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Rel Storm III

Discussion in 'Subwoofers' started by Gart, Jun 1, 2001.

  1. Gart

    Gart
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    Before I get too involved, a brief history is in order. I'm not an audiophile but I do like to hear a clean, clear and hissless (is that a word?) sound from my speakers. My only purchase of substance was a monstrously large Pioneer separates hi-fi some ten years ago but it did sound good. After many years scrimping and saving I decided to blow it all on a dream home cinema system (with the wife's permission).
    I spent the first year reading up on the various bits of kit and finally took the plunge last Xmas with this little lot:

    Sony 36” DCR TV
    Sony 735 DVD multi-region
    Sony 940 amp
    B&W CDM 1SE's
    B&W CDM CNT
    Tannoy Mercury MX1's
    Rel Storm III
    Squart's and IXOS cables galore

    Just in-case you think I've got more money than sense (you still may be right though), I bought the CDM 1SE's second hand, got the Rel on QXL for £500 (new) and haggled deals on the rest. The fact remains that I am still new to all of this but after much huffing and puffing I managed to get it all working and very nice it is too.

    I left the sub till now because
    a) I heard they were difficult to set up and
    b) They were too bleedin' expensive.

    Six months later and I am now the proud owner of a Rel Storm III. I've read the instruction booklet cover to cover four times and all those feelings of frustration have come flooding back. I want to shout, “why does it have to be so complicated!” Having spent a couple of days reading this site, I've come to these conclusions.

    The simplest thing to do is connect the sub low level unbalanced input (0db or +12db not sure which one yet) to the sub pre out connector on the amp with a phono cable. Set all my speakers to small and the sub to yes. I can play with setting them all to large and other suggestions another day but this would appear to be the first step to get me started.

    The Rel's instruction's say that this is not the best way to do it and recommend using the high level input. I think this is more geared to stereo as opposed to home cinema but apparently I can do both at the same time. The bits that have got me foxed are these. It says in the instructions “The LFE input should be disconnected when playing CD's and other stereo sources”. Does this mean when I have finished watching a DVD I should jump up and pull the Phono lead out of the sub? Surely not (yes I know….don't call me Shirley). Also, the supplied Neutrik Speakon cable needs to be connected (with red, black and yellow wires) to the speaker connectors on the amp. I've seen two diagrams of this and guess what, they are different. The instructions show the red and black wires going to the right channel with the yellow going to the red/plus connector of the left. In Stuart Wright's diagram (http://www.homecinemachoice.com/articles/faq/lfeconnection/connecting.shtml) it's the other way round (red and black to left) does it make any difference?

    My last question (for now) is to do with the Neutrik Speakon cable and connecting it to my speaker terminals. Sounds simple enough but I have bi-wired them using A&B terminals and can't remember how I did it and therefore can't apply the same logic to the sub cable, any suggestions?

    Any advice gratefully received
     
  2. Reiner

    Reiner
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    Since you are running it in an AV setup I rekon to connect via line level only.
    The speaker level connection is, like you said, for stereo use - or better for stereo amps only since those do usually not have a pre-out for the subwoofer.
    Of course you could boost the bass of the fronts by connecting the high level, too, but when using line level the AV amp will take care of the bass management, making things easier.

    As opposed to your thought I would set all speakers for LARGE first and the sub to yes, then only the LFE (.1) from DVDs will be send there.
    Should you then find that some speakers are weak on bass then set those to SMALL.
    This can be done any time / later.

    Now assuming you would connect line and high level and the front speakers are set to SMALL the bass will be send to the line level out only which is not the preferred connection for stereo sources (see above).

    With movies this might not matter much but with stereo it might not be wanted as you introduce the bass management (cut over frequency, add. volume control etc.) into the signal path.

    If fronts are set to LARGE the signal would be duplicated, ie send to line and high level out.
    Here I would assume it could introduce audible distortions due to timing and the duplication of the source signal.
    Though this might be more of a concern for die-hard audiophiles ... ;)

    Another option would be to connect via high level only and tell the AV amp there is no sub, then the bass&LFE are routed to the front speakers where the sub is connected, too.

    Have fun!
     
  3. Gart

    Gart
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    Woooah there Mr Reiner, my head hurts!

    I've read your posts on this site and I know you are a respected member of this community but please can you keep it simple to start with. I'm still trying to get hip with all the speaker jargon that keeps flying about so please don't “phase” me too much :)

    My first thought was to plug in a phono cable and see what comes out with a DVD (basic huh). I shall be experimenting with large/small speaker settings in time. I know this sub is better suited to HI-FI so I don't want to sacrifice this aspect of it and just connect up a phono lead to the LFE. My question about the high level Neutrik Speakon cable is my stumbling block, how do I connect it to a bi-wired amp (A&B) and how do I "disconnect" an LFE input without unplugging it?

