Subwoofer volume conundrum

Discussion in 'Home Theater & Video' started by ccawker, Oct 27, 2018.

  1. ccawker

    ccawker Active Member

    Messages:
    275
    Location:
    elk river,mn
    Hi folks,
    My surround setup consists of a pair of Hereseys for fronts,Klipsch KG2 for center,a pair of KSB 3.1s for the rears and have 2 subs(KSW 12s)....1 under each Heresey,with a Pioneer 7.1 VSX 1018ah running everything which i enjoy very much as it is quite clean and more than enough power than i need.I Y the subs out of the only sub out and it works great.
    I notice on some movies(usually loud action) i play i need to lower the fronts volume to 7 or so so they dont overpower the KG2,which is fine with me as it still sounds great.The question i have is,when i play some movies "10" on the subs seem too much so i turn the volume down on the subs.....now,would it be better to turn it down there or through the amp as i turn down the Hereseys?
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  2. JoeESP9

    JoeESP9 ESL's & tubes since 83

    Messages:
    17,115
    Location:
    Philadelphia PA
    Does your Pioneer have an auto eq setup? If so are you using it? IME most complaints about subwoofer volume are because the levels were set by the users ear.

    The receiver in my bedroom was setup up using Yamaha's YPAO. IMO it sounds great for music and TV/movies. My main system was setup using REW, a calibrated mic and a DSP. I'm using the DSP even though my HT pre/pro has an auto eq feature. The settings it made were so close to what my measurements said I turned off the auto eq. I have no desire to change subwoofer level for music or TV/movies. All I do is raise or lower the overall volume.
     
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  3. Ross6860

    Ross6860 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,890
    Location:
    Canton, Ohio
    Try using the speaker level pass through on the subs instead of the receivers LFE RCA output. Set you amp up as 5.0 system instead of 5.1

    Once you have the subs volume set they will go up and down with the mains as you adjust the volume. You may find this preferable for music. You may loose a little bit in the action movie soundtrack, but the trade-off may be worthwhile. It's worth a try.

    I'm running one of my systems this way and like it.

    FWIW I find cable TV is artificially boosting the lows (or my receiver sucks). I have to turn my sub down on the HT system (I am using the LFE output). The constant booming during regular casual TV watching is annoying. I have run the receiver's auto EQ function and set up repeatedly with no improvement.
     
  4. ccawker

    ccawker Active Member

    Messages:
    275
    Location:
    elk river,mn
    i dont use it but it took an hour of "hit and miss" to figure out how i wanted it to sound
     
  5. ccawker

    ccawker Active Member

    Messages:
    275
    Location:
    elk river,mn
    interesting,i will try that
     
  6. JoeESP9

    JoeESP9 ESL's & tubes since 83

    Messages:
    17,115
    Location:
    Philadelphia PA
    What is wrong with using the manual and setting things up the way the manufacturer intended. Why not use auto eq to adjust your system to be as flat as possible. If you don't like the results by all means change them. I've always advocated using measurements to set up a system. You'll never know how good a system can sound until you use measurements to set it up. I found this out in the late 70's. I wouldn't even try to adjust any type of equalizer, parametric or linear without measurements.

    IME most of the complaints on AK about subwoofers being slow, bloated, boomy and fine for movies but not music is because they not adjusted properly. Setting a sub using measurements negates the complaints.

    Please, no comments about setting things up to please one's ear. I know and have heard all the objections to measurements and auto setup for setting up a system. Using measurements allows you to start with a level playing field. The human ear is notoriously bad for determining how to set an equalizer especially a parametric. IMO, in not using something that in almost every case improves the sound is kind of dumb. This is just more of the "I don't need the "f'in manual" attitude. Why do you think they go through the trouble to write one? Try it you might like the results.

    Forgive me if I seem overly zealous. I used to teach and one of the biggest problems I had was getting students to read and follow directions. Plenty of posters here are familiar with the term RTFM.
     
