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Why so little bass when speakers set as small ( calibration advice needed )

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by dUnKle, Jan 4, 2004.

  1. dUnKle

    dUnKle
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    I have a fairly old but still quailty sounding Denon A1D amp which runs B&W 603S2 speakers at the front along with a CC6S2 Centre and some 601S2 rears

    I have two subwoofers - a rel q100e and a rel qbass

    I currently have it configured as follows

    ALL speakers set as LARGE

    ALL speakers at 75db(ish)

    BOTH subs connected by phono connections and set at 75db

    The REL Q100E is connected via the Neutrik Speakon connector to the centre speaker channel and set to SLAM

    The REL QBass is connected via the Neutrik Speakon connector to the left/right speaker channels and set to DEPTH


    With this configuration there is a LOT of bass, maybe a little too much and there is not too much subtle sounds, but for the films I like it tends to work

    However so many people are now telling me I should set the speakers to small - I tried this and the bass almost disapeared - there was very little even during the most action packed of scenes

    Can anybody suggest why this could be and is it ok just to keep it set like I have ?
     
  2. bobgriffiths

    bobgriffiths
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    The subs are being driven by the speaker outputs you have limited there low frequency out put by setting them to small and youre asking why no bass?!

    Most other brands of Subs are connected via dedicated SUB out socket from the reciever.

    The reason it sounds good when you set it on large is thats the correct way to set it up in your case.

    REL recommend using the speaker levels out for there Subs,even though they do have line in as well.

    Have you set the phase correctly?

    if you do run your speakers at large An easy, accurate way of setting the phase control is to reverse the connections on your main speakers (the black wire goes to the red terminal and the red wire to the black terminal). Now play a simple selection, like a jazz instrumental with a good walking bass line, on your system while you're sitting in your listening position. Have a friend dial the phase control on the sub until you hear the least amount of bass. Leave the setting there. Returning your speaker wires to their proper places will now allow you to hear the most bass from your sub.
    (If your sub doesn't have a phase control, you're going to want to position it as close as possible to one of your main speakers in order to ensure that the sound waves are synced up.)

    Positioning of subs is what most people get wrong

    The easiest method to correctly position your sub-woofer is to stand it at your listening position - don't worry, you're not going to sit on it whilst watching a movie! What you are going to do, is move around the room until you find the spot with the best bass response.this will then be the best place for the sub. Use a pink noise signal to do this. and make sure that all your other speakers are turned off.

    The best position is not necessarily the one with the loudest bass, but the position with the smoothest bass. LucasFilm describe non-flat bass as having a "hooty" or "one-note" quality.

    Hope this helps BOB
     
  3. dUnKle

    dUnKle
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    Thanks for that

    I had to compromise a little on the positioning of the subs - due to other things in the rooms they can not go in the exact optimum position but are not far from it

    Also I have the subs connected by both the line in and the speaker connections
     
  4. Andywilliams

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    Hi Duncan
    FRom what i can remember on my rel sub you have to alter the settings to disable the rels crossover when at line level position no 2 on the dial then set speakers to small you should get all bass below 80hz then sent to the subs.
    Cheers Gonzo.
     
  5. bobgriffiths

    bobgriffiths
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    This is from the Rel web site

    RELs are not traditional subwoofers, but true sub-bass systems. A REL is designed to augment the performance of “full range” speaker systems, to provide linear response down to as low as 9 Hz (Studio III). Therefore, for the moment, set aside everything you’ve been taught about subwoofers and how they are integrated into a stereo or theatre system. RELs set-up and position differently from other subwoofers. A REL will take advantage of physics and room acoustics to provide deep pressurization as no other sub-woofer can. It’s important that you bring to the set-up process a willingness to do things a little differently in order to obtain these superior results. The end result of your labours will be an utterly seamless integration of true deep bass to a sound system, regardless of the main speaker’s low bass capability.

    Two things before you begin
    A. It is helpful to know that you will almost always connect the REL to the input on the rear panel labelled “High Level”. This connection is made using the supplied 34 foot (10 m) cable, the bare leads of which connect to the speaker output terminals on the rear of the power amplifier. The easy and foolproof connection at the REL is done with a Neutrik Speakon connector. The purpose of connecting to the speaker output terminals is one of the unique secrets of REL’s success. By connecting to the high level input on the REL from the amplifier, you build forward the sonic signature of your main system, including the tonal balance and timing cues of the entire electronics chain. In this way, the REL is fed the exact signal that is fed to the main speakers.

    B. When possible, the REL should be placed in one of the corners behind the speakers. Remember, we are dealing with true LOW bass pressurization with RELs, not the mid-bass that most competitors settle for. Low bass pressurization below 40 Hz is best derived from corner placement, where the most linear and efficient low bass can be produced. Basic set-up should take no more than ten to fifteen minutes to accomplish.

