Author Topic: Accurately Set Up a Subwoofer With (Almost) No Test Instruments  (Read 5854 times)

Offline AlleyCat

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Accurately Set Up a Subwoofer With (Almost) No Test Instruments
« on: October 31, 2013, 11:44:47 PM »
In my opinion, One of the Best Subwoofer Setup Articles, can be found here [ Bob Katz, one of the world's foremost recording engineers, with special attention paid in using Rebecca Pidgeon's " Spanish Harlem" to test, tune, etc the bass] :

http://www.digido.com/articles-and-demos12/13-bob-katz/14-subwoofers.html

He also opines on the effects of using room acoustic treatments and equalisation in this article.

Par Excellence! Well done, Mr katz!

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« Last Edit: October 31, 2013, 11:47:29 PM by AlleyCat »
"Not everything meaningful is measurable, and not everything measurable is meaningful" - Floyd Toole

Offline naughty

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Re: Accurately Set Up a Subwoofer With (Almost) No Test Instruments
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2013, 05:19:31 AM »
very good article  ;)

we used to use this article to set up car subwoofers for sound quality competitions in the past

Offline lanties

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Re: Accurately Set Up a Subwoofer With (Almost) No Test Instruments
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2013, 09:51:18 AM »
Very, very good

Interesting comment

Quote
Avoid equalization, which is a nasty band aid...proper acoustic room treatment is the cure.
The correct statement of individual rights is that everyone has the right to an opinion, but crucially, that opinion can be roundly ignored and even made fun of, particularly if it is demonstrably nonsense! - Brian Cox

Offline CORY

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Re: Accurately Set Up a Subwoofer With (Almost) No Test Instruments
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2013, 09:56:49 AM »
to set up car subwoofers for sound quality competitions in the past

This intrigues me.
I am one of those old farts who believe that car subs are mainly there to thud and are not musical at all. That its a pity to spend all the money on something not musical at all, essentially noise
But now I hear of these competitions where quality as well as volume seem to count. Where can I visit one?
(BTW, I do have a sub and extra amp in my car, but don't go doef-doef. Just get an extra dimension to my music)
Cory Voigt
'In sweet music is such art,
Killing care and grief of heart
    Fall asleep, or hearing die.'

Online Rodney_gold

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Re: Accurately Set Up a Subwoofer With (Almost) No Test Instruments
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2013, 10:27:29 AM »
Avoid equalization, which is a nasty band aid...proper acoustic room treatment is the cure.

Very, very good

Interesting comment

Yes , particularily since every decent sub manufacturer has provisions for equalization as do modern day receivers and there is a rash of low bass eq devices on the market that get rave reviews and work  , many many other treatises advocate it as an excellent solution.
Alleycat himself uses it and I can guarantee you that he certainly doesn't think his SMS-1 is a "band aid"

One Swallow does not a whole summer make...

http://www.harman.com/EN-US/OurCompany/Innovation/Pages/WhitePapers.aspx

Read this  for another perspective  read from page 28 onwards
Authored by Floyd E Toole..
http://www.harman.com/EN-US/OurCompany/Innovation/Documents/White%20Papers/LoudspeakersandRoomsPt3.pdf
« Last Edit: November 01, 2013, 10:36:22 AM by Rodney_gold »
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Offline naughty

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Re: Accurately Set Up a Subwoofer With (Almost) No Test Instruments
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2013, 10:41:51 AM »
This intrigues me.
I am one of those old farts who believe that car subs are mainly there to thud and are not musical at all. That its a pity to spend all the money on something not musical at all, essentially noise
But now I hear of these competitions where quality as well as volume seem to count. Where can I visit one?
(BTW, I do have a sub and extra amp in my car, but don't go doef-doef. Just get an extra dimension to my music)

sorry for the off topic

well actually to be honest even car subwoofers were not initially designed for all that mad thump - they just eventually landed up going in that direction and to be honest i was also a BOOMER for a short while in the early nineties but i totally steered away from that as i discovered that SQ sound competiton circuit and most of my car audio installs were based on two categories ie Sound Quality as well as cosmetic integration ie making it look good too

there have been sound quality competitions in car audio for the last 25 years or so - and there was a pretty decent following for these until sadly recently it just succumbed to a whole bunch of politics which then led to the competitive scene dying off and allowing the "thump and bump" brigade to take over the car audio scene

there are many people registered in this forum who have very high quality car audio setups which can rival many home systems but obviously these are going to be near-field - and truthfully you can achieve better bass in a car than you can at home (in terms of quality ie bass detail etc) 

im not sure of when the next competitive will be taking place but Joel Kopping is hosting an event based on Car audio at Soundwaves on the 16th of november - there is a cost of R100 to attend and i have no idea what this includes ..... attendance is limited to 10 people and Joel will be conducting the seminar and there will be a number of Sound Quality based vehicles on display to listen to ...... might be interesting


