Bass Management? Onkyo TX-SR500?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Hilda, Aug 25, 2003.

  1. Hilda

    Hilda Auditioning

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    Not exactly a newbie, here; just a "cheapie" whose first A/V receiver purchase is a refurb ONKYO TX-SR500. Forgive me for my wordy first forum post...

    This receiver has no "large" or "small" speaker settings, only a single variable crossover frequency setting (80Hz-110Hz-120Hz). On other receivers I've researched, the crossover setting only blocks the low-end stuff from going to the "small" speakers, but doesn't block it from any "large" speakers. Is there no way to make this SR500 send ALL frequencies to any of my speakers?

    What I'm trying to figure out is, 'Where's the Bass?' I'm using my big, old, full-range (3-way, 10-inch woofer) speakers for main/front which play awesome bass when connected to my old "100-watt" stereo receiver (pretty sure that's 50w/channel, and I doubt that's RMS). This SR500 may be 65w/channel, but I have a sinking feeling that the crossover setting applies equally to ALL speaker channels no matter what I do, and is robbing my old boomers of the low end.

    I'm not understanding (from the sparsely-worded instruction manual) if either "stereo" mode or "direct" mode is supposed to bypass the crossover setting and send all frequencies to at least the fronts. I tried these modes, but I still don't hear the bass. I also tried setting "subwoofer mode: off" but really didn't hear a difference. What's more, in all of these modes, I'm still able to adjust the crossover setting, as if it ALWAYS applies, no matter which mode I use...?

    Do I need to go with a different receiver to get what I'm after?

    I do have a subwoofer. But, I'm an oldster who doesn't enjoy the ULTRA-low thump when, say, Steely Dan is playing. I realize that for movies it's a must for LFE, and that then I might not want my fronts to be duplicating some of the lower bass...

    I sent in a question about this via ONKYO's website, but if they take a while, I may pass my 30-day return window for this unit. So, I'm so hoping for some sage advice from some fine forum folks!

    And while I'm at it, I've read volumes of posts (in this and other forums) about the LFE "bug" in some of the TX-SR500's. I think this refurb unit has it, since when using 5.1 multi-channel input from my DVD, there's no sound from the sub. And with other input sources, there's no sub sound in "Subwoofer Mode 3" (I get a little bit in modes 1 & 2). I do get proper LFE if I connect the sub directly to the sub-out of my DVD player, so I know the subwoofer unit works fine. But while some people described the SR500 bug as "no sound" in sub mode 3, some described it as "garbled sound," being distorted by the bad receiver. Which is it? Perhaps it can be either one?

    Thanks in advance for any help you can give me! [​IMG]
     
  2. Rick_Brown

    Rick_Brown Second Unit

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    Have you calibrated your sub to the rest of the speakers?
     
  3. Hilda

    Hilda Auditioning

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    Well, I'm a novice on that subject, but if you're essentially talking about the relative volume levels of speakers-to-sub, I have tried setting the sub level all the way up (+12db) and setting the speaker levels down, plus turning the sub's own level knob way up, and still nothing at all from DVD LFE through the receiver. Meanwhile, I get huge sound from the sub when I connect the DVD LFE directly to the sub itself. (Hopefully that's an okay answer to your question!)

    And to slightly amend my remarks about my alleged LFE bug, I do get some sound from subwoofer mode 3 when using other receiver input sources besides DVD. It's only the DVD LFE that's entirely lost through the receiver.

    Thanks
     
  4. EdNichols

    EdNichols Second Unit

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    Hilda,

    I have the TX-SR500 and I get different bass amounts with the different sub options "1, 2 or 3" with 3 being the "LFE" for movies. I don't have the manual in front of me but I think option #1 is if you want all of the bass to go from all of the speakers to the sub. Option #2 is if you want only the bass for the surrounds to go to the sub the mains will keep their bass. Which in a sense is the same as choosing "large" and "small" You can always choose subwoofer "off" and all the bass will go to all of the speakers. If you want sound from the mains only then choose either stereo or direct. This will shut the surrounds off. Yes, the owners manual is not the best but if you play with it for a while you can figure it out. Hope this helps.
     
  5. Hilda

    Hilda Auditioning

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    Ed,

    That makes much more sense than what I was thinking, and would sure explain where the "large/small" concept went!

    But, I did try the "Subwoofer: Off" setting (in both the "stereo" and "direct" modes), and, uh-oh, if that was indeed sending all the bass to my speakers (and ignoring any crossover setting), then the bass response in this receiver is lame! I'm hearing nowhere near the amount of bass I used to get with my stereo receiver.

    Maybe there's something I don't understand about what the "cleaner" sound of this type of receiver means (vs. old stereo receiver technology)...[​IMG] I dunno. But it's like the bass capabilities of these speakers are being "under-served" by the Onkyo receiver. I could understand if the frequency response of the receiver wasn't stated as 20-20000Hz and the low end of the range simply wasn't available...

    And now I'm wondering, if subwoofer mode 3 is supposed to be LFE-only, why did I get a slight amount of output from the subwoofer when listening to the FM tuner in mode 3? It kinda makes me feel like the receiver is still stripping SOMETHING off the low end of the speaker channels...

    Sheesh! This experience sure makes the point for in-home auditions of prospective receivers! If Onkyo doesn't soon send me an answer that differs from yours, I think I'm sending this thing back. Thanks so much for your help! [​IMG]
     
  6. EdNichols

    EdNichols Second Unit

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    I don't have any bass problem with mine. The only other option I can offer is to actually turn the bass up on the receiver. Push the audio button and adjust the bass up and see if you like that. As a comparison, I had an older Sony that I used to drive my speakers with. I had the bass control turned all the way up because I liked lots of bass. I have since learned that the "real' way to listen to music is the have the treble and bass at their neutral positions. I do turn up the bass every once in while on certain songs. Could it have been that you had the bass control turned up on your old receiver and now you are not used to the neutral sound? One more thing, I have found that subwoofer option # 1 is louder than option #3. I have left it on option #1 even to watch movies, you might try that. If you want maximum bass for movies, adjust the bass control all the way up, set the sub setting at +12, set the sub. option to #1 and crank your sub to max volume. If that doesn't do it then there is something wrong with your receiver.
     
  7. Hilda

    Hilda Auditioning

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    > Could it have been that you had the bass control turned
    > up on your old receiver and now you are not used to the
    > neutral sound?

    Actually, the old receiver setup included an equalizer, which I would use to turn DOWN the bass on the old speakers (since I live in an apartment!), and yet, I still had more bass then than now.

    Thanks for all your ideas! [​IMG]
     
  8. DamonG

    DamonG Auditioning

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    Hello Hilda. I have an Onkyo TX SR501. Try turning down the front speakers to 0db or lower and turning up the center channel volume to 12db or lower. I did this recently and my bass is superb. I am currently using a Phillips 100 watt sub, Aiwa bookshelf speakers, for front and rear surround, along with a phillips front center and a phillips rear center speaker set up. Don't give up on your Onkyo receiver just yet. It is a wonderful receiver. Keep tweaking it until you get the desired results you want.[​IMG] [​IMG]
     

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