Subwoofer integration

I’ve read a few posts about subs on this forum and I’m curious how others handled the integration.

Before I made my initial sub purchase, about 5 years ago, I read pretty much everything I could find online, reviews, comparisons, how to discussions, etc. I wanted one setup that worked for movies and music without having to make adjustments for one or the other. Decided I did not want to mess with port tuning so I went with sealed boxes.

Based on articles I had read it started out with adding plugs to all my speaker ports, setting all speakers to small, and using a standard crossover of 80 for bass management. It sounded ok with a lot of bass but the timing was off and the sound easily localized to the sub location. And that did not work well when playing 2 ch only no sub channel sources.

I could not change the location of the sub(s) in the room so I resorted to other tuning techniques that had been discussed at length in articles available online. I wanted good bass but I did not want the distraction of detecting the source location.

Following instructions from the articles I ran the room correction speaker setup then added 12 feet to the distance for each sub. The idea being you can’t speed up sub response but you can slow the rest of the speakers down with the subs coming in sooner with the additional distance defined. That worked fine for the timing but it was still easy to determine where the bass was coming from.

Needed better main speakers that could handle bass pretty well on their own. For the speaker upgrades I added new towers in front, old towers moved to back surround, the previous back surround bookshelf speakers moved to side surround, and the previous small side surrounds moved to the ceiling for a 7.2.4 arrangement. All the speaker port plugs were removed. After that I let the room correction pick the crossover points instead of using 80 across the board. The front and center speakers were set to large and full range, the side and back surround speakers were set to small with crossover at 40 and the height speakers set to small with the crossover at 80 and 90. That worked out pretty good with the deep bass integrated, coming from all around the speakers and not localized to the sub positions.

I use the subs auto feature so they go from standby to on with the detection of the signal. I was told by the sub designers/support staff to do this instead of using the hard power on/off to extend the life of the sub amplifiers. The problem with that was the subs not detecting a strong enough signal to turn on right away. I was told to use an RCA splitter for the sub cable and use both left and right inputs. That worked to get the subs on faster but it also introduced hum from the long inwall cable runs. Tried different cables but the hum was still noticeable.

On to the room correction setup. The process starts with volume setting the subs to 75db and ends with the subs at -10 when the process is complete. The lower sub setting causes the delay in the auto on feature. Went back through and set the sub volume to around 65db. Had to play with that a bit as the RC software tried to bypass the subs if the volume was too low. Finally got it to work with the end result of + setting for the subs after the RC process was complete. With the additional signal strength the subs come on immediately without the RCA splitter and if the hum is there it is below what I can hear.

The end result is very good integrated bass for both movies and music, at least in my opinion, without having to power up the subs and/or changing any settings.

I am interested to hear how others have integrated sub(s) into their setup and how I could have done things differently, easier/better, whatever.

I set my up speakers (bookshelves on stands) and placed them where worked best. I repeated with the sub (Under a shelf with a printer on it). I then played music I know well and adjusted the sub manually until it “blended in”. Low volume playback then higher volume playback. I’m now at about 45% max power via the volume pot on the sub. I used a rca splitter for low-level and LFE input. I do not have any hum. I’m using a line conditioner with seperate power for high current devices. Maybe it helped?

I then ran through my receivers room correction setup. I ENTIRELY IGNORED the part telling me to turn my sub back up. I told it the correct distances and it did the modifications. sub went -4.5db bookshelves +1.5

I’ve had people ask how those speakers make that bass. I explain I have a sub, they ask where. Feels good.

Good luck.

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Hey Paul, thanks for the response. I was already in my 60’s (deaf on the right side) before I got serious about my musical tastes and equipment. Guess that heated up when I realized we were settled into a home location for the retirement years and wanted it to be right. My hearing handicap makes it difficult to trust my ear(s) so I depend on the experience of others (reviews, discussions, etc) and electronics (room correction software) in the hopes of getting it right. If the equipment indicates the right setup I have a hard time disputing it. The location of the speakers and subs was mostly determined by the rooms dimensions, roughly 18 by 25, with a 12 foot patio slider on the exterior wall and glass partitioned opening to the foyer on the other side, then furnishings, arrangement and of most importance my wife’s acceptance. I’ve been tempted to call on the “experts” from my local Audio Video store to come in and do the setup for me but haven’t actually reached that point yet. The sub has a setup procedures with onboard electronics and microphone included. The first time I tried that process it pointed out everything wrong with the room, glass rattled in the frames, lose items in the walls made their presence known, and the setup failed. Felt like I was inside a huge baby rattle. Had to have all the glass on both sides replaced and locate the rattles in the walls but was finally able to get the setup to complete. If I had know what I was getting into before I purchased the first sub I probably would have settled for the TV speakers. Too late for that now. Thanks again.