Towers and SUB in 5.1 setup (large or small) ?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by anthony_b, Aug 13, 2001.

  1. anthony_b

    anthony_b Screenwriter

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    I have towers that can go as low as 27hz and a dedicated velodyne. I'm having this dilema on how to set the towers ?..Do I set them to Large or Small ?...Does my sub get less bass if I set my towers to Large ?...I feel if I set my towers to small it would be like listening to satelites !..Am I wrong ?
     
  2. Mike LS

    Mike LS Supporting Actor

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    A couple of things to consider about that.
    If this is mostly used for 5.1, then set the mains to large. The bass will be routed correctly for your setup.
    If you also use this setup for analog listening, you might want to set it to normal (or small...whatever).
    Check your receiver manual to see if it has a setting that will still utilize the sub when the mains are set to large. Most do not. In this set up, the sub is cut out altogether in stereo.
    As for the full range speakers being used like sats....that's basically the case, but it's better to have them set that way in alot of systems.
    I have full range mains and have played with it both ways. The biggest thing I notice is a need to recalibrate when I switch. I don't get as much volume from my mains when I go from large to normal. It's really not as much a reduction of bass, as just an overall reduction in the signal.
     
  3. Steve T

    Steve T Stunt Coordinator

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    It really comes down to what sounds best to you.
    Setting full range speakers to small (and therefore having all speakers set to small) appears to take a substantial load off an AVR. The subwoofer is taking care of all low frequencies. To me, both the sound of music and movies improves.
    Now that I use external amplification for the fronts I can set them to large.
     
  4. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    With mains that go down that low, I would let them do their job and set them to large.
    I'm not sure what Mike LS is talking about, since all of my receivers (Sony, now Marantz), including the one I have now, utilize the sub in stereo with my speakers set to large.
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    [Edited last by John Garcia on August 13, 2001 at 03:21 PM]
     
  5. anthony_b

    anthony_b Screenwriter

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    My ONKYO 575x is great with the variety of size options. I have the ability to set all my speakers to large and still set the sub to yes. My onkyo's sub output crosses over at 80hz, so even if I set my towers to large would they recieve any signal below 80hz ?...Do I might as well set them to small then ?
     
  6. Rob Michaw

    Rob Michaw Stunt Coordinator

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    Anthony -
    Setting your towers to large will not cut you off at 80 Hz or any other level. You will be getting the full signal. I think Mike LS meant to say that you would set them as small, and your bass would route properly. Setting your towers as large does not send you bass properly to your sub (if the bass was to be played in one of your two main channels).
    A few questions need to be asked and answered. What type of speakers do you have, and what are your listening habits? If you have matched (or even if you have unmatched speakers), chances are, you should run them ALL as small. Even if your particular towers spec. out at gowing down to 27, in your particualr room they may not even reach 33 without being -10 dB or more (possibly...who knows without giving it a try). If that is the case and you have set up your mains as LARGE, and particular movie you are watching has low frequency sounds below 30 Hz originating in the LEFT and RIGHT, your speakers will not reproduce them, and your sub will never get the chance to produce them either. In cases like these, you are S.O.L., or more accurately, without bass below 30 Hz (or wherever your REAL cutoff is).
    A good test disc for this is the Matrix. Put in the disc and spin up the chapter where Neo and Morpheus are kung-fu training. Get to the point in the fight sequence where Morpheus comes flying across the screen to drop his knee. (As a note, I am not sure which channel the bass frequencies are originating in, so I would recommend turning your MAINS & CENTER to LARGE). Listen to the sequence. Now replay the scene with your front soundstage all set to SMALL. If you can't hear AND feel a huge difference when the knee lands, your dedicated velodyne isn't doing it's job. I did that test for a buddy of mine that was running powered towers (that cut off around 27), and he had no sub. After hearing the test, he went out and bought a sub to test in his own environment, and he realized that the sub did more than even his powered towers (much to his chagrin).
    Another factor about setting your speakers to small is that it takes some of the burden of volume off your speaker and amp, and places it on the sub, allowing some more dynamic headroom for your mains.
    Now on the music issue, that might be tough call. Setting for LARGE may make music sound better in your opinion (it does to me...although sometimes I will be losing some bottom end on certain peices). However, I do not like the idea of switching on and off of the LARGE speaker setting for watching movies and listening to music, so this is what I do. I have my speakers set to SMALL. However, when I use my CD player, I have my receiver set to Direct (not Stereo). This forces a full signal to bypass my electronics in my receiver and play directly to speakers as LARGE for this input (I have an Integra 7.1, and I believe you can do the same thing with your Onkyo). On the odd occasion, I switch my input mode to Stereo when I know I am missing REALLY low bass (which then gives me my sub and towers set back to small). However, I personally feel that when I introduce the electronics of my receiver by routing bass from the mains to the sub for music, I feel I reduce the transparency of the soundstage, and most definitely narrow the stage.
    Those are my thoughts at least. Good luck and experiment alot. I did, and these are the conlusions I came up with (along with reading lots of helpfull tips from other forum members).
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  7. Mike LS

    Mike LS Supporting Actor

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    Not really....every receiver I've owned or demoed would properly route the bass to the sub with the mains set to large while using DD or DTS. I said that when utilizing the system for 5.1, setting the mains to large should still route the bass properly.
    It's using the same setup for stereo listening that can screw your sound up. That's when alot of receivers will completely cut the sub out of the picture.
    Again, it all depends on your receivers features.
     
