LFE+Main, no. All speakers to Small with SW, yes?

Posted by: Bayne

LFE+Main, no. All speakers to Small with SW, yes? - 03/05/12 02:38 PM

I've been playing with the settings on my Denon AVR-3808CI for about a week and stumbled on this blog on the Audyssey site:

Audyssey Blog: Large vs Small

It tells me to only use the LFE setting, never the LFE+Main, and that if I have a subwoofer, to set all speakers to small. This is interesting because when I run the Audyssey MultiEQ on my Denon, it sets my M60's and VP160 to large, and everything else to small. I used to use the LFE+Main setting, but no more as I understand what the article states--which has been backed up by a few other things I've read--but just for kicks I tried setting everything to small with a crossover of 80Hz. The result seems to be most impressive. I think my speakers sound better than ever before. Yes my room has changed. Yes I've recently added a VP160. But things really do seem better. I'm no 100% sold until I get a second opinion in my listening environment, but I was wondering if anyone else was aware of this theory and has any comments?
Posted by: casey01

Re: LFE+Main, no. All speakers to Small with SW, yes? - 03/05/12 02:55 PM

Originally Posted By: Bayne
I've been playing with the settings on my Denon AVR-3808CI for about a week and stumbled on this blog on the Audyssey site:

Audyssey Blog: Large vs Small

It tells me to only use the LFE setting, never the LFE+Main, and that if I have a subwoofer, to set all speakers to small. This is interesting because when I run the Audyssey MultiEQ on my Denon, it sets my M60's and VP160 to large, and everything else to small. I used to use the LFE+Main setting, but no more as I understand what the article states--which has been backed up by a few other things I've read--but just for kicks I tried setting everything to small with a crossover of 80Hz. The result seems to be most impressive. I think my speakers sound better than ever before. Yes my room has changed. Yes I've recently added a VP160. But things really do seem better. I'm no 100% sold until I get a second opinion in my listening environment, but I was wondering if anyone else was aware of this theory and has any comments?


Regardless of what the so-called "pundits" might say or what ever you may read about various opinions on these topics, when it comes to sound let your ears be the final arbiter of what sounds good and what doesn't. There are no absolutes in A/V and these differences are essentially quite subtle and dependent on the electronics and of course your room environment. In my case, although the difference is negligible, I have chosen to go the opposite and utilize the Large plus Mains route. To my ears and with M80s in a L/R configuration it seems to sound slightly better than applying a 80HZ crossover especially when listening to music but that's just me.
Posted by: J. B.

Re: LFE+Main, no. All speakers to Small with SW, yes? - 03/05/12 03:09 PM

sorry, Casey, but there ARE absolutes in AV; these are called Standards, and the first thing (after some room treatment) that should be done is calibration to a standard, whether for Audio or Video. This is Reference.
But, not all people do that.

when calibration has been done (here with Audyssey), then is the time to listen carefully for some days or a couple of weeks to try and see if there is anything that could be changed to make it better. this is Preference, which is not the same as Reference.

i have found, with my system, that the LFE was too weak, so i increased its level by 2.5-3 dB.
this makes it sound like "equal loudness" to my ears.

Reference means that you will see movies on your TV the way the director wants it to be seen, and you will hear music the way it's meant to be heard by the sound engineer.

Edit: pls read this carefully: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?p=14456895#post14456895 It answers everything you ever wanted to know about...


Posted by: SirQuack

Re: LFE+Main, no. All speakers to Small with SW, yes? - 03/05/12 03:15 PM

Bayne, Audyssey does not set the speakers to small, it measures the speakers -3dB point in "your" room and reports those findings back to the Denon. Denon uses 40hz as the guideline, so since your 60's and 160 met this guideline, Denon set those speakers to large. I have found the same results in my room with my 80's and 180, and even my previous 150, reported as "large". However, since I have subwoofer(s) in my room, I set them to small and adjust the crossover accordingly. I have tried 60hz, but find 80hz gives me better results.
Posted by: Kruncher

Re: LFE+Main, no. All speakers to Small with SW, yes? - 03/05/12 03:23 PM

I've often read the advice that says that when you're using a subwoofer, you should always use the Small speaker setting. I'm sure that I've seen Alan mention the same here, though of course I can't find those posts at the moment. This runs somewhat contrary to his own article.

