How 'Loud' do you run your subwoofer

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by JameelCH, Feb 10, 2003.

  1. JameelCH

    JameelCH Auditioning

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    I have a set of B&W 603 S3 main speakers with a LCR600 center and mission 73i surrounds.

    I have added a DefTech Supercube 1 as the sub.

    I did an Avia callibration with a RatShack SPL meter at 70dB for all channels. However, with the sub volume at a quater on the dial I still had too much bass. I turned the line level input into the sub from the receiver down to minus 10dB to get to the 70dB across all speakers. I did not want to turn the sub volume much below a quarter as I figured that will just not then produce the 'kick'.

    In listening tests I find that leaving the line level input at 0dB actually produces a much nicer sound even though the sub is running about 10dB louder on the SPL meter compared to the rest of the speakers.

    I have two questions:

    1) Should I use line level input or sub volume to match SPL output?
    2) Is it 'OK' to run the sub 10dB higher than the rest of the spaekers?

    Thanks for any help.

    Regards,

    Jester
     
  2. PaulT

    PaulT Supporting Actor

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    You need to be careful you don't go too low on the receiver output to the sub or you may not activate the sub on/auto feature of your sub if it has one (Off/On/Auto). I would suggest you keep your receiver output set near 0 and make your main adjustment at the sub. You can then do minor adjusting at the receiver when required.

    80dB SPL is 80dB SPL it doesn't matter if you amplify it at the sub with a weak signal or send a higher voltage to the sub from your receiver.

    You can run your sub 10dB higher with no problems, if you find it sounds better that way, that's perfectly fine.
     
  3. Justin H

    Justin H Stunt Coordinator

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    I normally run about 3dB high, on up to 5 or 6 depending on the movie. A properly calibrated sub just doesn't have enough impact for me. The SVS guys reccommend running their subs anywhere from 2 to 6dB hot, and that's right out of the manual. So running 10 hot won't cause any harm, but I would think it would be a little overpowering for movies. Whatever sounds best to you though. [​IMG]
     
  4. Steve_Ma

    Steve_Ma Second Unit

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    I also have 603 mains (S2s). FWIW, the volume on my sub today is only at about 1/4 or maybe 1/3, but certainly no higher.

    I agree 100% with PaulT on all counts. I prefer my sub flat and right inline with the rest of my speakers because I'm kind-of a freak about "accuracy"... But if it sounds better to you... Turn it up to where you like it and don't think twice about it.

    --Steve
     
  5. JameelCH

    JameelCH Auditioning

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    Thanks folks for your input.

    Justin - I am with you. A 'properly' callibarted sub just does not have the 'kick' I am looking for in movies.

    Running 10dB hot makes the bass a bit overpowering when listening to music (which I rarely do anyway) - it's just a pain to have to get off the la-z-boy to reset the sub volume lower.

    Supercube 1 rocks [​IMG]

    Jester
     
  6. PaulT

    PaulT Supporting Actor

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    Once you do your calibration (with the receiver at 0) 10dB 'hot' on your sub volume for movies, then use the receiver remote to set it to -10 when you listen to music. Crank it back up to 0 again when you are done to make sure the auto on feature works as per my first response.
    No more moving from the LazyBoy...[​IMG]

    BTW, I run my sub about 3-5dB hot most of the time.
     
  7. PaulDF

    PaulDF Second Unit

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    Most receivers have separate settings for Dolby Digital, DTS or 2.1. I couldn't imagine having to set my sub level every time I switch between movies or music.
     
  8. JameelCH

    JameelCH Auditioning

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    -------------------------------------------------------
    Once you do your calibration (with the receiver at 0) 10dB 'hot' on your sub volume for movies, then use the receiver remote to set it to -10 when you listen to music. Crank it back up to 0 again when you are done to make sure the auto on feature works as per my first response.
    No more moving from the LazyBoy...
    --------------------------------------------------------

    PualT - LOL. Gee thanks for that great idea. Should have thought of it myself. I use the HTM MX-500 remote (another great device - highly recommended) and maybe I can come up with a neat macro that will make this truly painless [​IMG]

    Regards,

    Jester
     
  9. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Screenwriter

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  10. PaulT

    PaulT Supporting Actor

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    PaulDF/Phil, unfortunately some of us [​IMG] have to manually adjust sub levels with different inputs. I have volume presets for each 'source' (as well as sub on/off option), but not individual sub level on my 'old' Onkyo 696.

    Jameel - I also use an MX500 (love it) and your idea for a macro has me thinking. With the Onk it's a single button press for the speaker levels already, so will see what I can do. Thanks.
     
  11. steve nn

    steve nn Cinematographer

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    I like a +4 to +10 for HT and flat for music. Depends on the movie and what level I will be listening at and is the wife home? A +5 to 6 is the norm for me at -20. Jameel I have my receiver gain at the middle value and my gain on the bottom sub is at 2 and the top sub is at 3 on a scale of 10.
     
  12. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    I have my sub +3dB hot (78dB). I generally advise not to set the receiver LFE level too low as many receivers (not all) will induce distortion into the LFE signal when set too low. You could experiment with sub placement as well as setting the receiver LFE level to (or around) 0dB, the re-adjusting the sub's volume to compensate.
     
  13. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    I run my subwoofer at flat (-2 to 3dB due to Rat Shack meter) for all sources.

    The +10dB pad on the DD and DTS channels provides adequate oomph, and going higher than that obscures details in other channels that would otherwise be overwhelmed by the LFE channel.

    I don't find anything lacking by running level with other speakers, and I have the added benefit of not fiddling with levels between music and movies.


    Regards,
     

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