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  1. #1
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    "Large" vs "Small" speaker settings.

    I know this gets discussed periodically, but I just read a post where Woochifer suggested that speaker settings should be set to "Small" and let the receiver send all the bass frequencies below 90Hz (or whatever) to the sub.

    Why is "Small" preferable to "Large", especially if you have reasonable large speakers and an option on your receiver to send bass output to the sub AND main speakers?

    I have front main Studio 40's v.2 and a PW-2100 sub-woofer in my HT setup upstairs running off an RX-V795a and Adcom amplifier. The bass cutoff is 90 hz on my receiver. I currently have the subs cutoff even lower than this (around 60 or 70 I think, don't remember exactly). What detriment is there to having the speakers output the bass as well?


    P.S. Sorry to singly you out, Wooch!

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    Suspended markw's Avatar
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    A lot of small speakers fall flat on their faces when trying to do the real low lows. In that case, it's better to simply prevent them from embarrasing themselves by blocking deep bass.

    Fortunately, mine don't. My maggies politely refuse to even TRY to reproduce bass they are not capable of reproducing so I run 'em full range, via a "Y" connector between the preamp and main amp/powered sub. I simply set the sub's low pass/high cut to around 50 hz. Note that I use the sub's xover here, not that in the receiver. The end result is the same.

    If your speakers can handle the lows, then I don't see any reason to deny them the opportunity to play 'em. If their bass output conflicts with that of the sub and creates bloated or distorted bass in some frequency ranges, then that's another story. HT puts demands on speakers that music never even thought of.

  3. #3
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    I know this gets discussed periodically, but I just read a post where Woochifer suggested that speaker settings should be set to "Small" and let the receiver send all the bass frequencies below 90Hz (or whatever) to the sub.

    Why is "Small" preferable to "Large", especially if you have reasonable large speakers and an option on your receiver to send bass output to the sub AND main speakers?

    I have front main Studio 40's v.2 and a PW-2100 sub-woofer in my HT setup upstairs running off an RX-V795a and Adcom amplifier. The bass cutoff is 90 hz on my receiver. I currently have the subs cutoff even lower than this (around 60 or 70 I think, don't remember exactly). What detriment is there to having the speakers output the bass as well?
    A lot of people use sub/sat combo's for their HT and as markw noted, sats usually can't produce any useful information below 100khz therefore it's better to run them at "small." If you have full range speakers, I'd definitely set them to "large" as you'll get a more cohesive sound field this way, imo. After all, wouldn't you want as much of the information coming from the same source that you can? However, as it's so easy to switch settings back and forth, it's very easy to simply choose whichever sounds best to you, which is the only thing that's important anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by markw
    HT puts demands on speakers that music never even thought of.
    Huh? You're kidding right? Even the most hard-core of action movies has dialogue for the vast majority of the time. Sure you've got your explosions, gun shots, etc. but consider something like Swing music which is rife with transient attacks ALL THE TIME. From dead silence to FFF, Swing music is always a great test for speakers. If you really want to hear lows, I'm talking the kind that shifts you bowels, listen to Hovaness' "Mount St. Helens" which chronicles...well take a wild guess. In the third act, the eruption would make the T-Rex in Jurassic Park run with its tail tucked between its legs. Sorry brother, but I gotta disagree on this point.

  4. #4
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    Why is "Small" preferable to "Large", especially if you have reasonable large speakers and an option on your receiver to send bass output to the sub AND main speakers?
    In my case with a NAD T-763, the output to the subs is only enabled with the small speaker setting.

    rw

  5. #5
    Suspended markw's Avatar
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    I'm familiar with that piece as well as others. Herford's Bach on organ is a pretty good workout too, but neither plumb the realm of subsonics on as regular basis as yer basic avtion/adventure movie, rife with special effects.

    This is not to dismiss their use in music but with more and more movies depending on explosions, gunshots from all directions and the ubiquitious dinosaur stomps, the dynamics required for HT, IMHO, far outweighs that in most music.

    IOW, I can live happily w/o a subwoofer for 99% of my music but I can't say the same for movies.