That said, I must agree that you should let your ears be the best judge. In this case, you've found the correct setting already.
Posted by: casey01

Re: LFE+Main, no. All speakers to Small with SW, yes? - 03/05/12 03:53 PM

The standard mentioned(80HZ crossover)was a standard developed by THX many years ago, prior to the availability and flexibility that exists in A/V equipment today in which the user has many more choices and the ability to enhance what they hear.

Relative to this discussion, for years now and with the training, software and the appropriate meters, I have done calibrations on display monitors which is invariably all designed to bring a monitor to the video "standard" pre-determined by the influential Image Science Foundation and a picture that is as close as possible to the original. There is, however, a hitch to all of this. I have done calibrations for many customers including a significant number of long-term audio/videophiles, whom, after viewing the calibrated picture, did not like the "look" and, in the end, chose to revert back to one of the default settings on the monitor which was much more pleasing to them.

Their choice may not have been the "standard" but it is reality.
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: LFE+Main, no. All speakers to Small with SW, yes? - 03/05/12 07:46 PM

My Pioneer always sets my Mains (M22) and Center (VP160) to large. I notice distortion at higher volume levels this way, so I always set them back to small.

I've also been volleying back and forth between a 50hz and an 80hz cross-over. Seems for some applications 50hz is better, for others, 80hz is better. The VP160 seems a little wasted unless I set the cross-over to 50hz. Although, there seems to be a more even balance and less distortion at the 80hz setting. (I can't win).
Posted by: JohnK

Re: LFE+Main, no. All speakers to Small with SW, yes? - 03/05/12 10:14 PM

Bayne, as Randy has already pointed out, the reason that the speakers were set "large" following the Audyssey measurements was that they met the standard(typically 40Hz)for adequate bass response which the particular receiver uses for a "large" setting. This adequate result isn't necessarily the best overall result however, and with a good sub it should be allowed to handle the frequencies which it does best. This means that the speakers should be set "small" to relieve them of the lowest bass burden(which also means no "+" type setting can be made, of course)and a crossover frequency as high as possible as long as sub localization doesn't become a problem(typically 80Hz)should be set.
Posted by: Bayne

Re: LFE+Main, no. All speakers to Small with SW, yes? - 03/05/12 11:07 PM

Originally Posted By: J. B.

Edit: pls read this carefully: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?p=14456895#post14456895 It answers everything you ever wanted to know about...



Thanks for the link. I've read it a few times and have a few questions about those darn crossovers.

For my EP500v2, should I set the crossover to bypass and the trim to flat? I'm having a hard time understanding the sub's instructions and now the v3 has a different rear panel layout.

In the AVR's crossover settings menu, if I set everything to 80Hz, does that include the subwoofer?
Posted by: JohnK

Re: LFE+Main, no. All speakers to Small with SW, yes? - 03/05/12 11:38 PM

Bayne, if your EP500 has a Bypass setting and a Trim adjustment(as mine does)the Bypass setting should be used since the receiver sets the crossovers for "small" speakers.

As to the Trim adjustment, a "Flat" setting might not give the best overall results. It largely depends on the size of the listening room. Contrary to some popular opinion, the smaller the listening room the greater the emphasis room gain gives to very low frequencies(e.g., very boomy bass in the interior of a car). Unless your room is quite large, a better overall balance might result if the Trim setting(which boosts bass frequencies above about 40Hz to balance the room-boosted low bass)is set to other than Flat. Experiment.

A crossover by definition rolls off a low frequency driver above the selected setting and rolls off a higher frequency driver below that setting. So yes, the receiver settings affect both the sub and the speakers set "small".
Posted by: Bayne

Re: LFE+Main, no. All speakers to Small with SW, yes? - 03/06/12 10:19 AM

Thanks for the info. I have the EP500 manual that came with the sub, and one that I downloaded off the site later in the year, and each is worded differently regarding the crossover setting. I did find the answer to my badly worded second question in an online article called The Denon to English Dictionary. It states that the LFE setting in the Manual Speaker Menu is incorrectly labeled and should read, LPF (low-pass filter), which is what I've been hunting for in the 3808's owner's manual. Audyssey recommends setting this to 120Hz.

