Large vs Small speaker setting one query

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by lakshmant, Mar 13, 2006.

  1. lakshmant

    lakshmant Agent

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    i have seen many threads on this,my onkyo manual recomneds that if the main woofer if above 12 cm then use large else use small.


    now if a small speaker has 2*8 cm woofers then will it count a one 16cm woofer for using this setting.
     
  2. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    I would simply go by the frequency response of your speakers. If your speakers are flat down to 35Hz or lower then consider running them large, otherwise cross them over.
     
  3. DavidSGT

    DavidSGT Stunt Coordinator

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    Hiya,

    If you have a dedicated active sub-woofer, you should set your mains to small and let the sub do all the hard work.

    But as usual you should try out all options on your own and listen for some time and decide what you like best.

    Regards.
    DavidSGT
     
  4. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    assuming you have a subwoofer set them all to small and let the subwoofer do its job. There are very few speakers that can extend down deep enough with any authority to play movie soundtracks properly. For music you can often run them as full range though if you prefer.
     
  5. Ryan Peddle

    Ryan Peddle Second Unit

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    And even in most cases, even if the speakers do extend down, say into the 20 - 30 Hz range, a dedicated sub usually does it that much better to still set your large speakers to small.
     
  6. Blaine_M

    Blaine_M Second Unit

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    Don't most receivers bypass that setting for movies anyway? I know right in my Marantz SR5400 manual it says the crossover point is used for stereo input only, it is bypassed when playing DD and DTS tracks, they go staight through unfiltered as they are recorded on the disc. I would assume most other receivers work the same way.
     
  7. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    Blaine,

    I don't know about your Marantz, but most receivers obey the bass-management settings.

    So, indeed the 5 channels go to their respective speakers (including the "point-one" LFE sound going to the sub), but it also obeys your specific settings for "no sub", "large", "small", etc.

    If the settings say "no sub" the LFE is sent to the front mains. If you have a sub and set the mains (or center) to "small" the low frequencies of those channels are sent to the subwoofer channel (and added to the LFE sounds).

    And, to answer the original question, like others said already: in almost all cases it's the clever thing to do, setting all speakers (except the sub [​IMG] ) to "small".


    Cees
     
  8. Blaine_M

    Blaine_M Second Unit

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    Ok, I was wrong. I reread my manual. That part of the manual was talking about when you set the bass mix mode. YOu can on a marantz set the sub on, but still send all the bass to the mains for 2 ch input. I have switched mine back to small and even on music it doesn't sound much different and my mains will go down to 40hz.
     
  9. Tim Hoover

    Tim Hoover Screenwriter

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    Nope...remember, it'll take four 8cm drivers to approximate the surface area of one 16cm driver.
     
  10. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    One other thing:
    If you can influence the setting of the cross-over of the sub and/or the receiver, make sure the cross-over of the receiver is at a lower Hz value than the subwoofer's (if necessary, set the subwoofer to "no cross-over").

    That way you will ensure that the sub really transmits all frequencies it receives.


    Cees
     
  11. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    Assuming an appropriate sub in the system, SMALL is almost always the correct setting regardless of the apparent speaker capabilities.

    Only with very rare systems is it appropriate to use a LARGE settings. People with these kinds of systems would not be asking this question, so set things small if you have an appropriate subwoofer.
     
  12. Dean L

    Dean L Stunt Coordinator

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    Agree, my full range Def Tech BP8's I run as small for movies (letting the sub do the work) and for music listening I run the speakers as large with no sub.
     
  13. Brian_cyberbri

    Brian_cyberbri Stunt Coordinator

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    For movies, definitely SMALL. Unless the mains have built-in powered subwoofers.

    Many receivers nowadays have adjustable crossovers. So even if you set the speakers to SMALL, you can still cross them over at 40Hz or 60Hz, lower than the standard THX 80Hz (and higher points like 100Hz, 120Hz, 150Hz, 200Hz, etc.). But even with a crossover, the speakers are still playing quite a bit below that point - ie., and octave below 60Hz is 30Hz, and an octave below 40Hz is 20Hz. If the speakers are good to 50Hz, a crossover of 60-80Hz would work, although people suggest going 1 octave above that point (which would be 100Hz, but that's a little extreme).

    Some receivers even have independent crossovers for the mains, center, and surrounds, so if you don't have identical speakers, you can set the mains at 60Hz, the center at 80Hz, and the surrounds at 100Hz if that works best for you.

    Bass is harder to drive and reproduce as it goes lower, so taking some of the load off the receiver will give a bit more headroom for the rest of the audio spectrum, and taking the load off the speakers will let them concentrate on playing the other frequencies. A sub usually plays 100-150Hz and below, while the woofer/mid-woofer in a speaker may play 2000Hz down to its roll-off point. Trying to play loud bass at 50Hz may muddy up the sound of the midrange of that driver, etc.


    For 2-channel stereo, I run my mains as large (stereo direct, no processing) with the sub doubling up on the bass to the mains. I like the stereo direct mode for music, which sounds slighly better, noticeably on a few certain discs.
     
  14. JediFonger

    JediFonger Producer

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    brian, when you say "direct mode" are you referring to direct bypass of all circuitry for "pure unadulterated" sound? i've got a denon that has that.

    i always turn up the treble+bass to max. when i use direct, it sounds a bit flat.

    re: small vs. big. i've been playing around with it on my system as well. setting large to all front 3 distorts them. setting [email protected] makes the bass disappear. my sweet spot is 100-120hz.
     
