Subwoofer setup and MultEQ

Many powered subwoofers have controls that are set manually.  It's important to follow some simple guidelines to avoid having these controls interfere with proper subwoofer calibration and integration with the satellite speakers.

  1. If the subwoofer provides a direct input (sometimes called LFE input) then it should always be used.  That input bypasses the filters in the subwoofer and allows the bass management system in the AV Receiver to operate properly
  2. If there is no direct input, then the lowpass filter knob on the subwoofer should be permanently set to the highest frequency it allows.  That way it will not interfere with the MultEQ measurements and bass management
  3. The level control on the subwoofer is often set too high.  This can cause the AV Receiver to run out of level correction range when MultEQ tries to set the subwoofer to reference level.  Set the subwoofer level control to the midpoint.  If MultEQ reports high negative trims (e.g., –12 dB) for the subwoofer, then you should turn the level control further down and run MultEQ again
  4. If there is a Phase control on the sub it should be set to 0°

If you have a subwoofer with room EQ, then you should run that first in the subwoofer and then run MultEQ in the AVR

If you have an external subwoofer processor (such as the SVS AS-EQ1 or the Audyssey Sub Equalizer) you should run the calibration in that processor first and then run MultEQ in your AVR

If you have two subwoofers, there are some additional steps to take:
  1. Place them at equal distances from the main listening position
  2. Set the level controls on the back so they both play at the same level
  3. Connect a y-cord to the sub out of the AVR and then connect to both subs
  4. Turn off processing in the subs as it will not be able to give you the same resolution that you will get from MultEQ (thousands of points vs. a few parametric bands)
Have more questions? Submit a request

399 Comments

  • 0
    Avatar
    Wim Holthof

    thanks Chris for the clear information

  • 0
    Avatar
    michalis

    hi chris,

    i have onkyo 876 and 2 subs one tannoy ssub15" and one

    definitive technology trinity with dual14".

    in some scenes with low frequency's bass, tannoy is overextending.

    can you propose me something?

    i have followed your suggestions for dual subwoofer setup.

     

  • 0
    Avatar
    Audyssey Labs

    Hi Michali,

    The dual 14" will play lower than the single 15".  If you have them connected via y-cord then Audyssey is making a single filter for both and this could cause problems for the 15" sub.  How are they connected?

  • 0
    Avatar
    michalis

    you are right they are connected via y-cord.

    can i do something?

     

  • 0
    Avatar
    Audyssey Labs

    There is no option in the 876 to run Audyssey on each subwoofer individually.  You can try placing the 15" sub in a corner to help extend its response and place the dual 14" sub away  from a corner.  This may match their low frequency extension better--but it will take some experimentation.

    Another thing to try is to turn down the LFE level (p. 107 of the manual) to –10 dB.  This is not the subwoofer level, just the LFE level.

  • 0
    Avatar
    michalis

    a newer receiver with subeq like onkyo 3009 can help me ?

    is it wise to experiment with the phase of the tannoy?

  • 0
    Avatar
    Audyssey Labs

    Yes, any AVR that allows individual control of the two subs will help.  I don't think the phase control will do anything.  It simply adjusts the phase at one particular frequency, but will not help with the extension at the low end.

  • 0
    Avatar
    michalis

    thank you for your help.

  • 0
    Avatar
    Simon O'Hagan

    Hi Chris,

     

    Newish to this as got a new Onkyo TX 809 amp.  Trying to use Audyssey, but even with gain on the sub turned all the way down, am getting an initial db reading of about 79 (it says set to 75db at the start of the calibration).  When I run Audysset, I end up with a sub cut of about -3.5db.  My room is a square, except for a deep bay window in which my surround back speakers are.  My listening position is just in front of the bay so that surround speakers are to the left and right of the listening position.  Every time I run Audyssey, I get different settlings and the sound is not great.  Any ideas what's going on or where to restart.

     

    Thanks in anticipation.

     

    Simon

  • 0
    Avatar
    Audyssey Labs

    Hi Simon, this can happen if the sub is very sensitive or (most likely) if it's in a corner that gives it a huge peak at a certain frequency range.  Try moving the sub out of a corner or further away from the wall.  The final level of –3.5 is perfectly within range however so I wouldn't worry about it.  The delays and levels are calculated from the first mic position.  So, if that varies every time you run Audyssey then these results will be a little different.

