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Thread: subwoofers and bass 101

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quinn
    The idea of 0 as reference is that you calibrated your system to 0 being reference level of 85dB or 75 dB whichever you subscribe to as being reference level.
    Quinn - good explaination. Dodgerblue - as an example, I have set up my H/K receiver to be at 70 dB's (give or take a decible) with each speaker using an analog SPL from Radio Shack. I did it via DVD and my digital connection with the receiver setting at -27. So theortically, at -27 my system will play a DVD at 70 db's. However, in actuality it varies as it is each speaker - one at a time, that I have calibrated, with my sub running a little bit hot. With all of the speakers firing it is louder than 70 db's at -27, though again it varies depending on the source material. This is why I normally run it around -30. So, when I go to -10, I've added 17 dB's in volume or 87 dB's total - to EACH speaker which is much too loud in my room for most material. Hope this makes sense (I'm afraid I'm not very good at explaining things like this at times) but it's the best way I can describe it. I could calibrate at 0, but it would be in the 95 db range at that point for each speaker which is much too loud in my room. You also have to take into account room gain - but that's a totally different subject

  2. #12
    Dave G Guest

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    Dodgeblue,

    If I were in your shoes I would get a subwoofer, but it's a judgment call. I also have a NAD C370, but my mains are CMT-340s, not CBM-170s. Even though the 340s extend a bit lower than the 170s (50Hz v. 63Hz), and even though the 340s do sound great without a sub, I've found that a sub adds noticeably and nicely to the "bottom" of the music. It's not as if the music went from bad to good with the sub, it just became nicer. Since you have 170s, the effect might be even more noticeable.

    If you'll be using this for HT as well for music, then I agree with Kpt_Krunch that you should get a sub.

    Now I have a combined HT and 2 channel music system and already had a sub when I added the C370 to the system, so I didn't have to decide whether to spend more $$ on a sub. It's a bit harder for you. If you do decide to see what a sub can do, then I'd agree with Kpt_Krunch's suggestion that you buy a sub from some place that has a 30-day no questions asked return policy. One possibility would be a Hsu Research sub, which you can purchase from Ascend.

    Good luck, and be sure to tell us what you decide to do.

    Dave

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by dodgerblue
    And going back to subs and low volume listening, turning up the gain on a sub would be like using a loudness button on a receiver, then? The frequency response then is skewed towards the low-end and is far from a flat repsonse, right? I think I get it.
    Alot of folks prefer setting the sub a tad hot... maybe 2-4 db. It's all up to your listening preference. I think with your listening preferences adding a SMALL sub might be the ticket for you to try...maybe something like a Hsu STF-1 or even the $100 Dayton sub from Parts Express. I think you would like the results.

    Randy

  4. #14
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    dodgerblue.......

    Because of your name, I am going to assume you are in the Los Angeles area.

    I am in Manhattan Beach, and if you would like to experience nuances of your speakers with and without a sub at different listening levels, you are more than welcome to visit.
    -curtis

  5. #15
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    Feb 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave G
    Dodgeblue,

    I also have a NAD C370, but my mains are CMT-340s, not CBM-170s. Even though the 340s extend a bit lower than the 170s (50Hz v. 63Hz), and even though the 340s do sound great without a sub, I've found that a sub adds noticeably and nicely to the "bottom" of the music. Since you have 170s, the effect might be even more noticeable.

    Dave
    Since you have a 2-channel system that closely matches mine, your opinion will be seriously considered. Thanks.

  6. #16
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    Feb 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by curtis
    dodgerblue.......

    Because of your name, I am going to assume you are in the Los Angeles area.

    I am in Manhattan Beach, and if you would like to experience nuances of your speakers with and without a sub at different listening levels, you are more than welcome to visit.

    People on this forum sure are knowledgeable and friendly too! I use to live in LA, but now I'm up in the Monterey Bay area. I haven't lived in LA for 20 yrs. now, but do go back and visit my father yearly. If I don't have a sub and I'm down in the area, I'll take you up on that. Thanks! I use to ride my bike from Culver City to Manhattan Beach along the coast. Now I feel like going to Redondo and having some cracked crab!

  7. #17
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    Feb 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lou-the-dog
    Alot of folks prefer setting the sub a tad hot... maybe 2-4 db. It's all up to your listening preference. I think with your listening preferences adding a SMALL sub might be the ticket for you to try...maybe something like a Hsu STF-1 or even the $100 Dayton sub from Parts Express. I think you would like the results.

    Randy

    Does setting it hot mean to make the bass louder? So subs retrieve lows that smaller speakers can't produce and they also increase the volume. But will it distort bass frequencies?

    Someone has suggested the HSU VTF-2, too. I'll look into your suggestions, if a small sub will suffice. Thanks.

  8. #18
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    Feb 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kpt_Krunch
    So theortically, at -27 my system will play a DVD at 70 db's. This is why I normally run it around -30. So, when I go to -10, I've added 17 dB's in volume or 87 dB's total - to EACH speaker which is much too loud in my room for most material.

    So 0 is all the way up, then, or do some receivers go into positive values?
    This means when speakers are tested at 90-95dBs, they are given quite a bit of power and being pushed hard. I think I'll try and see what the 12:00 position sounds like, when no ones home, just to hear the 170s potential. Thanks, Quinn.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by dodgerblue
    Does setting it hot mean to make the bass louder? So subs retrieve lows that smaller speakers can't produce and they also increase the volume. But will it distort bass frequencies?

    Someone has suggested the HSU VTF-2, too. I'll look into your suggestions, if a small sub will suffice. Thanks.

    Yes. My usage of "hot" is to mean a higher volume (SPL) setting in relation to the setting of your main speakers. You shouldn't be worried about distortion unless it is a very bad sub or even a good one set at a rediculously high setting.

    I've got the Hsu VTF-3 MKII and love it. For music only it would be WAY overkill...for me. I have an Ascend 5.1 system and the big sub comes in handy for dynamic movies. For music only, also take a look at the STF-2 which is the same as the VTF-2 less the variable tuning...and will save you a few bucks too.

    Randy

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by dodgerblue
    Thanks, Quinn.
    You're welcome. When I want to see how a mark up is done for anything. I hit quote for that post and the mark ups will show up in the text of the message box.

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