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  #1  
Old January 31st, 2014, 9:30 AM
SME SME is offline
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MBM and Looper (film)

I watched Looper over the weekend. I think this film is a superb demo for the MBM. Just about every gun shot made me jump out of my seat, and my nerves were thoroughly frazzled by the half-way point of the film. While I wouldn't say I was looking for such an experience from this movie, there's no doubt that the MBMs were conveying the experience that the directory intended.

I haven't sampled Open Range yet, but I look forward to when I do.
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  #2  
Old March 28th, 2014, 11:29 PM
SME SME is offline
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Movie reviews: Open Range and Gravity

I recently picked up Open Range and got to watch it today. While I think the gun shot effects in Looper were more impactful, I much preferred Open Range, both as a movie and for their soundtracks. Open Range sounded more dynamic to me. The sound effects were natural and believable. The thunder and rain effects were fantastic! It also gets special marks for being over 10 years old. Later in the day, I watched Gravity, and despite the academy awards, I wasn't too impressed. Sure, it had plenty of loud bass including some pretty heavy ~20-25 Hz stuff, but what was there was boring and repetitive. Most of the deep bass was part of the tension building score rather than any specific sound effect, and after hearing it recur throughout the movie, it quickly got fatiguing. The Blu Ray release (presumably a poor quality "made for the home" mix) had a lot of clipping in the soundtrack, although maybe not as bad as Star Trek Into Darkness. Mixes on Blu Rays are very hit or miss these days. Star Trek is much better than Star Trek Into Darkness. On the other hand, whereas the mix for Thor is a mess (albeit, the bass is still quite awesome) the mix for Thor: The Dark World is very clean. Will we ever see consistency?
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  #3  
Old March 30th, 2014, 6:49 AM
Tom C Tom C is offline
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Originally Posted by SME View Post
I recently picked up Open Range and got to watch it today. While I think the gun shot effects in Looper were more impactful, I much preferred Open Range, both as a movie and for their soundtracks. Open Range sounded more dynamic to me. The sound effects were natural and believable. The thunder and rain effects were fantastic! It also gets special marks for being over 10 years old. Later in the day, I watched Gravity, and despite the academy awards, I wasn't too impressed. Sure, it had plenty of loud bass including some pretty heavy ~20-25 Hz stuff, but what was there was boring and repetitive. Most of the deep bass was part of the tension building score rather than any specific sound effect, and after hearing it recur throughout the movie, it quickly got fatiguing. The Blu Ray release (presumably a poor quality "made for the home" mix) had a lot of clipping in the soundtrack, although maybe not as bad as Star Trek Into Darkness. Mixes on Blu Rays are very hit or miss these days. Star Trek is much better than Star Trek Into Darkness. On the other hand, whereas the mix for Thor is a mess (albeit, the bass is still quite awesome) the mix for Thor: The Dark World is very clean. Will we ever see consistency?
That's a good question. I doubt it. Not enough people give a hoot.

I haven't seen Open Range. I'm not a Costner fan which is probably why, but the gunfight scene is something I'd like to watch/hear at least once. The gun shots in Taken and the shotgun Ratatouille hit pretty hard. I sometimes use those as demo material.

I've often thought about a MBM (Mrs. C calls it scheming). What are your thoughts about placing it up front? I have the 15H and just recently picked up the 5.0 package. The 15H is to the left of the TV and I have a spot on the right side where it could go. I don't know how much I would gain with it. It could go behind the couch, but we have a small place and the wife wouldn't go for it.
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  #4  
Old March 30th, 2014, 10:41 PM
SME SME is offline
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The short answer is: It depends. Do you have a picture of your room layout?

Generally speaking, I believe adding an MBM to a system offers up to four benefits:

1. The MBM provides higher headroom for mid-bass frequencies than other Hsu subs. Unfortunately, I'm not aware of published numbers to back up this fact, but I know Pete Hsu indicated it should perform comparable to or better than the VTF-15H. That said, I don't think this alone is a good reason to get an MBM. If all you want more output, then a second sub is probably a better choice.

