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Kali Audio WS 12 Version 2 low output.. Help a n00b Please (musician not audiophile here)

monks-cat

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Hi all,

Was super excited to get a new kali audio ws 12 version 2.. I got a demo version and the sale rep assured me nothing was wrong with it. However the day it arrived I took it to a gig and the output seemed rather low. (I got the Kali sub because want a studio subwoofer that could also do some light gig work).

Now I downloaded a decibal meter app on my iphone, put some hip hop on that should have plenty of sub, turned it all the way up, (including the dip switch that gives it a +6 db boost intended for live use), and it was only reading a max of about 85 db a meter away from the sub. Not sure if iphone decibal meters are trustworthy for sub frequencies?

I'm thinking I got a dud and need to get it replaced (with Sweetwater of course paying the shipping). But I want to rule out that I'm not just gonna get another low powered sub and I am misunderstanding the specs. This thing is rated at 1000 watts supposed to have a peak SPL at 123 db.. and is intended for "light PA work" and studio applications. Therefore, at full blast, it should be a bit uncomfortable and shaking the room, no?

If I'm just misunderstanding something, I'll return it and pay the return shipment cost. But I'm pretty sure something is wrong with it. If you guys could help me decipher which is the case, it would help a lot.

(One idea I have is to test it against my friends Behringer 12' sub which has a similar peak SPL, its only 500 watts but its frequency range doesn't extend as low as the Kali so that makes sense. It may take some time to get my friends sub though and wondering if there's an easier way)
 
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monks-cat

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Undoubtedly!

Just to be sure, have you checked all the volume contols in your system? Player, OS, audio interface etc.?
Yes.. I tried both my keyboard instrument ( with bass knob turned way up and at full volume and my interface/computer (with interface at normal level.. something my qsc speakers would be playing very loud at just a quarter turn of the their respective knob..).

Do you know if the iphone deciabl meter apps are accurate in the 20-100 hz range? That would give definitive proof that something is wrong as its maxing out at 85 db..
 

Blockader

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Hi all,

Was super excited to get a new kali audio ws 12 version 2.. I got a demo version and the sale rep assured me nothing was wrong with it. However the day it arrived I took it to a gig and the output seemed rather low. (I got the Kali sub because want a studio subwoofer that could also do some light gig work).

Now I downloaded a decibal meter app on my iphone, put some hip hop on that should have plenty of sub, turned it all the way up, (including the dip switch that gives it a +6 db boost intended for live use), and it was only reading a max of about 85 db a meter away from the sub. Not sure if iphone decibal meters are trustworthy for sub frequencies?

I'm thinking I got a dud and need to get it replaced (with Sweetwater of course paying the shipping). But I want to rule out that I'm not just gonna get another low powered sub and I am misunderstanding the specs. This thing is rated at 1000 watts supposed to have a peak SPL at 123 db.. and is intended for "light PA work" and studio applications. Therefore, at full blast, it should be a bit uncomfortable and shaking the room, no?

If I'm just misunderstanding something, I'll return it and pay the return shipment cost. But I'm pretty sure something is wrong with it. If you guys could help me decipher which is the case, it would help a lot.

(One idea I have is to test it against my friends Behringer 12' sub which has a similar peak SPL, its only 500 watts but its frequency range doesn't extend as low as the Kali so that makes sense. It may take some time to get my friends sub though and wondering if there's an easier way)
what is its gain adjustment set to?
 

dfuller

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How do you have it connected?
 
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monks-cat

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what is its gain adjustment set to?
full blast turned all the way up.
How do you have it connected?
via instrument cables from keyboard straight to sub for testing. Otherwise via instrument cables from UAD interface straight to sub for testing. During the gig i had it come out of a mixer.

(Instrument cables are used because there is a built in amp in the sub and signal is pre-amplified.. but this shouldn't matter for purposes of volume)
 

dfuller

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full blast turned all the way up.

via instrument cables from keyboard straight to sub for testing. Otherwise via instrument cables from UAD interface straight to sub for testing. During the gig i had it come out of a mixer.

(Instrument cables are used because there is a built in amp in the sub and signal is pre-amplified.. but this shouldn't matter for purposes of volume)
Well... it might. It may be expecting a balanced signal and you're feeding it unbalanced, so the level is half of what it should be.
 
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monks-cat

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Well... it might. It may be expecting a balanced signal and you're feeding it unbalanced, so the level is half of what it should be.
Interesting. Yes I am using 2 unbalanced cables for left and right and the sub says it has balanced inputs..

