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Discussion Starter #1
Hello All. I am the proud owner of the NuForce Icon and have it powering a couple of Orb Mod 1 speakers and a Mirage Omni 8 sub. No matter what I have tried, I cannot get rid of the "muddiness" around the 100 Hz range. Rock music (esp. guitars) sounds less clear and defined than I would like. Source material is Apple Lossless files off of my Mac Mini.

I have run several scenarios through my head as how to address, but would like some input.

1) Might I need two more Orb Mods to off-set the power of of the Mirage Omin 8? I do have the larger power supply if any of you are wondering.

2) Do I have to resort to messing with the iTunes equalizer? I hate to do that because it is like putting a $15 tarp over a $50,000 vehicle, considering the components are quality.

3) I have messed with the cross-over freq on the sub, anywhere from 90 to 120 and can't really find a sweet spot. Orb suggests 120 as a cross-over.

4) The sub is tucked in a floor-level shelf off to the right of my desktop with carpet underneath it. Is it possibly a placement issue since I am only a few feet from the Mods and only couple of more from the sub? Am I too close?

5) Since the Mods don't accept banana plugs, I had to resort to pluging the banana plugs into some Monster Flex Pins, but the fit isn't very tight. Is it possible that I am experiencing some current loss resulting in a loss of sound? Do I need to "roll my own" to make new speaker wires?

As an additional point, I also have an Oppo 980H hooked up to the NuForce Icon via RCA interconnects and it seems to be better, clearer sound. Is that simply a function of better source material and components?

I know many of these questions are hard to answer with anything other than an opinion, but I would appreciate them nonetheless. I tried to attach a couple of images as to give an idea of how I have things set up.

Thanks!
 

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The issue is that the Orb speakers are not much better than most small speakers and a sub ( really more of a bass bin not a sub).
The bass bin by design goes into the higher frequency range that makes it hard to isolate the sound from it. Try placing the sub in a different location of the room. By having it in the shelf you may be enhancing the upper frequency range (120Hz).
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Ok, just to make sure we are clear.

Are you are stating that I really can't expect a clear, separated sound from a small speaker/sub set-up when using for two channel listening or that my money wasn't spent on quality gear? I would assume the first, but clarification would be appreciated.

Also, please explain the difference between a bass bin and a sub. I have never heard of such a thing as a bass bin.

Last, the sub (or bin) will need to stay in the shelf for WAF purposes. Maybe set the cross-over to lower, like around 90?
 

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Are you are stating that I really can't expect a clear, separated sound from a small speaker/sub set-up when using for two channel listening or that my money wasn't spent on quality gear? I would assume the first, but clarification would be appreciated.
Yes, the first is correct. Have a read of this thread to get the full story as it will also answer your next question as well.

Also, please explain the difference between a bass bin and a sub. I have never heard of such a thing as a bass bin.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks, Tony. I think what you are saying is that regardless of how well built the Orb Mod's are built and their capabilities (Mod Specs - http://www.orbaudio.com/index.asp?PageAction=Custom&ID=25) , you simply need larger speakers to move the air effectively, which is something I have seen many places. With that said, I do like the sound of the Orb Mods - they are open and crisp, but probably strain to produce nice, clean separated sound in the freq. range I am frustrated with and therefore, my muddied sound. It is certainly not bad, but it is just not good enough for my ears when this is my main stereo listening set-up.

On the sub, the Mirage site claims the sub has a range of 27 Hz to 120 Hz (http://www.miragespeakers.com/na-en/products/omni-s8-specifications/), but based on what you are saying, it probably starts rounding off at around 40 Hz and therefore your reasoning for considering it a bass bin as opposed to the sub.

With that said, do you think if I added two more mod 1's to create a mod 2 and moved the sub out of the shelf (unexpectedly, my wife wasn't terribly opposed to that idea :bigsmile:) that I would get closer to what I am looking for? I really don't want a larger bookshelf on my desk if I can avoid it. Have been considering a couple of towers in lieu of the Mods, but that just isn't an option until I save up some more cash.