    Check here for mic placement requirements:

    http://ask.audyssey.com/forums/84181/entries/73284.html

    and here for sub setup tips:

    http://ask.audyssey.com/forums/84181/entries/76175.html

  • 0
    Avatar
    maelje

    Hi,

     

    Just wanted to say thanks for the great information on this site. My new Denon 3312 AVR has Audyssey. I was puzzled as to why I was getting -12 trim on my subwoofer. With my old receiver (also a Denon, but several years old), I always set my Polk sub's volume at about 1 o'clock. Doing that on the new system resulted in the -12 setting, and not enough presence from the sub. Followed instructions here -- actually, I set the Polk 450 to 11 o'clock on the volume knob rather than midpoint. Still ended up with a -7 trim setting, but what a difference in sound! Output is excellent - balanced but powerful. Thanks again!

  • 0
    Avatar
    Vince mirabelli

    Hi chris
    I'm not surprised I'm still learning every day as a part time home audioguy with a small biz.,
    From you chris your helping me from what I was taught in the past
    Set sub crossover at 8O
    Gain just over half and you come along to dispel all confusion.

    Are you saying all older receivers with no menu
    Settings for bass crossover
    I have an old Nad t-761,
    To still set crossover at max then av will still set
    Frequency out at around 80 on it's own?
    My speakers are set
    To small
    I did have subs set at 80.

  • 0
    Avatar
    Audyssey Labs

    Hi Vince,

    The first myth to bust is that the frequency knob on the sub is a crossover.  It's not.  A crossover requires two filters: a highpass that sends content to the speaker and a lowpass that sends content to the sub.  The filter on the sub is only a lowpass.  Its only purpose in life is to help people with an analog preamp that doesn't do proper crossovers.  The sub filter then at least helps lowpass the content that is sent to the sub.  But, without a highpass filter in the preamp the signal going to the speakers is full range and so it will overlap with the sub content.  Result: muddy bass.  

    For that reason we recommend turning up the sub filter to the highest frequency available and leaving it there permanently.  

    I assume that the T-761 has some sort of bass management even if it uses the same crossover frequency for all speakers. 

  • 0
    Avatar
    john

    Hi Chris, i have a Denon amp and Boston speakers i ran the auto setup readings were 150hz left and right speakers, centre was 90 Hz, back speakers were 90 Hz .The Denon was set at 120hz LFE, the advance crossover was at 80hz in the Denon. With my Energy sub  phase switch at (0) on sub. The level was halfway or 12 o'clock The Denon to the sub is LINE IN Connection LFE Now my question is the Frequency Knob on the Sub, the LP Crossover Knob what do you set that at? ......... range is 40 Hz to 120Hz

  • 0
    Avatar
    Audyssey Labs

    Hi John,

    If MultEQ found the roll off points to be 150 Hz and 90 Hz and you set the crossover to 80 Hz then you are setting it below what MultEQ found.  That means you will have no MultEQ correction in that region.  It stops correcting at the frequency it found to be the roll off.  The whole reason for measuring is to see what the speakers are doing in the room and not go by their theoretical spec that has no idea where you have placed the speakers.

    The Frequency knob on the sub should be set to the highest frequency it allows and left there permanently. 

  • 0
    Avatar
    Wayne Liptrot

    I have an Onkyo TX0NR809 (Audyssey MultEQ XT) in a 5.1 setup, and a REL Storm sub woofer.

     

    I need some help with the REL setup, as it has High Level and Low Level inputs.  I see my options as:-

     

    Option 1 – Movies priority

    REL

    Disconnect High Gain input – Coarse and Fine Active Bass Controller settings to maximum

    Connect LFE only

    AVR

    Audyssey MultEQ XT = ON

    Audyssey Procedure (8 points)

    Readjust Crossover within AVR to ~80Hz to make my 5 speakers “satellites”

    Audyssey profile – Movies

     

     

    Option 2 –  Music priority

    REL

    Disconnect High Gain input – Coarse and Fine Active Bass Controller settings to maximum

    Connect LFE only

    AVR

    Run AVR in Stereo (2.1) mode

    Audyssey MultEQ XT = ON

    Audyssey Procedure (8 points)

    Readjust Crossover within AVR to ~80Hz to make my 2 Front speakers “satellites”

    Audyssey profile – Music

     

     

    Option 3: - Music priority

    *REL *

    Connect High input gain (from across front left/right speakers) – balance ABC filters of REL to “match” Front speakers (~38HZ)

    LFE – can stay connected, but is NOT used

    AVR

    Run AVR in “Pure” mode (no video, no display, no tone etc)

    Audyssey MultEQ XT = OFF

     

     

    Option 4: - Music priority

    *REL *

    Connect High input gain (from across front left/right speakers) – balance ABC filters of REL to “match” Front speakers (~38HZ)

    LFE – can stay connected – sub receives both signals

    AVR

    Run AVR in Stereo (2.1) mode

    Audyssey MultEQ XT = ON

    Audyssey Procedure (8 points)

    Leave Crossover within AVR to 40Hz

    Audyssey profile – Music

     

    Can you confirm my Movies setup Option 1 is correct?

