Cambridge Soundworks TI500 lack of strong bass?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Anthony Urzi, Jan 4, 2004.

  1. Anthony Urzi

    Anthony Urzi Stunt Coordinator

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    I just recently purchased a complete Cambridge Soundworks surround system, centered on a Marantz SR9300 receiver and the TI500 towers.

    I'm very pleased with the MC500 center channel and all 4 SR300's surrounds.
    Even the TI500 towers are superb in the highs and mids. Only gripe I have is the bass output...I’m hardly a bass demanding enthusiast, but I do expect some room shake. From 2 10" subs 300 watts each I should be getting more output then this....It doesn't seem to handle very much power either, if I crank it, it tends to distort and pop very easily, especially with certain frequencies. Is there something wrong with these towers specifically, or is this a flaw of the line in general. Are the demands I expect of them too great?? I mean it's not bad really, they do provide some bass fill, it's just not the "deep and thunderous bass" advertised. Their reviews both from the site and from here seemed positive. I have it set for single amplification, (not bi amped) and then the RCA sub out to sub in.

    The majority of the cost of the setup went to the amp, and while the speakers are not cheap, their not exactly prices as hi end either. Just looking to see if this sounds about right or something is wrong with them, or me.
    In the mean time, I gave them some help. I had a Sony SA-WM40 which I’ve loved since the day I got it. It's a 12" 120 watt beauty of a woofer. I've yet to peak it, and I’ve run it very loud. It provides more bass by itself then the 2 10" 300 watts put together, it gives me the shake I’m looking for, and only cost me $150 (I think)

    So how does 1 120 watt sub outperform 2 300’s? Right now I have them linked, amp to the Sony line out on that to the towers. The performance of that lil sub is what really has me questioning either the quality or the rated specifications of the TI500 towers. I don't think it's a problem with the built in amps, I just don't think the installed cones can handle that much power. Is the included sub just a gimmick, can any integrated subwoofer ever compete with a stand alone dedicated sub?
     
  2. Anthony Urzi

    Anthony Urzi Stunt Coordinator

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    That was helpfull [​IMG]

    I know from the past atleast a few users ehre have some....

    I definatly think one of them has a problem, on the exact samne settings, the left will give an unplesent sound, sound sliek the voice coil might have an isue whiel the right is ok....
     
  3. Tony Genovese

    Tony Genovese Supporting Actor

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    Anthony:

    CSW has an iron clad guarantee. It sounds like either there is a setup problem (how do you have the subs connected) or one of them is defective. I have listened to the 500s extensively and they should kick out some serious bass. Revisit your wiring, your setup parameters in the receiver, and make sure the subs are properly calibrated with test tones (using a Rat Shack meter). If you still feel one of the speakers is unhappy, take it back and get another.

    Given the unpleasant sound though, I'd say you should probably swap out the left one.

    Good luck.
     
  4. Anthony Urzi

    Anthony Urzi Stunt Coordinator

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    I actually just fired off an email to CSW detailing some of that.

    excerpts:

    I think one of the speakers may be damaged. After using them casually since I've had them, I've noticed a deterioration in one of the main speakers a TI-500 Tower, the left subwoofer seems to be damaged. At the same speaker settings same wire config and same volume, the left speaker is making an unpleasant sound, where the right one is not. I think the voice coil is going on it, sounds like a rattle, loud semi high pitch "burp" it's not an overload "pop" though it did do that previously which is where I think it might have been damage, had it's range and output level shortened. It's more prominent on lower frequencies and higher volume. I can't even listen to the system at reference volume anymore without practically shutting that woofer off.


    To clear up the wiring config they are in, I have them single wired (bridged) from left/right out to the speakers, then I have an RCA type sub out from amp to sub in on left, and a link L/R RCA going to link L/R on the right.
    the amp settings for front are large and subwoofer yes, and my bass cut off is set to about -10db I believe which is where they perform ok without distortion problems. sub in control knob is currently set to 0db and bass contour on both were centered, and where it stays for most listening right now, if I approach reference it has to go to around -5db to keep the distortion out of that side only while right performs normally, while still somewhat unsatisfactorily).
    -------------------------------------------

    Now what i was thinking as a possable trade up/off is this:

    a pair of Classic Tower and a p1000 subwoofer? Seems like a much better set of speakers, more power, more drivers, and purchased separately, about $100 less not on sale.

