Subwoofer hookup

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megabigeye

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Subwoofer hookup
« on: 28 May 2014, 01:37 pm »
Hi all,
So I've been really enjoying my One.3 for the past however-many weeks, but I've been procrastinating hooking up my sub...  Until the other night.  And now, suddenly, I'm not enjoying the amp nearly as much.  Listening to music, I noticed that it's not boomy, per se, but it is thumpy sounding.  Like the bass is somehow disconnected from the rest of the music.  This isn't something I noticed when using the Dayton; in fact, I was always amazed at how (relatively) smooth such a cheap setup sounded.

Using this site (this page in particular) I found that there is a noticeable spike at about 48Hz~56Hz followed by a dip at 60Hz.  Now, I'm not getting my panties (erm, um, boxers) in a twist quite yet, for a number of reasons.  For one, I'm using a horrible cable that I made out of Rat Shack speaker cable (which, by the by, is not in fact 18AWG, but 20) and mismatched RCA connectors.  For another, my girlfriend came home after only a couple of minutes of listening and testing, so I had to cut it short.  Third, I haven't burned in the amp with a sub running yet.

Has anybody else noticed this?  I'm really hoping that it goes away with some burn in.  I'll probably leave it running while I'm at work today and then again tomorrow.  And, yes, I am planning on upgrading the cable in the near-ish future.
I'm really hoping somebody will say "Oh yeah,  I heard this.  It'll go away."

Rocket

Re: Subwoofer hookup
« Reply #1 on: 28 May 2014, 02:37 pm »
Hi,

I'm using my Virtue One.3 and my mains are Nuforce S9 speakers and I am using a Salk Sound Rhythmic subwoofer.  I'm getting really good sound but I did have to make adjustments to the gain of the subwoofer.  Its my understanding you shouldn't really hear the subwoofer unless the bass the bass goes deeper.

The subwoofer is only line out and the Virtue One.3 shouldn't have too much influence on its integration.

Good luck

Regards Rod

virtue

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Re: Subwoofer hookup
« Reply #2 on: 28 May 2014, 02:46 pm »
With subs you have 3 controls:

- volume
- xover frequency
- slope of xover

Typically you can't control #3 so you work with the first two.  If it's a high-quality sub and you have extra speaker cable, you can run high-level into the sub.  That uses the internal xover which will in theory do #3 properly.

However, I was always concerned about sound degradation so never did that.  I always used the low-level sub out (which is why we put it in the amp).

In that case, yeah, it's weird when you miss.  Choose a frequency very low, like 30hz and put in a bass heavy track.  Increase volume until your hitting the lows nicely.  Then, work up the frequency until it sounds right.  With your floor-standing Alnicos, I would expect that number to be around 50hz actually. 

Remember, that with any sub you are going to get huge room effects.  Moving the sub away from a corner or wall can help make it sound less boomy.

Your 60hz bump could be from the speaker port or room effects.  Start lower and work up slowly, by ear.


megabigeye

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Re: Subwoofer hookup
« Reply #3 on: 31 May 2014, 03:24 am »
Thanks for the responses.  I've been feeling kind of peevish these last couple of days and didn't feel like responding.  Anyway, I ordered some Mogami 2549 and some real RCAs and I'm hoping that it's just the crappy cable I made and that a new, better one will help.

I didn't really think about I being room placement of the sub, but I don't think that's it either.  It hasn't really moved more than a couple of inches since it was hooked up to the Dayton, and as I mentioned, I never noticed this problem before.  So unless the Dayton's response is exactly inverse to my living room's acoustics, I doubt that's the problem.  Anyway, I don't have much of anyplace else I could move my sub; my living room is pretty small.

I guess there's a possibility that it's the sub adjustments, but I wouldn't know where to start if it was.  For one thing, it's not that there's no response, just that there is a noticeable peak at ~50hz and then a noticeable dip after that.  Maybe I'll try some adjustments this weekend and see how it goes.

Finally, I guess there's the possibility that my sub and the One.3 just don't mesh well for some reason.  That would be a real disappointment.  Ugh, I don't want to think yet about what I'll do of that's the case.  I will say that the two settings for using the LFE input are...  Not exactly what I have.  One is Dolby Digital, the other is Dolby DTS, or something.  The latter is the one that I have it set to because it allows me to use the built in crossover adjustment.

Anyway, I'm really hoping it's that my cable is just that bad and that it'll be an easy fix.

megabigeye

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Re: Subwoofer hookup
« Reply #4 on: 31 May 2014, 03:51 am »
With subs you have 3 controls:

- volume
- xover frequency
- slope of xover

Typically you can't control #3 so you work with the first two.  If it's a high-quality sub and you have extra speaker cable, you can run high-level into the sub.  That uses the internal xover which will in theory do #3 properly.

