Sony SAWM40 / Onkyo 595 -- Total bass setup confusion!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Sean Laughter, Sep 7, 2001.

  1. Sean Laughter

    Sean Laughter Screenwriter

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    Well, I went and bought the Sony sub at Best Buy because I figured I'd have consumer guilt if I bought it but I'd feel even worse if I passed up that price.
    Anyway, yes, I've read that amazing AVIA explanation that is now on the second page, and it is informative though not really anything I didn't already know, but it didn't really give me any idea of HOW I'm supposed to calibrate this subwoofer.
    I'm using AVIA by the way. Right now Subwoofer = YES, and everything else is set to small. I have speaker distance and levels set as well. The Sony sub has a phase switch, a crossover dial and a level dial. Picking the phase will be easy enough and I know I need to have the crossover all the way over to 170Hz, but it's the level dial I'm confused about.
    The Onkyo has a separate speaker level setting for the subwoofer once you set it to yes, and I assume that is for the LFE. I just don't know if I should be adjusting that or adjusting the physical level dial on the subwoofer?!
    Also, the SPL readings are very sporadic on the subwoofer. In AVIA I was using the subwoofer setup test tones that first give you a tone on one of the main channels (to note its SPL level I guess) and then follows that immediately with a bass tone. The bass tone wiggles wildly and I'm not even sure if this is where I should be reading the SPL from that anyway. Should the channel speaker tone (before the bass tone) in this setup menu be at 85db? Because my speakers are calibrated to 85db through the main speaker setup, but these tones in the subwoofer setup don't give the same 85db out of the main speakers.
    I'm rambling, I'm just completely confused of how I should be using AVIA and the Onkyo subwoofer dB level adjust and the physical level dial on the subwoofer in order to my bass management!!! Help?? [​IMG]
     
  2. Jeremy Anderson

    Jeremy Anderson Screenwriter

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    Sean, I recommend this: Set the subwoofer level on the Onkyo to about -5. Then use the knob on the sub itself to calibrate with Avia. The knob on your sub is really GAIN more than it is level, and lowering it on the receiver will give you a bit more headroom for heavy bass.
    I found it helpful with the Radio Shack SPL meter to set the dial 10db higher. For instance, if you're calibrating to 75db, set your SPL meter to 80 so that the reading is to the left of zero. This will keep the needle from bouncing as much, since the left side of the dial is more inaccurate.
    Once you get it pretty close, you can then change the -5 on the receiver to fine tune it from your listening position.
     
  3. Sean Laughter

    Sean Laughter Screenwriter

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    Thank Jeremy, but I'm still not sure what tone on AVIA I should be calibrating with. I figure not the bass sweeps right? I thought of just trying to even out the bass that is taken from the front speakers by using the left-front, center, and left-front bass test tones. I can't find a test tone on AVIA that is only for LFE though.
     
  4. Jeremy Anderson

    Jeremy Anderson Screenwriter

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    You shouldn't have to calibrate with anything other than the tone for the left speaker that alternates between the left main and your sub (with all speakers set to small). So long as you have all your speakers at equal levels, that will make everything match up.
    The tones for all the other speakers are so you can make sure bass management is working correctly for all channels. I found out the importance of this the hard way when I checked on my old JVC receiver and found that my surrounds were redirecting pretty much NO bass to the sub. JVC claimed this wasn't a problem and refused to help me, so... I got the Onkyo 595 (which works beautifully).
    There is no dedicated LFE tone because it is wholly unnecessary. Once you set overall bass levels, the LFE will be at the right level regardless. Some receivers have a separate LFE level control, and if you were really picky about that you could use Avia's dedicated LFE frequency sweep (found in the Verification and Evaluation section) to make sure LFE level is correct. Either way, your Onkyo has no separate LFE level control... just a sub level control. Don't feel like that's a deficiency or anything, because the Onkyo does correctly pad the LFE by +10db as it should and LFE levels are correct so long as you set overall bass levels to reference.
     
  5. Sean Laughter

    Sean Laughter Screenwriter

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    Thanks Jeremy, that should help alot. I also need to get a longer cord for my subwoofer so I have more choices on placement, so that's another problem.
    One more question though, but it doesn't really pertain to the bass setup, just the main speaker setup. Which tones in AVIA am I supposed to be using to set my main fronts, center, and surrounds to 85dB? Under "Main Speaker Setup" there are tones labeled "Left-Front Level" which sounds right, but under the Reference Tones section there are WideBand Pink Noise for each speaker. Which of these should be used to set the main speakers? They both have little blurbs in the introduction saying they should both read 85dB but when I set via one the other doesn't read the same dB level.
     
  6. Michael Warner

    Michael Warner Supporting Actor

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    I see you're using Avia but I just wanted to warn you to stay away from the 595's internal test tones as the tone for the LFE channel is a good 10dB too low.
    When calibrating my sub (also the SAWM40) the needle fluctuates quite a bit as well so I just consider the midpoint in its wavering to be the most accurate reading.
     
  7. Sean Laughter

    Sean Laughter Screenwriter

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    I never use the internal test tones on the 595, I'm well aware of that.
     
  8. Jeremy Anderson

    Jeremy Anderson Screenwriter

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    The tones under REFERENCE TONES are wideband tones for use in EQ'ing... Don't use those to set the levels (because the surrounds will be about 2db too high if you do).
     
  9. Sean Laughter

    Sean Laughter Screenwriter

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    Thanks Jeremy, guess I know what I'll be doing when I get home tonight [​IMG]
     
  10. Ted Kontos

    Ted Kontos Stunt Coordinator

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  11. Jeremy Anderson

    Jeremy Anderson Screenwriter

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    All I meant was that it's easier to use the receiver's level from your listening position than to get up and adjust the dial bit by bit. If you've got everything set to 75db, you're good.
     

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