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Small Vs. Large ( yet again ) Can someone clever explain something, simply for me ?

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by dUnKle, Apr 20, 2002.

  1. dUnKle

    dUnKle
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    THE BACKGROUND

    Raised this point numerous times and for ages was NEVER happy but in the end settled for having all speakers set as small with the bass going just to the subwoofer.

    This sounded the best solution of all those I tried

    THE EQUIPMENT

    Front Speakers are a pair of B&W 603 S2s, which lthough not the best and most meaty speakers seem to handle there own when playing music and stuff, the center is a B&W CC6 and the sub an old but trusty REL Q100E

    THE PROBLEM

    Well, I have found that one of the best demos for bass output is that trailer you get on numerous Universal DVDs which starts with the guy flicking the lighter and shows clips of numerous films.

    Now I was showing this a friend and he was rather impressed and said how good it sounded. He then started to have a play around with the amps settings and set the 603s to LARGE. He played the demo back, expecting there to be more bass, but there was less :confused:

    He questioned the reason for this and I could not give one, all logic tells me he should be correct, but there is less bass when the 603s are large !

    THE ANSWER

    Can someone give me one ? Am I doing things wrong ? Should I use the Speaker level connections ? What settings should the amp have regrading output of bass ( has the option of sub only OR sub and front speakers )

    Can someone help ?

    Please
     
  2. Bert Coules

    Bert Coules
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    I've been playing around with these settings too. Here's my (almost certainly wrong) no-tech explanation:

    Setting the L & R speakers to "large" effectively means parcelling out the bass frequencies to three speakers rather than simply one; and the sub is therefore being asked to do less of what it's best at. Unless the front speakers are as good as the sub at handling low frequencies (and if they are as good, why have the sub in the first place?) then it seems reasonable to expect a poorer bass response.

    Well, I said it was no-tech. I hope that someone who really knows will enlighten me...

    Bert
    http://www.bertcoules.co.uk
     
  3. dUnKle

    dUnKle
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    That was kinda my thinking, but surely it should be possible to get the sub to work the same as when the speakers are set at small but at the same time improve the bass output from the front speakers when they are set large
     
  4. smallman28

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    On my set up of Mission M73 fronts I have them set as large as they have a 48Hz bottom end.
    I have set the bass so that it comes out of both the fronts and sub and have set the upper point of the sub at 48Hz to avoid an overlap with the fronts.
    Its my undersatnding if you set the speakers to small it limits them to a low end of something like 75Hz.
     
  5. dUnKle

    dUnKle
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    Again kinda what I thought

    Is it not possible that I can get extra bass from my front speakers by setting them to large BUT still maintain the bass output and performance I get from my sub when they are set to small ?
     
  6. Ian J

    Ian J
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    When set to large, only the LFE is sent to the subbie but when set to small all bass below a certain frequency is also sent there.

    I presume that the difference is because the sub woofer can handle the bass signals more effectively than can the main stereo speakers.

    No doubt Eric or Nic or another of the other bass meisters will turn up soon and give the definitive answer.
     
  7. dUnKle

    dUnKle
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    So no way at all to get around it ? No way I can get extra push from those front speakers and at same time keep the quality bass from sub then ?
     
  8. Stuart Wright

    Stuart Wright
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    The answer to your original question seems obvious.
    When setting your main speakers to large, you are telling your amp to send bass to them rather than the sub.
    And the sub is much better at producing the low frequencies.
    Even 'high quality' ones.
    It sounds to me like you were happy with your system. I think the only problem you have is in your head.
    The only way to have your main speakers produce deeper bass is to buy speakers capable of it.
    You won't get any for just a few hundreds of pounds.
     
  9. ReTrO

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    You don't have to worry about overlap of bass frequencies as the LFE signal going to the sub is different to the bass in the fullrange signal.

    You shouldn't use the crossover in your sub for films with a .1 LFE signal as you will be filtering out part of the sound, and not be hearing all that is intended.
     
  10. steve1056

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    Maybe I missed something in the previous replies, but I assume that you have set your Amp's bass management to "Both", i.e. sends bass to your Sub and your Front speakers (when Large setting is selected). This assumes that your Amp has this ability. As a matter of interest, what amp have you got?

    Steve
     
  11. dUnKle

    dUnKle
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    Its a Denon A1D.

    It has settings in bass management for SUB or SUB AND FRONT SPEAKERS.

    Spectre you are correct I am happy just wandered why it was not possible to have best of both worlds. The front speakers give much better bass in LARGE mode but the sub gives much better bass in SMALL mode. Its a pity I cant have both at once
     
  12. steve1056

    steve1056
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    I would have expected you to get good bass if you had the bass management set to "sub and front speakers" and the front speakers set to large, assuming that you had the crossover frequency and level set correctly on the sub so that it integrated well with your 603's. The REL 100E should be a good match for your front speakers qualitively speaking, especially in the bass region.
     
