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subwoofer set-up troubles!!

Discussion in 'Subwoofers' started by matmum, Oct 26, 2003.

  1. matmum

    matmum
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    hi

    i am having real troubles trying to set up my subwoofer (rel strata III) to its full potential - and i dont think that i have the crossover options set correctly. my amp is an arcam avr100 (with a p45 power amp) and it doesn't allow me to have any control over the bass (does anyone know what the bass cross-over is for the amp as its not mentioned in the manual).

    At the moment i have all the speakers set to small, so all the bass is going through the sub, however i have some pretty good speakers ruark cl20's (which i dont know the rolloff frequency of) -so i wondered if it would be better to set the fronts to large (the amp only allows me to set all to large tho, so i cant have large fronts and small center and rears).

    at the moment the bass doesnt seem to be dynamic enough, and i turn the amp up higher to achieve a more effective sound - but i want to be able to have the film at a reasonable level and still have the dynamic explosions etc, with a full bass range as the film intended.

    any help would be greatly appreciated i.e. what would be the correct frequency roll-off for my system, whether i need to enable full bass through the fronts.

    thanx
     
  2. Crustyloafer

    Crustyloafer
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    You should set all the speakers to small and set the 'Mode' switch on the back of the sub to either mode 2 or mode 4 which both bypass the crossover and leave the AV amp to decide what to send to it. Mode 2 is an LFE setting with the sub in phase with the rest of the speakers. Mode 4 is the same setting but with sub operates 180 degrees out of phase with the rest of the speakers. Most AV amps set the crossover to about 80Hz if the speakers are set to small and so everything below that will be sent to the sub.
     
  3. matmum

    matmum
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    r u sure that its best to set all speakers to small - i keep hearing different opinions about it - some say set front speakers to large if they have a good bass range.

    if i do leave the speakers on small, what is the best roll off settings to use - heres the roll off table included in the sub manual.

    ---- rolloff frequency--- hz
    ---- 1---2---3--- 4 ---5----6
    A-- 22-23-25---27--28--30
    B-- 32-34-36---38--41- 43
    C-- 46-49-53---56--60 -64
    D-- 69-73-78---83--89 -95

    my friend suggested that i choose 3C which is 53 hz - with large front speakers selected - is this a good idea - previously i had the setting on 4D with small speakers - but i felt that the sub didnt seem to be very dynamic and lacked a deep enough range on explosions etc.

    cheers
     
  4. Ian J

    Ian J
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    Have you speakers set to small with the mode setting on the sub set at 2 so that the crossover is controlled by the amp.
     
  5. matmum

    matmum
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    so to clarify - that means then that the other settings dont have any effect on the bass at all if i have the mode set to 2 - so all i need to do really is adjust the low level volume - and not worry about roll-offs etc.

    sorry if i don't seem to have much of a clue as i am a bit of newbie to subs.

    cheers
     
  6. Ian J

    Ian J
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    That is correct. The crossover on the sub will be effectively switched off leaving the bass management down to the amplifier crossover.
     
  7. GaryG

    GaryG
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    I used to have a Strata, and it may be that your expectations for the sub are higher than what the sub is capable of delivering. Like yourself, I like dynamic bass, the sort where you feel like you've been hit in the chest with a canoe paddle, unfortunatley that's not achievable with a Strata, it doesn't have a big enough driver or enough power. If you haven't already done so try putting your sub in a front corner, this will at least make the most of room gain.
     
  8. matmum

    matmum
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    thought the strata III was good - could u recommend a sub that would live up to my expectations and not very expensive
     
  9. ShinObiWAN

    ShinObiWAN
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    For the kind of bass that it sounds like your after ie. Dynamic 'make you eye balls shake' Bass, only one sub under £500 can really provide that and its the Paradigm Servo15.

    Unfortunately they are not available to buy new anymore since Richersound decided to stop stocking them. But there is one on ebay:

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3055156081&category=1499

    Which should go for around £350 since they retailed at £400-500 new.

    Aside from that your really looking at designs from Velodyne like the CHT15 or SVS PC+ Series. Both of which are hard to come by in this country and its likely that you will have to import. With the SVS costing around £700 and the CHT around £550 after all the shipping, tax, VAT etc.

    Other than that you really do have to be spending around £900+ for something really earth moving like the big M&K's.

