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Adding a second sub (1 Viewer)

Patri858

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Patrick
I have an Onkyo HTIB (HT-s5100) and I am trying to add a second sub. Im just trying to get approval before I blow money on the second sub. I have heard that the easiest thing to do is have two of the same subs and using a Y-splitter. Will this cut the power to the subs in half and still have the same amount of bass or will it pretty much double the amount of bass?

Thanks
 

Patri858

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I have a Onkyo HT-S5100 and i want to hook up a second sub. Im looking for approval before I blow my money and it doesnt work. I've heard that the best thing to do is to get two of the same subs so thats what im going to try. Im going to use a y- splitter. This will decrease the voltage through the lines right? and i was just wondering if this will give me twice the amount of bass even if the lines dont have as much power.
 

SethH

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I believe the sub in that system is a powered sub. If that is the case, then using the Y-adapter will not cut the power of the subs as the power is determined by the amplifier that is built-in to the sub.

With that said, though, you may have better results with one good sub than two different subs. If you're willing to take the time and effort to set it up properly you can have great results with two subs, but most people use identical subs to do that. What is your budget for a new sub? Depending on that, folks here can recommend a good sub to replace the one that came in the system.
 

Philip Hamm

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In most cases, you'll get better performance from just one much higher quality sub than two lesser models or one high quality and one lesser model.

Have you tried moving the sub you have around the room to different locations? Subwoofer location is extremely critical to performance. You may get the better performance you are looking for just by moving the sub you have. Onkyo HTIB speakers, IME, are pretty darn good, particularly the higher end kits like yours.

Short answer - yes a Y-splitter is what you need to hook two subs up.
 

Patri858

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Is it hard to calibrate two different types of subs to sound good. im not looking to blow the bank. I would probably be willing to pay about $200-$300 for a new sub.
 

Patri858

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I just talked to Onkyo technical support and they said that if i add the second sub it would cut the power in half and two subs would still have the same output as one sub. The way you explained it (seth) is that even though the signal was cut in half the amps in the subs themself would power the signal back up and would have double the output of just the single sub. Am I right? Logically it would sound like you would be right.
 

SethH

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If your sub is a powered sub, which it appears to be, then their support team is incorrect. The volume of the sub, or the power going to it, is all contained within the sub . . . you would just be splitting the line-level input going into it.
 

Patri858

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Yeah it is a powered sub. Thats what I thought when I was talking to him. It didnt really sound like he knew what he was talking about (kind of like me) but im learning. I have a bass volume boost on the reciever that goes up to +12db. This will probably be the only thing that will be cut in half right? 6 to each sub.

Thanks a ton for your help.
 
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Freddie Ross
There won't be anything cut in half other than line impedance, but that will not mean anything because line level is so high. You will not need to adjust the bass trim (other than for just that, trim) and you'll get far more bass out of the two subs than one. However, as said, if your sub(s) isn't(aren't) properly set up, then no matter how many you have you'll get mediocre results. A second sub is generally used to smooth response, not add "more" bass (though it will in a bad room/poor setup, just in the wrong way). I'd suggest you try something like this and see what kind of results it gets you. You may find that you get as much bass/smooth response as you need and you won't benefit from a second sub.

If you do need the second sub, as said it's generally best to have two matching ones as far as I know. I have heard of mixing two different subs (HSU actually encourages this with their mid-bass module) but have yet to try it my self, so I don't know what kind of results it would have.

With that said, what do you think you're missing by only using the one sub? Is it not tight/punchy enough or just lacking in volume (seems to be the case but you didn't say definitively)? Again, try that setup technique and see what kind of results it gets you. It shouldn't take you long and won't cost you any money (other than maybe a new sub cable), and should give you a significant improvement.
 

Patri858

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Thanks alot for that response but the only problem is that I am working with limited space. I have walked around the room many times to see if it was just my setting position and for the most part it was. There is one stop that gets pretty loud when the bass hits. The spot is in the far opposite corner from the sub. so pretty much diagonal to the sub. I knoiw that is where I should put it from the article but I just dont have enough space. Right now I have the sub sitting on the side of my T.V stand. I think I read somewhere that square rooms did not have very good dynamics for bass and thats what I have. If I did get a second sub I think the only place I could put it would be on the other side of the stand. Would this make that spot in the corner get bigger and cover the whole room or would I need to move it farther and on the other side of the room. I have read reviews on the HT-S5100 and they said that the sub can really shake the room. And I also had a set of computer speakers (logitech z-5500) in the same room and the reviews said the same thing but I just have not seen reults up to my standards.

