SACD/DVD-A player w/o Bass Management: Pointless?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Neil Weinstock, Jul 20, 2002.

  1. Neil Weinstock

    Neil Weinstock Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2000
    Messages:
    176
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    As I get ready to replace my DVD player, I'm faced with the decision of whether to pay extra for a player with SACD or DVD-A support. But, given that I have small front speakers and all of the cheaper players have no bass management support, what's the point?

    I can't figure out if most folks who are playing with the new formats either all have ICBMs, or large front speakers, or what. They seem to be selling a lot of DVD-A and SACD-capable players nowadays.

    Am I missing something? I'd hate to pass on the capability and then find out there actually was some way I could take advantage of it. My alternative is to just wait on the new formats until there's a better solution.
     
  2. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2000
    Messages:
    3,181
    Likes Received:
    44
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Location:
    Central FL
    Real Name:
    Phil
    The use of bass management in such a device can be good, bad or average depending on how it is accomplished. I would suspect that the lower-priced models for at least a generation or two, won't offer premium quality when performing this function. For my bedroom system, I use the bass management in the receiver for multi-channel music sources (DVD-A and SACD) and live with it. For 2-channel stuff I go analog direct and take a signal from my receiver's amp (vs RCA connection) and set the sub crossover so it just fills in the bass my mains don't reproduce after measurements. I personally don't like bass management on anything I've heard and therefore my main system is full-range all the way around.
     
  3. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2000
    Messages:
    9,413
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Neil, Phil makes a good point. Implementation of bass management is the key, as is the system you have. If you have a satellite speaker system, bass management is probably a must since satellite speakers can easily be overwhelmed by bass. However, I have Energy e:XL 16 bookshelf speakers, and they work fine for surround-sound music with no bass management applied. They certainly aren't the greatest speakers out there, but I don't feel they are overwhelmed by bass. Of course, full-range speakers would likely be better.

    The other issue here is whether one wants to alter the mix on the disc. The mixing engineer presumably went through some thought process in directing some bass to the five main channels -- though with some surrround-sound mixes, it is hard to tell whether there was a thought process, but bass management likely won't help matters, and that's a different subject entirely. In any event, the purist might say that bass management, like any extra processing is a bad thing. So, he or she can go without it and see if it works with small speakers or upgrade to full-range speakers all around.
     
  4. ManojM

    ManojM Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2002
    Messages:
    242
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    It is possible to get good full-range speakers for the rears that are not large floor-standing models. Case in point the Energys above, my Nautilus 805 rears, or the wall mounted Natilus and CDM speakers. I personally think that DVD-A and MC SACD contain enough information in the rear channels that having a full range speaker is advantageous to the sound. I personally think that almost two much attention is paid to the lack of bass management, as a properly configured system in many cases will not need it(and properly configured does not necessarily mean expensive). I would like to see time alignment in some of these players, but still that is not such a deal breaker either...
     
  5. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2000
    Messages:
    5,712
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    There is also the Outlaw 950 pre/pro which does SACD/DVD-A bass management in the analog domain. For any "reasonably priced" receiver to do that, means an A-to-D conversion and back, and then voila, you just lost the benefit of the better sound quality of SACD/DVD-A.

    I would hope that some of the new lines will include this as well. Or even at least *high quality* digital BM (24/192 for both DACs and ADCs). Unfortunately, most makers only use 24/48's for ADCs...
     
  6. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 1999
    Messages:
    3,134
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
     
  7. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2000
    Messages:
    9,413
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Lewis, all I am saying is that bass management and processing in general is not universally accepted. To some, it alters the mix. Obviously, bass management will work for some people with some music and some systems, but it will not work for everyone. This is part of the reason why some go with full-range speakers all-around.

    As for my Energy e:XL 16s, I have a subwoofer in the system and have engaged it with music. All in all, I don't find the e:XL 16s strained for bass in music. I don't have a problem with them. Are they the greatest out there for handling bass? No. However, they are working fine for me. I don't find myself yearning for bass management. I could have bought an ICBM a long time ago, but I haven't seen the need to spend $250.
     
  8. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 1999
    Messages:
    3,134
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
     
  9. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2000
    Messages:
    5,712
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Wow, I actually agree with Lewis here! [​IMG]
    I think that *a lot* (not "most", but definately more than a "few") of people who *think* they have full range speakers, don't. They get misled by the marketing hype spewed forth from the manufacturer.
    Just one example: I bought Def Tech BP-20's a long time ago for mains. Def Tech says they have output down to 20 Hz. Would I call it "useful" output down to 20 Hz? No. -3 dB point is probably around 30 Hz. Even in spite of potentially being able to use a 60 Hz crossover on them, I use 80 Hz, *just to be safe*. In my system with this type of setup, I much prefer the sound when crossed over to a sub than without.
    Plus, I think that *a lot* (same definition [​IMG] ) of people don't understand how to properly set a crossover. Jebediah in the house next to me (the names have been changed to protect the innocent) has his crossover set to what he thinks is the low frequency extension of his mains. But that is wrong. Should be one octave up to account for the slopes involved. (Let's not even talk about phase...)
    I also believe that *most* systems sound better crossed over properly to a good sub. Actually lets the mains sound better because they don't have to work so hard to produce those low freqs. Plus, no main speaker that I know of has good ways of dealing with distortion that low (other than huge drivers and/or long throw excursion). So, for people freaked out about low freq distortion (like me! [​IMG]), we can get a servo Velodyne, Paradigm 15, a Vandersteen with FFEC, or a *really* well designed sub (like SVS, etc.) that minimizes distortion.
    But of course, like anything, YMMV.
     