Online Rodney_gold

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Re: Accurately Set Up a Subwoofer With (Almost) No Test Instruments
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2013, 10:51:57 AM »
I stuck in a great system in my el camino , nice sub , good splits , good amps and a parametric - sounded wonderful when the car was stopped , it sounded like a tinny radio when it was on the road - the 454 motors exhaust noise just killed the bass...maybe doef doef bass woulda been better...
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Offline AlleyCat

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Re: Accurately Set Up a Subwoofer With (Almost) No Test Instruments
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2013, 11:01:23 AM »
My comments as posted in this thread :

Re: Does foam make for effective bass traps
Reply #17 on: Yesterday at 10:29:50 pm


My personal experience dictates that a combination of room treatments and equalisation [ in the bass area only] works (best, even when traps are crudely made). The room should be treated first and foremost and with equalistion you can tweak it to the nth degree.
Last Edit: Yesterday at 10:32:53 pm by AlleyCat

The article by Bob Katz is certainly one of the best as far as setting up a subwoofer(s) is/are concerned.
"Not everything meaningful is measurable, and not everything measurable is meaningful" - Floyd Toole

Offline AlleyCat

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Re: Accurately Set Up a Subwoofer With (Almost) No Test Instruments
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2013, 12:26:22 PM »
As Mr Katz alluded to..."with (almost) no test instruments", I find that my Velodyne SMS-1 has been the one of my best buys and one of the most useful and effective tools to get my bass right.

It is extremely difficult and laborious a task to tune and tweak by ear. The beauty of this unit besides all the functions ( measurements, tools & facilities ) it allows you to see on a screen/tv, etc, exactly what changes you are making when tweaking x-overs, volumes, polarity, Qs, etc. Once calibrations are made, you can then listen to music and if not happy start the cycle again to fine tune. What will take you days to get right can take you an hour or so. Magic when you get it right!

Once you get it right the benefits go well beyond the bass range as it effects the mids, trebles, imaging, sound-staging, PRAT, the ease  & flow of the music, etc - everything becomes easier to listen to/through.... 

An easy test : Open your listening room door ( even slightly ajar) and listen to your music in another room or down the passage and see if you can listen to it without bass boom, where well rounded bass coupled to clarity, evenness impact, sharpness, etc is still maintained and music is still a pleasure to listen to. Very difficult to achieve without the additional......test instruments& tools!
"Not everything meaningful is measurable, and not everything measurable is meaningful" - Floyd Toole

Offline AlleyCat

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Re: Accurately Set Up a Subwoofer With (Almost) No Test Instruments
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2013, 01:47:29 PM »
To prove that the SMS-1 is a valuable tool check out the two pics below of the measurements taken/adjustments made by this unit. The first measurement was reported on in my "REW measurements of my room" thread. The latter was taken this morning with me taking an initial measurement and by just tweaking my third sub-woofer and using Bob Katz's article above, was able to achieve this result. The only area the SMS-1 impacted on was to reduce the 50Hz peak to -1, the rest of the range was zero(0), impressive if I have to say so.

This means nothing if the music doesn't tell you this, and it does, big time! I have been listening for about three hours now without having to jump up and change any settings or getting my wife to ask me to turn the volume down or change the music.



"Not everything meaningful is measurable, and not everything measurable is meaningful" - Floyd Toole

Offline AlleyCat

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Re: Accurately Set Up a Subwoofer With (Almost) No Test Instruments
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2013, 11:15:51 AM »
Changed the Phase setting from 0 to 180 :



The difference is appreciable, improving the crispness of percussion, guitar, extension of voices in the upper midrange & treble and giving more body to bass and extending the range and fullness to tenor sax. Somehow it it adds more focus and improves specificity of instruments[much better imaging] in the soundstage.  A good track where this can be tested is Susannah McCorkle's "Manha Da Carnaval".

"Not everything meaningful is measurable, and not everything measurable is meaningful" - Floyd Toole

Offline windshear

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Re: Accurately Set Up a Subwoofer With (Almost) No Test Instruments
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2013, 11:47:21 AM »
Just be careful with assuming that frequency response is everything. Don't overlook the major effect of ringing and decay, which none of the above addresses.

Online Rodney_gold

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Offline AlleyCat

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Re: Accurately Set Up a Subwoofer With (Almost) No Test Instruments
« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2013, 01:15:45 PM »
Just be careful with assuming that frequency response is everything. Don't overlook the major effect of ringing and decay, which none of the above addresses.

Windshear, check out my "REW Measurements of my Room" thread to view pics of my acoustic panels that I built that takes care of some of these issues.
"Not everything meaningful is measurable, and not everything measurable is meaningful" - Floyd Toole

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Re: Accurately Set Up a Subwoofer With (Almost) No Test Instruments
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2013, 01:19:49 PM »
Windshear we are talking about low bass in this thread - well below 150hz or so .. eq is not effective at all at freqs that are above the schroeder freq.
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