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#286515 - 01/12/10 03:39 PM EP500 setup & SPL readings... need help, please!!!
treyp Offline
frequent flier

Registered: 11/06/08
Posts: 19
Decided to borrow a Radio Shack SPL meter to calibrate by system. Thought it would take a little while but would be no big deal. Well, two days later, I’ve still got a headache from trying to interpret the subwoofer results. Any suggestions to my dilemma detailed below are GREATLY appreciated!!!

First, here’s my gear:
• Yamaha RX-V659
• Panasonic BD55K Blu Ray
o Connected via 7.1 analog outs to receiver inputs
o Internal 100Hz crossover in affect for “small” speaker setting
• Fronts: M22s, Center: VP150, Rears: 4 x QS8
• Sub: EP 500 (crossover @ 100Hz)
• Utilized audio tests from DVE Blu Ray Disc

First, using the pink noise tests (both the individual channel and the one that sweeps around the room), I was able to set the levels of the 7 main channels to 70db w/ less than +/- 1db variance. Settings were very close to what I came up w/ utilizing the built in test tone on the receiver. During the pink noise test, I set the sub @ 4-6db higher but I had to turn the sub volume down to the very minimum to get this done. This concerned me, but I moved on.

Problems arose when it came to the subwoofer phase test. Keeping the meter set @ 70db, I captured the following results: 30Hz (+4db), 40Hz (too high to measure), 50Hz (0db), 60Hz (-8db), 70Hz (too low to measure), 80/90Hz (-4db).

Too improve the results; I tried every trim setting as well as switching the phase. Ended up best at 0° phase and Flat trim setting. Never could get close to any consistent results. The huge drop off between 60-70Hz never improved. Currently, the sub is located against the wall, behind the front left channel (which is on a stand) next to my 65”DLP (also on a stand). No wall exists on the opposite side of the sub. Could possibly move it to the other side of the TV into a corner but was thinking that would result in a “boomy” sound.

Well, I gave up and decided to throw a few movies in. I must say that the balance of the 7 main channels was nice. Not one over powered the other during Optimus Prime’s battle w/ the Decepticons or when Neo/Trinity fought the in the famous lobby/roof top scene. That piece to the puzzle seemed to fit nicely. But my once powerful & impressive EP500 was reduced to a small rumble/thud every now and then. Disgusted and tired of having my wife upset w/ me over an hour of pink noise tests, I went to bed and gave the meter back to my friend the next day.

I have read so many articles now about subwoofer setup that my head hurts. Some say to do this, some say to do that. To compound the issue, I even found some postings on the web about the DVE disc’s subwoofer test being useless due to the test tones chosen.

Can anyone please help……!!!!

#286522 - 01/12/10 04:00 PM Re: EP500 setup & SPL readings... need help, please!!! [Re: treyp]
cb919 Offline

Registered: 02/17/09
Posts: 1165
Loc: Ottawa, Canada
Did you start with the basics 1st?

Meaning, have you done the sub crawl to ensure the EP is in the best place? Even if you can't leave it in that place, try it for a demo to ensure there is nothing else going on.

Also, try 80 Hz crossover instead of 100Hz.

I'm far from an expert, but I would make sure the big things are done before starting play with trim settings, phase, EQ etc...

I hope that's a starting point for you anyway.
On-Wall M5HP LCR, QS8 & EP500 in 7.1

#286523 - 01/12/10 04:05 PM Re: EP500 setup & SPL readings... need help, please!!! [Re: cb919]
BlueJays1 Offline

Registered: 09/19/08
Posts: 4116
Loc: Porch,enjoying Bombay Sapphire
4.) Scotty, We Need More Bass!

The final configuration step in getting good sound from a multi-channel analog configuration is getting the subwoofer level right. This is often the toughest part of setting up analog audio. The LFE (Low Frequency Effect) channel is designed to play back 10db higher than the other channels, for maximum impact. But, that extra 10db may clip during transmission to your receiver, causing audible distortion. So, the LFE channel is generally mixed at the same level as the other channels in the soundtrack, with the understanding that it will be boosted 10db (decibels) by the receiver. With digital transmission of multi-channel audio, the software adds the boost to the signal automatically. With analog, the user (that's you) needs to apply the boost to the signal, but it can't be done in the player (again, due to the risk of overloading the analog inputs of the receiver) -- it must be done in the receiver.

But wait, there's more! One more complication, that is. When using bass management in the player (setting any of the speakers to "small" in the previous step), the subwoofer channel is dropped another 5db to "make room" for the redirected bass information from the other channels. This means the subwoofer level actually needs to be boosted by about 15db in the receiver in order to get it to the "correct" output levels.

Many preamp/processors and receivers offer an adjustable LFE boost (or cut) for the subwoofer channel of the multi-channel analog input. Pictured is the setting from an Integra DTR-9.8 preamp/processor.

Many (if not most) receivers and preamp/processors have a special setting to boost the subwoofer for the multi-channel analog inputs. This may be called "subwoofer sensitivity" or "subwoofer level" (and it's different from the level controls for the digital inputs). Some receivers even apply this boost by default. But, other processors don't make this level adjustment so easy. If your receiver doesn't have a way for you do the required LFE boost and you think the bass sounds a little weak, you still have a couple of options.

