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Subwoofers & Midrange Quality

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#1
I've googled around a bit, but found no particularly satisfying explanation for something I'm observing subjectively.

On my desk, I have a pair of ELAC DBR-62, driven by a pair of NC400 (DIY) monoblocks. I've owned this speakers for a bit, and I got familiar with them in this very environment, tuned to the room.

Recently, I added a Genelec 7060B to this system, crossing over to the DBR-62 at the native 85Hz. I re-did room correction in REW after matching levels, and the resulting integration is really wonderful. This is not my first subwoofer, but it's the first one I've had in a while, so I am not accustomed to quite this much impact from a visually small system.

That said, the impact I've noticed most is in the midrange. Vocals, horns, cellos... all above 85Hz, and yet all are improved by the offloading of the bass frequencies to the subwoofer. They are not merely more prominent, there's more perceptible detail.

Is this a function of distortion which was previously present in an overburdened small speaker, now free of responsibility below 85Hz? Is this a function of directionality, with the sound at these frequencies emanating from above my desk while the subwoofer handles the rest from another location?

I can't explain this effect, and yet, it's not subtle. The response curve to which I'm correcting hasn't changed, I was using a Harman house curve before the subwoofer introduction and I'm using the same curve after, I'm just more able to deliver those low frequencies at a high SPL.

Also, in case anybody is debating a subwoofer purchase, let me dispel the notion that 120W is insufficient. In a room of 12x12 with 14ft ceilings, the 7060B is unbelievable. I love this thing, and I paid very little for it second hand.
 

thewas

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#2
Is this a function of distortion which was previously present in an overburdened small speaker, now free of responsibility below 85Hz?
Yes, intermodulation distortion is reduced which according to my experience can make on loudspeakers a higher audible difference then the usually just measured harmonic distortion.
 

Kvalsvoll

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#3
Yes, from your description it is likely that there is a significant reduction in distortion, that this improvement can be audible, with better clarity and separation in the midrange.

A small speaker with 6" or smaller woofers will reach its limits at quite moderate levels, if they are forced to reproduce bass frequencies. But larger speakers will also benefit from being releaved of reproducing the lowest frequencies.

This is an improvement that does not necessarily cost a lot, even a modest subwoofer will keep up with small speakers, and the improvement in midrange will always be there.
 

bobbooo

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#4
Yes, intermodulation distortion is reduced which according to my experience can make on loudspeakers a higher audible difference then the usually just measured harmonic distortion.
That and power handling will improve. For these reasons I'm a proponent of using the highest crossover frequency possible before localization of the sub becomes apparent (~100 Hz).
 
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#6
I was just about to make the same thread :)

Just got my subwoofer yesterday, integrated it somewhat(still some smoothing to be done) and with music, rather than noticing the sub 40Hz frequencies I was missing, I'm mostly noticing improvement in mids, as well as improved bass quality that I was already reaching before(but that might be because I smoothed some room modes). It was something I heard about before, but did not exactly understand why it makes such a difference.
 
OP
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Thread Starter #7
This is good to learn, thanks for the info, all. I can’t believe the difference, it’s not subtle. In the past, I’ve had a subwoofer on a system with larger, full-range and three-way, speakers, and I didn’t hear anything like this. It almost makes me want to get a pair of subs for my main system and see what a difference it makes. They’re capable of all the bass I need, but if IMD reduction is sometimes this notable, it could be worth the trouble.
 

CDMC

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#8
This is good to learn, thanks for the info, all. I can’t believe the difference, it’s not subtle. In the past, I’ve had a subwoofer on a system with larger, full-range and three-way, speakers, and I didn’t hear anything like this. It almost makes me want to get a pair of subs for my main system and see what a difference it makes. They’re capable of all the bass I need, but if IMD reduction is sometimes this notable, it could be worth the trouble.
in my opinion yes. I think many miss out that relieving even large floor standing speakers of deep bass duties improve their sound. As you can see from my systems, I am a big believer of high passing main speakers.
 

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