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Subs & Satellites - can it be done right?

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Hi guys.
Actively looking for my end-game setup. There is so much great info in here. I need some advice.
There are pro's and con's for setting up a system with 2 satellite speakers and 2 or more subs. The pros as I understand among others are:

-better room integration
-smoother bass response
-cheaper then fullrange speaker with same specs

Cons
-hard to integrate properly
-WAF? too many boxes
-others?

I have been looking at the Neumann 420 pluss 2 subs and found the Arendal subs appealing .
I have also looked at Genelec/Adam audio + sub combos but the Neumanns appealed to med somehow. Now that I spent the night reading through the D&D 8C thread I'm back to square one...

1) Concerning studio monitor +sub combo:

IS it really that big of a hassle to get it to sound right? with integrated DSP in the speakers and sub and minidsp Studio (which I will be using as a source). Do I need a lot of acoustic knowledge and countless try and fails or is it more "automated" now. With a busy job and 2 young kids I would prefer to enjoy the music more then the setup. An option is to hire an acoustic engineer which I might do either way as it is a small cost compered to the system total.

2) Concerning studio monitor +sub combo:

There is a lot of money to save on going the Brand X studio monitor + Brand Y non-pro studio monitor path. Will this mess up the integration even more? Is it worth paying the extra bucks to stick with one Pro-brand and its integration options. Eg. Genelec SAM speaker + Genelec SAM sub +GLM or Neumann KH420 +870sub with their own monitor DSP control system?

3) Why not just stick with 2 speakers

This IS appealing, especially when you can place them as close to the front wall as the D&D 8Cs and they have "everything". The new model even has a streamer built in. I feel more comfortable though setting up a futureproof system with 2 subs and 2 satellites. Something in me tells me 2 big sub boxes with in total 4 times 10-14 inch drivers will please my needs more then the mini D&D box working hard when playing loud AND equalizing backfiring...

What are you're takes? anyone owning a KH420 setup? anyone with a medium/big room playing more then 80dB with the 8Cs? Any thoughts in general?
 

dasdoing

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you judge how hard it is

 
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MikeFromNorway
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Thanks dasdoing. I have read the theory.
People who have done it have different opinions on both how to set it up and on how hard it is to find/match the subs with the speakers.
So therefore I was looking for advice.
 

Sancus

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I wouldn't call a Neumann KH420 a satellite speaker, lol.

Genelec SAM subs are the easiest to integrate perfectly IMO(basically one click), but you pay for it.

FWIW, doing a good integration of my 2 subs took probably a couple of weeks of research and then roughly 2 days of messing around with REW and MSO, and I already knew how to use REW before that. This is on a Denon w/Audyssey and PEQ built into the subs, so not as straightforward as GLM.
 

dasdoing

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Imo integrating a sub with a mic and REW is not hard.
1) you usualy only have a few realistic options for placement. just meassure them all (sans mains) and compare.
2) meassure sub+mains in the new position and look at the exess group delay. most of the time the sub is too late. eyeball by how much on the graph, delay the mains and meassure again. do so until the excess group delay more or less matches.
3) now you have to finetune the delay to avoid cancelations. REW has actualy a tool for this, but imo it's easy to trail and error by varying the delay values. this time you look at FR. the best value for the delay is where there is least amount of dip in the crossover region.

this all can be done in 30-min-ish, not as a first timer, but still
 
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MikeFromNorway
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Imo integrating a sub with a mic and REW is not hard.
1) you usualy only have a few realistic options for placement. just meassure them all (sans mains) and compare.
2) meassure sub+mains in the new position and look at the exess group delay. most of the time the sub is too late. eyeball by how much on the graph, delay the mains and meassure again. do so until the excess group delay more or less matches.
3) now you have to finetune the delay to avoid cancelations. REW has actualy a tool for this, but imo it's easy to trail and error by varying the delay values. this time you look at FR. the best value for the delay is where there is least amount of dip in the crossover region.

this all can be done in 30-min-ish, not as a first timer, but still
Sounds less frightening. Thank you for the constructive reply.

Any experience/thoughts on my others listed q's?
 

Jim Matthews

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Allow me to preface my suggestion: my fortunate resu.ts may have been "dumb luck" and should not be taken as an expert claim.



I have done what you propose, with the MiniDSP SHD Studio, with all signals over AES digital output to the "satellites" and subs.
Each has their own amplifier where the D/A conversion occurs.

I would suggest two things if the prospect is daunting:

Select subwoofers that are physically easy to move.

Run the native DIRAC filter provided by MiniDSP before using more involved sampling. In my case, the suggested filtration and delays were so subtle that I didn't need any DSP.

 

Ultrasonic

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Run the native DIRAC filter provided by MiniDSP before using more involved sampling. In my case, the suggested filtration and delays were so subtle that I didn't need any DSP.

Could you expand on quite what you mean by this? I'm pretty familiar with subwoofer integration and own a miniDSP SHD but I'm struggling to understand your comment here I'm afraid.

As two miniDSP articles were linked to above I'll just add that both fail to cover how to properly do the time/phase matching as far as I'm concerned.
 
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MikeFromNorway
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Could you expand on quite what you mean by this? I'm pretty familiar with subwoofer integration and own a miniDSP SHD but I'm struggling to understand your comment here I'm afraid.

