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Old 06-11-2009, 07:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PHC1 View Post
What doesn't kill us, only makes us stronger and meaner.....
After Sunday, I must be pretty mean, but I surely didn't feel stronger on Monday.
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Old 06-11-2009, 07:51 PM
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I had a similar experience with my setup of the single F113. What sounded seamlessly integrated on one cd sounded non existent or muddy on others. I calmed down and approached it much like jdandy recommended, as an enjoyable process.
Like you, I only had one good location for the sub. What worked was this; At first I had the sub pointing at the listening position. I incrementally rotated the speaker a few degrees at a time to point off centerline. At about 30-45 degrees off center everything started to smooth out. Now the Rives disc has arrived and I'll keep tweaking.
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Old 06-12-2009, 12:07 AM
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Serge, did you ever copy and move your JL setup here from there? I remember reading it and if I recall it should be required reading.

Gordon
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Old 06-12-2009, 12:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordon View Post
Serge, did you ever copy and move your JL setup here from there? I remember reading it and if I recall it should be required reading.

Gordon
I went on a recon mission there and can't seem to find the posts. I have limited access to that place.
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Old 06-12-2009, 01:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PHC1 View Post
I went on a recon mission there and can't seem to find the posts. I have limited access to that place.
How did you tie in your JL112's to the Wilson's without a crossover?

Sub hz?
Master volume setting?
LP 12 or 24?
ect..
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Old 06-12-2009, 10:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdandy View Post

I have begun to think that seperate left and right subs might be the best way to go. Still pondering that.
Easy Dan I won't get my first F113 until Monday.
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Old 06-12-2009, 10:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PHC1 View Post
I went on a recon mission there and can't seem to find the posts. I have limited access to that place.
Is this it????

1. Run the "ARO" self calibration on the sub by itself. Any major peaks in the room that would fall into the future frequency range they will be used in, will be eliminated.

2. Use the polarity switch while playing bass test tones around the range of the crossover point to get them to blend smoothly. One setting may cause a greater output than the other, leave it there.

3. If your sub is in close proximity to the speakers, play bass warble test tones in the frequency range the sub will be used. Set the "phase" on the sub by listening to that bass test tone, there will be a narrow range when the bass will suddenly "double up", this means the sub is now in phase with the speakers. If your sub is far away, sit in the listening spot and have someone else tweak the "phase and listen for the increased bass output and have them stop right there. (I had to do it with each channel separate as I am running a pair of them.)

4. Set the master gain by using an SPL meter while playing test tones from say 200Hz down to 20Hz, have the sub/speaker bass output match the speaker only output above your crossover point. In the likely event that some frequency ranges will be uneven, (the room will interfere,) you can use the "ELF trim" to get rid of some bumps and dips in the very low frequency range.

5. Using the SPL meter, you will discover some peaks and dips along the way, use the "LP filter" and "ELF trim" to get the response as even as possible. If you change the LP filter, go back and re-adjust the phase setting.

This will get you very close to optimal settings with only the SPL meter and a bass test tones CD that are easy to get. If you want to take it further, you will need a tone generator and frequency spectrum analyzer.
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Old 06-12-2009, 10:44 AM
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PHC1 posts

Finally received the F112's this afternoon. Since I ordered a pair of F112' and a Bryston 10B-Sub balanced active crossover and there are 3 components involved, I wanted to break this review into 3 parts. This way I could track the changes from single F112 to a stereo pair of F112's and finally integrating the 10B x-over. I will take notes and share the results so anyone interested in adding a sub/subs/x-over into their own system may find this helpful.

Part I. Singe F112.

After taking the well packed, double boxed F112 out of the boxes I proceeded to place the sub in the right corner of my room. Not much wiggle room in that corner but just enough to do some fine tuning with positioning as it turned out later.

The F112 features a single 12" long excursion driver in a sealed cabinet and 1500w built-in amp. I chose the gloss black finish. Elegant looking sub for sure. I feel the F112 is appropriate for my current 14x17 room. The F113 may have been just a touch too big dimensions wise as I have little room room to wiggle them between the wall unit and the corners of the room.

I've been preparing for their arrival by ordering a 30ft pair of balanced cables from BlueJeans. They use the extra low capacitance, braided and shielded Belden 1800F cable. Since I needed a 30ft pair, the price was right and there was no reason to buy anything more expensive in my mind for subwoofer use that will see 80Hz and lower at best. (Not at this point).

