Budget subwoofer 'swarm'?

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TomS

Re: Budget subwoofer 'swarm'?
« Reply #20 on: 15 Jan 2018, 11:05 pm »
DCX2496 is only ~$200


neekomax

Re: Budget subwoofer 'swarm'?
« Reply #22 on: 16 Jan 2018, 03:25 am »
After reading all of these excellent responses, I'd say that it comes down to this: I believe I understand the various operative aspects of getting smooth bass in a smallish room, but I remain a bit daunted by the whole measurement process that seems key to achieving said end.

Everyone recommends REW, but what are the steps, salient points, and potential sticking points involved in a measurement scenario involving 3/4 subs, plus mains, that need to be be observed? Surely the collective wisdom and experience of a forum like this has certain guidelines that could clarify this process and make it make it much more approachable that it seems currently.

For example: I hear little discussion of delay. AVR software seems to be set up to compensate for the different distance between 1 sub and the mains and the LP, but how can this be achieved with a multi-sub array in which the distances all vary with respect to the mains and the listener? Seems to lil ol me that this should be critical. Is it not?

 

poseidonsvoice

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Re: Budget subwoofer 'swarm'?
« Reply #23 on: 16 Jan 2018, 03:53 am »
After reading all of these excellent responses, I'd say that it comes down to this: I believe I understand the various operative aspects of getting smooth bass in a smallish room, but I remain a bit daunted by the whole measurement process that seems key to achieving said end.

Everyone recommends REW, but what are the steps, salient points, and potential sticking points involved in a measurement scenario involving 3/4 subs, plus mains, that need to be be observed? Surely the collective wisdom and experience of a forum like this has certain guidelines that could clarify this process and make it make it much more approachable that it seems currently.

For example: I hear little discussion of delay. AVR software seems to be set up to compensate for the different distance between 1 sub and the mains and the LP, but how can this be achieved with a multi-sub array in which the distances all vary with respect to the mains and the listener? Seems to lil ol me that this should be critical. Is it not?

Nico,

Digital delay is just another method or another way of saying phase alignment so yes it does matter. It’s assumed you are doing that and using those methods to reach your goal of flat bass response. Have you read Paul Spencer’s guide on Hifizine.com for proper bass integration of multiple subs? I highly recommend it, Parts 1-3. Read and reread it until you understand it. It will save you loads of headache.

http://www.hifizine.com/2011/06/bass-integration-guide-part-1/

http://www.hifizine.com/2011/09/bass-integration-guide-part-2/

http://www.hifizine.com/2012/06/bass-integration-guide-part-3/

Best,
Anand.

neekomax

Re: Budget subwoofer 'swarm'?
« Reply #24 on: 16 Jan 2018, 03:59 am »
Nico,

Digital delay is just another method or another way of saying phase alignment so yes it does matter. It’s assumed you are doing that and using those methods to reach your goal of flat bass response. Have you read Paul Spencer’s guide on Hifizine.com for proper bass integration of multiple subs? I highly recommend it, Parts 1-3. Read and reread it until you understand it. It will save you loads of headache.

http://www.hifizine.com/2011/06/bass-integration-guide-part-1/

http://www.hifizine.com/2011/09/bass-integration-guide-part-2/

http://www.hifizine.com/2012/06/bass-integration-guide-part-3/

Best,
Anand.

Anand: Many thanks, that looks like the goods.

  :)

Early B.

Re: Budget subwoofer 'swarm'?
« Reply #25 on: 16 Jan 2018, 04:06 am »
...I remain a bit daunted by the whole measurement process that seems key to achieving said end.

Measurements don't guarantee good sound. Ultimately, you gotta rely on your ears. There's room limitations, spousal acceptance, and sheer practicality to consider. For instance, I can only add a 4th sub in one location in my room, and it's probably not optimal. And my third sub isn't optimally placed, but I have no choice. Measurements can't fix poor placement.     

neekomax

Re: Budget subwoofer 'swarm'?
« Reply #26 on: 16 Jan 2018, 04:27 am »
Measurements don't guarantee good sound. Ultimately, you gotta rely on your ears. There's room limitations, spousal acceptance, and sheer practicality to consider. For instance, I can only add a 4th sub in one location in my room, and it's probably not optimal. And my third sub isn't optimally placed, but I have no choice. Measurements can't fix poor placement.   

Not saying I know, but I find the tension here interesting.

