I just don't get the sub setup - help please?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Cindy B, Apr 5, 2002.

  1. Cindy B

    Cindy B Extra

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    I've done the search, I've read the primer, and I guess I just don't have the ears everyone else has. I have a Adire Rava sub (just hooked it up , thanks to ya'll for your help!) 2 mini-monitor mains, and an Onkyo 696 receiver. I set my mains to "small" as this forum suggests. The Rava manual says to start with the gain, turn it up till it sounds too "boomy", and then do the same with the crossover, and then do the phase knob until it "blends in". Right. I can't tell if it's blending it...I don't even know what that is supposed to sound like - I don't think I can even tell what it's doing! And what is "too boomy" anyway? Someone on one forum suggested that I set my crossover to 80. How do you know where that is? Only the min and max are marked - do I just estimate where that is? Is there some other setting that I am supposed to make on the receiver? If so, how do I get to it, cause I sure can't find it. I'm just so disappointed after all the posts that I have read, that I can't make more sense of this. And I thought I was good at this kind of stuff. Oh well...humbled again. [​IMG]
    Also, is the goal to get the settings done, and then leave it? Or do people change them depending on their listening mediums? That would seem like a pain, I'd rather "set and forget".
    So far, I have ony listened to music with the sub, and yes I can really hear the bass, but since this is my first sub, I just don't know what is right, or what is too much. I haven't tried a DVD yet - maybe I should try that. Anyway, I appreciate whatever advice you can give!
     
  2. Jeremy Little

    Jeremy Little Supporting Actor

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    Well, even experts can't really adjust perfectly. You need a test disc like Avia or Video Essentials as well as a Radio Shack SPL meter to do it correctly.
     
  3. Richard Travale

    Richard Travale Producer

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    I think setting your mains to small automatically sets the crossover at 80hz(you may be able to switch this, I'm not familiar with your receiver) within the receiver. You should turn your crossover on your sub all the way up as it is not really doing anything while the mains are in small mode. As for the levels, definitely get a set up disc such as Video Essentials, Avia or the Sound & Vision disc as well as a Sound Level meter.

    As for the set it and leave it, when you set up with the meter and disc try to set up the sub level so that you can go up or down via the receiver controls. You may have to turn the gain down on your sub amp to acheive this but in the long run it will be better. This way you can change the bass level slightly to your taste depending on what you are listening to with just your remote as opposed to reaching behind your sub to adjust things. You may want to crank the bass up a little in certain situations or down in others. Just remember to put the level back to where it was for the next time. I hope this has helped a little.
     
  4. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    Get a Radio Shack Analog SPL meter and rent/buy either Avia or Video Essentials (this is also used to calibrate your TV). Both discs describe _exactly_ how to calibrate your system.

    - Turn the phase knob to 0 degrees. If you had your mains set to large you could set this differently for better integration.

    - Turn the crossover on the sub to it's highest setting. This will cause the sub to play all the information sent from the receiver. When you set your receiver's speaker settings to "small" and sub to "yes" you redirected all information below 80Hz to the sub output on your receiver (which should be connected to your sub).
     
  5. Harold_C

    Harold_C Stunt Coordinator

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    Your RAVA sub should be connected to the SUB output of your receiver. ALL of your speakers should be set to SMALL. Your receiver's sub setting should be set to ON. Somewhere there should be a setting on your receiver for the crossover point. Select either 80 Hz or 100Hz, whichever your receiver has.

    On the subwoofer itself, turn the crossover knob all the way up to the highest setting. This will essentially disable the crossover in the sub, which you do not want to use because you are using the crossover in the receiver. Even better would be disabling the crossover in the sub completely, but unless there is a switch for this, it would require an internal modification.

    Set the Phase switch to the 0 position for now (we'll come back to that).

    If your receiver has an LFE limiter or level setting (usually with the options 0dB or -10dB), set this to 0dB.

    Now, go to the test tones on your receiver (or an Avia/VE calibration disk). On the receiver's test tone menu, there should be an individual level setting for every speaker in the system including the sub. Set all of these to 0dB.

