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Any rel experts in the house ?

Discussion in 'Subwoofers' started by Turb007, May 29, 2004.

  1. Turb007

    Turb007
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    Hi

    Bought a strata 5 today and am seriously confused how to set this thing up :confused:

    having gone from a paradigm pdr10 with 2 buttons one for crossover and the other for volume this one is a little more intricut :laugh:

    basically the rel manual is telling me to set my frequencies low which i would have thought would need to be set to around what ever my amp is set to (80hz) .????

    but they are saying 20hz or lower is the norm.

    i have connected using the Neutrick hi level input and the lfe , set front l&r to large ( actually all are set to large at the mo) but every where i have read and have based all my old setups on are all speakers small and hi cut off ( 80hz) .

    I mainly play dvd-a ( multichannel & occassionally stereo ) and watch movies. it seems rel are aiming for a stereo set up with this but explains very little about 6.1 set up.

    also i have a marantz sr5400 and dont want to be changing speaker sizes everytime i fell like listening to something different.

    btw as this babys brand new and not run in yet is it worth my while tweaking or waiting the 3 odd days till its settled in .

    TIA

    Turb
     
  2. Ian J

    Ian J
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    I would suggest the complete opposite of what REL recommend by not using the high level Neutrik connector to start with and just connect up via the low level phono cable.

    Set the speakers to small, mode switch to 2 or 4 , phasers to stun and start your tweaking from there with all of the bass management handled by the amp. That is the way that I used to have my REL Storm setup and still have my SVS connected.

    If you are not happy with it setup that way at least you will have found the optimum position for the sub fairly easily and can then try again with both high and low level but setting the sub at 20Hz is a nono on such small bookshelf speakers and REL must be referring to people who have big expensive floorstanders
     
  3. Stuart Wright

    Stuart Wright
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  4. Nimby

    Nimby
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    REL's philosophy is to always use high level connections for serious music listening. With no filtration of the main (stereo) speaker signal and no uneccessary D/A or A/D conversions. (D/A= Digital to Analogue)

    When high level connections are used the REL adds bass weight beneath the bass roll-off point of the main speakers without overlap. To achieve this in-room apparently requires a very low cut-off point setting for REL subwoofers.

    Quite why I'm not sure. It would probably be churlish to suggest that REL have levels of distortion of the reproduced fundamental frequency which throws higher harmonics into the mix further up the frequency scale. Possibly as a result of using acceptably small boxes and small drivers to satisfy WAF issues. Such distortion might muddy the sound on music but pass unnoticed on film. But it's only a personal theory. It doesn't stop REL subs being greatly enjoyed by serious music (& film) fans worldwide.

    My ramblings should not be read as a criticism of REL. But merely my own response to limited information on the subject culled from AV fora. I don't own a REL so can't test my theory. Perhaps my ideas will stimulate a discussion on the subject. :)

    I use a 60Hz cut-off with my SVS 16-46 to achieve a flat response with my 40Hz Missions using only high level connections. Otherwise there is a trough at the (previously set) 40Hz cut-off point. This might be better addressed via a phase adjustment instead. So "setting your phasers to stun" (as Ian suggests) may actually be a very worthwhile suggestion. :laugh:

    What you decide to do personally as regards connections is entirely up to you of course. Follow Ian's (or Spectre's) advice for low level connections. Then see if you can actually hear the difference when using high level connections on music. Both High and Low level can both be connected at the same time on REL subs.

    Nimby
     
  5. Turb007

    Turb007
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    yup i feel i have to concur with you peeps as 98% of my source material is multichannel.

    question for ian... i'm using aegis evo 3 floorstanders. would you still class them as small ??

    also whats mode 2 or 4? :confused:

    awsome article btw spectre answers a lot ...nice open

    cheers

    turb007
     
  6. Stuart Wright

    Stuart Wright
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    REL have 2 distinct ranges of subs - the 'Q' range which is oriented for home cinema and the 'ST' range oriented for music.
    Either range is supposed to be able to cope with movies and music, though.
    The Q range used to be a fair bit bigger in the days of the award winning Qbass, Q50 and Q100E. I think the problems you refer to WRT size may relate to their use of the 'sunfire' type drivers in an effort to further reduce size down to 12" cubes. Hence the Q150MkII and the Q200 and Q400.
    I wouldn't say the same potential problem exists with the ST range since they are quite different in design and size.
    I own the Studio - the largest box from the ST range. 2 burley men could just about lift it.
     
