Subwoofer set-up novice question

N

number_15

Guest
Hi
Sorry if similar threads have been posted before (I kinda got lost searching). Anyway I have a Pioneer VSX-C300 AV receiver with the matching S-F50 speaker and S-W80 subwoofer set. Being a complete novice to the Home Cinema world I was unsure of the best way to set up this system and of the settings for speaker sizes etc. I then found this website;

http://www.polkaudio.com/home/faqad/advice.php?article=setup

I was attracted to this method of set-up because of the last paragraph about being ideal for palm sized satellite speakers and hence I set up the sub using the “speaker level connection” method mentioned. By turning the Subwoofer to off as stated I must set my front speakers to Large this is despite them being only 5.2cm (x2 double cone) in diameter. I have used this connection method for about a month and everything sounds great including the LFE channel, I’m really happy with the outcome however I wondered if anyone could offer me some advice?

Is this a good method of connecting the subwoofer or am I missing out on any bass or sounds etc? Would there be any advantage in simply using the output jack instead (speaker level connection sounded better at the time but I have a bit more knowledge of the system now) - line level connection? Will having my (small) front speakers set to large cause them any damage? Finally is there any other set up method I should consider to gain an improved sound performance?

Thanks for the help
Billy
 

Ian J

Banned
Billy,

The normal way to set up a sub sat system for home cinema is to use the line level output from the amp to the sub instead of the speaker level connections and to set the speakers to small.

Bass consists of "normal bass" plus the extra bass that is channeled through the sub output and if using speaker level connections you won't be getting that extra LFE bass
 
M

MikeK

Guest
Originally posted by Ian J
Billy,

The normal way to set up a sub sat system for home cinema is to use the line level output from the amp to the sub instead of the speaker level connections and to set the speakers to small.

Bass consists of "normal bass" plus the extra bass that is channeled through the sub output and if using speaker level connections you won't be getting that extra LFE bass


If you set the amp for no subwoofer, it should redirect the LFE (.1) channel to the main speakers, which you set to LARGE (many amps will set at least the FL and FR speakers to LARGE by default once you select no subwoofer).

The connection method you have used will work fine - the main difference is that it doesn't use any bass management in the amp, apart from the LFE redirect. It relies on the crossover in the subwoofer to take all the low frequencies for itself, and pass on the higher freqs to the satellites.

However, the connection method Ian mentioned is equally valid - and perhaps more common. It uses the amp's internal bass management to redirect all low frequencies (the LFE channel and the bass cut from all the other speakers, which are set to SMALL) to the subwoofer out phono, while sending eveything else, to the speakers (set to SMALL).


Which method is best will depend entirely on the equipment in question IMO.
It's really a straight choice between the amp's crossover and bass mgmt versus the subwoofer's crossover.
If the speakers and sub came as a set, it may well have been designed so that the sub/sat crossover in the sub works very well - whereas it can be a bit of a hit&miss affair when the sats and sub have come from different makers. That said, some makers idea of design is to simply select some components, bolt them together and stand back!! :).
Really it depends on the equipment in question at the end of the day!.
In theory, if the sub/sat package are well designed, especially the crossover, then the connection method you have used, is arguably likely to be superior, as the responses of both the subwoofer and sats are known quantities (sort of :) ), whereas bass management in the amp really has no idea what you are connecting on, so will always be something of a compromise!

At the end of the day, just use whichever method sounds best to you - you won't lose out on bass with either method, properly set up!


Of course, you can combine the methods as well.
Most aftermarket subs only come with a stereo set of speaker level connections, not 5 or 6 channel. This means that to get the bass for the centre and rears, you have to set them as SMALL, so that the amp will cut the bass from them and redirect it. As subwoofer is set to NO, it will redirect to the fronts, which are set to LARGE. However, you'd really have to ask at this point whether it was worth it - in this case I'd then just connect up as Ian says, use the amp's bass magmt, and be done with it!

One other point - the bass mgmnt crossover in the amp usually has an upper limit (or is fixed at) 120Hz. If the satellites you are using can't produce sound as low as 120Hz at full output , and ideally a bit lower too (and it's very questionable that speakers with 2" drivers will be able to) then you should really be using the speaker level setup method, as you have done.
The reason is that if the satellites can only produce down to say 160Hz, then you will get a response hole in the mid/upper bass - and this is one of the most critical areas for sound reproduction.
Ie the amp's subwoofer phono will only be outputting freqs below 120Hz, while the sat speakers will only get down to 160Hz - so 120Hz to 160Hz is missing (the crossover filters aren't brick wall filters though, so 120Hz doesn't mean no output at all at 121 Hz, it just means that the output will be attenuated from that point on. Even the 120Hz figure actually means the point at which the output has fallen to half power, the -3dB point (which doesn't mean the same as half as loud - confusing isn't it!!! )
 

The latest video from AVForums

Oculus Quest 2 VR headset + Rotel A14 MkII Amp Reviews & Best of the Month
Subscribe to our YouTube channel
Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom