How to make a budget system sound like a zillion dollar one
May 15, 2015 at 10:07 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 8

oqpi

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I own RX6 speakers, with an Outlaw 2150 stereo reciever... and the trick is to add a powered subwoofer... why:

1) These speakers have small drives, meaning they will reproduce nicely the over 80Hz signal; anything below is artificially produced in the resonance chamber and delivered via the two bass reflex ports.

2) One cannot defy the laws of physics, hence, use them for what they can do best: mids and highs with accuracy and detail; and for that:
a) I filter them to over 80-100Hz (I prefer 100Hz, mostly) with Outlaw 2150 receiver's internal crossover,
b) connected a powered sub (outlaw ultra-12X) via receiver's subwoofer special port,

3) This layout of two fine (but small) speakers and one powered sub will make the bass sound natural not "enhanced" in the chamber by reflections and bounces against the internal walls; it also saves the small drives to work on low frequencies which they are not even supposed to handle:
a) the low frequencies sound a little "boomy" for the two speakers without subwoofer; I cannot hear the detailed texture of the low bass guitar string or deep low piano or organ
b) with subwoofer inserted and speakers crossovered at 100 Hz I can hear such a nice relaxed bass, with detail and texture, going to the real string vibration of the instrument... and it goes down to 16 Hz like that..
c) it is not about power (my sub amplifier is set to 25-30% of the max), it is all about the natural representation of the sound as it was recorded... you only need to balance the sub with the floorstands once...

4) And the icing on the cake is: the receiver does not have to handle the extra power of low frequencies (70% or so) which transfers to the powered sub 350W amplifier to deal with..!.. it has plenty of spare energy to drive the mids and highs in a relaxed, high fidelity manner (not that Outlaw would need that, as being one of the most powerful receivers on the market)....
.... and what a great sound it delivers !!

That is how you make a $2,300 system sound like a $50k + one.... and I'm very serious, no joke !

P.S. I could never understand how people keep saying the word "break-in" for electronics and speakers...it does not make any sense..
1) For electronics, there is no way a transistor, or any silicon device, or a capacitor to have to break-in after a period of time of use; the only thing that happens with electronics is to behave a little better after they are warmed up... but that takes between 20 min and 2 hours, depending on the electronic components inside; there is no way for electronics to sound better after 40 hours of use, or 100 hours, or that..
2) For the speaker it is something similar, they sound better after a time of use, but that is around 10-20 min of vibrations, not after a "time period of break-in"; why would they do that..?.. the materials will not become more flexible, or the coils will not slide smoother after 40 hours or 100 hours.. I've read reports of people who counted 600 hours of "break-in" and were convinced their equipment sounds better after that time..

In the past 40 years, I have listened to hundreds of systems, some new, some old, some used, some just out of box, and I can tell you they sound better or worse, more clear, or less, detailed, dynamic and the whole bit, because of the design, the assembly and the quality of the materials used....
Nothing more and nothing less... all this raw-raw with break-in periods is just to make somebody to appear they have such sensitive ears, that they can "feel" a difference in sound after 40 hours of total use... It is only to inflate some people's ego..
I would ask all these guys to try a blind test and see what they can actually differentiate in terms of sound quality....
 
May 15, 2015 at 10:17 PM Post #2 of 8

yeahx

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Haha! Welcome to Head-fi 
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May 15, 2015 at 10:37 PM Post #3 of 8

bgentry

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Subwoofers *can* make a huge difference if done correctly, and it sounds like you really like what you hear.  Cool!
 
I'm reminded that, while I've been doing this for more than 20 years myself (or 30 if you count me buying my first stereo when I was a teenager), I don't know all the tricks.  Barry Ober, AKA "The Sound Doctor" is a subwoofer specialist.  He has a HUGE article on proper subwoofer integration and he makes (to me) a VERY surprising recommendation.  Well, he makes several that are surprising, but here's what I'm talking about:
 
Plug the ports on your speakers you will use as mid/highs.  It will make the transition to the subwoofer more smooth, minimize bass variations, and allow you to correct the timing of the bass relative to the rest of the spectrum.
 
Getting this all correct is pretty involved, but Barry has it nailed in his white paper.
 
Brian.
 
May 15, 2015 at 11:57 PM Post #4 of 8

cel4145

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Plug the ports on your speakers you will use as mid/highs.  It will make the transition to the subwoofer more smooth, minimize bass variations, and allow you to correct the timing of the bass relative to the rest of the spectrum.


No. It doesn't necessarily make the transition smoother. It just changes the tuning point of the speakers. If you crossover your speakers significantly above the tuning point, it won't matter. What makes a difference then is the quality of the filters used to crossover the speakers and sub.

Then, plugging the ports raises the tuning point of the speakers. So depending on the speakers, it might raise the tuning point above the crossover. Below the tuning point, speakers/subs tend to exhibit higher rates of distortion as they near their limits, so you might actually be adding worse sound with this method.

Plus, plugging the ports on the speakers potentially reduces their maximum SPL capabilities. So not always desirable depending on the amount of volume necessary at the listening position.
 
May 16, 2015 at 12:10 AM Post #6 of 8

bgentry

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Cel, your analysis is off.  Plugging the ports changes them from ported to sealed.  Which in turn makes the roll off go from 24 db/octave to 12 dB/octave.  This means that the interaction of the electronic crossover with the acoustic/mechanical roll off of the driver is changed.  It becomes less steep (12 versus 24), so they can blend more gradually and with less of a phase shift.
 
Second, the "tuning point" isn't really relevant once you are talking about a sealed enclosure.  In a ported enclosure driver excursion increases exponentially below the tuning frequency, leading to lower power handling, or simply lots of distortion and/or mechanical damage to the driver if it's driven hard below tuning  This effect isn't the same with a sealed enclosure.  Sealed enclosures have relatively linear excursion below tuning.  The exact amount of increase depends on the size of the enclosure.
 
Finally, you might read the white paper and see what you think of the overall approach.  I've never seen a treatment of subwoofer integration that's as complete and real world proven as Barry's.
 
http://soundoctor.com/whitepapers/subs.htm
 
Brian.
 
May 16, 2015 at 12:39 AM Post #7 of 8

cel4145

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Cel, your analysis is off.  Plugging the ports changes them from ported to sealed.  Which in turn makes the roll off go from 24 db/octave to 12 dB/octave.  This means that the interaction of the electronic crossover with the acoustic/mechanical roll off of the driver is changed.  It becomes less steep (12 versus 24), so they can blend more gradually and with less of a phase shift.


What are you talking about? When you plug a port on the speaker, it can raise the tuning point and yes. It will create a more gradual rolloff. It's not automatically 24 db/octave to 12 db/octave. That would depend on the particular enclosure and driver and it's original tuning. Speakers are not all tuned the same way.

Second, the "tuning point" isn't really relevant once you are talking about a sealed enclosure.  In a ported enclosure driver excursion increases exponentially below the tuning frequency, leading to lower power handling, or simply lots of distortion and/or mechanical damage to the driver if it's driven hard below tuning  This effect isn't the same with a sealed enclosure.  Sealed enclosures have relatively linear excursion below tuning. 


You didn't read what I said. If you plug the port, then the tuning point gets raised, then depending on the speaker's tuning point, you might be raising it to where you have distortion now at or near the crossover when you push the speaker, whereas you might not have before.
 

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