  13. Matt F

    Matt F
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    Duncan - you might want to try this - I'm not saying it will work and it does go against the usual bass management rules but it just might achieve what you're after (or it might not):

    Connect your REL via the high (speaker) level option only (using the special REL lead that you should have). Tell your amp that you haven't got a sub (I know that's lying but bear with me) set the fronts to large (probably the default when there is no sub) and keep the centre and rear speakers set to small.

    With me so far? So, the amp will redirect bass from the centre and the rears and the bass from the .1 channel to the fronts.

    Now, the front's don't go low enough to reproduce all this bass themselves but because the sub is connected via the high level option it will be able to pick up the signal and deal with it accordingly.

    All you need to do is set the roll off frequency on the sub so that the fronts go down to as low as they can cope with - say 45-50 Hz - takes quite a while to get it right but, once you do, you'll have your 603s operating within their frequency range (i.e. nice and bassy) and the sub picking up where the 603s tail off i.e. covering 20Hz up to 45-50Hz.

    Like I say, it might not work but logically (to me at least) it sounds as though it should achieve the desired effect = so give it a go and let us know if it works.

    Matt.
     
  14. Ian J

    Ian J
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    By connecting at speaker level only, all LFE effects that are sent to the sub output only will go missing.
     
  15. Rigid

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    I'm sure I read somewhere that REL recommend speaker AND line level connections in AV setups. That way, your LFE still has somewhere to go, but you get the benefit (with your front speakers set to LARGE) of the best possible integration between front speakers and sub. I've had a Q50 for over three years now, but currently can only use it at speaker level with a stereo amp and pair of smallish Missions. Integration is really excellent and when I eventually get the furniture to move my Denon A10SE into its rightful place I will face the same problems as you. Whatever happens I can't see me retiring that Neutrik speaker level connector.
     
  16. dUnKle

    dUnKle
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    Cheers guys, I have had a mess about with the speaker level connector befor but not a proper play.

    Its something to try on a rainy day,

    Thanks
     
  17. Matt F

    Matt F
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    They won't go missing if you tell the amp/processor that you don't have a sub - which is what I said to do. Basically, if you select "no sub" then the .1 (LFE) channel will be sent to the main left and right speakers and the sub would then pick this up via the speaker level connection.
     
  18. dUnKle

    dUnKle
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    Matt, I did once try that speaker level only connection and from what I remember I never really liked it, I felt like I was missing something, things never seemed as controlled and Bass seemed less present in those more subtle scenes, such as distant rumbles.

    Ill go and have a go when next off at using BOTH connectors along with setting fronts too large and sending Bass to both and use that universal trailer as my benchmark
     
  19. Rigid

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    Duncan, let us know the results of your experiments!
     
  20. S H A D O

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    Duncan

    Does your amp give you the option of LFE + THX when you set your mains to LARGE???

    My A1SE gives you this option and basically it sends only the bass & LFE for the front channels to THOSE channels. ALL other bass is redirected to the sub i.e the bass for the channels set to SMALL and the LFE of those channels.

    This is different to LFE+MAIN.

    You need to have your REL connected via both high & low level to reap the benefits of this. You may find this gives you excellent results.
     
  21. Lowrider

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    Don´t forget that if you set the speakers to large, you are forcing them and the receiver to work much harder, so you have more distorsion, thats why all small sounds better...

    With CDs you can set the receiver to direct and use the high level connection, as is has a lot less bass, and bypassing the digital processing you will get a cleaner sound...
     
  22. jiml

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    Have you tried adjusting the subwoofer phase angle? If it is 180 degrees out then the bass frequencies will cancel each other out. Alternatively you could experiment with different sub positions.
     
  23. Matt F

    Matt F
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    Depends on the receiver/amp and speakers in question - a lot of amps (decent ones) have no trouble driving floorstanders set to "large". And don't forget that big speakers are generally easier to drive than smaller ones i.e. an amp will find it harder to drive, say, a 4 ohm M&K 750 than it will a floorstanding Mission 773e.

    Also, there seems to be a lot of nonsense talked about smaller speakers not being able to cope with being fed a full range signal - if you think about it, for the last 30 years or so (long before the age of "bass management") people have been sending full range signals to small bookshelf speakers (if not full range signals then certainly frequencies lower than these speakers can reproduce) with no problems at all - the small speaker reproduces what it can and the frequencies below this are lost (unless there is a sub connected at speaker level) BUT there's no damage to the speakers and no extra distortion.

    For example, I have just changed my front pair from M&K 750s to KEF Reference 2-2s and I use the KEFs set to "large" because they're going down to probably around mid 30s Hz in my room and my amp (big THX power amp) doesn't even break into a sweat. My sub handles LFE and the extra bass from the rears and centre (which are all set to "small"). Of course, I lose any bass below, say, 30Hz sent to the fronts but the overall effect (in my opinion of course) is better.

    So, I don't disagree strongly with your sentiments but I also don't think we should stop people from experimenting with small/large settings, especially if their left and right speakers are biggish floorstanders, to see what they prefer best.
     
  24. Lowrider

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    Don´t forget that CDs, music, didn´t have much bass anyway, it is different with DVDs...

