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Sub Consumers Revolting?


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Let's face it... the joys and woes of those of us who buy subwoofers is often beyond our ability to reposition speakers and tweak the amps that feed them. The wondrous LFE channel was built not to feed our bass desires at home... but rather as a less expensive way to bring theaters "down" to speed in action movies. And the fledgling bass management of most amp configurations are a labyrinth... usually without a suitably justifiable reward. Of course, there is a whole different bass management set-up for most music buffs.

LFE (when it exists on the program material) has its merits for pumping up the front array (mains and center) but usually doesn't do anything for the growing importance of the rear array (rear surround/effects and rear center channel... which is most often an arbitrary matrix). Many receivers also pool the front array for sub material... but even if they pull from all five (or six) discrete channels... the full bass benefit is usually missed! Why?

HT and music gains (or loses) from three aspects of bass... sound, feel and direction. Sound being eardrum oriented, feel being deep tissue oriented and direction being sounds above 60-80hz which either contribute a sense of reality juxtaposition or are illusion destroying artifact. Rarely is a rig set up to get the most from all three aspects... through which we attept to find pleasue from a "content challenged" set sound engineering standards.

Why can't we have a relatively simple system that delivers all "non-directional" sound to a subwoofer group (cost effective first octave config.) and the balance of the "directional" sound to appropriate front and rear array speakers equal to that task.

As it now stands, most of us have paid the price for performance... but evolving standards and outmoded solutions (like LFE)continue to confuse the issue... to say nothing of the varied formats sound engineers have applied to the existing stock of HT material.

The 5.1 sound treatment given the DVD of "Ben Hur" and "Lawrence of Arabia" spring to mind as a step in the right direction. Is it not time for the industry-at-large to give us some fundamental bass benefits of easier-to-use and more dynamically accurate bass management?

A system that sorts bass management on a directional/non-directional basis would provide automatic added benefits with most equipment upgrades... creating a natural marketing path for us "bass-lemmings" to plunge toward.

Is it too much to ask to have all the depth of sound we can afford easily coupled with the "illusion/sense" of whence it comes? It is so easy to become lost in the "what's watt" and sub placement aspects that we miss the simple fact that those discussions would be far better served by a better industry sound standard geared to the growing HT market.

It is no wonder that so many of us fear buying "new" technology that provide our beloved Klipsch collection with "unsound" delivery configurations. What say you? HornEd


"Klipsch by the Dozen"

Front Six Pack:

KLF 30's R&L + KLF C-7

KSW-15 Sub, SB-2 Effects

Rear Six Pack:

KLF 10 thru KSW-12 L/C/R

Speaker Support Systems:

Mitsubishi RPHD1080 65"

Yamaha RX-V3000 Receiver

Happy Ears x2!

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I don't think I follow your logic. The DD and DTS standard is 5 full range channels (5 to 20k Hz) and a Low Frequency Effects channel; no "sub channel" at all. That may require six subwoofers to actually implement. Sending low bass from other channels to the LFE speaker is NOT part of the plan.

That said my Pre/Pro can route low bass from any of the 5 channels to the LFE speakers and set the level of the LFE and each speaker individually for each Mode (Stereo, ProLogic, DTS, & DD). The LFE can be LFE, Sub or Both. As best as I can remember, the crossover frequency is the same for each Mode. It looks like what you want may be out there, but not in a receiver.


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john, u mean me? maybe i should have left LFE out. it's the low bass when playing non-lfe sources (like cds) that are the problem w/ the sub crossovers. to just allow

one to adjust the sub out cut-off at the preamp level from say 80hz to 50hz would help that problem. i just leave the crossover on my sub switched out most of the time anyway.

then get some of that boominess w/ the conflict on the mains.

i believe there are receivers/preamps that allow to adjust the low bass freq level sub out cut-off out there. no?

forget the LFE. most receivers send all that to the sub out & not also to the main speaks.


Klipsch KLF-30 (front), KLF-C7, Cornwall I (rear)

Velodyne HGS-18 sub woofer

Monsterbass 400 sub interconnect & Monster S-12 cable

Sony STR-DE935 a/v receiver

Sony DVP-C650D cd/dvd player

Sony Trinitron 27" stereo tv

Toshiba hi-fi stereo vcr

Technics dual cassette deck

Technics direct drive turntable

Scientific Atlanta Explorer 2000 digital cable box

2nd room:

Klipsch RF-3 (front), RC-3, cheap little Technics (rear)

Kenwood KR-9600 AM/FM stereo receiver (vintage '75)

Teac PD-D1200 5-disk cd player

Sega Genesis game player

Sub: None yet

rock on!

