation setting, e.g., 0-75% of the knob turn = 20% of the volume... 75%-100% of the knob turn = 80% of the volume."


Wow, that is sure different than my VTF-3R, where 25% on the sub volume yields prodigious amounts of bass. Have you tried emailing Hsu? - they might have some good input.


FWIW, I have seen very few HT setups with subs where it makes sense to send any LFE to the mains. I have powered towers rated down to 30hz and I still run them "small" crossed over at 60hz. YMMV,


John
 

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The -5db would be for the subwoofer level. However if you think there is an issue with the volume knob of the sub needing to be higher than normal then I would try the opposite of what I suggested.


Keep your subs volume control where you have it now. Then lower the sub level in the receiver as far as it can go. This will take the sub out of the picture. Then play your bass music from the prime seat and raise the sub level in one dB increments until it reinforces the bass. Hopefully, you will be below the +15 setting. By trying it this way you will not have to get up and down to move the volume knob on the sub since you can use your A/V's remote to raise the sub level.


If you think you have a severe problem with the volume control. I.E. it's either a full signal or no signal, then I would return it because it sounds defective. Under this scenario, no amount of calibrating is likely to offer satisfactory results. Contact HSU with an e-mail of your problem and see if what they reccomend.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Just got my replacement stf-1 today. Hsu was very prompt in sending it (my first one must have been jarred in shipping as a lead wire to the woofer came loose)


My 3803 doesn't go below 0dB to the sub, although I couldn't hear a huge difference in sub output when chaging it from 15dB to 0 and back again. For some reason that doesn't make sense so I don't know...


I just think it is a drag that I can stand 4 ft in front of the mains and hear almost no bass. That's why I started this thread - would full range woofers make a difference in this case? It's been so long since I have had full range (my prior system was a Bose AM7...don't laugh...that's life living in a shoebox) that I don't remember.
 
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