  15. Brian_cyberbri

    Brian_cyberbri Stunt Coordinator

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    YiFeng - Yes, getting rid of all the processing and just amplifying the pure unadulterated signal.


    I've come to see (er, hear) that with good speakers, maxing out the bass/treble knobs at home or in the car doesn't sound "good." It may sound dynamic, but with good, balanced speakers and flat response, doing that makes it boomy and harsh/bright and I can't turn it up very loud without it sounding bad. "Flat", not artificially boosting frequencies, is how it's supposed to sound, if you want to hear it as the musicians and recording engineers meant it to be heard. If the frequency response is flat and the speakers are good, you can turn it up higher and higher and it still sounds clean and not boomy/tinny/headache-inducing. Even in my car I run my speakers almost flat - just a few notches up on the bass, even though I used to have all the low/mid/high adjustments on my Pioneer (lots of custom audio adjustments) way up. At first it does sound dull, but once you get used to it after a minute, without comparing it to the artificially boosted/altered sound, it sounds more natural and you can turn it up higher and it stays cleaner. Bass isn't boomy and sounds more natural instead of simple fake artificial "boom" for actual bass guitar/drum sounds.

    Note that with most receivers, the bass/treble adjustments only affect the left/right speakers even in multi-channel modes. I've noticed that on Onkyo and HK anyway, the bass adjustment boost doesn't seem to affect the amount of bass sent to the sub either, so if the speakers are crossed over at 100Hz, the only boost is down to 100Hz.

    Setting the speakers to small means they don't have to try to play deep bass, which is what distorts the sound (and possibly damages at higher volumes).

    I suggest you try listening for a few days or a week with everything "flat" (no boosts) and see if it grows on you. Of course if you have small, non-flat speakers with weak treble, you may just be turning up the treble to compensate - or compensate for a dip in the 100-200Hz range. "Max" is a little extreme though. You're better off with better speakers if that's the only problem. [​IMG] In my wife's car, I have the bass at -4, mid at +2 and treb at +2, because of the horrible bass hump in the sound to make it sound like there's bass when there isn't (with it at 0 you can't turn it up very loud without it giving you a headache). In this case I just use the EQ adjustments to make the response flatter.
     
  16. JediFonger

    JediFonger Producer

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    YiFeng You
    i got b&w dm303 as my mains @home. my car is factory.

    i've always thought about why denon put that feature in. i'm gonna take your advice and (with what little time i have) listen to all the stuff without jacking it up.

    BTW is that how most HT members listen to their stuff?

    PS i've got a feeling i'm gonna pump up the bass though. i love bass, i'm such a bass head, it's all maxed out. i've had my sub's internal protection kick in (therefore no bass) constantly. no bass is good 'nuff =).
     
  17. Brian_cyberbri

    Brian_cyberbri Stunt Coordinator

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    I would assume most people go for flat (or the sound signature of the speakers), or at least no eqing just for the sake of eqing. Some use the internal auto-eqs to tame room acoustics. But it's like calibrating your display - most will go for accurate and calibrated, without artificially boosting the Color and Contrast settings to make the picture artificially bright/neon.
     
  18. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    Time to bring up the ol' Fletcher-Munson Curve again and why I find it irritating that so many manufacturers won't include a loudness circuit on their receivers anymore.

    Two researchers, Fletcher & Munson, found through controlled listening tests that below a certain sound level, the average human is less sensitive to the lowest and highest frequencies. So until around the early 1990s, this is why basically every receiver always included a loudness circuit which automatically boosted those two portions of the audio spectrum at lower volume levels and reduced its effect as the volume was turned up (cheap receivers sometimes didn't include this last feature - not good!). This way one's music sounded (basically) the same at lower levels as it did at higher levels i.e. it sounded "right".

    Or to put it another way, with the loudness circuit engaged, listeners perceive the sound to have a flat response, even though a spectrum analyzer would say otherwise.

    But sometimes with a certain loudness/speaker combination, the circuit's effect could be less than welcome i.e. the bass could get kind of boomy. But most of the time the increase in perception of bass and the higher frequencies more than made up for that.

    FYI: the ultra-audiophiles get their boxers in a bunch over such a feature, claiming they add too much distortion or that they make the music sound unrealistic. Hello! If you can't hear ALL the music all the time I would say that's also unrealistic! And IMO the added distortion is an academic matter.

    BTW: this is also why I believe so many people run their subwoofers rather "hot": they calibrate them at reference level (supposedly everyone HAS to listen at this quite-loud level to hear the movie "properly", something I totally do not believe in) but they end up actually listening to their movies at a much lower level, in turn making it difficult to hear the bass at that lower level. Hence the guilt-tinged admission that they have turned up their sub's level control.
     
  19. Brian_cyberbri

    Brian_cyberbri Stunt Coordinator

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    Yes, "loudness" can be good at low volumes. Unfortunately it seems to stay on all the time in its modern form, rather than having the effect diminish as the volume is turned up. But I've found that with a subwoofer, I wouldn't have a need for loudness anyway, as a sub is efficient enough with bass to not need it. Small car stereo speakers are another story.
     

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