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Subwoofer question--which connection is better, LFE via coax or speaker cables?

Discussion in 'Home Theater Audio' started by Lord Vader, Oct 19, 2012.

  1. Lord Vader

    Lord Vader Supreme Member

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    My subwoofer bit the dust, so I had to purchase a new one. In the meantime, I had a question I'm hoping someone can answer. Pardon my sudden forgetfulness or brain fart, but I was wondering: which would be the better way to connect a new subwoofer--via the single coax LFE cable that I currently use from my 3008 to the sub, or via speaker cables to the black and red connections, which would provide for a high frequency connection. I can't remember the differences between the two. Moreover, I honestly don't recall what high frequency and LFE is on a subwoofer.
     
  2. Tom Robertson

    Tom Robertson Lifetime Achiever DBSTalk Club

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    I'm a big fan of a couple philosophies when it comes to cables:
    • Don't be REALLY cheap
    • Don't be very expensive
    • Use what you already got (assuming still in good shape.)

    In other words I don't buy monster. :) (And that I'm thrifty.) :) :)

    If you have a good LFE cable, I'd suggest going ahead and use it. My thinking is the LFE out on your AVR is the best sub output as it can take sub from the entire mix of speakers, not just one speaker.

    Now if the question is between an LFE coax vs. LFE binding posts, I'm thinking they are going to be close enough to be identical. So I fall back upon the "if you've already got it, go with it." :)

    Peace,
    Tom
     
  3. Carl Spock

    Carl Spock Superfly

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    The LFE hookup would be better. It would have lower distortion and noise because it is a more basic connection. If you hook up through the speaker wires, your receiver's amplifier section is in the circuit. If you hook up through the RCA connection, it isn't.
     
  4. Chris Blount

    Chris Blount Creator of DBSTalk Staff Member Administrator DBSTalk Gold Club

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    I would say use a good LFE coax cable. Personally I have a Monster cable. Wasn't really all that expensive (I think it was like $25 or something). I'm not a big fan of Monster either but its not like they make bad cables. Sometimes the prices aren't extreme if you look in the right places. I just wanted a cable with good shielding.
     
  5. Lord Vader

    Lord Vader Supreme Member

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    I'm never real cheap, but I'm also not exorbitant when it comes to price. I ordered a very good subwoofer and will use my current LFE coax cable. It's a gold plated one that I got from Monoprice a while back at a very good price. It has served me well.



    It's also much easier to connect. Just plug and play literally. :)

    That's what my current one from Monoprice is. I intended to stick with that.

    Now the biggest hurdle is trying to remember the best settings for the sub's speaker level. The old settings got messed up somehow when I had to reconfigure things, and now I can't remember at what level I had set its volume and all: 0db, +1db, +2.5db, -1db, etc.? This is what I get for leaving the old man alone to play with things when I had everything reconnected upon moving. Ugh! I can't remember what my settings were.

    That problem began when my Onkyo AV kept shutting off when the there was a volume spike (like in an explosion or loud music bursts, etc.). The shut off was the AV's method of protecting itself from a voltage or power spike.

    Strangely, the problem kept occurring when I'd go into the setup and check the speaker volume levels. I'd highlight the left front speaker, no problem. Then the center speaker, no problem. As soon as I'd highlight the right front speaker, boom! Instant AV shut off.

    Through precise timing on my part, I was able to dial down the right front speaker's volume setting, but the auto-shutoff wouldn't stop unless I redid the subwoofer's db level, which was never that high to begin with. Strange.
     
  6. Tom Robertson

    Tom Robertson Lifetime Achiever DBSTalk Club

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    You're absolutely right, Monster makes very good cables...

    And sells them, generally, at Space Shuttle prices rather than everyday Ferrari prices. :)
     
  7. Carl Spock

    Carl Spock Superfly

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    I agree that Monster takes an unfair bashing on this forum. You want expensive cables? Look at those sold in the audiophile market, where $100 a foot speaker wire is the norm.