However, I was always concerned about sound degradation so never did that.  I always used the low-level sub out (which is why we put it in the amp).
I'm confused.  I thought the reason that you can't run speaker level from the One.3 was because Tripath amps can't use a common ground, or something?  I'm not gonna try it unless you give me the go-ahead.  My sub does have speaker level hookups, though I don't know that I'd call it fancy.

Quote
With your floor-standing Alnicos, I would expect that number to be around 50hz actually.
I think you've got the wrong guy.  I'm using the JohnBlue JB3s.  If I had speakers that hit 50Hz with any authority, I probably wouldn't be using a sub.  Though when I set up my system with the sub the first time, I did test my speakers without the sub and the left one (in the corner of the room) played all the way down to 40Hz!! (Not loudly.  Don't be ridiculous.)  I couldn't believe it!!  Three inch drivers!!  Sorcery!  Wizardry!  Majick!

megabigeye

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Re: Subwoofer hookup
« Reply #5 on: 31 May 2014, 02:42 pm »
the other is Dolby DTS, or something.  The latter is the one that I have it set to because it allows me to use the built in crossover adjustment.
Duh.  It's Dolby Pro-Logic.

virtue

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Re: Subwoofer hookup
« Reply #6 on: 1 Jun 2014, 04:42 am »
Sorry for any confusion. 

Some subs don't cross the high level outputs - yes, we don't support those that do.

Do not despair!!!  Do fool with the sub until it works.  That's what you do with subs.

Seth

megabigeye

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Re: Subwoofer hookup
« Reply #7 on: 1 Jun 2014, 03:09 pm »
Is there any (easy) way to test if the high levels are crossed on my sub?

virtue

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Re: Subwoofer hookup
« Reply #8 on: 1 Jun 2014, 04:01 pm »
Put an ohm meter across the high voltage inputs.  If red-red beeps (0 ohms) they're bridged!

Have you tried running test tones with just the sub on?

megabigeye

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Re: Subwoofer hookup
« Reply #9 on: 2 Jun 2014, 12:10 am »
Thanks!  That sounds easy enough!  What setting should my multimeter be set to?  I mean, resistance, obviously, but it's not auto-ranging.  Mine has settings from 4 ohms through 40 megaohms.  And should the sub be on?  Standby?  Unplugged?
And what should the reading be, ideally?

I tried it just quickly with the sub in standby mode and the only setting that I got no reading was 4 ohm.

Sorry for the basic questions, I've just never done this before and don't want to screw anything up.

Thanks again!



virtue

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Re: Subwoofer hookup
« Reply #10 on: 2 Jun 2014, 02:31 am »
The only sure fire way to not screw it up is to ask your subwoofer vendor!

But I would play a signal so it's off stand-by and test with lowest setting - 4 ohm is fine.

There's often a music icon which will result in a chirp if no resistance.


megabigeye

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Re: Subwoofer hookup
« Reply #11 on: 3 Jun 2014, 08:06 pm »
The only sure fire way to not screw it up is to ask your subwoofer vendor!

But I would play a signal so it's off stand-by and test with lowest setting - 4 ohm is fine.

There's often a music icon which will result in a chirp if no resistance.
Oh right!  It's always the simplest solution that I never think of!  Der.

With the sub not in standby mode, the only setting that there is no reading (the screen simply says "OL") is on the 400Ω setting (that's what I meant to say before.  Not 4Ω.)  Otherwise it reads about 1.93KΩ.  And there is no beep on the continuity setting.  If the new cable doesn't work out, I'll contact the manufacturer just to confirm.
Of course, if it comes to that I'm going to have to remove the 80Hz filter that you installed.  And then I'll be back for even more hand holding!

And, no, I haven't tried it without the main speakers hooked up, as they shouldn't be getting any signal at that frequency anyway.

Thanks again for your input, Seth.  Your little affirmations are...  Well...  Affirming!

virtue

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Re: Subwoofer hookup
« Reply #12 on: 3 Jun 2014, 09:01 pm »
So, it looks like your sub is NOT crossing inputs before the cross-over circuitry.

No need to uninstall the 80hz.  Just set the sub to cross higher than that.

ericlp151

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Re: Subwoofer hookup
« Reply #13 on: 5 Jun 2014, 12:19 pm »
my bet is your sub rca cable.

