Integrating your subwoofer in a lively untreated room is one of the most challenging aspects of audio calibration. Recently we installed 4 of the Gray Sound C40 in-ceiling speakers for a customer in their Living Room. They were performing beautifully with large sound stage and off-axis response. The Rythmik Audio L12 Subwoofer though we added to enhance the low end was sounding boomy and too punchy. We were powering the Gray Sound speakers using the Audiocontrol Rialto 600 stereo amplifier. We did not have any options for EQ or further tweaking in the amplifier. How do we create the experience the customer has paid so much for and we should be delivering to him?
We simply pulled out our UMIK-2 measurement microphone by MiniDSP and measured the speakers with the subwoofer in the center of the room. If you see the initial measurement below, you can see there is a huge peak (a rise in the overall level of the speaker) between 50 and 60 hz. Now that is your prime low frequency bass response area so now we know why the subwoofer is sounding so boomy.
So how do we tame this peak and create a smoother response across our low end? One option would be to add some absorption panels but good luck getting the interior designer of this project to accommodate that in their design. Our other option is to use one of the best features incorporated in Rythmik Audio Subwoofer, the PEQ. In not so technical terms, the PEQ allows you to choose a frequency within the low frequency range of the subwoofer and drop that frequency a certain db or level. By applying this EQ we lower the frequency as shown in the image below of the back of the Rythmik Audio L12 subwoofer around 9 db.
Now how do we know this EQ adjustment is even helping us? Well let’s take another measurement. Image provided below of our new measurement using the UMIK-2 in the same position as before after enabling the PEQ on the back of the Rythmik Audio L12 subwoofer.
As you can see you do not have that huge peak at 50 hz anymore and the response seems to have smoothened out quite a bit. Just to be sure, let’s compare this with our original measurement. Below is an overlay of the new response on top of the original response in REW.
I think we can all agree the single small adjustment we made in the wonderful PEQ feature provided in Rythmik Audio subwoofers really helped. This process of measurements and adjustments took us only around 20 minutes, and that includes setup time for the UMIK-2 and our laptop. But hearing is believing so we need to hear how this actually sounds.
The final results are on a different level. We can clearly hear the difference of how well the subwoofer blends with the mains and transitions through the crossover frequency of 80hz. No more boomy echo from the sub, but rather a tight punch which does not reverberate excessively in the live room.
Next time you find yourself in a situation where your speakers are just not sounding right, consider investing in a MiniDSP UMIK to help you measure the results and look to these super helpful solutions like the PEQ from Rythmik Audio to make some minor adjustments which make a big difference!
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