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)
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399 Comments

  • 0
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    Audyssey Labs

    Hi Greg,

    The 5808 does indeed allow individual control of each sub.  It also lets you decide if you want the subs to playing the same content (after they have been individually corrected) or different content (e.g. one sub plays the bass from the left side speakers and the other plays the bass from the right side speakers).

    My recommendation is to use the subs in mix mode (i.e. playing the same content).  Since your AVR provides individual control of the subs you don't need a y-cord to feed them.  That advice is only for products that don't provide this capability (most...).

    I can't answer the question about the LFE level knob because I don't know what it controls.  The sub receives the following content (on one cable): bass below the crossover frequency from each speaker plus the content in the separate LFE track.  But since it's all added together I don't see what a separate LFE knob would be used for.  The sub level is controlled by the sub volume control.  Perhaps the manual explains the purpose of a separate LFE control?

    If you connect the speakers to the sub then it's no longer a sub.  It becomes a powered woofer for each speaker and each speaker will be found to be Large.  That means you are leaving the bass management up to the sub instead of the digital domain in the AVR where it belongs.  I recommend against this configuration. 

  • 0
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    Greg Giddens

    Thank you for your reply

    I am attaching the REL R305 manual, it shows what the sub does. The sub has a base management system in it, hopefully this will help clear up the questions that I have

    Thank you

  • 0
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    Audyssey Labs

    Hi Greg,

    My comments above still stand.  I fail to see the benefit of connecting to a sub via speaker cables and letting an analog crossover (with the wrong slopes) be in charge of managing the bass from the front speakers.  That function (that has nothing to do with Audyssey) is best performed in the digital domain in the AVR.  The filters there are properly designed to allow for best blending between sub and sats.

    My suggestion is to connect your AVR Sub out 1 to what they call the ".1/LFE" input.  Then connect the other Sub out to the M&K sub and let the measurements decide what levels, distances and room correction filters are needed for each sub.

  • 0
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    Greg Giddens

    Thank you for your help. I have re-ran the cal using the latest position chart for 8 locations in the listening area, set the subs up the way you suggesting, actually I had them that way already. I turned the LFE knob to all the way up along with the cross-over on both subs and set the volume to half. I disconnected the REL Neutrik Speakon High Level Input connector on the REL and ran auto setup in the Denon. The results were much more satisfying than before. I did reconnect the Neutrik Speakon High Level Input connector after listening to all of the modes and with the modes off just to see how it would sound and found that it did seem to add depth and clarity in the lower and mid ranges with the MuitiEQ xt engaged and without. As of now I am satisfied with the cal and I do like listening to 2 channel sound in Flat or Manual mode best, Audyssey mode is too bright and lacks the punch of base that flat/manual/off does. I am not sure why that is, might be the speaker combo that I have and the room. The room is treated like I mentioned earlier however it is my own treatments built on research and my own understanding. A professional outfit might be able to provide and place more effective treatments to my room however I was not able to spend that much money on my build. I have demoed the room and the new cal to a person that has some musical and sound background and they were blown away so I think I did ok.

     

    Thanks again,

     

    Greg

  • 0
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    Audyssey Labs

    Hi Greg,

    Happy to hear that.  It's odd about what you said sounds bright.  Audyssey Flat has more high frequency content since it doesn't introduce a roll off.  Audyssey Ref. Curve has a slight high frequency roll off intended to translate movie content to smaller rooms.  They are both identical in the bass region.  Manual has nothing to do with Audyssey--in fact Audyssey is turned off and you are using a simple graphic EQ...  There may be a personal preference for more bass than reference--that's not unusual.

  • 0
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    Gary C

    Hi Chris,

    I just bought a Denon 1612 with a 5.1 set of JBL Cinema Sound Series speakers.  The AVR set the cross-over frequencies are  Front 40Hz, Center 60Hz, Surround 80Hz.  The JBL owner's manual says I should set the cross-overs at 100Hz, but I read elsewhere that the cross-overs should be set at 80Hz.  I'm a bit confused.

    I know I have to re-run the auto-calibration because the channel level for the SW is at -12dB

    Any thoughts?  Thx in advance

  • 0
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    Audyssey Labs

    Hi Gary,

    It's common to find bass extension below the specified roll off point when speakers are placed close to walls or in corners.  The benefit of setting the crossovers higher is that more content is sent to the sub where the MultEQ and MultEQ XT filters have more resolution and will produce a smoother response.  There will be little difference between 80 Hz and 100 Hz.  I would go with what the manufacturer recommends in this case.