    The only issues is then the Towers won't be driver matched to my mc500. Would I be better off with 2 more mc500's? The towers seem like they would make better main speakers to match the rest of the systems power, but I'm not sure how important driver matching is
     
  5. Anthony Urzi

    Anthony Urzi Stunt Coordinator

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    Or maybe I'll just get one of these SVS things hehe [​IMG]
     
  6. Tony Genovese

    Tony Genovese Supporting Actor

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    If the 500 is damaged, I think you'll be happy when you get it replaced. I think the Newtons are better than the Classic Towers. Going that route would be a step backwards IMHO.
     
  7. Mike Sloan

    Mike Sloan Second Unit

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    I have the T500's and the MC500 center. The T500's have almost as much bass as a single VTF-3! If you are having problems with bass output from your T-500's...something is wrong! Most of the gripes regarding the T500's is that they have too much bass and are hard to tame. I can shake the whole room with just the T500's and we are talking a huge room (18X22...with 18' ceiling...and open on 2 ends! Very leaky. I am driving the speakers with 3 Outlaw Audio 200W monoblocks and I have never heard any distortion...even at insane levels. I would double check everything...and try just running speaker wire to them without the line level sub cable...try to isolate where the distortion is coming from....the T500's are awesome speakers that can play at extreme levels while staying very accurate.

    Just a thought...where do you have the speakers pluged in? I know of someone that plugged the speakers into the back of the receiver and this will cause the sub amps to clip because of a lack of current.
     
  8. Anthony Urzi

    Anthony Urzi Stunt Coordinator

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    I figured somthing had to be wrong i mean geez.

    But even the oen that "works" seems to not be happy at upper levals on the bass....


    Espeiclaly when using it's own amp you'd figure it'd blow the fuse before damaging the voice coil.

    These are not ported right? i think i unpacked them right.

    I got them online too not looking forward to shiping them back and forth, especially if they make me pay for it, but they are under warrenty.

    maybe i overcooked them when i was first experimenting with them.

    how do you guys have the ccntrols on the speakers set, the sub in and the bass contour?

    mayeb i'll try to change the amp settings bypass the subout and just go front large sub off and see how they perform, if it is any differnt
     
  9. Anthony Urzi

    Anthony Urzi Stunt Coordinator

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    they ar epluged into an outlet strip, not a monster power center or anything just a stndard ac outlet strip.

    the sub cable is a crap RCA i should upgrade that, the speaker wire is 14 gauge though
     
  10. Mike Sloan

    Mike Sloan Second Unit

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    Something is malfunctioning in the system. Have CSW send you a new pair and have them pick up the defective pair...at their cost! If you still have the problem with the new speakers...then I would suspect some other component is causing the distortion. They could have dropped the speakers in shipment. Don't except anything else than a complete swap out of "both" T500's. I can assure you that these speakers are phenomenal performers!

    Did you get them online from HIFI.com?
    Should be no problem getting a new pair free of charge...you should not incur any shipping costs.
    Let me know what your findings are...I'll help out if I can...I have a few contacts at CSW.

    Mike
     
  11. Anthony Urzi

    Anthony Urzi Stunt Coordinator

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    Yes Hifi.com, as i have a line of credit with them, specifically for this purches, been eyeballing them for a long time.

    least i'm not crazy [​IMG]

    once i get the new pair I think i'm going to need soem help makign sure their hooked up properly, so i can be sure i'm not causing a problem, though pretty sure i followed the minimal intructions properly and have the amp proply set

    Thanks guys
     
  12. Anthony Urzi

    Anthony Urzi Stunt Coordinator

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    Ok so whats this mean.....

    I bybassed the sub input, disconected the RCA abnd just feeding them +/- speaker wire bridged, turned the sub off in the amp and just have the L/R/ set large these thigns are beign phenominal, i have the bass reflex cranked, didn;t stress them too much but sent to palces where ebfore they were being pissy and everything seems to be ok.....

    I knwo the receiver si ok, cus i had another sub hooked to it and it was behaving perfectly, somthign with the internal speaker crossover from that input maybe?

    Is this an acceptable wiring config?

    still doign some investigations, what i;'ve done is set the controsl on the speakers to match regardless nwo whether i sue sub out or not they sound near identical at medium volume, i need to do some high output testing next i get a chance to see fi there si a differnce now or not bbetween the 2. It's certianly better, mayeb somthing was just loose
     
  13. Mike Sloan

    Mike Sloan Second Unit

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    Did you remove the jumpers when you ran the sub cable to the T500's? You must leave jumpers in place...if you did.

    I have found that I get the best results when I DO NOT hook the subwoofer output (from the receiver) to the T500's. I approach the T500's as full range speakers and leave the really low stuff to a dedicated subwoofer. Just run speaker wire to the T500's and the sub out to a dedicated sub. I have the ability to send just the LFE to the subs and the full range info to the T500's.