  10. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2000
    Messages:
    9,413
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Lewis, artistic or technical, the point of altering the mix is valid one for some. I never said anything about it being a technical argument. The point is that over "technicalizing" the system with extra processing, including bass management, is viewed by some as a bad thing as it takes one farther from what the musicians, recording engineer, mixing engineer, etc. intended. There are valid points for and against bass management. For the record, I run my multi-channel SACD player in direct mode and my DVD-Audio play has no bass management. I am happy with the system. Maybe I'll have full-range speakers throughout the 5.1-channel system someday, but if I don't, I'll be fine the way things are.
     
  11. Doug_B

    Doug_B Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2001
    Messages:
    1,081
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    [Bass Mgmt Soapbox]

    First, a full range speaker need only be full range enough to accommodate one's taste in musical selection. I know I don't have a need for extension down to 20Hz for my needs. Thus, there's an argument for those that just want to use their mains w/out sub for their music.

    However, is one still getting adequate bass just through mains? Even for speakers that extend enough for the music selections, the speakers will interact with the room. You have two separate sources of bass located at different positions, so there is a good probability of negative interactions between the two. Generally, one won't get a flat response even if just one of the speakers was outputting bass. Since the mains are not positioned to maximize bass (unless you want the rest of the spectrum to suffer), and since few mains allow for low freq adjustment, one will generally do better by integrating a sub with the mains in some fashion.

    One of the aspects I've noticed when listening to my mains without a sub (which is most of the time) is that the bass sounds faster and tighter than my sub. Whether this is an effect of the smaller woofers (8" vs 12" for my SVS sub) or due to the 2ch amp driving the mains, I don't know. Maybe a better sub for music (Vandersteen?) would have a better result.

    In my room, though, I am fighting with placement / room response issues. My measurements tell me that the sweet spot does not do me justice for the bass produced by my mains, and even my current sub placement is not appropriate. I also notice that there are interactions between my sub and mains even for frequencies approaching an octave below my pre/pro's xover (12db slope).

    My conclusion, at least for my system, is that my bass response may very well improve with 1) a combination of alternate sub placement and use of an equalizer (e.g., BFD), and 2) use of either a crossover or ICBM, to allow for analog domain bass mgmt for my music sources (so I can use my sources' analog outputs). I fully expect to improve my music's bass response via these mechanisms, although I still wonder whether the SVS will give me the tight bass I perceived with my mains, and the use of the BFD may not be able to fully address the interactions between sub and mains.

    As for the argument about where the engineers intend the sound to go, I generally view this as a non-issue for low frequencies due to non-localization characteristics (although I don't know if room acoustics can have some sort of effect on perceived localization). For low freq music I have heard in my system, localization has not been perceived.

    [/Bass Mgmt Soapbox]

    I now return you to your previous programming.

    Doug
     
  12. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2000
    Messages:
    9,413
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Doug, good post. It wasn't off-topic or a diversion in my opinion. You have obviously gone to a lot of trouble evaluating bass response/interaction in your listening environment. Pulling out the meter and testing one's environment can open up a can of worms, but it can obviously be instructive at the same time. I have not gone through my exercise myself.
     
  13. Doug_B

    Doug_B Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2001
    Messages:
    1,081
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Keith,
    For me, doing the measurements is one thing, and acting on them is another matter. I actually did some measurements months ago but still am living with the "compromises". I guess, probably like you, I want to do more of just listening to the music and less of tweaking the components, even though a little work now...
    Fortunately, I have a vacation coming up next month, where some of my time off will be at home (with the kids at camp/day care). This is my first contiguous vacation since Christmas, when I first bought most of my components, so I'll dedicate some time to the bass mgmt issue, with at least the BFD in my possession. The small expense of the BFD, coupled with the potential benefits, make it a worthwhile "experiment". [This will also be a good time to look at front projectors; big TVs can sure mess with the audio experience [​IMG] ].
    Doug
     
  14. David Judah

    David Judah Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 1999
    Messages:
    1,479
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
     
  15. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 1999
    Messages:
    3,134
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
     
  16. Mal P

    Mal P Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2000
    Messages:
    127
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Gentlemen,

    The Denon DVD-3000 and DVD-9000 both have time delays, as well as bass management (80hz crossover, 12dB/Octave slope). It appears as though you can actually turn the centre off too... and re-direct the signal to the L/R channels (I'll need to confirm that though). That last option would be good for me, who doesn't generally like centre speakers and watches in phantom mode.

    Cheers,
    Mal
     
  17. Nathan_W

    Nathan_W Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2001
    Messages:
    206
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
     
  18. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 1999
    Messages:
    3,134
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Nathan,
    most receiver's BM doesn't operate on the 6ch "external" input.
    However most do on the regular 2ch inputs corresponding to it's video or CD input.In that case an A-D conversion happens most of the time.There are some brands like Denon who employs a "paralell" analog domain BM on it's receivers,but don't know for sure what other brands do this.
    MFRS not always tell the truth, or being missinformed.
     
  19. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2000
    Messages:
    5,712
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ahhh, the potential bass cancellation from 2 separated (full range) mains is another reason that crossing over to a sub can sound better...
     
  20. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2001
    Messages:
    4,951
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Are B&W 602s considered small? To me, it sounds better without the sub, and that does include music with heavy bass.

    If I could afford it, I would have 5 full-range speakers that are all exactly the same. I am of the camp that adding external bass management takes away from the original recording.
     

Share This Page