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rawdon51
2010-11-25, 09:10
Hi All,

Wondering if someone could help me. I have a multi-room setup using Squeezebox and one room is a little on the large side for the wall-mounted speakers that the Squeezebox plays through (Dinging/Kitchen, open plan). This results in a slightly lightweight sound. I could change the speakers for something larger, but don't really want anything larger than the current MA Radius 90 on the wall. Running a sub from the amp (which is in the neighbouring lounge) is a non-starter as the sub output on the amp is already taken by the surround system in that room.

So (crazy solution alert!), I'm wondering if I can put a second receiver unobtrusively in the room (e.g. tucked behind a chair...) and connect the receiver ONLY to a powered sub that should, hopefully, make the sound more "full" as a sat/sub pairing, using synchronization in Squeezebox Server to keep the two in sync. I have tested - kind of - with a mini system and a second receiver in a sync'd pairing and it sounds much better. So now just looking for advice on whether I can replace the mini system anyhow with a more discrete (and possibly better sounding) sub.

Thanks for your assistance.

Phil Leigh
2010-11-25, 09:24
Hi All,

Wondering if someone could help me. I have a multi-room setup using Squeezebox and one room is a little on the large side for the wall-mounted speakers that the Squeezebox plays through (Dinging/Kitchen, open plan). This results in a slightly lightweight sound. I could change the speakers for something larger, but don't really want anything larger than the current MA Radius 90 on the wall. Running a sub from the amp (which is in the neighbouring lounge) is a non-starter as the sub output on the amp is already taken by the surround system in that room.

So (crazy solution alert!), I'm wondering if I can put a second receiver unobtrusively in the room (e.g. tucked behind a chair...) and connect the receiver ONLY to a powered sub that should, hopefully, make the sound more "full" as a sat/sub pairing, using synchronization in Squeezebox Server to keep the two in sync. I have tested - kind of - with a mini system and a second receiver in a sync'd pairing and it sounds much better. So now just looking for advice on whether I can replace the mini system anyhow with a more discrete (and possibly better sounding) sub.

Thanks for your assistance.

It will work, but there may be a better alternative which will improve sound quality as well as giving you more ooomph.
Get an external DAC (could be a used one) - maybe you can pickup a Cambridge Audio DacMagic at a similar price to another Receiver?

Connect Receiver via s/pdif or Toslink to DAC and then DAC to amp (in the other Lounge) - enjoy improved sound from DAC.
Connnect (now unused) analogue outs of Receiver to your sub.

No worries over ANY sync issues. Less things to go wrong. All round better sound. Happy Days?

( you will need to use the Receiver volume control as your main volume control to keep the relative levels between sub and main fixed, once you have set them up as you like them)

iPhone
2010-11-25, 09:42
Phil is very knowledgeable and I agree with just about every subject he replies to, but I will have to disagree with him in this case. Nothing, even including a subwoofer, can fix lack of bass from small speakers.

What is at issue here is that your mains don't go low enough in bass frequency response. Adding a subwoofer will only make it more noticeable because there will be a "hole" in the bass response with added low bottom boom. To add a subwoofer, the main speakers need a full octave of active overlap before the mains start rolling off for it to blend and be seamless. Small speakers just can't go low because of driver size and cabinet size limitations, its just a matter of physics.

The proper solution is larger speakers (probably floor standers) and then if the room is still to big adding a subwoofer with them. What I am saying is that if just plain floor standing speakers that go fairly low will not solve the problem, adding a sub to the current speakers will never be able to solve the problem.

rawdon51
2010-11-25, 12:02
Guys - thanks both for your answers. iPhone - I hear what you are saying, what I do may just be a workaround and ideally bigger speakers would be the solution, but I think on this occasion aesthetics (and marital harmony!) may just win out, so probably will try to stay down the sat/sub route.

Phil - a very ingenious solution, which I assume works as the analogue & digital outs work simultaneously? (I didn't know that....). Only hitch.....my AV receiver (Onkyo) only allows ANALOGUE inputs to be played out to "Zone 2", so I don't think that would work (....otherwise as the SB receiver has digital out and my Onkyo digital in, I guess we'd be sorted even without the external DAC?).

Have been playing a bit more with "synchronization", and have hit some "buffering" issues, maybe down to wi-fi connection. Oh well, back to the drawing board?.....

Phil Leigh
2010-11-25, 12:35
Phil is very knowledgeable and I agree with just about every subject he replies to, but I will have to disagree with him in this case. Nothing, even including a subwoofer, can fix lack of bass from small speakers.

What is at issue here is that your mains don't go low enough in bass frequency response. Adding a subwoofer will only make it more noticeable because there will be a "hole" in the bass response with added low bottom boom. To add a subwoofer, the main speakers need a full octave of active overlap before the mains start rolling off for it to blend and be seamless. Small speakers just can't go low because of driver size and cabinet size limitations, its just a matter of physics.

The proper solution is larger speakers (probably floor standers) and then if the room is still to big adding a subwoofer with them. What I am saying is that if just plain floor standing speakers that go fairly low will not solve the problem, adding a sub to the current speakers will never be able to solve the problem.

Well... It all depends on the specifics of the speakers and the sub.

I wasn't advocating this on pure sound quality grounds. NOTHING beats full size main speakers, but not everyone has room for them.

The MA RA90's claim to go down to 35Hz, but in practice they will struggle to be anywhere near flat at 60Hz, given their 4 inch driver and small cabinet, even with a reflex port. So, yes, as iPhone says, it ain't going to be "hi-fi" unless you can get a sub that goes up to (say) 100Hz. Something like a big Rel would be a good choice - albeit expensive.

That will get rid of the bass "hole". I've heard some sat+sub systems that sound good (for what they are).


The real issue with sat+sub systems is not a frequency response one - it's that the sats will always have a greatly superior transient response and getting a convincing level of integration can be very difficult. It usually requires an expensive sub... especially if it has to go up to 100Hz.


My sub kicks in at 40Hz...

My idea was more about not needing a second receiver. If you go down the REL route, they are optimised to take their feed from the speaker output to your main speakers, rather than a line level feed. That would also be a good solution for you if you can accomodate the wiring (speaker cable...amp to sub, sub to mains).

Actually that's the most obvious solution.

I hadn't realised you were already using the digital out from the Receiver to your amp, but the idea still stands - use the analogue outs from the Receiver to the sub.


Oh - and forgot to mention that of course sub placement in the room is pretty crucial.