    P.S.. I DO like BBVD, Cherry Poppin' Daddies, Royal Crown Revue and almost anything Brian Setzer does so don't think I'm a music Snob. Even got to see CPB live in a local university a few years ago. G-d, I wish I could dance like those younguns.

  6. #6
    Suspended markw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    In my case with a NAD T-763, the output to the subs is only enabled with the small speaker setting.

    rw
    Well, I gotta say that's a pretty compelling reason right there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    In my case with a NAD T-763, the output to the subs is only enabled with the small speaker setting.

    rw
    That's the same with my Pioneer receiver - using large disables the sub output so the only way to use the sub in that case would be via the high power inputs. Took me a little while one day to figure out why the sub never kicked in when I upgraded from my bookshelves to the BIC Acoustech towers up front and I changed the receiver setting to large.

  8. #8
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markw
    I DO like BBVD, Cherry Poppin' Daddies, Royal Crown Revue and almost anything Brian Setzer does so don't think I'm a music Snob. Even got to see CPB live in a local university a few years ago. G-d, I wish I could dance like those younguns.
    Sorry, didn't mean to imply that you were a snob at all. And yeah, swing dancing is awesome, but ya gotta have the outfit to go with it!

  9. #9
    Suspended markw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by topspeed
    Sorry, didn't mean to imply that you were a snob at all. And yeah, swing dancing is awesome, but ya gotta have the outfit to go with it!
    I know ya didn't call me a snob. Clothes I got.. moves...not.

    Ever been to Swing 46 in NYC? A lot of the dancers from Broadway shows go there after hours to jam. Awesome music and dancing. For the price of a few drinks you get a great show.

  10. #10
    ride a jet ski Tarheel_'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    I know this gets discussed periodically, but I just read a post where Woochifer suggested that speaker settings should be set to "Small" and let the receiver send all the bass frequencies below 90Hz (or whatever) to the sub.

    Why is "Small" preferable to "Large", especially if you have reasonable large speakers and an option on your receiver to send bass output to the sub AND main speakers?

    I have front main Studio 40's v.2 and a PW-2100 sub-woofer in my HT setup upstairs running off an RX-V795a and Adcom amplifier. The bass cutoff is 90 hz on my receiver. I currently have the subs cutoff even lower than this (around 60 or 70 I think, don't remember exactly). What detriment is there to having the speakers output the bass as well?


    P.S. Sorry to singly you out, Wooch!
    if i'm reading you correctly, you have your main speakers cutoff at 90hz and the sub at 60hz. If so, you are missing bass in the 60-90hz range. It is my understanding that the speaker and sub cutoff should match. Maybe someone with more knowledge will chime in on this.

  11. #11
    F1
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tarheel_
    if i'm reading you correctly, you have your main speakers cutoff at 90hz and the sub at 60hz. If so, you are missing bass in the 60-90hz range. It is my understanding that the speaker and sub cutoff should match. Maybe someone with more knowledge will chime in on this.
    Tarheel is correct.
    To Kex, if your receiver has pre amp output you can set the front to Large and connect your sub from the front pre amp out and adjust the sub x-over where your Studio 40 starts to give up (probably around 50Hz). This way you have seamless transition between main and sub.
    If your amp doesn't have pre amp output, you can always use speaker output to connect the sub from receiver and connect the main from the sub then adjust sub x-over accordingly. Set the main as Large by this connection.

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    Quote Originally Posted by F1
    Tarheel is correct.
    To Kex, if your receiver has pre amp output you can set the front to Large and connect your sub from the front pre amp out and adjust the sub x-over where your Studio 40 starts to give up (probably around 50Hz). This way you have seamless transition between main and sub.
    If your amp doesn't have pre amp output, you can always use speaker output to connect the sub from receiver and connect the main from the sub then adjust sub x-over accordingly. Set the main as Large by this connection.
    Are there any real advantages or disadvantages of using the pre-out to the sub and the receiver's bass handling vs. using the speaker level sub inputs and using the sub's crossover?

    My Pioneer receiver has the pre-out, but the lowest crossover for the sub is at 100Hz, a little high given my front speakers go down to 40Hz or so (theoretically anyway). Would it be worth the time to try hooking things up to the sub via the speaker connections and using the sub's crossover to go for a lower crossover point? Does the receiver have to work harder under those circumstances?

  13. #13
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by F1
    Tarheel is correct.
    To Kex, if your receiver has pre amp output you can set the front to Large and connect your sub from the front pre amp out and adjust the sub x-over where your Studio 40 starts to give up (probably around 50Hz). This way you have seamless transition between main and sub.
    If your amp doesn't have pre amp output, you can always use speaker output to connect the sub from receiver and connect the main from the sub then adjust sub x-over accordingly. Set the main as Large by this connection.

    Okay, I've set my speakers to Large, and my "bass output" setting to "Both"(rather than just "Main Speakers" or "Sub"). According to my receiver manual, this overrides the 90Hz x-over to the front speakers and feeds bass frequencies to them. At the same time, since "Both" is selected, LFE below 90 Hz is being fed to my subwoofer. I then reduce the Sub's crossover to 60 Hz (give or take) to have it blend in with my speakers.
    So according to my manual this "Both" setting sends bass output to the Sub and Main speakers at the same time. That seemed preferrable to me instead of just the sub or just the mains. And yes, my sub picks up where my speakers left off, as far as I can hear.

  14. #14
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    MANY MANY reasons to let the subwoofer handle the low frequencies. The role of the subwoofer is indeed to extend the lower frequencies down through the nondirectional range. However, a less often mentioned reason to go with a subwoofer is to relieve your speakers and your amp from having to handle the lows. With speakers especially, once you remove the low frequencies from what they need to handle, it has the effect of cleaning up the MIDRANGE. This is because with a 2 1/2 way speaker such as the Studio 40, the midrange driver has to pretty much assume the burden all the way down to about 35 Hz. Removing those extreme lows really opens up the midrange. Your amp also doesn't have to work as hard if you remove the low frequencies.

    Now, in order to do this, you have to basically let your receiver do the bass management. If you choose to set the speakers to large and have the LFE signal sent to "BOTH" on the setup menu, then you're not crossing over the lows, but running both the subwoofer and main speakers in parallel. This gives you maximum boom and low end extension, but it can also be very inaccurate and exaggerated because you're potentially double up on the bass.

    The way that you should setup your subwoofer is to either bypass the crossover or turn the crossover frequency all the way up, and set the speakers to "Small". That's because with your receiver handling the bass management, you don't want the subwoofer's crossover to interact with the signal at all. By setting the crossover at 60 Hz, you're probably putting a large bump up in the bass between about 40 and 60 Hz. You might like the extra punch that it gives you, but again it's not as accurate. Also, keep in mind that the best placement for the fullest and most even bass is not necessarily where the mains are, so at least with the subwoofer, you have greater placement flexibility for finding the best spot.

    With the characteristics of the Studio 40, you need to either set the crossover frequency lower and let the subwoofer only handle the frequencies that the Studio 40 truly cannot handle (typically under about 35Hz), or set the speakers to "Small" and let the subwoofer handle all of the low frequencies. I would opt for the latter option because by crossing over the signal at a higher frequency, your speakers will handle the midrange better and you put less strain on your receiver. In the end, just go with whatever sounds better to you, but IMO you better optimize your system by letting the subwoofer anchor the lows.

  15. #15
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markw
    P.S.. I DO like BBVD, Cherry Poppin' Daddies, Royal Crown Revue and almost anything Brian Setzer does so don't think I'm a music Snob. Even got to see CPB live in a local university a few years ago. G-d, I wish I could dance like those younguns.
    Man, now you're giving me Summer of '99 flashbacks! I still get out to see RCR whenever they're playing down in L.A. Over the years, I've met most of the band members and they're very cool and down-to-earth guys. Nowadays, they got several side projects going in between gigs, and right now their horn section's on tour with Bette Midler.

    I've gone to Swing 46 quite a few times to check out George Gee's big band during my trips to NYC. Love that place. Met a lot of the local dancers who also referred me to several other venues while I was there (i.e. Lansky's Lounge, Louisana Bar & Grill, some fountain at Central Park, and a few other venues whose names I can't remember right now) Also got to see a local SF band stop by The Supper Club during that exuberrant 1999 summer.

    Whenever someone tells me that they wish they could dance like "younguns" I just tell them about 81-year old Bob, who's a local regular at the various swing gigs. I mean, if an 81 year old can swing it, ANYONE can!

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    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Ahh...now this was the insightful and detailed Wooch answer I was expecting to read.
    You've definitely given me some ideas to play around with. Wooch, can I follow up your response with another question: With the offering of multiple cut-off frequencies on many newer receivers, would it be preferable to select the lowest frequency available?

  17. #17
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    Ahh...now this was the insightful and detailed Wooch answer I was expecting to read.
    You've definitely given me some ideas to play around with. Wooch, can I follow up your response with another question: With the offering of multiple cut-off frequencies on many newer receivers, would it be preferable to select the lowest frequency available?
    Short answer is yes, but only if your speakers can actually go that low. Longer answer is that you should go with the lowest frequency that the speaker can handle before the bass starts to get uneven. With the Studio 40, I would probably look at a crossover frequency of either 60 or 80 Hz, if available. With the crossover what you're really trying to do is filter out those lowest of the low frequencies that cause excessive cone excursion. A lot of the LFE information from DVDs goes below 40 Hz (which is about where the Studio 40's bass response starts to really tail off, but the room acoustics for most small-medium sized rooms will cause the bass to get uneven well before that point) will cause the cones on the speaker to move a lot, but because of the lower limit set by the speaker's port tuning, all that extra cone movement won't produce much additional bass. A subwoofer with a lower port frequency will be able to actually produce something audible for all of that cone motion.

    One flaw with the older Yamahas (and I own one of them) is that their crossover frequency is fixed at 90 Hz, and that's right about where the lows become audibly nondirectional, but with that crossover frequency it's still possible to pick up the subwoofer's location.

  18. #18
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    HT puts demands on speakers that music never even thought of.
    Quote Originally Posted by topspeed
    Huh? You're kidding right? Even the most hard-core of action movies has dialogue for the vast majority of the time. Sure you've got your explosions, gun shots, etc. but consider something like Swing music which is rife with transient attacks ALL THE TIME. From dead silence to FFF, Swing music is always a great test for speakers. If you really want to hear lows, I'm talking the kind that shifts you bowels, listen to Hovaness' "Mount St. Helens" which chronicles...well take a wild guess. In the third act, the eruption would make the T-Rex in Jurassic Park run with its tail tucked between its legs. Sorry brother, but I gotta disagree on this point.
    Topspeed,

    I have heard this recording, but I am afraid while there is plenty of bass on this cut, it doesn't come close to some bowel busting film soundtracks. Two soundtracks right off the top of my head have more energy under 20hz than the recording you mentioned. No, three. The Phantom Menace, The Haunted, and U571 all have as much energy at 20hz and below as they do at 1khz during their loudest passages. The Haunted has VERY high energy levels as low as 5hz as does Phantom Menace.
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  19. #19
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    One flaw with the older Yamahas (and I own one of them) is that their crossover frequency is fixed at 90 Hz, and that's right about where the lows become audibly nondirectional, but with that crossover frequency it's still possible to pick up the subwoofer's location.
    I've noticed that as well, Wooch, on the ol' RX-V795a. Hopefully whenl my RX-V1400 gets to me (brother driving it across the country with him), I'll have some more flexibility. Still it's only noticeable on some sources. I'm going to try out the "small" setting for a few hours, I'll post my opinions and findings later...thanks again.