2. When using an MBM with a true sub, the bass is bi-amped. Bass up to 50 Hz is handled primarily by the true sub(s) with the MBM(s) handling 50 Hz and above. This benefit will only be realized when there is sound occurring in both bass frequency ranges, which actually happens very often in practice. Under such circumstances, bi-amping can increase overall output, but the larger improvement will be in sound quality. Due to the physics of the woofer, two bass frequencies (one high and one low) played at the same time can have much more distortion than either played alone. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intermodulation for a general description of the phenomenon if you are interested.) Crucially, this distortion tends to be anharmonic, which makes it much more noticeable to the listener. For me (going by subjective judgment), adding the MBM improved sound quality a lot on many louder and busier passages. The deep bass in particular sounded a lot cleaner. The improvement was much greater than I expected before I bought the MBM.

3. Because the MBM is smaller and cheaper than larger subs like the VTF-15H and VTF3-MK4, it's easier to place it in a location that is good for mid-bass. This is why I bought MBMs. Using room measurement and placement experiments, I determined that deep bass was best produced from the front of my room, and mid-bass was best produced on either side of my sofa. Being able to put smaller and cheaper units next to my sofa is a huge benefit. Not only does my current configuration sound better at the main listening position, it also sounds better in the rest of the house. Of course, each room is unique, and the more irregular the room is, the harder it is to predict the best places to put subs or MBMs. It's possible but not certain that the location you have in mind for the MBM will perform well. In the worst case, it probably won't worse than where you have your VTF-15H now.

4. The MBM woofer can theoretically accelerate (and decelerate) faster than a Hsu true sub woofer. I don't really know how much better the MBM is in this regard compared to a VTF-15H. The difference may also be overshadowed by room problems if the MBM is not placed in an optimal location. Subjectively, I think the mid-bass sounds tighter than it did when my true subs were next to the sofa, but I'm not certain whether that is entirely the MBM's doing. I run Audyssey room correction, and it's possible that by fixing the deep bass problems that existed when my true subs were next to the sofa, Audyssey is now able to devote more computational effort to the filters in the mid-bass region. It's also possible that the faster woofer gives Audyssey more control over the room response, and this benefit might be realized even with the MBM installed in a less optimal location.

So in summary, an MBM will give you more headroom and significantly less distortion when playing passages with lots of bass both above and below 50 Hz at the same time. Whether you'll hear tighter bass or not depends on the interaction between the MBM, your room, the MBM's placement within the room, and the room correction system. While it's likely that a close placement will give you the best mid-bass, this is not certain, nor is it necessarily the case that a placement up front will sound worse than a close placement. One nice thing about placing the MBM up front with the VTF-15H is that they should be easy to integrate without a signal delay device.
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  #5  
Old March 31st, 2014, 6:56 PM
Tom C Tom C is offline
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I have the Denon 3808ci and the Velodyne SMS-1. Here are the results from the when I ran Audyssey a couple of weeks ago:

DIST
FL 10.2
FR 10.0
CTR 9.6
SUB 11.1 (physical distance is about 9.5)
SL 5.9
SR 5.6

LEVEL
FL +1.5
FR +1.0
CTR +0.5
SUB +1.0
SL -2.0
SR -2.0

XO
FL large
FR large
CTR large
SUB -
SL 40Hz
SR 40Hz

Afterwards I changed the fronts to large and raised the xo to 80Hz for all channels. I have my 15H set at 1 port open, Q=.7 and EQ1. I donít run my sub hot. I tried it a while back, but didnít like it.

I generally listen to movies at -16. At that level I donít believe that headroom is an issue for me. Music is set to a lower level than that.

My main interest in the MBM is having it handling the 50-80Hz range, thinking that a 12Ē driver would be better than a 15Ē. I hadnít thought about a cleaner sound with the two ranges split between the 15H and the MBM. That makes sense.

Although there is room behind the couch, the wife would not go for it, plus Iím a little leery of putting it there. Less chance of something happening to it if itís up front. Also, at Christmas the table along the left wall goes behind the couch and the Christmas tree goes where the table is.

Iíve attached my room layout (PDF). Itís out of date, but my new HB1ís and HC1 are in the same locations as my old speakers. Iíve also attached what my curve looks like according to the SMS-1. There is a dip around 63Hz. It gets worse as you move to the right side of the couch and better as you move to the left. Itís always been there. With my old speakers, moving them closer to the wall would raise the dip. Also, raising the xo will raise the dip.

