Equalization with REL six pack

I am preparing to set up a REL six-pack for the first time. Though I bought the subs used, I am paying a local dealer to set them up. One question I want to have perspective on before setup is this:


I use a Rives PARC attenuation-only equalizer that is indispensable to tame room bumps in the 40-80 hz range. (yes I know room treatments are more deal but let's put that aside please)

When I set up the six-pack, my thinking is that I should put the subs in place, stacked approximately where they are supposed to be just outside and slightly back from the mains, and with the subs unplugged, get the mains to sound the way I like with equalization. Then go through the whole six-pack setup. This makes more sense to me than bypassing equalization during setup and equalizing after the six-pack setup, since subs have separate volume control and can be set accordingly. I suppose I may do slight attentuation adjustments afterward as well. 


The alternative of bypassing equalization until after six-pack setup seems less appealing because much of the six-pack "by ear" setup could be thrown way off by adding significant attenuation after the fact.


Thoughts? I am not mentioning system components because I don't think it matters, but if anyone disagrees I am happy to give a rundown. My mains are Verity Parsifal Encores, flat to around 28hz.






First, check the AM Acoustics room mode simulator. Put your speakers and subs outside the lowest room mode boundaries if you can

I’m not sure what the process you think is, but making sure your mains roll off smoothly below ~ 70 Hz. Don’t try to equalize all of your mains. It should slope downwards from around 100 Hz. Just get a smooth roll-off around 24 db/Octave. Sometimes plugging your mains is very helpful.

Overall, avoid mains and subs overlapping in lower octaves. Its’ bad.

The subs, if you have big valleys and peaks, consider bass traps. If you can get away with just clipping peaks then EQ is the way to go. Treat each stack as 1 subwoofer for EQ’s sake.

PS - It’s not either / or with EQ and room treatments. EQs alone are a huge improvement over nothing for subs.

Room treatments can smooth out room modes which means a couple of things:

  • EQ’able nulls!
  • More even bass response no matter where you sit.

So if you just want to EQ, that’s great, big improvements. Clip the peaks, raise your sub level and you have at least 1 good bass spot but for many who are attempting to plumb the depths, bass traps can be really important.

Thanks Erik! I put room treatment aside only to avoid people telling me I shouldn't be doing equalization etc etc. I definitely understand it's best to treat as far as you can and then maybe equalize what's left, if needed. I do have a couple of bass traps but haven't gotten serious about it.

On the subject of the mains, I will be running them full range with high level outputs coming from the amplifiers to the rel subs. So I won't be actively managing the roll off of the mains. The potential overlap within the lower and mid bass regions is what I just don't quite grasp about the six-pack setup. I can't understand why it doesn't just become a mess! I am confident there is a good answer to this but I just want to know what it is.



Properly integrating multiple  subwoofers into your stereo system is one of the most powerful ways to increase impact with precision. Integrating six subwoofers would certainly be an interesting application for the new miniDSP Flex Eight.

We have a few videos that will give you some ideas, we suggest you look first at The Best Ways to Integrate Multiple Subwoofers.  This applies to the Flex Eight which can independently control; frequency response, level, crossovers and delay of up to eight subwoofers. 

FYI: My Infinity woofer towers sounded best when they were inside my main speakers. YMMV. 

["REL Reference models employ remote control in order to assist and increase ease of initial set-up. We do this knowing that once properly set, the owner will likely use it rarely during the remainder of their ownership experience as RELs truly can be set-up correctly to reproduce all forms of music and film without resorting to cheap parlor tricks like turning bass up for movies and down for music.']

If you find this online brochure statement questionable you should become knowledgable as to their return policy. Keep in mind you're purchasing "-6dB sub-bass systems - Richard Edmond Lord," not subwoofers.


avatar: Gene Czerwinski

m-db: Not sure how this applies to my question of when to apply attenuation in the setup process? Before or after setting the REL crossovers and volumes?


I am attenuating to ameliorate a room problem between 40-80 hz that I cannot treat for ... not for parlor tricks.

Thanks for assuming the worst without knowing anything about me, Gene.

To be clear, that was a direct quote from the REL website. Point being they developed a remote volume control even though they claim adjusting volume level for music to HT is a parlor trick.

My response was in the form of a warning showing a blatant contradiction regarding something as simple as adjusting gain. If I'm not mistaken their contradiction now extends to the use of low level connectivity for the line array systems? 

I apologize for my lack of forum clarity and a failed attempt at sarcasm toward a product (not you) that I personally found to be stunningly lacking in control as well as frequency response.

In my experience with this sub-bass speaker I disregarded the manufacturer setup procedure regarding high level connectivity and location suggestions which exacerbated exactly the frequency range at issue here.

Relocating the REL within my rooms bass mode and using an optimized low level signal from a Velodyne DD subwoofer the $9K REL came into its own. Unfortunately, its limited -6dB low frequency response clearly choked the program material that the Velodyne easily conveyed. I can't imagine simply adding five more units filling that void.

Again, my apologies. All the best with your project. M



avatar:  Gene Czerwinski  



Thanks for clarifying Gene. You bring up another point that had me scratching my head, which is why the three subs would be moved alongside the main speakers when an array is used, versus taking advantage of slightly different room placement to even out the bass. I assume this is because the crossovers of the upper units get dialed up higher and that begins to be more directional. So it works better to be next to the mains.

However I'm not inclined to second guess John Hunter and all the dealers who have set up thousands of six packs. My working  assumption is that they are right but I would just like to know why!

Just getting back to everyone because I have my six pack and it set up properly buy a local St Louis dealer. It is pretty amazing. Two things I learned help answer my questions that I originally posted:

1. Regarding the potential overlap of subwoofer output with the low frequencies of the main speakers, The dealer reminded me that in room response of the main speakers is not nearly what it is in an anechoic chamber. So there are bigger gaps in the low frequency then we might imagine. He did confirm that the goal is to make the subwoofers made perfectly with the main speakers and not create overlap. 

2. Regarding how subwoofers that are producing primarily low frequencies (although crossover of the subs does allow them to have some output into the hundred plus Hertz range), he told me something that for some reason I didn't know: harmonics of a fundamental note not only go upward but they also go downward. I don't know why I always assume they only went upward. So a human voice or an instrument is creating harmonics going all the way down and it's some of these lower harmonics that are just not reproduced well enough and fast enough by most main speakers. The subwoofers ability to reproduce those lens an air of ambience in reality that creates both conscious and subconscious improvements in the perception that you're listening to real people and real instruments in a real space.

My initial take on having a six pack is that it brings something to the system that no other upgrade can bring. It improves the general sense of reality, bringing more dimension to voices and instruments and more sense of a real room and real space. It also has a diffusing quality that some people might not like because the pinpoint imaging is not as clear, but overall I think is superior in terms of how a real room sounds with people playing instruments and singing. And one of the effects of this is that it makes digital sound much more analog. It makes almost everything I play through digital sound much less fatiguing and less flat, dimensionally.

Just thought I would share back with you guys some thoughts now that I have these up and running.