    If someone wants a good budget LFE cable, check into the Blue Jeans subwoofer cable. It is designed with superior shielding in mind, which is the biggest concern with the long runs that are generally needed to reach the subwoofer. I've picked up all kinds of RF garbage on cheap subwoofer hookup cables. Radio stations, taxi cabs, CBs, I've heard them all.

    http://www.bluejeanscable.com/store/subwoofer/index.htm
     
  8. olguy

    olguy Hall Of Fame

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    I had that happen with an Onkyo. It had been in use for several weeks. I was watching a western and when a rifle was fired down the Onkyo went. I tried a few more times then puzzled over it for a bit and then called Onkyo tech support. He asked if I used banana plugs or twisted ends to connect. I told him no plugs and he suggested that I disconnect all the speakers, retwist the ends and carefully reconnect. I did that and problem solved. One of the ends was a bit frazzeled and apparently grounding but it took max or near max volume for the problem to show up.
     
  9. Laxguy

    Laxguy Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense.

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    When I move and reset up my AV system, I was considering stripping (re) the wires and soldering them. Not to anything, but adding solder to prevent corrosion and also making better contact with the posts. Good idea or waste of time?
     
  10. lparsons21

    lparsons21 Hall Of Fame

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    It isn't a waste of time, and could be beneficial.

    But one of the drawbacks is that it makes the ends very stiff and a bit more tricky to maneuver into place imo.
     
  11. MysteryMan

    MysteryMan DIRECTV A-Team DBSTalk Club

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    Wouldn't it be easier for you to use pin connectors, snap spade connectors, or banana plugs?
     
  12. lparsons21

    lparsons21 Hall Of Fame

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    All those could be easier, but really how often do you disconnect speaker wires?

    In my case it is only when I'm taking the receiver out to replace it with a new one or if one needs a repair and I have to take it out for that.
     
  13. Laxguy

    Laxguy Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense.

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    Winters,...
    Easier, yes, but wouldn't solder be a more effective barrier to corrosion of the copper strands?
     
  14. jimmie57

    jimmie57 Hall Of Fame

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    Definitely LFE connection. I have one that I tried each way.

    If you run speaker wires you get everything that is designated for the speakers and that is not what the SUB is for. It is designed for the LOW FREQUENCIES ONLY.
     
  15. hdtvfan0001

    hdtvfan0001 DIRECTV A-Team

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    LFE has been in place here with 2 400W self-powered subs.

    While I also agree that having proper connectors are very important, even above that is the proper shielding.

    So may potential things can get in the way of a "clean" audio presentation in a Home Theater...having high-quality shielding to any/all speakers is extremely important.
     
  16. MysteryMan

    MysteryMan DIRECTV A-Team DBSTalk Club

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    Prior to buliding my Home Theater Room and Family Entertainment Room I used Monster XP NW Compact Precision Stranded High Resolution Speaker Cable with Magnetic Flux Tube and LPE Dielectric with my home theater systems and got years of quality sound reproduction using the type of connectors I mentioned without significant corrosion issues. Today's comparable speaker wire should give you the same results.
     
  17. Laxguy

    Laxguy Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense.

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    Thanks, MM. My setup is and will be pretty modest compared to yours and many others..... My connectors may be the highest Q of all! Solder and pins!:joy:
     
  18. Lord Vader

    Lord Vader Supreme Member

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    I got my new subwoofer connected, and everything's running fine. I just got a new HDTV and connected it on Saturday. I don't know how a TV would have this effect, but I swear my sound in my home theater system is different now--louder and more powerful.

    At first, I thought somehow my new subwoofer had something to do with it, but I have had my subwoofer connected for at least a week or more to my old HDTV that I upgraded. Other than the new subwoofer noticeably working, nothing else changed. When I connected my new HDTV this past weekend, it seemed like many audio-related things changed: the sound is overall louder and more powerful; the bass is louder.

    If a TV is nothing more than a monitor--mine is connected to an HDMI out straight from the A/V receiver, and I didn't make any changes to my A/V receiver--then how could this change anything audio-related? I know I'm not imagining things, because the change is definitely noticeable.
     
  19. Carl Spock

    Carl Spock Superfly

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    Where do you have the subwoofer crossover set? Are you using the LFE crossover in your receiver or the crossover on the sub itself? You should use one or the other but not both.

    The reason I ask is that a subwoofer is perfectly capable of putting out sound in the midrange. A subwoofer can move air, which is volume, at frequencies other than ones in the deep bass. You generally want to avoid this, if for nothing more than it makes voices guttural and muddy.
     
  20. MysteryMan

    MysteryMan DIRECTV A-Team DBSTalk Club

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    Check the audio settings on your new TV. Normally they should be off when using a A/V receiver. If not you may be getting sound from both your HDTV and A/V receiver.
     

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