DefTech subwoofer calibration advice

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Robert EW, Apr 5, 2002.

  1. Robert EW

    Robert EW Extra

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    I am hoping that someone out their familiar with Def Tech speakers can give me some advice.

    Before I get into my questions, I just want to say I am very happy with the speakers and love this new world of HT. I am renting all kinds of previously viewed action adventure movies just for the audio experience.

    I find watching movies is a major event and want to confirm my audio setup. I just purchased BP2002TL’s for the front towers, a CLR2500 for the center, and BP2X’s for the rears. I also purchased a Denon 3802 receiver and hooked up the speakers using 12-gauge speaker wire. The front speakers are set up as large and the rears are set up as small.

    My first question involves my audio adjustments for the subwoofer using the AVIA DVD. The DVD test tones and my sound meter indicate that at 85 DB I need to turn the knob on the back of the towers to about 25% (about 9:00). Even at 9:00 the initial sub woofer tone is a few DB's above the other speaker tones and then goes up further as the tone changes. I am concerned about an incorrect calibration since Def Tech literature suggests a setup around 12:00. Is it possible that an 8:30 to 9:00 setting is a proper configuration using the AVIA DVD? I also want to confirm that I am correctly adjusting the subwoofer for the AVIA setup using the knobs on the speaker. The reality is I cannot actually watch a DVD for a sustained period of time at the volume control I used on my receiver to calibrate the audio at 85DB. Having said that, I will be watching DVD's and DirectTivo at lower volumes and wonder if I should turn the subwoofer knob up and how much to compensate for lower volumes or is everything relative and I should be OK at 9:00 if that is what is OK at the 85DB calibrations suggested by AVIA.

    Second question: What will spiking the speakers to the floor actually accomplish for me?

    Third question: I want to maximize the most benefit from my speakers but I am a little timid to try the other wiring features proposed in their manual. It was so easy to just run speaker wires and the other methods seem to involve more complexity in the hookup's and at the receiver. I assume you change the speakers to small and need to incorporate crossovers and I am not really sure what type of wiring I need to bi wire or tri wire. Will the different hookups extend the lower range for sub's and how much? I guess my bottom line question, is will I actually be able to distinguish a difference in the wiring method or is all just psychological. If there is a noticeable difference is it a detectable by newbies or just audiophiles.

    Thanks for your patience and fire away if you need more information.
     
  2. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Hi Robert. Welcome to HTF![​IMG]
    I also have DefTech so congratulations on a great choice for movies.
    First, you need to ignore the instructions about putting the intensity knob at 12 o'clock. Thats generic instructions for people who dont use setup disks and a sound meter.
    Second, Most of us calibrate at 75 db for the speakers and 83 db for the sub with Avia (I think). But we dont listen to shows at this level. It's way to loud.
    All your speakers will increase/decrease their volume as the main volume control goes up / down. Once you have calibrated things, turn it down and adjust the volume to where it sounds good to you. And different sources are typically different volumes. The same with different movies. Just adjust the volume to please you. None of us lock our volume controls in one spot. [​IMG]
    Sub Calibration: You have a problem - 3 subwoofers. This creates a complex pattern of sound in your room. Just moving your sound-meter a foot or two can cause wild changes in the volume.
    I suggest you start with this simple approach:
    - Tell your receiver that all your speakers are SMALL
    - Turn down the intensity knob on all your front speakers
    - Inside your receiver, set the subwoofer/LFE output to something like -5/-6.
    Now re-calibrate with just the external sub working. You will likely find that you have to crank the intensity up a bit more.
    (BIG NOTE: How do you have the external sub hooked up? With a cable to the LFE port on the receiver, or are you running speaker wires to it, then to the L/R? My advice all assumes you are running from the LFE port.)
    Live with this setup for a few weeks. Scan the "Speakers & Subwoofer" fourm for advice on how to get powered-towers to blend with an external sub and later, you can experiement.
    Wireing: Once you get used to the sound, you will become sensitive to small changes. Now you can play with bi-wire, etc. and decide for yourself if the change is really an improvement.
    Hope this helps.
     
  3. Robert EW

    Robert EW Extra

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    Bob, I don't have an external sub. Should I still set my speakers to small given that information?
     
  4. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Opps. Just re-read your post. Got you confused with someone else.

    Let's change this:

    Set your L/R speakers to LARGE.

    Set the LFE/Subwoofer level to it's lowest possible level (-8, -10, etc)

    Set the Intensity knob on both towers to something like 11 o'clock.

    Use Avia to get your center speaker pushing 75 db.

    When the subwoofer tones come on, use the Receiver menu to increase the LFE/Subwoofer level to about 83 db. (This will save you scrambling from tower to tower).

    This should do it for you.
     
  5. Robert EW

    Robert EW Extra

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    I am new to this stuff and you confuse me when you tell me to set the LFE/subwoofer level to the lowest setting. I cannot find a setting on my receiver to do this. I am thinking I don't see the setting because I am not running a cable to the LFE port and have the speakers set to large.

