Polk PSW111 - Quieter than expected bass when volume is low - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 2009-10-19, 11:53 AM Thread Starter
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Polk PSW111 - Quieter than expected bass when volume is low

I originally had an Infinity speaker set, but my sub died. I recently purchased a PSW111 to replace the sub, but am not happy with the bass level when the receiver volume is low (e.g. when watching a TV show at a normal volume level). I have the sub set to auto for power, and sometimes it doesn't even turn on (unless I turn up the volume or if the TV theme music comes on). Even when it does turn on, the bass level seems to be pretty low. Sometimes it turns off in the middle of a show.

I followed the instructions and set the other speakers to "small". I did not change any of the other default settings. I'm using the LFE connection. I did not have this problem with the Infinity subwoofer. I think the Infinity was a 10", but I didn't think there would be such a difference, especially after all the reviews I read.

I placed it about 8 feet away from the receiver, probably a foot or two from the corner of the room. The cable I'm using is a low quality RCA cable, probably around 15" (I was planning on replacing this with a monoprice cable soon). I used to have the Infinity sub right behind the TV connected with a 6" RCA cable (probably not a good idea to have it so close to the TV and other equipment).

Please note that when the volume is loud, the subwoofer is pretty impressive. It doesn't shake the house, but it does fill the sound well and is very clean.

I decided on the PSW111 based on the great reviews, the size, plus my needs (I don't need house shaking bass). However, I expected a little more when the volume is lower. Could I be doing something wrong, or is this how the sub performs on a lower volume setting?
timby is offline  
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 2009-10-19, 01:16 PM
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I don't see where you recalibrated the sub level. This is a different sub than what you had, so it will need to have its level adjusted to match your system. Try that for a start.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 2009-10-19, 03:20 PM Thread Starter
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Are you referring to the level adjustment dial on the back of the subwoofer? If so, I have played with that a bit. Even on the highest setting, it still isn't very loud. I'm guessing this also wouldn't affect the incoming signal level used to determine when to power the sub on and off. I'd say I currently have it set at two thirds of the way.

If you're talking about the level on the receiver for the sub, then you're correct. I have to admit that I've never really "optimized" my settings. I've meant to look into it, but never found the time. I guess I should finally get to that. Does any one know of any good generic guides for tweaking the settings on the receiver to get the best sound possible for your set up? I don't really know what many of the receiver settings are for.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 2009-10-19, 04:35 PM
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Does your sub have different inputs? I ask because some do. My sub has one input that bypasses the level adjustment on the sub and must be set with receiver. Another input uses the sub level adjustment. I'm thinking your sub level in your receiver may be set too low. You need to use a test tone to set this. The absolute best way would be by using a sound pressure level meter along with the test tone.

If you can find a DVD with a THX optimizer on it, there are some tones for adjusting audio levels. Pixar movies have the optimizer in the settings menu. It will get you in the ball park for levels.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 2009-10-19, 06:36 PM
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Some subs on auto turn off at a relatively high volume. That means they don't turn on or they cycle off at low volume levels. I have the same problem and it's compounded by a receiver that has relatively low LFE out. The answer may be to turn the auto feature off and leave the sub on at all times. Most subs consume fairly low power levels at zero volume so it's not a big energy waster.

At 20 I had a good mind. At 40 I had money. At 60 I've lost my mind and my money. Oh, to be 20 again. --Scary
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 2009-10-20, 11:34 AM
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What receiver model do you have? Most within the last few years come with an auto calibration feature. You can then go and tweak it to your liking; in your case, perhaps increasing the volume of the sub via the receiver and/or the volume knob on the back of the sub.

While you're at it, and the auto calibration might do this automatically, but make the crossover is set correctly in the receiver.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 2009-10-20, 03:04 PM
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The receiver 'should' allow for an LFE adj of -10 to +10 db. If it's at the default setting of 0 (as I suspect) then a slight boost of +2 or +3 db might suffice to turn on the sub at low volumes.

Please do readjust the 'volume/gain' setting on the sub again - for both high volumes and low to ensure the sub sounds right under all situations. (Change one setting and you have to readjust everything else).
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 2009-10-22, 09:45 PM
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It's the auto on feature

I had mine set up that way for about 10 minutes. The only way to get the sub to go on while watching tv was to crank my volume way up until it came on, but then a few minutes later it would go into standby. I now leave it powered on all the time but plug it into the switched outlet on the back of my receiver. Another thing too, a lot of tv signals just don't have that much bass to begin with, which would be why the auto on does not work all that great.
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