Crossover and Speaker Settings in Relation to Bass Management

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by dante01, Jun 18, 2009.


    1. dante01

      dante01
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      Crossover and Speaker Settings in Relation to Bass Management



      Most, if not all AV amps and receivers now incorporate some form of bass management. In many instances this management allows a user to determine the point at which lower frequencies are sent to the speakers and subwoofer via crossover settings.

      This topic isn't intended as a tutorial for specific models of AV amp, but is intended to give some general guidance and dispel some of the misconceptions associated with the 'LARGE' and 'SMALL' speaker settings found on AV amps and receivers.



      The Basics

      Not all speakers are capable of handling the full range of frequencies associated with audio reproduction. The range of frequencies a speaker will reproduce (lowest to highest) is in many cases limited. The optimal range is 20-20,000Hz – this is generally accepted as being the range of human hearing. Speakers that can handle the full optimal range are referred to as "full range". Limited range speakers are far more common than full range units. While limited range speakers will more often than not be capable of handling the full gamut of high frequencies associated with treble, they're unlikely to be able to reproduce the lowest audible frequencies associated with bass. Some full range speakers go beyond what is accepted as the range of human hearing, but this is beyond the scope of this post and has little relevance to the topic being addressed in its context.

      Crossovers are filters, made up of coils and capacitors, that direct specific frequency ranges to the appropriate speaker components such as the drive units associated with bass and treble (the low and high frequencies). This means that the drivers do not strain to reproduce notes out of their intended range and beyond the speaker's capabilities.

      Most speakers incorporate passive crossovers, designed for the components within that speaker, such as the drive units etc.. A passive crossover is placed post amplification and the full range of frequencies are present in the amplified audio signal the passive crossover has to filter. During the filtering, if the crossover finds frequencies beyond the speaker's frequency range, it discards them. The discarded frequencies are lost forever and will not be passed on through to the drive units. These lost frequencies will therefore not be reproduced by the speakers. The passive crossover incorporated into the vast majority of speakers are fixed and non adjustable. Some speakers do incorporate adjustable crossovers, but again, this is beyond the scope of this post.

      Active crossovers divide the frequency range before amplification, and can be adjusted to adapt to any speaker setup. They allow you to set the point at which the frequencies are divided before the audio signal is amplified and allow for certain frequencies to be directed to either individual power amps, for different drive units (bi-amping), or away from the amplifier(s) altogether. This form of crossover arrangement is generally regarded to be the cleanest and most effective. It does away with the amplification stage having to amplify frequencies that may not be acceptable by speakers that would otherwise be discarded. An active crossover also takes the strain away from the speakers onboard crossovers (if present). Basically, both the amplifier and the speakers are having to do less work.


      AV Amps and Receivers (in general)

      AV amplifiers and receivers incorporate their own form of active crossover filtering, allowing a user to determine where lower frequencies are sent and at which point (cut-off) the division of frequencies occurs. The cut-off point you enter within an AV amplifier's settings determines where low frequencies should be directed and at which frequency the redirection/split occurs.

      Speakers you wish to apply crossover settings to must be set to 'SMALL'. This is usually done within the amplifier's speaker settings.

      The size of a speaker (LARGE/SMALL) is determined by its low frequency handling abilities and not by its physical size. The full range of frequencies are sent to those speakers set to "LARGE', even if those speakers cannot handle the full frequency range (20-20,000Hz). If a speaker is set to 'LARGE' and incapable of handling the full range, the speaker's crossover will discard the frequencies the speaker cannot handle and those frequencies are lost.

      In a setup who's speaker configuration lacks a subwoofer, at least one speaker or pair of speakers must be set to 'LARGE'. You get little if any say in this and the receiver will automatically designate the front left and right speakers as being 'LARGE' if a subwoofer isn't detected. Without the presence of a subwoofer, you cannot set all the speakers to 'SMALL'.

      In configurations lacking a subwoofer, where at least one or more of the speakers must to be set to 'LARGE', the crossover setting of speakers set to 'SMALL' determines that frequencies below the setting be redistributed to those speakers set to 'LARGE' . This occurs even if the 'LARGE' speakers cannot handle the lower frequencies. In configurations lacking a subwoofer, you should try to use the speakers with the widest frequency range as the speakers set to 'LARGE'. Such an arrangement is more practical in configurations where the front pair are more capable than the accompanying satellite speakers. Such a configuration would be one where the front two speakers are floorstanders (full range or wider than normal) and the remaining speakers are bookshelf speakers (limited range).

