View Full Version : Surround speaker problems
06-04-2003, 01:24 PM
I just hooked up a whole new speaker system. Pair of RTi70's, CSi30 center, RM series II surrounds, and a PSW-250 sub. The mains and the center sound great. I am having a problem with the surrounds. To locate them where I wanted them, I had to run 50 ft of speaker wire around the baseboard and up the walls to mount them behind the listening area. The mains and center are wired with Monster cable (14 awg I believe) The surrounds are wired with Philips High Grade speaker wire (16 awg). The problem is that the volume/sound coming out of the surrounds is very low...barely audible. Could this be a result of the speaker wire length? I know the quality of the surrounds is not up to that of the rest of the system, but they do sound very nice when played by themselves. I did not think I would have a problem using them just as surrounds. Can anybody provide some insight as to why the sound is so low?
06-04-2003, 03:20 PM
My friend had a similar problems as yours with his surrounds being pretty low.. so low in fact that it didn't seem they were putting out any sounds. First off.. I think your mains are overpowering your surrounds.
Secondly, have you calibrated the sound levels with a SPL meter? this will probably find out that the levels on the surrounds are way to low. Get a set up disc and a sound pressure level meter from Radio Shack. They will do wonders for you.
good luck. Al
06-04-2003, 03:20 PM
Check the settings on your receiver, you should have volume control for all speakers. May need to cut the rear speakers up a bit.
06-04-2003, 03:25 PM
The speaker wire length really shouldn't be having the effect you describe. Have you simply turned up the surround channels? I don't know exactly what "RM series II" speakers are, but I have a small pair of Polk M2s, which sound all right, but are quite a bit less efficient than my larger Polks.
Connect the two surround speaker runs to the mains on your receiver, and see how the speakers sound. If you have to turn the volume up a lot more than with the 70s, then I think the problem is the efficiency of the surrounds, so turn up the surround channels. If they shine on the main channels and you don't have to turn the volume up, then perhaps it is something with the surround amps. The speaker wire length is the least of the concerns, as is the fact that it is 16g.
06-04-2003, 03:35 PM
I did hook up the RM's ( they must be an older model Polk large satellite type speaker...and they are very heavy for tiny speakers) to the main lines and they did take a lot to push them...power wise. My receiver actually went into "protect" mode when I tried to turn them up and cut the power off. I did not realize that you can change the volume settings on the receiver for each set of speakers. I have a Sony AVR, only 6 months old. I think it makes sense that these surrounds are very inefficient. I'll look into changing volume settings, if I can.
06-04-2003, 05:49 PM
yes you should be able to raise the level of each individual speaker. what receiver are you using? Once properly calibrated.. you'll notice a huge difference in your system.
Everything will come together and sound much better than it does now. Where are your surrounds located? They should be about 3 feed above your listening sweet spot.
06-04-2003, 10:26 PM
Steve--The calibration of the speakers is essential, it is really not possible to do it by ear. You need to use a SPL meter if you have one, if not Radio Shack has an analog meter for about 35.00 that is well worth the money and very easy to use. There are discs you can buy to help you, many here use Avia or the Sound and Design setup disc.
Polk made some sattelites RM6500 and 7500 not sure if that is what you have, but they were made to work with amps that have as low 25 watts per channel, so you should have enough power with what you have, more than enough. Not sure what caused the receiver to go into protect mode maybe one of the others here can help with that.
When you say that the surround channel has weak volume, what are you listening to? A DVD, VHS tape, television, CD, test tone? Are you using 5.1 digital, Dolby Pro Logic, DPL II, or some DSP mode when you say they are weak. Some of these just do not put in the surround track. How have you wired your compnents to the receiver?
Since you were unaware of the individual speaker level volumes you might want to review your manual loads of info in these but sometime you have to really dig it out. Let us know how you make out.
06-05-2003, 08:46 AM
Ok, my receiver is from a Sony HT5500D Home theater system. The receiver is actually model STR-K840P, a 5 x 100 watts , 5.1, DTS. There is a test tone function built in to the system. Last night I tried that and the tones all seem to come out somewhat the same out of each speaker. I was playing CD's mostly at first when I described my problem. Last night I watched a DVD (James Bond, Die Another Day...very good!) Once again the sound out of the mains and center were fantastic! I can't remember once hearing the surrounds which are mounted on the wall behind me about 2 feet above my listening position. I'm actually having some difficulties making the sub sound good as well. I guess this just takes some practice. Sometimes the the sub sounds distorted, but when I lower the volume(and adjust the crossover) it seems to be alright. Thank God the RTi70's and CSi30 are blowing me away with their sound, it has taken some of the disappointment of my surround/sub problems.
06-05-2003, 11:17 AM
Did you turn up the level settings for the surround channels? Unless you were using something like DPLII to artificially create surround channels for music, I don't believe you should have heard anything from the surrounds when listening to CDs.
I have the cheap RS SPL meter, and I know it is more accurate than doing it by ear, but you could go ahead and turn the surrounds up to something like +3 (or 4 or 5?) assuming the mains are on 0 to see if you can bring out the surround sounds. Use a DVD with lots of surround information.. I'd think the Bond DVD would do it during explosions, etc. Don't be afraid to adjust by 3 or 4 steps... my center is more efficient enough than my mains that I run the center at -3.
06-05-2003, 12:48 PM
Thanks Burdette. I was under the impression that since I had 5 speakers hooked up (6 with sub) that I would get sound out of them all regardless of whether it was a CD or DVD. So, I should not expect 5 channel sound from a CD? I've contacted Sony to help me with changing volume levels and to let me know crossover info on sub out. Damn Sony manual sucks!
06-05-2003, 02:20 PM
Originally posted by steve0202
Damn Sony manual sucks!
don't worry the Marantz manuals suck just as bad. ;)
06-05-2003, 03:38 PM
Originally posted by steve0202
So, I should not expect 5 channel sound from a CD?
Correct, you should not expect sound out of the surrounds while listening to music *unless* you are using something like Dolby Pro Logic II to artificially create surround signals. In normal operation, music should play from your mains and the sub. One of the hot new topics in DVD music is 5.1 (or more) music mixes, that do indeed have surround information. But regular old CDs... no.
It is possible the Sony manual doesn't make much of the channel level settings because Sony assumes you're using the matched speakers that came with the unit. God forbid Sony decided to do away with the ability to change levels... ? But I've seen crazier things in audio, and it would be a way to save some money (and sell the unit cheaper) given that most buyers probably are NOT changing out speakers.
I found one resource that said the STR-K840P has Dolby Pro Logic II.. in this mode, you'd hear sound from the surrounds while listening to CDs.
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