Recording with bass to align my subs with my speakers

Upgraded my cables on my Rel S812 subs to the "Blue" line and Wow what an improvement this cable makes in the bass.  So much that I need to readjust the crossover and gain.  My dealer set up my Wilson Alexia's and REL S812's when I got them a few months ago but REL suggests turning the crossover up and to adjust the gain which is necessary as well.  I checked out the REL set up videos and I'd like to get a recording as a "go to" for now and future tweaks as needed.

Mostly listen to Jazz from the late 50's and 60's.  Some Rock and Classical as well.  Would like to find something that is on either Tidal, Quboz, or vinyl but a CD would work as well.  Lots of options out there for bass recording tests but am hoping to see if the group has landed on a "must have".

Appreciate the feedback.

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Study Fletcher-Munson Equal Loudness Contours. Notice perceived loudness is very uneven, exaggerated and compressed at very low frequencies. In other words, very low bass below a certain threshold is very hard to hear at all. But then once it is, very small changes in volume seem larger than they are. 

Because of this, the best way to set sub level is by listening to a lot of different records at various volumes over a long period of time. Every once in a while when you think it will help make a very small change in level. After a while, week or three of infrequent tiny little tweaks, you will settle in on a good compromise.

Or you can play your reference tracks, jack them around to where they sound impressive, and wonder why only the reference sounds good and only at that one reference level.

Your call. Choose wisely.


Thank you for the feedback.  Very insightful information.

By the way my Townshend Podium, for my turntable that you recommended, is on the way!!

Dialing in bass is not easy for me.  I know when the bass is wrong, because it irritates my ear, and my listening sessions become short (less than half an hour!)

Scott LaFaro's bass playing on Bill Evans' Sunday at the Village Vanguard is one of my initial tests, after I make system bass adjustments.

Here is my flawless trick for setting up a sub. Play or stream the Beatle Come Together from their 2009 release (not the recent remix that is super bass heavy).

The bass note (Paul plucks string once and lets it sustain) at the "got to be a joker"pause is the perfect sub set up. You should be able to set the sub to where you actually just FEEL the sustained note. If you have the crossover/volume too high (or wrong sub location) the note will sound extra fat and not tight. Too low, you wont feel the sustain. The tweak to taste from there in small increments


You will thank me for this me on this one. Try it and get back

this Test CD, tracks 9 to 38


a sound level meter


I have 4 l-pads in my pair of vintage speakers which I just replaced. I made enlarged copies of the booklet’s page list of 1/3 octave frequency bands (29 tracks), set up the meter on a tripod at seated ear height, listening position, start low, raised the volume to 80 db, then make notes and adjust, make notes. write down your final settings and results for each band. date it.

I wish I had done this years ago. the test bands are individually selectable and 1 minute long (i.e. not too short). select, see results, pause adjust, play ...

the meters can be calibrasted for accuracy if you want, however out of the box, they reveal differences band to band, that’s really what you want to know. that’s why an inexpensive one worked for me.

Woots, most of what I said is passed down from Duke, who makes the Swarm subwoofer system. Combined with a little of my own experience. But even a lot of that I owe to him. Probably would never have tried a DBA without reading about it here from guys like Duke.

White noise is best to set up with, not recorded music. There are white noise internet radio stations you can stream. Then use a sound meter or similar smartphone app like decibel app to measure. Works great! Use music after that to fine tune if needed. You might think it sounds good/right using just music but you might be surprised if you use the test signal like white noise and actually measure it. 

@millercarbon is right about different albums over time. I am a musician, DJ and sound engineer. This is where the sound engineer comes in. Play any of your jazz & R&R records at a normal (for you) listening level. What you want to do is act as the sound engineer because you ARE the sound engineer. But only for the bass signal. You want to make the bass fit in with the music. Or more accurately put mix the bass so it blends well with the other instruments that are playing.  Its really that simple. Don’t complicate it. Mix the bass response to fit with the music. Remember that.

The gain & crossover points work in conjunction. Gain/volume is easy. Now the crossover may be the tedious part. But what you want to hear from a bass guitar is a little bit of overhang on the notes. Not much. But a bass note that stops on a dime is not how a real bass sounds. It has a little bit of overhang or sustain. But only a slight sustain. I’m talking fractions of a second. This is done with the crossover. Set it just high enough to get that millisecond of the bass note sustain/overhang. I hope you get the concept of what to listen for and the simplicity of the job. BTW it takes some time. You need to get the mix roughed in. Then sit and listen for awhile until it becomes clear what is missing or what needs reducing. But listen to more than just one song or even one album. IOW take your time.You will get it