Submit Your Tip of the Day

monkish54

monkish54

Audioholic General
Measurements

Measurements are something that come up often, in audioholics articles and in many discussions. They can give insights into your equipment and room that you never thought possible, while also allowing you to really get into room correction and DIY. If you're just curious or a hardcore audioholic, odds are you can appreciate raw, objective data. However, to broach the topic can be a daunting task. You need hundreds of dollars worth of equipment in order to have something truly plug and play, or learn how to use complicated software.

However, thanks to miniDSP learning how to take measurements has never been easier. With the UMIK-1 and REW, you finally have a plug and play unit with easy to use software that will allow you to jump into measurements and objective data without breaking the bank. The best part is, with the simplicity of the unit and the fact that all you need is a laptop, test tone CD, and the mic you can bring it with you to your next in store or GTG to take a measurement or two in less than 5 minutes.

REW = Free
UMIK-1 = $75 + shipping (usually $20) Compatible with Mac/Windows/Linux with no software or drivers.

This should most definitely be published, IMO!

My brother asked me to build him a center for his RV. It would be my first speaker build, although I think I know enough now to complete it fairly successfully. I wanted to build him a fairly decent MTM but I lack measurement equipment. (I usually prefer a WTMW, but his RV seating is all pretty much on-axis, and it is my first speaker build. I don't want to push my luck!) He said his budget was $400, so I figured I'd buy measurement equipment + program and build him a center...killing two birds with one stone. He get's a center that's better than a retail counterpart, I get measurement equipment to build more speakers. WIN-WIN. I went looking for equipment and found that OmniMic (and other program/equpiment) is $300! So, I started looking for retail options only to find not one fit in his specified dimentions! It would be F---ed up if I asked him for a $400 check, and put 3/4th of that into my equipment and 1/4th into his center! That's not killing two birds with one stone, that's stealing! Now that I know I can pick up a UMIK-1 for only $95 shipped, I can start looking for drivers! :D

Thanks, Fuzz!
 
Steve81

Steve81

Audioholics Five-0
Small Towers???

As a general rule of thumb, if you have a subwoofer, your speakers should be set to "small" in your receiver. This is the case even if you have relatively large towers. There are many advantages to this including:

  • More consistent bass response across multiple channels, given that speakers in different locations will couple to the room in differently
  • The ability to place the subwoofer in the optimal location for bass reproduction
  • In a balanced system, a dedicated subwoofer can typically produce more output with less distortion than a tower speaker.
  • By transferring load off of your speakers and on to the subwoofer, you reduce their workload as well as that of your receiver/amplifier.

 
Last edited:
Adam

Adam

Audioholic Jedi
Remote Control Suddenly Not Working?

If your remote control stops working all of a sudden, and it's not the batteries, double check that you have the correct component and/or zone selected on the remote. A/V receivers with multiple zones will often have a way to select which zone is being controlled by the remote, and it's pretty easy to accidentally push a button or slide a switch to the wrong zone.

 
fuzz092888

fuzz092888

Audioholic Warlord
Do you really need the extra power?

More often than not, the question of stepping up to separates comes up. There are many different opinions and viewpoints on the matter but if you take a step back and really question why you're doing this, you may be surprised at the answers.

First, what is the sensitivity of your speakers?

How big is your room?

What are the average and peak sound pressure levels you are trying to achieve in this space?

How much power do you currently use when driving your speakers?

What SPL's are you reaching now?

Do you have enough power (outlet and from the breaker box) running into the room to support a big power amp?

Will inserting a power amp really make a difference (this relates to the previous question)?

If you like to listen to really loud music or movies or you are trying to fill a big space, maybe a change of speakers would be the more prudent adjustment to your setup.

You may also find that you aren't using as much power as you think you are or that you're just intrigued by the idea of big class A/B power amp sitting in your entertainment stand or rack. Furthermore, unless you have some dedicated outlets to plug these amps into, the odds that you will ever touch the rated output on their specifications is slim to none. An amplifier doesn't magic power out of the air; it has to come from somewhere and if your current setup isn't able to deliver the necessary power you're just wasting money and underutilizing your expensive, albeit pretty, amplifier.

These are serious questions you need to ask yourself before you go through the time and trouble that adding an external amp. There's quite a bit of fine print that isn't on the box, the advertisement, or coming from the salesman about what it takes to meaningfully add an external amplifier or deliver the SPL's you really crave.

 
fuzz092888

fuzz092888

Audioholic Warlord
Just sayin'. :p
Damnit man, I'm a math teacher not an English teacher. :D:p

It's not my fault I'm long winded, everywhere else people are always telling me to "SHUTUP"

Wait a minute...........
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Do you really need the extra power?
This needs to be stressed more. Unless your speakers have an unusually low impedance load, a separate amp is usually just a waste. Like the pictured XPR-5, it isn't going to get your speakers that much louder than a standard 100 watt/ channel AVR. Also if you really need that much more power to get your desired loudness, you are probably endangering your speakers (not to mention your hearing), and also producing a lot of distortion. I don't know of many speakers that can actually take 400 watts continuously. If you want substantially louder, the answer is louder speakers, not more power.
 
96cobra10101

96cobra10101

Senior Audioholic
Small Towers???

As a general rule of thumb, if you have a subwoofer, your speakers should be set to "small" in your receiver.
I think audyssey will automatically do this during setup, too.
 