But this is what I use for my QSC speakers K8.2 (which also have balanced inputs I believe) and I get plenty of volume from them (at way below their 0db threshold which is halfway)..

In general should 0 db on the kali sub be the rough match for 0 db on the qsc when paired together? Or are those numbers relative to the power of the amp. The qsc are rated at higher wattage and higher max spl.
 
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monks-cat

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Well... it might. It may be expecting a balanced signal and you're feeding it unbalanced, so the level is half of what it should be.
Just tried it with two XLR cables coming out of my korg sv2.. full volume and bass nob all the way up on the korg, full volume on the sub. Starting to sound a bit more what I expected but... still think something is wrong because that amount of input should be window shattering and/or distoring in the sub.

I'll go buy some balanced cables and see if that makes a difference for the interface output.
 

Sokel

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Use Decibel X app,it's somehow decent and you can toggle between max and peak values to see.
(Also try C or Z weighting if you can,A weighting doesn't measure very low)
 
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monks-cat

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Use Decibel X app,it's somehow decent and you can toggle between max and peak values to see.
(Also try C or Z weighting if you can,A weighting doesn't measure very low)
Got a 104 db max one meter away using XLR outputs and max volume from my korg.. thats a bit more respectable but still nowhere near 123 db. I understand that I don't want it to get that high.

Do you know if 0 db on the sub volume should be matched to 0db on my qsc speakers (12 o clock on both of them represent the 0 db)? Or are those numbers not meant to be compared? I say that because the qsc seem waaaay louder at 12'o clock. I know I'm dealing with different frequencies but I think I have enough experience to know its not a match.
 

Blockader

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Got a 104 db max one meter away using XLR outputs and max volume from my korg.. thats a bit more respectable but still nowhere near 123 db. I understand that I don't want it to get that high.

Do you know if 0 db on the sub volume should be matched to 0db on my qsc speakers (12 o clock on both of them represent the 0 db)? Or are those numbers not meant to be compared? I say that because the qsc seem waaaay louder at 12'o clock. I know I'm dealing with different frequencies but I think I have enough experience to know its not a match.
Probably that 123db is the peak SPL of the speaker at a certain frequency. (I reckon it's 50hz) WS 12 doesn't have very good low end extensio, if you are playing music which has heavy sub 40hz content, ws12's limiter may kick in. WS12 has very very high SPL above 40hz.
 

ZolaIII

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Input sensitivity as from manual:
106dB SPL @1m for -10dBV 0.316V unbalanced RCA &
106dB SPL @1m for +4dBu 1.23V
So it's 12 dB difference. It's beyond me where they learned math. Future more this means you won't get 118 dB from standard balanced inputs (4V) but about 116.5 max for peek you would need about 7.5 V. On the other hand unbalanced you will get 118 even from better motherboard 1.23 V and about 122 from standard 2V. So enable the RCA input switch and use that and get the ± one to 0 (from current +6).
I wouldn't use that thing above 106 dB continuous anyway and if you need more put it close to wall behind it.
Edit: of course phone app and such won't catch true peaks nor will measure over 100 dB SPL on iOS and about 90 on Android.
 
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monks-cat

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Input sensitivity as from manual:
106dB SPL @1m for -10dBV 0.316V unbalanced RCA &
106dB SPL @1m for +4dBu 1.23V
So it's 12 dB difference. It's beyond me where they learned math. Future more this means you won't get 118 dB from standard balanced inputs (4V) but about 116.5 max for peek you would need about 7.5 V. On the other hand unbalanced you will get 118 even from better motherboard 1.23 V and about 122 from standard 2V. So enable the RCA input switch and use that and get the ± one to 0 (from current +6).
I wouldn't use that thing above 106 dB continuous anyway and if you need more put it close to wall behind it.
Edit: of course phone app and such won't catch true peaks nor will measure over 100 dB SPL on iOS and about 90 on Android.

Thank you!

Sorry if these questions are dumb:

I can't say I understand input sensitivity specs. When you say 12 db difference how did you get the number? So I take it what you are saying is that unbalanced RCA input will produce more volume? I'm using a korg sv2 keyboard for testing, but couldn't find the output voltage in the specs. I'm guessing I need a very high voltage like 7.5 Volts to get the equivalent of using 2V for unbalanced?



When I used the XLR cables instead of the unbalanced 1/4 it seemed to increase the volume a bit (but both were going into the balanced input obviously, not the RCA). I was using the iphone app but everything maxxed out seemed to give a peak of about 104, definitely not continuous. This is very unexpected behaviour..
 