    Did you get new T500's from HIFI.com?
     
  14. Anthony Urzi

    Anthony Urzi Stunt Coordinator

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    yes brand new TI-500's

    yes jumpers are in place,

    if i activate the sub out on the amp the TI's are not getting the same strength of signal even when set to large and sub out is set to mixed.

    the part you couldn't understand due to typo's was i wasn;t stressing the speakers to refrence and plus refrence levals, but thus far they seem to be ok.


    What are you using for the dedicated sub and what is it's placement in comparison? Crossover?
     
  15. Mike Sloan

    Mike Sloan Second Unit

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    That is a good idea. Even though the 9200 is rated at 140W/channel...be careful when playing near reference. I have a huge, leaky room and found that the Denon 5803 would exhibit some compression at these levels. I wound up bypassing the internal amps for the L/C/R channels and running the Outlaw 200W monoblocks. I also sold the 5803 and am using the Denon 4802 as a preamp with great results. I hope you enjoy your speakers as much as I do mine...I compared them to many different speakers (in house) and found the T500's to be the most enjoyable!
     
  16. Michael__M

    Michael__M Stunt Coordinator

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    On your original set-up you stated you were using the line out on the Sony sub to pass on the sub input of the mains. Check and see if the line out of the sub has a high pass filter on it. If so, that would account for the lack of bass you experienced from the mains. Another problem was you had the mains set to large and were still feeding the subs of the mains off of the sub out. Try setting the mains to small in the receiver, sub to on, and split the sub out between the sub on the mains (don't put the sony in line) and see what happens. I'll bet the Sony line out is filtered.
     
  17. Anthony Urzi

    Anthony Urzi Stunt Coordinator

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    I'll try all of that.

    The manual for the 500's stated it should be set to large even if using the sub in as well, but i''ll play with it. If i set them small wont that cancle out the efectivness of the midbass driver?

    I was experiencing trouble even before I was using the Sony, and it shouldn't be filtered, designed specificly to daisy chain subs, but right now it is completly bypassed. I said lien out but i think i ment sub out.

    The complaint was more about lack of bass before distortion and harsh sounding tones came in, not lack of presence/volume.

    Their great main speakers, but only 10" and not ported, It's just hard to picture them as a replacement for a dedicated sub like an SVS

    Thanks for the info guys

    I still need to pick up a SPL meter but radioshack.com has them out of stock.
     
  18. Jeff W.

    Jeff W. Stunt Coordinator

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    Set the Fronts to SMALL, sub = yes, xover to 80hz, use the subwoofer pre-out (RCA) cable. Make sure they have AC power!!!! Leave the jumpers on the speaker wire inputs. Set the sub xover to "disabled" if it has that option, otherwise crank it all the way "up" (as high as it will go, 160 or 200hz). Set the gain at about 1/3 to begin with, but get a SPL and calibrate with AVR test tones to about +5-6db "hot" or higher than your other speakers on the sub channel.

    I'm not a fan of powered towers, a "real" subwoofer is usually superior. But you should stay in the Newton line. If I were you I'd think about returning the T500's and getting another pair of MC500's (which are GREAT speakers) to use as Front L/R, or maybe a pair of M80 b'shelves which I also liked and almost bought, until I found a pair of Polk RTi150's on sale for the same price.. and then use a "real" powered sub.
     
  19. Mark Murphy

    Mark Murphy Supporting Actor

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    To take what Jeff said a step further, take the T500s ($1999/pr.) back and get a pair of MC500s($700/pr). Take the $1300 you'll save and get your hands on a SVS PB2+ for $1199. Here is a link http://www.svsubwoofers.com/subs_pb2_plus.htm

    I have the CSW MC300s for my front soundstage and an SVS 25-31PCi sub and I'm extremely happy. I know I'd be even happier w/a PB2+ and MC500s. Give it a shot.
     
  20. Mike Sloan

    Mike Sloan Second Unit

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    From personal experience...the T500's sound better than the MC500's/subwoofer combo. Plus, the MC500's are butt ugly...only coming in the "slate grey" vinyl finish. I wish CSW would have made the MC500 in the wood veneers.

    The T500's set up properly have massive amounts of bass. Getting back to the original thread...how do they sound now in the bass department? There are a lot of advantages going with full range speakers...especially up front. Many HT processors have a "pure analog direct" setting where the digital bass circuitry is defeated. It is nice having the T500's up there in these situations!
     

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