Whatever else might be done, I would first pay attention to the current delivery from the wall. Good power cords can make a hell of a difference too. So can different spikes/cones under speakers and subwoofers.
16 responses Add your response
Be careful, you can easily waste money trying to add bass in a system. Your room may not be capable in its current state, your amp to speaker match may not be the best for this, or, your subwoofers may be placed wrong. In addition, in the cable area, try cables you can return for refunds if they do not help with adding bass to your system.
The first thing i would try is to run your CD player WITHOUT splitting the signal into two amps. You may surprised that your bass will improve due to the fact you CD's output stage may not have enough horsepower to PROPERLY drive the 2 sets of outputs. The second thing I would try would depend on what tube compiment you are using in your CD player. Let us know the tubes before taking any other measures. What interconnects are you using between the CD and the amp. It could be that you get what you are after without spending a bunch of money.
I would try and "stack" the 2 pair if Chorus speakers, inverting the top pair,as well as place the sub somewhere in between the stack, trying to keep all the drivers at equal distances from the listening area. IME, this will achieve the "tightest" bass, given your equipment. The bass characteristics of the 2 pair of Chorus differs a bit, as does the 2 amps. I always look for tighter bass, not more bass. One pair of Chorus's should provide enough bass, unless the room is quite large. Just experiment. But, too much bass will "excite" the room, which is no good.
REALLY, REALLY examine your tube compliment in your Jolida amp and your Cary amp AFTER you have determined that you are tubed correctly in your CD player. And do that ONLY after you have remedied using a splitter in line to connect your CD player to BOTH amps, which would never be advisable for optimal performance. I'm not saying that stacking your speakers wouldn't be an interesting experiment, or buying another subwoofer nor am I saying that buying a couple of garden hose power cables wouldn't improve your setup (I have a few of those myself).
No one has asked the important questions, of which I am quite surprised. What tubes are you currently running in your amps? Is your Cary direct coupled? Is the bass performance equally weak on both amps?
Please, save yourself some time and money, the main problem is likely your source but until you get that right, you'll be wasting your time dinking around downstream.
Thanks everyone for the sage advice. Let me say I have rolled numerous tubes and have a healthly compliment of vintage tubes which I feel give a beautiful sound. Speaker placement is stacked and 8 inches from the wall. All interconnects and power cords have been upgraded and I am happy with they're impact on my system. As Bill has pointed out the chorus's do put out copious amounts of bass when asked to do so, but I would like to hear a little more bass all the time. Does anyone think a graphic equalizer would help and if so what would be the best way to wire into the system? Thanks again for your help and insights...Pete
If you are looking for more bass than is say "natural" to certain recordings, then a graphic or parametric equalizer is a reasonable solution.
If it were me, these days, I would look to do the equalizing in the digital rather than analogue domain if possible in that digital lends itself to custom signal processing needs/desires much better than analogue.
I only have mini monitors, but they are in a fairly small room. Your question implies an interest in amount of bass rather than quality of bass, but I think both are vitally important. I'm sure that some of the suggestions above will be of help, especially speaker placement and listening chair placement for deep balanced bass. However, I have a suggestion which has not yet been mentioned.
I recently added isolation under my turntable and improved my LP cleaning regimen. The cleaning seems to have lowered the system noise floor, increasing dynamics and frequency extension, both up and down. The isolation seems to have focused the added information being extracted from the grooves resulting in a more articulate, detailed and richer bass sound, with considerably more impact. Acoustic bass is now sounding much closer to what I hear from very good, coherent full range systems.
I continue to be startled by both the quantity and quality of bass improvement that these two changes produced. And the best thing is that they were not expensive to implement.
Mainsound, to answer your question about whether an equalizer will help: USUALLY it won't. An equalizer can only be used to cut peaks in the bass response. It can not be used to boost bass response.
If you were complaining of too much bass, or boomy bass, or one note bass - then an equalizer would help.
Insufficient bass is caused by a limitation in your amp, or a limitation of your speakers, or a problem with your room (e.g. if you are sitting in a null). Think about what would happen if you were to boost the bass. If your amp already struggles to deliver bass, boosting bass would cause it to clip. If it were a problem with your speakers, boosting bass would cause excessive cone movement and introduce breakup modes. If it were a problem with your room, no amount of boost will overcome the cancellation of bass at the listening position - whilst at the same time you are drawing more amplifier and making your speakers work harder.
HOWEVER, in your case, you are kind of implying that your subwoofers are not level matched to your main speakers - at least that is what I read into your statement "This system is capable of putting out the bass when the music is called to do so, but often I would like to hear a little more bass in general. There are no bass or treble controls".
If this were the case, then you need a device which would be able to level match the main speakers and the sub. You can either attenuate the main speakers, or boost signal to the sub. An equalizer should be able to do this, provided it is capable of amplifying the signal beyond unity gain. However, it would be better to use an active crossover.
AM is right that your amp must be up to the task of delivering more bass (ie power, current as needed) otherwise an equalizer will not help.
Its all relative though so sometimes cuts in other frequencies can produce results better than a boost in the ones of interest.
Like most things, it all depends.
One thing that always works to maximize bass is make sure your amp is capable of driving teh speakers to the max possible, not just to some minimum or slightly higher level.
Then, make sure your speaker placement and listening position is tuned as well.
After these two things first, then an equalizer becomes a decent option if needed.
And of course, speakers must be connected properly in phase or bass suffers.