Speakers set to large or small?

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by Smurfin, Oct 25, 2002.

  1. Smurfin

    Smurfin
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    I've noticed in a number of posts that people tend to set their speakers to "small" and route all bass to their subwoofers.

    What are the benefits of this?

    My set-up incorporates Mission 775es as mains, which as some may know, are BEEFY floorstanders which extend quite low.

    In a demo I gave to boltoa from the forums last week (he was buying a sub from me and I played a short demo without the sub to show the comparison) I was frankly shocked at how low my mains extended (in a good way!)

    With a Servo 15 in the system, obviously bass is not a problem anyway, but at the same time I hate to think of my mains not being used to their full potential (if that makes sense!).

    I know the typical response will be "well try it out"....but I've been tinkering all day and I'm not sure I can notice any difference:confused: (but then I'm ill atm and my ears are a bit screwed).

    Views?
     
  2. monkeyWRENCH

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    I'm no expert, but I think if you set the front speakers to 'large', only the .1 channel is sent to the sub.

    However, if you set the speakers to 'small', low frequency (this depends on the crossover settings) + the .1 are directed to the sub... this effectively lets the sub manage all the low frequencies whilst your speakers handle the higher ones.... this may result in better sound quality.
     
  3. Apocalypse

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    I personally have investigated the use of Small or Large setting if using beefy mains and if you have a good sub the Small setting is preferred. You can notice the difference on things like punches/gunshots or other sharp quick sounds, with the Large setting there just isn't the low end thud with these sounds.

    Regarding your speakers not being used to their full potential, as the sub is taking care of the bass you're speakers should theoretically have improved treble and midrange.......................theoretically :)
     
  4. Smurfin

    Smurfin
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    Is this actually so in practice?
     
  5. Mark Ward

    Mark Ward
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    I say a big YES. There was a loooooong thread a while back on this topic and I was very much in the "Set speakers to LARGE" camp. I ignored the science and just went on A-B listening tests. Having replaced my sub with a better one I revisited this and came to the conclusion that set to smalls is indeed better for precisely the reasons listed. I felt so strongly about the difference that I started an "I WAS WRONG!" thread on this topic.

    Easy solution.. Try both and see what conclusions you come to.

    Mark.
     
  6. DodgeTheViper

    DodgeTheViper
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    This would depend on the Amp being used. As on some of them you can route the LFE channel to main speakers + sub, or sub only.


    Kev
     
  7. Smurfin

    Smurfin
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    I'm using the yamaha A1, which does indeed have this option.

    So I'm using I should set all the speakers to "small" and route bass to "subwoofer only"?
     
  8. Reiner

    Reiner
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    I'm no expert, but I think if you set the front speakers to 'large', only the .1 channel is sent to the sub.

    Since you are not an expert we will forgive you ;) : even the fronts are set to LARGE the bass from other speakers set to SMALL is still send to the Subwoofer as long as it's declared as YES in the setup (else the Fronts are automatically set to LARGE and bass from other "SMALL" speakers is routed to the Fronts).

    However, if you set the speakers to 'small', low frequency (this depends on the crossover settings) + the .1 are directed to the sub... this effectively lets the sub manage all the low frequencies whilst your speakers handle the higher ones.... this may result in better sound quality.

    Basically correct.

    One note on the Yamaha amps: the additional feature of the bassmanagement refers to the "Bass/LFE out" setting: instead of Subwoofer or Fronts (Mains) only it gives you an option called BOTH. This duplicates the bass to Fronts (Mains) and Subwoofer from all LS set to SMALL but it does IMHO not, against common believe, duplicate the LFE which will still go to the subwoofer only.


    Personally I prefer my fronts and rears as LARGE, the center usually runs as SMALL.
     
  9. Matt F

    Matt F
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    Like Mark Ward, I was in the “Large” camp for big front speakers until I tried them set to small. The mains in question were KEF Ref 2-2’s - pretty substantial (£1750) floorstanders with 2 separate bass drivers capable of dropping pretty flat to below 40Hz in room.

    When I got a decent sub (Velodyne HGS15) I tried setting the KEFs to "small" (80Hz cut off) so that I could use the sub for music.

    It was quite a revelation – the KEFs sounded more open and detailed. The reason behind this IMO is less of the fact that the speakers are operating within a more limited bandwidth but much more because the power amp is not having to drive the speakers to reproduce the lower (<80Hz) frequencies and is thus able to dedicate more of it’s power and control to the midband and treble.

    Matt.
     