As two miniDSP articles were linked to above I'll just add that both fail to cover how to properly do the time/phase matching as far as I'm concerned.
Thanks for the reply. Would you care to expand on your last sentence and share your view/experience?
 

sigbergaudio

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I dont exlude them. Not sure they can meet my spl needs and if they work close to the backwall. Will definitly audition them and the d&d 8c’s. The D&D dealer even offer home loan where i live;)

They are designed to place close to the backwall actually. But they're not cardioid like the 8Cs (unlike our upcoming speaker). I'm pretty confident they can meet your SPL needs. I can play [email protected] position without audible compression here, something I only do with ear protection. :D

But of course hard to say without knowing what your SPL needs are. :)
 

sigbergaudio

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To answer in general terms about your questions, there are a number of automated solutions that will do a good job of integrating subwoofers most of the time. They exist in a wide price range from MiniDSP/Antimode all the way up to stuff like Trinnov. :) Something like that sounds like the best route. And YES it can be properly integrated and the result can be as good or better than large floorstanders.
 

levimax

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I think one of the big things people overlook when using small "satellite" speakers and subs is that if you are going to use subs located on the side of the room to eliminate room modes they need to be crossed 80Hz to 100 Hz so the sound is not localized. For best results the satellites need to play flat one octave below the crossover so 40Hz to 50 Hz.... many small satellite can't do this which makes integration with subs difficult. While expensive and "big" using "full / near full" range speakers and a sub is the best way to go and makes integration much easier (possible).
 

TurtlePaul

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Focusing on one of your cons: WAF is so hard to define and is based on the looks / size of your speakers and the people whose visual approval you will need. Satellite and sub is non-ideal because of a lot of boxes, but at least the subs can be up against a wall, and the sats can be close-ish to a wall if you pass them high enough that a few feet from the wall pushes the quarter wavelength null below the crossover frequency.

I would think that WAF is not that great for towers if done right. Realistically, speakers with dual 8s or 10s per side dominate a room. The best in room placement for true full range speakers is at least 5 ft. from any wall - and I doubt spouses love the massive boxes in the middle of the room. Most people with full range towers just end up with big nulls at 100 Hz because the speakers are much too close the the back wall.

However, why mention WAF is looking at studio monitors. I think that the D&D 8C have much higher WAF than anything Genelec or Neumann, and the tolerance for near wall multiplies this. In the tower world, high WAF options include those thin towers with a baffle barely wider than a 6" midbass driver.

I think I am coming to the conclusion for myself that either the subs or towers route can get good results, and you should go with the one where you can tolerate the most ideal setup if your room.
 

sigbergaudio

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I think one of the big things people overlook when using small "satellite" speakers and subs is that if you are going to use subs located on the side of the room to eliminate room modes they need to be crossed 80Hz to 100 Hz so the sound is not localized. For best results the satellites need to play flat one octave below the crossover so 40Hz to 50 Hz.... many small satellite can't do this which makes integration with subs difficult. While expensive and "big" using "full / near full" range speakers and a sub is the best way to go and makes integration much easier (possible).

That sounds like a generalisation. I agree that it's important that the satelites have enough capacity, but why would you need them to play flat one octave below the crossover? Typically they'd be -6dB AT the crossover point.
 
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MikeFromNorway
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I think one of the big things people overlook when using small "satellite" speakers and subs is that if you are going to use subs located on the side of the room to eliminate room modes they need to be crossed 80Hz to 100 Hz so the sound is not localized. For best results the satellites need to play flat one octave below the crossover so 40Hz to 50 Hz.... many small satellite can't do this which makes integration with subs difficult. While expensive and "big" using "full / near full" range speakers and a sub is the best way to go and makes integration much easier (possible).
I think the Neumanns KH420 would do the job. Don’t think they are regatded as «small satellites», but see your point. Thanks
 

levimax

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That sounds like a generalisation. I agree that it's important that the satelites have enough capacity, but why would you need them to play flat one octave below the crossover? Typically they'd be -6dB AT the crossover point.
Any crossover works better if both drivers can overlap with smooth frequency reponse. You dont really want the roll off to be driven by the driver roll off rather than the electronic filters. Of course you can work around some of this but any crossover is hard to get right and adding in large amounts of driver roll off compensation just makes it harder
 

levimax

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I think the Neumanns KH420 would do the job. Don’t think they are regatded as «small satellites», but see your point. Thanks
Yes the Neumann KH420 would be fine... I don't think of them as typical "satellite" speakers.... near full range is what I would call them.
 

TurtlePaul

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I have to agree with Sigberg regarding not needing a full octave below the crossover frequency. If you are doing a 24 dB/octave crossover, and the signal is obviously -6 dB at the crossover point, then an octave lower it is ~30 dB lower (I know log scale math doesn't exactly work this way). An octave below crossover the attenuation of the sub is less than -0.1 dB. It doesn't matter if you add in a -30 dB signal or a -100 dB signal to the -0.1 dB, you end up with a flat signal. In fact, a brickwall cutoff a half octave below crossover still results is <0.1 dB attenuation. A bookshelf that is flat to mid-to-low 60 Hz range is fine to cross at 80 Hz.

The biggest problem with crossing small monitors is not where they roll off, it is the level they can drive before they get crazy distortion. A lot of 5.25 inch monitors have 5%+ THD at >100 Hz near loud-ish but possible listening levels - and those speakers would be really hard to cross over.
 
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