This from the multi-part article that Anand just recommended, right at the top:

"Why you can’t trust your ears

A common view among audiophiles is that you can get accurate bass by tuning by ear, without using measurements. Once the nature of room-related acoustic problems are understood, the limitations of this approach become clear. While our ears are the final judge of sound quality, they are highly ineffective when it comes to the kind of specific data that is required to achieve our outcome. Our ears may tell us that there are bass problems, but we then need to use measurements to find and solve those problems. Once that is done, you can then evaluate the result subjectively."


neekomax

Re: Budget subwoofer 'swarm'?
« Reply #27 on: 16 Jan 2018, 04:37 am »
So I guess I'm asking: What is the most succinct and efficient workflow for placing, measuring, and evaluating a multi-sub array, in terms of mininum necessary gear?

poseidonsvoice

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Re: Budget subwoofer 'swarm'?
« Reply #28 on: 16 Jan 2018, 11:38 am »
Nico,

1. Buy this: http://cross-spectrum.com/measurement/calibrated_umik.html

2. Buy a boom mic stand from anywhere. This is so you can place the mic quickly and easily in any position you want.

3. Buy if needed (most likely as the USB cable with the UMIK microphone is short), a USB extender cable to go from the UMIK-1 minidsp microphone to your computer. These are available for cheap on Amazon. Alternatively you can just buy a longer USB cable with compatible ends to replace the cable that comes with the UMIK-1. You will also need a USB cable to connect from your laptop to your DACs USB input. Alternatively and less preferably you can connect your laptop to a preamp using the headphone output using a 1/8 inch mini headphone to dual (L/R) shielded RCA cables. A third option if you use an AVR or AVP is to connect your laptops HDMI output to your AVR/AVP HDMI input using an HDMI cable.

4. Download the latest version of REW from avnirvana.com.

5. Read and apply this: https://www.minidsp.com/applications/acoustic-measurements/umik-1-setup-with-rew

6. Read (and re-read several times) this: https://www.avnirvana.com/resources/getting-started-with-rew-a-step-by-step-guide.19/

7.  Read Paul Spencer’s Bass Integration guide.

8.  Read and understand this: https://www.minidsp.com/applications/home-theater-tuning/tuning-multiple-subs

9. Post your measurements on the Acoustics circle for help or AV Nirvana.

Best,
Anand.

P.S. The monetary investment sans laptop of the above is less than $200.
« Last Edit: 30 Apr 2019, 02:20 am by poseidonsvoice »

JLM

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Re: Budget subwoofer 'swarm'?
« Reply #29 on: 16 Jan 2018, 12:17 pm »
Your whole concept: "budget subwoofer 'swarm'" in the context of audiophilia is an oxymoron IMO.  While I appreciate the swarm concept for fighting in-room standing waves, I'd rather have one good sub well dialed in than a swarm of one note mushy boom boxes. 

BTW had a Behringer DEQ2496 (notorious for being unreliable right from the factory) and it was a nightmare to learn even the elementary functions.  Note I had the DAC output modded and used it for years as just a DAC.  This was years before Gedde/LeJeune published swarm theory.

Still haven't read what your compliant(s) is(are) with your current setup.  Until you define the problem, you'll only be chasing your tail.  Even if you come up with the technically perfect solution will you be emotionally satisfied?  Is this a mental exercise or one for musical enjoyment?  I know my accepted concepts cloud what I hear.

brother love

Re: Budget subwoofer 'swarm'?
« Reply #30 on: 16 Jan 2018, 12:52 pm »
In addition to poseidonvoice's excellent recommendations & references, I found Dr. Earl Geddes approach to multi-subs set-up being most helpful in my experiments:  https://mehlau.net/audio/multisub_geddes/

FWIW, I had an excellent single GR Research  12" servo sub with Rhythmik Audio amp at one time in my system. Going with the multi-sub approach utilizing cheaper subs did not appear to degrade the sound, but instead blended in better as evidenced by the REW graphs generated during my experiments referenced prior (note: after lots of volume/ frequency/ phase adjustments w/ probably 15 different sub placements).

All of this is about dealing with your room & the sound waves bouncing all over creation. You have null & peaks that suck out certain frequencies or over-emphasize others. You can have the greatest, most expensive sub in the world, but if much of those lower frequencies are -20 or -30 dB from others (or +20 or +30 dB) then you are not getting your moneys worth.

The measurement graphs don't lie: no placebo effect, no thinking you hear this or that, no memory to contend with ... just good info on what the hell is really happening in your room (not projected or perceived) when you play music. What your ears prefer is a whole 'nother matter.

Ultimately, I decided the net improvements with a multi-sub arrangement were not worth the price of the complications, hassle, looks, etc..  But the measurements with a 3 multi-sub set-up were greatly improved vs. no sub, 1 sub or 2 subs. YMMV


artur9

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Re: Budget subwoofer 'swarm'?
« Reply #31 on: 16 Jan 2018, 02:01 pm »
Regarding audiophilia and one sub vs a swarm. 

If the concern is only one listening position then one sub correctly integrated with the mains and located in the room should be sufficient.

Even though I am the predominant listener in my room I much prefer the evenness of coverage that a swarm offers.  Once I got the swarm set up and dialed in the precision of the bass throughout the room is a pleasure.

In my room, I can hear the plucking of a bass and the attack of a drum very precisely.  No mushiness here!