You can simply turn up the sub. Most powered subwoofers have a level or volume knob on the back or bottom which raises the overall output level of the subwoofer. Of course, that will give your digital sources too much bass. So, if you take this approach, you will need to recalibrate your receiver by reducing the sub output for the digital inputs. If you ran an auto-calibration routine such as Audyssey or MCACC, then you'll need to run it again with the subwoofer at its new, higher volume so that proper balance is restored to your digital sources.

The other choice is lowering the output of the non-LFE channels in the player, which has the same effect as boosting the sub. Of course, now your overall volume will end up too low and you will need to crank it up in your receiver. While this approach will get the proper bass balance, it raises the noise floor, which may not be the ideal solution.

More info here on how to setup your BD55. The first thing to check in your Yamaha manual is for a setting to boost the subwoofer signal while using the multi-channel analog connections +10 or +15 if you can. Note this is a separate setting from your normal bass managment settings in your receiver.

I’m armed and I’m drinking. You don’t want to listen to advice from me, amigo.

-Max Payne

#286551 - 01/12/10 05:12 PM Re: EP500 setup & SPL readings... need help, please!!! [Re: BlueJays1]
jakewash Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 12/26/03
Posts: 10415
Loc: Calgary, Alberta
Do the subwoofer crawl look for best/loudest bass then do it again and look for the smoothest sounding bass. You then have to decide which you want, really loud or nice and smooth, I would go for smooth. Next jack the sub level up a few db in the receiver from the rest of the system as many of us do and then try a movie and some music and then tweak some more till you have it sounding the way YOU want. BTW, go buy a SPL meter as anytime something gets moved in your room you may find you want to recheck the settings. That SPL meter is now your best friend inspite of what your wife says or does ;\) \:\)


#286555 - 01/12/10 05:27 PM Re: EP500 setup & SPL readings... need help, please!!! [Re: jakewash]
MarkSJohnson Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 09/27/04
Posts: 11437
Loc: Central NH
Another very likely possibility is that none of this has to do with receiver or sub settings, you're just experiencing the rooms nulls and peaks. To test that, re-take your measurements again twice: One in the same place and an identical set 3' to the side. If they're a fair amount different, it's the room / sub interaction.

That can only truly be solved by repositioning the sub, repositioning the seating, or adding room treatments.

That's the problem I have in my room, and none of those three solutions are practical. So.... I've learned to live with it and stop chasing the perfection. Now, I enjoy my system very much, rarely worry about measurements, and imagine that someday I'll be in a room that's far better acoustically! \:\)
::::::: No disrespect to Axiom, but my favorite woofer is my yellow lab :::::::

#286556 - 01/12/10 05:38 PM Re: EP500 setup & SPL readings... need help, please!!! [Re: MarkSJohnson]
Potatohead Offline

Registered: 05/14/09
Posts: 670
Loc: Vancouver
There is a long thread on these boards somewhere where I had a similar situation a couple months back with a new sub. Like Mark says, a lot of this can just be the way the waves are acting in the room. I expect Neon to jump in here any minute and he can give you specifics about where you will have problems with certain frequencies, which depends on your room size. For me it was in the 60 - 70 hz region, and 90 - 95 hz region.

Long story short, it took a lot of messing around with placement and seating position to get it as good as possible. Obviously you want the graph to be as flat as possible. You are finding out why many people run two subs, as this definately helps flatten things out. All you can really do is try positioning changes and try again. Even the direction the sub points does make a difference. I tried the exact same spot with the sub facing 90* differently, and the second attempt gained 28 db (!!!) at some frequencies.

Good luck \:\)

Edit: I just remembered too that some receivers will need a 10 db boost in output if you are using the analog ins. Some have it or apply it without you doing anything. I don't think this is an issue if you have some frequencies where the sub is too loud, but I thought I would mention it.

Edited by Potatohead (01/12/10 05:40 PM)

#286557 - 01/12/10 05:51 PM Re: EP500 setup & SPL readings... need help, please!!! [Re: Potatohead]
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 18044
Loc: NoVA
This is why I will never do frequency sweeps on my sub...
I am the Doctor, and THIS... is my SPOON!

#286560 - 01/12/10 05:57 PM Re: EP500 setup & SPL readings... need help, please!!! [Re: Ken.C]
Potatohead Offline

Registered: 05/14/09
Posts: 670
Loc: Vancouver
^It's rough.

I had about 15 pieces of paper, each for a different sub location with every frequency from 10 - 110 and then the corresponding dB level.

I tend to agree, just do the sub crawl and leave it, and you'll avoid pulling all your hair out. Lesson learned.

On the plus side, it is cool seeing the driver travel about 3" at 10hz... Cheap entertainment.

#286568 - 01/12/10 06:20 PM Re: EP500 setup & SPL readings... need help, please!!! [Re: Potatohead]
treyp Offline
frequent flier

Registered: 11/06/08
Posts: 19
Really appreciate all the great tips. Never did the crawl since I only have one other place to move the sub.... the other side of the TV in a corner. But I'll certainly give it a try at this point. Stay tuned....

If it helps, my room is approx 13-14 feet deep, 9 feet tall and bordered by a wall to the right of the TV w/ nothing to the left for about 20 ft(upstairs room that overlooks first floor). Only thing in the room is a small wicker chest in the center and the couch on the back wall.

#286570 - 01/12/10 06:27 PM Re: EP500 setup & SPL readings... need help, please!!! [Re: treyp]
Wid Offline

Registered: 06/22/03
Posts: 6789
Loc: The Peoples Republic of Il.

Try moving the couch up a foot. Just that little bit can make a huge difference.

"A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity." Sigmund Freud

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