Why is my bass so antiseptic?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by MikeNagy, Aug 18, 2003.

  1. MikeNagy

    MikeNagy Stunt Coordinator

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    I just hooked up my system this weekend and tried it out eagerly, and I have to say that I'm somewhat disappointed in the sound. Here's my equipment:
    PSB Stratus Silveri (bought used, so they should be at least somewhat broken in)
    NAD T752 (refurb)
    Sony NS900V (used)
    KimberKable 8vs single -> biwire (new)
    Belden interconnects from Bluejeans Cables (new)
    Some fat power cable that I got on Audiogon (new)

    Basically, the bass is not there. I have the speakers set to large and have the bass tone control set to +10 db and it's just barely there. I'm not just talking about the 30 Hz bass, I mean midbass and even the lower mids. Some of them may be there, but even if they are, they certainly lack oopmh of any kind.

    So my questions are:
    Would burning the system in help me at all? Usually I hear that burning in fixes too-shrill highs (which fortunately I don't have much of). I'm taking the KimberKables back to my audio shop for free professional burn-in (they wanted me to take the cables home first so that I will "appreciate the difference" of burn-in...whatever that means).

    Is my amp not giving enough power? I had a quite long thread when I was trying to decide between the 752 and the 762, but nobody mentioned weak bass being a problem with either. The cables are set-up properly for bi-wiring...the tweeters get 2 strands and the woofers get 6, so that shouldn't be holding the speakers back.

    Is there something I need to configure with my dvd player? Like, maybe it's not sending the LFE/lows/whatever to the main channels?

    Would I do better to get a sub (SVS or Hsu) or to sell the Silveri's and buy the Goldi's? Both options have about the same net cost to me. I know that for sure I need a sub if I stick with the Silveri's, but...subs shouldn't go up high enough to cover all that I need. I'm pretty sure that I need the sub to go up to 100 Hz if I keep the Silveri's, and that's bad because sound is directional at those higher frequencies (you can tell that it's coming from the sub and not from the "soundstage").

    Any help provided would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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  3. Chris Quinn

    Chris Quinn Screenwriter

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    The only thing I can add to if Chu's post is check ALL of your connections if his suggestions don't turn up where the problem is.
     
  4. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    Mike,

    Are you still in Manhattan Beach or back up at school? Can I swing by for a listen and and check things out? You want to bring the sub and speakers here to check out? I would offer to bring my receiver there...but it really is a pain in the ass. I could bring my CMT-340's there...and possibly my VTF-3 if you help me carry it.

    curtis
     
  5. Khoa Tran

    Khoa Tran Supporting Actor

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    you've probably have placement issues, with my psb minis, some right where i sit has a little to nothing under 150hz, but when i move out of this spot, I.E. the corner of the room all this bass come back and hits like there's a subwoofer....i don't really mind it because i have no where else to put the speakers but that's what i'm guessing
     
  6. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Curtis, you're a hell of a nice guy [​IMG]
     
  7. MikeNagy

    MikeNagy Stunt Coordinator

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    I've got them about 2.5' from the back wall (breathing room shouldn't matter because the speakers are front-ported). The speakers are about 10' apart and 2' from the side walls. They are also 11' from the main listening position (diagonally from front of speaker to listener's head). The speakers are in a room that is like a big L with the speakers at the lower tip of the L. Hmm lemme do a quick sketch in Paint:
    [​IMG]
    Maybe since the room is so big compared to where the HT is, the bass gets lost and never bounces back to the listening position? Hmm, the more I think about it, the more I think it's placement. I didn't really do any placement tests. I know there are existing guides about placement, as well as a lot of mediocre threads about it. Can somebody post some links to the good ones?

    Curtis-
    Thanks for the offer, but yea the system is up at my house in SLO. Which means I have to drive 3 hours each way to visit it. [​IMG]

    Yeah, he is a helluva nice guy.
     
  8. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    Bummer....about the drive, and me not being able to hear the setup. [​IMG]

    In all honesty, I think you would benefit a lot from a sub.
     