I am thinking about getting a sub.  Was really looking at BIC and I kinda got a small room.  I know that an 8 sub is good for music.  8" woofer will move faster.  Tho, it won't be as hard hitting as a 12" woofer or play as deep.  Depending on room size if you have a small room you can get buy with a smaller driver.  Anyone have any suggestions?

So far, one reason why buying bookshelf speakers was because my place is so small that I don't really have the room for floor speakers, so, I got ones that had 6.5" drivers, kinda big for (bookshelf).  Infinity claims they will go down to 49hz tho... when they do depending how loud I am driving them I can hear some distortion.  It's because the bass and mid are asked to do too much for a single driver I believe.  One reason why I went with the one.3 was that it had a LEF out. 

I am generally happy with the lows my bookshelf speakers can produce. I'd also like to hook a sub up to my system.  It would be nice to set the frequency of the amp output to the main speakers.  You you could probably swap out a cap.  But, on modern amps, they have ways to set speakers small, med or large with a push of a button.  Now they have programs that well autocratically set delay and gain levels for each channel.  Amazing stuff... I guess it's going back to the old days of stuffing the bass ports with rags and hope for the best!  :)

 

megabigeye

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Re: Subwoofer hookup
« Reply #14 on: 6 Jun 2014, 04:27 am »
Hey,
I've got the BIC V1020, and other than this little setback I've really enjoyed it.  I'm really banking on it being the cable...  I've got a bunch of Mogami and some RCAs just waiting for me to solder them up.  I was trying to get it done before dinner, but I kept screwing around with TechFlex and couldn't get the boot on the RCA to fit over it.  :duh:

I don't get the whole thing about subs (or the bass on headphones) having to be "fast."1  Isn't the whole point of a subwoofer that it moves slowly?  Is it the ability to play dynamics?  Or to transition between notes quickly?  If that's what it means, then I'd say the V1020 is relatively fast...  By which I guess I mean that its definitely not one of those one note, thumping, booming sorts of subs.  I don't know if it's "audiophile" quality (possibly not since it cost so little), but I'm a bit of an audiophile2 and I've never felt like I was missing out by using it (except for now, but that's a different story).



1.  Side rant!  This is one of the things about the online audiophile community that can drive me nuts: the lack of a cohesive vocabulary.  There are lots of common words that lots of people bandy around, but I often get the sense that different people mean different things by them.  Part of the problem, I think, is that a lot of them are everyday words and people get confused between the audiophile meanings and the everyday meanings.  I also think there is a lot of emulation that goes on: one person, who really knows what s/he is talking about, uses a word; a second person only sort of understands what the first person meant, but really liked the sound of the word they used, so they repeat it; and then another person; ad infinitum.  It's like playing telephone, only with the meaning of words.  "Warm" is one of those words that seems to have an infinite number of definitions.  I also think people speak a lot in hyperbole ("silky smooth") and say things that they can't quantify (it sounds "analog").  There is a glossary of audiophile terms buried somewhere on Head-Fi, but I'd be surprised if most people even knew of its existence.  And lord knows if any of the definitions are in any way accurate.  I'd really love it if somebody knowledgeable could come up with a definitive glossary of audiophile terms.  I think it could solve lots and lots of problems.3

2.  Side rant!  I consider myself an audiophile in that I'm a bit picky about how I think music (and audio in general) should sound.  Generally speaking, I'd rather listen to nothing than have to hear some squawking radio or a swollen bass line.  I think I'm an audiophile because I don't think most people would much notice a difference, let alone care.  I don't like that "audiophile" has become a byword for gearheads that prefer to spend their time picking apart all the things they do and don't like about gear..   I find it somewhat interesting/disheartening, too, that hi-fi has become a luxury commodity...  I appreciate Virtue for bringing audiophile sound a little closer to the unwashed masses (though I do have friends that are aghast at me spending $400 on an amp).

3.  An apology, or something.  I actually don't think AudioCircle is as guilty of this as other websites.  Which is why I joined here, rather than those other places.

ericlp151

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Re: Subwoofer hookup
« Reply #15 on: 6 Jun 2014, 11:38 am »
Well......  I've owned two 15" subs with sunfire 1000 watt amps and an ACI dual 8" sub.  I can say that the ACI was more musical.

I'm pretty sure ACI the driver and amp were better.  But I do think size has something to do with it, when moving a 15" woofer vs an 8 or 10" is a difference in music.  If you just want a sub for movies, 15" works best.  I am also considering a 10" as well.  Probably get something like you got.  Not everyone ships free to Hawaii, and subs are heavy. I'd even consider a 12".  I live in a tiny house...  and space is at a premium. I'm even looking something smaller like a supercube. If I could get into the low 30's hz range would be good enough for me.   Anything lower than that and I'm gonna have to justify a lot of floor space.  Bolt it up to the rafters! 

