Wasted Money on New Amp?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ron Duca, Jun 2, 2002.

  1. Ron Duca

    Ron Duca Stunt Coordinator

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    I've read numerous threads regarding SMALL vs LARGE speaker settings and have never seen anyone question the use of a multi-channel amp using the SMALL settings.

    Here is my pertinent equipment:

    Anthem MCA 50 Amp (180x5)
    Yamaha RX-V995 Receiver (used as pre/pro)
    Paradigm Monitor 9 mains
    Paradigm CC-350 center
    Paradigm Mini-Monitor rears
    Paradigm PW-2200 subwoofer
    Sony CD Player
    Toshiba DVD Player


    I listen to music in two channel and find that for my system, setting my L&R mains to SMALL makes them sound rather "thin". Using the LARGE setting makes them sound "fuller", especially in the low end. So I prefer the LARGE setting, at least for music.

    However, the majority of members here recommend setting all speakers to SMALL. Even if I can blend in my sub to make things sound good, aren't I wasting the power of my amplifier by not letting it pump out the lower end sounds through my mains, which is what it excels in? Do any other amp users wonder about this in their setups?


    Ron
     
  2. Miles Abbey

    Miles Abbey Agent

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    Ron,
    I've been wondering the same thing. I have my fronts and rears set as large, but my center on small. What is the advantage of setting everything to small? Especially when you have a capable set of fronts? I would love to hear an expert explain this [​IMG]
    Miles
     
  3. Miles Abbey

    Miles Abbey Agent

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    I forgot to mention I have a similar setup:

    Yamaha RXV-995
    Rotel 993 external amp running center and fronts 200w/channel

    boston acoustics vrm90s fronts
    boston acoustics vrmc center
    boston dxpro rears
     
  4. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    One key here is what your crossover point is. IIRC, 90Hz is common for Yamaha, which will not allow your 9s to utilize most of their midrange. Setting them to large, allows the internal crossovers to do their job and let the speakers sound the way they were designed to.

    I am using Minis as my mains, set to small, and I think they sound very good. Even the Minis sound better set to large, as I get much more midrange for music, so I frequently switch my system to Mains=large, sub=yes for music. I get overlap, but I don't mind.

    I'm not familiar with the Yamaha, but if you have a sorce direct or analog direct/bypass, I would use that for music. This should bypass the internal crossover and run the mains as large regardless of your configuration (I'm not sure if this is true for Yamaha or not). What you might lose is your sub output, as some receivers do.

    I agree that floorstanders normally sound better set to large, which is why I don't buy floorstanders. If you are going to set them to small, then just get SMALL speakers. In a 2ch only system, I would definitely go with floorstanders and set them to large, likely with no sub.

    Setting them to small does not "waste" the amps power. Rather, that power is now there in reserve for dynamic peaks and clean, healthy playback (not to mention volume). Better to have more than enough than not enough.
     
  5. brucek

    brucek Second Unit

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    Ron,

    The first reason we use the small setting is that there are not many mains speakers that can realistically produce the 20Hz to 80Hz portion of the spectrum for which subwoofers are designed. If you actually had mains speakers that could output the levels required for this low end job, it would be asking a lot of your multichannel amps resources. By passing these duties off to a subwoofer, you have freed your multichannel amp to do a better job as John said in his post.

    But this is a minor consideration compared to the real reason you don't use the large setting for multichannel. Bass frequencies are the most problematic because of room resonances that are set up between parallel surfaces (walls, ceilings, floors).These axial modes create standing waves that cause cancellations at various locations in the room, so careful speaker placement and equalization is essential at these frequencies.

    When you feed a full range signal to five speakers in a room you are in for some serious cancellation problems. Each speaker acoustically couples to the room resonaces differently. It's just about impossible to create good bass in this situation. This is why bass management exists. We use a processor to separate all the low frequency information from all five channels and send it to one speaker that can be located for the optimum signal in the room and then equalization becomes possible with this single channel. Since frequencies below 80Hz aren't localizable, it allows a lot of flexibility of location for the sub.

    If you're having trouble with your system sounding "thin" when set to small, then the problem lies with either the sub being "challenged", which would not be the situation in your case, given your equipment list. Or, you haven't set your system up properly - i.e. sub location or equalization or system levels. It can also be attributed sometimes to incorrect crossover frequency - it's nice if you're able to adjust it.........

    brucek
     
  6. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

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    Here is a thread reply taken from AVS posted by Brian Florian. I think it contains a lot of great info related to your question.

     
  7. Miles Abbey

    Miles Abbey Agent

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    Wow, I can't get to my receiver fast enough to change every thing to small!! I was playing with this yesterday and found when everything was set to small the sub sounded a little boomy. I have Boston Acoustics vrm90's as fronts, boston vrmc as center, and boston dx pros as rears, and boston pv800 sub. I guess my sub isn't musical enough? If not, do you have any suggestions? Oh my poor wife... What is she going to say when I tell her my sub isn't good enough... God love her[​IMG]
    Thanks,
    Miles
     
  8. Mark Austin

    Mark Austin Supporting Actor

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    Several speaker manufacturers are starting to deonounce the "small" setting mainly for 2 channel music listening, but some even for HT puposes. Adjustable crossover points make a difference to a degree, but I too have noticed that when set to small the sound is thin no matter where the crossover is set. Quality sub? Yep, I've got a quality sub.
    For movies I still go with small all the way around. For music I go with large.
     
  9. Michael R Price

    Michael R Price Screenwriter

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    Well wait a minute. Any respectable sub should be better than your mains at producing bass. If it is, then why does it sound worse when it produces bass instead of your mains? Something's wrong.
     
  10. Mark Austin

    Mark Austin Supporting Actor

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  11. Drew Bethel

    Drew Bethel Screenwriter

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    >>>> As noted by Mr. Blackburn, a speaker should have linear response below the nominal crossover point anyway for certain crossover designs, which in the case of an 80Hz point means being good to at least 40.
     
  12. Mark Austin

    Mark Austin Supporting Actor

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  13. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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  14. Stephen Houdek

    Stephen Houdek Second Unit

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    Gee, another AVS forum snob......What a surprise. His opinion is all that is relevant. I don't even like the tone of that little ditty.[​IMG]
     
  15. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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  16. brucek

    brucek Second Unit

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    John,
     
  17. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    Although I tend to agree with his comments one thing he didn't point out was that even "good" subs can sound boomy/bloated if not placed properly. If care is taken to properly place the sub (and equilize it for room nulls and peaks) subs should (and do) do a better job of producing the frequencies from 20 to 80 better then most tower speakers. Of course there are exceptions but if you aren't happy with your mains as small try moving the sub until you get a smoother freq response (running SPL sweeps is a good start)
     
  18. Drew Bethel

    Drew Bethel Screenwriter

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    >>>>There are plenty of good bookshelf speakers that cover low enough, with the appropriate crossover on the receiver.
     
  19. Mark Austin

    Mark Austin Supporting Actor

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  20. Drew Bethel

    Drew Bethel Screenwriter

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    Thanks Mark, I was thinking along those lines (price-wise) as well.
     

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