Room treatments, especially bass traps will give you what you desire.
40 responses Add your response
why does everyone think cables make such a big difference?
First, you do need a subwoofer that crosses over at 80hz or below and goes down to at least 25hz. Then you need to equalize your bass because unless your room is acoustically perfect, you will have frequencies that are much too loud and others that get lost completely. These changes will make a BIG difference. You can eq your subwoofer with some free software (REW), a $40 Radio Shack sound level meter..and then an EQ that you can buy for $60 or so on EBAY. This will make a FAR bigger and actually audible difference in your system.
Forget about expensive interconnects, speaker cables, special power cables or "clean power" filters....get the basics right first.
There are many tweaks...most that you, frankly, won't even hear but you'll feel good because you spent the money...but they are way down the road.
I would also look at a solution other than playing with cables.
The KEF 203 is rated down to 55hz. I would run a sub no higher than 60hz or so. The natural rolloff of the KEF's would make it unnecessary to insert a highpass filter before the amp to drive the KEFs.
.....you wire your left and right amp outputs thru the sub and then the crossover in the sub feeds the non supb output to your speakers.There's too much to be lost by running your signal through a subwoofer that then will drive the main amp to the main speakers. I would try every other option before this.
Does your integrated amp have line output and power amp input connections? Can you use these and still retain the link between the internal pre and power amp sections? If so, you could run a line level IC to the powered sub and be done with it. This would allow the KEY to run in its current configuration.
With some integrated amps the pre/power link is broken if a cable is plugged into the line out or main amp in. If so, you could use a Y-adaptor off one of the line outputs, either L or R, and drive an IC jumper back to that amp input and run a longer IC to the powered sub's line input.
With the "right" level setting on the sub, this could be a very nice result. I did a similar task for a friend who has simple Polk speakers and the result with the sub was quite impressive.
Why would a ps audio dliii improve the bass response of his KEF's that only go down to 55hz????? Why would Analysis Plus Oval 9's improve bass response that the speakers can't produce (flatly at any volumne)?
Reference 203 specifications
Design 4 way reflex
Drive units LF: 2 x 165 mm (6 1/2)
MF: 1 x 165 mm (6 1/2)
HF: 1 x 25 mm (1)
SHF: 1 x 19 mm (3/4)
Frequency response at 15°
horizontally off axis ±3 dB 55 Hz - 55 kHz
LF Corner -6 dB 40 Hz
Crossover frequencies 400Hz, 2.7 kHz, 15 kHz
Amplifier requirements 50 - 200 W
Sensitivity (2.83V/1m) 89 dB
Maximum output 113 dB
If the OP wants to hear punchy bass, the bass line, low organ notes or the tank rumbling into town in Saving Private Ryan...the OP needs a sub-woofer.
The OP already got what he wanted by moving his speakers 7" nearer to the wall, if some of you still have not noticed. Anyway I generally agree about the subwoofer improving the bass in a significant way. Not to say cables won't affect bass but the level of improvements compared to a subwoofer is marginal. The OP's room is only 10'x11' so he might still get away with a subwoofer by playing around with speaker placement. Bass traps will only improve bass definition and focus by reducing boom and loose bass and won't make the bass more punchy. It's surprising that the speakers can only go down to 55Hz±3dB with the 6.5" woofers though. I have speakers with 4" and 5" drivers and they all go down to 35Hz, but I still use a subwoofer with them in a 11'x17' room. Ironically the speaker with the 4" woofer goes down lower than the speaker with the 5" woofer due to the TL design and larger box enclosure.
Staying within the realm of cable discussion, I've had a great success with Virtual Dynamics power cables...thick as a fire hose, definitely not for the faint of heart, yet the bass quality improvement was so significant that I replaced all of my power cables with them. And this comes from a card-carrying power cable skeptic.
I can't believe all you folks suggesting power cords and such......the OP needs a sub and probably some room modification or EQ.
Let's get out of the "audio god" cloud....and lets help him really solve his problem.
Then he can throw any amount you want him to spend on cables, equipment stands, independent A/D converters and so on.
Many self-powered subwoofers connect via the main speakers connections or via the amplifiers output terminals so having a sub output on the amp is irrelevant.This is fine, but I would NEVER use a signal coming off a subwoofer that would ultimately drive my main speakers. And that was the point of my post before.
With a speaker that truncates the bottom 1.5 octaves, no cabling, equalization or speaker positioning is going to help with this. It's either a subwoofer or another pair of speakers altogether.
What is wrong with running your speaker wires thru a crossover, prior to the signal getting to your mains? That's what a number of subs have integrated in....they can either take an RCA direct input, if your pre has sub outputs, or you can connect your speaker wires and then run your speaker wires from a different set of terminals (crossover hi output). Sunfire subs do this...many others also.
What is wrong with running your speaker wires thru a crossover, prior to the signal getting to your mains?
From a purist perspective, the last thing anyone wants to do is route the signal (ultimately destined to the main speakers) through a subwoofer's cheap high-pass network, internal cabling, switching, connectors, etc.
The OP's integrated amp has one set of pre (line) RCA outputs which is perfect to drive a powered subwoofer.
Just let the main speakers rolloff naturally as they do this quite high already....and integrate a sub with one IC cable to add some presence to the bottom 2 octaves. It does not get any simpler than this.
I had a DK design MK I and found the bass "slam" lacking compared to some other amps. Was using silver speaker bi-amp wires. Took amp to local Hi-End shop and compared
au24 and Analysis plus copper cables; both had better "bass slam" than my silver cables. Total ultimate bass about the same but "hit" with copper very different. AnalysisPlus power cord improved bass also. Ultimately sold amp and kept silver speaker cables for use with my 4watt Almarro amp which has bass I prefer over DK. Best Wishes, Mike. (PS, Do borrow some other power cords, IC, speaker cables before you buy expensive items to "correct" bass problem.
