Not enough bass even after house curve with Audyssey app

The last time I created a house curve, it was around 2003 and I was using a Behringer Bass Feedback Destroyer, True RTA (real time analyzer) with a microphone amplifier, a CD with test tones and a Radioshack sound meter.

Fast forward 20 years and I’m still using the same subwoofer from 2003, but ditched the BFD and 20 yr old Yamaha AVR, and suddenly it is simple with the Denon X3800H and Audyssey app, but also much more complicated as there are more things to do and options.

I ran Audyssey and got the following bass adjustments :point_down:

Using my pinky, I created this house curve

My main issue is that Audyssey told me the bass level was too high during calibration and asked me to lower the subwoofer gain to just 10%. Even after implementing the house curve with a 10db increase from 20-30Hz and increases until 100Hz, there is not enough bass punch as I’m used to having the dual woofer SVS with 1,000W rattling the windows. I have DEQ off.

I can get the punch back if I manually raise the sub’s gain to 30% or so, but I’m afraid that I’m affecting the Audyssey calibration. Do any of you guys find the bass too soft after Audyssey and simply whack up the gain on the sub. I can also increase the sub output on the Denon, but that seemed less effective.

Did you read this thread - Everything about Audyssey Calibration that you need to know. I have covered literally everything about Audyssey. You may find something useful.

I did, which is why I turned DEQ off and went from Reference to flat. However, I didn’t follow your guide on house curve as I was lazy to use Ratbuddysey software as the only working PC in my house is the MadVR machine hooked up to the projector and it doesn’t work on Mac. It seemed simple enough to drag the curve on the Audyssey app. But I didn’t see anything on what to do if after implementing a house curve (mine is already 10db at 20-30Hz) that the bass still lower than desired and whether its ok to fiddle with the gain on the sub.

Sorry to hear that the app didn’t work for u. But dont lose heart, It didnt for me too.

Doing subs’ hc via audyssey app is not that great. I tried many times too but didnt have good result and didnt sound good. In the end, went back to dsp.

Antimode / MiniDSP does a much better job. And it allows time alignment between multiple subs.

Did u measure with rew to see how your eventual hc looked like?

i let audyssey run, then i just manually went to the sub, n played with the levels manually.

Haven’t used REW yet, but I do have a UMIK-1 microphone and will measure the room soon. At least REW works on a Mac. Amazing that it’s free. Remember paying quite a bit for TrueRTA 20 years ago.

Did you just turn of Audyssey’s processing for the sub or do you not use Audyssey at all?

Yeah, that gave me back the bass. I adjusted it to just under what causes all the windows and doors to rattle. After Audyssey, the dialog is very clear, but seems a bit harsh. I might limit Audyssey to only the low frequencies on the center channel to see if it makes a difference. Are you using the app? Its quite good for USD20.

no, i didnt buy the app… hehehe!!
i dont even know how to use “Direc” which is “Preloaded n ready” in my Nad C658 BluOS Streaming DAC…(For my strictly pure stereo setup)
:rofl: :joy:

I was considering C658 because of the included Dirac but ended up getting simpler/cheaper streamer :grinning:
Btw I don’t use any of those Audyssey and stuff. Maybe my HT standard is not up to you guys… :sweat_smile:

hehehe!! i dont even understand the “Graphs”
how to do anything when all i see is erratic lines going up n down…
:sweat_smile: :rofl: :joy: :laughing:

Must always use rew to verify. Because sometimes audyssey gives no good result, esp for below 150hz region. Sometimes can be v good. Hit and miss.

I use audyssey for the sub but keep it at the basic outcome that audyssey gives for reference setting. Deq must be off. Dyn vol must be off. Reference.

Then after audyssey calibration, use the dsp to tweak my house curve.

How many subs do u have?

Maybe I shouldn’t have thrown out my Behringer BFD but it probably makes sense to get a modern equalizer that works directly with REW if I give up on Audyssey . Used to be pen and paper with the BFD. Alternative is to try Dirac.

I have just one SVS PB12/2 in the family room which has two 12 inch drivers, three 4 inch ports and 1,000W. Above 40% or so gain, windows shake violently. I also have two other smaller SVS subs in the living room that I can move into the family room to try directional bass. The room doesn’t need more power

Old school is sometimes the best. If I play music through the 3800, I use an external DAC and Pure Direct mode, disabling Audyssey and everything else.

However, about 20 years ago, I did realize that unless I equalized the bass, I couldn’t hear the snare drum in Hotel California due to my room defects. Perhaps after I figure out REW, I might get a Mini DSP to get the snare drum back.

