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#387714 - 01/03/13 02:22 PM Heard in-wall subs for the first time last night
Murph Offline
axiomite

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 6865
Loc: PEI, Canada
A quick story some of you may find interesting.

I was in a work friends new HT last night. He asked me over to try and figure out why his movie explosions sounded like... and I quote, "elephant farts."

His 5.1 system, installed by a supposed pro, consisted of 3 Polk in-wall front speakers and two Yamaha in-ceiling speakers behind his couch. On alternate side walls near the front were two of what I'm pretty sure were these, OEM Systems Stud Woofer .

Luckily, I know this guy is rarely on the web and even less likely to ever view this board, so I feel safe in saying that this was absolutely the worst HT system, I ever heard. At least until you turned the subs off. Then it wasn't so bad.

The fronts sounded OK. Not astounding but not all that bad. Definitely an worthwhile improvement over his TV speakers. I hate ceiling speakers so I found the misplaced, side surrounds very distracting more than anything. Finally though, he sure wasn't kidding about the bass. I think "elephant farts" was exactly right on the money.

The speakers seemed secure but I couldn't get the covers off for some reason. The wall itself did not appear to be vibrating. We tried pressing against various parts of the surrounding drywall to see if we could reduce the ill effect but it didn't seem to change anything. Besides, you could actually tell the offending 'noise' came directly from the subs. Actually, the fact that the subs were easily identifiable by ear as the source of the 'noise' showed it wasn't producing true LFE anyways or it shouldn't be so easily isolated. They sounded, well... broken. But two of them the same?

We did improve it some.
I turned down the sub level a good bit in his receiver and it helped as it was working way too hard compared to the volume of everything else. I experimented with the crossover and we decided it sounded best (but still not good) with it set at 120. Sadly,what it was producing in place of the low end of LFE still sounded more like a giant whoopie cushion than resembling natural sound though.

He asked me what he could do and my advice was to challenge the so called "pro" on what was obviously not even an OK piece of an otherwise 'just OK' system. Either both subs suffering from some blown driver materials or some other defect or they were just a very, very poor choice of gear. Although, I did put it a bit more tactfully than that first part.

I suggested floor subs or at least demand an in-wall model that a.) are not broken or b.)does what it should by producing LFE, not farts. Otherwise his system sounded much better with the sub channel turned off than on, so therefore they were just a waste of money and better off removed and money refunded.

A fun evening of experimentation though, even if we couldn't fix things.
_________________________
With great power comes Awesome irresponsibility.

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#387716 - 01/03/13 02:37 PM Re: Heard in-wall subs for the first time last night [Re: Murph]
tomtuttle Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/20/03
Posts: 8294
Loc: Tacoma
I find your story interesting.

Perhaps try (harder) to get the covers off and try plugging or unplugging the ports?

That's a sad situation, for sure. I'll be interested to hear how the conversation with the installer goes. I mean, what do you do if you say you're unsatisfied because the subs sound horrible, and he says "they sound fine to me".

I'm sure there must be "good" inwall subs, but they are probably expensive.
_________________________
bibere usque ad hilaritatem

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#387717 - 01/03/13 02:42 PM Re: Heard in-wall subs for the first time last night [Re: Murph]
CatBrat Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/05/09
Posts: 5914
Loc: Milky Way Galaxy
I'd be mad as hell and want a total refund. Maybe if I loose my job I can freelance as an HT Pro. At least I know I could do better than this guy.


Edited by CatBrat (01/03/13 02:43 PM)

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#387720 - 01/03/13 03:30 PM Re: Heard in-wall subs for the first time last night [Re: Murph]
fredk Offline
axiomite

Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 7143
Loc: Canada
I wonder how many people in this situation think this is what HT bass is supposed to sound like.

Sounds to me like the drivers are completely overwhelmed by the signal sent to them. They are just not up to the task.
_________________________
Fred

-------
Blujays1: Spending Fred's money one bottle at a time, no two... Oh crap!