    And talk trhough the recommendation from Option 2 to 4 for Music - or suggest something else.

     

    Much appreciated,

     

    Wayne

  • 0
    Avatar
    Audyssey Labs

    Hi Wayne,

    I'm not sure how much I can help as I don't understand the purpose or effect of the REL sub settings.

    First: I have never quite understood the scientific reason behind having a different "mode" for music and movies.  The purpose of a sub is to take over the content below the speaker crossover.  Why would that duty depend on the content?  It's a simple matter of integration of the two responses--nothing to do with whether it's music or movies.

    Second: I don't know what REL means by "Active Bass Controller".  Are those gain controls?  If so I don't recommend having them set to their max values.  

  • 0
    Avatar
    Wayne Liptrot

    "different "mode" for music and movies" - The 809 AVR has different profiles under Audyssey, I assumed it wasn't Onkyo, but Audyssey that decided on these.

    So I have selected different Audyssey profiles for the different soruces (bluray=maovies, CD=Music)

    REL terminology - Active Bass Controller is there version of Coarse and Fine filter control.  They have a separate gain.

     

  • 0
    Avatar
    Audyssey Labs

    Hi Wayne,

    I was referring to subwoofer modes.  For those there is no technical reason that I can understand.  The Audyssey curves are simple to explain.  For movies, the intent is to match the listening room response to that of the studio.  To do this requires a small roll off in the high frequencies.  In music mixing there are no universal mixing room standards, so we recommend using the Audyssey Flat curve (that Onkyo calls Music).

  • 0
    Avatar
    john

    Thanks Chris ill run it again tomorrow 

  • 0
    Avatar
    Frederic Thise

    Hi Chris, i recently bought an Onkyo pr-sc5509 to replace a Marantz av8003 (with multeq) coupled to a svs as-eq1 (i have 2 SVS PB12Plus subwoofers).

    When doing the level matching step of the subs during the calibration routine of multeq xt32 on the onkyo, i was surprised to see that both were measured at 85 dBs though they were calibrated at 0dB (meaning 75dBs if i am not mistaken) with the as-eq1 prior to that (and nothing changed in the room except the onkyo). Do you have an explanation for this kind of discrepancy? I was expecting 75dBs for each sub at this point...

    Anyway, i changed the gain on each sub to reach 75dBs and went on with the calibration. The perceived volume at which the subs were pinged was really lower than with the av8003 or as-eq1 alone (which is consistent with the lowering of the gain) but multeq xt32 did not seem to care and completed the calibration without increasing the "ping" level (for the subs)... After some testing, i did not detect any major differences than what i was used with the av8003 and as-eq1 but still it tickles me ;) Any enlightment would be welcome...

    Fred

  • 0
    Avatar
    Audyssey Labs

    Hi Fred,

    The AS-EQ1 doesn't set the absolute level of the subs.  It only adjusts the relative level between them to make them equal.  The absolute level is set by MultEQ in the AVR or prepro.  So once you start running XT32 you are basically starting over with the level setting.

    I would not expect any low frequency performance difference between the AS-EQ1 and XT32.  They have the same resolution in the subwoofer channel so the final result should be very close.

  • 0
    Avatar
    Frederic Thise

    Thx Chris, now it makes sense.

    I have another question. Since i got my SVS subs, I am having a hard time figuring if these are in phase with my satellites (old JBL Northridge serie) so as my subs do not have a polarity switch, i am forced to reverse the polarity on all the satellites to test what configuration is the best. My first question is does MultEQ XT32 do anything to solve that kind of problem (maybe through the distance settings) and if not do i have to redo a complete XT32 calibration each time i reverse the polarity on the satellites (the calibration being done per channel, i would think it is not required)?

    Fred

     

    PS:My onkyo pr-sc5509 will be pro enabled soon so i guess i can also do a pro calibration and see if i have phase warnings (i think you said earlier that the "pro" phase warnings are most of the time accurate).

