View Full Version : Emperor's (new clothes?)
05-07-2004, 04:59 PM
I can think of lots of ways of spending £50 or so but I'd like to make it worth while. I'm feeding my CHT10 via a 10M phono cable of modest pedigree, no gas filled moon dust coated doodangles here. However I am curious as to what improvement I can expect from 50 quids worth of nice cable, or would I be better off in using the money to (part)fund an improvement to the source? :bow:
06-07-2004, 06:35 AM
In my experience, the level of beneficial effect on a subwoofer's performance of various tweaks occurs in this order:
1. Physical placement (Other than your time - free!)
2. Isolation (Auralex Gramma - £55)
3. Uprated mains cable (I made a Supra LoRad model - £30)
4. Interconnect cables
As far as interconnect cables go, I've tried five on my sub. These ranged from very inexpensive up to a £150 cable (all 4m long in my case). The differences even between the £10 cable and the £150 cable were negligible and I eventually settled on a £50 Ecosse Conductor.
The mains cable definitely tightened things up and seemed to give a clearer tone - although again not hugely noticeable, but definitely worthwhile. When you consider many subs have onboard amps rated at much higher levels than many hi-fi and AV amps it seems logical that any improvements to the mains supply are likely to improve the sub's performance (as with any component, what you eventually hear from a sub is just electricity repackaged).
Depending on the type of sub you use and the type of room it's located in, acoustic isolation platforms can have a very beneficial and demonstrable impact on the sub's performance. From raising the sub a few inches to (in the most extreme cases) completely re-focussing the energy output from the sub, these items are often worth investigating. There are many, many satisfied users on this forum and elsewhere and remember that these type of products derived from the pro-audio world, where money is rarely spent unless results are heard.
Of course, physical location of the sub can make huge differences (negative and positive) to the performance of the sub at the listening position. Unless equalisation is applied, the only way to work out what's best for your sub in your room is the trial and error process of moving the sub to your listening position and then moving round your room listening out for the spot where the bass response seems tighest and deepest. Once you've found that, that's where your sub needs to be moved to.
The other biggest factor in terms of a change of performance is, as you mention, changing the sub completely. As you already have a CHT-10 you'll be needing to spend well in excess of £500 to gain any worthwhile advantages. This kind of money could get you into second hand CHT-15 territory, SVS become available if you want to import it yourself or you could hold out for the upcoming VRP range of 'affordable' subs from Velodyne which look especially nice in VRP-1200 form.
Either way, I think I've just spend 10 minutes trying to say 'don't spend your £50 on a sub cable' :D~:-D~:grin:
06-07-2004, 10:56 AM
Many thanks for that comprehensive assessment, the sub goes plenty deep and plenty loud but I think you are right in suggesting the most important part is getting its placement sorted. I find I keep needing to tweak it to avoid it taking over and becoming intrusive rather than adding to the overall spectrum. Lord of the rings for example was just thunderously boomy and not tight and defined as I would have expected.
The other thing is that many people say that the sub bass or LFE is non directional, which really isnt the case, I can certainly detect where it comes from. Is that just cos its too loud? :?~:-?~:???:
06-07-2004, 11:15 AM
THX decided that LFE shouldn't be easy to locate at anything from 80Hz and lower. In practice, there's many people who find an 80Hz frequency is very easy to locate. I think people here have reported being able to locate 50Hz frequencies.
However, what you actually hear from a subwoofer isn't a pure frequency tone. Add to the actual frequency that's being reproduced: distortion, port noise and audible artefacts added by your room (floor noise, rattles etc.) and you can see that subs can end up pretty easy to locate.
That's one of the reasons why Isolation can work so well, especially in the case of subs used on wooden or suspended flooring.
Of course, there is always the fact that the sub may simply be too loud. Ideally you shouldn't be able to 'hear' the sub at all, you should instead believe that there are five (or more) speakers in the room that seem to go much lower than one might expect and be 'underpinned' rather than overwhelmed by the sub.
Have you got an SPL metre? It'd be worth checking your sub level against the other speakers, preferably with a test DVD.
07-07-2004, 01:17 PM
No I dont have an spl meter, only whats either side of my head. I will have a go at isolation as well as moving it around, though given the size of the cht10 there may well be a bit of comprimize on that front
07-07-2004, 02:21 PM
It's always tempting to run subs a little to loud or 'hot'. It's something that I tended to do until I got a amp that set it self up and then invested in an SPL meter (A worth while investment).
07-07-2004, 02:26 PM
Actually, going back to the original question of how best to spend £50 in terms of improving your sub's performance... £25 on an SPL meter might well be one of the best uses.
07-07-2004, 02:32 PM
Agreed, an SPL meter and a copy of Avia or Digital Video Essentials (preferable Avia IMHO) would probably top my list for a spend of fifty quid or so.
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