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Just bought two Strata IIs - how to set up.

Boxinghris

Established Member
After resisting the urge I've finally succumbed and invested in not one but two subs for my 15 x 15 room, and would be grateful if anyone knows where I can download a manual; just tried visiting the REL website and can't find anywhere there.

My main stereo speakers are Revel F30s which have excellent bass in their own right, but I'm interested to hear what adding a dedicated sub can do to the bottom octaves and the sound as a whole, as I heard a demonstration of a bigger REL once with music and the sound was improved throughout the audio spectrum, even when the music was not bass driven.

Because the main speakers are already giving great bass then, I'm looking to increase the bass depth and quality rather than 'punch' in the mid-bass, and so the modern trend towards massive amps and medium sized, long-throw drivers in small foot square cabinets didn't look so attractive - I could be wrong.

I picked up both Stratas for £310 which is about the same as one of the more modern designs were going for used, and I'm hoping that two subs with bigger cabinets will provide better quality bass where I want it to reinforce my own speakers, but I've never used a sub before and have no manual which is a bad combination.

All advice/opinions appreciated, especially those specifically about the Stratas including which is the best connection to use, the best settings etc; use will be HT only as the stereo system is separate. :thumbsup:
 

Member 639844

Former Advertiser
My brother has a Strata 2 that I setup for him. Not a bad little sub either if I say so myself.

Ive written many a post about setting up 2 subs that you can have a look for if you wish. Basically when using to you should always use 2 identical subs, so you can tick that on on the list. When you set them up you can either place them stacked or spread them through out your room. Stacking them wont really give you anything more than a single sub would apart from upto 6db increase in spl. The in room response will still be pretty much the same as it would for if you were only using one.

To get the smoothest response from the system and the best sounding bass, you need to spread them apart, ideally either side of the room across from each other. Trouble now is setting them up properly. To do it by ear is fine, but to do it properly takes the use of an SPL meter, calibration software (which is free) and a bit of an investment in time. If you want to know more about the software you can click the link in my sig.

If you want more detailed info then ask, no point me going into it if your dont want to take it that far. As for basic setup, well set crossovers to max and allow the amp to take care of that. Set speakers to small or 80hz (which ever your amp/processor uses), and set gain to roughly 50% or 11 o'clock on the subs. Having 2 subs mean you dont have to run them as hard so they may need tweaking down a bit. This means your not working them as hard which is a good thing. Remember though, if you stack the sub their gain levels wil be the same, when spread apart they likely wont be, even if their distance from your sitting position is equal.

If you dont have an SPL meter I'd say get one. IMO, dont try setting them up apart without one as you wont be able to get it right. Until you have one just stack the subs as this is the easiest way get them set up so your using them both to decent effect.
 

Boxinghris

Established Member
If you dont have an SPL meter I'd say get one. IMO, dont try setting them up apart without one as you wont be able to get it right. Until you have one just stack the subs as this is the easiest way get them set up so your using them both to decent effect.

I've been thinking of investing in an SPL meter for a while now and will definitely pick one up; any recommendations before I start googling?:smashin:

Yes, I plan on positioning the Stratas apart and so for now I won't connect them up as it's going to take a bit of repositioning of the main speakers and my computer desk.

At present I have the 50" Kuro in the centre of one wall, with a couple of inch gap either side of the screen to the main speakers giving 5' 5" distance from driver centre to centre.
My options to accommodate the subs are to either move the main speakers further apart and fit the subs in their place, or place the subs on the outside of the main speakers as they are now; basically it's a choice of whether the mains or the subs are to be further apart, and I think the moving the mains further apart would give me better imaging and wider sound stage whereas the subs aren't so directional.

Moving either subs or mains any wider isn't an option due to the computer desk on the right and a cabinet on the left. :rolleyes:

I'll make a brew now then read up on the link you've provided - cheers, and if you know of a decent SPL meter I'll order that too later. :smashin:

Edit; Just clicked on your link and there's an SPL meter recommendation. Nice one Squire.
 
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Member 639844

Former Advertiser
There is some advice that says you should have the subs further apart than the main speakers, or at least level, wherever you set your mains. Dont have them inside you stereo mains if you want to get the best from them :smashin:

You can alter the stereo imaging of the speakers by toeing them out slightly, its upto you if you want to do that or if you prefer it if you do.
 