But it was a hassle to get there.

JDUBS

Re: Budget subwoofer 'swarm'?
« Reply #32 on: 6 Feb 2018, 04:17 am »
Hey guys, how about a setup using 3 or 4 of these cheap  (but well-reviewed) monoprice 9723 subs?:

https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=9723&AID=11051853&PID=5431261&ref=cj&utm_source=cj&utm_medium=11051853&utm_term=Skimlinks-3449840

http://www.avsforum.com/the-best-budget-subwoofer/


Only $100+ shipping each.

-Jim


poseidonsvoice

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Re: Budget subwoofer 'swarm'?
« Reply #33 on: 6 Feb 2018, 11:18 am »
Hey guys, how about a setup using 3 or 4 of these cheap  (but well-reviewed) monoprice 9723 subs?:

https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=9723&AID=11051853&PID=5431261&ref=cj&utm_source=cj&utm_medium=11051853&utm_term=Skimlinks-3449840

http://www.avsforum.com/the-best-budget-subwoofer/


Only $100+ shipping each.

-Jim

Jim,

Very impressive. I particularly like Brent's blinded subjective review on AVS.

Best,
Anand.

JLM

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Re: Budget subwoofer 'swarm'?
« Reply #34 on: 6 Feb 2018, 11:26 am »
Hey guys, how about a setup using 3 or 4 of these cheap  (but well-reviewed) monoprice 9723 subs?:

https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=9723&AID=11051853&PID=5431261&ref=cj&utm_source=cj&utm_medium=11051853&utm_term=Skimlinks-3449840

http://www.avsforum.com/the-best-budget-subwoofer/


Only $100+ shipping each.

-Jim

Unfortunately response down to ~50 Hz is NOT a subwoofer.  You'd be missing a whole octave.  Heck lots of monitors go lower.

poseidonsvoice

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Re: Budget subwoofer 'swarm'?
« Reply #35 on: 6 Feb 2018, 11:54 am »
Unfortunately response down to ~50 Hz is NOT a subwoofer.  You'd be missing a whole octave.  Heck lots of monitors go lower.

JLM,

Look at the CEA-2010 measurement that Brent Butterworth published on this $100 product. It is very impressive for the money. If you use them in multiples you will get even better results.

I know of NO monitor speaker at $100 that will pump out 90dB at 20Hz at 1m. That means it certainly has some excursion capability.

Please just don’t judge by the manufacturers specs (Brent has done a real world measurement, that is terribly important to note). Remember the room can dramatically change the response depending on position.

The best thing to do is to buy one of these and get them brutally measured by Josh Ricci of Databass.

Best,
Anand.

Doublej

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Re: Budget subwoofer 'swarm'?
« Reply #36 on: 6 Feb 2018, 12:24 pm »
The CEA-2010 measurement is not a traditional frequency response curve. From a very casual skim of the explanation it appears to be the maximum output at various 'subwoofer' frequencies before specified distortion levels are observed.

If I am interpreting things correctly, if you listen at 100 dB the Monoprice subwoofer will go down to between 20 and 25 Hz.

http://www.brentbutterworth.com/cea-2010-measurement-manual.html


poseidonsvoice

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Re: Budget subwoofer 'swarm'?
« Reply #37 on: 6 Feb 2018, 12:44 pm »
The CEA-2010 measurement is not a traditional frequency response curve. From a very casual skim of the explanation it appears to be the maximum output at various 'subwoofer' frequencies before specified distortion levels are observed.

If I am interpreting things correctly, if you listen at 100 dB the Monoprice subwoofer will go down to between 20 and 25 Hz.

http://www.brentbutterworth.com/cea-2010-measurement-manual.html

Yes, it’s not a FR measurement. We know that the FR dramatically changes when you place a sub in a room. Any sub. That’s why frequency extension specs from sub manufacturers don’t necessarily tell you the whole story. Which is why EQ is so useful in those lower frequencies. 

What the CEA 2010 measurement  shows is the SPL potential. And from that standpoint, this sub alone may not reach THX HT  standards, but in multiples, it is getting close.  At $100/sub though that is actually quite good.

Best,
Anand.

neekomax

Re: Budget subwoofer 'swarm'?
« Reply #38 on: 6 Feb 2018, 01:50 pm »
Yeah, very interesting sub and review. But it must be noted that it's not REALLY $100. Probably more like $125 - $150, depending on shipping. But if it's that good, that seems like a good candidate for a budget swarm.

poseidonsvoice

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Re: Budget subwoofer 'swarm'?
« Reply #39 on: 6 Feb 2018, 02:12 pm »
Yeah, very interesting sub and review. But it must be noted that it's not REALLY $100. Probably more like $125 - $150, depending on shipping. But if it's that good, that seems like a good candidate for a budget swarm.

True that.

(4) subs + shipping is $518.64 to my door, which makes it ~$129 per sub shipped.

Best,
Anand.