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#387721 - 01/03/13 04:19 PM Re: Heard in-wall subs for the first time last night [Re: Murph]
nickbuol Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 09/16/04
Posts: 4516
Loc: Marion, IA
I've got a coworker that is in the process of building a new house. He ran 6 different quotes past me (two different installers with 3 different options each) and showed me their blue-print install plans. Needless to say, most of the options were crap. Overpriced in-ceiling/in-wall speakers for everything put into install locations that just didn't make any sound (pun intended) sense.

I had him go back with a little bit of knowledge and suggestion and both came back with better quotes. I mean these places were going for "invisible" speakers basically that cost about $400-$600 a piece but had terrible response and just weren't suited for a theater at the price that they wanted. The powered gear was OK with some low, medium, and high price points, but I told him to iron out the speakers first since they would be impacted by the construction phase for in/on-wall, floor standing, etc as well as placement, the rest can be dealt with later. I mean why lock in on a 2012 model projector when the house won't be done until April 2013 and it can be one of the last pieces added?

Anyway, these "pros" out there seem to go for price-points (good for them price-points) than actually using decent equipment.

I told him that if he had a budget (which he did) that they could run the wire/cable/electrical, and I would get the speakers, receiver/amps, blu-ray, projector, mount, etc and do the install for free! We'll see if he takes me up on it or is suckered in by the installer and builder...
_________________________
http://ht.buol.us
M60s, VP180, VP150, QS8s, SVS 20-39PCi, HTPC, JVC RS45, Onkyo TX-NR709, Shakers

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#387722 - 01/03/13 04:21 PM Re: Heard in-wall subs for the first time last night [Re: Murph]
tomtuttle Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/20/03
Posts: 8294
Loc: Tacoma
You're a good friend, Nick.
_________________________
bibere usque ad hilaritatem

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#387723 - 01/03/13 04:39 PM Re: Heard in-wall subs for the first time last night [Re: Murph]
casey01 Offline
aficionado

Registered: 07/03/08
Posts: 768
Loc: Toronto
You see this concept on most of the design shows when they talk about so-called HT, it is primarily about aesthetics and not sound. Designers know little if any about what makes good sound and most people who don't do their homework buy in to it because it "looks good" and fits in to the decor. Speakers in the ceiling are for background music, not HT and subs in walls are just too limiting.

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#387727 - 01/03/13 06:24 PM Re: Heard in-wall subs for the first time last night [Re: Murph]
tomtuttle Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/20/03
Posts: 8294
Loc: Tacoma
Excellent points all around.

It's like Home Theater in a Wall (HTIW?) instead of HTIB, but with the same qualitative inference.

Being an installer/consultant has some appeal because you'd get to live in hobby-land. OTOH, fishing wires is just too much freaking work. And I just don't want to spend time in the crawlspace or the attic. No, thanks.

It's one of those "pick any two" arguments with Sounds Good, Inexpensive and Unobtrusive.
_________________________
bibere usque ad hilaritatem

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#387756 - 01/04/13 03:55 PM Re: Heard in-wall subs for the first time last night [Re: tomtuttle]
a401classic Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 11/29/06
Posts: 1194
Loc: Alpharetta, GA
Based on the mfr's pic and description, I'm guessing that the "sub"-woofer is using the entire volume of the studded section of wall its mounted in... since farting requires the passing of gas, have your friend try plugging the port(s).

...the paper on the insulation in the wall may be vibrating against the drywall, making a funny sound as well.

just my initial thoughts.
_________________________
Scott

My HT

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#387813 - 01/06/13 12:55 AM Re: Heard in-wall subs for the first time last night [Re: Murph]
nickbuol Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 09/16/04
Posts: 4516
Loc: Marion, IA
Well my co-worker did NOT take me up on the offer. He said that he already had money down with the installer since they were doing security and whole house audio too.

Too bad. The guy is going to have 7.1 sound using all "in-ceiling" style speakers just like the rest of his whole home audio. His 4 surround channels are going to be above his head (not on the walls). Lame-o...
_________________________
http://ht.buol.us
M60s, VP180, VP150, QS8s, SVS 20-39PCi, HTPC, JVC RS45, Onkyo TX-NR709, Shakers

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