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Boxinghris

Established Member
There is some advice that says you should have the subs further apart than the main speakers, or at least level, wherever you set your mains. Dont have them inside you stereo mains if you want to get the best from them :smashin:

You can alter the stereo imaging of the speakers by toeing them out slightly, its upto you if you want to do that or if you prefer it if you do.

There's definitely some chin scratching to be done as my main speakers would benefit from being further apart, and so apparently would the subs. :rolleyes:

At the end of the day, what I really need is a bigger room and I envy the guy I bought the Stratas off. He'd built a cinema room about 15ft x 30ft and so was looking for something like an REL Stadium to make his trousers flap whereas the Stratas were struggling.

Then again, the Stratas were placed either side of him against the walls halfway down the room when I'd imagine corner placement would have been a better option, and even another couple of stratas in the rear corners? ;)

The Stadium does look like a beast though.:eek:
 

Member 639844

Former Advertiser
Placing them in corners can make them boom more, but it depends on the room as to if this is preferable or too much. Best place to put them is probably as you described (see pic below) but doing the same but with them in the corner will give a bit more boom if thats what you want. Its a case of play and see, such is the nature of proper sub setup. If you had 4 you put put them in the 4 corners, or the middle of the 4 walls to get the best out of them.

3317923191_a5d255b5fc.jpg

Image owned by THE_FORCE
 
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Boxinghris

Established Member
Got the Radioshack SPL meter, even got a battery, just got a 'simples' question now. :smashin:

Managed to rearrange the room slightly by replacing the computer desk in the corner with a narrower one, so now have a sub placed on the outside of each main speaker making for a symetrical layout either side of the screen.

None of the subs are connected to anything however, so time to buy some wires. :rolleyes:

So then, I have a Denon 3800 Blu-Ray player which does all audio processing, and this is connected to the Onkyo processor via analogue, so the Onkyo is basically a volume control as far as Blu-ray is concerned, but I also have SKY HD where the Onkyo does a sterling job of the Dolby Digital 5.1 decoding.

Each sub has a single Neutrik high level connection which I'll ignore for now as there's no corresponding connection on the Onkyo, but there's also a left and Right RCA/Phono input in each sub while the processor has two RCA outputs - I'm assuming carrying the mono signal?

Again, assuming the sub output is mono, why do the subs have a left and right input, and can I just use a pair of interconnects to connect from the Onkyo to both subs, if so would the subs get the full signal if I connect to jst one of the left or right inputs?

At the moment I'm thinking I need a a pair of 'Y' splitters such as these: IXOS Subwoofer Y Splitter Lead 1 Female 2 x Male RCA on eBay, also Interconnects Terminated, Cables Connectors, Home Audio Hi Fi, Consumer Electronics (end time 09-Jul-09 19:39:53 BST)

Is this the case? :confused:
 

Member 639844

Former Advertiser
The Neutrik connectors are for a high level connection and the wire end of the Neutrik cable goes into your speaker terminals on the back of your amp. You need to be running full range speaker mode for this to work though, like say from a stereo amp of with an AVR in pure audio mode.

Low level is indeed a mono and it doesnt matter which of the left and right connections you use, you still get the full signal. You could use a Y splitter for the sub cable from the amp. I cant remember if the Stratas have an output on the back of them though, if they do you can run a cable from amp to sub , then another cable from sub 1's output to sub 2's input. This method is simply called daisy chaining and is perfectly fine to use.

Which method you decide to use, either low or high level is upto you. Generally speaking HL is dedicated for music while LL is for films, but is also for music too. I wont bother going into the details of what the differences are but thats the general idea of what the 2 connections are about. With the Rels you can run both types of connection simultaneously so you have HL for music and LL for films should you so desire.
 
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Boxinghris

Established Member
The Neutrik connectors are for a high level connection and the wire end of the Neutrik cable goes into your speaker terminals on the back of your amp. You need to be running full range speaker mode for this to work though, like say from a stereo amp of with an AVR in pure audio mode.

Low level is indeed a mono and it doesnt matter which of the left and right connections you use, you still get the full signal. You could use a Y splitter for the sub cable from the amp. I cant remember if the Stratas have an output on the back of them though, if they do you can run a cable from amp to sub , then another cable from sub 1's output to sub 2's input. This method is simply called daisy chaining and is perfectly fine to use.