    The Process
    To begin the set-up process, choose a piece of music that has a repetitive bass line that is very low in frequency. We recommend cut 4 from the soundtrack to Sneakers (Columbia CK 53146). This has a repetitive bass drum throughout that gives you plenty of time to move the sub-bass around, but more importantly, the recording venue was quite large for this recording, and therefore it has a very deep and large-scale bass signature. This type of cut is perfect for the set-up process, and should be played at the highest reasonable level expected for system play back.

    We call the setup procedure "POPI". This is an acronym for Phase, Orientation, Placement, Integration. These are the four steps that are necessary to achieve the best results from a REL. Note: other so-called subwoofers will almost certainly not benefit from this level of attention and are best considered as just simple boom boxes for those that just want oodles of boomy bass.

    Working with a partner (one in the listening position and one at the sub-bass system manipulating the controls), is the most effective and efficient way to set up the sub-bass system. If working alone, the initial steps in the set-up can very effectively be carried out from the location of the woofer. Try to ignore all other music in the cut, listen for the bass drum and its effect on the listening room.

    Phase: Upon plugging the REL in and hooking it up, set the crossover “Coarse” setting to position “2” and raise the gain control to the 12 o’clock position. Start with the speakers cut and move over to the corner where the REL is placed. Switch back and forth between the two phase settings. Whichever setting yields a louder output is the “correct” one. It means this position is working in harmony with your main speakers, reinforcing the bass; not cancelling it.
    Orientation: Next, if space allows, try two different orientations of the woofer relative to the wall. First, place the REL with the connection panel parallel with the rear wall. Second, place the REL with the connection panel parallel with the sidewall. The orientation which yields the most output is the best position for that room.
    Placement: To unlock the magic of REL, place the REL as far into the corner as possible. Then, slowly pull the REL out from the corner, just one inch at a time, listening for the point at which it exhibits increased output and the lowest bass extension. Being careful not to significantly alter the relationship of the cabinet sides to either wall. Simply draw it out on a diagonal from the corner. There is a point, which will vary for each room, wherein the REL will “unlock”. That point will likely be only a few inches from the corner, but in very rare occasions, as far as a foot. It is at this point where the REL is working with the room to provide the most efficient pressurization and the lowest possible frequency response. It will sound as if the REL has actually released more information from the recording.
    4. Integration: You now have the REL properly sited and the phase correctly set. Working with both “Coarse” and “Fine” controls, you will now find a setting with which the REL and the main speakers integrate seamlessly. We suggest that you begin the adjustment process by starting with the gain at the 9 o’clock position and the lowest crossover setting. Then, raise the crossover point until the REL begins to intrude on the sound of the main speakers. At this point gain level and crossover point are each subtly adjusted up or down to reach the proper balance between the main speaker and the REL. Hint: There is a tendency among audiophiles to set the crossover point too high and the gain too low when first learning how to integrate a REL with the system, the fear being one of overwhelming the main speakers with bass. But in doing so, the resulting set-up will be lacking in bass depth and dynamics. The proper crossover point and gain setting will increase overall dynamics, allow for extended bass frequencies, and improve soundstage properties. Note: gain must be adjusted in conjunction with crossover changes. In general, when selecting a lower crossover point, more gain may need to be applied. The vast majority of installations will have the Coarse on A (the lowest setting) anf the Fine on 3 or 4. Only very occasionally is it necessary to go much higher.
    Theatre and Film Applications: For Dolby Digital AC-3® or other 5.1 theatre systems, please use the supplied cable connected from the left and right amplifier outputs (as in a standard two channel system) to the ABC™ high level inputs. For this configuration, you must set the processor to the “large” or “full range” setting for the left and right speakers in order for the REL to receive the bass signal. In addition to the high-level cable coming from the amplifier, you will run a low-level phono cable from the .1 LFE output from the processor. It is important to provide low frequency support to the full range left and right channel speakers, in addition to pressurizing the room from the LFE track. In this configuration, the REL provides support for both the left and right speakers for two-channel listening, and support for the LFE when movies are playing. Most processors will allow you to defeat the subwoofer output when listening in the two-channel mode, which is appropriate to do for this set-up. The effect of this set-up is one of greatly increased dynamics in the mid-bass range; no bass bloat; and a greater degree of space and timing from the Foley effects. For an even greater sense of space and impact, a second REL connected in parallel to the centre channel will prove to be a dramatic improvement as well.

    Assuming you will be using the built-in software filtering within the processor, remember to set the Mode switch on the REL to position 2 (or 4, if you needed to use reverse phase).

    Other Tips: Generally speaking, do not use the supplied spikes. RELs work on the principle of the driver in a high-pressure zone relative to the floor. Spiking the REL will decouple the woofer from the floor, which will lean out the bass response. If the floor is older, very “springy” floor, spikes can be useful in reducing the influence of the REL on the floor. But better yet, a heavy stone slab placed under the REL will work better. Even if you intend to use the spikes, do NOT insert them until completion of the set-up process.