      In speaker configurations that incorporate an active subwoofer, connected to the dedicated LFE sub out of an amplifier, all the speakers connected to the amplifier's speaker terminals can be set to 'SMALL'. In such a configuration, the crossover settings determine at which point or points frequencies are split and sent to the speakers and subwoofer. All frequencies below the crossover setting are directed to the subwoofer and the frequencies at and above the setting are sent to the speaker or speakers the setting or settings directly relate to.

      In configuration incorporating a subwoofer along with speakers set to 'LARGE', the results are much the same as those outlined above, but the full range of frequencies are still sent to those speakers set to 'LARGE', except for the dedicated LFE channel (if present). The LFE channel is output to the subwoofer via the dedicated LFE sub out. In order to send low frequencies other than those associated with the LFE channel to the subwoofer, speakers must be set to 'SMALL'.

      It is generally better practice to set all speakers to 'SMALL' and use custom crossover settings when a dedicated active subwoofer is present. In cases where speakers are full range and or able to deal with frequencies at or below 80Hz then it is still suggested that a crossover of 80Hz be used. You can get some of the reasoning behind this from this Audyssey article:




      Determining The Crossover Setting(s) to Use

      Several factors need to be taken into consideration when determining the crossover setting. You need to know both the frequency range of the speakers and that of the subwoofer in order to determine the acceptable range of frequencies you can use for the settings. If you buy a speaker package then guidance on what settings to use will more than likely be outlined within the documentation that accompanied the package. In other instances then the following rules apply. The highest frequency a subwoofer is capable of handling is the highest frequency you should use for the crossover settings. The lowest frequency a speaker is able to handle is the lowest you should set its crossover to, but it is generally advised that you set ctossovers at least 10Hz higher than the lowest rated frequency handling capability of the speakers..

      EXAMPLE 1
      Subwoofer frequency range: 20-130Hz
      Centre speaker frequency range: 70-20,000Hz

      Therefore the acceptable crossover settings range for the centre speaker would be: 70-130Hz and preferably 80 - 130Hz

      This means you can use a setting of 70, 80, 90 etc., up to 130Hz for the centre speaker. If you use settings above or below the acceptable range then frequencies outside of the acceptable range will be lost and not reproduced by either the subwoofer or the associated speaker.

      EXAMPLE 2
      Subwoofer frequency range: 35-120Hz
      Rear speakers frequency range: 120-18,000Hz

      Therefore the acceptable crossover setting would be: 120Hz

      The above example gives no leeway for adjustment and a setting of 120Hz must be used for the rear speakers.

      EXAMPLE 3
      Subwoofer frequency range: 24-175Hz
      Front floorstanders frequency range: 48-20,000Hz
      Centre speaker frequency range: 75-20,000Hz
      Rear speakers frequency range: 68-20,000Hz

      Therefore the acceptable crossover setting ranges would be:
      Front floorstanders frequency range: 50-170Hz (preferably 60 - 170Hz)
      Centre speaker frequency range: 80-170Hz (preferably 90 - 170Hz)
      Rear speakers frequency range: 70-170Hz (preferably 80 - 170Hz)

      When you know what the acceptable crossover range is, there is no optimum setting that suites all situations and listening tastes. It is up to the individual to determine which setting best accommodates their listening environment and tastes. As far as the settings go, one person's nirvana may be another's hell on earth, but 80Hz is more often than not suggested as being the frequency that should be used for the crossovers if the speakers are able to handle frequency as low as this. This is because this is the point at which the human auditory system starts to localise frequencies and some individuals may be able to start detecting where the subwoofer is located if sending frequencies above 80Hz to it?


      Reasons For Adjustments

      There's a practical advantage to redirecting the bass to a dedicated subwoofer channel with its own amplifier. This improves the headroom in the main channels in association with the frequencies still being amplified by the AVR and being output to the passive speakers. Redirecting the bass to the subwoofer relieves the receiver's amplifiers from having to work on reproducing the low frequencies and this greatly improves the headroom.

