2 questions from a newbie: graphic eq and hot levels [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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06-06-2007, 07:25 AM
hi everyone, i've been searching for info online for the past couple of days, and came across this forum, so i thought i'd try here, since you folks really seem to know your stuff! i was just given an older stereo system, i'm guessing from the 80's, but not exactly sure. it consists of the following 3 Pioneer components, and 2 huge floor model Cerwin Vega speakers, model D9:
cd player PD-M423
graphic eq GR-777
a/v receiver VSX-5500S
the components were still hooked up and haven't been changed since they were originally hooked up, according to my friend. i have the stereo up and running, but there are two problems that i've run into, and this is where i'm hoping someone here can help me. please excuse my lack of technical knowledge. i am a serious music fan, but have never actually owned any more than an all-in-one compact stereo system, this is my first system with seperate compontents, so i've never actually had any experience with these things.

1) on the graphic eq, i can see the levels jumping up and down as i'm listening to music, so it is definitely working as a monitor from the receiver, but when i change the settings on the eq, i don't really hear any difference. even when i change the presets, for example from "heavy" to "soft" i don't really hear any change in the sound, and it seems to me as this should produce a dramatic change in the sound dynamics. since the receiver doesn't actually have an output/input on the back for an eq, the eq was hooked up to the "tape 1" section of the receiver. the "play" on the receiver was connected to the "play" on the eq, and the "record" connected to the "record". now it seemed to me that these connections should be alternating to create a loop for the sound, so i switched the connections on the eq so that the "record" on the receiver goes to the "play" on the eq, and vise versa. again, i still see the levels jump around on the eq, but any changes i make to the eq settings don't seem to effect what i'm actually hearing. so i'm wondering, how exactly should this be hooked up, and is there something i'm doing wrong?

2) on the receiver itself, the main levels for left and right are super hot at all times. even when the stereo isn't turned up loud, these levels are running very high, the bars keep going almost to the top of the display at all times. i have them hooked up with 18AWG speaker wire. i'm wondering if i should be using a smaller gauge of speaker wire? perhaps this wire is too thick, and is letting too much through the system, hence the maxed out levels? or does this even make a difference? any suggestions as to what else could be causing this?

thanks a million for any help! it is greatly appreciated!

06-06-2007, 07:46 AM
welcome to the forums, I hope you will learn alot here.

the EQ should be hooked up to the pre outs on the receiver, going to the eq, and from the eq's to the receiver's main in.

that's for the eq.
then, are you sure the speakers aren't wired out of phase? that could explain alot. also, using a thinner speaker wire will only make things worse. I find 18 gauge to thin. (I use 9 gauge speaker wire) but that shouldn't make such a difference in volume (a little, not that much, other things do improve)
Is the receiver itselves hot (lay your hand on it while it's playing) if it's really warm, you could have 1) a broken amp, or an amp running on it's last legs
or 2) an amp that isn't powerful enough.

have you got any other amps in the house that you can use to test? the CV's are very efficient speakers, they shouldn't require that much power, but it's still welcome...

Good luck,

06-06-2007, 08:21 AM
I'm trying to remember back in the days how I had my EQ setup. But I think it had to get a feed from one of the sources: Phono or CD and then you have inputs for tape rec/playback. Only on a pre amp will you find the pre in/outs for the mains to cover all sources. You also need to make sure that the tape mode is not on, that will only adjust the sound when recording to tape.

I agree with Basite about the speaker wire, nothing less than 12 guage for me.

06-06-2007, 08:32 AM
I think the best advice I could give a new comer to separates is to take the EQ out of the loop entirely, for now. EQ can cause more problems than solve for a person new to audio equipment. It takes a great deal of knowledge to "properly" use EQ and you are probably no where near there yet.

Speaker placement and room acoustics is far more important at this stage in the game so do some searching for the above and start from there.

Acoustic Principles (http://www.audioholics.com/education/acoustics-principles/)

This link should keep you busy and get you off to a good start.

Welcome to the forum and don't hesitate to ask questions. We love to help people willing to learn and are enthusiastic about sound\video.

06-06-2007, 02:07 PM
Most eq's are hooked up via a tape loop.

0) The tape monitor "hijacks" the signal path,sends it out to an external device and, when you pressthe button, sends it back into the signal path again.

1) Tape out goes to the eq's input

2) The eq's output goes back to the tape monitor input.

3) When you select that tape monitor (press the button), the eq is in the circuit and you can hear your adjustments.

4) When you "deselect" that tape monitor (press the button again), the signal still goes out to the eq and makes the meters dance, but it never gets sent back into the receiver. What you are hearing now is the direct signal without it being processed thru the eq. You can play witrh those sliders all you want but you won't hear a difference.

This will also work with a pre-out and a power amp in but the eq will always be in the circuit

06-06-2007, 05:26 PM
I second the notion that you should ditch the EQ. It will most likely do more harm than good unless you really know what your doing. The whole purpose of an EQ is to get a flat response. It's unlikely you'll achieve this without other equipment and test tones.