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Exactly my point, John. That which I believe we consumers should seek is tantalizingly close. Unfortunately, the acoustic nightmare that can come from multiple subwoofers falls short of where we could be, at least in my six-sub experience.

With some exceptions due to content elections of sound engineers, the quality of "woofing reality" is compromised by not having the "directional aspects" of bass coming from strategically placed speakers (front r&l+c and rear r&l+c) and the "non-directional bass" flowing out of an ideally placed sub-array. Getting the first octave to meaningfully reach ones ears is neither easy nor cheap... trying to get it from six different directions does not seem practical without a better standard to allocate available bass waves.

And, Boa, thanks for getting your "coils" around this compromising bass chase from music to HT. Your eighteen incher has bought you more bass enjoyment than can be easily enjoyed. Rock on... with real rocks! HornEd

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what you're asking for is better bass management capabilities from a receiver to match your speakers? given that we can't control the mix (source), what else is there?

i don't see why there's a problem sending all

LFE(<120hz) only to sub preout. i wouldn't want my LFE also going to the mains, rears, or center channels. but then again i don't have additional subs connected to those channels smile.gif

on the other hand, i do see a problem with having a set(non-adjustable) cut-off point to the sub out on the low bass(music)/bass mgmt. on most of todays receivers.

that's why u see these sub/crossover problems & questions all over this BB. because of that incompatiability w/ the receiver's bass mgmt & the sub crossover when going between HT & music.

my original point was better bass management capabilities in a/v receivers/preamps to better comply w/ the various source/mixes & speaker set-ups out there.

now ed, if you're lobbying the sound engineers to take more of the LFE out of that .1 channel & relegate it to say the rear channels where your subs are hooked in...

well, if you're successful on that, at least i have cornwalls set to large back there biggrin.gif

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Boa, as you know, I have a mom whose 93 yr-old neural nets I try to stimulate through "natural" sounds accurately placed around our home theater environment. Obviously, content will always be a hassle as long as there is an "art" to portraying sound effects to virtual HT "existence." And my quarrel is not particularly with LFE for that was designed to solve theater economics... and only borrowed to augment certain HT situations.

I just hope that, some day, we can have the "natural luxury" of having 95% of all the sound in a good DVD delivered to our ears in a way that preserves the illusion of directionality... which brings more depth and realism to the HT experience.

Even with "perfect" speakers, pushing everything under 120hz to a "low range" subwoofer doesn't do it. Cutting everything under 100hz to the five or six "full range" speakers doesn't do it.

If your KLF's and Cornwalls could be fed a sound diet down to 60-80hz and your Velo HG18 got everything under 100hz from every discrete source... you would experience an even greater HT and multi-channel music turn-on... with a minimum of standing wave complications to your bass enjoyment.

In my naivete, I cannot see why a little more engineering on the frequency distribution manifolding couldn't make all of our HT investment more gratifying. confused.gif HornEd

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I still don't understand, Ed. If you want low bass coming from 5 directions, that's what DD & DTS do now. If you have a room with standing waves, treat the room. My Acurus Pre/Pro seems to be able to direct low bass and LFE to a sub or 2 (or more?) that *could* be optimally placed in any room. It seems everything you want is here, except main speakers that can actually operate from 5 Hz to 20 kHz.

I run my 4 La Scalas full range, cross the center to the subs at 60 Hz and have the LFE channel set to SUB & LFE with a 60 Hz low pass. As I understand it, all 5 channels are blended into the SUB signal below 60 Hz and that plus the LFE goes to both subs. In addition, the center has a 60 Hz high pass filter on it.

Is this not what you are asking for?


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John, wondering if you are pretty happy with your Acurus ACT-3? What type of power amps or amp are you using? Not having purchased an

Acurus product in recent history,wondering if

the quality has held up over the years IYO? Thanks for the info.