Right now I have the L&Rís 20Ē from the back wall to the front of the speakers which I suspect is too close. Using the formula in the manual my L&Rís should be about 27.5Ē from the back wall (center of woofer 35Ē from floor).

Thanks for the detailed response.
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  #6  
Old March 31st, 2014, 9:47 PM
SME SME is offline
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Wow, lots of data here!

Do you listen with Audyssey Dynamic EQ on? If so, then even at -16, some movie sound tracks may demand a lot of headroom. This is especially true when you run with 1-port open and EQ1.

If behind the couch doesn't work, what about on either side? The spot to the right of the TV may be a little better or a little worse than where the 15H is now. I can't say for sure. Is there a possibility of fitting the MBM on the side of the 15H if the right side isn't as good?

When you do measurements with the Velodyne device, is there an option for smoothing? The response you posted looks like it has a lot of smoothing. This is helpful for seeing rough trends but not useful for seeing room response problems. Try to turn off smoothing if you can. Also, I assume the device only measures the subwoofer(s)? Would it be possible to use it to measure your left and right speaker (separately)? The Hsu speakers drop off below 60 Hz but have enough output below that you can compare the relative responses in each location. Since your left speaker is near the 15H and the right speaker is near to where the MBM could go, you could get a rough idea of how the responses compare in each location.
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  #7  
Old April 1st, 2014, 11:32 AM
Tom C Tom C is offline
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Quote:
Wow, lots of data here!
Yeah, but being a casual listener/viewer and a bit of a novice I thought that overkill might be best. You would know better what to look for.

Quote:
Do you listen with Audyssey Dynamic EQ on? If so, then even at -16, some movie sound tracks may demand a lot of headroom. This is especially true when you run with 1-port open and EQ1.
I donít have Dynamic EQ. It was part of the Feature Pack Upgrade for a $100. I just recently found out that it is still available, but for free. I need to look into it.

Quote:
If behind the couch doesn't work, what about on either side? The spot to the right of the TV may be a little better or a little worse than where the 15H is now. I can't say for sure. Is there a possibility of fitting the MBM on the side of the 15H if the right side isn't as good?
The right side of the couch is in front of the china cabinet. Also, now there is an arm chair that comes off at an angle from the front right side of the couch. The left is in front of the DVD cabinets. The doors open outwards.

Quote:
When you do measurements with the Velodyne device, is there an option for smoothing? The response you posted looks like it has a lot of smoothing. This is helpful for seeing rough trends but not useful for seeing room response problems. Try to turn off smoothing if you can.
I donít recall seeing any kind of setting for that. Iíll have to review the ownerís manual later. Seeing the REW graphs that people post I have no doubt that there is some smoothing going on in my SMS-1. Thatís probably for the best. If I saw what it really looked like I wouldnít be able to sleep, especially since itís a living room and not a dedicated HT. Iím not interested in getting into a turf war with the better half trying to move stuff and put up treatments. Safer that way.

Quote:
Also, I assume the device only measures the subwoofer(s)? Would it be possible to use it to measure your left and right speaker (separately)? The Hsu speakers drop off below 60 Hz but have enough output below that you can compare the relative responses in each location. Since your left speaker is near the 15H and the right speaker is near to where the MBM could go, you could get a rough idea of how the responses compare in each location.
It has a mic that came with it. The sweep is in the L&R channels. So it starts in the sub and finishes in the mains. I do have some pictures of the curve with just the sub and just the mains. Theyíre with my old speakers. They are on my PC at home. Hopefully I kept them. Iíll look when I get home and edit the post with my findings.