    Almost any speaker will have more trouble reproducing bass then a good subwoofer, now, if you are limited to 80hz crossover setting, you should defenetly try both ways for music, I did use direct before I got the TAG, with the high level connection to the sub, for CDs...

    Now I only use 50hz crossover setting, and speakers small, and it works better with music too...
     
  25. Matt F

    Matt F
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    I think you'll find Rock music CDs will go down to around 40Hz which ties in, I think, with the open E string on a bass guitar. Pipe organ music on CD (not something I listen to, I hasten to add) goes a lot lower.

    Now, you say 50Hz - well, that's a horse of a different colour, as lots of speakers don't do much below this so I agree that this makes a lot of sense. The only question is though - can your centre and rears reach down to 50Hz? - many can't. This is one of the few shortcomings with the Tag (I own one too) - it won't let you set 50Hz crossover for the fronts and 80Hz for the centre and rears.

    Matt.
     
  26. uncle eric

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    I've been following this thread with interest for the last few days and just want to add one or two things.

    We all seem to be forgeting about one thing. The source.
    The Professional audio reproduction community has yet to "standardize" on speaker system types, speaker placement, (I'll get to that shortly) and set up.
    While many facilities traditionally use small sized monitors with subwoofers for the low end, the lack of standardization by the recording facilities are still huge as I discovered recently (see my thread in the Music section).

    A Pro sound facility should in my opinion be truly "benchmark"in its levels and not the haphazardly put together "studios" that are all to common in the recording world.

    Talking about worlds, in an ideal one, all speakers in a multi channel set up should be able to do 20Hz to 20kHz. There is nothing like the truly optimized articulation of a full range multi speaker system. I would also stress the importance of how directional bass can really be.
    However, there are several spanners in the works regarding any such system.
    For instance, the only true full range speaker that I know of is just over 6ft high and take around three square feet of floor space, each. There is also a little matter of 16k per pair.

    Failing that, at a minumum, any such "reference system" not based on single structure full range (again by this I mean 20Hz to 20kHz) speakers should really have a subwoofer paired with each speaker (using outboard high-pass filters) at each channel vector point. This would then give each channel the potential of full range playback.

    Going back to my "Placement" comment above.
    How many of us are listening to our speakers (small, large, fat or thin) at the correct listening position.
    We've all heard of the importance of sweet spots, particularly in traditional two channel set ups. Toe the speakers in and sit on the apex. Not quite. Depending on toe-in (and room size of course), there is one other factor that I've not heard mentioned in this or any forum.

    DISTANCE.

    This is important with ANY speaker design or model and I urge you to find out from the manufacturers of your speakers the recommended listening distance. Yes delays can be adjusted etc but this is merely more proccessing or gunk in the chain particularly when speakers are not equidistance from the main listening position and various channels (re distance) are pulled nearer or pushed further away be proccessing.

    For example, the full range speakers mentioned above the Dunlavy SC5-5's. These have an optimum 10ft listening distance whereby they truly focus at this distance. Any closer or further and they are out of focus and not at their optimum position. This is less important in the smaller sub/sat set ups but in Matt F's system for example whereby he now use's KEF ref speakers with their tweeter, mid-range and full range drive units, these must be far enough back from the listener (but not too far back) so that the individual drives focus to resolve a coherent (I know, I like that word) full frequency wavefront.

    Eric
     
  27. Lowrider

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    I know that limitation on the TAG, and others, bass management, so I got center and surround speakers that go down to 40 hz, in order to be able to use the 50hz crossover setting...

    As the most important bass is between 80 and 50 hz, I want my "fast" speakers playing it, instead of the subwoofers...

    I also placed my speakers "right", they need room to "breathe", but most people place them close to walls, and ruin their performance, frequency response and imaging...
     
  28. dUnKle

    dUnKle
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    I think this is how mine works too.

    I have just got back from a four day training course so not had chance to fiddle but am off 2morrow.

    One thing started to happen while I was away was people started using language I dont understand :( sorry im thick

    Anyway, how do I know which phase the sub should be set at and the ultimate question

    WHAT SHOULD I DO TO TRY AND IMPROVE THINGS WITHOUT SPENDING ANY MONEY
     
  29. Whatts

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    You'll find a phase switch on your sub, sit down and have listen on one setting. Then flick the switch to the other position and again, sit down and listen. The setting you like best is the right one for you...

    Try Jase's suggestion (LFE+THX) and play around with the settings on your amp (that's why they're their). There is no 'universal best setting', only what sounds better to you...
    Also try moving your speakers (for instance away from walls and corner) if you can (my room is only about 14x13 feet so I can't move mine around that much)

    This is why you've got a day off tomorrow, so you can muck about with your AV-gear :cool:

    - Tom -
     
  30. dUnKle

    dUnKle
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    Rooms a good size, but I am limited by the amount of space due to all the equipment, there is a fair amount of space behind the speakers, about two foot but only about 6" or so from the walls.

    What I think I will do is this.......

    Connect Amp with both wires
    Set speakers to large
    Set Bass to both
    Watch something ( theres a novalty )

    Probably ust stick with that universal demo, I want to get the thump but not miss the subtle bass sounds
     

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