  7. Turb007

    Turb007
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    another question sorry to sound thick but how do i find my cut off for my speakers ? my manual says 40hz - 20khz @ +3db and 36 -22khz @-6db is this what i should be looking at ( this is main l & r speakers)

    thanks again

    turb007
     
  8. Ian J

    Ian J
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    Have you recently bought them as I looked back through your old posts to see what speakers you were using and I thought you said you had small Mission bookshelf speakers.

    No matter, many people who use floorstanders still have them as small on the basis that the subwoofer handles the lower frequencies better than the floorstanders do. Trial and error is the best way forward.

    From memory, mode 2 is bypassing the sub's crossover and letting the amp handle all of the bass management and 4 is the same but with phase reversed. Mode 1 utilises the sub's crossover with 3 reversing the phase.
     
  9. rob_w

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    Using a subwoofer as a subwoofer.

    If your mains are set to large, then with room gain added they'll go a lot lower than the suggested specs, hence when adding the rel as a subwoofer it'll only need to do the very lowest frequencies - the lower than 'normal' settings. Also with *most* music theres not really much below 30 - 40Hz so the rel won't be stressed at these levels.

    Home cinema is quite different and needs big subs to achieve the spl's required by the lfe channels output. Maybe this is where the 2 types of rel subs come from - one optimised for spl, one for music ?


    Nimby - you possibly have to overlap your sub and mains to boost a dip caused by room modes ?

    **I know theres a couple of pipe organ cd's and the 1812 that go low, but most stuff is pretty bassless.

    Rob
     
  10. Turb007

    Turb007
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    yup got them yesterday along with the sub and the evo centre ( must sort out signature)

    not on the strata 5 that i can see :(
     
  11. 337GUS

    337GUS
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    May help - lifted from Rel's old website a while ago

    REL ST Series Set-Up Made Simple

    RELs are not traditional subwoofers, but true sub-bass systems. A REL is designed to augment the performance of “full range” speaker systems, to provide linear response down to as low as 9 Hz (Studio III). Therefore, for the moment, set aside everything you’ve been taught about subwoofers and how they are integrated into a stereo or theatre system. RELs set-up and position differently from other subwoofers. A REL will take advantage of physics and room acoustics to provide deep pressurization as no other sub-woofer can. It’s important that you bring to the set-up process a willingness to do things a little differently in order to obtain these superior results. The end result of your labours will be an utterly seamless integration of true deep bass to a sound system, regardless of the main speaker’s low bass capability.
    Two things before you begin

    A. It is helpful to know that you will almost always connect the REL to the input on the rear panel labelled “High Level”. This connection is made using the supplied 34 foot (10 m) cable, the bare leads of which connect to the speaker output terminals on the rear of the power amplifier. The easy and foolproof connection at the REL is done with a Neutrik Speakon connector. The purpose of connecting to the speaker output terminals is one of the unique secrets of REL’s success. By connecting to the high level input on the REL from the amplifier, you build forward the sonic signature of your main system, including the tonal balance and timing cues of the entire electronics chain. In this way, the REL is fed the exact signal that is fed to the main speakers.

    B. When possible, the REL should be placed in one of the corners behind the speakers. Remember, we are dealing with true LOW bass pressurization with RELs, not the mid-bass that most competitors settle for. Low bass pressurization below 40 Hz is best derived from corner placement, where the most linear and efficient low bass can be produced. Basic set-up should take no more than ten to fifteen minutes to accomplish.

    The Process

    To begin the set-up process, choose a piece of music that has a repetitive bass line that is very low in frequency. We recommend cut 4 from the soundtrack to Sneakers (Columbia CK 53146). This has a repetitive bass drum throughout that gives you plenty of time to move the sub-bass around, but more importantly, the recording venue was quite large for this recording, and therefore it has a very deep and large-scale bass signature. This type of cut is perfect for the set-up process, and should be played at the highest reasonable level expected for system play back.

