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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In my home theater I've always had my subwoofer positioned on the same wall as the TV and left/center/right channels.


Now because of new custom cabinetry that is no longer possible, so I am considering moving the sub behind the couch in the back corner of the room.


The sub would then be within inches of the back and side wall (in the corner) and have about 2 feet or so of space in front if it before the back part of the couch sitting in front of it. The spot on the couch where I'll sit is approximately 8 feet on a diag between me and the corner the sub will be in.


I plan to keep my crossover point at around 100 so the sub is handling 100 and lower.


Will the sub work well in this type of set up. I know the bass is non-directional, but I'm a bit concerned about the fact that though couch is just a couple of feet in front of it - is this enough room for the source to "breath", sort of speak?


Also at 100 is the sound still completely non-directional?


Now that I'll be sitting much closer to the sub than the left/center/right speakers, will that make a difference in any noticable way?


Thanks!
 

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I can't say for sure, but I had an old set up with the crossover at 100, and I never could get it to blend. Do your sats not go down to 80? I was planning to move my sub to the back corner as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My left and right channels are Pinnacle Gold Classic Reference towers, and these are rated at 29-21 Khz (+/- 3 db).


My center speaker is a Pinnacle Classic Reference Mini-center, and these are rated at 80-21 Khz (+/- 3db).


However I don't feel as though the mini-center is putting out enough base as I'd like, as the overall sound seems a bit "thin" in the middle. Therefore I was trying to compensate for this by moving the sup crossover point up.


Is that not the right thing to do?
 

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It's hard to say without being there. The mini-center probably doesn't go down to 80 flat, so you probably were missing some there. It's just that going much above 80, you'll hear the bass coming from the sub. This is my experience anyway, someone may be able to give a better answer. It sounds like a tradeoff for you. Optimally, you'd need to upgrade your center to something that goes solid down below 80, I think.
 

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I have some of my subs in the rear. If I crossed them over at 100Hz, I can localize them. I cross them over at between 63Hz and 80Hz
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I now have now moved this sub in place in the corner of the room. I am happy with the bass output crossing over at 80, but I can definately localize the sub. I don't think it helps that the sub is about 1 foot behind me and 10 feet over, compared to the left/center/right which is 15 feet in front of me.


If I lower the cross over some it definately helps it to blend, but then I'm not getting all the sub output range I wanted.


Any other ideas short of relocating the sub?


BTW, how important is it that a sub be matched to the rest of the speakers? This sub was left over from a previous set up, and certainly very likely to be vastly different in design characteristics than my main channels. Main channels made by Pinnacle, sub made by Atlantic Technologies. Thanks.
 

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My opinion is that subs never really "match" the other speakers in the system. I think there are 2 factors that really affect blending of mains and sub (this is just my opinion, and I'm no expert)

1) The quality of the sub

2) The crossover characteristics of the sub


It seems like a lot of speaker manufacturers don't spend much time on making sure there's a good blending of the sub and mains.


You may want to check the phase setting on your sub. That certainly seemed to affect the sound of my system. I could localize it at the 80hz crossover until I adjusted the phase on the sub.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by jacksonian
My opinion is that subs never really "match" the other speakers in the system. I think there are 2 factors that really affect blending of mains and sub (this is just my opinion, and I'm no expert)

1) The quality of the sub

2) The crossover characteristics of the sub


It seems like a lot of speaker manufacturers don't spend much time on making sure there's a good blending of the sub and mains.


You may want to check the phase setting on your sub. That certainly seemed to affect the sound of my system. I could localize it at the 80hz crossover until I adjusted the phase on the sub.
Thanks for the tip. As I recall it is set to be in phase? Should I try changing it to out of phase? What would the purpose of that be? Thank you.
 

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DVD lover,


I found this really nice list of links to useful articles on subs. Here is the link to the thread:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...92#post2014692


In my experience I can localize bass even below 50 Hz if it's strong enough. With a sensible setting of the sub and a crossover around 60Hz and good placement you should be able to get a decent blend. I do agree that blending in a sub is one of the most difficult things to do. Placing it behind you and much close than the mains is in my ears not such a good decision and your issue proves it. You can also experiment with aiming the sub into the corner instead of into the room. You can try different positions, e.g. firing towards your mains, towards your listening position, in the long or short axis of the room, diagonally and so on. I put my sub on cinder blocks and elevated it somewhat which gives a better definition in my set-up and prevents the floor from shaking too much.


If your sub is strong enough not to require the extra db you can get from corner loading I think the most high-end position is between your mains. I know that might look like s**t.


Concerning the phase, they say the setting where you get the most bass is the correct one. It avoids cancellations of bass frequencies. But you then have to readjust crossover and volume control. In the longrun a setting that is a little understated will be just right. You will miss your sub when you turn it off completely but don't notice it when it's there. It's like instruments in a big symphony, you don't notice every single instrument all the time but you notive when it's gone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by Till
DVD lover,


I found this really nice list of links to useful articles on subs. Here is the link to the thread:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...92#post2014692


In my experience I can localize bass even below 50 Hz if it's strong enough. With a sensible setting of the sub and a crossover around 60Hz and good placement you should be able to get a decent blend. I do agree that blending in a sub is one of the most difficult things to do. Placing it behind you and much close than the mains is in my ears not such a good decision and your issue proves it. You can also experiment with aiming the sub into the corner instead of into the room. You can try different positions, e.g. firing towards your mains, towards your listening position, in the long or short axis of the room, diagonally and so on. I put my sub on cinder blocks and elevated it somewhat which gives a better definition in my set-up and prevents the floor from shaking too much.


