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XLS200 - Slow with Music ?

Discussion in 'Subwoofers' started by drum63, May 10, 2004.

  1. drum63

    drum63
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    I know this maybe herecy to "dis" the much respected XLS200 but I definitely hear a problem in my room which you may be able to help with.

    For films I love it, definite improvement at the low end over my previous sub (Yamaha YST90), and I don't need a sub that plumbs any deeper, shakes windows etc.
    We have the setup in the living room which also has an open plan staircase, (don't you just love modern houses) and the kids are normally in bed when we watch films.
    So normally have the volume at -25 to 30 dB.

    For music, however, I'm not so happy.
    In my room the sub definitely appears slow.
    My favourite test DVDs to prove this are Hell Freezes Over (Hotel California when the Drums (Conga) start) and Fleetwood Mac's The Dance, (Kick drum at the start of The Chain).

    Having played Drums for 30 years and a bit of Bass (badly) I suppose I notice these things more than some, but there is a definite difference between my system and my mate's M&K K-series.

    From what I can hear, I don't think the problem is a delay to the start (attack) of bass notes from the sub, in relation to other speakers, but it's an extended decay (or overhang) that causes the perception of "slowness".

    Instead of a kick drum producing a Doof, I get a Dooffffff.

    For info I have tried various crossover and sub volume settings, Low and High-level connections, mounted the sub on Granite slab, none of which improve the decay.

    I think there are two possibile causes of this problem and would appreciate any advice on which one you think is more likely.

    1. XLS200 not up to the job because -

    a. Inherently slow (Have only seen 1 other owner out of many complain so far)
    b. Not run in yet (Had about 20 hours use so far).
    c. Needs a better power lead (was mentioned in another thread but I have only tried a couple of different kettle leads with no improvement, although I am planning to build a better DIY cable).
    d. Needs a better interconnect (Just got a Mark Grant sub cable - increased the volume slightly but no difference to decay).

    or

    2. Room problem - I have a 10-15 dB peak at about 35Hz. Have tried re-positioning sub but it doesn't improve this much.


    I suppose my question is could a room node cause the problem, in which case I should start looking at BFD etc to flatten it, or should I look for a more musical sub a la MS909, B&W675, Rocket (nice finish apart from the black top/bottom), or the omnipresent SVS (probably too big methinks and I don't really need my trousers flapped).

    Simple question really, shame it took me 1000 words to get there. :)
     
  2. chrisgeary

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    mm, sounds like a room mode to me. 35hz isn't far off what i have in my room. a BFD will help reduce the peak, but will only go so far in reducing the resonance, which is the real problem. i have had moderate success in countering resonance with a sub at the other end of my room acting as a stopper. it works out of phase with the front sub, the BFD then reduces 35hz to the front sub, and reduces the frequencies around 35hz for the back sub - so the back sub only works at that resonant frequency. its hard to do this, but short of room treatments, i'm not sure what else to suggest. room treatments at 35hz are not cheap, as far as i know - in fact i think they are pretty much structural alterations because of the wavelength.

    as a simple start, you might find that repositioning helps a little, a BFD might help a little and perhaps the combination of the two might give you a result you are happy with. maybe bring it out into the room a little so it doesnt excite the room's 35hz mode so easily. however, the flip side of that might be it also doesn't pressurise the room as efficiently as it did.

    can't think of anything else that might be helpful.
     
  3. eviljohn2

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  4. drum63

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    Chris,

    Thanks for the reply - I've read some of your previous posts with interest, (and also the hope that I never have to go to the same measures to achieve a decent sound :) ).
    I am definitely thinking the room is the problem, especially as I havn't seen many others complaining of the same problem with this sub. Think I will do some rather more drastic testing to prove it. e.g. sub in middle of room.

    Evil John,

    Have been meaning to add a signature with my gear, (now that I have a few new pieces and no money - thanks to AVForums :) ).

    I have a Denon 3805, Mission 773e, 75C and 77DS speakers, Arcam 88+ and obviously an XLS200.

    Gary
     
  5. eviljohn2

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    You may also do well to try different settings for your front speakers as the 773e's will reach down to that sort of level and could be confusing the matter. Try setting them to small (if you havn't already) and also try setting the crossover of the sub to around 80Hz and maybe even down to ~50Hz where your 773e's start to struggle.

    Can't do any harm anyway :)
     
  6. drum63

    drum63
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    Thanks John,

    I did have a play yesterday with the speaker settings but setting them to small seemed to make the problem worse i.e. the bass sounded even slower.

    I have found, (using snapbug sinewaves and graph), that I get the flattest response with Fronts set to large and the sub crossover set to about 50hz.
    Setting the sub to LFE mode seems to make the 35Hz peak wider.

