Annoying Bass or certain lack of!.

RustySpoons

Well-known Member
Hi All,

I've got a dillema with something in my living room, for some reason some bass notes sound and feel like they are coming from behind you, and some bass notes sound lacking, if I get up and stand somewhere else in the room it sounds perfect, walk into another room again sounds great, sit back down anywhere and the bass doesnt sound right at all!, it's really annoying feeling it in your back. it doesnt sound like its towards you at all. I had exactly the same thing in my last house but put it down to having stairs in my living room!, I also decided on having carpet in this place and went for cloud 9 11mm underlay to help with accoustics.

The set up is:

Speakers: B&W 602 s3's
Amp: Marrantz PM 6010 Ki Sig
CD: Marrantz 5001 OSE Version
Stands: Alphason, with spikes.

Please help!, i've tried the following.. Swapped the amp for a nad 3020e, which did nothing to change the bass, just sounded awful!. It's not the cd player as it's the same on any source. put my old TDL's there and still the same. Checked phase/polarity on everything, even had the B&W's apart to see if they were incorrectly wired.

I do hope it's not my sofa as I spent an awful lot of money on it a couple of years back!.
 
have you tried playing around with speaker positioning, how far from the back wall are they? the distance between both speakers, a slight movement at a time can make a world of difference, your amp is fine and i bet my last pound its your speaker positions
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
Based on what you are saying, it sound like the room to me. Though as bart2k8 points out, the interaction between the room and the speaker position can also come into play.

Are you planning to install carpet in your listening room, or is it already there?

What about the ceilings and walls? What are they like? Are there windows with curtains? Does the ceiling have acoustical tile on it? Is it a textured ceiling?

Though there is certainly debate on this, I think the wall furthest from the speakers is the most important. If it is highly reflective (smooth and bare) then there are going to be a lot of standing waves, and that in turn means a lot of peaks and nulls in the room.

Steve/bluewizard
 

RustySpoons

Well-known Member
Many thanks for your replys.

I have thick pile carpet with 11mm cloud 9 underlay (the thickest one), the celings are slightly above standard height, no texture, flat with downlighters.

The speakers are an inch away from the wall at the closest point as they are slightly angled, I can't really move them forward any more as they will be too far into the room, I did move them to test and it didnt make much of a difference, the sofa is 2" away from the wall as it fully reclines, so needs that gap, I think the sound is bouncing off the wall and going through the gap. Also as it all reclines, underneath the seats its like a big empty box, im gonna cry if it's the suite affecting my sound!.

All the walls are solid, I think they are two lots of brick looking up in the attic.

Full length window, but really thick lined heavy curtains to the floor.

I'm starting to wonder if the room is too small for the speakers, its 14ft by 12ft I think.

When I stand in a position where it's not causing problems, i'm really happy with the sound, so reluctant to change any components hifi unless I really have to.

Thanks again for the replies, any further suggestions based on the above info would really help.
 
Last edited:

leedswillprevai

Active Member
First of all, speakers should be at least 12 inches away from the wall they are placed on in my opinion and secondly, you need to have your speakers firing straight, that is probably the reason why it doesn't sound right at certain angels in the room.

I have a small room, smaller than the one you mention and I am able to move me my speakers out from the wall, so surely you can to.
 

bishopsfinger

Active Member
Hi Dale

IMO, the room your system is in plays a big part in the end sound quality.

Maybe a simple diagram of your room would help us to understand what might be worth trying to improve the sound.

In the meantime you could try:-

Removing the speaker stand spikes and placing your stands on a marble or concrete slab to help decouple the bass. You can use carpet tiles or similar on top of the slabs.

Blocking/part blocking the reflex port with for example drinking straws, foam, cotton wool, socks etc.

Putting the speakers closer together away from corners/walls, and if necessary on their sides with the mid/bass unit towards the middle.

Hope this helps.
 

AngelEyes

Distinguished Member
What you are most likely experiencing is the bass from your speakers exciting room modes at certain frequencies. Despite what has been posted in this thread, wall and floor coverings will make next to no difference to bass frequencies as they are too long to be absorbed by a few mm or even cm of carpet etc. Moving your speakers or your listening position will.

The advice on having your speakers 'firing straight' having an effect on how the bass sounds in different parts of your room is also a misnomer. When bass soundwaves move around a room, depending on the room's dimensions you will get nulls and peaks at certain frequencies, these are called modes.

So if you walk into a 40hz peak mode, the bass sounds overblown and the frequency of that peak will dominate the surrounding frequencies, reducing detail and making the bass sound ponderous and/or 'monotonous', boom boom boom etc. If you walk into a null then certain frequencies will be lost and bass can sound very thin and a bit weedy.

It sounds very much like your seating position is dominated by a peak mode, probably a little behind your seating position and also a nearby null at another frequency.