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Yes, I am quite happy with my ACT-3. It is a Class A preamp that sounds very good. I've heard some magical stuff come out of it. It has one flaw; noise. All signal processing, like volume control, is done in the digital domain. In addition, the analog gain is very high in order to meet some DD standard. The result is noise that would go unnoticed on lesser speakers. Mondial has been eager to modify my unit to cure the noise, but I'm not willing to do without it. I have done the same thing they would do by turning down the input gains to my power amps. The noise is not inaudible unless my ears are almost touching the grilles.

I use a Parasound HCA-1203A for the front channels and a Parasound HCA-1000A for the rears. I use an Acurus A-250 for my sub amp. The A-250 was bought used and is several years old. The ACT-3 seems to be made as well as the A-250. It has been perfect.

I wish it had tone controls, just simple ones at +/- 6 dB would be fine. There are too many poor recordings and difficult rooms to be without them.


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John, thanks for your reply and info.I have an Acurus amp that I've had for years and am terribly satisfied with it.Would love to have

the ACT-3 but am considering going the AV receiver route.Like the 5/7 channel stereo feature of the Denon 3801.Seem to be losing the patience and the flame for audio that I once had and the reciever choice seems to be the easy way out.But just looking at the face of the ACT-3 peaks my interest.Maybe I'll get some literature from Acurus and reconsider.Thanks again,


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john, curious, does the ACT-3 let u change the sub preout freq cut-off filter, i.e., the point where it sends bass from the front channels if set to small to the sub. like instead of a set 80hz cut u could change that to 50hz at the preamp (instead of using the sub's crossover).

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The ACT-3 has about a dozen available crossover frequencies. The crossover can be applied to the sub only or to the sub and the other speakers. There is no "Large" and "small" setting for theother speakers. You just select the crossover frequency you want, or none at all (the equivalent of "large").


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John, I truly enjoyed your home page adventures and the continuing audio separates zeal reflected in your rig... although I prefer an upscale LazyBoy to *your* brown chair.

And, Boa, you are right, I am trying to arouse consumer influence on bass standards applied to creating multi-channel DVDs. I just have a problem explaining it succinctly.

Clearly, the screen is primarily where the action is... and most of the attention rightly goes there... including LFE. The potential to handle first octave bass on the front array is generally here... particularly when the sound stage is balanced with high mounted front effects speakers.

My concern is the rear array... that has taken years to develop... and seems to have a long, long way to go in a couple of areas.

First, unless the DVD creators put in decent sound designed to immerse the consumer in sound... rather than supersaturating the front array... there is little equipment manufactures can do to help. I will say that Acurus3 seems to be on the right track toward allowing you to better fit the bass to your acoustic situation.

While most of us are primarily concerned with two bass aspects, "Aural Bass" (within one's hearing) and "Felt Bass" (deep tissue feeling)... and less attention has been directed toward the "directionality" issue.

I believe that home theater enjoyment is greater when Aural Bass directional clues are heard from the speaker closest to the intended orientation of the sound... and the low range (non-directional) aspects of that sound are heard from the main subwoofer array (which is the instrument designed to handle the low end).

From time-to-time, certain passages of certain CD's are noted for their all encompassing sound when heard on a good HT rig. In fact, that is the subject of one of the most popular posts on the Klipsch board. Those highlighted are usually ones that saturate the room like the opening landing sequence of "Saving Private Ryan." And that's cool... but how about giving us consumers that overall treatment will full bass more of the time.

And that highlights part of the problem. Surround sound began more as auditory "clues" (and speaker manufacturers built product to that standard) rather than providing a full range of sound coming from side and rear locations.

One of the reasons for that approach may have been the cost factor to the consumer of having robust speakers in all locations... and, thus, most of us who care tend to have a definite overkill in our rear array for most program material.

Of course, full range multi-channel speakers become more challenging in the area of room acoustics. So, having a sound system that puts all the low end through a subwoofer array (twin subs get lower ranges more cost effectively) makes precise subwoofer placement simpler. And, if all of the bass in the aural clue range is sent to the appropriate speaker (whether front, side or rear), the consumer gets his best shot at being fully immersed in bass waves.

Why the concern for bass other than its moving quality and exquisite beauty? I suspect that the low resonance effect on the brain reinforce the aural directional clues and effectively increase neural pathways leading to better cognition and enjoyment of our human condition (That's sub wink.gif human condition to you, TV).

So, more and better quality sound to the rear array by the creators... and more and better control of that sound by more manufacturers... should give us more enjoyment from are chosen Klipsch environment! HornEd


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