    As you can see it says use your speakers on large and "It is important to provide low frequency support to the full range(set to large) left and right channel speakers, in addition to pressurizing the room from the LFE track. In this configuration, the REL provides support for both the left and right speakers for two-channel listening, and support for the LFE when movies are playing" This is very different to using just speaker level Or just LFE sub out .
    The configuration your using requires both are set up correctly .like you seem to have done! :smashin: often people tell you things that are usually true (set to small) but not for your system .

    hope this helps BOB
     
  6. Andywilliams

    Andywilliams
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    Blimey Bob
    That is a reply.
    Gonzo.:D
     
  7. dUnKle

    dUnKle
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    Thanks BOB
     
  8. Smurfin

    Smurfin
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    "A REL will take advantage of physics and room acoustics to provide deep pressurization as no other sub-woofer can."

    Hmmm... REL's sound very intelligent then....:D
     
  9. bobgriffiths

    bobgriffiths
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    I take advantage of physics by holding onto the bed when the rooms spinning from a night out on the beer!

    The REL quote is typical promo stuff but has some very usefull tips
    bob
     
  10. lowrider

    lowrider
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    I have two REL Strata III, use only the low-level connection with a splitter, and have very good bass thank you... :smoke:

    The high-level is for stereo systems, or if you have full-range speakers well placed in a big room, or if bass management in your processor is not too good, or has a high fixed xover, otherwise setting the speakers to small has many advantages...

    Make sure the xover in the subs is bypassed for low level, and that your processor is setup correct for bass to LFE...
     
  11. dUnKle

    dUnKle
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    I think it is but not sure

    Starting to believe that my system is the exception to the rule

    I know neither sub is top notch or cutting edge but they are still both bloody good units and have done me proud so far

    I would like to see if I could get the small setting sounding ok - but as soon as I set the speakers to small I loose all that bass I once had

    No more booms or rumbles :(
     
  12. lowrider

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    Check the settings for the LFE on the receiver, bass to sub only I sujest for speakers set to small...

    Make sure the volume for low level is up on the subs, try calibration to check if it sounds loud...
     
  13. bobgriffiths

    bobgriffiths
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    I have set up REL subs just on LFE with speakers set to small and it works great for movie sound tracks.
    The way REL suggests is good for multi channel and for MUSIC as Duncanwardle has 603 speakers i guess he listens to the odd stereo CD or two and as a Bass freak (he must be with all those B&W speakers And TWO fine subs) the way he has it wired at the moment is fine but if he lisens only to movie soundtracks then the LFE and small settings do hve some advantages .PS i prefer to set the crossover frequency if its variable on your amp to 60HZ not the 80HZ as a lot of people suggest and the THX specification suggests i find in most rooms with larger speakers this works better and a test like the frequency sweep and the buzz and rattle tests on Digital Video essentials seem to back this up.
    A good test disc and SPL meter are essential

    Bob
     
  14. lowrider

    lowrider
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    I also use, and recomend the xover set to 60hz, but his receiver is a bit old, so it might not have that option, if it does, go for it, 80hz is still quite directional, and usually speakers play better the range around 60 to 80, where there is still much info... :smoke:
     
  15. dUnKle

    dUnKle
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    Thanks guys

    Yeah the amp is getting on a bit but its still quality sounding - it has options for bass to sub only or sub and front

    Ill go and have a play now with it to see if I can get anything from the small settings
     
  16. dUnKle

    dUnKle
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    Thanks for your help and suggestions

    Spent a good few hours trying various settings and playing many, many scenes over and over again

    My judgement is that for my preferences and my ears it sounds better as I first had it - in fact after some last minute recalibration it sounds better than ever
     
  17. davidmbell

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    Found this thread while looking for info on REL Q100E's.

    I have a Audiolab pre / power amp combo, Yamaha DSP-E800 processor, TDL RTL3's up front, JPW surrounds and a Paradigm Centre. To add to this I am going to ad a sub for Films. Hence I am going audition a REL Q100E on Saturday.

    If I go for this then I was just going to connect the Phono connector and use the Yamaha's LFE Sub output.

    Not bothered for using the sub for music as my TDL TRL 3's handle that with more than enough bass.

    Would this system work ok? Bob's hugely long note above has confused me about all of this, surely if I only want the sub for films, then the connection I've mentioned is the best route?

    Also, can you recommend a good disk for testing the audio (guess it ought to be DVD as I am not using above for music)

    Thanks in advance

    David
     
  18. Galaxy

    Galaxy
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    Reading this thread, it seems REL's are made in the magical kingdom of bass...........:clown:
     
  19. Steve.EX

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    "A REL will take advantage of physics and room acoustics to provide deep pressurization as no other sub-woofer can."


    Rather strangely i sold my two Rel's (Storm's) many years ago as i felt that:

    "A REL will NOT take advantage of physics and room acoustics to provide deep pressurization as MANY other sub-woofers can.

    Steven:
     
  20. lowrider

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    Maybe you didn´t know how to take advantage of REL´s ability to provide deep pressurization as no other sub-woofer can... :rolleyes:
     
  21. davidmbell

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    Hope I'm not going to fall foul to not setting them up right. Might be on here next week with all sorts of questions if I go for the REL
     

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