    I will be doing some more playing around with sub position, speaker settings etc when I get time.
    Will probably also try to borrow my mates M&K K9 sub to see what happens with that in my room.

    cheers

    Gary
     
  7. elcid

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  8. drum63

    drum63
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    Fair enough - let's call it loose bass then.
    Whatever the name it's still a pain in the a**

    It reminds me of playing with a bass player who is well behind the beat, therefore making the music appear to drag.
    Totally different to my current band where the bass player is trying to get through the songs as quickly as possible so he can get to the bar. :beer:

    I did some more testing yesterday and moved the sub to various positions, corner, along wall, middle of the room etc. and in each position the effect was the same - long decay or "loose" bass.

    I've plotted my room response again, (see below) and I don't believe the peaks are that bad, so I'm not now convinced that the room is causing this.
    The only way to prove it is to try another sub - which I intend to do in the near future.
    For some reason the plot is different to one I did before, but this is a living room with doors to the kitchen and conservatory, which both seem to make quite a difference to the response. I think I had at least one door open before, but this time I shut everything.
    For info the plot was taken with the sub on the front wall about 3 feet from corner, sub xover @ 60 Hz, mains set to large, and with amp in stereo mode, Room EQ = normal, playing test tones through mains and sub.
     

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  9. elcid

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  10. jdanielp

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    i noticed some rather slow bass with my XLS200 the other day but can't remember what i was listening to at the time... am still fiddling around with the dials and do not have any special set-up equipment to utilise but when i listened to some tracks yesterday (Goldie - Timeless, Massive Attack - Protection) it seemed to be keeping up quite nicely and really sounded rather good (although ultimately i think my room acoustics are quite bad especially with a hollow wooden floor - no complaints from the neighbours yet though!!! :thumbsup: )
     
  11. MuFu

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    Looking at that plot I think it may simply be a matter of having the gain set too high on the sub. "Slow" bass is usually a sign of bad sub/main integration or a problem with resonant room modes, and you seem to be luckier than most as far as the latter goes.
     
  12. drum63

    drum63
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    Mufu,

    Thanks for the reply

    Funnily enough, I was experimenting with sub level at the weekend and got it sounding a little better but still noticeable.
    I know that for music the best setup is where you don't notice that the sub is on (until you turn it off), but I'm struggling to get to that point.

    I find that if I turn down the sub until the "overhang" disappears, I then don't notice any difference if I turn it off completely.

    I was planning to prove whether it is a problem with the sub or the room by getting a home demo of something more expensive and allegedly "faster" e.g B&W 675, MS909 etc.
    Unfortunately a nasty unexpected tax bill :devil: at the weekend has probably curtailed my AV investment for a while . :thumbsdow
    I don't want to demo something that cures my problem and then not be able to afford it.

    Gary
     
  13. Dfour

    Dfour
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    Im sure the xls 200 would fly off your hands if you put it in the classifieds. Just a long shot but have you spoken to the maunfacturer of the xls200 about your feelings/thoughts?? Maybe they would help.

    AV equiptment...what your credit card was designed for ;):clap::smashin:
     
  14. drum63

    drum63
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    AV equiptment...what your credit card was designed for ;):clap::smashin:[/QUOTE]

    Have you seen my CC balance :rolleyes:
    Luckily my wife hasn't either, otherwise I wouldn't need to go to the clinic for the vasectomy I'm considering :eek:

    Havn't spoken to BK yet as I really wanted to establish whether the room or sub was causing the problem. I'm also lazy - far easier to discuss it here. :)

    Unfortunately, posting a problem here can sometimes look like you really hate the thing.
    That's not the case at all and I've been trying to backtrack a little, as I don't want to put off other potential buyers.

    As I said, for films, (which is increasingly becoming the primary use of my system), I'm happy and would only consider upgrading once I could prove another sub would improve the music in my room.

    But you know what it's like - once you notice something, it starts to bug you, and then you start the "I wonder if that one would be better " routine.
    Which brings us nicely back to the credit card. :suicide:
     
  15. Dfour

    Dfour
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    :rotfl: :suicide: :rotfl:

    Also possibly worth considering is the quality of the sub cable you are using.
     
  16. drum63

    drum63
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    I have a Mark Grant 3m sub cable.

    I've also just replaced the mains cable with a pukka DIY job using shielded 1.5 mm CY cable, Ferrites etc, (thanks to RichardH for the parts), but it hasn't improved things.

    I can definitely see a home demo on the horizon, which no doubt will be followed by further squeaking of the plastic.
    Oh well - you can't take it with you. :)
     
  17. Dfour

    Dfour
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    Nice one, mines in the post

    That sounds like my next move

    :clap:
     
  18. rob_w

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    It's almost certainly your calibration thats out - the graph you posted showed the 'sub' freq's about 10 dB higher than the mains...

    When it's set properly you won't notice the sub playing for 'most' music - very little normal stuff has bass below 40Hz - If you listen to lots of electronic stuff, or the 1812 overture/ organ stuff then you will notice a difference. For example I could play rock on my old mains full range (b+w 602's) , then switch to small setting plus sub, and have no difference. Play drum n' bass and the situation changes.

    Also remember that if your systems flat then you wont hear the lowest bass until it's turned up pretty loud - ie your system will sound bass shy at low volumes.

