"Large or Small?", That is the question!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Adam_R, Jul 22, 2002.

  1. Adam_R

    Adam_R Second Unit

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    Ok. I know that this has been discussed several times, but I'm looking for opinions anyway! I an looking to get the cleanest possible sound out of my system. I've read threads explaining the Large and Small thing, and I'm pretty clear on how it works. Do you think large or small would work better with this configuration:

    Denon 3802
    Pinnacle PN6+ Fronts - 6 1/2" woofs and dome tweet
    Pinnacle AC Widescreen Center - 4x4"s and a dome tweet
    Pinnacle AC500 Surrounds - 5 1/4" woofs dome tweet
    SVS 20-39PCi Sub

    If I set them to Large, does that mean that the LFE channel will be pure LFE with no other frequency mixed in?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Brian Kleinke

    Brian Kleinke Supporting Actor

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    Unless your mains have a powered sub and can produce good clean base down to 30 hz and below I'd set all your speakers to Small. I have a simmilar setup with Polk LSi's instead of Pinnacles hooked up to a Sony TA-N/E9000ES and I thought small worked better.

    My .02 YMMV

    Brian
     
  3. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

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    Definately small. Your speakers won't do the low bass frequencies anywhere near as well as the SVS will. Plus only having one source producing the low bass makes integration with the room much easier.
     
  4. Geoff S

    Geoff S Stunt Coordinator

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  5. Craig Woodhall

    Craig Woodhall Supporting Actor

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    Yes, i would agree, small.. One of our local highend audio shop has a $200,000 HT demo room and they still run everything small..

    Craig
     
  6. Adam_R

    Adam_R Second Unit

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    Thanks! I guess I'm staying with small!
     
  7. Kirk Mango

    Kirk Mango Stunt Coordinator

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    What if you have mains which are rated down to 20hz. When I first got my system I called Mirage directly and asked what the OM5's should be set at as well as there OMC2. They strongly suggested that these three soundstage speakers be set to large. They basically said "You spent the money to get full range speakes and that it made no sense to not utilize them as such". Then after purchasing a Rel Storm III sub and talking to them, they suggested the same and then to bring in the sub just under the OM5's. B&K also suggested the same configuration. Three companies, 2 speaker and one amp company, all suggested this format. I know that most people on this board have all there speakers set to small, however, is that always the best way to run your system when speakers have the ability to play down to 20hz?

    Kirk
     
  8. Ned

    Ned Supporting Actor

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    Kirk-

    What you want is a receiver/pre-pro that can use a lower cross-over to the sub, somewhere in the 40-60hz range.

    No mains should be set large. Or, if you find mains that can handle 20-40hz at *reference* levels (105db peaks in the front channels), then feel free to run them large. Of course no reasonable speakers can do this so small is virtually always the right choice.

    If you run the mains large you risk cheating yourself out of some deep bass when they can't deliver the output required. If it's a system with bigass mains and some wimpy little subwoofer then all of this doesn't apply. But we have better things to do than discuss such poorly chosen systems.
     
  9. Kirk Mango

    Kirk Mango Stunt Coordinator

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    Ned,

    My Preamp does have the flexibility to change the crossover to what I would like however I use the 80THX setting. The Rel sub has a high end connection which is tied into the mains at the amp and a low end connection for LFE. The purpose of this is to allow the sub to support the bass of the mains on the high end for music as well as for movies and to allow the sub to perform its job with the same characteristics as the mains by sampling the signal going to them which allows for transparent and seamless integration of the sub. It also has a low end connection which handles the RCA connection for LFE, both connections are used simutaneously. This does not effect music play since there is no LFE track on CD's. The Crossover for the subs high end is set to 23hz. This setting was found by turning the corssover from to high of a setting where there was an overlap of bass between the sub and the mains until there was no overlap. This tells me that my mains will play bass down into the 30's. The crossover for the low end is bypassed on the sub and I am using the 80hz THX default setting on the preamp for all LFE. My sub is only used to extend the very bottom down to 16hz. At least this is my understanding of it and the reason my mains are set to large.

    Kirk
     
  10. Martin Rendall

    Martin Rendall Screenwriter

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    Kirk,

    I'm doing something somewhat similar. I'm not using the high inputs, but my receiver does have a "BOTH" option for bass/lfe. The mains are on large, and the sub is crossed over at 50hz. The result is a slight augmentation
     
  11. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

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    For music...

