System doesn't sound very good with music.

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mark Fitzsimmons, Jan 21, 2002.

  1. Mark Fitzsimmons

    Mark Fitzsimmons Supporting Actor

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    I have the Kenwood HTB-504 home theater in a box. I just popped in an audio cd into my Playstation 2 (My 'real' DVD player wouldn't play this CD [Panasonic DVD-RV30]) today to listen to and the sound quality really is kinda weak.

    Settings on the reciever 'Kenwood VR-507' I am in stereo mode. The front speakers are set to normal, the only other option is large. I think normal would be the appropriate setting because I am using bookshelf speakers (a 4 inch driver and a 1" tweeter.)

    I am connecting the PS2 to the reciever via optical cable. Perhaps it would sound better if I connected the analog rca's and switched the imput mode from digital to analog?

    The midrange and high frequencies sound pretty good, but the bass is muddy, flat, and unresponsive. It sounds worse than both my car and my computer speakers 'Logitech z560' I've tried to correct the bass by moving the subwoofer around. Nothing is helping. The sub I am using is Kenwood's SW-35HT. It's a 8" 100w powered subwoofer.

    In the end my questions are these. I understand that the subwoofer is small and weak and the best method to improving it's sound would be to replace it. This is the future plan, but is there anything I can try to squeeze a few more ounces of performance out if it? Are there any other settings I can try to improve the performance of my system for listening to music?

    About upgrading the subwoofer. I have read about SVS and they seem to be the favorate and is what I'd like to buy but can't really justify spending that amount of cash. What are some good subwoofers in the $300 range? Perhaps I could do a DYI sub, I have the woodworking skills I would need to fabricate an enclosure, don't some people buy car subwoofers and use a home theater amp to power them? This seems like it could be an economical option.

    Thank you very much for your help.
     
  2. Rick_Brown

    Rick_Brown Second Unit

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    Sure, you can try using the analogue outs from the Playstation to see if it sounds any better. But why can't you play a CD in your DVD player? Have you checked the setup settings on the DVD? Also, have you balanced the sub's output compared to your other speakers? Does the sub have a phase switch? Try that. Your description of "muddy, flat and unresponsive" sounds like a phase related problem. If your bass sounds as bad as you say I think you should check these things out before buying a more expensive sub.
     
  3. Mark Fitzsimmons

    Mark Fitzsimmons Supporting Actor

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    The CD wouldn't play in my DVD player because it was a CD-R burned on my computer. I got one of my old factory pressed CD's and it works. Just a little harder for me to audition now because they are tracks I am not too familiar with anymore.

    I have only balanced the sub by ear. I do not have a SPL meter yet. But my birthday is friday and will have one then.

    My sub does not have a phase switch.

    Maybe my descriptions of how my sub sounds is a little harsh due to what I am comparing it to. It sounds good to my ears during movies but this also may be due to what I am comparing it to. I don't know anyone else with a home theater so I am basicly just listening and saying 'hey this is nice.' However, because I have heard many stereos before I can tell this doesn't sound too great. The midrange and highs sound great, just the bass is lacking, but again I state this may only be because I have been spoiled by my car.
     
  4. Ray R

    Ray R Stunt Coordinator

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    I owned a VR307 and you might want to check the specs in your manual. I believe you will find that the receiver is only listed as having a frequency response from 40 Hz to 20 kHz. A good powered sub did make a difference for music, but it was still missing something. Not until I replaced the Kenwood with a Denon did I get a good two channel music sound.
     
  5. DannyL

    DannyL Stunt Coordinator

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    i have a similar htb from kenwood for my playstation 2. try replacing the standard (dental floss thin) speaker wire with 16 gauge rat shack wire and also replace the subwoofer cable. i definitely got better bass response with these inexpensive replacements.
     
  6. Mark Fitzsimmons

    Mark Fitzsimmons Supporting Actor

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    Ray, a point of clarification. I have the Kenwood HTB-504, which includes the VR-507 reciever. The VR-507 is actually a pretty good reciever with a retail around $300 I believe.

    I did replace the speaker wire, I am using Home Depot OFC 14 gauge. How big of a difference will the subwoofer cable make? It may be a worthwile investment.
     