    We call the setup procedure "POPI". This is an acronym for Phase, Orientation, Placement, Integration. These are the four steps that are necessary to achieve the best results from a REL. Note: other so-called subwoofers will almost certainly not benefit from this level of attention and are best considered as just simple boom boxes for those that just want oodles of boomy bass.

    Working with a partner (one in the listening position and one at the sub-bass system manipulating the controls), is the most effective and efficient way to set up the sub-bass system. If working alone, the initial steps in the set-up can very effectively be carried out from the location of the woofer. Try to ignore all other music in the cut, listen for the bass drum and its effect on the listening room.

    1. Phase: Upon plugging the REL in and hooking it up, set the crossover “Coarse” setting to position “2” and raise the gain control to the 12 o’clock position. Start with the speakers cut and move over to the corner where the REL is placed. Switch back and forth between the two phase settings. Whichever setting yields a louder output is the “correct” one. It means this position is working in harmony with your main speakers, reinforcing the bass; not cancelling it.

    2. Orientation: Next, if space allows, try two different orientations of the woofer relative to the wall. First, place the REL with the connection panel parallel with the rear wall. Second, place the REL with the connection panel parallel with the sidewall. The orientation which yields the most output is the best position for that room.

    3. Placement: To unlock the magic of REL, place the REL as far into the corner as possible. Then, slowly pull the REL out from the corner, just one inch at a time, listening for the point at which it exhibits increased output and the lowest bass extension. Being careful not to significantly alter the relationship of the cabinet sides to either wall. Simply draw it out on a diagonal from the corner. There is a point, which will vary for each room, wherein the REL will “unlock”. That point will likely be only a few inches from the corner, but in very rare occasions, as far as a foot. It is at this point where the REL is working with the room to provide the most efficient pressurization and the lowest possible frequency response. It will sound as if the REL has actually released more information from the recording.

    4. Integration: You now have the REL properly sited and the phase correctly set. Working with both “Coarse” and “Fine” controls, you will now find a setting with which the REL and the main speakers integrate seamlessly. We suggest that you begin the adjustment process by starting with the gain at the 9 o’clock position and the lowest crossover setting. Then, raise the crossover point until the REL begins to intrude on the sound of the main speakers. At this point gain level and crossover point are each subtly adjusted up or down to reach the proper balance between the main speaker and the REL. Hint: There is a tendency among audiophiles to set the crossover point too high and the gain too low when first learning how to integrate a REL with the system, the fear being one of overwhelming the main speakers with bass. But in doing so, the resulting set-up will be lacking in bass depth and dynamics. The proper crossover point and gain setting will increase overall dynamics, allow for extended bass frequencies, and improve soundstage properties. Note: gain must be adjusted in conjunction with crossover changes. In general, when selecting a lower crossover point, more gain may need to be applied. The vast majority of installations will have the Coarse on A (the lowest setting) anf the Fine on 3 or 4. Only very occasionally is it necessary to go much higher.

    Theatre and Film Applications: For Dolby Digital AC-3® or other 5.1 theatre systems, please use the supplied cable connected from the left and right amplifier outputs (as in a standard two channel system) to the ABC™ high level inputs. For this configuration, you must set the processor to the “large” or “full range” setting for the left and right speakers in order for the REL to receive the bass signal. In addition to the high-level cable coming from the amplifier, you will run a low-level phono cable from the .1 LFE output from the processor. It is important to provide low frequency support to the full range left and right channel speakers, in addition to pressurizing the room from the LFE track. In this configuration, the REL provides support for both the left and right speakers for two-channel listening, and support for the LFE when movies are playing. Most processors will allow you to defeat the subwoofer output when listening in the two-channel mode, which is appropriate to do for this set-up. The effect of this set-up is one of greatly increased dynamics in the mid-bass range; no bass bloat; and a greater degree of space and timing from the Foley effects. For an even greater sense of space and impact, a second REL connected in parallel to the centre channel will prove to be a dramatic improvement as well.

