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  1. #1

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    Default New system- don't want a sub

    First, I want to say 'Hi'. I just bought my first set of Polk speakers last week, and I'm thrilled with them.

    As the title says, I've got a new surround system, and I don't want a sub. Main reason- its another large object in the room that I'd rather not have to look at.

    My system-
    Pioneer VSX-1020k (7.1, 110wpc, running in 5.1 mode w/ bi-amp to fronts)
    Fronts- Monitor 70's (bi-amped)
    Center- CS10
    Rear- Energy CB-5's

    I have a pair of Monitor 40's that were intended to be the rear surrounds, but they were way to big to fit on the stands and were obtrusive. I moved them to my old (7 years) 5.1 Pioneer receiver in my bedroom, running as a 2.0 setup.

    My question- Why am I getting a better bass response out of the Monitor 40's on the older, lower-end receiver than from the Monitor 70's when sending the same 2 channel (music) digital signal?

    Both setups are connected to home theater PC's with the same sound cards (Auzentech X-plosion). The old receiver is fully manual when it comes to configuration, the VSX-1020 has a calibration mic, which did very well. I did some tweaking, but I'm still not getting as much bass out of the 70's as the 40's. When running in full 5.1, watching a Blu-ray, there is plenty of bass, which is strange. I'm thinking that this may be coming from the CS10, which is in a cubby of sorts on my TV console (about 16" wider than the speaker and 6" deeper).

    Could this just be a difference in the acoustic properties of the room? My bedroom (Monitor 40's) is 13'x14', 9ft ceiling, carpeted, and 2 3ft wide openings- 1 to tiled bathroom, 1 to 'bedroom foyer'. The living room is 14'x15', 9ft ceiling, carpeted, 2 4' wide openings to 2 tiled hallways, and one wall is a half wall that looks into a 15'x15' tiled kitchen.

    I've set the x-over to 50Hz, speakers are set as large, adjusted the receiver's EQ up on the lower frequencies. Am I missing something? The old receiver has its x-over at 80Hz, speakers set as large, and no EQ adjustments made.

    Sorry for such a long post... just trying to be as detailed as possible.

    Thanks in advance!!!

  2. #2

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    Try changing the reciever to "direct" mode when listening to music. Should eliminate the center entirely but not sure how it handles the bi-amp part (personally I tried that and decided to go back to just one connection and it sounds better).

    If you get more bass when watching 5.1 than 2 channel with everything the same I would think its got something to do with how its getting decoded either at the reciever or at the HTPC.

    Head over to AVSFORUM and post this there too...they have a dedicated HTPC section you might get a better answer from (or find that its already been covered)
    Advice is free, the Flea Market is earned - F1Nut

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  3. #3

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    Welcome to Club Polk!

    Are you sure you have the bi-amp setup configured correctly? There is a special Speaker System setting on the receiver that needs to be changed beyond the MCACC auto calibration to get the receiver to send the correct signal to the speakers when bi-amping.

    You could try putting the jumpers back on and going back to a non-bi-amped setup through the receiver's configuration menu (remove the wires from the rear surround terminals of course) on the 70's just to see if there's any difference. Also, did you have the bi-amping set up first before you ran the auto-calibration?
    Last edited by On3s&Z3r0s; 01-25-2011 at 03:01 PM.

  4. #4

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    Not sure if it's an option, but if I were going for 5.1 without a sub, I would look into an external amp running the .1 through the LF drivers on your monitor 70s. I was going go do something along those lines with some RTi 12s, but then I got a good deal on an LSi system and haven't looked back since
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  5. #5

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    I would dump the bi-amp part and return the jumpers on the speakers and just use a single run of cable, run the auto calibration again, then check to see where it put speaker levels at. sometimes the auto calibration gets it wrong, to your ears anyway, adjust to your liking. Start at 0 db's and go up or down from there.

  6. #6

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    Thanks for the insightful responses! Keep in mind, it's not that I'm getting NO bass, I do get some, but not nearly as much as I'd expect, especially since I get quite a bit more from the Monitor 40's on the other system.