  20. #20
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    I've noticed that as well, Wooch, on the ol' RX-V795a. Hopefully whenl my RX-V1400 gets to me (brother driving it across the country with him), I'll have some more flexibility. Still it's only noticeable on some sources. I'm going to try out the "small" setting for a few hours, I'll post my opinions and findings later...thanks again.
    When you do that, keep in mind that the bass will probably seem lower than before unless you adjust the bass levels. What you should probably do is take a low frequency level measurement (somewhere around 60 Hz) with a SPL meter (Rat Shack now stocks the analog meter again, so grab one if you haven't done so yet), and do one measurement with the speakers set to LARGE and another one with the speakers set to SMALL and the LFE output set to SWFR. Compare that to the levels on your mains. A lot of people on this board recommend setting the subwoofer level about 4 db higher than the mains, and that's about right (with the SPL meter, I would probably adjust it to 6 to 8 db higher because of its lower sensitivity in the lower frequencies).

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    Question for you guys: If the mains are able to go low enough to be set to Large, what about the center and rears if there extension is only 50-60hz? Should they be Small and where should the sub crossover be set at if have Large mains and Small center/rears?

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    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Hmmm...after a few hours testing I must say it certainly introduces a slightly different flavour. The bass does sound more consistent across the lower frequencies, probably because the sub is handling it all rather than sharing it with the less capable speaker's. I'm not sure I like the 80-90 Hz range, I really can't wait for my RX-V1400 unit now. Interestingly enough, I was able to push my speakers past the point on my amplifier where traditionally the distortion LED's would light up. I guess that's consistent with bass frequencies being more demanding on the amplifiers. I'll continue to play around with my SPL meter to find the right volume. I seem to have a bit of a difference in dB's between CD and DVD playback.

  23. #23
    F1
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    Quote Originally Posted by erics0531
    Are there any real advantages or disadvantages of using the pre-out to the sub and the receiver's bass handling vs. using the speaker level sub inputs and using the sub's crossover?

    My Pioneer receiver has the pre-out, but the lowest crossover for the sub is at 100Hz, a little high given my front speakers go down to 40Hz or so (theoretically anyway). Would it be worth the time to try hooking things up to the sub via the speaker connections and using the sub's crossover to go for a lower crossover point? Does the receiver have to work harder under those circumstances?
    I guess Wooch already covered the essential things. The problem of high subwoofer crossover point is subwoofer sound directionality. So it's preferable to have lower crossover freq. And off course your receiver has to work harder if you set lower crossover freq but it doesn't matter if your mains are easy to drive or if there is no sound distortion. Another thing, the midbass may sound cleaner if it's handled by the mains rather than the sub.

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    Quote Originally Posted by F1
    I guess Wooch already covered the essential things. The problem of high subwoofer crossover point is subwoofer sound directionality. So it's preferable to have lower crossover freq. And off course your receiver has to work harder if you set lower crossover freq but it doesn't matter if your mains are easy to drive or if there is no sound distortion. Another thing, the midbass may sound cleaner if it's handled by the mains rather than the sub.
    I suppose the bottom line is I should just try it out using the speaker level inputs on the sub and a lower crossover (maybe start around 50-60Hz) and see how it sounds. The speakers are pretty sensitive (96db) so it really shouldn't be a problem. Either that or get a better receiver!

    I just bought a spool of new speaker wire and I was going to rewire everything anyway. When we bought the Acoustechs I mounted the surrounds about 18" higher than than the little JBL HLS410s I'd been using, so the wire needs to be re-done to again get affixed to the baseboard all the way around and into the corner up to the speakers to take care of the WAF (the old wire had been cut exactly to length).

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    Forum Regular hmmmm's Avatar
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    missing bass

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarheel_
    if i'm reading you correctly, you have your main speakers cutoff at 90hz and the sub at 60hz. If so, you are missing bass in the 60-90hz range. It is my understanding that the speaker and sub cutoff should match. Maybe someone with more knowledge will chime in on this.
    I was curious about this because my Hsu was set to "out" to let the receiver do the bass management (which is set at 100hz). A technician at CSW said not to do this because the crossover should be set at 60hz. I was worried about the bass gap but he said that it would difinately sound better with more music coming from the mains. I did notice a lot more bass coming from the main speakers. I ended up setting it to about 80hz. I guess this all confuses me a bit.????

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