      You may ask, "why not simply use the lowest acceptable frequency a speaker can handle for that particular speaker's crossover?". In at least two of the examples above, you have a choice as to what figure you use for the crossover setting(s). If the sound is distorted, or you feel a lack of surround effects, you can redirect more bass away from a speaker or speakers in order to try clean the sound up. When dealing with dialogue and the centre speaker, you can use the crossover setting to make adjustments to the mid range frequencies associated with speech. Apart from sending low frequencies to a subwoofer that can better produce bass, the objective is to get a smooth transition of bass from the speakers to the subwoofer while also cleaning up the midrange. Note that your room's acoustics may even play a part in determining where you set crossovers. A room may effect speakers in a way that creates lulls in association with certain frequencies at different location within that room so you;d want to try portraying those frequwnciesat those locations.




      I hope this brief explanation is of use to someone and thank you for reading :)



      Further Reading:
      The Crossover - Brain of your Loudspeaker System
      The Crossover - Brain of your Loudspeaker System | Audioholics

      Bass Management Basics – Settings Made Simple
      Bass Management Basics – Settings Made Simple | Audioholics
       
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      Last edited: Feb 8, 2019
    2. Badger0-0

      Badger0-0
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      Nice one. A good explanation to an often asked question.
       
    3. steve69bez

      steve69bez
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      Thanks for the explanation, crossovers are so confusing my speakers have this spec

      Floorstanding 39-20khz
      Centre 80 - 20khz
      Surrounds 90 - 20khz
      Sub 40-150hz

      So should the crossovers be set to
      Floorstanding 60hz
      Centre 100hz
      Surrounds 100hz
      Sub 60hz

      How would I adjust to create a larger soundfield?
       
    4. dante01

      dante01
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      What Audyssey Have to Say About Bass Management


      Here's what Audyssey have to say about crossover settings:

      Crossover frequency : Ask Audyssey


      The Above is also applicable to 7.1 discrete content and not just 5.1.


      The following gives some guidance on how to configure your subwoofer if relying upon the bass management capabilities of your AV receiver:

      Subwoofer setup and MultEQ

      Subwoofer setup and MultEQ : Ask Audyssey
       
      Last edited: Apr 29, 2014
    5. steve69bez

      steve69bez
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      Thanks for this I was almost there :D
      I have my sub set to full on the sub itself would I set my amp sub setting to 80hz?
       
    6. dante01

      dante01
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      The settings on the amp are in relation to the speakers. The sub itself doesn't have a setting on the amp. What is the amp and do you have the option to set the crossovers for different speakers or is the setting applied globally for all the speakers?

      You also need to know both the frequency range of the sub and those of your speakers.
       
    7. steve69bez

      steve69bez
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      I have an Onkyo 605, you can set each set of speakers within a group eg: surrounds, surrounds back, centre, fronts, and LFE

      Audessey sets the speakers up but puts the wrong crossover settings and the sound is a bit on the flat side as it sets the fronts to full band and limits bass to the sub

      my Spec for front speakers is:
      Power rating 120 Watt
      Impedance (nominal) 4- 8 Ohm
      Sensitivity for 2.83 V 90 dB
      Frequency response 39 - 20 kHz

      Driver details
      LF Driver 2x5.5” Woven Composite Cone /shielded motor assembly
      HF Driver 25mm soft dome
      Crossover 3 Way 1st Order

      For Centre
      Power rating 80 Watt
      Impedance (nominal) 4- 8 Ohm
      Sensitivity for 2.83 V 87 dB
      Frequency response 80 - 20 kHz
      Driver details
      LF Driver 2x3.5” Woven Composite Cone
      HF Driver 19mm soft dome
      Crossover 1st Order

      Surrounds
      Power rating 80 Watt
      Impedance (nominal) 8 Ohm
      Sensitivity for 2.83 V 85 dB
      Frequency response 90 - 20 kHz
      Driver details
      LF Driver 3.5” paper cone
      HF Driver 19mm soft dome
      Crossover 2 Way 1st Order

      Sub
      Power rating 65 Watt
      Sensitivity for 2.83 V 240mV for max output
      Frequency response 40 - 150 Hz
      Driver details
      LF Driver 8” long throw
      Crossover Active

      Sorry for being a pest, crossovers are such a science I get baffled by it
       
    8. dante01

      dante01
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      OK, you need to set the fronts to "SMALL' or whatever the equivalent is with Onkyo receivers?

      Also, I presume the LFE setting is in relation to the type of bass that is managed by the crossovers? You should set this to LFE+MAIN or whatever the equivalent is with Onkyo receivers.

