Bass Management again...towers!

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Steve_D, May 12, 2005.

  1. Steve_D

    Steve_D Second Unit

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    OK, I have a Denon 3801 receiver with an 80Hz X-over. I power the front L/R/C and Sub with 2 B&K Ref 4420 @ 225W/ch. The rears are powered by the receiver.

    I listen to 2 Channel in Direct mode using my combo CD/SACD player DACS. I watch DVD and Cable movies (DD, DTS) via the digital inputs of the 3801. Both are equally important to me.

    I just purchased a pr of Paradigm Studio 100v2, with a -3 db point of ~35 Hz, and a soon to be purchased matching center. They replace my ACI Sapphire 25ths and Emerald center.

    I have an SVS 16-46 sub.

    According to many, I should still set the speakers to small, and let the sub do the work from 20-80Hz. However, I feel like I am wasting the towers and would rather use a 40-60Hz X-over.

    So, which option makes the most sense:

    1) Set the system to NO sub. Front L/R speakers to Large. Purchase a Paradigm X-30 (or similar, please recommend) X-over and use that to integrate the sub at the line level.

    2) Skip buying the center for now and pick up a Sony ES or HK (or something else?) with adjustable x-over internal.

    3) Use the extra B&K EX442 I have lying around to power the rears, and buy something like the Outlaw 950 (or other, please recommend) used.

    4) Get over using the Studio 100's as 'small' speakers.

    5) Other, please recommend.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Adjustable x-over would probably be highly beneficial to you, as would the newer processing. However, for the time being I would tend to agree with the others regarding setting them to small, at least for movies. This will reduce the amount of current drawn from the receiver and put that work onto the sub, where it is more easily handled.

    The fact is, the x-over has a slope associated with it, so you aren't really wasting them, especially with an 80Hz x-over. You will still be getting a small amount of information, decreasing as you move away from the x-over point, all the way down to about 40Hz. The slope for the sub is likely steeper, and it will not get as high as 80Hz.

    If you really want to integrate them perfectly, an ICBM may be what you would want.

    Also, I don't know how the 3801 is, but "direct" mode on my receiver ignores all speaker settings, meaning all speakers are full range. This mode allows me to run 2ch full range, no sub, via that setting. That would come close to the best of both worlds if it works that way (unless you want to use the sub too).
     
  3. Steve_D

    Steve_D Second Unit

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    Thanks John...

    As I understood it, "direct" mode in 2 channel on the 3801 was an analog/digital hybrid...it passed most of the analog straight through, but took the low freqs, digitized it, did the crossover, and then passed along the sub signal if the sub output was turned on. I don't remember the details and may have that wrong...but I do know for sure direct mode is 2.1 when I feed it analog L/R from my SACD. In addition to "Direct" there is another mode that is pure pass through.

    The ICBM scares me...the cost of interconnects alone could fund a new pre-pro!
     
  4. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    I had similar concerns with my setup -- B&W 604 towers that can easily handle down to 40Hz. My Pioneer Elite receiver has adjustable crossovers, but the increments are 50Hz and 80Hz. After experimenting with different setups, I ended up using 80Hz with all speakers set to SMALL, but have my Sony ES SACD/CD player connected to the multi-channel analog inputs, which bypass the crossover network completely.

    The results of the above setup are that I let my sub handle the workload for DVD soundtracks, TV, and HDTV viewing while the towers handle everything for music-only (SACD/CD). It has worked out very well.
     
  5. John S

    John S Producer

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    Good point Scott.

    I often find what I think is best, and what ends up being best are two different things once I actually start experiementing. Especially where subwoofers are concerned.

    Best right now for me, is xover at 60hz all speakers set to small. I use 3 way 8" woof speakers in every location.

    According to some initial tests I took at 1 meter when I first got my speakers. They are borderline +-4db down to about 30hz, then they start to more steeply roll off.

    If you start changing your settings and auditioning the same familure material each time, going back and forth, I'm almost positive what you think would be best, will not be best.

    So back to thread question? Sounds like you need better base management features so you can experiement more. [​IMG]
     
  6. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    Another point to consider is whether or not the mains are in an optimal position for bass reproduction in your room.

    You may feel you are wasting the capabilities of your mains, but if they do not work well in the room to produce bass, then it is better to cross them over to a properly placed sub.

    I have recently set-up a 2nd system in my home for just 2CH listening. I have been playing around matching a couple different pairs of bookshelf speakers (KEF Q10 and B&W 601) to an older Klipsch SW-8 sub (measured output to about 30 Hz). I have a fixed 80Hz/24dB crossover in my Audio Control Richter Scale Sub EQ/Crossover unit. And I find that I had very little trouble getting the sub to blend with either of those two speakers.

    But yesterday, I got crazy, and pulled my B&W 604's from the main HT rig, and set them up in the 2CH room.

    I tried them full range, and also with the 80 Hz crossover. Guess which I liked better? Yup, crossed over at 80 Hz.

    Why? Will without taking any measurements, I subjectively preferred the sound of the bass when it was coming from the sub. I think I got very lucky in the 2CH room in that my sub's location and my listening spot seem to produce very good solid, non-boomy bass.

    As soon as I went full range, things got boxy and boomy, and no amount of fiddling with the EQ could produce the same quality of bass as from the sub.

    So, I think it really will boil down to room acoustics.

    I find that even in my HT room, I run the 604's crossed over to a HSU 1225, and find that this produces superior results for all sources.

    BGL
     
  7. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    Excellent point, Brian. Identical equipment and configurations can sound radically different depending on the room's acoustic signature -- along with each person's individual tastes in sound.

    In my case, my front towers have no wall behind them, which works great for imaging but has a negative impact on bass enhancement. So, letting my sub, which is in a rear corner of the room, handle all the low frequencies for movies helps give some "oomph" to the soundtracks. However, for music listening I really enjoy a system that images well, and low-end bass is less an issue for the type of music I listen to.
     
  8. Steve_D

    Steve_D Second Unit

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    John,

    Actually you are right on both accounts, and Scott as well, and Brian too!

    I am going to purchase an ICBM, but instead of putting it between my amp and preamp, I'm placing it between my CD/SACD and Pre-amp, thus only needing 3 more interconnects.

    For HT/Cable, I'll continue to allow my receiver to do the decoding and bass management via the digital IN, PROBABLY Small all around. 80Hz. I say probably because it will depend on room testing.

    For 2(.1) I'll run from the ICBM to the analog bypass in, and choose the analog bypass setting when listening to music, thus skipping everything in the receiver except the input switching and volume control.

    This allows me to pump the sub level a bit for movies, versus music I'm just looking for a flat FR down to 20 and a nice subtle blend. If, after the extensive measuring and listening tests I always do, the "best" crossover turns out to be 80Hz, then I return or sell the ICBM.

    The location, to Brian's point, for my L/R is pretty good for bass reinforcement and I have enough flexibility there to move them around a bit. According to some tests I've read, the Studio 100's go down to 30Hz with room reinforcement, and I expect that may be the case.
     

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