     

     

  • 0
    Avatar
    Audyssey Labs

    MultEQ does make sure that the sub and sats are compensated for differences in distance.  This makes them in phase with each other.  I'm not sure what would be achieved by reversing the polarity of the satellites...

    The phase warnings in MultEQ Pro and the built-in MultEQ use the exact same method so one is not more accurate than the other.

  • 0
    Avatar
    Frederic Thise

    Thx Chris,

    I thought i had to manually align the phase between my subs and satellites because i was not sure that the distance increment steps available to XT32 in the prepro were small enough to tackle phase problem.

    Maybe i should also explain why i think i have phase issues in my configuration: at some point in time, i tried a 4 subs configuration (my 2 SVS on the front wall, equidistant from MLP and my 2 old JBLs on the side walls facing each other and also equidistant from the MLP). Using the as-eq1, i made a 8 positions calibration and the resulting before graph was awful (a huge dip of 17dBs around 60Hz, the after graph being not much better). My previous calibrations with only the 2 JBLs or the 2 SVSs always resulted in before graphs with smaller dips (5dBs max).

    As my SVSs did not have polarity switch, i flipped the phase switch on my JBLs (from 0 to 180, its a discrete switch, not a continuous control). I redid the calibration and everything was back to normal (2 small dips of max 3 dBs). As my JBLs subs and satellites have always been a perfect blend, i came to the conclusion that maybe my SVSs were out of phase with the satellites hence the tests i made by reversing the wires on one end of all the speakers cable...

    If i questioned the capacity of MultEQ to solve that kind of problem is because the as-eq1 did not seem to have done anything to phase align both groups of subs at least on the before and after graphs.

    So, if phase problems are handled automatically through the distance settings, what is the use of the phase warnings issued by MultEQ in most avr/prepro (my old av8003 used to display them each time though this functionality seems to have not been included in my onkyo 5509)?

    Fred

     

    PS: Sorry for this lengthy/tedious post but as you most certainly have seen, english is not my primary language and i am not sure i was making myself clear (i am still probably not) ;)

  • 0
    Avatar
    Audyssey Labs

    Hi Fred,

    It's very easy to check the polarity of the subs.  Simply connect a battery to the + and – leads of the audio cable connected to the sub.  If you connect the + of the battery to the + of the audio cable (in this case the pin of the RCA connector), then the woofer should move out.  If it's moving in then it has reversed polarity.

    Now, let's not confuse phase and polarity.  The AS-EQ1 and MultEQ don't do anything about polarity other than report a warning for you to check.  If it's reversed they don't change it.  Polarity has nothing to do with distance.  It simply says: does the woofer move outwards for a positive amplitude? If so, it has the correct polarity.  If it moves inward it has reversed polarity.  This has no effect whatsoever on the arrival time of the signal to the listener.

    Phase is very different from polarity.  It is related to the time of arrival of the signals.  That is corrected by MultEQ by adjusting the distances.  

  • 0
    Avatar
    Frederic Thise

    Thx for the quick reply Chris ;)

     

    I was indeed confusing both terms but i meant to use the polarity one in my questions ;)

    So keeping that distinction in mind:

    1) am i correct to assume that if i change the polarity of one or more speakers then i do not need to redo the audyssey calibration?

    2) For the battery test, should i use a 9v or 1.5v battery? Should i unplug the sub from its power outlet first? Can i use a similar test for the satellites (MultEQ always consistently gave me a polarity warning on all the satellites so i guess i would have to make the test on only one)?

     

    Fred

  • 0
    Avatar
    Audyssey Labs

    1) Yes, that is correct.  Audyssey doesn't adjust the polarity.  It simply reports what it found and it's up to you to check the wiring.

     

    2) For a sub you should use a 9 V battery.  You can leave it plugged in.  You will have to figure out how to connect the battery terminals to the RCA cable...  For a satellite speaker, to be safe, you should use a 1.5 V battery.

  • 0
    Avatar
    Frederic Thise

    Thx Chris, i will try that and make sure i have the correct polarity on all speakers/subs.

     

    Fred

  • 0
    Avatar
    Paul Berg

    Chris,

    What is the effect of leaving a polarity error on the subs? Does Pro alter the distance to correct for it? In my case the Sub EQ with Pro shows a "correct" distance of 10.3 feet but after running Pro on my AVP and ignoring the polarity error the sub distance moves to 20.3 feet, my room is only 18.5 feet long!

    As there is no wiring error is it neccessary for me to reverse the speaker connections inside my active SVS PB12 NSD subs?

     

Article is closed for comments.