    EndersShadow- I just tried direct mode and there is no difference. The receiver was in 'Auto Surround' mode, which chooses what speakers to run based on input signal. With the bi-amp setup, it knows to use both the front L/R and the rear channels in combo to drive the fronts. In my HTPC setup, the digital signal (via optical cable) outputs Dolby Digital Live or DTS Interactive. Both output signals that are true to source (i.e. music is sent as 2-channel, video sources with 5.1 audio are sent as 5.1, etc.), and the receiver runs the speakers as such. So when listening to music, only front L/R are running anyways. Also, I'm using a standalone BD player, and movies sound great through that, and I have the same issue when listening to a music CD on that (in 2-channel).

    On3s&Z3r0s- Yes, I have it set up correctly for the bi-amp configuration. In the OSD config for the receiver, they even have a picture menu for choosing how the speakers are hooked up. LOL. I did run the MCACC after setting up these speakers on bi-amp. I actually had the 40's a few days before the 70's were delivered, and I had those set up in the same config, so I just swapped them out when the 70's got here and ran MCACC again. The 40's didn't put out as much bass on this config either, they didn't really shine until I moved them to the old receiver in the bedroom. I'll try taking the bi-amp config off and see what happens.

    JimAckley- That's a thought, though I don't really want to spend any more $$ at the moment, since I just spent about $1200 in the last 2 weeks between the new receiver, the 40's, 70's, CS10 and the Energy CB-5's.

    tonyb- I'm gonna go back to the single amp mode and see what happens. One thing I did notice is that when running the MCACC, it is absolutely necessary to put the mic on a tripod. I tried it on the glass coffee table and the backrest cushion of the couch, and both ways it sounded awful. When I ran it sitting on a tripod, it sounded much better.

  7. #7

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    Did you check where the MCACC set your front speaker levels at ? Also, you may have to change some settings in the BD to spin 2 channel, I dunno, look into it. Make sure you put those jumpers back on the speakers too when taking it out of bi-amp mode.

  8. #8

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    The BD player sends the signal true to source as well, so music is sent as 2-channel. I messed with the EQ a bit, but didn't want to go too crazy beyond the MCACC auto calibration. The auto settings did bump the lower frequencies by a couple db's each, but not too far above the rest. The mids were brought up, mid-highs were dropped and the highs were brought up. I'm about to change them to the single amp mode right now, so we'll see what happens...

  9. #9

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    OK, ditched the bi-amp config and re-ran the MCACC. Much closer to what I expected. I still need to tweak the EQ a little, but it still sounds good. One thing I will say for the bi-amp config, straight off the MCACC, the mids and highs were very well balanced and 'felt' like they had more power behind them, even though the lows weren't as prominent as they should've been. We'll see what happens with some adjustments to the EQ.

  10. #10

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    Not that it helps you any, but I did have a similar situation when I set up my M70's on my Pio SC-25. It did seem like the bass on them was a little better when the speakers were handling the crossover than when the receiver was doing it, but I can't remember where I had that crossover set. Since the M70's are a little bit of a bass shy speaker (IMHO) it could be that you had it set so low at 50Hz that the lower posts just weren't getting the signal they would need to make good bass, but that's really just an uninformed guess (I don't know if the receiver even uses that XO setting for the bi-amping or just for determining where to XO the signal to the sub if there is one).

    The setup that I finally settled on was bi-amping with the sub set to work with 2-channel in addition to multi-channel and the XO set at 100Hz.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by On3s&Z3r0s View Post
    The setup that I finally settled on was bi-amping with the sub set to work with 2-channel in addition to multi-channel and the XO set at 100Hz.
    Seems alittle high at 100 hz for the M70's....no? Why bi-amp them if your not asking them to produce any lower bass ?

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyb View Post
    Seems alittle high at 100 hz for the M70's....no? Why bi-amp them if your not asking them to produce any lower bass ?
    It's a good question. I remember playing with different settings and liking the balance between low and mid best when set up that way. But now I'm tempted to dig out the jumpers and see if it's better with them not bi-amped and the sub doing less of the work.

  13. #13

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    Ok... just got done playing with it, and... f___ bi-amping. Maybe it would be good with better equipment than I've got, but it just doesn't seem to be adding anything in my case. I've tweaked my receiver setup quite a bit after MCACC did its thing for movies vs. tv. vs. music. So I just listened to a couple of pieces of music and a couple of movie clips with and without bi-amping and with the receivers crossover to the sub in different places.