  10. Smurfin

    Smurfin
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    ok, got a few movies to watch today, assuming my (holeless) Servo 15 turns up (courier's late already:mad: )...will set all speakers to small and route all bass via the subwoofer. See if my ears can tell the difference:D
     
  11. Guest

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    I've got Tannoy R3's and a REL Q50 and I too have had this question and can't really come to a decision either way!

    The R3's are a little light on the bass I think, but setting speakers to large or small makes no difference, as far as I can discern.

    Intuitively I feel I should set the speakers to Large and send bass to the R3's AND the sub, which I can do on my Denon 3801.

    I've been running at SMALL for a while though as an experiment and can't really notice any difference between the two settings.

    Maybe I need some of those Richer Sounds freebie cotton buds :)
     
  12. boltoa

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    Now I own one of Matt's Storm's I had a play with this myself, although not had a huge amount of time to test. I've got Kef Cresta's all round (floorstanders at the front), which are only rated to 53Hz on the bottom end. According to the Yamaha manual (DSP-A2), the crossover for small is 90Hz, which I was worried would be a little high and I'd start getting some directionality on the sub, but having done it, I think I prefer it.

    I'll probably be replacing the Crestas soon, and having done this, I think I don't need to go for big floorstanders, which is nice from an aesthetics point of view (I know, I know, but I've got a wife :)), so I'll probably go for B&W 602s or 601s and LCR60 centre.

    But like others have said, try both and see what you prefer.

    Matt - ta for the Storm - good luck with the Servo 15 :).

    Andrew
     
  13. Apocalypse

    Apocalypse
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    Smurfin - As the former owner of your amp let me give you some advice :)

    People with THX amps sometimes assume all amps are identical, if you set all your speakers to small and choose "Sub" instead of "Both" you'll not get all the low frequencies you should do. This is why Yam users tend to set speakers to "Large", in the 4 years of using the DSP A1 I found the best option to be rears set to small, centre set to large, fronts set to large, amp set to "Both" and I used the crossover on the sub to select 80Hz (could be tricky for you if you don't get the X30 Controller with the Servo 15). When I tried using the "Sub" option instead of the "Both" option the low frequencies were weak and sporadic. To be fair I was using 2 x PS1000 subs and not a Servo 15 like yourself so you may get better results. All I'm saying is you'll have to try many different configurations and see what you like best, sometimes you may like what others frown upon. I think I must be the only HGS owner who prefers using the internal crossover for music but to me it sounds better, that's what it's all about.
     
  14. mattr

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    I tend to use 'small' as well. I think one of the reasons it sounds better is the amp doesn't have to strain as much pumping out high current bass to the main speakers. Maybe with a stonking amp large/small makes a bit less difference.
     
  15. fjollon

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    Found this interesting article about this subject in a Swedish forum.
     
  16. Smurfin

    Smurfin
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    thanks for that, great article!
     
  17. JFK

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    On the yamaha ax620, I have found that the following is true with the bass management.

    Sub - what ever is set to small, is sent to the sub (small is 90Hz and below). What ever that is set to large, will have the full range sent to it, whether the speaker can take it or not. Also the .1 to the sub

    Mains - ones that are sent to small are sent to the mains. Ones that are large take the full range. The .1 through the mains.

    Both - the .1 is sent to the sub only. Ones set to small are also sent to sub, but not sub + mains. The mains regardless of large or small, have the full range sent to them. Also the sub is sent the mains bass from the xover point of the sub and below. So if the mains bass goes down to 40Hz, the sub will produce the same bass from its xover and down to 40. This will give you double bass and sound boomy.

    I beleive this function is used for people who don't have a sub that can be connected high and low level (rel subs) at the same time, so that you can use your mains, to their full, in music with the subs xover set to what the mains can go down to using only the low level line.
     
  18. Reiner

    Reiner
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    Sub - what ever is set to small, is sent to the sub (small is 90Hz and below). What ever that is set to large, will have the full range sent to it, whether the speaker can take it or not. Also the .1 to the sub

    Mains - ones that are sent to small are sent to the mains. Ones that are large take the full range. The .1 through the mains.


    But it only applies if you have a sub / it's set to YES. Else all will be routed to the Mains which will be automatically set to LARGE then.

    Your explanation of BOTH is correct, it's just to duplicate the bass but not LFE.
     
  19. astonbilla

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    ok guys, HELP

    I got a shiny new servo 15. I have Mission cinema 7 speakers and a Denon 3802. When i set these up - i set all speakers to small and the sub set to LFE + MAIN, the other option was just LFE. Is this ok, or am i missing out on anything?