    I read an article by Brian Florian http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volume_7_2/feature-article-misunderstood-lfe-channel-april-2000.html that seems to suggest that only sending the LFE to the sub is a bad idea.....but what do I know.
    Any more thought?
    Many thanks
     
  4. Gart

    Gart
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    Sorry, one other thing. I can set different crossover frequency settings in the amp from 60hz to 180hz in 30hz steps. It doesn't give me any clues as to how I find out what it should be set to, any clues?

    it's only easy when you know the answer!
     
  5. IAMGEOFF

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    Hotblack
    I have the Strata 3 but I beleive they have the same set up.
    1.0db
    2.Red or yellow to left or right really doesn't matter they get mono'd (?) anyway and the black to either negative.
    3.Speakers to small, sub to yes.
    4.I think that with the low level connection present the high level connection is over ridden so yes you've got to disconnect it for stereo if you need to.
    5.Leave the level setting low to start with and bring it up slowly until you can hear it. You will spend the next couple of weeks turning it down little by little until you think it's right (I know I did).
    6.If you are really stuck call or e-mail Rel, they are a helpful bunch.

    Good luck

    Geoff ;)
     
  6. dUnKle

    dUnKle
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    Im probably the simplest bloke on here so Ill give it a go, although have to say most of this is based on answers ( lots by Reiner ) when I have asked questions in the past

    The best place to start with a REl subwoofer is as follows.

    Set ALL speakers ( no matter how good they are ) to small.
    Set SUBWOOFER ON and send BASS to SUBWOOFER only.

    By doing this you will send all the bass ( that designed for each speaker AND the .1 part ) to the subwoofer and your speakers will have less work to do.

    Now listen to it loads ( a weeks worth of viewing ) and after that change ALL speakers to LARGE and send BASS to SUBWOOFER and FRONT. You will now have each speaker recieving its full amount of frequancies and the .1 part of the soundtrack will be sent to the sub and the front speakers.

    Again listen to it ( again for about a week ) and decide which one you prefer. Neither way is correct and neither way is better, its a matter of taste. Once decided leave it like that. A good way for a quick test is the MONSTERS INC. trailer on TOY STORY TWO DVD.

    I am not a fan of the NEUTRIK connector at all and if you are primarily using your sub for HC I would not bother using it. It creates more problems than it solves in calibration of the sub and it not worth the hassle. If you do use it then you have to connect the red and black wire to one speaker terminal and the yellow to the other ( left and right speakers ) you will also HAVE to set the front speakers to LARGE.

    To calibrate your sub try the following.

    TURN ROLL OFF TO MAXIMUM > If you are just using the phono connections ( which I recommend ) then your amp will do all the bass management and this is best left as high as possible.

    TURN VOLUME ON SUB TO MAXIMUM > and lower the subs level at the amplifier end to get a sound around 5Db louder than rest of speakers

    Your front speakers are great speakers and will easily handle being set at LARGE but I would only send bass to the sub, not front and sub. Also give the all small setting a go first, even with the best speakers in the world this can produce sounds which are more to your preference

    The same answer can be found over at the HE forum for you as well

    [ 02-06-2001: Message edited by: DuncanWardle ]
     
  7. Gart

    Gart
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    Thanks Duncan & Geoff, the fog is starting to clear. Just so I can be absolutely clear about one thing. If I just use the low level line connection, all the tweaking of 'roll off' and 'volume' are over ridden by the amp. So all I have to do is set these dials to maximum and that's it? apart from setting the volume of the sub in the amp?
    Duncan has suggested that I set the sub 5bd higher than the other speakers, how does that tie in with this statement by Brian Florian (article link above)

    "Home Dolby Digital equipment is pre-set to play LFE data 10 dB higher than a main channel (or 10dB higher than the bass from a main channel). It is only necessary to set the subwoofer relative to a main channel and the LFE level will be correct. Very few processors allow direct manipulation of the LFE level. That is why the menus on most receivers say "Subwoofer Level" rather than "LFE Level".

    This statement would suggest that I should set the sub to the same db level as the other speakers, or have I missed something again?


