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#383249 - 09/24/12 07:21 PM Advice for better bass response
autoboy Offline
veteran

Registered: 12/04/06
Posts: 118
Loc: Palo Alto, California
So i recently moved into a new house and setup a new theater in my family room. My new setup lacks bass impact and I'd like some help on what to do next.

I redid the TV wall because there was no good way to fit in a bigger TV. The old TV space fit a 50" TV and limited me to bookshelf speakers. This is the old setup.



The new setup features an 80" TV with a cutout for a 95" TV in the future. I sit about 15 feet away so I am now at the recommended distance of 2X screen size.

I also dropped in in-cabinet m80s and a VP160. Power is from an Onkyo 875 with 130W per channel THX certified. In wall M3s are in the ceiling behind the couch and since the ceiling is vaulted they are pointed at the listening position. The back is open the the kitchen and there are two 7 foot open spaces leading to the rest of the house. So, this is a VERY big room with a vaulted ceiling. Maybe 1000 sqfeet plus a 15 foot ceiling over the family room. The kitchen has a 10ft ceiling. Here's the after picture and I apologize for the poor quality:



Since this space is open to the rest of the house I just wanted decent sound. I didn't need 2 EP800s in this room shaking things off the walls. Especially with little babies in the house. But, I get almost no bass impact at all now and I'm not sure if it a problem with the m80s or my room is just too big for them. I figured I would not get earth shaking bass, but I did figure on some impact. Enough to hear the bass without the need for a sub. I didn't need to feel it in my chest.

My old setup in my old house was in a smaller room but still open to the kitchen had m60s and I rarely needed the SVS PB12 NSD subwoofer turned on. That system is now in my 1200sqft basement and I still don't need the sub. The basement is the same size as the family room but without the vaulted ceiling and I still get adequate impact from those m60s alone. Should I be getting more impact from the m80s? Do you think maybe I have a driver that isn't working right? Or are the drivers' polarity reversed in the speaker canceling each other out? Or do I just need to suck it up and install a sub that I stupidly didn't pre-wire for?

edit: I should note that all front speakers are set to full range. I should also note that I've tried my bass heavy movies and found that I got mostly distortion in the low end. The explosion in the first part of Hurt Locker sounded pretty bad with a little bit of bass but a lot of flapping noise. The drivers were moving a lot and I could feel air out of the port but very little actual impact. This was at about -10 db on the volume dial which is about where I would normally listen to movie if I didn't have 2 11 month old kids.


Edited by autoboy (09/24/12 07:33 PM)

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#383250 - 09/24/12 07:33 PM Re: Advice for better bass response [Re: autoboy]
tomtuttle Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/20/03
Posts: 8268
Loc: Tacoma
You have a beautiful home.

I'd get a test disc and run some sweeps (there are probably a number of places you can download and then burn a CD with test tones). Or find some material that has pretty consistent bass content. Change your position in the room throughout and try to listen for differences. It seems likely to me that your listening position is in some kind of null created by the specific dimensions of your room. i.e. is there a difference in bass response at other positions in the room?

And definitely check to see if all the drivers are firing.

It's kind of hard to see from the picture, but try moving any "stuff" away from the M80's and see if that makes a difference.

I'm not sure what kind of material you are listening to. The M80's should provide quite a bit of impact down to about 40Hz, even in a big room.
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#383251 - 09/24/12 07:38 PM Re: Advice for better bass response [Re: autoboy]
autoboy Offline
veteran

Registered: 12/04/06
Posts: 118
Loc: Palo Alto, California
For listening sessions I moved the pack and plays (which are mostly mesh anyways) and the chair in the corner has since moved over a bit out of the way of the driver.

How do I know if the drivers are firing? They are moving but there are two in each speaker so if one was dead then I couldn't tell since the one moves the other right? Or do they not move much in a vented enclosure?

I don't get much bass anywhere in the room. There isn't' a sweet spot. It's pretty light anywhere you go.

I'll look for some test tones. I used to have some mp3 test tones but didn't move them when i got a new computer.


