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Few newbie questions

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by ChrisBoyde, Jun 22, 2002.

  1. ChrisBoyde

    ChrisBoyde Auditioning

    Jun 21, 2002
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    Hello I've had my own HT setup for almost a year now it's not quite as high end as some people's setups here but it works for me. However after reading this site for a while I've got a few questions.

    First here is my setup

    Receiver - JVC RX-6010VBK
    Fronts - Quest Q3.6 towers
    Surround - Acoustech 3set pack POS. was free with receiver
    Sub - Quest SW-880
    TV - Prima 27" S-vid
    VCR - JVC 4head Hi-Fi
    DVD - Output from DVD in computer

    Ok my first question is about my sub. It has both Line level and Speaker level connections. Right now i'm using line level but was wondering if I should switch to speaker level?

    Also I keep hearing about reference levels and people having there systems on + or - so many db. My receiver doesn't show db instead has a volume rating 0-80 so I guess I can't get it to show db instead?

    One last thing what is bi-wiring and is it helpful?

  2. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

    May 22, 1999
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    Hi Chris. Welcome to HTF.

    Sub Connections: Leave the line-level connection hooked up.

    Speaker-level connections send the full-power speaker signals to the sub, it strips off what it wants, and passes the rest onto the speakers.

    But: what speakers do you hook it to? What about the other speakers?

    Using the line-level connection, your hardware will route the ".1" signal to the sub, and the low frequency sounds from any speaker defined as SMALL.

    So check your manual and make sure you have told your receiver that all your speakers are SMALL so it will make the most use of your sub.

    DB: This is a measure of volume and frankly, all the displays are WRONG.

    The volume you hear is a combination of several things:

    - How much power your electronics is putting out
    - How efficient your speakers are
    - How far away you sit from your speakers
    - Where your speakers are pointing

    The people at the factory cannot know this about your room so they cannot really make the display tell you what the volume is.

    So they hook up a "reference" speaker, put a sound meter 1 foot away and make the display show what the volume is for this little setup.

    When people tell you they are listening at "reference level", they have usually bought a Radio Shack sound meter ($40) put it at their listening position and used a test-tone disk to adjust the volume up to 75 db. This compensates for all the factors and tells them what their average volume really is.

    Hint: search the fourm for the word "Calibration" and you will find lots of fun stuff to do with your sound meter.

    BiWire: For higher-end music systems (not HT systems), running dual runs of speaker wires makes a noticible difference in the sound. Years ago some speaker wire companies started the myth that this "improved" the sound (to sell more speaker wire) and we have been stuck with this myth ever since.

    Your money would be better spent buying a Radio Shack sound meter, a copy of Avia or Video Essentials and calibrating & adjusting your speakers.

    Hope this helps.
  3. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

    Jan 18, 1999
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    The question of Bi-wiring is handled in our FAQ and PRIMER section, which is linked in multiple places here in the basics area, and listed in my SIGNATURE. I would strongly recommend reading it, as it might answer the majority of your questions.
    Unfortunately, the question of dB is a confusing one, as the decibel scale is used to measure many different things in the audio world.
    The main issue is output, that is really the true measure of system performance. This is measured in SPL, which is rated in dB.
    Often, the discussion here centers around reference level (a dolby specification, which you can learn more about by reading the FAQ link I posted above). Since most guys don't listen at ref level- they use the markings on their volume knob to determine how many dB below ref they are.
    Is this an accurate means of making that determination? Not really, but it's usually close enough for Government work, as they say. 1db adjustment on the volume knob isn't always exactly 1db change in output-- but it is usually close.
    Anyway- the point being- how your volume knob rates itself is not too important. What is important is how much output you get. The only way to determine is with a test disc (like AVIA) and a SPL meter (again- both are mentioned and suggested in the FAQ link I offered above). Once you get your system dialed to a specific ref level, you can also use your meter to determine how far above/below you like to listen.
    But, I wouldn't sweat the dB game too much- I'd just get a meter and a test disc and get all the channels even- and then adjust the overall volume to suit your taste.

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