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  7. ccawker

    ccawker Active Member

    Messages:
    275
    Location:
    elk river,mn
    Yes,i did do that on day 1 of getting the receiver(as i am a rules and manual first guy)...i did not like the results as i am pushing 60 and my ears dont hear what they once did since i worked for rock bands for the first 15 years of my adult life.I really dont mind doing it myself as it takes only 30 seconds to change either way.
     
  8. JoeESP9

    JoeESP9 ESL's & tubes since 83

    Messages:
    17,115
    Location:
    Philadelphia PA
    I'm 71 and ? I know my hearing isn't what it used to be. However, adjusting my system to make up for auditory deficiencies I may have makes me ask the question, "What about the rest of life"? Before I did that to my system I'd do something about the problem. Hearing aids (if necessary) would be where I'd direct my attention.

    I'm not against making things sound the way I want. I'm just advocating using a neutral starting point. I'm totally against eq'ing a system to compensate for diminished hearing acuity. I ask again, "What do you do for the rest of life?" "Do you lobby the sound man at the concert to make adjustments that cater to your loss of audio acuity?"
     
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  9. ccawker

    ccawker Active Member

    Messages:
    275
    Location:
    elk river,mn
    hehehe,i "am" the soundman now....but i get your point.
     
  10. twiiii

    twiiii Addicted Member

    Messages:
    6,917
    Location:
    west Texas
    Get yourself a sound meter app for your iPhone and use it to calibrate your system as close as possible with all the amp setting as close zero as possible. adjust your subs then and there only with their controls. Hope fully the gain for the center channel will be close to the the 0 levels for the Herseys. If the KG 2 needs more that 3 db extra gain to keep up with the Herseys its time to go shopping for another identical Hersey . After the system is calibrated you shouldn't have any real issues. The only thing that is saving you from distress is your subs are in the corners..
     
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  11. ccawker

    ccawker Active Member

    Messages:
    275
    Location:
    elk river,mn
    when i get back from vacation i think i have a lead on a single Heresey....if that falls through,i will try that.
     

     

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  12. Bill Ferris

    Bill Ferris Super Member

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    Well said JoeESP9, Sir. and so very true. :thumbsup: +:beerchug: = :bigok: =:music:
     
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  13. Bill Ferris

    Bill Ferris Super Member

    Messages:
    2,147
    Location:
    NE. FL.
    You know, I would be concerned using a typically 300Hz to 3000Hz (voice bandwidth) cell phone microphone/audio section for making any kind of frequency versus level audio/acoustic measurements of any importance !!

    I keep reading on this site about suggestions using these apps for smart phones that some how make their far from flat frequency response audio bandwidth into some kind of "useful jury rigged" SPL meter..
    I know that there is Type 1, 2, & 3 grades(class`) of SLM, with Type 1 being the highest quality(flattest bandwidth/ lowest distortion/noise floor, etc.)..

    So, with these so called smart phone SLM apps/smartphone, what class type will they be ? 4 ? And I doubt their frequency response goes very low & probably far from anywhere close to flat, maybe -20db or more @100hz ?!?!

    Just a thought folks.
    Kind regards, OKB
     
  14. ccawker

    ccawker Active Member

    Messages:
    275
    Location:
    elk river,mn
    Actually on my vintage "audio" system,everything is flat except the rare case when i play a cd then the bass goes down 1 click,on the other hand with my surround system i start with the receiver eq"ing" then tweak it for my comfort as they are all not recorded the same for movies or concert videos...Technology changed quite a bit from some of the DVDs i play from the early 2000s to now...They have to be tweaked.Thats why i cant even play alot of my cds on my audio system anymore becomes my Hereseys and KG4s hear everything which was confirmed on this site by most everyone.They were just recorded bad but back then sounded good for some reason as i think they boosted everything which was not intended when the bands made the original recordings.
     
  15. Grenadeslio

    Grenadeslio Super Member

    Messages:
    3,978
    RTFP, "read the efn print" an often quoted response in the machinist trade.

    Too many use the "if at first you don't succeed read the efn directions" method.
     
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  16. ccawker

    ccawker Active Member

    Messages:
    275
    Location:
    elk river,mn
    Found the Heresey for my center.....everything is great in my world now!
     