  9. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Take a look at some of the links here which may suggest alternate placements. Offhand, I'd consider putting the stuff on the left wall.
     
  10. James Edward

    James Edward Supporting Actor

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    I don't see placement as the issue, if what you wrote is correct- if anything, the bass would tend to be boomy with them tucked into the corner.

    The NAD easily puts out enough juice to drive the
    Silver i's, and they are, as Chu said, not a bass-shy speaker. Either something on the receiver is not set correctly, or as you stated, the DVD player itself.

    Your drawing indicates a strictly 2 channel setup- is this correct? If so, all the other speakers should be set to NO, subwoofer set to NO. I have the T752, so I know these settings require you to use the onscreen menu to set them.

    As for the DVD player, I don't know how good the its DAC's are- unless it is a really excellent and pricey player, you should use the digital output only and let the NAD do the digital to analog conversion.

    A last item to check, which could also be the culprit, are the speaker wires themselves. I'd run some 12 or 14 gauge standard wire and see what happens. And make sure to put back the jumpers between the high and low inputs on the speaker terminals. I ask you to check out the wires because you increase your chance of phase problems by 50% when bi-wiring, simply because there is an extra set of plus and minus to get installed correctly. There is also the chance that they came incorrectly wired from the factory.

    If you want to go over the 752's settings, drop me an e-mail. I am always fiddling with mine and am very familiar with the menus.

    Stated again- you have chosen an excellent system- I believe something is either malfunctioning or not set up correctly. However, if you are expecting sub-level bass, the sytem is good, but not that good.
     
  11. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Mike,

    Two things come to mind: Polarity and room size.

    Polarity is easy to check. First play only one speaker, then add the second. When the second is added, there should be a noticeable increase in bass. If there is a net loss in bass response, then one of the speakers has the polarity flopped.

    Second, room size Larger rooms tend to deliver less bass than smaller rooms. If your room is very large (say, 5000 cubic ft. or more), it will natural for the bass to sound a little weak with some speakers.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  12. MikeNagy

    MikeNagy Stunt Coordinator

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    James,
    I had the speakers set to "Large", with everything else "off" or "no" or whatever it says (yes, this is a 2.0 system for now). I am also using a coaxial digital cable to go from the dvd player to the receiver.

    Wayne,
    Yeah, the total room size is ~6500 cubic feet. Is there some way for me to install some sort of curtains or something to "close off" the listening space or otherwise acoustically enclose it?

    What do I do if one of the speakers has a polarity problem?
     
  13. dave alan

    dave alan Second Unit

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    I also would put polarity at the top of the list.

    I have the NS900V player. Some thoughts:

    1. Make sure you have the Audio ATT (attenuation) set to 'OFF'. It's in the audio setup menu.

    2. In speaker setup, select 'large' for FL and FR, and 'none' for all of the others.

    3. There is a sub level adjustment in the player's speaker setup also. You could check that.

    4. After setting these correctly, try the player's test tones to make sure the LFE is outputting to your FL/FR.

    Hope this helps.
     
  14. James Edward

    James Edward Supporting Actor

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    Wayne and I were referring to the same thing- I used the word phase, and he more correctly said polarity. Usually, this is not an internal speaker problem. It is normally a case of mistakenly reversing the positive and negative at the speaker or receiver end of things. Just double check that all connections are correct. One reversed speaker lead will effectively cancel bass output from the other speaker.

    Good luck...
     
  15. MikeNagy

    MikeNagy Stunt Coordinator

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    James,
    That's interesting how that works out. I'll feel really dumb if one of the cables ARE installed backwards when I go to check this weekend.

    Thanks a lot for adding the NS900V config tips, Dave. I hadn't even looked at settings for the dvd player. Is the OSD only accessible through the S-Video connection?
     
  16. dave alan

    dave alan Second Unit

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    The OSD should be displayed through RCA, S-Video or component video jacks.

    Remember to turn the sub level down in your receiver before you try the player's setup menus mentioned in my post, just in case.
     

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