    Also - does anyone know how to connect the X30 to the servo?, i didn't get any cables or documentation. :confused:
     
  20. DodgeTheViper

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    On the 3802, if you set all speakers to small, you dont get the option of LFE + MAIN, just SUB yes. You only get it when setting front speakers to large. I would set all speakers to small anyway !

    Cheers
    Kev
     
  21. astonbilla

    astonbilla
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    Sorry, i know what i've done. I set the sub to LFE + MAIN, then i went into the settings and changed the fronts to small. Sorry about that.

    So the sub is now set to handle all the bass?
     
  22. Apocalypse

    Apocalypse
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    Oops, read the first bit wrong :blush:

    You really only need the X-30 if you are using 2 subs or you need to change the phase of the sub (assuming you use the crossover on the pre/amp that is).

    Regards
    Phil
     
  23. JFK

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    Reiner.


    {{{Sub - what ever is set to small, is sent to the sub (small is 90Hz and below). What ever that is set to large, will have the full range sent to it, whether the speaker can take it or not. Also the .1 to the sub

    Mains - ones that are sent to small are sent to the mains. Ones that are large take the full range. The .1 through the mains.

    But it only applies if you have a sub / it's set to YES. Else all will be routed to the Mains which will be automatically set to LARGE then.

    Your explanation of BOTH is correct, it's just to duplicate the bass but not LFE.}}}


    If no sub is being used and the bass management is set to sub, then no bass from speakers set to small or the .1 will be output. Then you would have to manually change the bass management to Mains and then it would automatically output a full range whether large or small.
     
  24. Reiner

    Reiner
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    If no sub is being used and the bass management is set to sub, then no bass from speakers set to small or the .1 will be output. Then you would have to manually change the bass management to Mains and then it would automatically output a full range whether large or small.

    Well, of course. Setting the sub to YES and not connecting one will result in no bass & no LFE.
    My point is that you don't really need to change anything in the bassmanagament itself, just declare the sub (YES/NO) correctly and the rest is taken care of automatically.
    At least that's valid for Yamaha amps ...
     
  25. tvdavid

    tvdavid
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    I know this thread is very very old right now but I have been playing with the settings on my Pioneer VSX 817 and my KEVs which I have for fronts on music sound much basser on the large setting.

    These are the ones which I am using.

    http://i291.photobucket.com/albums/ll287/clacton0/01072008030.jpg

    And for TV I think its better to set them to small.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2008
  26. tvdavid

    tvdavid
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    I have also found out I can now run the amp with the fronts set to large and have the SUB going to.
     
  27. Derek S-H

    Derek S-H
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    Actually, I'm glad you resurrected this Thread.
    The only problem is, my AV amp (Denon 3805) has speaker/room measuring capabilities built in - you plug a small supplied microphone into the amp and put it in your listening position. It then sends out a test tone and sets all the levels accordingly.
    I do have the option of overriding any settings manually, and of setting all my speakers separately, but is it more trouble than it's worth?
    Is it better to just let the technology do the work for you?
    And what material should you use to decide your settings?
    How good and accurate are test tones anyway?
    Derek
    p.s. And Smurfin never did tell us what the outcome of his testing was!
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2008
  28. IRobot

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    Yeh, the auto setup with the mic is worth doing as it will set your speaker distances and levels and if your amp has audyssey, it will go one step further and work out room eq. (You can always set room eq to "off" if you don't like its effect).

    But you don't usually get the best results if you leave it at that.

    Generally speaking, once auto setup has finished, you'll want to manually change the speakers back to "small" even if they're floorstanders and let the sub handle all <80Hz stuff as it will be better at doing it than your mains.

    Problem is, that amps aren't very good at setting up subs so you often get people saying they prefer their mains set to large but anyone who's spent the time and effort setting up their sub manually will tell you to always set the mains to small.
     
  29. Davieboy00

    Davieboy00
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    I would say trust your reciever to sort out out the details - It's what it is there for :smashin:
    If you speakers are full range speakers then set to large , If they are small sattelite speakers - set to small - Job Done.
     
  30. stevefish69

    stevefish69
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    I will have to re-run the test with REW but basically with the speakers set to "Small" i get this nice flat graph

    [​IMG]

    When i set the mains to "Large" i get loads of peaks and troughs caused by cancellation from the Sub / Mains. Worst bit about it is that i can't then EQ them with the BFD.

    If you have a decent Sub, then let that take the load off your amp and speakers.

    It's what it's there for :D
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2008

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