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  17. sqlsavior

    sqlsavior AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    By "SLM" I will assume you mean "Sound Level Meter" - am I correct? Not St. Louis Music, selective laser melting, Salamanca airport (Spain), Swiss Locomotive and Machine, etc....

    Why would you carry over 1950s analog telephony characteristics and limitations into the modern digital era? I certainly wouldn't assume smartphone audio apps are lab-accurate, but I would not dismiss them out-of-hand, either. Smartphone applications support high-fidelity audio the world over - do you think their engineers aren't smart enough to take the properties of the built-in microphone into consideration?

    The app I have, SPLnFFT, has a self-calibration routine that it will remind you to run when it encounters a wide dynamic range being measured. It plays a tone and listens to itself. It would be an embarrassing routine to run, say, during an opera performance... :(
     
  18. Bill Ferris

    Bill Ferris Super Member

    Messages:
    2,147
    Location:
    NE. FL.
    Yes sqlsavior S.L.M. = Sound Level Meter.

    I don`t own a smart phone, Ipad, "Maxipad", etc., but the friends of mine who have recorded portions of outside and inside concerts with a variety of mobile/SMART phones over the past 7 or so years, and when I listened to the songs both with the devices internal speaker, and with a decent pair of Koss headphones.

    The SQ (Sound Quality) sounded only slightly better, than I`ve recalled hearing over a decent wired phone connection with a modern(non 1950`s WE telephone) electronic phone to my ears.

    That Sir is my reference.

    Now, I`ve owned a General Radio(GenRad $$ Class 1 measurement microphone calibrator since 1990 to check my Class 1 IVIE IE 30 RTA, as it was time consuming and expensive to ship across country the analyzer for annual calibration.
    And I have never run freq. response/SPL checks on any smart phones, as it didn`t interest me an none of my friends with one(smart phone) had installed any of the SLM "app/s".
    They had Radio Shack, etc. SLM`s that I checked the calibration on for them, and they used those known references within their limitations.
    What generally sets the SLM class levels apart is the "flatness of the microphones frequency response", noise floor, sensitivity, etc.

    Unless you can show me different, I`ll assume that a smart phones "microphone" is probably only slightly better than standard voice bandwidth(300~3000 kHz. after it is designed for voice communications), and probably not flat enough either for comparing various frequencies levels with much degree of confidence, at least to me for acoustical measurements..

    Any microphone flatness(uniformity in frequency response =/- even 3 DB) correction by the "app" would/could not apply to the wide range of smart phones out there that could use the app/software..

    My point was to caution people about using & blindly relying on the smart phone SPL apps and the possible unhappy results when trying to adjust their sound systems, via the smart phone and it`s SPL) "app"..

    Show me some specs of smart phones microphone fidelity related performance specifications, if that spec can be found at all !

    Kind regards, OKB
     
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  19. E-Stat

    E-Stat AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    7,338
    Agree that top end response is not their forte. You can, however, get decent results across most of the bandwidth. Do you follow Glenn's post in speaker about sharing videos? I participated with both my music and garage systems. (Note: blue text in my posts are clickable hyperlinks).

    I have both the Radio Shack digital SPL meter and an iOS based app simply called "SPL Meter" (if you follow the last hyperlink, click "more" found below the initial text for more detail). I use mine for measuring the Shroeder frequencies for optimizing speaker setup. And have a spreadsheet with known correction curves within that 20-200 hz range. I used that to help place my small forest of bass traps and distance to front wall for the speakers and get both measurably and sonically neutral results to at least third octave resolution.

    Actually, the iOS app performs very closely. It is truly calibrated for the phone's mic and allows for adjusting when using an external calibrated mic. Parts Express offers them quite inexpensively.
     
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  20. JoeESP9

    JoeESP9 ESL's & tubes since 83

    Messages:
    17,115
    Location:
    Philadelphia PA
    One good thing about Apple products is that the software designer knows exactly what hardware including the mic and its characteristics he/she is writing the code for.
     
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