Thursday, December 1, 2011

Bass even better up closer

For my monthly party last Sunday I moved listening chair from center of living room.  On Tuesday I moved it back, but positioned to the tape markings I made about a month ago, and NOT to the most recent super-forward listening position.

When I moved up again to that position on Wednesday, the imaging on the Bass E album was fantastic.

Now I've marked all the new positions (chair and speakers) with masking tape.  Other speaker and chair positions are still marked as well.

My ear now lines up with front edge of sidewall bookcase.  The slightly back position puts it in line with the second book.  Anywhere in between those positions is fine, though with the forward position I can lie back and still have great image, and I think the slightly wider speaker angle is better.  There is a slight tendency to miniaturize the image, I imagine a large 5 foot thick fishtank at the front of the room that the musicians are playing in.  But not so bad, actually, and the coherency is wonderful and brings the kind of 3d transparency that headphones can have.

While the bass does sound a bit boomy on this recording around the room, particularly at the Kitchen doorway, in the listening position(s) it settles down very nicely, rounded but not boomy.  Still, the need for acoustic or other bass treatments is still obvious.

At the listening position, living room system bass now sounds very similar to bedroom system bass, which has long been a reference after it was carefully tuned by manually set parametric filters.  I listened to Bass E on bedroom for awhile.  It is quite amazing what the comparatively compact SVS 1646 subwoofer can do.  That unit has always amazed me, I had never been so amazed by my pair of SVS PB13 Ultra's, until recently discovering the benefits of plugging at least one port.

A recent review of the newest PB13 Ultra shows that SVS no longer recommends plugging two ports with the 10Hz cutoff, and no longer provide the 10Hz cutoff.  They recommend all ports open, one port plugged, or all 3 ports plugged.

Here are some measurements of the PB13 with two ports plugged (10Hz tuning) at Home Theater Shack.  While the flatness of response is superb, the distortion gets very high at 110dB.  Ilkka doesn't recommend the 10Hz tuning except for music listening at low to medium levels.  He feels the added extension is barely noticeable but the added distortion (if you are playing loudly) is very noticeable.  Here are the measurements of the PB13 with 15 Hz (one port plugged) tuning.  OK, comparing the two, it's indeed easy to see the lower distortion at levels above 100dB.  Ilkka feels the added extension in the 15Hz mode is worth it compared to 20Hz mode (no ports plugged) and causes only a tiny loss in clean output above 20Hz.

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