    I am running one speaker wire to each powered tower and the powered center speaker. There is a jumper that connects the other 4 posts on each speaker to the two posts I connected to.

    This my first time at operating an AV receiver or sub, so bare with me. I guess the bottom line is I don't where to make seperate adjustments to the sub from my receiver without adjusting the L & R towers themselves. I have a Denon 3802 if that helps you to guide me.

    Thanks for your help.
     
  6. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    It IS a bit confusing. This is an entire topic called "Bass Management". And it is a bit different from Dennon, to Yamaha, to Onkyo.
    With Avia, do you hear low-frequency sound from your towers during the subwoofer test-tones? If so, just use the intensity knob on the towers to adjust the volume.
    Somewhere on your receiver, there should be a LFE or SUB level adjustment. This handles the ".1" sound track.
    Since you dont have a external sub, but you do have LARGE L/R speakers, your receiver will route all the sounds on the ".1" track to your L/R speakers.
    I believe (subject to someone else with Dennon confirming this), that their IS an adjustment that increases/decreases the ".1" sound and this will affect the level when the receiver sends the sound to the L/R speakers. (But it would not be the first/last time I am wrong [​IMG] ).
    Anyone familar with Dennon Bass management wanna step in?
     
  7. Robert EW

    Robert EW Extra

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    Yes, I hear low frequency with the AVIA sound tones. I currently have my intensity knob at about 25% and when I run one of the final sound tests where AVIA sends out pink noise at 200 HZ and gradually reduces it to 21 HZ I don't lose any sound or rumbling feeling to just under 24 HZ. I need to find longer spikes to spike my speakers and see how that changes those reading.

    It would be nice to have control of the sub volume from my receiver, but am beginning to believe with my speaker settings at large with no sub I don't have that flexiblity. I am thinking I will need to change my wiring setup to include a LFE rca line to the speaker and then change my setting to include a subwoofer. There were some other wiring setups described by Def Tech such as biwire and tri wire and I am not sure how that would effect my setup on the receiver.
     
  8. Mr. Brian

    Mr. Brian Stunt Coordinator

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    I own Definitive Technology BP 2000TL's, which I think are similar to yours but a little bigger. I also own a Denon 5800. For the "ulitmate" hook-up:

    -biwire the 2002's so you have speaker wire connected to the High and Mid terminals of your speakers. Make sure the jumpers are removed and nothing is going into the Low terminals.

    -next connect the "Full Range Low Level In" on both speakers to the preout section of your Denon 3802. There should be a L and R input on the preout section of your Denon. Simply connect an RCA cable from each speaker to this.

    -finally, get 2 subwoofer cables and a Y adapter. Plug the Y adapter into the LFE/SW input of the Denon (again in the preout area). Connect the "Optional LFE In" on both speakers to this Y adapter using the sub cables.

    That should be everything. I get incredible sound this way, so I really recommend it. This is the best possible hookup you can do.

    Brian
     
  9. Robert EW

    Robert EW Extra

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    Brian, You are correct about the 2002TL. The 2000TL is the next size up. With your hookup, did you set your speaker configuration on the the Denon with small speakers and a sub. If you do, does this allow you to control the sub volume from the receiver and what crossover level do you use?

    With my speaker set-up I cannot find any volume control over just the sub from my receiver.

    Regarding the biwiring, I am using 12 guage wire and have to wonder if I can actually fit an additional wire into my Denon 3802 positive and negative posts? Was this a problem for you and how did you get around it.
     
  10. Mr. Brian

    Mr. Brian Stunt Coordinator

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    Robert,

    I have my 2000TL's set up as Large with a subwoofer. This was recommended to me directly from Definitive Technology. My Denon 5800 has a fixed crossover level of 80. I am able to control the sub volume from the receiver, but after I made my initial callibration, I haven't had any need to do that. I have the Level control on the speakers set to about 2 o'clock. I've found that the 2 o'clock setting allows me to set the sub level internally in the Denon to its lowest setting, which makes less demand on the Denon. It still balances out at 75 db of course.

    In order to have volume control over just the sub, I think you need to have it connected to the Denon's LFE/SW input. Otherwise, it won't recognize your sub.

    Regarding biwiring, I have specific biwire cables with four banana connectors going into the speakers but only 2 going into the receiver, so that wasn't a problem for me. If you don't want to biwire, keep all the gold jumpers in and just run one set of speaker wires from each speaker to the Denon, in addition to the sub cables. If you do it this way, you DON'T use the Full Range Low Level In on either speaker. This connection method will also give you great sound.

    Brian
     
  11. Robert EW

    Robert EW Extra

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    Brian, thanks for the clarification, everything you said helps to clear up my confusion. This HT is so new (3 weeks) and sounds so incredibly good that I am going to relax for about a month or so with my current setting. After that I hope to have a better sense for my system and should appreciate the impact from changing to the LFE/Sub hookup.

    After trying that hookup I should be ready to add biwiring to my setup. At least that's my plan today.
     

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