    The results in a nutshell: bi-amping wasn't doing any of it any favors. Everything sounded way less integrated, and the high end seemed way weaker than I remembered it. I think I know why I liked the bi-amped sound before and it probably had to do with the material I was testing with back then. Anyway, I'm sure bi-amping is not an improvement on my gear for most anything I'd be listening to on that system.

    As far as the bass goes, I liked it crossed over higher (I tried 50/80/100 and still liked 100) for movies. But then I like to feel it when stuff blows up in a movie. What sounded best for music was again, no bi-amping and the crossover at 50Hz. It sucks that the SC-25's software doesn't let you change the crossover frequency for music versus movies. You can tell it not to use the sub for 2-channel but I do like some support down in the low range. And I hardly ever do any real/critical music listening on that system, so I'll leave it set higher.

    With no sub, I'd definitely skip the bi-amp and leave the XO set as low as possible, but you'd think the receiver would ignore that entirely if you told it you didn't have a sub.

  14. #14

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    I think you can, the MCACC has presets that allow you to switch between certain settings, at least I thought so.

  15. #15

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    I think the software version on the SC-25 is older than what they're using now. All I can do is change the volume going to the different speakers as far as I can tell. The large/small settings and subwoofer crossover can't be varied per MCACC profile.

  16. #16

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    In my situation, my receiver has 6 memory profiles to switch between different configs, whether it be listening positions in the room, EQ configs, or speaker setups. Fortunately after ditching the bi-amp, I don't seem to need this feature, because I get a pretty good rumble out of the M70's now.

    In the case of both my old Pioneer and new one, if the front speakers are set to large, they default to have the sub shut off with 2 channel signals. The old receiver won't turn the sub on for 2 channel at all, unless the speakers are changed to small. I can override the new one to have it on at all times. Since I have my system set up with no sub, it doesn't use the x-over at all, it just sends the full range to any speakers that are configured as large.

  17. #17

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    I know you don't want a sub, but have you considered a compact sub? If that's out, I'd just wait and add a beefy amp to the LF drivers. I don't know how else you'll get the sound you're looking for
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  18. #18

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    I actually have an older 8" compact sub that I really like, I just don't want to use it... at least not until I get a smaller HTPC so I have 1 less box sitting on the floor. My current HTPC case (looks like an AVR) doesn't fit into my TV console. I swapped out the case for an Antec Sonata III case, so now I have that beast sitting on the floor next to the speakers.

    Like I said, with the changes that I just made to the speaker config, I'm pretty happy with the sound I'm getting now, and I can definitely live with it until I can afford to re-do my HTPC situation. My last post was just me rambling/continuing the later discussion about crossovers. :)

  19. #19

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    I was thinking of making an HTPC sometime in the next year. First, I'm doing a new hardcore PC that I'll probably put in a Cooler Master HAF942. I'm planning on a 6-core processor and 24GB of RAM, probably two Nvidia cards in SLi, the Creative Fatality sound card with the 5.25" I/O drive, along with a 120GB SSD for my OS and games, and then just throw all of my music and movies on a few 2TB drives. On the HTPC, I'll keep it limited to a quad core and I'm not sure what graphics card. Technology changes so often that I have no idea what will be out by the time I actually make it.

    If you ever decide you want a serious sub that doesn't take up much room, look into the SVS cylinder subs. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
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  20. #20

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    Dang! That's a serious PC! Though, I don't really know what is out there that will utilize that much power... You know what's better than running your OS on a SSD?... Running it on 2 in raid 0 :D Can you say instant boot?

    For HTPC's you really don't need a lot of power unless you plan on gaming. I watch 1080p video files, occasionally use my BD-ROM (less now, since I got a standalone player), and all I have is a Phenom x3, 2gb ram and since my Radeon 3650 fried, I'm using the integrated HD3200 on my mobo. Sound is a difficult issue on HTPC's though, because the selection on cards is somewhat limited, some have decent connectivity but limited encoding capabilities, some have great encoders, but no optical out, etc. I'm happy with my Auzentech X-plosion, though I think I'd like something that is self-sufficient and doesn't require other system resources for heavier encoding tasks. My next one will likely be more powerful, but that is just due to advancements in technology. It will also be a much more compact system and my storage will actually be in the desktop that was intended to be my media server.

    I'm already starting to get the itch to get rid of the HTPC box- to the point of running it case-less in my TV console, just so I can put a sub in the room. LOL. I hooked my sub up just to test something, and it sounds REALLY good (though I want a new sub already).

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