Oic. Well if u have spare smaller svs subs lying around (which shld hv some quality bass but just that they can’t dig low), it might be useful to explore to add them into the equation for the purpose of smoothening out your bass curve and fill the dips, but u will need a dsp. Minidsp 2x4 will be a good vfm option, that cost below $300

But because your smaller svs subs have lower headroom and will bottom out much faster than the pb12, need to deploy a hpf on the smaller subs besides lpf so that its output stay within the headroom and capability. Otherwise, it will affect the entire bass sq.

Well more subs does not nec mean “more power”. It gives your entire system more headroom across freq and also, helps to fill up the nasty dips of the room. It gives u better control of the bass in a sense.

One common issue of a 1 sub setup is the existence of big dips and peaks in your bass below 120hz. Because of the fact that u are not able to eradicate the dips, it somehow causes u to have huge amplitude swings in your bass whenever there are dips.

And to make things worse, sometimes, when we dont feel the bass is syok, we usually increase the gain of the sub till it feel syok. This cause the peaks to be even higher as u have higher spl across all your peaks. And if your dips are right at the freq where it produces thump and rumble tactile, the problem is compounded because it means we will need to increase the subs’ gain by a lot more to feel the tactile. And this results in the peaks becoming much much higher.

The rattles in the room could be caused by these peaks.

If we use multiple subs to smoothen the bass and minimise dips / modes, it gives more consistent bass spl across freq, and this might also mean it allows u to play the sub at lower gain to get the syokness we need, thus giving u better overall control and more even loudness across bass freq

Foodie, many thanks for the ideas

My big sub is tuned to 16Hz with one port plugged, while the other two subs go down to 18Hz, but have less power. I have thought about adding a mini-DSP as I had the Behringer BFD equalizing the big sub for 20 years, but now having Audyssey and possibly Dirac, and maybe DLBC, I want to weigh my options before heading in a particular direction, say with the miniDSP.

Although I haven’t yet used REW, I am well familiar with the dips and peaks of my room from using a CD with test tones and a Radio Shack sound meter, as well with a program similar to REW, called TrueRTA. I used both nearly 20 years ago to measure the room. A few of us including Desray were led by Jag in the early 2000s in doing room equalization. My room has a severe dip at 60Hz with my sub at its current position, otherwise the room’s frequency response under 120Hz is fine. The sub is huge and weighs about 80kg so there is only one place in the room that I can put it, which is behind the listening position.

This defect at 60Hz is also very clear for me to hear. In the Eagles Hotel California, just after the second series of drum beats, a snare drum comes in at 60Hz. If the sub isn’t equalized, then I can’t hear the snare drum. I only hear a slightly different main drum. I just checked to see if Audyssey equalized the 60Hz dip correctly, and it did so I can hear the snare drum, although not as clearly as when I equalized manually with the BFD. However, Audyssey also seems to reduce clarity of the higher frequencies to me and I don’t think I want Audyssey on when I listen to 2 channel music, except for its bass correction. In fact, I typically listen to 2 channel music using an external DAC to the Denon in pure direct mode + copying to subwoofer. If I want to continue this and not have the 60Hz dropout I have to consider some options, especially since I threw out the BFD.

  1. Setting up a Minidsp 2x4 as you suggested with REW and I already have the UMIK-1 mike. However, I could use the money towards Dirac instead.
  2. Telling Audyssey not to equalize say above about 200Hz so as to maintain the clarity while doing subwoofer equalization. I can do that with the Audyssey app. However, this won’t work with Pure Direct Mode + sub. So the other circuitry in the Denon may create sufficient electrical noise that I can hear.

Multiple subs might straighten out the 60Hz dip, but straight forward equalization will do it too and I can’t move the main sub. For me, multiple subs plus four independent sub outputs on the Denon would be best used for directional bass. If I connect a mini-DSP, its unclear I can get directional bass with the Denon, unless I get a higher end model than the 2x4 that can accept four independent sub inputs.

So lots of things to consider, and your input is very much appreciated. The next step for me is to get REW working and to compare Audyssey with no Audyssey to see what it is doing.

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I watched Luther: The Fallen Sun in Atmos on Netflix tonight with the sub gain at 30% from the 10% recommended by Audyssey. Perfect I think as the windows only rattled once throughout the whole movie. I’ll do room measurements with REW, but subjectively, the house curve is the way I want.