    Of course I may be mistaken and someone else will suggest something I haven't mentioned.
     
  10. Ian J

    Ian J
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    I think that we may be jumping the gun here. The Strata can't compete with the likes of a Servo 15 in terms of depth and slam but it isn't a poor sub by any means. I think that you should be looking at some more tweaking before you start thinking about trying something else as I would imagine that your Strata has probably a little more to give.
     
  11. GaryG

    GaryG
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    You could ask IanJ if he'll sell you his SVS!:D He's probably going to be putting it up for sale after I've dragged him over to my house to listen to what I've replaced my Servo 15 with.:devil:
     
  12. ShinObiWAN

    ShinObiWAN
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    What do you have now then Gary?
     
  13. GaryG

    GaryG
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    DIY I'm afraid, not a commercial offering.
     
  14. matmum

    matmum
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    just wondered what tweaking you could suggest to try on my strata III to improve it

    thnx
     
  15. Ian J

    Ian J
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    I would start by investing £25 in a sound pressure level meter to ensure that the levels of all your speakers plus sub are correct and then fiddle about with room positioning as well. Even moving the sub a few inches can make a difference
     
  16. matmum

    matmum
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    kay thanx will try a sound pressure metre - anyone know where i can get one from? also regarding the sound, i have a dvd called video essentials - shall i use that to test my speakers or is the thx optimizer more accurate (or are there any other methods better)

    thnx
     
  17. ShinObiWAN

    ShinObiWAN
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  18. marcoeser

    marcoeser
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    Come on guys this one needs some real help.Not to buy another sub.:lesson:

    I've had my strata for many years and can say it has taken that long to set-up and appreciate its subtleties. I have tried all the setups you suggest here and disagree. This is my suggestion:
    1. set your fronts to large on the amp and connect them to the sub using the high level cable that came with the strata.
    2. Also connect the low level interconnect. If you want more umpf use the bottom connection (it gives a +10 signal)
    3. Place the sub on a hard surface using the supplied spikes. If you have a wooden floor put down a slab of stone first. This gives more definition.
    4. Put a heavy (20kg) object on top of the sub, I use a big stone.
    5. the tricky part is getting the cross overs and volumes for each speaker set up correctly. The easiest way I've found is find a track with a sweep. I use the AVIA disc and also a SPL meter. Disconnect the sub and listen to each speaker using the meter to see where the signal falls away. That is where you need to set your crossover for the speaker. For the fronts set the Xover on the Sub using the 2 dials (the grid was previously posted) and for the center and rears set the xover on your amp. Now all you do is adjust the volume dials on the sub so that the signal remains more or less constant down to 25hz. First for the front and then for the center and rears. If you like more bass just turn up the dials a little. You'll need to get the fronts setup correctly first because as they are setup as large on your amp the LFE signal is shared between them and the sub.
    6. Now you've set up it with your speakers you need to set it up with your room. The position of the sub effects the signal you hear and feel. You have to move it around your room to see where the sweep you were playing earlier sounds the most constant. You've found the right position, now go back to point (5) and double check your xovers & volumes - they'll need adjusting.

    The Strata is not a brute force, punch in the stomach sub but it can produce a very sweet and defined bass track when it is setup correctly. It just needs time.

    I hope I've helped a little and given you some confidence to go back and try again with your strata.

    marc :smashin:
     
  19. Tacitus

    Tacitus
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    I don't know if this will help but I bought a REL Stentor III subwoofer at the hifi show in Manchester and talked to the sales manager, Alan Porter from Rel. He kindly offered to come and set up the Stentor for me as he wasn't confident that the guys at Practical HiFi were upto setting this gear up properly. Well he came today and not only did he set up the sub but also my B&W 805 signatures and the Signature HTM centre. This guy really knew what he was doing and I have to say I now have a system which sounds mind blowing. I'm afraid to even touch it. It is really good to run into people like this who go that extra mile, and who really know what they are doing. You might find that by contacting him he may talk you through what you need to do, or you may even be able to tempt him into visiting you. He is a super helpful guy.