Which method you decide to use, either low or high level is upto you. Generally speaking HL is dedicated for music while LL is for films, but is also for music too. I wont bother going into the details of what the differences are but thats the general idea of what the 2 connections are about. With the Rels you can run both types of connection simultaneously so you have HL for music and LL for films should you so desire.

Cheers again fine Sir. :smashin:

I've just been googling and discovered that using a 'Y' splitter to input both the left and right at the sub end results in a 3dB level boost, so this could be the way to go.

The subs will only be used for HT as I've got a separate audio system on the other side of the room which changes constantly due to my reviewing. :thumbsup:
 

Member 639844

Former Advertiser
The 3 db boost is all but meaningless really. You will adjust the subs gain to level match the rest of you kit anyway. The only advantage is that you will be running the subs gain ever so slightly lower, but at normal listening levels your not going to be pushing your subs amp massively anyway. Nothing wrong with doing it though if you really want to, it is supposed to give a cleaner signal, but I'd put good money on you not being able to notice the difference at any but the highest volumes.
 
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Boxinghris

Established Member
The 3 db boost is all but meaningless really. You will adjust the subs gain to level match the rest of you kit anyway. The only advantage is that you will be running the subs gain ever so slightly lower, but at normal listening levels your not going to be pushing your subs amp massively anyway. Nothing wrong with doing it though if you really want to, it is supposed to give a cleaner signal, but I'd put good money on you not being able to notice the difference at any but the highest volumes.

Duly noted. :smashin:

I've read that once the gain is readjusted, the 3dB lift is cancelled out and that makes perfect sense, though those who have used the 'Y' splitter seem to be adamant that the bass is still improved even when taking this into consideration; guess it's a case of 'suck it and see'.

I'll get the cables ordered, get the subs connected then get stuck into the link you've provided which I remember contains downloads/programmes and even more wires. :eek:

Haven't even checked if I have a line in on the PC yet so that could be the next job.
 

Member 639844

Former Advertiser
What happens is you get the 3 db lift, but you then turn the back down gain so your sub output matches your speakers. What this means is your subs on board amp doesnt seem to be working quite so hard, but its relative because for any given volume level the amp has to give a certain output to get the required result from the driver. As any amp pushes harder, its distortion increases so the less your working it the better. Thing is, at low levels this distortion is undetectable to your ears, and just because your input signal is higher doesnt mean the amp is working any differently.

There are also two distinct areas distortion occurs. One is in the amp and driver of the sub, the other is in the output signal from your main amp to the sub. Maximum distortion is usually stated in the manual or any device, and the figures for your sub will be say 0.1% at a given volume. The figures on the output of the sub cable is usually in the region of 0.01%. This means pushing your sub hard is going to give you much more chance of hearing distortion than simply using a single sub cable vs 2. Also, your subs amp at any given volume level is working just as hard as it normally would regardless of the input signal. So at high volumes the subs own distortion isnt improved by using 2 input cables, and any gain made by using 2 cables will probably be lost by the subs limitations.

People argue the toss over this kind of thing all the time, and you can argue it either way should you really want to. Some believe they hear a difference while others do not, its like the old speaker cable debate. Try it, you might like it and it costs you nothing, but dont expect it to be like buying a better sub :D. If you have a problem with getting a clean signal from your amp to the sub, then a twin input setup will help, but other wise IMO it makes no difference.

As for REW and the link, the cables required are a couple of quid mate. The SPL meter is around £25 and the software is free. If that interests you your biggest cost will be time. Whether its time well spent only you can decide. For some its like opening pandoras box, so have a moments thought before you follow Alice down the rabbit hole and into wonderland :devil:
 
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Boxinghris

Established Member
What happens is you get the 3 db lift, but you then turn the back down gain so your sub output matches your speakers. What this means is your subs on board amp doesnt seem to be working quite so hard, but its relative because for any given volume level the amp has to give a certain output to get the required result from the driver. As any amp pushes harder, its distortion increases so the less your working it the better. Thing is, at low levels this distortion is undetectable to your ears, and just because your input signal is higher doesnt mean the amp is working any differently.