Steve81

Steve81

Audioholics Five-0
I think audyssey will automatically do this during setup, too.

Audyssey will measure -3dB point of your speakers in room and hand that information off to your receiver. In a lot of cases, if your speakers extend low enough, the receiver will set them to full range. I know in my case, the auto-cal on my Onkyo (which uses MultEQ) likes to set my mains to large, and after the fact I'll set them at 80Hz.
 
Steve81

Steve81

Audioholics Five-0
Respect My Authority

It is worth keeping in mind that on the vast expanses of the internet, there are many websites ready, willing, and able to sell you goods at a low, low price. Unfortunately, not all of these sites are authorized by the manufacturer to sell their products. This is known as the gray market. Typically, a manufacturer will not honor the warranty of goods sold through these channels, and there is also the risk of goods being counterfeit. While it may be a little costlier, it is generally worth your while to buy the genuine article from an authorized dealer. Of course, if you're interested in value, the used market is always an option, and some manufacturers do offer transferable warranties. Buyer beware.

 
Last edited:
gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
Owners Manuals

A lot of manufacturers offer electronic copies of owners manuals on their websites to help you in case you lost yours or want to do some research. Often in PDF form, they make searching for key words easier than flipping through the manual that came with your new product. Doing a web search (such as Google) will generally find them quickly. Manuals for relatively recent products are often linked on the individual product pages, but some manufacturers also offer central sites to search for manuals (such as these pages for Denon, Pioneer, Marantz, Onkyo, and Yamaha). You can sometimes find free manuals for older products, too, using a web search.

Congrats, you're internet famous!
Tip of the Day: Online Owners Manuals — Reviews and News from Audioholics
 
Steve81

Steve81

Audioholics Five-0
Go Big Or Go Home

As a preface, I do not encourage anyone to live outside their means, and incur debt for the sake of audio. That said, it's always a good idea to buy the best equipment you can the first time, and avoid the questions of what could have been had you only spent another couple hundred dollars. Many experienced Audioholics have fallen into the trap of "cheaping out" only to come back later and buy what they really wanted in the first place (your author included). To put it another way, you will rarely if ever will read about a case where someone purchased the product they really wanted, and then later wondered what could have been if they had spent a few hundred dollars less for the next step down. On the other hand, the converse of that happens with regularity. Buy the best you can, and you'll only have to buy once; settle for less, and you might find yourself wondering and buying a second time.

 
Steve81

Steve81

Audioholics Five-0
In a similar vein:

Starting Out

Probably at least once a day, someone signs up on the Audioholics forums and asks how they can best spend X amount of dollars. In the case of a more modest budget, a smart way to approach things is to buy a surround receiver but start with a 2.1 system, ie two speakers and a subwoofer, and build from there. On a basic level, it makes sense: splitting up money for five speakers and a subwoofer means lesser quality than splitting it up for two speakers and one subwoofer. A good 2.1 system will beat a mediocre 5.1 system every single time. Of course, as the budget allows, you can pick up a center and surround speakers to have a complete 5.1 system. Ultimately, it comes down to saving money in the long run: if you buy a 5.1 system that doesn't satisfy you, you're going to eventually replace it. If you start with two good speakers and a subwoofer, this is less likely to be the case.

 
j_garcia

j_garcia

Audioholic Jedi
Speakers First!

Speakers are the single most important factor in how your system sounds. Yes, there are plenty of things that affect your overall sound such as your room and what is in it, placement of the speakers within the room, where you sit, etc... but the speaker is still going to define the majority of the sound coming out of your system. If you aren't happy with the way the speakers sound, changing other components in the system is not going to correct that. To be happy with the sound from the beginning, start by finding speakers that sound right to you. Not many people would buy a car without test driving it and speakers are no different. Since all speakers can sound very different from each other, ideally you will do this by auditioning a variety of speakers to find out what sort of sound you like and don't like.

 
Steve81

Steve81

Audioholics Five-0
Size Matters

When it comes to the world of loudspeakers, there is one rule everyone should be familiar with: Hoffman's Iron Law. In short, you cannot have a very small, high efficiency speaker with deep bass extension. Keeping this in mind, it should be noted that a tiny cube speaker is simply working against physics, even when used in concert with a subwoofer. A cube with a 2.5 inch "woofer" simply can't dig deep enough and deliver enough output to blend properly with a good subwoofer. Even a small bookshelf speaker like the NHT SuperZero or the Ascend HTM-200 represents an immense upgrade over the small cubes. So the next time you're shopping around at Best Buy and you see the ubiquitous cubes, just remember size does matter!

 
gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
The Tripod

Whether you're calibrating your surround sound system or taking a photograph, a tripod can make a big difference in the results you get. The tripod will lift the microphone to your ear level and reduce the potential for interference and noise that would be present if you physically held the microphone in place. A good quality tripod can be inexpensive and are they readily available at a variety of retailers.

For other handy tips to maximize the potential of an auto-calibration system, particularly Audyssey MultEQ products:
How to MultEQ | Audyssey

Congrats, your internet famous :)

Tip of the Day: Use a Tripod with your Microphone for A/V Calibrations — Reviews and News from Audioholics
 

newsletter
  • RBHsound.com
  • BlueJeansCable.com
  • SVS Sound Subwoofers
  • Experience the Martin Logan Montis
Top