    I've tested that my subwoofer plays the same thing regardless of whether the mains are set to small or large. The difference is clearly audible in the mains with the large sounding fuller, and the small sounding restricted to upper frequencies.
     
  12. Phuong

    Phuong Stunt Coordinator

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    Even if you have mains capable of going pretty deep in the bass regions, setting them to SMALL increases their dynamic headroom. With the main speakers relieved of bass duties, they will have a better opportunity to shine in the midrange and highs. The gain from large to small is at least 2 dB, which is almost an effective doubling of amp power. Plus, standing waves are better controlled through the use of a separate subwoofer placed in an optimal (usually corner) location.

    Peace and happy listening
     
  13. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    The terminology is the problem, I think. It was a serious mistake in a hobby dominated by men to make the correct setting for a piece of equipment "small." [​IMG]
     
  14. Kirk Mango

    Kirk Mango Stunt Coordinator

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    Again, I talked to B&K this morning and possed this question to the audiophiles in their tech support. They stated that you will get much better performance and sound out of your system by setting them to large if you have speakers capable of dealing effectively with the lower bass tones. They are not only familiar with my system but also the speakers I have connected to it. They have run them themselves. I was also told that it is possible to clear up minor problems like echoeing or lack of clarity in dialog during movies if I run my center at small and divert the low bass to the sub, however, if these are not issues I have then I should run it on large. And lastly he said he knows of no true audiophiles who run their "full range speakers" on small for either music or movies. Just repeating what I was told from an audiophile in the audio business for many many years.

    Kirk
     
  15. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

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    It is even true that some audiophiles believe that bass IS directional which is why they prefer full range speakers. Why else would so many high end speakers offer full range loud speakers as opposed to 2.1 models.

    What I'm wondering is why would a speaker sound worse in the highs and midrange just because it is given more bass extension. With a decent crossover, the highs and midrange shouldn't be affected whatsoever by the added bass region. It's not like there are speakers out there that are comprised of a single driver. By giving more bass to the corner you are then relying on the bass being non-directional..

    Not that I'm against separate subs, I have a tempest in the corner mainly because I can't afford full range speakers.
     
  16. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

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    In general, small is the best setting. Very very few towers are truely full range and can compete with a quality sub below 30-40hz. I highly doubt the OM5 towers could come anywhere near 100dB at 20hz, little loan the 115dB+ required for true DD reference level bass that very few subs can atually achieve.

    However, if you have the approprate connection options (like the Rel does) you can run the speakers large. This can be done one of two ways.

    First is to run the main speaker signals through the sub and use it's adjustable low and high pass filters to set a crossover to what you want (similar to what the processor would do).

    The second is to use the adjustable low pass in the sub to match up with the low end roll off of the towers being used. This would be tricky to get right.

    The biggest problem with this is what do you do about the center and surrounds. They won't go as low as your towers. There is no way to run your center and surrounds through the sub like the mains for the first option. And unless your center and surrounds are identical to your mains, they would each require a different lowpass setting to match up to the roll off properly.

    In my opinion, for 2ch music only systems with the right connections and filters available there are instances when you will want to run your speakers large. For home theater, you will always want to run them small. When you have a mix of both, unless you want to swap cables all the time (or have an elaborate setup or fancy processor so you don't have to) you will also always want them small.

    However, if you have a high quality sub properly setup with an 80hz crossover to a high quality bookshelf or near full range tower, it will be able to sound just as good if not better than a full range tower.
     
  17. Martin Rendall

    Martin Rendall Screenwriter

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    Dustin,

    If your processor can redirect bass/lfe to the MAINs, then you can get the center and surround bass redirected to your MAINs, which you've crossed over as per your 2.1 system.

    All,

    Another issue: your receiver (or pre/pro) may not do a stellar job of bass management, for critical 2 channel listening. My high-mid level Yamaha, for example, does a crummy job of bass management. Setting the MAINs to small, and then running the bass to a sub (or the MAINs for that matter), will colour the music in an unfavourable way. Setting the MAINs to large resolves this.

    I think it comes down to where your priorities lie: two channel music, or multi channel HT.

    Martin.
     
  18. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

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