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need some help with crossover settings - did I make a mistake?


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#1 of 10 OFFLINE   27dnast

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Posted July 24 2009 - 05:51 AM

 Hello All,

I recently purchased an Energy S10.3 to replace a stock sub that came with a surround package (Polk Audio RM6750) that have. The frequency responses for the satellite speakers and center channels are: 100Hz-24kHz. The frequency response for the old Polk Audio sub was 40Hz-200Hz. 

I originally had my old Polk Sub wired speaker level... in general, we were happy with the overall sound of our system. But, there were times where the sub would bottom out/distort. That wasn't good.

So, I purchased this 10" Energy Sub. It's FR is 21Hz to 120kHz. It has a built-in crossover feature that allows you to set the crossover as high as 110kHz.

I can't wire this sub speaker level... but I did purchase an LFE cable that I will be running out of my AVR. My plan is to set the crossover with the AVR... only, I'm not sure where to set the Frequency Response... and I'm beginning to wonder if this sub (based on the frequency response specs) is going to end up leaving a gap in some of the lower-mids. I say this because I have read that, typically, you set the FR to be 20Hz higher than the lowest out-put of your sats. But if I do that, that is the extreme high-end of the new Energy sub (where as the old polk sub went further into the mids at 200Hz).

So, my questions are: (1) Where should I set the crossover on my AVR.
(2) Do the specs say my new sub is a mis-match?
(3) can you set a crossover for the outer limits of a speakers output (e.g., can I set a crossover at 120 if my sub only goes up to 120).
(4) If I set my crossover lower (say, 110), what are the negatives and what should I listen for to know if something is wrong.

Thanks much in advance for helping out a newbie!


#2 of 10 OFFLINE   ShanonS

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Posted July 24 2009 - 06:28 AM

First, the sub does not have a Frequency response setting.  That is the low-pass filter, or basically the built-in crossover for the sub.  You are going to let the receiver manage the crossover, so you want to use the filter bypass option on the sub so that this crossover is inactive.  As far as setting the crossover on the AVR, you can try different settings and see which sounds best.  Does your AVR only have a single crossover setting?  If not, I would set the sub to 120 and the speakers to 100.  Do you have any type of calibration disc that has frequency sweeps?  Like AVIA or DVE?  If so, that is what I would listen to when trying the different settings.  The issue I see is that the frequency response provided by manufacturers are usually overstated, so the actual of the speakers may be closer to 120-20 and the sub may be closer to 30-100 or even worse.  This is also the range that the speaker has output, this doesn't say that it gives the same volume or even close throughout this range.  So, you may be at only a small portion of the output at the upper and lower ends of that range.  You possibly have a dead spot somewhere between 90 and 140.  Playing a decent frequency sweep from at least 60 to 200hz would be a very good way to tell.

#3 of 10 OFFLINE   27dnast

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Posted July 24 2009 - 06:36 AM

 thanks for the response.  I appreciate the info!

#4 of 10 OFFLINE   ShanonS

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Posted July 24 2009 - 06:54 AM

I found a review of the S10.3 with measurements by Tom N.  It looks like a pretty decent little sub and the specs on it seem to be pretty close to reality.  Looking at the size of the 6750 speakers and drivers, I would guess that the stated FR is pretty optimistic.  I couldn't find any decent reviews on them.  I just mean there were a lot of anecdotal positive reviews from consumers, but nothing with any data on FR or actual graphs or anything.

#5 of 10 OFFLINE   27dnast

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Posted July 24 2009 - 07:15 AM

 Well... I guess my option is to try it out.  I like the speaker set-up, itself... it's just fine for our needs... I just wanted something that could handle the lows a bit better and not get distorted.  But in general, the I like sound.

Not really sure what my options would be... get another matching Polk sub and run two with a reduced volume?

I'm guessing - from what I've read - that running the old Polk sub (as a second sub... paired with the new Energy sub) would be a bad move.

In terms of the calibration disc... my AVR (pioneer vsx-1016txv) has a built-in MCACC program with a microphone that tests for channel delay and channel level.  I'm assuming the calibration disc is different.  Correct?  The disk will play sweeps of frequencies that I'm supposed to listen to (?)... anything missing in a frequency range is obviously a problem area for the speaker set-up?

thanks.


#6 of 10 OFFLINE   27dnast

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Posted July 24 2009 - 07:20 AM

 would the sweeplin.zip sound file on this site do the trick (first file under sine sweeps)... or perhaps the 3stepoct file below it?

http://www.dogstar.dantimax.dk/testwavs/




#7 of 10 OFFLINE   Stephen Tu

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Posted July 24 2009 - 07:28 AM

-Keep in mind that neither crossovers nor speaker output limitations are "brick walls"; its a gradual tapering off of response, not a drop off a cliff, and that in the overlapping range you are concerned about you have output from both speakers + sub summing together compensating for the other's drop-off.  Any "hole" you might have is really better described as a "dip" in overall response.  There are dips (and peaks) for other reasons like room interactions, listening to music/movies you probably wouldn't even notice, only noticing with a tone sweep with a sound meter.