ZolaIII

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(316 mV *2)*2=1.264 V or +12 dB. In this case it's - 12 dB per same V on balanced inputs or to match it around 5 V but in most cases you have around 4 V. Korg doesn't state what is the V of outputs.
Edit: simply use normal quality ¼ to RCA cables and on short to medium range it will work. In case of long cables use XLR to XLR and eventually a preamp (but you don't need a preamp and you have +6 dB boots switch). You don't use unbalanced out converter cable to balanced inputs on sub as you did. It's not that SNR on balanced is very good on Kali anyway (hope unbalanced isn't horrible).
 
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monks-cat

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(316 mV *2)*2=1.264 V or +12 dB. In this case it's - 12 dB per same V on balanced inputs or to match it around 5 V but in most cases you have around 4 V. Korg doesn't state what is the V of outputs.
Edit: simply use normal quality ¼ to RCA cables and on short to medium range it will work. In case of long cables use XLR to XLR and eventually a preamp (but you don't need a preamp and you have +6 dB boots switch). You don't use unbalanced out converter cable to balanced inputs on sub as you did. It's not that SNR on balanced is very good on Kali anyway (hope unbalanced isn't horrible).

Thank you so much for you help! The RCA cables did indeed increase the volume to live-use levels...

A few more questions if and when you have the time:

-Will using the unbalanced RCA decrease sound quality? Is it only about picking up unwanted noise? Reading the manual it seems like the -10dbV standard was meant for consumer grade stuff. This was the one sub that extended down to 30hz easily (at +- 4db) and to 23hz (at -10db) and was hoping to use that in a live setting for experimental music. PA subs that go down that low are very rare and hard to find...

- I'm guessing if I want to go the balanced route I shouldn't use kali crossover as it wants much more input gain then my qsc 8.2 and aspen pittman spacestation (I use each for different use cases live). Luckily the qsc 8.2s have a digital crossover option that I could just set on the speakers themselves. So from my mixer I could send a different mix to the sub and to the speakers.

- In general how do I calculate output voltage from my devices? Like my interface is an apollo x version 2 but I don't see the voltage listed anywhere.. Is there a relationship to the ohmsn impedence (something I see much more commonly in the tech specs?). I'm guessing I need to target about 7.5 volts as you said to get a 118 peak, and then use the +6 db to get the the full headroom this sub has to offer on paper...
 
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ZolaIII

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There is no free lunch and never whose. Reason why home - "Hi-Fi" ported sub's (same goes for speakers as well) can go more down then PA is simple a different port tuning. Tuning much below driver Fs for port and Fb but this cost's a lot in sustainable SPL without much of compression and it's a wrong approach in generally.
Well how good are input SNR depends on how good manufacturer (engineer) implemented them. Balanced obviously have starting advantage hire but I know unbalanced inputs with 110 dB SNR and balanced one's with quoted 132 dB. In case of Kali they are notorious for bad ones (LP-6 first gen) and I don't it differs from that on this sub (that's why they made possible to disable RCA end).
It's more about picking up noise and when it's a reality bad one it sounds like a rain when not playing anything but there is a little of hear able difference when they do play. Neither PA amps in generally and especially subwoofer one's are really high performance (SINAD) so it makes a less of a difference and again least in low bass area where we have most tolerance for higher THD. On the other hand we don't have tolerance for not smoth transition and balanced frequency range there and that's why proper integrating sub takes both efforts and DSP resources.

Now let's get realistic! That sub by all means isn't power hause and future more calibration is usually done 100% output to 86 dB stereo to desired listening spot (distance) with headroom of +20 dB for true peeks and that's pretty much hause standards, clubs go higher and luckily you actually need less low to sub bass as you rise higher as that's how perceived loudness works (equal loudness compensation). So something which have quoted peek of 123 dB @ 1 m is safe to use for peeks at - 6 dB from that (118 dB) and that's bring you down to 98 dB A scale measured. When you add distance you lose by the book 6 dB with every distance increase of 2x so for far field 4 m distance that's 86 and right on the target but for live small hall 8 m distance it's 80 dB. In reality you lose less from closed space so if put to the wall behind it and to the corner when possible that sub should be fine to calibration point of 86 dB A even at 8 m distance, also you don't really need full 20 dB peak headroom as it won't be a 20 dB DR material (12 is quite enough and perceived as twice as loud from the quietest part present in material).
No need to calculate V, PA interfaces pretty much follow max standard for balanced (4 V) and if it's able to give more they pretty much ring that on all bells in promo materials. There are higher gain true professional balanced gear but such costs arm and a leg. Again you don't need that! I don't want you to ruin that subwoofer either. With it set up to 0 (12 o'clock) and input of 4 V balanced it will be fine, you will be short of 1.5 dB of what it can sustain and that is because they (Kali) didn't do basic math right. You address this by turning the potentiometer little higher above 12 o'clock and that's it. The +6 dB switch is for (and only for) when you feed it with mono input (obviously to get the gain back in V*2 manner when you split it down on input in half).
I hope this explains how to proper use it and what are realistic limits and expectations regarding that sub.
 