You also have to consider how the bass from each speaker can interact with each other, which can also create additional nulls and peaks through reinforcement and cancellation.

I dare say it may ruffle a few feathers but one solution is to invest in a quality subwoofer and EQ device. Having a single bass radiator means you can better manage the bass interactions within your room, especially if you use an EQ device as well. The benefits can be very pronounced across the whole soundstage revealing a lot more detail further up the frequency response and giving you clean distortion free bass not possible with speakers. Do bear in mind it is not a simple process to correctly integrate a subwoofer with speakers, which is often why it is not always encouraged in 'Hi-Fi' setups, however a plug and play device like the SVS-ASEQ1 takes away all the hard work you would otherwise need and delivers fantastic, musical bass in almost every circumstance.

Before you go that far though it may be worth spending some time measuring your room with an SPL meter and 'Room EQ Wizard' (REW) to see exactly what is happening and which frequencies are causing you problems. It will also show you if efforts to move your speakers or listening position are improving the frequency response.

You can also use a room mode calculator (use Google) like this one: Room Mode Calcultor

Which will show you where your problems are likely to lie, although for complex room layouts they will only give you a very rough idea. Real world measurement is best.

Even if a subwoofer is out of the question, it may be worth popping into that forum for advice on REW and room measurement as the theory is still appropriate for 2 channel.

Adam :)
 

RustySpoons

Well-known Member
What you are most likely experiencing is the bass from your speakers exciting room modes at certain frequencies. Despite what has been posted in this thread, wall and floor coverings will make next to no difference to bass frequencies as they are too long to be absorbed by a few mm or even cm of carpet etc. Moving your speakers or your listening position will.

The advice on having your speakers 'firing straight' having an effect on how the bass sounds in different parts of your room is also a misnomer. When bass soundwaves move around a room, depending on the room's dimensions you will get nulls and peaks at certain frequencies, these are called modes.

So if you walk into a 40hz peak mode, the bass sounds overblown and the frequency of that peak will dominate the surrounding frequencies, reducing detail and making the bass sound ponderous and/or 'monotonous', boom boom boom etc. If you walk into a null then certain frequencies will be lost and bass can sound very thin and a bit weedy.

It sounds very much like your seating position is dominated by a peak mode, probably a little behind your seating position and also a nearby null at another frequency.

You also have to consider how the bass from each speaker can interact with each other, which can also create additional nulls and peaks through reinforcement and cancellation.

I dare say it may ruffle a few feathers but one solution is to invest in a quality subwoofer and EQ device. Having a single bass radiator means you can better manage the bass interactions within your room, especially if you use an EQ device as well. The benefits can be very pronounced across the whole soundstage revealing a lot more detail further up the frequency response and giving you clean distortion free bass not possible with speakers. Do bear in mind it is not a simple process to correctly integrate a subwoofer with speakers, which is often why it is not always encouraged in 'Hi-Fi' setups, however a plug and play device like the SVS-ASEQ1 takes away all the hard work you would otherwise need and delivers fantastic, musical bass in almost every circumstance.

Before you go that far though it may be worth spending some time measuring your room with an SPL meter and 'Room EQ Wizard' (REW) to see exactly what is happening and which frequencies are causing you problems. It will also show you if efforts to move your speakers or listening position are improving the frequency response.

You can also use a room mode calculator (use Google) like this one: Room Mode Calcultor

Which will show you where your problems are likely to lie, although for complex room layouts they will only give you a very rough idea. Real world measurement is best.

Even if a subwoofer is out of the question, it may be worth popping into that forum for advice on REW and room measurement as the theory is still appropriate for 2 channel.

Adam :)


Wow, thank you for such a concise reply, there is a lot to look into there.
A subwoofer is out of the question for many reasons, Also I think they are best suited for home cinema. The odd thing is about these speakers, a few people moan they are a little bass heavy! which worried me when I auditioned them, the only people that get to hear the bass it seems are my neighbours, which is a concern as it's difficult to judge how loud it is sat down due to the issue.

If I get 5 mins i'll get some snaps of the living room, measure it properly, and do what you have suggested above, my other half has just come out of hospital today after general anaesthetic, so I better not push my luck moving things about and look after her for a couple of days.
 

AngelEyes

Distinguished Member
You are welcome, let me know if you have any questions :)

Also I think they are best suited for home cinema

I expected that reply ;) but if you look at things logically, your room and issues are a clear indication of the limitations of a 2.0 setup, all which could be cured by a correctly integrated 2.1.

If you are willing to 'unlearn' what has been drummed into you over the years, you could find yourself experiencing lower distortion, greater accuracy, and a larger and more realistic soundstage. Of course you would have to find some room for another box which is a whole different story :suicide:.

I realise I am attempting to make a head sized dent in a brick wall, so will leave it there but if you do feel like 'lowering' yourself the Subwoofer forum is not far away and would certainly cure your problems :D

Have fun.

Adam
 

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