If your sub is strong enough not to require the extra db you can get from corner loading I think the most high-end position is between your mains. I know that might look like s**t.


Concerning the phase, they say the setting where you get the most bass is the correct one. It avoids cancellations of bass frequencies. But you then have to readjust crossover and volume control. In the longrun a setting that is a little understated will be just right. You will miss your sub when you turn it off completely but don't notice it when it's there. It's like instruments in a big symphony, you don't notice every single instrument all the time but you notive when it's gone.
Good idea on the positioning - I can't move it out of the corner but I can try aiming it at the side wall (turning it 90 degrees to the left) instead of having it point straight back to the screen.


Good tips on the blend. Yes, I'm getting great bass but definately notice when it is there. I think I need to tone it down some.
 

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You all must have some super sensitive ears. I've never been able to isolate anything below about 130hz or or so. You might simply be getting a different room response with the sub in a different location. If this is the case, you might want to consider a BFD to EQ/smooth out the room response.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by lovingdvd
I now have now moved this sub in place in the corner of the room. I am happy with the bass output crossing over at 80, but I can definately localize the sub. I don't think it helps that the sub is about 1 foot behind me and 10 feet over, compared to the left/center/right which is 15 feet in front of me.


If I lower the cross over some it definately helps it to blend, but then I'm not getting all the sub output range I wanted.


Any other ideas short of relocating the sub?
If you can localize the sub with a 100 Hz 24db/octave crossover, it's because your subwoofer levels are too high. Bass fundamentals are masking the midbass harmonics, which tell your ear that the bass is coming from the main speakers.


If you get the subwoofer levels set at the proper relationship to the mid-bass harmonics, you won't be able to localize the subwoofer with that crossover.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by hwc
If you can localize the sub with a 100 Hz 24db/octave crossover, it's because your subwoofer levels are too high. Bass fundamentals are masking the midbass harmonics, which tell your ear that the bass is coming from the main speakers.


If you get the subwoofer levels set at the proper relationship to the mid-bass harmonics, you won't be able to localize the subwoofer with that crossover.
Good point hwc. So what you are saying is that the reasons I can likely localize below 100 Hz is because my sub level is too high. I'll try backing it down some and that may help a great deal. Will also dust off the RadioShack sound meter at see how it all balances together.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by lovingdvd
Good point hwc. So what you are saying is that the reasons I can likely localize below 100 Hz is because my sub level is too high.
Yes.


Suppose I pick an open-E string on a Fender Strat. The fundamental note is around 60 Hz, which would be played mostly by the subwoofer. However, a large amount of the sound from picking that string comes from harmonic overtones at 120 Hz, 240 Hz, 480 Hz, etc. -- particularly the initial attack of the note.


Those overtones come from the front speakers and trick your ear into thinking that ALL of the bass associated with that plucked string is also coming from the front speakers.


If your subwoofer is cranked up too high, the balance of the fundamental bass tone with the harmonic overtones is all screwed up. The harmonics are masked by the excessive bass levels and you lose the direction cues that tell your ear the bass is coming from the front speakers -- in addition to making the overall sound muddy and indistinct.


Due to inaccuracies inherent in measuring subwoofer levels with an SPL meter, the subwoofer levels should be set 2 to 4 dB below the levels of the other speakers as a rough starting point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by hwc
Yes.


Suppose I pick an open-E string on a Fender Strat. The fundamental note is around 60 Hz, which would be played mostly by the subwoofer. However, a large amount of the sound from picking that string comes from harmonic overtones at 120 Hz, 240 Hz, 480 Hz, etc. -- particularly the initial attack of the note.


Those overtones come from the front speakers and trick your ear into thinking that ALL of the bass associated with that plucked string is also coming from the front speakers.


If your subwoofer is cranked up too high, the balance of the fundamental bass tone with the harmonic overtones is all screwed up. The harmonics are masked by the excessive bass levels and you lose the direction cues that tell your ear the bass is coming from the front speakers -- in addition to making the overall sound muddy and indistinct.


Due to inaccuracies inherent in measuring subwoofer levels with an SPL meter, the subwoofer levels should be set 2 to 4 dB below the levels of the other speakers as a rough starting point.
Thanks for the explanation. Any tips on how to set the volume by ear? In otherwords what are the sweet spots to try and listen for / tune to?
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by lovingdvd
Thanks for the explanation. Any tips on how to set the volume by ear? In otherwords what are the sweet spots to try and listen for / tune to?
It's very difficult to set the subwoofer level by ear because the bass levels and tone of specific recordings will throw you off. The perfect setting is one where half the recordings could stand a tad more bass and half could stand a tad less bass.


The best thing I've found is very well recorded male vocals, particularly with a fairly sparse overall mix. Excessive sub levels make the lower vocal registers sound thick and muddy and the midrange/treble seems "detached" rather than smoothly integrated into the sound.


I've also found that excessive sub levels really degrade the surround-sound imaging. This is really noticeable on things like DTS trailers where the panned sounds from rear to front lose their precise definition and much of the sense of a large space -- again because the directional clues of mid-bass harmonics are being masked. The surround field gets much smaller with excessive subwoofer levels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I had a chance to use my Radio Shack sound level meter. As others here speculated I had my sub level set way to high. In the process of using the meter I wound up with a setting much lower.


Just watched a full movie and the bass was MUCH more enjoyable, and I could only localize the sub in a few places during the movie.


I still think I need to drop the sub level just a bit more. At that point it should blend in very well at all times. Thanks for the suggestions.
 
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