Edited by autoboy (09/24/12 07:40 PM)

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#383252 - 09/24/12 07:47 PM Re: Advice for better bass response [Re: autoboy]
tomtuttle Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/20/03
Posts: 8268
Loc: Tacoma
I am pretty sure all the drivers are supposed to be active.

If you've got some material that includes content under ~100Hz on at a decent volume, then you should be able to see/feel that each driver is moving.

I definitely would try different listening modes on your receiver, too. And make it as simple as possible ("pure direct" mode or similar). Turn Audyssey off. Even though you are sure you have them set to full range, try to take as many variables out of the equation as possible.

While it is miles better than my old Denon, I still find my Onkyo 805 to be "complicated". And I don't think I'm a technophobe or technotard. There's just a lot of stuff going on there that could be part of your discontent.

Is it all sources? That is, no difference between CD's, TV, etc?

I sympathize with you.
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#383253 - 09/24/12 08:11 PM Re: Advice for better bass response [Re: autoboy]
MarkSJohnson Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 09/27/04
Posts: 10830
Loc: Central NH
I think Tom is on the money with his posts, but I'll just add one quick thing: If you're hearing distortion and "flapping" in the bass, turn the volume down before you blow your speakers!
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#383254 - 09/24/12 09:22 PM Re: Advice for better bass response [Re: autoboy]
terzaghi Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 04/04/07
Posts: 4842
Loc: Tulsa, Oklahoma
I would think this is a room issue as well but you would think that you would hear some good bass somewhere in the room huh? If a driver is faulty, you wouldn't think that this would be the case with all woofers. Do your m80's have multiple binding posts on the back?

My living area is large, but not on the same scale as yours (which I would classify as huge). For reference, In my living room (17.5 x 21 with 12 foot ceilings), I find the m80's to put out plenty of bass. My room is also open to a kitchen with 9 foot ceilings. That being said, even with my room I find the ep500 necessary, and in all honesty feel like I need a second sub for movies to smooth out the bass response and add a little "oomph".

I wonder if the shear size of your room lends to having a dedicated 2 or 3 channel amplifier to obtain the punch you are looking for?

I will add that you have a beautiful looking room as well
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-David

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#383255 - 09/24/12 09:24 PM Re: Advice for better bass response [Re: autoboy]
terzaghi Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 04/04/07
Posts: 4842
Loc: Tulsa, Oklahoma
Here is a link to some test tones:

http://www.realtraps.com/test-cd.htm

However, Last time I talked to Axiom I think they recommended not using constant tones of a single frequency on your speakers. That being said, several of us have done this.
_________________________
-David

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#383256 - 09/24/12 09:45 PM Re: Advice for better bass response [Re: autoboy]
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17739
Loc: NoVA
I think you need a sub in that room.
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I didn't do it, no one saw me, you can't prove anything.

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#383258 - 09/24/12 10:29 PM Re: Advice for better bass response [Re: autoboy]
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10360
AB, you've mentioned polarity, but have you actually double-checked that your speaker wiring has been done correctly? Possibly the easiest way to check is to reverse the wiring connection at the 875 terminals to one of the M80s to see if the bass gets stronger.
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#383262 - 09/25/12 09:25 AM Re: Advice for better bass response [Re: autoboy]
alan Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/29/02
Posts: 3186
Loc: Toronto/New York/Dwight
Hi Autoboy,

Everyone here has offered some good advice, however, even in your very large space, if the M80s are not out of phase, and your listening area is not in a big fat null because of room cancellation (which would almost eliminate audible bass), then you should still hear some good solid decent bass from the M80s.

I think there may be a wiring issue or you may have clipped the Onkyo on bass-heavy material and damaged the woofers. Leave the system off and gently press in each woofer back and forth to see if there is any scraping sound. If there is, the woofer is gone and will need replacement.

Overall, in a room that size, you could benefit from a separate power amp for the front channels and at least one powerful subwoofer, an EP500 to start. I've always found the THX guarantee dubious in terms of power output levels on rated receivers.

Check the wiring of the M80s first to ensure they're in phase, and then each M80 woofer (with the system turned off) for damage.

Good luck. Beautiful room, by the way.

Regards,
Alan
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Alan Lofft,
Axiom Resident Expert

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