  8. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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  9. Mike Sheahan

    Mike Sheahan Stunt Coordinator

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    With the Denon 3802 I have the option of configuring the LFE to either Subwoofer or Sub plus Main when using the Mains in the Large setting.
    I have Klipsch RF-3's, and prefer the sound I get with them set to large, and the LFE set to Sub only.
    With this configuration I believe my sub is the only speaker receiving any LFE signal, although I don't believe the RF-3's are being crossed over at 80Hz. The RF-3's are only rated to 37Hz, but I think that the difference from 80Hz to 37Hz, {or wherever they bottom off at), makes a big difference in sound quality.
    I tried the Matrix Kung Fu test, and with all speakers set to small the sound doesn't seem full enough.
    I've also tried setting all my speakers to Large, even the RS-3's I have for side and rear surrounds, although the sound was just too muddy. My SC-3 center is rated to 60Hz which didn't seem to have much affect, and the RS-3's are rated to 49Hz.
    All of the speakers in this setup are rated in the Mid to upper 90's for sensitivity, so they don't tax the amp very much.
    My sub woofer may not be up to the job. It is an older Yamaha YSW-150. I'm waiting to see what the new Reference line of Subs from Klipsch feels like.
    When I get a better Sub I will check my configuration again and see if setting all of them to small works better.
     
  10. anthony_b

    anthony_b Screenwriter

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    I'm assuming that if my Onkyo 575x lets me set my mains to large with sub "yes", it will send a full range to my towers and not go "cheap" in the .1 on my sub.....Then again you all know what ass-u-ming does !!
     
  11. Martice

    Martice Screenwriter

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    In regards to taxing the receivers amps when running full range goes, this is why I'm a strong advocate of at least one 2-channel amp assuming part of the load from a receiver. What we must realize is that most receivers were not designed to run large all around speakers. Mainly because the average consumer cannot afford or doesn't have the room for such a setup. Depending on a subwoofer to perform double duty as bottom feeder and load reliever as well as helping fill the bottom to mid-range gap that some speakers cannot reproduce properly is not the best choice IMO. The chance of having your sub easily localized and that boomy bass we hate is the risk we run due to stretching the frequencies that the sub would have to cover. I for one don't listen to my sub during 2-channel music but I do like to feel it during movies. Notice I said feel it and not hear it. In my opinion, if you want to maximize your performance in regards to running your speakers on large in an effortless manor, then invest in proper amplification and let the sub do what it's supposed to do and that's to mind it's business...and recreate what we want to feel on the bottom end of our movies and not hear because that's what our other 5 speakers are for.
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  12. Rob Michaw

    Rob Michaw Stunt Coordinator

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    Mike -
    If you couldn't hear the difference in the Matrix kung-fu test, your mains are probably covering up for your sub-par sub performance. I had 3 subs before I could hear the difference, but it REALLY does exist with some oomph you can actually feel.
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  13. anthony_b

    anthony_b Screenwriter

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    This is my conclusion. 5.1 is designed for 5 channels of full range signals plus a subwoofer. In other words the original setup is supposed to use 5 full range speakers. I'm going to set my towers to large and set my sub to "yes" on the basis of what 5.1 is in theory.
     
  14. NickSP

    NickSP Supporting Actor

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    I have the 3801 with Klipsch all around, RF3,RS3,RC3 and have set the RF3s to Large and the rest to small. In the setup menu I have selected LFE form an option of LFE or LFE+Mains. I have the Energy ES-10 sub and am very happy with both music and HT.
    The Matrix KungFu test works the best for me in the above configuration. I guess the real answer lies in playing with speaker settings and placement. Makes a lot of difference.
     
  15. Steve T

    Steve T Stunt Coordinator

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    I completely agree with Martice, especially with the lower end receivers. The lack of full range, 5 channel power became apparent when I started to listen to DVD-Audio. After supplementing the receiver with external 2 channel amplification for the front L/R, the music really opened up. Movies sound much better as well.
     
  16. anthony_b

    anthony_b Screenwriter

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    Steve, if that is the case why would recievers give you the option of setting all your speakers to large and still have a sub ?...Again, dolby digital is 5 discrete amplifiers that could produce full range output to all speakers and super low frequences (.1)to a dedicated sub.
     

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