      When determining what is the best settings to use, increase the setting if a speaker sounds muffled and decrease the setting if the speaker starts to sound shrill or too bright. When you reach a happy medium then that is usually the setting to use.

      Use the guidance I've already given in the first post to work out the acceptable settings you can use.
       
      Last edited: Jun 18, 2009
    9. steve69bez

      steve69bez
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      Excellent thanks for that, the Onkyos don't have a small setting they are just controlled by changing the Hz so by seeting them at the correct settings you gave me earlier I should be onto a winner
       
    10. dante01

      dante01
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      I thought they had 3 settings for the speakers and bass management. 1 being all speakers small, 2 being centre and surrounds small and 3 which sets all the speakers to large?
       
    11. dante01

      dante01
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      Just been reading the 605 manual. Geez, Onkyo have one hell of a weird way of doing things. Yes, you only have control of the crossovers for the surround speakers and centre speaker. The front speakers are governed by "The low pass filter" and "Double Bass". With the low pass filter, you can specify the cutoff frequency of the LFE channel's low-pass filter (LPF). The LPF only applies to sources that use the LFE channel. The Double Bass function boosts bass output by feeding bass sounds from the front left and right channels to the subwoofer.
       
    12. steve69bez

      steve69bez
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      So will the settings you gave me earlier be precise? and what should the sub settings on the amp be set to? Double bass seems to send bass to speakers that are set to full band otherwise it is greyed out
       
    13. dante01

      dante01
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      You can use those figures for the centre and surrounds, but the LFE filter for the front speakers doesn't sound like a good option to use with the floorstanders? Try turning the double bass feature off for the fronts and see what it sounds like. It doesn't affect the crossover for the speakers it is active with, it simply boosts the subwoofers output while still outputting the lower frequencies to those speakers at the same time.
       
      Last edited: Jun 18, 2009
    14. steve69bez

      steve69bez
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      Sorry I don't want to turn this into an Onkyo 605 thread but once I'mdone I promise i'll leave you alone

      So if I set the speakers to this:

      Fronts: Full band with Double bass off
      Centre: 80hz
      Surrounds: 90hz (100hz as you can't select 90hz on the onkyo)
      Sub set to full 150hz on the actual sub with volume set to full
      Sub settings on onkyo to be 80hz?

      Is this right?

      Really sorry I seemed to have hijacked this thread

      Why can't it be simple arrrgghhh!
       
    15. dante01

      dante01
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      Does it sound right? Beauty is in the ear of the beholder ;)
       
    16. IL Cattivo

      IL Cattivo
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      Might be worth double checking this but when I hover over this option on my TX-SR 607 it states that when Double Bass is turned 'On' Bass is distributed across both your Fronts & the Sub...

      Steve athough I have fairly good quality Front Floorstands which Audessy Room EQ set as Full Band I still preferrered to switch the Full Band Off, lower the Hz (80-90hz) and keep Double Bass OFF so that only the Sub is dealing with the low bass frequencies as apose to both it and your two fronts!!

      At the end of the day its primarily the Sub's job to deal with bass and should produce better sound at those low frequencies than Fronts do...


      Again, as dante01 qute rightly says, it's all down to peronal preference and playing around with your system setup and speaker positioning until it feels and sounds right for your needs....

      Great thread and excellent informative advice dante01... kudos..
       
      Last edited: Jun 18, 2009
    17. dante01

      dante01
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      I think that's what I already suggested and believe it is what steve69bez did?
       
    18. steve69bez

      steve69bez
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      Excellent, Ill give these settings a try when I get home, cheers guys:smashin:
       
    19. steve69bez

      steve69bez
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      Tried many settings tonight and found that setting all the speakers to 100hz and LPF of LFE to 120hz seemed to give a much more ambient sound than setting to speakers to their recommended settings
       
    20. Badger0-0

      Badger0-0
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      If that's what sounds best to you, then those are the correct settings :smashin:
       
    21. dante01

      dante01
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      Great, but I didn't actually give you any settings. I provided you with the range of settings you could use without losing frequencies altogether and you've used settings within that range ;)
       
    22. fowl3r

      fowl3r
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      hi danteo1, iv got some monitor audio rs6's , the rclcr center ,rsw12 sub ,and a pair of br1's as surrounds i havnt a clue what to set the crossover's at can you please help me? iv curently got them at 80hz ,small, bass is just going through my sub, phase 0 and iv disabled the crossover on the sub. id like to get the best out of the speakers so please give me some tips :thumbsup:
       