Now the only thing I'm still having trouble with is getting the subwoofer's distance setting correct. I get a distance of 26 feet and the channel level is always getting set to -10 to -13.5db's. I've reduced the EP500's volume setting on the back of the cabinet, but that just seems to increase the negative decibels in the channel level menu. These articles on Audyssey say try and disable the LPF in the sub, but I don't think that feature is available in the EP500v2.

These tweaks are getting me such a superior sound then what I'm used to, it's almost like I've just bought a whole new system.
Posted by: alan

Re: LFE+Main, no. All speakers to Small with SW, yes? - 03/06/12 11:00 AM

Hi Kruncher and all,

My "starting-out" advice to anyone setting up a 5.1/7.1 system is to always use "Small" speaker settings and an 80-Hz crossover. Turn off all auto-calibration and auto-EQ (Audyssey and similar auto-EQ systems are always error-prone and produce inaccurate setup) and do a manual setup, then you can experiment with different crossover settings if you have large full-range front left and right main speakers and a full-range center.

You'll always want to bypass the subwoofer's internal crossover since your AV receiver is setting all the filters.

Now, about that article of mine. I modified my earlier text for that article because Ian wanted me to allow for greater flexibility. He and some of my other Axiom colleagues prefer more bass than I do (what I call "overwhelming bass", much larger than life) and so do lots of Axiom customers.

I've found that in most setups, if you set the front main speakers to "Large" AND you use the subwoofer, it simply produces far too much bass. But lots of bass-heads love it.

Certainly experiment with lower crossover settings for your front mains--in some installations, 60 Hz or 40 Hz may be preferable with full-range speakers.

Regards,
Alan
Posted by: JohnK

Re: LFE+Main, no. All speakers to Small with SW, yes? - 03/06/12 10:03 PM

Bayne, getting the subwoofer distance "correct" doesn't necessarily correspond to the physical distance as measured with a tape measure. There are delays in the sub electronics which result in the sound arriving later than would be the case if only the actual physical distance was a factor. It's not unusual therefore if the distance set is significantly longer than what would be measured by hand. The auto-calibration done by Audyssey and other systems is likely to be more accurate than what could be done manually, even if aided by an SPL meter, since the added element of human error is involved.

The reduction of the volume setting on the back of the sub simply has to result in the sub trim in the receiver going closer to 0, since a lower setting at the sub is balanced by a higher setting at the receiver for the same overall volume level. So, the contrary effect would be puzzling indeed.

You've already mentioned the Bypass setting and it's been discussed above, so this is what disables(bypasses)the low-pass filter; there's no need to look for anything else. Note that this isn't the low-pass filter on the LFE channel(120Hz max setting)which is something totally different and isn't what was being suggested to be disabled.
Posted by: jakewash

Re: LFE+Main, no. All speakers to Small with SW, yes? - 03/09/12 12:06 AM

I would also try the system with lower crossover settings as you do have full range speakers but keep them set to small to direct the lowest frequencies to the sub
Posted by: Bayne

Re: LFE+Main, no. All speakers to Small with SW, yes? - 03/09/12 09:24 AM

I currently have the crossovers for the mains and center set to 60Hz and the surrounds at 80Hz with that LFE/LPF at 120Hz. In a week or two a good buddy who has amazing hearing when it comes to speakers will drop by so we can play around with the settings more. His well-trained ear should be able to help me out. He was the one who was blown away by my Axiom's when I first got them. He said they sounded every bit a good as his much more expensive Paradigm's, but I think his opinion has changed a bit. His really expensive Paradigm center channel sounds terrible and their customer service wouldn't help him out, so now he owns my old VP150 and says he loves it. I also got him to change from $12 per foot speaker cable to Axiom's $.98 per foot bulk ones and he can't tell the difference.