Since I needed the XLR outs of MDA for the subs before I can go back to them with the 10B, I've been listening to my system with RCA cables driving the 501s from the MDA to get used to the sound. Yes, there is a bit of a difference. The RCA cables make the system sound a bit "forward" with the soundstage a little closer than what I've been used to with the XLRs. There is also a little more energy up top as compared to the XLRs. The JL Audio folks recommend the balanced inputs for their subs and with 30ft lengths it was a necessity to go XLR anyway. The 10B will have balanced in and outs so I will be able to go back to XLRs for both the amps and subs.

Digging out my SPL meter and Stereophile test CD 3, I took base measurements from 200Hz to 20Hz with just my Guarneri for reference. The Guarneri are essentially flat from 200Hz to about 40Hz save for a few +/-2dB peaks and dips along the way. The bass falls off sharply below 40Hz. This is by far the flattest response I have measured with any of the previous speakers in my system.

Hooking up the F112 with both L and R XLRs straight out of MDA and setting it up as "master" as well as plugging it in is all it takes before the tweaking begins. The sub will sum the L+R channel in this configuration. Those with "sub out" in their pre/pro can just use the L/mono channel.

I decided to fine tune the sub with the SPL meter and get it to blend in as close as possible with the speakers before actually listening to music and fine tuning it by ear. I am not a bass freak by any means, I hate boomy, bloated or over-emphasized bass. I need natural bass that blends in smoothly and can be appreciated only in the context of recording and in such a way that no one would ever be able to tell there is a sub in a blind listening test. This is what I am used to and this is what I set out to achieve. The REL subs are very musical subs and I am familiar with them so the JL Audio Fathom F112 had its work cut out for it.

The F112 offers ample controls to achieve the desired result. Not to bore anyone with unnecessary details (one can download the manual and take a look at the controls as well as all the patents the JL Audio holds on their website, wow. http://home.jlaudio.com/products_sub...php?page_id=33)

After fine tuning it with the SPL meter I arrived at the settings that gave me the smoothest response, crossed over at 37Hz, polarity at 180, phase at 45deg, elf trim at -8, master level set at approx 10 o'clock, essentially flat response from 200Hz to 20Hz, +/- 1dB from 80Hz to 20Hz. Some positioning changes in the corner was necessary to achieve this. This will be fun!!! I also ran the auto-calibration sequence which was fun and made the room and my teeth rattle with the included mike. The sub will self calibrate from 200Hz down to 20Hz and eliminate the highest peaks in the room response. I didn't notice a difference because it if did smooth out something along the way, I am only using the 37Hz x-over at this point with 12dB Low Pass filter slope.

Now to the important stuff. How does it sound? After a few hours of listening and tweaking the settings and positioning some more, basically arriving at the initial settings as the flat SPL response sounded the best to me in the end anyways.

I can say this, this sub has met and exceeded my expectations. It goes without saying that the single sub has added tremendous sense of weight and scale. Smooth, extended bass response down to 20Hz, maybe lower but I don't have any source material that offers any signals lower than 20Hz. I've spent some time listening to systems with well integrated subs but I have never realized that the spacious, three-dimensional soundstage is what the sub brings to the table.

I've always just assumed that the sub will add bass and enhance the bottom octave and the rest is due to speakers and their positioning/integration into the room. Well, this sub just added another dimension to my listening experience! The soundstage immediately opened up and deepened by a significant margin. Surprisingly this is noticeable all across the frequency spectrum, not just the bass. Bill from Sumiko has mentioned this effect to me, the pressurization of the room and recreation of the ambiance is what a good sub will bring. It's one thing to listen to someone describe it and another to witness this in your own system. I am very impressed with the results.

If anyone is rolling their eyes and saying, "oh, yeah, sure, another boom-boom bass lover" right about now. Trust me, there is none of that. I've never liked it, I've never had it in my system. The bass does not jump out at you. It doesn't rattle my room or floor unless there is over abundance of bass on the recording (my son will be happy when he listens to his trance/techno stuff on my system. ) My music sounds smooth and natural, there is no artificial bloat, no over-hang and no ripeness to any recording or instruments within them that I have listened to so far. I've tried various rock, jazz, blues and some classical recordings so far. I strongly prefer the smaller driver/sealed subs (REL being an exception) for their fast, tight, crisp and articulate bass response. This sub does not disappoint. It's not about the quantity, it's about quality!

I'd say that in my system the enhanced soundstage takes the award followed closely by the new found level of weight and scale, especially on recordings that benefit from it the most such as a few classical pieces I have come across so far. On recordings that have hard left or right bass instruments and drums, the instruments are defined with a holographic presentation and take on body and three-dimensionality unlike I have experienced before in my system with any of the speakers before these. Not that I've ever been able to achieve a smooth response like this with full range speakers in my room. Just not possible in my 14x17 room. This sub does it with ease. There is something to say about the realism of a complete drum set sitting well outside the boundaries of the speakers with proportional, realistic size and convincing, holographic presence. Close your eyes and you are there!