06-07-2007, 05:20 AM
thanks for all the help! there is some really useful information here!

concerning the eq, i understand what a couple of you are saying about it probably being best to take the eq out of the mix completely. even if i do go this route however, i would still like to know how to properly hook it up for when i do add it back to the system. markw, you hit the nail on the head! what you described is exactly how i have it currently hooked up, however the part i was missing was the "tape moniter" button, to feed the signal back into the receiver. i have attached a photo of the back of my eq, and you'll notice there is an eq in/out and a tape in/out. i have the loop hooked up through the eq section on the eq, and the tape section on the receiver. i did notice "tape moniter" buttons on the eq and the receiver, but didn't realize the correlation between those buttons and applying the feed from the eq back to the receiver. i'll give it a shot when i get home from work, thanks!!! upon looking at the photo of the back of the eq, i was reminded of another minor question... that section called "control"... what exactly does that do? the cd player has one as well, and they are currently hooked up to the receiver, but i'm not quite sure what it's purpose is... does it have something to do with a remote control, or controlling everything just through the receiver?

as for my question about the speakers, i made sure the left on the speaker was connected to the left on the receiver, and the right connected to the right when i hooked them up, so i'm assuming that would mean they're in phase? so as for the actual gauge of the speaker wire, i'll get a higher quality signal with thicker wire, but the fact that i'm currently using 18 gauge wouldn't be responsible for the fact that the levels are so hot on the receiver, correct? i'll feel the receiver this evening after work as well, to see how warm it actually is.

again, thanks a million for your help everyone! i look forward to any more tips / suggestions you wish to toss my way!

06-07-2007, 05:36 AM
1) I think you're right about a common link to control the units through the receiver (My NAD system uses this method) , but I can't think of using one for an eq. But, I'm always open to learn new things.

2) The "tape monitor" jacks on the eq are there simply to replace the tape monitor jacks used to connect the eq to the receiver. This is handy if you had only one set of tape monitor jacks on the receiver and still wanted to use a tape deck.

3) Speaker phase. Most speaker cables have a marking on one of the runs. It may be a white line, a series of ridges, the wires may be a different color or whatever. There's always some sort of marking to differentiate them.

4) Using the advice from # 3, connect the + (or red) on the speaker outputs on receiver to the + (or red) on the speaker inputs, and the other wire to the other terminals.

5) Do exactly the same thing for the other speaker. When all the + (or red) terminals are connected to the same terminals (and likewise the others), the speakers should be in phase.

What you mean by "hot levels"? Is this a mete rreading or the physical warmth of the unit?

Oh, while I prefer to use wires between 12 - 16 gauge, I strongly doubt that using 18 gauge wire is causing any problems. Also, be awarethet the point of diminishing returns on cables is much, much lower than some will have you believe.

Several hints on the use of an equalizer.

0) Be vary careful. Here's why.

1) For every three decibles of "boost" you give a frequency, it doubles the demand on the receiver's ability to deliver power, That means if it was putting out 5 watts, it now needs to put out ten watts. And, three decibles is barely noticable.

2) If you boost a frequency to an apparant "doubling" of what it was, you put a tenfold demand on an amplifier.

3) If you do the math, you can see where pumping up that gain can easily put more demand on an amp than it might be able to deliver and result in "clipping", a form of distortion which is not good for either speakers or amplifiers.

06-07-2007, 06:46 AM
What you mean by "hot levels"? Is this a meter reading or the physical warmth of the unit?
That's what I've been wondering throughout this entire conversation.

eltopo, when you say hot, do you mean physical heat when you're touching something on the receiver or do you mean hot as in high decibels? Like Mark said 18 guage wire won't be a cause for a hot-to-the-touch unit; 12 gauge is thicker than 18 gauge which is easier on the amp.

06-07-2007, 07:00 AM
sorry for the confusion there, when i say "hot levels" i mean high dB readings on the meter, not physical heat. the levels that are showing on the receiver consistantly go right to the top of the meter, and only slack back slightly when the music gets quiter. perhaps this is normal, but i always thought that these levels should be much lower when you are listening to the music at a lower volume, and would only reach the top of the meter when the system is pushing out its peak volume?

markw, based on your description of the speaker wires, i can guarantee that they are definitely hooked up correctly. the + on the speaker goes to the + on the receiver, and vise versa.

06-07-2007, 07:17 AM
Eltopo, what you have failed to give us is what is the source of your sound (CD/Phono/Tape) each of this sources give different levels of sound playback. With older gear the phono had a special input to help boost the sound of it and if you plug something else into it may cause the sound to be overstated. Now I had a Kenwood CD player that played very loud on my sons Pioneer VSX 510. We had to put the Att setting filter in place to keep the sound at a normal level. When I got them another CD player (Pioneer 12 disk, dual 6 cartridges) it played with no problems without the Att setting on. This may be the cause of your hot meter readings.

06-07-2007, 07:25 AM
i am running my turntable through a dj mixer, which has its own built-in preamp, so therefore i don't need the extra boost of the phono input on the receiver. instead, i am running the turntable through one of the vcr inputs on the receiver. my cd player is going to the cd input on the receiver. i have my dvd and vcr running into my tv, and then the tv audio is outputted to the vdp input on the receiver. each of the sound sources provide the high meter readings, it isn't just a single sound source causing the issue.

06-07-2007, 07:47 AM
What does the meter read when playing FM? This should give a relatively "true" reading of how the metersare performing

Remember, these "Audio" db meters aren't really set to follow any real standard and/or it's possible the circutry could be out of whack aswell.

06-07-2007, 08:20 AM
good point about the FM meter reading... i'll check that after work as well!

06-09-2007, 05:03 AM
thanks for all the help! there is some really useful information here!

concerning the eq, i understand what a couple of you are saying about it probably being best to take the eq out of the mix completely. even if i do go this route however, i would still like to know how to properly hook it up for when i do add it back to the system. markw, you hit the nail on the head! what you described is exactly how i have it currently hooked up, however the part i was missing was the "tape moniter" button, to feed the signal back into the receiver.

markw was right, but there should also be a button on the EQ for bypass. After you set it up according to markw it should work. If you don't hear the difference, there should be a button on the EQ that will "activate" the EQ. I believe that it would be one of the small round buttons near the bottom center of the unit labled "Equalizer" Be sure the "Tape Monitor" button on the EQ is in the off position.