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monks-cat

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There is no free lunch and never whose. Reason why home - "Hi-Fi" ported sub's (same goes for speakers as well) can go more down then PA is simple a different port tuning. Tuning much below driver Fs for port and Fb but this cost's a lot in sustainable SPL without much of compression and it's a wrong approach in generally.
Well how good are input SNR depends on how good manufacturer (engineer) implemented them. Balanced obviously have starting advantage hire but I know unbalanced inputs with 110 dB SNR and balanced one's with quoted 132 dB. In case of Kali they are notorious for bad ones (LP-6 first gen) and I don't it differs from that on this sub (that's why they made possible to disable RCA end).
It's more about picking up noise and when it's a reality bad one it sounds like a rain when not playing anything but there is a little of hear able difference when they do play. Neither PA amps in generally and especially subwoofer one's are really high performance (SINAD) so it makes a less of a difference and again least in low bass area where we have most tolerance for higher THD. On the other hand we don't have tolerance for not smoth transition and balanced frequency range there and that's why proper integrating sub takes both efforts and DSP resources.

Now let's get realistic! That sub by all means isn't power hause and future more calibration is usually done 100% output to 86 dB stereo to desired listening spot (distance) with headroom of +20 dB for true peeks and that's pretty much hause standards, clubs go higher and luckily you actually need less low to sub bass as you rise higher as that's how perceived loudness works (equal loudness compensation). So something which have quoted peek of 123 dB @ 1 m is safe to use for peeks at - 6 dB from that (118 dB) and that's bring you down to 98 dB A scale measured. When you add distance you lose by the book 6 dB with every distance increase of 2x so for far field 4 m distance that's 86 and right on the target but for live small hall 8 m distance it's 80 dB. In reality you lose less from closed space so if put to the wall behind it and to the corner when possible that sub should be fine to calibration point of 86 dB A even at 8 m distance, also you don't really need full 20 dB peak headroom as it won't be a 20 dB DR material (12 is quite enough and perceived as twice as loud from the quietest part present in material).
No need to calculate V, PA interfaces pretty much follow max standard for balanced (4 V) and if it's able to give more they pretty much ring that on all bells in promo materials. There are higher gain true professional balanced gear but such costs arm and a leg. Again you don't need that! I don't want you to ruin that subwoofer either. With it set up to 0 (12 o'clock) and input of 4 V balanced it will be fine, you will be short of 1.5 dB of what it can sustain and that is because they (Kali) didn't know basic math right. You address this by turning the potentiometer little higher above 12 o'clock and that's it. The +6 dB switch is for (and only for) when you feed it with mono input (obviously to get the gain back in V*2 manner when you split it down on input in half).
I hope this explains how to proper use it and what are realistic limits and expectations regarding that sub.

Wait a second... so when I plugged my keyboard via XLR (which are balanced directly into sub) I was not getting close to the sub's maximum SPL. Even with the +6 dipswitch. It was not until I used unbalanced cables like you suggested that I started getting real volume.

So not understanding the 0 (12' o clock setting) you are suggesting using balanced.. that was very little volume. Do you mean to say that on my mixer I would essentially turn the preamp gain way up in this scenario?

To get practical, I understand that my 2x qsc 2000 watt 8.2 are designed to play much louder and this isn't an ideal pairing other than for small spaces where the qsc are overkill. But what about my aspen pittman spacestation v.3 ( 280 watts 106 db max spl freq range 100-20,000). Part of the reason I'm confused is because that little guy packs a mean punch and it definitely fills a small to medium venue. I thought out of the box the Kali should easily be able to keep up with it given the specs. (I think it should with the limited tests I just ran with unbalanced cables. But still confused why output is so low with balanced. I think I'll just need to give the two different gains from master signal).
 
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ZolaIII

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@Monk Exactly the last sentence. You match the output individually and use master volume for future control. I don't know what Korg outputs (max) but I am certain Apollon will output 4 V balanced.
 
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