I'd say the F112 is very close if not the same performance that I have experienced from upper line REL subs. Of course this sub is half the price of an REL so I got a pair of them to see what that brings to the table, as well as the Bryston 10B to relieve the 501s and the speakers from some mid/low bass, essentially bi-amping in my system which does not allow to be bi-amped. (one pair of speaker binding posts only).

Stay tuned for part II. Stereo pair of Fathom F112's.
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Last edited by Pyro; 06-12-2009 at 10:52 AM.
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  #19 (permalink)  
Old 06-12-2009, 10:45 AM
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PHC1 posts

Part II. Stereo pair of F112's.

Finally had a chance to set up the second F112.

After having to unpack the sub for the second time, I really appreciated the way these 115lbs subs are logically packed and flipping the box upside down and removing it by pulling it up, you wind up with the sub right side up and ready to be "walked" into position.


Having played around with the first F112, I more or less knew what to expect and got straight to business. With all the settings set to let ARO (automatic room calibration) process complete itself, I decided to just duplicate the settings on this left F112 from the right F112 and see what happens. Turning off the right sub and measuring the response of the left sub with the SPL meter showed that it was way off. Just goes to show you how bass varies in different locations of the room let alone different rooms. The R sub loads the room much more than the L sub (left side of the room opens up into the hallway). After adjusting the gain to get a flat response from 200Hz to 20Hz like I did with the R sub, I turned them both on and re-checked the response, still flat. So far so good.

Music test. Running through some of my CDs I used to set up the first sub, I can honestly say I was less than impressed with results. The bass sounded thick and slow. There was some overhang/lingering and bloated bass notes that did not sound natural. Hmm... Obviously the second sub complicates things quite a bit.

Time to rethink the process. Having checked with the SPL and playing around with the gain and ELF trim proved that both subs were not overloading the room and the 40Hz to 20Hz was in line with the rest of the frequency spectrum, I decided to break out the tape measure. The subs turned out to be a few inches off from the listening position. Adjusting the sub positioning slightly and making them even produced a much improved response. Now we're getting somewhere.

At this point it made sense, the bass notes that were center-stage and arriving equally from both subs were off in phase slightly, making the bass sound slow and thick while recordings with hard left or hard right bass notes sounded better. Adjusting the phase a few degrees at a time on the L sub did the trick and suddenly the bass locked in solid with a crisp, natural sound. The strings on bass instruments developed their natural bloom, speed and coherence. Excellent! At this point I was very satisfied but man, this second sub really complicated things quite a bit. It seems every tweak or slight movement of one affects the overall sound with both in the system, at least in my room.

Some serious listening. Are two stereo subs better than one?

After listening for a few hours with subs all adjusted, I can say that YES, there is a bit of an advantage but not as drastic as I would have guessed. At least not with the subs crossed over at 35Hz. When it comes time to cross over the speakers at around 60-80Hz, it may be a completely different story as the very low bass notes are not directional to our ears but 60Hz and up may be pushing it with only one sub and it may prove a necessity to run them both carefully adjusted to match each other and blended in smoothly with the speakers.

From my listening sessions so far I'd say the second sub added another degree of solidity across the sound stage and helps develop the bass even further. The bass harmonics are now spectacular but if one doesn't take care of fine tuning the stereo pair of subs it will actually sound worse than one sub! Bass notes arriving slightly out of phase will muck things up or so was the case in my room with near-field listening set up. (My speakers are wider in the room than my listening position to the center line between them. ) Of course once things are dialed in, wow, simply amazing. I still can't get over how great these JL Audio subs sound.

From my experience so far, I'd strongly recommend either the F112 or F113 to anyone wanting to augment their speakers and extend the frequency down to 20Hz solid. Never mind the full, tight, articulate bass, you will not believe what it does to the sound stage! A second sub is an option if you are willing to play around and carefully tweak it, otherwise just go with one. Of course I suspect that two subs will be much better or may be even a necessity when one tries to cross things over a bit higher than 30-40Hz.

The second sub installation also gave me the opportunity to switch to the reasonably priced but impressive quality Zebra power cords with the gold plated Furutech terminations. I don't know if they made a difference over the stock power cords and I am not even going to try to determine that, I doubt I will be able to hear the difference at 35Hz only. But I did need a 20Ft length for the L sub so I upgrade the cords on both.