One last question, since I am mainly using this to listen to music, how low do you think I really need to go? According to this article, most instruments don't reach below 40 Hz (http://www.recordingeq.com/EQ/req0400/OctaveEQ.htm)

I appreciate your thoughts and advice :T
 

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Thanks, Tony. I think what you are saying is that regardless of how well built the Orb Mod's are built and their capabilities, you simply need larger speakers to move the air effectively, which is something I have seen many places. With that said, I do like the sound of the Orb Mods - they are open and crisp, but probably strain to produce nice, clean separated sound in the freq. range I am frustrated with and therefore, my muddied sound. It is certainly not bad, but it is just not good enough for my ears when this is my main stereo listening set-up.
Yes, that is correct. Orb audio does make a better small speaker than most but still suffers from the lack of size to be able to go low enough. I highly doubt that they go even as low as they say I'm betting not much lower than 250Hz without distortion.

On the sub, the Mirage site claims the sub has a range of 27 Hz to 120 Hz , but based on what you are saying, it probably starts rounding off at around 40 Hz and therefore your reasoning for considering it a bass bin as opposed to the sub.
Certainly not below 35Hz with any decent dbs, as the sub simply does not have the size of enclosure needed to produce frequencies in the 30-20Hz range.

With that said, do you think if I added two more mod 1's to create a mod 2 and moved the sub out of the shelf (unexpectedly, my wife wasn't terribly opposed to that idea :bigsmile:) that I would get closer to what I am looking for? I really don't want a larger bookshelf on my desk if I can avoid it.
Yes that would help but again the drivers in the Mod1's simply are not large enough to produce clean frequencies in the lower octaves.

One last question, since I am mainly using this to listen to music, how low do you think I really need to go? According to this article, most instruments don't reach below 40 Hz
This is somewhat true however there is many recordings that do go well into the 30Hz range and even into and below 20Hz I have many that do. It depends on the recording and even the type of music (jazz for example will utilize the lower frequencies more than rock in alot of cases). 80's rock generaly did not go below 40Hz that's for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Excellent information. Thank you. Follow-ups.......

My main remaining question is if some testing would help. I have a Digital Video Essentials DVD with full-frequency pink noise tests. I have never done such a thing before, but was thinking that may help me identify where the real problem lies and confirm your suspicions as to the guilty parties. However, those tests would be done via my Oppo and not through my Mac Mini. Should I rip those tests into lossless format and use the Mac Mini for the testing or would using the Oppo with the DVD be sufficient to identify the issues?
 

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Do you have an SPL meter? otherwise its not likely that you will be able to hear the difference in volume levels at the lower octaves. Idealy you play the tones at 75db and if you see the level drop below 75db on the meter you know that that is where the speaker can no longer reproduce it.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I don't have one, but I think I can possibly borrow one from the sound team guys at church. They use it for sound check when setting up the worship band. Is that the type of device you are speaking of?
 

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I don't have one, but I think I can possibly borrow one from the sound team guys at church. They use it for sound check when setting up the worship band. Is that the type of device you are speaking of?
Yup, that should be the right thing. It will look something like this, I have one.
We have one at our sound board all the time to keep the volume level around 95db during the worship service. Some of the sound guys I work with dont know how loud they are running it without it.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yep. That's what they have. I will get it form them and do some tweaking and let you know how it goes. Thanks!!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Haven't gotten a hold of the sound meter yet, but I got to thinking. You said that a woofer needed to be 6 1/2" at least to get good sound reproduction around the 100 Hz range. Maybe it is my ignorance of sound waves and physics, but wouldn't two 3 1/2" woofers move as much air as one 6 1/2" woofer? :scratchhead: Just wondering.
 

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It also depends on the cabinet size and how much excursion. There are many factors that go into design of a driver. Its not just movement of air.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Would you mind imparting some wisdom in those areas or maybe pointing me in the direction of some good reference material? I would like to educate myself a bit more.
 

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ALthough the speakers you linked to will probably sound fuller they are still not great quality. Have a look at these instead. Or even better SVSound is a huge step up and sound fantastic.
 

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Would you mind imparting some wisdom in those areas or maybe pointing me in the direction of some good reference material? I would like to educate myself a bit more.
Have a look here, its a bit wordy but some good info. Not sure if that is what your looking for.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
ALthough the speakers you linked to will probably sound fuller they are still not great quality. Have a look at these instead. Or even better SVSound is a huge step up and sound fantastic.
Have you gotten an opportunity to listen to both? SVS look appealing for under $1000 for the towers. I did see some Polk VM 30's on sale for around the same price - comparable?

I will say, however, that if money wasn't tight right now, I am very interested in the Definitive Tech Mythos line. Maybe the Mythos Gem XL would work as desktop fronts? Towers I would have to talk my wife into, so probably not an option at this point.
 
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