    Your sub volume control is turned up way too high and so the AVR is running out of adjustment range.  Yes, you should turn it down and re-run.

  • 0
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    Christian

    Hi Chris,

     

    This is a great blog! But I'm not sure if I should run the subwoofer's automatic 6-band room equalizer prior to Audyssey setup?

    My equipment: Denon AVR 4310, one Velodyne SPL 1000 Ultra Sub, KEF XQ Speakers.

    On top of this page the recommendation is to run a sub room eq prior, but in your whole blog you don't recommend anything to do directly with sub regarding to parametric eq's and so on? My Velodyne measures as well only from one/main position.

    I think the best is to leave the eq in the sub flat (restore default) and let Audyssey do the whole job?

    What's your opinion and what's about the recommendation on the top of this page?

    Thanks

    Christian from Munich

  • 0
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    Audyssey Labs

    Hi Christian,

    I don't think that a simple parametric EQ with a single position measurement is going to add any value.  You will get much better results from a multi-position measurement with thousands of points of filter resolution.

  • 0
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    Demis Broier

    Hi Chris, very interesting reading on these pages!

    I have a question though, beacause i have not come across this: My setup consists of an Onkyo TX-NR809 and a Kef T305 speakerset. After running Audyssey, the subwoofer volume level was set at -12 db. In your blog you suggest that in this case you should turn the subwoofer level down, but my sub (Kef T-2) has no volume control available. Does this mean Audyssey will not be able to optomize the settings? If so, is there anything i can do about that?

     

    Thanx in advance for your reply!

  • 0
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    Audyssey Labs

    Hi Demis, it's very strange for a powered sub to not have a level control.  Unfortunately there is little you can do.  It's simply too loud to match the other speakers in level and the Onkyo is running out of range to compensate for that.  One manual way around it is to measure the level with an SPL meter and then adjust (i.e. turn up) the levels of the other speakers to match the sub.  

  • 0
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    Demis Broier

    Thanx for your quick reply!

    I quess needless to say i'm pretty disappointed with the answer though. The T305 is not a cheap set after all.. and then not have volume control while that is so important for setting up the AVR with Audyssey.. not so great from Kef then.

    I'm not sure what to do yet; i don't have an SPL meter, and maybe i should consider getting another sub.

     

    But thanx again for the answer Chris!

  • 0
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    Demis Broier

    Just re-read your reply and you stated: 'One manual way around it is to measure the level with an SPL meter and then adjust (i.e. turn up) the levels of the other speakers to match the sub'. I'm curious are there other ways?

     

    Thanx again!

  • 0
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    Audyssey Labs

    Hi Demis, actually not having a volume control on the sub is normally a good thing because it allows the AVR to be in charge of it.  However, in this case it seems that the sub is much too loud.  This can be because of where it is (corner?) or because the room is too small for it.  Have you tried different locations?

  • 0
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    Demis Broier

    Hi Chris,

     

    The sub is positioned near a corner, appr. 0,8 meters from the left wall, and about 5 cm from the back wall. In the right wall you can see the front of my AVR, the backside is in a closet (please see picture). Maybe a stupid question, but would it be wordt trying to move the sub inside the closet? As for alternatives: my wife already has strong opinions about speakers and particularly this sub, so i probably don't have much room for moving it anywhere els..

    The room size is about 45 m2.

    Do you see any possibillities?

     

    Greetz, Demis

  • 0
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    Audyssey Labs

    I don't think you would get good results by putting the sub in the closet.  Maybe just moving it forward 20-30 cm will change the room mode enough to make a difference in the level.  

  • 0
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    Demis Broier

    Thanx a lot for all the help, i'll try that and let you know.

  • 0
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    Robin Boqvist

    Hi,

    I just got the Integra 80.2 and get a sub error whilst running the setup. My sub is driven by a Nad amplifier, just a straight amplification.

    My speaker is XTZ 99W10.17P It just is just a cabinet with a  woofer of alluminium from SEAS speaker developers.

    Now running the setup the speaker does ring a bit when it is hit with higher frequencies and I guess that produces the error. I was fine running the simpler XT on Denon 2903 but I have had no luck with the Integra so far. I have run the setup without sub and just added it in afterwards, but I am really curious on how good bass I would get with a proper measurement.