Stay tuned for Part III. Active crossover in the system. As soon as I get the Bryston 10B.
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Last edited by Pyro; 06-12-2009 at 10:53 AM.
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Old 06-12-2009, 10:48 AM
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Had a chance to play around with the Bryston 10B sub x/o. To say that I am impressed with the results would be a big understatement. I am ecstatic with the results!

After spending a better part of the day tweaking the settings on both the 10B x/o and the F112s, I came up with what I think are the excellent settings in my room. Of course I will try to optimize it further once I get my hands on some additional gear such as frequency spectrum analyzer, a mike and software so I can map the response and visualize it better. There is only so much you can do with a sound meter. Actually the final tweaking was done strictly by ear. It helps that you can mute the high pass and work on the subs alone and the fact that I can work on one side at a time (sub/speaker integration) with shutting one of the 501s down.

There are many benefits to this kind of a setup and I will just borrow them from various articles (otherwise I will get carpal tunnel trying to type all this stuff. see below). In summary, the 501s now have a much easier time with music with large dynamic swings and very low frequency reproduction as they only deal with 70Hz on up and let the 1300w amps of the F112s deal with the real low bass. This of course has a two-fold improvement and advantage. My speakers no longer need to strain to reproduce those frequencies, as smooth and good as they are to 30-35Hz, they are no match for the 13" long excursion drivers of the F112s that reach to 20Hz and below. And the other is mentioned above, the 501s meters no longer "swing" like they used to, the amp has a much easier time to drive the speakers and the midrange is now in a whole different league all together. The amps no longer have to recover from deep bass, the midrange is clearer due to both factors and even the highs are improved. The whole sound took on a more "relaxed" presentation with clearer vocals and sharper, more defined instruments across the whole frequency spectrum. Imaging/focus is now better than ever. The deep, tight, crisp bass that is in line with the rest of the frequency spectrum is like nothing I have ever had in my system before with any of the speakers. I am very impressed and my speakers seem to be happier than ever. The 275MKIV will be driving the system next, I feel it will benefit even greater from this setup but we will see.


Some further info. The benefits to my system are very much inline with what this author had to say:

From 6moons 10B sub review:

Bass performance aside, the biggest surprise with the 10B-Sub was that it introduced no audible downsides at all. Most audiophiles will be wary of introducing yet another component into the signal chain and I was no different. Yet I heard absolutely no deterioration whatsoever by adding the 10B-Sub. Bryston explains how they eschew ICs or digital filters and that the 10B uses all analog class A discrete circuits and is in effect a very high quality class A preamplifier. Nevertheless, the thought of introducing a second 'preamplifier' to a system will likely keep many an audiophile up at night. Well, sometimes there's theory and then there's practice. Again, I heard no downside. Upsides? They were grand and they were numerable.

"In several ways, an active crossover makes life very much easier on your entire system. First, when you remove the bass signals from the main amplifier, you really brighten its day. The reproduction of bass consumes a lot of power. Once those bass frequencies are removed, the demands on the amplifier diminish greatly. Usually one can get by with half the amplifier power, often less. Second, many speakers, though capable of deep bass, do so only grudgingly. Their manufacturer may specify an F3 of 30Hz but that doesn't mean the speaker is happy doing it. It doesn't mean that it truly articulates at that frequency - and you'll never see a specification indicating just how much distortion it's adding there. Crossing over at some point above 30Hz to a subwoofer whose raison d'ętre is the reproduction of clean articulated deep bass can be a great move. If you're using two or 2.5-way speakers whose main drivers must do both vocals and bass, relieving them of the high excursions required for bass frequencies improves midrange clarity."

"Then there's the well-known compromise while situating a pair of speakers in your room and having to choose between bass response and imaging. Subtract the bass, send it to a subwoofer located where it works best and you are free to place the speakers where they shine. Even if you're using large three-way speakers, you can still benefit in this way. Then there's the ability to tweak the bass response of the system by punching up the bass at the sub if you desire; or manipulating your way around a nasty room mode. In short, there are all sorts of ways the addition of an active crossover and a good sub or two can benefit your entire system."


"Last but not least, adding a good crossover and subwoofer, particularly to a two-way system may make for greater dynamics. Hopefully you'll get a good microdynamic bounce as the midrange driver takes a step forward by way of articulation. In terms of macro dynamics, once relieved of those big bass excursions, you may find that your speakers
now play louder and with a lesser sense of strain and distortion."



Here is the whole article: http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/b...crossover.html


Another review of the 10B Stereophile: Home Page

Another: Stereophile: Home Page
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Last edited by Pyro; 06-12-2009 at 10:53 AM.
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