- the MCACC equalization may compensate for any dip

- you could try keeping the polk sub speaker-level wired with your fronts to try get more mid-bass output

I would just try 120hz, 100hz crossover, whatever sounds better to you, I'm sure it'll be just fine.

If you really want "next step up" in sound quality, you have to go to bigger satellites with larger cabinets & drivers, then for sure no mid-bass dip, can crossover lower & avoid sub localization.


#8 of 10 OFFLINE   ShanonS

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Posted July 24 2009 - 08:35 AM

I guess that's what I should have said first.  Listen to some music you are familiar with or watch some movies  you are familiar with and see if it sounds ok.  My mains are a set of Def Tech towers.  I found a great deal on them, they sounded good, so I bought them.  Later I found FR graphs and a review on them.  It showed a huge dip in the midrange, but I never noticed it listening to them.  So, before playing around with freq sweeps, just see what your ears think.

I'm not familiar with your receiver, if the MCACC is anything like Audyssey, it may be able to correct/hide any dip like Stephen suggested.
Edited by ShanonS - 7/24/2009 at 08:47 pm GMT

#9 of 10 OFFLINE   27dnast

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Posted July 25 2009 - 01:24 AM

 You know, I'm not familiar with Audyssey.... here's a link to Pioneer's explanation of their MCACC program:

http://www.pioneer.eu/eur/products/42/98/tech/AVAmplifierReceiver/AF_MCACC.html

If you are curious, check-it out.  In the meantime, I have some playing to do.  I'll let you all know how it works out.

Cross your fingers.  Thanks for taking the time to reply to this thread.  It's nice to have folks who take the time to share their knowledge!


#10 of 10 OFFLINE   27dnast

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Posted July 29 2009 - 03:05 AM

 Just an update... so some things have happened on my end with the set-up.  First off, I successfully ran wires in walls to complete a 7.1 set-up.  The new rear-surrounds are really cool and add a great dimension.  Unfortunately, my now "rears" are probably more to the side of the room than they should be... but there's not a whole lot I can do with that unless I were to tear into some walls (and I'd also have to splice some speaker wire... not really interested in that).  So, my rears used to face fairly straight forward (they are mounted close to the ceiling).  I've now angled their orientation inward.  My surround rears are mounted about 1 1/2 feet above head level and are oriented directly to the primary listening position.   I've played around with their orientation and found that angling them inward allowed the sound to sweep across the room the best... if that makes any sense.

So.  On to the subwoofer and crossover questions.  My first surprise came when I found out that the crossover settings available on my AVR are 50Hz, 80Hz, 100Hz, 150Hz, and 200Hz.   No 120.  Hmmm... this receiver is the top Pioneer model (at least when I bought it...)... I'm guessing that, much like my Pioneer PDP, you need to buy into their Elite model line to gain more control over outputs.  Oh well.  I was disappointed though because a 110Hz crossover was going to be a sweet spot for me (considering that my sats are small and only have 3.5" cones and my new Energy s10.3 sub has an upper FR of 110Hz)...  Upon my first listen it became evident that there was something missing in the lower mid-ranges.  They set-up sounded unusually bright... I like bright but this was too bright... and the lows sounded out of place.  I hooked-up my old Polk sub and voila... my those missing mid-ranges came back.

So, I have developed answer.  2 more subwoofers.  What?  You say?  Well.. yes.  There are now 3 subs in the mix.  I ended up picking up some Polk PSW10 subs (these subs have a FR of up to 200Hz... I selected them because they go much more up into the mid area that my new energy doesn't even touch).  I have one sub wired speaker level to the front L/R speakers... and the other sub is wired speaker level to the center channel.  Have set their crossovers to be 120Hz.  I have also set both the L/R speaker and center channel speaker outputs to be SMALL.  And the new Energy Sub (receiving input via LFE from the AVR) has a crossover point of 80Hz.  So, in essence, my AVR is piping the mids and lows (for my front channels) between 80-120Hz to the two new Polk Subs.  Everything below 80Hz is going to the Energy.

The results?  Generally pretty awesome!  That's good news, right?  The mids are back in full force. My new Energy sub is thumping away and hammering out lows with ease (the lows that I never had before)... and a surprising (well, I guess this shouldn't be too surprising) result is that my center channel has a depth and life that I've not heard from it.  Voices in the dialog sound much fuller and vibrant.

Who knew?

The only unfortunate down side that I can see, is that my rear and rear surrounds now have a gap between their spec low of 100Hz and the frequency crossover on the energy sub (80Hz).  I'm guessing that gap... primarily because of limitations of my smaller sat speakers... is probably a bit bigger.  But, seeing as those rears are only in the periphery of the sound field, I'm okay with it.

I know some of you will wonder why I didn't just invest more money into bookshelf L/R speakers and a larger center channel... but I think I'm making out okay.  Perhaps I more or less put a band-aide on my system... but I think it sounds pretty darn good.  Outside of the 3 subs (which, while big, look rather imposing... which isn't a bad thing), I've maintained the minimalist approach to my set-up and I've been able to keep my RM6750 sats, which I actually like a lot.

Thoughts?