Thanks for your help
 
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Freddie Ross
Indeed, the square room is going most likely the root of the problem. I'm not sure if the second sub is going to help in that case. As I said in my post, it's going to get you bass, but in the wrong way. It is most likely going to be boomy and hard to control when you do get the volume you desire.

If you type 'square room bass' or 'square room subwoofer' into Google, you'll get some results on how to get bass in that room and how to keep it under control when you do get it. From two minutes of skimming through results, it seems the options you have before adding the second sub (and you should probably do this regardless) are placement and room treatments/bass traps. You say that placement is a problem for you, but have you thought of gutting the room and rebuilding the room around the sound system rather than the sound system around the room? Obviously as you re-add your furniture, you'll be messing with how the room sounds, but at least this will give your subwoofer priority on placement. If that isn't an option, you could post some pictures and I or someone else could give you some very limited suggestions on placement, but there's only so much you can do without actually hearing the room.

Good luck, hopefully you get some good results.

Here are a few links that Google brought up for handling square rooms:
Square room setup. - AVS Forum
horrible frequency response in square room..what to do? - Topic Powered by Eve For Enterprise
Tips for a SQUARE room? - Audioholics Home Theater Forums
 

Patri858

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Im going to re arrange the room a few different ways but wouldnt the addition of a second sub reduce the low spots around the room.
 
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Freddie Ross
Not necessarily - you're dealing with the room's peaks and nulls, not a lack of output from the sub. As I said in my last two posts, you might get a bit more output from adding the second sub, but it won't be in the right way. You'll be dealing with a whole new set of peaks and nulls.

Some of the articles I linked explain how the square room is the issue. What is happening is that the bass is reflecting off the rear wall and thus canceling out any useful bass.

I'm trying to keep you off buying the sub because you have a bad room - dumping lots of money and equipment in a bad sounding room isn't going to get you good results. I still suggest you try the room rearrange, and maybe add some bass traps to the rear wall which can be had on PartsExpress.com for around $10 or some sort of non-reflective wall coverings.

As I said, I'm worried that when you find the bass you want you're going to be dealing with the other side of the issue (peaks) and it's going to be hard to control. Adding the second sub is just going to cause another set of peaks and nulls from it's location (not to mention more canceling out with the other sub), so it will basically just be a second set of problems (for now).
 

Patri858

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Im not taking your information lightly if it seems that way. I am just trying to figure out what is going on. So if I get bass traps they would go on the wall behind the subs and just absorb the bass so it doesnt reflect off the wall? If they are that cheap I dont see why I wouldnt try it right?
 
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Freddie Ross
Indeed, using the traps should help fix part of the problem. You could even try something like hanging a thick blanket (like a comforter) on the back wall temporarily to see if that gets you any kinds of results.

Edit: this thread may be of some interest to you in figuring out how to do this.
 

Patri858

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Yeah good idea I read that in the articles in your links. Thanks man give me a few days and ill get back to you. wish me luck. Im not expecting a miracle but anything is better than this
 

Patri858

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Im in college and probably moving into a house next semester. What would you consider a square room so i can find something out of that range for next year. I would rather not deal with this next year. And for this year should I still arrange the room so the sub is in the "boomy" corner or is that idea thrown out the window with a square room.
 
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Freddie Ross
Anything with identical or near identical dimensions. A rectangle room that you can walk into and instantly tell that it's a rectangle (no 13x11 type things) would be much better. As for wanting to know if it's worth rearranging your room, that is really up to you. If you feel that what you have now is sufficient then why bother, but if you really aren't happy with what you have (seems to be the case) then I'd definitely try rearranging. It shouldn't take more than a few hours of your time and if it may get you the results that you're looking for then why not. You still should put the sub in the loud corner though.
 

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