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Thread: I've had Sierra-2s for a few days and I'm struggling with the bass.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
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    2

    Default I've had Sierra-2s for a few days and I'm struggling with the bass.

    These things sound great on about 50% of tracks I play through them, but on the other 50% the bass is overwhelming and muddles the mix. These tracks are usually aggressive rock songs or electronic songs, but it can happen on more mellow songs too depending on the mix. (And electronic or aggressive songs can sound great, too, depending on the mix. "Alpha and Omega" by Boards of Canada has a very tight bass presentation that translates well through the speakers.)

    It's not just a matter of volume. The bass is not only loud — it bloats the mix. Kick drums have a deep punch that I can feel in my chest, but I can't hear the definition of the mallet striking the drum head. I can't hear the metallic high-pitched finger sounds of a bass guitar, just the thumping lower frequencies. These low frequencies dominate the mix, veiling the higher frequencies and making the whole song sound mushy and formless.

    I am willing to chalk a lot of this up to the room I'm in. It's a 14'x15' section of a larger room that has some walls pushing out in unfortunate places. There are hard wood floors and no rugs, yet. There's nothing on the walls and minimal furniture.

    I am also willing to put some of the blame on the Denon AVR I have. I don't think an AVR was a great choice when I am primarily focused on using these to listen to music. (Movies and TV sound great through the speakers for the most part, but again the bass can be extreme to the point that it dominates the mix). But I've tried using various settings to mitigate the issue — Audyssey EQ, flat EQ, pure/direct mode, etc. Nothing seems to help.

    Open to ideas. When everything aligns, these things sound amazing. Unfortunately most of the time they just leave me frustrated. I can EQ from the source but feel like I shouldn't have to do that with reference-quality speakers. Maybe that's the wrong attitude.
    Last edited by porridge; 11-03-2017 at 09:30 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
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    263

    Default Re: I've had Sierra-2s for a few days and I'm struggling with the bass.

    In my room the Sierra-2s have very tight and punchy bass. Not overwhelming at all. It definitely sounds like a room or placement issue in your case. The room has the biggest effect on the sound, much more so than your receiver, although the EQ options in the receiver can help. You can take a pair of $100,000 speakers, put them in a bad room, and it will sound horrible.

    Is there a wall right behind your listening position? How close are your speakers to the wall behind them?

    In general, moving the speakers and your seating position away from the walls will reduce the perceived bass.

    Edit: I forgot to ask, but are you running your speakers full range? You didn't say anything about a subwoofer.
    Last edited by mikesiskav; 11-03-2017 at 10:24 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    SoCal
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    Default Re: I've had Sierra-2s for a few days and I'm struggling with the bass.

    Agreed. Unless you're blasting them, it's not the speakers OR the receiver - it's the room.

    A nearly square room with hardwood flooring and little/no furniture is an acoustic nightmare. Get a rug, get some couches in there, maybe a bookshelf, a reclining chair, whatever. Also try moving the speakers and/or your listening position away from walls.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
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    Central NC
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    51

    Default Re: I've had Sierra-2s for a few days and I'm struggling with the bass.

    Quote Originally Posted by porridge View Post
    Open to ideas. When everything aligns, these things sound amazing. Unfortunately most of the time they just leave me frustrated. I can EQ from the source but feel like I shouldn't have to do that with reference-quality speakers. Maybe that's the wrong attitude.
    You are describing room modes. You have to treat that room. Those dimensions are horrendous. You'll need not only bass traps, but absorbers and diffusers. But first thing you do, is add upholstered furniture, bookcases, rugs, etc. to give it your first pass at absorption and diffusion. Oh, and make it a comfortable listening environment.
    "If it sounds good, it is good." -- Duke Ellington

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
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    USA
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    Default Re: I've had Sierra-2s for a few days and I'm struggling with the bass.

    Hi Porridge - welcome to the forum.

    As others have described here, what you are experiencing are standing waves and not a fault of any speaker. Square rooms are very problematic.

    What is happening is that on the songs that have lost detail and sound muddied up by the bass, those frequencies are creating standing waves due to the shape of your room. These standing waves linger and do not decay at the proper rate - which muddies everything up. These are very difficult to deal with because in a square room, you are dealing with multiple axial modes and the tangential modes are basically at the same frequencies.

    Best option is try different speaker placement (if possible) in the same room. If that doesn't help - you might want to consider adding a subwoofer but placement with the sub will be tricky too. One thing you can immediately do is to plug the port tubes on the speakers (an old sock or dishtowel work great) This will make things sound better because those specific frequencies that excite the room will now be greatly diminished - but so will the bass the speakers reproduce.

    Audyssey EQ should help somewhat, provided you ran the process correctly with proper microphone placement but in a square room, those room modes are going to be very strong
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    Good Sound To You!

    David Fabrikant
    www.ascendacoustics.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
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    Default Re: I've had Sierra-2s for a few days and I'm struggling with the bass.

    I just wanted to reply to this thread to say that the speakers sound amazing now that I have the room in a presentable state. Thereís a couch, a rug, bookshelves, a desk, plants, and even some acoustic treatment panels. The speakers sound really well balanced and Iím impressed every time I boot them up.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Default Re: I've had Sierra-2s for a few days and I'm struggling with the bass.

    Quote Originally Posted by porridge View Post
    I just wanted to reply to this thread to say that the speakers sound amazing now that I have the room in a presentable state. There’s a couch, a rug, bookshelves, a desk, plants, and even some acoustic treatment panels. The speakers sound really well balanced and I’m impressed every time I boot them up.
    Excellent -- happy to hear that and thanks for sharing!
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    .
    .
    Good Sound To You!

    David Fabrikant
    www.ascendacoustics.com

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