    Assuming you will be using the built-in software filtering within the processor, remember to set the Mode switch on the REL to position 2 (or 4, if you needed to use reverse phase).

    Other Tips: Generally speaking, do not use the supplied spikes. RELs work on the principle of the driver in a high-pressure zone relative to the floor. Spiking the REL will decouple the woofer from the floor, which will lean out the bass response. If the floor is older, very “springy” floor, spikes can be useful in reducing the influence of the REL on the floor. But better yet, a heavy stone slab placed under the REL will work better. Even if you intend to use the spikes, do NOT insert them until completion of the set-up process.

    This set-up procedure courtesy of Sumiko, our American distributor who developed this method over a period of years.
     
  12. Turb007

    Turb007
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    thats pretty much what rel have put in the manual that came with the sub apart from the odd twist.

    its a NEW strata 5 that uses the remote with no dials on the back and there are no modes to put it in whatsoever :confused:

    i'm gonna leave it hooked up as it it is till tuesday as its still running in and phone rel then hopefully speak with a techie if i'm not satisfied with their answers im just gonna put it to lfe input only and set it like every other sub in the world is :laugh:

    my main question is if its using both high level and lfe connection for multichannel what one does the frequency level affect. im assuming the amp is sorting out the lfe crossover and the sub is providing rolloff for the mains.

    i'll let you know what they said.

    keep posting if you have any suggestions tho

    thanks
     
  13. Turb007

    Turb007
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    scratch that i set all to small using lfe and roll off @ 61hz which is where my weakest speaker loses it ( centre) and it sounds awsome :laugh:

    i'll run this baby in for the rest of the weekend and just enjoy it from here :smoke:

    big thanks to all especially spectre :D

    Turb007
     
  14. Turb007

    Turb007
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    Hi

    Spoke with a rel techie today and this is what he told me...

    The high level connection is used to underpin the the main L & R speakers ..he disagreed with the idea that only expensive speakers will benefit from this.

    The frequency cut off only applies to the main speakers ..all lfe is dependant on the bass management of the amp/reciever.

    he said that as avia roll's off my main speakers at about 27hz to try around this setting ( not the lower on i quoted in the first post) as this will fill a hole.

    all slam/deph does is reduce / increase the sublevel by -9 to + 9db

    he also said that if my amp can run a cut off at 120hz to try that as anything below that will be worked thru the sub there freeing up speakers.

    any opinions?

    thanks

    turb007
     
  15. Brimstone

    Brimstone
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    Turbo,

    EVO 3's:-

    I'm looking at buying the AE EVO 3 floorstanders and Centre speaker - what are your feelings about them?
    The press ceretainly rave about them, and they sure look good, how have you found them?

    Rears:-

    Also what did you use for rears? I bought Mission M3DS's recently (bipoles due to my living room layout),
    but im far from impressed (co-axial drivers! - but thats for another thread) and plan to return them
    for something else (maybe Mordaunt Short bipole rears, alloy cones perhaps give similiar tone to EVO's?).

    Sub crossover/inputs:-

    As for the Sub high & low inputs/ cutoffs / AV amp cutoffs / speaker size / etc discussion - i've been
    following a few threads about this (and looked at a number of links describing the methods and reasons)
    and although i now know a lot more aboput the subject im even more confused as to how im going to set up
    my AV/Stereo system than i was before (when it all seemed so simple...).

    I'm moving house in a couple of weeks (from my poky wee flat to a 4 bed detached - can make NOISE at last!)
    and im nearly finished planning the cables (speaker and phono/RCA) to lay under the laminate flooring which
    i'll be laying in the living room & dining room to wall sockets. I've got planned: speaker cable for x2
    dipole rears and phono's to 2 different location for possible sub placement. Now im thinking do i need
    speaker connections from the fronts to the 2 possible sub locations for stereo (system will be for AV & Stereo).
    I don't want to build a rabbit warren under there - its enough hassle laying laminate in 7 rooms as it is.