Djtiti, The problem with using a loudspeaker with more bass extention in a room as small as yours is there is no way to control the bass. If you use a subwoofer you can control the level with a knob on the back. You can't do that with a full range loudspeaker unless it has built in subwoofers with eq and level control. Ideally you could get a sub with a eq built in for even more control. Jafox is right about using the pre out of the DK to the sub. I've done this before and it works just fine. I think a sub is the best way to go in that room.
Matching the speakers output to a room can be as important as choosing the speaker itself. The interaction of room and speaker is crucial and often overlooked. Over time Ive learned that a small-sized speaker in a small- to mid-sized room (like my own) can sound like a very large speaker in a very large room. On the other hand, a large speaker in a small room often sounds like.. ahem...crap most of the time. That is the reason why I am an advocate of small speakers+subwoofer in a smallish listening environment.
Placement of floorstanding speakers, either towers or bookshelf speakers on stands close to wall boundaries will often make the bass boomy, voices chesty and midrange colored. Imaging will suffer too. Although bass is stronger where the speaker is closer to the wall, more so towards the corner, the latter is the worst location for all other frequencies and this sort of situation has led to the popularity of subwoofers. They can be located where they produce best-sounding bass while smaller speakers can be located where they deliver the best sound and imaging for the bulk of the audible spectrum. Since subwoofers operate only at low frequencies of typically below 80Hz, they are very tolerant of where they are mounted as the wavelength radiates in all directions.
That brings in the question to the size of your main speakers, the KEF Ref 203. I've looked up that speaker and feel it's a relatively large speaker given the size of your room, and as said earlier was a little surprised that it didn't go lower than 55Hz given the size of the drivers and cabinet enclosure. If you really like the sound of your KEFs(as you have suggested in your last post), I would suggest keeping the speakers and getting a subwoofer to reinforce the bass if it's only the bass that did not live up to your expectations. It may be your DK Design amp, or it may be cables(as some have suggested) but if I were you I would follow the majority of forummers that have advised on getting a sub. You can end up burning more money on cables, unless you don't mind having a few pairs for evaluation purposes later. Good luck.
Kijanki, the lowest bass note is 44Hz on the electric bass only.
Acoustic bass / double bass / contrabass reaches 31 Hz and grand piano's lowest bass note is 27.5 Hz, clearly out of the frequency response of the OP's speakers.
Not to mention Oscar Peterson's favorite piano, the Bosendorfer...it does 16 Hz!
Personally, I would not mess with a subwoofer, they are difficult beasts to adjust and rarely if ever blend seamlessly with the main speakers. I would spend the money on a speaker upgrade.
Casouza - 31Hz is only on five string acoustic bass. I don't know how common they are in orchestral music but not very common in Jazz. It is often used in rock music (5 and 6 string bass guitar) but not for the purpose of the lowest note B=31Hz but for the ease of playing (same for the 6th string). The A=27.5 Hz on the piano i seldom used - just listen to recordings. I am not familiar with Oscar Peterson's piano but just cannot understand why they put non audible (16Hz) string on the instrument. 40Hz should cover at least 90% of music and I would rather go for bass performance than extension.
I'm not a musician but I'm just guessing that most of music is written for common instruments and would be difficult to find jazz composition that requires 5 string acoustic bass.
Isn't acoustic bass in orchestra a 4 string instrument? Any musicians here?
Kijanki, thanks for your response.
I listen to mostly jazz, some classical, some world music.
You are correct, four string acoustic bass is more common in Jazz.
In my personal system evolution, listening to an extensive jazz collection, I have found that speakers capable of doing 30 Hz in-room are (for me) are mandatory to really enjoy the bass line.
I use a 31 band RTA plus my old ears to measure in-room response and adjust speaker positioning.
The worst case scenario (again, IMS) is a speaker that resonates near the acoustic bass lowest note. I assume that a speaker that is tuned at 55 Hz will go out of control below 40 Hz, as most bass-reflex tuned speakers do.
Sealed or infinite baffle speakers behave differently but are quite rare these days.
BTW Keith Jarrett seems to use frequently the lowest notes on the piano (as part of block chords). Listen to his masterpiece Live at Carnegie Hall for some punchy piano bass lines. Aaron Sparks and Brad Mehldau also come to my mind, not to mention Mr. Piano Bass, Cyrus Chestnut.
Enjoy the music
Casouza - I agree, some musicians use lowest notes frequently but speaker limited to 40Hz will still play them, only softer (compromise). There are closed speakers with fairly good bass performance and definition.
My non-audiophile friends believe that extension is the most important quality of the speaker. I explain that I get extension from my room amplifying 30Hz and the speaker's port tuned to 30Hz is a not good thing giving me unnecessary energy at 30Hz and +6dB hump lasting thru multiple frequencies 60Hz and 90Hz. Since one of the bass speakers covers the midrange (2.5 way) it makes midrange a little muddy. I also suspect that port affects proper summing of harmonics (group delays) and the tone of instruments. Not only Tone but also other qualities of acoustic bass - Presence, Projection, Sustain, Separation - much more complex than just extension.
I don't have anything against good bass extension but not at any cost. It make me think when I see review of ten times more expensive speaker than mine of the same physical size that has worst extension. I would probably settle in future for less extension and better coherence and imaging.
As for music taste - I listen to pretty much the same: Jazz, Classical (including Indian), World and also some modern/contemporary. I don't have anything against popular music as well.