  7. Nathan Hamstra

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    For one thing, running the ps2's analog outs to the receiver is almost guaranteed to make the sound worse, unless the receiver has an analog bypass (with most analog sources into an ht receiver, the analog is converted to digital, modified, dsp'ed, etc., then converted back to analog). If you do have an analog bypass, then you would just be comparing the DAC's in both the products, and I doubt either the kenwood's or the ps2's DACs are horrible.
     
  8. Mark Fitzsimmons

    Mark Fitzsimmons Supporting Actor

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    Looks like I'll just use the optical for the audio and forget using the analog if it'll be better.

    Any tuning tips that might help? Will the subwoofer cable help me out?

    FYI, I just watched Swordfish and the sub sounded good, it just sounds pretty bad for music. I'll describe it again as slow and boomy.
     
  9. Nitin_kakkar

    Nitin_kakkar Extra

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    Mark I am in same boat as you, Try this

    From your DVD player, take the L&R audio out to CD input ( NOT Audio jack for video input) it helped me a little. If you have AVIA try calibration also.
     
  10. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

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    Mark, have you calibrated the sub using Avia? Also, does the sub have any crossover management of its own? What is the crossover set to on the kenwood receiver? Make sure that these do not collide. If you're using the bass management of the Kenwood then make sure to either turn off the crossover on the sub or turn it up as high as it will go.

    I would say your complaint about slow and boomy is a common complaint from music enthusiasts when listening to music on a sub that was geared for home theater. Going to a bigger sub will not solve this problem. You'll want to do some research into finding a more musical sounding sub. Either that or invest in bigger mains that can handle more bass.

    cheers,

    --tom
     
  11. John E F

    John E F Stunt Coordinator

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    Many times I have gone to a friend's house with the same complaint about the sub. Most of the time I find that their sub is playing way too loud. Granted, a budget sub is a budget sub, but once calibrated to the same level as the rest of the speakers this should be less noticeable. You shouldn't really be able to tell the bass is coming from the sub with music. Movies are different in the sence that they use the sub and bass for a lot of effects. With music I find a lot of people want to turn up the sub for extra impact. You have to remember that in most, not all, music the bass is an instrument and not an LFE type effect.
     
  12. Mike Veroukis

    Mike Veroukis Second Unit

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    We have a Yamaha RX-V496 driving the JBL scs135 5.1 satellite/sub combo. I too noticed that for movies it sounds great but music has a weak midrange. I also noticed that when I calibrate the sub for movies, it is way off when I listen to music. When I listen to movies I find I need to turn down the sub a fair bit otherwise the booming is overwhelming. It might be the opposite for you.

    Check to see what kind of menu options you have for your receiver. It's possible it will provide a method of adjusting sub output depending on which inputs are used.

    I've also noticed that these HTB solutions are designed to work together as a system and thus provide less settings to fiddle with, hence the lack of adjustable crossovers and phase swithes. Your options to expand such a system may be limited. You should determine what the sub cross-over mark is (for example Yamaha uses 90Hz, Marantz uses 100Hz, what does Kenwood use?).

    What I would suggest is to leave the sub as is, get some larger speakers for mains that can produce a more musical sound with some bass and turn the sub off when listening to music. Even if I had a top end system I'd probably leave the sub off for music and turn it on only for movies. You might also want to get a bigger center channel (matching with the mains as best as you can) and I think you will then enjoy movies a lot more as well.

    Good luck.

    - Mike
     
  13. matthew_rm

    matthew_rm Second Unit

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    Is the music you "burned" an MP3? That might be why. Also, HTIB are never good on music.
     
  14. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    The reason is simple, I'm going to guess, as is pretty much standard across the board for low cost HTiBs, that the sub is the weak link. HTiBs are cost effective, but are a compromise at best. I have yet to hear an HTiB for less than $700 that sounded good with music.

    Calibration will probably help some, but it will not make a night and day difference, and certainly will not correct a weak sub, if that is the problem.

    You could maybe take a look at the Sony SA-WM40 to replace it for under $200. You will get more bass, but that may not be the problem. The issue could lie in the DVD/CD player or the receiver.
     

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