As for terms, you have to take it all with a grain of salt.  From my experience Warm would be a silk dome driver... Vs a brighter sound of a horn driver.  You have to experience it for yourself, let your ears be the judge of what is 'silky smooth'... Etc...etc...  Some people love the sound of a horn.  I prefer a silk dome driver.  Even tho, the speakers I have now are in between both imo, using Metal Matrix Diaphragm (MMD).  Let us know how the sub is working out for you.

megabigeye

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Re: Subwoofer hookup
« Reply #16 on: 6 Jun 2014, 02:19 pm »
First, I want to make certain that I haven't offended anybody.  I didn't mean any of that to be directed toward one person or another; just general sentiments.  Like I've said before, I find the people on AC to be a lot more mature and more helpful than on other sites.  I attribute that, partially, to people being knowledgeable, but also knowing the limits of their knowledge.  It leads to less hyperbole and more clear language.

Also, I don't want this to turn into a big discussion on semantics.  I'd like to talk about it somewhere, sometime, but I don't think this is the place.  But...  BUT...

You gave an example of something you consider "warm," but can you give a definition?  Tube gear is also considered warm, but has nothing to do with silk dome tweeters. My turntable has also been described as warm, but has neither silk dome tweeters nor tubes.  And you're hinting at "silky smooth" being a feeling, but I don't think it is.  I think, ideally, that "smooth" would be a description of a response curve; something that most people can't measure other than with their ears (not that I think there's much harm in "measuring" with one's ears, but in general I don't think most people have the experience to do it reliably).  It's very difficult to clearly convey feelings with just one or two words, especially when those words themselves aren't clearly defined! 

Anyway, I'm not meaning to attack you, Eric.  I hope you don't take it that way.  These are just my frustrations and I find it to be very interesting to think about.

virtue

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Re: Subwoofer hookup
« Reply #17 on: 6 Jun 2014, 04:58 pm »
BigE,

In every field we use jargon as a short-cut so people are not required to continually invent descriptions.  I'm relatively new to this also - let me try.

For instance "warm" is a well understood term to mean soft-edges and sometimes twangy.  It is a kissing cousin to "analog" which suggests natural, wavy wave-forms.  No hard edges there.

Which makes no sense when not in contrast to the term "analytical" - which is a mean way of saying "more accurate."  It's just that sometimes "less accurate" or "warm" sounds better. 

There's a bit of history in these terms because years ago, digital amplifiers really sounded "harsh" because they didn't convert those square waves into rounded ones well enough.

This will be a process for you like the rest of us.  Do not hate on the community for using jargon - it's what every community does.  Read Stereophile, Absolute Sound, etc. and learn.  That's part of the fun.

Hugs,

Seth

megabigeye

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Re: Subwoofer hookup
« Reply #18 on: 7 Jun 2014, 12:07 am »
Don't worry, I'm not hating on anybody.  Actually, I find AudioCircle to be very warm and inviting.  I'm aware that jargon is used by communities and subcultures, it just seems that the audiophile jargon is less well defined than in other areas.  Or, rather, its usage doesn't always seem to stick closely with given definitions; which causes problems with semantics.

At least that's the way it seems to me.  Who knows, I may be completely off base here.  I found that glossary on Head-Fi and it seems like their definition of warm more or less agrees with yours, though I swear once upon a time it said something about it being mid-centric.

Anyway, I really don't mean to be argumentative or antagonistic at all.  I should probably even give people the benefit of the doubt (gasp!) more often, too, and refer to that glossary when I'm unsure.  At any rate, I find semantics to be interesting, which is why I mentioned it.

megabigeye

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Re: Subwoofer hookup
« Reply #19 on: 9 Jun 2014, 01:51 pm »
So I've finally finished that cable and have it hooked up.  I did a little bit of test tone listening last night and a little bit of music listening this morning, and it sounds like that hump is somewhat tamed, though not completely.  I'll say that it's less egregious than before.

I'm beginning to reconsider what I remember it sounding like before, there may have been a similar hump that I was simply ignoring.  I remember my girlfriend was watching House of Cards and the opening credits were really annoyingly bass heavy, to the point that I turned down the subwoofer.

Now I'm wishing I could play with placement more, I just really don't have anywhere I could move it.  Sigh.  I guess I could try room treatments, but I don't really want to spend more money.  And I really don't feel like having room treatment stuff all over my living room.  Furthermore, I don't think I care that much.
And, Seth, re: hooking it up via speaker level: if the 80Hz filter is in place, shouldn't that mean that nothing below 80Hz is going through those outputs?