    23. dante01

      dante01
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      Frequency Response Range:
      Monitor Audio Silver RS6 38 Hz - 30KHz
      Monitor Audio Silver RS-LCR 45Hz – 30KHz
      Monitor Audio Bronze BR1 55Hz - 30KHz

      Monitor Audio Silver RSW-12 Subwoofer 40Hz - 120Hz


      Acceptable Crossover Range:
      Monitor Audio Silver RS6 40Hz - 120Hz
      Monitor Audio Silver RS-LCR 50Hz – 120Hz
      Monitor Audio Bronze BR1 60Hz - 120Hz


      The following crossover settings can be used with the AVR2809: 40, 60, 80, 90, 100, 110, 120, 150, 200 and 250Hz


      Denon AVR2809 Speaker Configurations:
      Set all the connected speakers as 'Small'

      Set the amp's Subwoofer setting (“Advanced” settings, “Subwoofer Setup”) to LFE+Main. This will engage the sub with all channels and not just the LFE channel.


      If you'd like more response from the sub, use higher crossovers on the amp. You can use different settings for the various speakers and I'd leave the front pair slightly lower than the surrounds and centre speakers.

      Play about with the range 80 - 120Hz
       
      Last edited: Jun 23, 2009
    24. fowl3r

      fowl3r
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      thanks for the exellent reply dante01 much appriciated. how about this, rs6's 60hz,rslcr 80hz ,br1s 90hz and the LFE 80 hz does that sound good to you?:thumbsup:
       
    25. dante01

      dante01
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      Does it sound good to you? :D


      ;)
       
    26. fowl3r

      fowl3r
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      haha it sounds good fella thanks again for your help!:)
       
    27. noel james

      noel james
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      Set-up Receiver VSX-AX4Sis, Speakers KEF, iQ9 front, iQ6c centre, iQ3 back,
      KEF PSW3500 Woofer
      Question with a normal stereo CD music, or TV broadcast and the receiver in stereo mode will the subwoofer Become active. Or do I have to switch to 5.1 mode
      Hope this makes sense
      Kind regards
      Patrick :lease:
       
    28. dante01

      dante01
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      It depends on the amplifier, but most have an option within the speaker settings to set the output as 'LFE+MAIN'. The setting may be worded differently depending on the make and model of the amp. When set to just 'LFE' then only the dedicated LFE channel is output to the sub, but 'LFE+MAIN' sends all frequencies below your crossover settings to the sub regardless of what mode you are in and whether or not there's an actual LFE channel present within the audio stream.
       
    29. Member 639844

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      Just a quick question. Audyssey stress to set speakers and cross overs to 80 hz, as do most manufacturers and people like dolby and THX etc etc. Onkyo on the other hand almost always have their amps set speakers to full range if they are fairly capable. I have actually found that I prefer them set to full range, especially musically and films sound just as good as they ever did.

      I'm not sure exactly how the Onkyo is implementing the cross over and LFE in their amps, but perhaps they have speakers et to full range because of the way they do certain things within the processing.

      Ive found that set to large, the speakers feel much more weighty, but non of that LFE seems to disappear. Everything integrates audibly just as well to my ears, although leaving them large does result in an ever so slightly less flat graph response. Like I say though Ive found I actually prefer this less flat graph when listening to material. Having speakers set to large just seems to be a less controlled or clinical way of processing sound, but it does seem to have more feeling in it for me.

      I'm wandering what anyones thoughts on this are, perhaps something to do with some kind of house curve, but surely Multi EQ XT is doing anything with regards to this.

      I'm interested to see what response I get.
       
    30. dante01

      dante01
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      What exactly do you think you are gaining by setting your speakers to 'LARGE' ( full range)?

      The setting means all frequencies are sent to the speakers, even if the speakers cannot handle or reproduce those frequencies. Full range is 20 - 20.000Hz and it is very doubtful that all your speakers are capable of reproducing this?

      All you are doing is taxing your receiver by amplifying frequencies that will never get past the speaker's onboard crossover and then taxing the speaker when it has to filter out the unacceptable frequencies. There's also the fact that you've lost the unacceptable frequencies for good and these will neither be reproduced by either the sub or the speakers.
       
      Last edited: Jun 28, 2009

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