2 channel music is still an issue, but I’ll get to that eventually. Wish Dirac had a trial so I could decide if I wanted to buy it…

Installed REW on my MacBook Pro this afternoon and hooked up the UMIK-1 mike. First time installing REW, so I don’t really know what I am doing as I didn’t read the manual, but it seems straight forward and I used the defaults. Did a 0-120Hz sweep on the LFE out to my subwoofer.

Blue line - Audyssey OFF; Red line - Audyssey Reference; Green line - Audyssey Flat

Boy, was this easier than 20 yrs ago with pen and paper; or even with TrueRTA, which at the time could measure in real time, but couldn’t save graphs like this. It seems that Audyssey is relatively effective in room correction. It’s also interesting to see the effect between Audyssey Reference and Audyssey Flat. Reference essentially introduces a house curve, but I run on flat because I’ve used the Audyssey app to put in my own house curve. Good to also see that my SVS still has good extension to its tuning of 16 Hz (around 95db in the graph) after 20 years pf age.

From what I can see, Audyssey seems to have fixed the hump at around 23Hz and the small dip at 40Hz. The huge drop at 60Hz, it has corrected, but not as much. I seem to recall that 60 Hz was quite difficult to correct manually, even with the Behringer BFD maxed out at 60Hz, whereas humps were easy to fix. So no issue with Audyssey. I know I can hear the snare drum in Hotel California after Audyssey, but not as clearly. Maybe I did a better job 20 years ago than Audyssey and should continue on to a minidsp 2x4. Hate having another piece of equipment around though.

I must say that Audyssey XT32 was quite effective and definitely smoothened out the bass in my room both from my perception and, now, technically.


The REW curves looks quite good actually.
How about the output curve for your mains?
Ultimately when you play your during playback, what we are hearing is a combination of both the subs and the mains.

You might want to validate the curve to see where the cross-over.

In my case, I could actually do a sweep from 20Hz-20kHz on both mains+sub with correction turned on to validate what the combined output is like.

From my experience with Anthem, it always complained that the sub level is too high and insist on asking me to lower it. The fortunate thing is that there is an option to ‘ignore’ and proceed anyway. I suspected why in my situation it is reporting this as there is a huge bump at one frequency which I am attributing in causing the software to insist on lowering the volume.

I can see from your 1st post, the graph shows a starting huge +10dB, whereas the average output is about -5dB. I believe the correction algorithm has a certain limit to how many dB it corrects (I read somewhere that boosting or correcting too much introduces distortion or some undesirable outcome).

This is why I feel having a good treated room is very important as the subsequent correction will make it GREAT from good. Also solely depending on room correction to fix is not a good strategy (recently I visited a Adelphi shop where the saleman was trying to convince me that Trinovv can do magic and can solve ANY room imperfection, after 10m of debate, I let him win :sweat_smile: ).

Thanks for the suggestions. Historically, I only focussed on subwoofer equalization, so that’s where I started. Was previously also reluctant to do process the higher frequencies for fear of loss of clarity, but am prepared to try now if modern equipment & room correction can retain or improve the clarity of vocals.

So, I haven’t run REW on the mains yet. Maybe this weekend. Before that, I was actually thinking of cutting off Audyssey at about 500Hz. This is because I already hear little bit of loss of clarity in a cappella vocals with Audyssey, but its no where as bad as my old Yamaha where I always listened to music (off an external DAC) exclusively in Pure Direct mode.

The Denon with Audyssey is sort of acceptable for 2 channel music, where the Yamaha with YPAO was not, so technology has definitely improved. I plan to try cutting off processing above 500Hz with the Audyssey app and load it into another preset in order to try an A/B while a track is playing. In this case, Audyssey will only process frequencies below 500Hz. However, it may still not sound as good as Pure Direct mode because all sorts of internal circuits will be on in the Denon that produce electrical noise.

Its useful to me to hear that you also find ARC suggesting lower subwoofer levels. Perhaps what the director intended is not what we like! or as you say there is a bump in one frequency causing the calibration software to overreact. From my manual calibration years ago, I noticed that its quite easy to tame peaks without distortion, but trying to raise deep troughs can push the equalizer to distortion.

I’m currently quite happy with the sound from the Denon so I think room treatment can wait. I should probably clean up and renovate my home theater in the family room as its a mess right now, with all sorts of things everywhere, but realistically, renovation is at least a year or two away and I will try to treat the room during the renovation, if Dirac ART hasn’t fixed it for everyone. Talking about Dirac, I’ll probably install it soon, but i just wanted to use Audyssey with Atmos for a longer time so I can tell whether there is a difference.