    Play the test tones from the receiver (or the calibration disk) and adjust the master volume until you read 75 dB on the Radio Shack meter (85db if you are using the Avia disc) when one of the front speakers is playing. Write down where the Master Volume is set.

    Now, use the individual settings to adjust each speaker in the system to read the same 75 dB when the pink noise test tone is playing through it. Write down all the individual settings for safe keeping.

    When you get to the sub, play the test tones and adjust the volume knob on the sub until is is approximately 75 dB. Then use the sub adjustment control on the receiver's test tone system to fine tune it until it reads the same 75 dB as the rest of the speakers.

    That's it. Now your system is calibrated, the subwoofer level is set, and your are done. I have found that the calibrated settings work fine for any source and any surround mode. There's really no need to fiddle with them anymore, although if you do, it should be very small 1 dB adjustments.

    It is essentially impossible to do this calibration by ear without the SPL meter. You can probably come fairly close on the main speakers, but trying to hear how loud the sub is by ear is very difficult. If you try to do it yourself, I would take your best shot setting the sub at the same level as the other speakers on the test tones.... and then turn it down about 6 dB. Virtually everyone who tries to set the sub levels by ear ends up with them set WAY to high -- something that destroys the sound of the system and is extremely hard on the subwoofer given the levels of the LFE bass channel on Dolby Digital and DTS recordings.

    Now, back to the phase switch. This will have a small impact on the blending of the subwoofer to the rest of the speakers in the crossover region. In 9 out of 10 systems, it should be left in the 0 position. However if, by chance, some component in your system is "phase inverting" or if your sub is physically located a long distance from your main speakers, your system may sound better with it set to the 180 degree setting. Just play something (like music) with sustained bass output. Compare the 0 and 180 degree settings and pick whichever one has more apparent bass output.
     
  6. Mark Haver

    Mark Haver Extra

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    Cindy,

    I feel your pain!! I'm a newbie here & just hooked my first ht set up. I got wires & manuals & empty boxes coming out the waazoo!! I got the Polk RM7600 with the 650 sub & they say to hook up the sub to the front r/l and from there back to the fronts & I have done that. They also say to set the fronts large & I have also done that. My question here is should I try it the other way (lfe & small fronts) I just got the whole thing set up & working this week & spent most of the day enjoying it (I think). I still have ALOT of reading to do and don't even want to think about tweeking since I really didn't have an old system to compare it to.

    Mark
     
  7. Harold_C

    Harold_C Stunt Coordinator

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    Polk recommends that approach because many of their smaller sat speakers are really not designed to play bass down to 100hz and they are concerned about warranty repairs if you don't get the crossover set correctly.

    There is nothing inherently wrong with the way Polk recommends to hook up the speakers. However, there is also nothing particular right about hooking it up that way and you will give up many of the benefits designed into your A/V receiver. For example, you will not be able to use the built-in Dolby test tones to calibrate your subwoofer.

    From looking at your particular Polk speaker package, I would NOT follow Polk's recommendation. That's a pretty nice package and you might as well hook it up the prefered way.

    I would hook up all of the satellite speakers directly the the various main speaker outputs of your receiver (front left, front right, center, surround left, surround right).

    I would hook up the subwoofer directly to the receiver's subwoofer preamp output and I would set the LFE direct switch on the sub to bypass the sub's internal crossover (this is actually a nice feature that all subwoofers should have!).

    I would set ALL of your speakers to SMALL and set the subwoofer to ON. I would select a crossover no lower than 80 Hz on the receiver. With the 5 inch midbass drivers in your satellites, I would actually lean more towards a 100 Hz crossover if it is available and 125 Hz wouldn't be out of the question.

    Get yourself a Radio Shack SPL meter and use the test tones in the receiver (or a calibration disk) and you should have a rockin' home theater system.
     
  8. Mark Haver

    Mark Haver Extra

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    Thanks forthe advise Harold! I wasn't quite sure why Polk reccomends this set up until now. I will try the other set up and re adjust it all. I think I'll wait a day or two and just try to enjoy some jam.

    Mark
     

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