I really should do some new ones with the three together, sub by its self, L&R together and the L&R separately. Finding quiet time to do this kind of thing is difficult. Small home. Lots of noise and distractions. When I run Audyssey itís at about 4am when everyone is sleeping. Sometimes I get the place to myself, but instead running the sweep and moving things around to improve the curve, I watch a movie or a concert video. It's more fun.
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  #8  
Old April 1st, 2014, 3:40 PM
Tom C Tom C is offline
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I'm pretty sure that these are the two graphs. IMG_0145 is of the 15H by its self and IMG_0147 of the mains by themselves. For the 15H I raised the xo all the way up and unplugged the mains. The opposite for the mains. My previous mains were NHT 1.3's. Factory rated them down to 50Hz. I really need to redo this with my HB1's.
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  #9  
Old April 2nd, 2014, 8:15 PM
SME SME is offline
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A calibrated level of -16 doesn't demand nearly as much from the sub(s) with Dynamic EQ turned off. One of the things Dynamic EQ does is boosts the deep bass frequencies (depending on how far from the reference offset the level is set) so they are subjectively in the same balance as they were when the track was mixed. With Dynamic EQ and a reference offset of 0, the deep bass gets quite a boost at -16. To produce deep bass loud enough to hear well requires a lot of cone excursion, and when the cone is moving a lot, tones at higher frequencies (50-80 Hz) playing at the same time are distorted more.

Without Dynamic EQ, -16 is a fairly modest level. The MBM may still make an audible difference, but I don't know that it would be very dramatic. Supposing you did decide to listen at higher levels or with Dynamic EQ on, you might want to consider a second VTF-15H instead, as that would give you more overall output capability in the deep bass, which may be more helpful in your fairly open space.

I should mention that while I think the MBM is an excellent product, it's hard to recommend it to most people. It can require substantial effort and compromise (with one's wife for example) to integrate with a true sub in a way that achieves the best performance. On top of that, it is often better to buy a second true sub before buying an MBM. I only bought my MBM pair after already owning a VTF-15H and VTF3-MK4 and doing measurements to confirm that the MBMs would be good additions in the space I had for them.

If you're still feeling the itch, you should probably call or email Hsu Research directly as they may be able to better guess how an MBM will perform in that spot on the right of your TV than I can. I'm no expert. I've just been doing this for only a couple years -- long enough to have made a lot of the silly errors already.
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  #10  
Old April 3rd, 2014, 4:44 PM
Tom C Tom C is offline
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I appreciate you taking the time to share your experience and opinions. A lot of useful info to consider.

Anything I do will be a ways off. This would be too soon after getting the HB1s and the HC1. The wife knows how to use credit cards too and believe me, she can be brutal!

Since the Feature Pack is now free I think that Iíll look into getting that and try out Dynamic EQ. I like the idea behind it and would like to give it a go.

Thanks again!
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  #11  
Old May 13th, 2014, 7:04 PM
chiptouz chiptouz is offline
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Tom C,

Did you ever find out how to get the feature pack from Denon? I have the same receiver and wouldn't mind getting the pack, especially if it is free!

Chip
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  #12  
Old May 14th, 2014, 11:37 AM
Tom C Tom C is offline
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Originally Posted by chiptouz View Post
Tom C,

Did you ever find out how to get the feature pack from Denon? I have the same receiver and wouldn't mind getting the pack, especially if it is free!

Chip
Hey Chip,

Your firmware needs to be current (I believe its 1.97). Hook up to the internet (hardwire, not wi-fi) and go to: Menu>Manual setup>Option setup>Add new feature. Your receiver will check over the internet for info on the upgrade and come back saying something like you have no purchased upgrades available, then on the next screen it will display your upgrade ID. Write that number down.

Then call Denon's Airplay Upgrade Helpline (hours are 9-5 eastern) (877-924-5818). Theyíll ask for your model number and the upgrade ID. After a minute they guy will tell you that youíre ready to go.

Go back to Menu>Manual setup>Option setup>Add new feature and run it. It took me just under an hour. The Dynamic EQ and Volume will be grayed out. You have to run the Audyssey Calibration to activate them.

So far I like Dynamic EQ, but itís only good for movies because they are recorded to reference while music and TV are not. I programmed my Harmony One so that I can easily toggle it on and off.

Additional info:

The "Official" Denon Feature Pack Upgrade Thread - Page 31:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1065934/th...ade-thread/900

The "Official" Denon AVR-3808CI Thread - Page 674:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/860539/the...i-thread/20190

Tom C
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  #13  
Old May 14th, 2014, 1:09 PM
chiptouz chiptouz is offline
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Thank you! I will go ahead and take care of this tomorrow! Excellent.
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  #14  
Old May 15th, 2014, 5:25 PM
chiptouz chiptouz is offline
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Chris - took care of this today. Will be updating tonight when the fam goes to bed.

Thanks again!
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