    I doubt that changing the interconnect or mains lead will help unless it somehow attenuates the sub by the right amount to make it flat in your system btw.. :devil:

    Hoping this helps

    Rob
     
  19. drum63

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  20. rob_w

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    Hey I was just going by the graph you posted. :D The 111HZ+ stuff is up to 10dB lower @ 75dB than the 20 - 40 stuff. (80 - 85dB)

    Have you tried blocking the missions ports with socks ? - could be the ports output messing up the xo. Worth a try.(my old b+w's cleaned up nicely with the ports blocked)

    There is one big swing of ~ 15dB on your graph. A bfd could help that, so may be worth a try.

    Cheers

    Rob
     
  21. drum63

    drum63
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    Sorry - got a bit of grumpy hangover head on today. :blush:

    Hadn't thought about the Mission ports, but I'll give it a go -thanks.
     
  22. MuFu

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    That's because it's only reproducing a fraction of the entire frequency spectrum. It's probably a good idea *not* to compensate for this (some test tone discs do this anyway) and just set the sub level by ear and/or using snapbug.



    Hmm... I am quite suprised you're still battling with this. I don't think it's a problem with the sub. Those who own an XLS200 and have heard compact subs in the £500-600 range can probably testify to the fact that it's competetive in this category. For music it'd be hard to not to take an XLS200 and the £350 difference vs. a B&W ASW675, IMHO (although overall, the latter is a more capable unit, without a doubt). I would persevere for a while with setting the speakers to "small" and letting the sub handle frequencies below 80Hz. Try and get a flat response using the snapbug tones - even if that doesn't sort out the problem at least you'll have a better idea of your room response.

    Come to think of it, I've used a BK sub (my XLS10 - like the 200 except in a slightly bigger box) for the low end in a V-Drums setup. It's not slow! Feel those floor tom rolls, mmm... :D
     
  23. drum63

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    Does everyone on the forums play the drums ? :thumbsup: (this smilie needs a pair of sticks - wonder if our drumming administrator could fix that.)

    Another reason for me curtailing my AV spend is that I'd also like to change my aging Yamaha DTX Pro into one of Mr Roland's kits.
    Wonder if I can do it without my wife noticing. :nono:

    I think at the moment I will be persevering with the BK, but not going to play around too much today as my head hurts. :beer:

    One question I have is regarding the sub delay setting on the amp.
    The 3805 autosetup sets the distance way high, (the manual says it will do that), but I manually re-set it to the correct distance from listening position.

    If I listen to the sub up close or even put my hand on top when playing music I can feel it slightly behind the beat on some songs.

    Is this normal (due to the delay setting) ?

    For info, sub is just to the right of my right front speaker
     
  24. Nimby

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    You sub does look much higher on the response graph than further up.

    That trough at 71Hz and the hump further up aren't helping. That's where much of the electric bass energy is situated. Though the sub's response looks quite decently flat.

    Do a response graph for the speakers alone and see if it's the speakers/room or the sub producing the 71Hz trough. Or a phase problem between them.

    I found my SVS was coupling the nearest 753F to the room corner even when switched off. I was stuffing ports with socks to get over it. No help at all.

    Shifting the sub to the inside of the right hand speaker and away from the corner cured this. I seriously doubt that's your problem though.

    Reduce the gain on the sub by a few dB for a start. It's not a PA system! You'll need an SVS for that! :rotfl:

    BTW: How can you afford a hangover and a vasectomy but not AV kit? Where are your priorities man? :devil:

    Nimby
     
  25. MuFu

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    Once you've sorted out the response curve, maybe try the 3805-detected sub delay setting (or set the distance to maximum and see if it makes a difference).
     
  26. drum63

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    :rotfl: :rotfl:

    Luckily, the company paid for my hangover and I'm desperately trying to avoid the other one. :rolleyes:

    Having said I wasn't going to fiddle today, I lied and did some more "quiet" testing and actually seem to be getting somewhere.

    I did turn down the sub volume, (which helped), played around with phase (which didn't) and plugged the Mission ports with socks.
    On the basic plot I did, the socks actually helped correct a dip at about 50Hz.

    Going to do some more testing later but it does look like this may be (at least partially) down to poor integration between sub and mains, and probably sub a bit too loud.

    Looks like I owe apologies to some and thanks to others for the suggestions. :blush: :thumbsup:

    What I have realised is that the setup needs finer adjustments than I was making.
    I also relied at first on the sub level set by the autosetup function of the amp and as it looked about right on a sound meter I thought it should sound good like that.

    I've now set it by ear and it sounds better .

    One last question to those who block speaker ports.

    Do you have any suggestions as to which type of sock works best ?

    Any tips as to correct colour, material and size would be appreciated.

    Also do you stuff it in so as to be flush with the speaker cab or perhaps leave a tab hanging.

    I was thinking about trying some England socks for the forthcoming football matches, leaving the motif on display, and I also found some Darth Maul socks, (who knows how they found their way into my sock drawer) which I thought would be nice when watching Star Wars DVDs.

    Thanks again for your assistance. :clap:
     

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