    Either I get a new amplifier with a lowpass filter so I can set that about 400hz, or if audyssey changes how high it measures the sub :)   That brings to mind an other question: how high does the Audyssey sweep go on the sub channel, and if it is in the Khz, why so high a signal on a sub?

  • 0
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    Audyssey Labs

    Hi Robin,

    Yes that is the problem.  The speaker goes up too high to be found as a sub and so you need to add some sort of low pass filter to prevent that.  

  • 0
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    Neely

    Hi Chris,

    I have the LFE input on a Klipsch SW110.  Do I understand that if I use this input that the gain, low frequency bypass, and phase switch are bypassed?

  • 0
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    Audyssey Labs

    Most likely... But, every manufacturer does things a little differently so you should check with Klipsch directly.  It's probably mentioned in the manual as well.

  • 0
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    Neely

    Thanks,

    I checked with Klipsch and they say they don't have a direct mode.  If I set phase to 0, frequency to 150, and gain to 12 o'clock position, I'm covered either way for MultiEq, right? Also, do you say change LF and RF to Small in speaker config?

  • 0
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    Demis Broier

    Quote:

    ''I don't think you would get good results by putting the sub in the closet.  Maybe just moving it forward 20-30 cm will change the room mode enough to make a difference in the level.''January 16, 2012 12:44 pm.

    Due to the limitations of moving my sub, i've decided to replace it by a more quality one: In 3 or 4 weeks i'll get my BK xxls400FF!

    I'll rerun Audyssey then and let you know.

    Thanx, Demis

  • 0
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    Audyssey Labs

    @Neely: Yes, these are the settings to use.  Be prepared to turn down the gain even more if MultEQ reports a –12 dB level for the sub.  That means that the AVR ran out of adjustment range.  All speakers should be changed to Small if you have a sub in the system.

  • 0
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    Wayne Liptrot

    I have Onkyo 809, with MultEQ XT. Can you explain the x128 filter resolution for the sub woofer, versus x16 for other channels? In respect of what frequencies are the x128 applied? Up to 120Hz?

    I ask because when I have my Crossover set at 80hz, the bass response is reduced significantly for Music. When I set it to 120hz, I perceive an improved bass for Music. Sounds much better.

  • 0
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    Audyssey Labs

    The MultEQ XT sub filter is applied up to 250 Hz (the highest available crossover frequency in the AVR).  It sounds like you have a room mode (or modes) in the region of 80-120 Hz.  When you switch to the higher crossover they are not corrected as well, but you may prefer the boom there.  This is a personal preference... MultEQ is doing its job better in the bass to smooth out the response when it gets to work on it in the sub channel.

  • 0
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    Wayne Liptrot

    So there are 128 filter points up to 250hz. Are these fixed? If I select the crossover to be 120hz, do the 128 filter points concentrate on correcting 0-120hz? Or do I lose out correction filters because the ones 120-250hz do not get used?

  • 0
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    Audyssey Labs

    Hi Wayne,

    Audyssey is not based on standard parametric/graphic EQ filters with bands at some frequencies.  Instead, it uses FIR time-domain filters.  The 128x number is a relative number to indicate how much higher the resolution is compared to 16x.  The actual number of filter points is in the thousands.

  • 0
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    Wayne Liptrot

    I hope you didn't use the Fourier word in your acronym, it sends a chill through me. :-)
    Back to your first comment then, if I send all the non directional bass <80hz to my sub, why do I really have little bass response for Music. I am happy with Movies, it's thunderous when required, but I think, as clean as the sound is, the bass is lacking for Music.

    Pure listening mode has heavy bass, (no room correction etc), but Stereo is at crossover 120hz is similar, but controlled.

    I realise I am losing the directional 80-120hz by sending them to me sub.

    What do you recommend?

  • 0
    Avatar
    Wayne Liptrot

    I hope you didn't use the Fourier word in your acronym, it sends a chill through me. :-) Back to your first comment then, if I send all the non directional bass to my sub, it's thunderous when required, but I think, as clean as the sound is, the bass is lacking for Music. Pure listening mode has heavy bass, (no room correction etc), but Stereo is at crossover 120hz is similar, but controlled. I realise I am losing the directional 80-120hz by sending them to me sub. What do you recommend

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