    Cheers
    Michael
     
  20. matmum

    matmum
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    thanx for the suggestions - will try what you have mentioned as i feel that the other options i have tried havent really increased its performance and bass range- just hope i will be able to set it up properly this time as i have always had the feeling that it just doesnt sound like i am getting enough out of it - and then when i feel that its a more dynamic level - some music comes along and sounds way too deep.

    cheers:)
     
  21. matmum

    matmum
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    hi - i tried what u suggested above i.e. setting the front speakers to large - however my amp (arcam avr100) does not have any settings to adjust the center speaker and surrounds crossovers - will i have to resort back to just having a phono lead plugged into the sub now and setting my front speakers back to small?
     
  22. marcoeser

    marcoeser
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    I don't know that particular amp (someone can correct me) but it must have a standard xover for small speakers, I guess 80hz. But, this doesn't effect having the fronts set up as large, continue setting them up using the high level lead. You'll only have to adjust the volume for the center and rears.

    marc
     
  23. matmum

    matmum
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    well i had a look in the amp (avr100) manual and it doesnt look like the center and surround speakers can be adjusted at all (in respect to crossover frequencies) but instead only has 3 presets which are as follows:

    preset 1 -
    all speakers on large with the sub on

    preset 2 -
    main large
    center and surronds small
    sub off

    preset 3 -
    all speakers set to small
    sub on

    in the setup menu there are 4 options -
    1. input settings
    2. channel balance (for fronts only)
    3. channel delays (for center and rears)
    4. speaker settings (this option only has the presets mentioned above)

    so looks like i may have to stick with my existing setup as the amp has very poor speaker options
     
  24. marcoeser

    marcoeser
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    if you feel like trying something different, try preset 2. you'll only be using the high level connection. I found when I used the high level connection I got a fuller sound. Its something to do with the fact that the speakers were being sent all the signal and not being cut off at the amps xover. My only small worry is that your amp won't play the LFE (.1) channel to the fronts. Let us know how you get on.

    marc
     
  25. matmum

    matmum
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    ye trying preset 3 wasnt ideal as you mentioned - i am not getting the full LFE. i did find however that in my setup options i can alter each speakers db level (but not the crossover frequency). so could i set all my speakers to large and then alter the db levels or will that not really help the issue.
     
  26. marcoeser

    marcoeser
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    Altering the db level for each speaker won't help. It is only for adjusting the balance. For example, if for your suronds are too far away from you seating position and were too quiet. You would increase the db level for them so that they would be balanced with your fronts.
    marc
     
  27. matmum

    matmum
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    o rite - nevermind then - so really im stuck with all speakers set to small and the sub on - and not being able to attach the high and level together at the same time.

    thanx for all your help :)
     
  28. marcoeser

    marcoeser
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    I think you misunderstood my previous post. Try preset 2 with only the high level connection,
    marc
     
  29. matmum

    matmum
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    hi - i just got a sound level meter and just wondered if i set-up the decebel levels properly. i have got a dvd that is video essentials - and that gave me some test tones - it said that i should set the meter to 70db. and then get a reading of +75 from each speaker. i had my amp set to 61db and had to increase each speaker by around 7db - i just wondered if i did it correctly as i am not sure whether the amp was up too loud as wouldnt the readings be different if the volume was lower or higher?

    any help would be greatly appreciated
     
  30. ailean

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    Not got VidEss (just recieved Avia so going to play with that tonight :) ) but normally what you want to do is set the meter so it's in the 70db range (if it has ranges) then set all the speaker adjustments to 0, run the main channel test tone and turn your main volume (big knob ;) ) up till you hit 75db (maybe adjust the left/right positions and angel to get them equal).

    After that don't touch the main volume but go around the other speakers tones and adjuct the channel +/- setting so they also come out as 75db.

    Doing the sub depends if you are using speaker or line level inputs, if it's speaker level then use the gain on the sub, if it's line level then the +/- channel on the amp with the sub gain at a resonable level. If it's speaker level you might have to go back and do it again to match the volume you just set as the main channel test will use the sub at the same time. :(

    Remember for Speaker level your Main channels must be set to Large, all others to small with no sub.

    For Line level all speakers should be set to Small and sub activated.

    Another good idea I've read is to put the meter on a camera tripod (if you've got one) at the normal seating position and height, there by giving you two hands to fiddel with the remotes and move around the room.

    This is all theory thou as I've yet to do this right (not had a test tone source that lasted long enough to get a good reading) and not yet got my Sub to complecate matters. ;)

    Reading all these threads I'm dreading trying to setup my Sub, but hopefully by time I order it you'll be able to give me practical pointers! :smashin:
     

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