Speaker Basics

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by joethespic, Aug 23, 2006.

  1. joethespic

    joethespic Auditioning

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    I recently bought myself a Pioneer VSX80TXV receiver and hooked them up my to my old JBL speakers. I ran the automatic speaker detection setup (MCACC) and it classified my speakers as being "small". Since running the MCACC my speakers have been sounding really low. I have to raise the volume nearly to it's max to enjoy a movie.

    I've since decided to replace my speakers with Klipsch Reference 10 speakers. So far, I've gotten myself the center and front speakers. However, I'm still experiencing the same problem...

    The MCACC is still classifying my speakers, except for my new front speakers, as "small".

    What does that actually mean, when a speaker is small?

    Could this be what is causing the reduction in sound?

    My receiver outputs at 110Watts, my new speakers run at 75watts continous and 300watts maximum. Does this make a difference?

    Any thoughts?
    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    9 times out of 10, small is the correct setting. That means the lowest bass is being sent to your sub (providing you have one), since most speakers cannot handle those frequencies well. The fact that you need to raise the level to nearly max would tend to suggest you don't have enough power for the level you want to listen at.

    Don't worry about the wattage rating of the speakers as long as they don't sound strained. Those are min and max numbers, not the "operating" range.
     
  3. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    from the Klispch siteWhat happens with the volume control when you don't use MCACC?
     
  4. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Do not get caught up in the "small is bad, I paid enough to get large" penile psychobabble; "small" is the setting for 99% of the HT speaker systems out there and is sometimes even preferable for the rare speakers which qualify as "large" - mainly due to multiple nulls and peaks caused by multiple source locations for low sub-bass signals. In addition, since all low bass is routed to the low level (i.e. non-amplified) line-out on the receiver, it frees the receiver's amplifiers to commit more power to the higher frequencies, instantly allowing you higher output levels with lower distortion. In other words (for HT applications, that is) "small" is better.

    As far as your sound level problems, DD and DTS have a wide dynamic range which can require you to output at a high level to hear the lowest dialog and sound. This is normal. Most of us watch at levels which require us to turn the knob up to 20-10 decibels of the reference point, which is probably about 80-90% of the capability of the receiver's volume (capability without distortion, that is).
     
  5. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    "Bass Management Basics – Settings Made Simple"

    But then we have this less optimistic article:

    "Bass Management Woes: Trouble on the Slopes"

    If a person doesn't really want to get into the guts of bass management, then just read the first link. But he wants to really get the most out of his system, read the second one. IMO if most people knew what it really took to set up the ultimate surround system, they would never buy one ("Ohmuhgawd that's enormous, a satellite that uses an eight inch woofer - you're mad!!" [​IMG] ).

    I sure would like to see someone with some audio measurement software do a survey of popular 5.1 movies - and not just the ones with overproduced bass soundtracks that almost invariably have boring sh**ty stories - to see if any of them have signals below say, 40Hz, in their left/right/center/surround channels. Why a soundtrack engineer would do such a thing when he has the LFE channel available makes no sense..........unless having bass below 80Hz emerge from a particular direction has some kind of an advantage.

    And phase problems i.e. the potential for cancellation and/or augmentation of audio signals, can only happen when more than one channel outputs the same bass signal - why would a surround mixing engineer do something boneheaded like that?

    I realize doing everything by the numbers sometimes has its advantages, but I would rather not be a slave to them. With my own system with all channels set to large, the very lowest bass isn't quite as powerful, BUT everything else sounds better plus the bass isn't as boomy. As they say, your mileage may vary.
     

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