There are also two distinct areas distortion occurs. One is in the amp and driver of the sub, the other is in the output signal from your main amp to the sub. Maximum distortion is usually stated in the manual or any device, and the figures for your sub will be say 0.1% at a given volume. The figures on the output of the sub cable is usually in the region of 0.01%. This means pushing your sub hard is going to give you much more chance of hearing distortion than simply using a single sub cable vs 2. Also, your subs amp at any given volume level is working just as hard as it normally would regardless of the input signal. So at high volumes the subs own distortion isnt improved by using 2 input cables, and any gain made by using 2 cables will probably be lost by the subs limitations.

People argue the toss over this kind of thing all the time, and you can argue it either way should you really want to. Some believe they hear a difference while others do not, its like the old speaker cable debate. Try it, you might like it and it costs you nothing, but dont expect it to be like buying a better sub :D. If you have a problem with getting a clean signal from your amp to the sub, then a twin input setup will help, but other wise IMO it makes no difference.

As for REW and the link, the cables required are a couple of quid mate. The SPL meter is around £25 and the software is free. If that interests you your biggest cost will be time. Whether its time well spent only you can decide. For some its like opening pandoras box, so have a moments thought before you follow Alice down the rabbit hole and into wonderland :devil:

I got the SPL meter last week so what I'll probably do is use this to set up initially by ear, and if I'm not happy I'll be diving down the rabbit hole head first if my PCs got a line in. :eek:

"Some believe they hear a difference while others do not, its like the old speaker cable debate."

You mean some are still debating whether speaker cables make a difference????? :D
For HT with all the processing involved and the typical audio mixes involved I'd say that any well designed cable will do the job, but for a high-quality audio only system differences are obvious and better cables reap dividends - silver being a big upgrade over even the best OFC. :thumbsup:
 

Member 639844

Former Advertiser
I got the SPL meter last week so what I'll probably do is use this to set up initially by ear, and if I'm not happy I'll be diving down the rabbit hole head first if my PCs got a line in. :eek:

"Some believe they hear a difference while others do not, its like the old speaker cable debate."

You mean some are still debating whether speaker cables make a difference????? :D
For HT with all the processing involved and the typical audio mixes involved I'd say that any well designed cable will do the job, but for a high-quality audio only system differences are obvious and better cables reap dividends - silver being a big upgrade over even the best OFC. :thumbsup:
You wont make me bite :D
 

Boxinghris

Established Member
You wont make me bite :D

Just totted up the new price of my ICs and speaker cables: almost 10K.:eek:

...thought I detected a nibble then...:rotfl:
 

Member 639844

Former Advertiser
Each to their own I guess :D

Heres a thought though, what would give the biggest sonic improvement. 10k's worth of cables and interconnects, or say 2k on cable and 8 on a new amp, or pair of speakers?
 

Boxinghris

Established Member
Each to their own I guess :D

Here's a thought though, what would give the biggest sonic improvement. 10k's worth of cables and interconnects, or say 2k on cable and 8 on a new amp, or pair of speakers?

All depends on the speakers, the amp and the cables already being used.

Obvious answer is to spend money on the amp and speakers, but once you've reached a certain level of resolution you'll never get anything like the full potential of your system with cables which aren't up to the same standard.

Put it this way, if I went back to copper cables I could insert a 30K amp in my system and it wouldn't restore the performance to what it is now.;)
 

Member 639844

Former Advertiser
But thats just says cable performance, like anything else is relative. Basically matching cables etc is as important as matching other components. High grade fuel is only worth its salt in a car that can use it, but low grade fuel in the high performance car will still get very good results, just not the hyper performance results. Same applies for cabling. :smashin:
 

Boxinghris

Established Member
But thats just says cable performance, like anything else is relative. Basically matching cables etc is as important as matching other components. :smashin:
Exactly. :smashin:

All components work as a system, which is why the vast majority of those who chase the latest What Hi-Fi 'BEST BUY' award winners never get the sound they want, no matter how expensive those components might be.

Put a pair of the best silver ICs between source and amp in a mismatched system and the system will sound worse, but put them in a well matched system and it's a revelation.
 

Boxinghris

Established Member

IronGiant

Moderator
And so, back to setting them up... :smashin:

Dave ;)
 

Boxinghris

Established Member
And so, back to setting them up... :smashin:

Dave ;)

You scared me then - where'd you come from???:rotfl::rotfl:

Yes, bit of a tangent there but back on topic now and waiting for the cables.

Incidentally, just discovered that while one Strata has the Neutrik High level input, the other has balanced so just as well I've decided to go line level. :eek:
 

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