What surprised me were the variations and inconsistencies in subwoofer levels depending on which test DVD I used. In 1983, he was appointed editor of Sound Canada magazine, which he relaunched in 1985 as Sound & Vision, incorporating video content and reviews as well as hi-fi and audio features. This story was originally published on 1/21/14 and was updated on 6/25/19 to provide more thorough and current information. Lofft's passion for audio continued through college, during which time he hosted and produced "On Campus", a radio show taped on location (on a portable Ampex 650 open-reel recorder) at Wilfrid Laurier University and broadcast locally in Kitchener, Ontario. So if you set all of your speakers to 75dB, don't sweat setting your sub to say 77-78dB. First, set the crossover. Start playing a song, and turn the subwoofer down until you can’t hear the subwoofer anymore. Where to start? All these sources use different combinations of either warble tones or pink noise, sometimes full-band or band-limited, which sequentially rotate through each of the speakers in your system and the subwoofer. Subwoofers are great at making music loud, but only to a certain point. The Inventory team is rounding up deals you don’t want to miss, now through Cyber Monday. After a time, you’ll get to know your system and the balances you prefer. You’ll know you have it right when the bass gets as close as possible to feeling like an evenly-spread blanket, yet blends with and maintains balance with the other speakers. If you want to do some extra tests, you can have a friend try and adjust it for you while you sit on your couch (or wherever your listening position is), but this should get you 90 percent of the way there with almost no effort. © 2020 Colquhoun Audio Laboratories Limited LC One may sound better than the other depending on your room and gear. Our ears are quite insensitive to low bass compared to midrange frequencies, so depending on the level you initially set your AV receiver at and use to run the test tones, you may find that you are setting the subwoofer levels either too high or too low. Since it had been some time since I tweaked my own subwoofer levels, I decided to explore the differences in settings using different test signals and sources. Call us today! Speakers, Cables & As you hold the meter in front of you at head level pointed upwards, you can then individually adjust the output of the subwoofer and balance it to each speaker in your 5.1-channel surround system. He edited Sound & Vision (Canada) until 1996, when he moved from Toronto to New York to become Senior Editor at Audio magazine. (I’ll assume you’ve already set the AV receiver’s internal bass management correctly. You can set the level of the subwoofer to 0 dB or +10 dB when PCM signals are input via an HDMI connection. It’s important to note that the recommendations and settings you get using any of these test DVDs are not carved in stone, and you’re going to want adjust the subwoofer levels to match the source material, which you can do by ear. Check out the video to see Joe from Parts Express demonstrate the process and you’ll see how easy it is. While 85 dB SPL is often used for THX movie theaters, that level is simply too loud for most listeners with test signals in the confines of an average-sized home theater or living room. You can find this in your speaker’s specs, or just slowly turn it up until it “rounds out” the sound on your speakers (so that your speakers and subwoofer aren’t both playing the same notes). You generally want your crossover set to where your speakers start to roll off—for example, my speakers can’t go much lower than 80Hz, so my subwoofer’s crossover is set to about 80. Fast forward to 2:53—the rest is a showcase of a specific subwoofer model. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to someone’s house and the subwoofer was so loud that it just made everything sound boomy and awful. If I lowered the sub level to 0 dB, there wasn’t enough deep bass when I played music or soundtracks. An audio and electronics enthusiast from childhood, Alan began building vacuum-tube hi-fi gear for his father, who was an audiophile in the 1950s. Likewise, an average loud listening level of, say, 91 dB punctuated by a sudden peak of 10-20 dB will make a huge instantaneous demand on your amplifier. But if I used 80 dB SPL to set the subwoofer/speaker balances, I got more accurate settings, because when I listen to music, the levels often average about 75 dB to 80 dB SPL, peaking at 85 dB SPL at my listening area (subjectively most people call 85 dB “Loud”). Note: If a user wants to experiment and set the subwoofer's crossover at the same frequency as the receiver's crossover, better integration of the subwoofer may be achieved.
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