    I'm looking at an SVS (PB1-ISD) (k'ching compared to the rest of the system im building... but i want it!),
    and i don't think they allow both high and low level inputs at the same time. I'll check with SVS.

    The cutoff freq seems to have lots of different factors, different for AV 5.1 and Stereo.

    Stereo playback (with a sub) only has 3 speakers to worry about - it's looking for taking over from the
    fronts at the point where they start to tail off to ensure a flat a response as possible down to the
    subs tail off (where there's unlikely to be much signal with the majority of stereo sources).

    AV 5.1 playback has a number of speakers to help out as well as its own LFE channel. As far as i can tell
    it's looking to:-

    1. re-inforce the fronts below their cutoff.
    2. fill in the low end detail from the speakers set to 'small' on the AV amp (centre and both rears) as
    they usually don't/can't handle the low end.
    3. supply the amplified seperate LFE channel for sub bass effects.

    I'm not quite sure how to go about setting up to handle all of these requirements, as they seem to
    point in different directions - fronts would require fairly low down help if they're floorstanders,
    the 'small' speakers require much higher cutoffs as they usually cannot output very low at all (particulalry
    for small rear bipoles like i intend to use), then the LFE channel you would think would be set with a very
    low cutoff for the real butt-shaking frequecies.

    Then trying to set up the system for both Stereo and AV 5.1 just confuses me more (maybe im easily confused).
    Think i'll just plug the sub out conneciton from the AV amp into the sub and see what i can come up with.

    Hope you're set-up goes well. I'd like to hear what you found worked best.

    Cheers, Mark.

    :D
     
  16. Brimstone

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    Found this comment in a review:-

    "Subwoofer crossovers were disabled for Dolby Digital movies (allowing the receiver to manage
    low frequency settings), and enabled for stereo music (allowing the sub to control settings)."

    If i get the SVS (looking at the PB1-ISD), i'll try following this set-up with just the AV amp
    sub out phono cable connected. Switch sub crossover on or off depending on whether im listening
    to Stereo or AV 5.1, and adjust gain settings to suit.
    See how it sounds and take it from there. Not sure if that means i'd have to change the sub
    crossover setting on the AV amp each time though (otherwise its getting filtered twice) - i'll
    have to take a look at the amp manual once i've moved house (2 weeks to go - fingers crossed
    that its finished in time!).

    Every time i think its getting simple, it gets more complicated. I'll lay just phono's under the
    laminate and play with it all later...

    I'll leave it there as i seem to have gone off thread a bit (post concerns REL sub connections), although the topic is still related to my comments ansd questions.

    Hope your system setup works okay in the end.

    Mark.

    :smashin:
     
  17. Turb007

    Turb007
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    Hi Brimstone

    thanks for your reply and sorry it took so long to get back ,ive been up to my neck in it.

    I love the evo's ..to me they sound excellent and look the dogs but they were an upgrade from my mission m72's which incidently are now my rears so they are bound to be better.

    I have done nothing for the last 3 weeks but tweak my system and tried all sorts of configurations to see what goes best in my room and have settled on what was suggested in the first place...

    I have completly done away with the high level connection and use the sub purley for lfe ..all speakers set to small and let the reciever handle the cross over.

    the main reason for this is I found with font speakers set to large when adjusting sub vloume levels with avia the lfe level for the fronts was always 10 -14db higher than the centre and rears and i could hear it in my sound stage ( more boom from left and right .

    so now i am a bit miffed as the only settings on the sub that are relevant for my set up are lfe gain, slam / depth and phase which has 2 options 0 or 180 ( 180 seems the better in my room )

    i have to say tho it does sound good and now ive got my lfe level balanced i've lost the over boomy explosions and now have got loud heartstopping punches instead.

    as to music its mostly multi channel which handles lfe as well so for now i am a happy bunny. :smoke:

    cheers

    turb
     
  18. Brimstone

    Brimstone
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    Glad to hear it.

    Once my new house is sorted and floored, i'll start putting my kit together - and then have all the fun of the tweaking ;)

    Cheers, Mark.
     

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