    Many thanks

    Gary
     
  8. Space

    Space
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    I too have a REL Storm III sub. First of all, you can connect the sub with the phono cable and Neutrik cable both at the same time. When you set SUBWOOFER ON on your amp, the subwoofer will use the input from the phono cable. When you set SUBWOOFER OFF on your amp, it will use the input signal from the Neutrik connector. Because the signal from the phonocable (linelevel) can be different from the Neutrikcable (speakerlevel), they have added two level controls. How YOU set the levels and the crossover setting is up to YOUR tastes; it's all about how loud you want you bass and how boomy you want your subwoofer to sound. With music most people want to blend their subwoofer in with the main speakers. Since my speakers rolloff at about 34Hz, I have my subwoofer set at 30Hz. Set it any higher and I get interference with the main speakers. With homecinema, you should send all the bass to the sub (speakers set to SMALL) via the phono lead (set SUBWOOFER ON on amp). And on the sub, set the mode knop to '3'; it will then not use the internal cross-over but leave the bass control to your amp. PERSONALLY I would not do this because I find bass above 50Hz from my sub 'boomy' sounding, so you might as well not touch the 'mode' knob and leave your crossover setting the way as when you listen to music (via Neutrik). Now all you do to switch between cables is switch the SUBWOOFER ON/OFF setting on your amp since the sub is auto-sensing with as highest priority the phono input.

    It's so easy, but just a matter of taste. I have it set up completely different than the way I described. I have my speakers only connected via the Neutrik cable. I have 'subwoofer on/off' disabled on my amp (this disables the subwoofer out connector at the back of your amp) and send all the bass to my main speakers. As I said my main speakers rolloff at about 34Hz and then my sub takes over. So when listening to homecinema or music, there's no setting I have to change and I LOVE the sound this way. Yes I know my main speakers will have to work harder with homecinema, so what? Many many people will disagree, but hey they are my ears, my elektronics, so whatever! ;)

    I'll answer any questions you have left.

    My 2 cents...
     
  9. Reiner

    Reiner
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    Not so familiar with the REL subs, but:

    If both, line and high level, are connected and subwoofer is set to ON while all speakers are set to LARGE then the line level should be used for the LFE (.1) only (given the sub does indeed disable the high level input) while music (stereo) would make use of the high level only.

    Since center and rears are not used in stereo mode they could be set to SMALL if needed, sending the bass via line level.

    This should then give the best result for Hotblack's requirements, if my thinking is correct!?

    [ 03-06-2001: Message edited by: Reiner ]
     
  10. dUnKle

    dUnKle
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    Not sure how true it is but..

    I was told ( I think on here but cant find the thread ) that if you select NO subwoofer then you will not get the .1 part of the soundtrack, only the bass meant for the individual channels ?

    At the end of the day its a matter of personal taste and the only way you will know is to experiment, expect to still be fiddling in 12 months
     
  11. Gart

    Gart
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    Watched U-571 today with all speakers set to small and the sub on. I didn't change any volume settings in the amp just turned the volume on the sub to max but it was rumbling too loudly so turned it down to about half way. I'll need to investigate the theory of turning the volume to max and letting the amp handle it as it didn't work here. I wasn't sure whether to select position 1 'line' or position 2 'LFE' with the mode dial so left it at position 1. I've got 20ish DVD's including T2 and the Matrix and none of them have set off the rear speakers as much as this did. I don't know if this was due to the sub of the fact that it was a damn good film but either way, it was the best sound I've heard so far. (My wife had her fingers in her ears so I must be doing something right) :)

    Thanks for all the advice, keep it coming.

    Gary
     
  12. dUnKle

    dUnKle
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    Have you got a sound pressure meter ? You really should with the quality of your equipment.

    Once you have the speakers configured in size then use the SPM to set all speakers to a volume of around 75Db. Its not worth trying to do this by ear as it never works out.

    It sounds at the moment as if your sub ( and I assume all your other speakers ) are not set at an even volume for your listening position.

    Try your local HC store if you have one, or even try a local music equipment ( drums and pianos and stuff ) as aparantly they sell them to.

    The difference will be worth it BUT you may want to increase rear speakers, just a personal thing.

    Are you also saying thay you are not having as much action from the rear as you would like ? This depends on the film in question you are watching, remember these are effects more than anything and as long as you have more of a feeling of sound around the room rather than hearing it directly you should be ok ! I would try increasing the volume of the rears a few dbs though if you are unhappy.

    Try the beginning of Gladiator or the shower scene from The Rock for guaranteed rear effects
     
  13. Gart

    Gart
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    Have been looking for an SPL meter on the net (no Tandy's in my neck of the woods).

    I'm aware that the rears are not meant to be screaming out, I believe the ideal setting is to hardly know they're there at all. I was just saying that I noticed more of a surround sound than usual and I've watched "the lobby scene" from The matrix 2 dozen times without the clarity that could be heard on this film, maybe beginners luck maybe the sub letting the other speakers get on with what they are good at, maybe the speakers are just settling down after their run in period, who knows.

    Have discovered all manner of speaker settings on the amp to keep me busy for a few months, ho hum.

    Special thanks to Reiner for his e-mail today, a top geezer. (Not forgetting Duncan, the tweaking sub monster).

    Ta all
     
  14. Space

    Space
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    Reiner, yes you're right. He might want to switch to mode 2 (or was it 3?) to disable the subs crossover when watching movies and then switch back to mode 1 for music.
     

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