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Nearfield Monitors w/ Sub (Connectivity / Cabling)

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Nearfield Monitors w/ Sub (Connectivity / Cabling)

Postby trunkdog » Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:15 pm

Gear:
Yamaha MSP-10 Nearfields
Yamaha SW-10 Subwoofer
Phonic Helix Board 24 Universal (Left/Right/Sub Out)
PreSonus Central Station

Connectivity:

The Yamaha SW-10 has:
(3) XLR Balanced Inputs
My assumption is Left/Right/Sub Out from mixer
(3) XLR Balanced Outputs
My assumption is Secondary Sub / Left MSP-10 / Right MSP-10

MSP-10: XLR Balanced Inputs (Only)
Phonic Helix Board 24 Universal: XLR and TRS Balanced on L/R/Sub
PreSonus Central Station:
• Input: 1/4 TRS Balanced L/R (2 Sets -TRS1 / TRS2)
• Output: 1/4 TRS Balanced (3 Set - A/B/C - See Below)

Filters:
MSP-10 has 80 Hz High Pass (On / Off)
SW-10 has variable High Pass (40 Hz through 120 Hz)
Helix:
• Sub has Level Control Unity to +10dB
• Sub has Mono Out Low Pass (On/Off at 60Hz to 160 Hz)

My interest here is not speaker / sub placement, room modes or other things acoustics but simple connectivity and crossover / filter settings.

Questions:
(1) Should I use the Helix Sub Out?

(2) Are "microphone" balanced cables suitable for speaker use?

The Central Station allows for (3) sets of speakers (A/B/C) recommending placing the Sub on C thereby allowing the removal of the sub from the mix.
Since the Central Station has only TRS 1 and 2 as pairs of 1/4 TRS connections:
(3) How is the Sub brought into the Central Station?

(4) Is 80 Hz a suitable crossover / cutoff?

(5) Should Helix Level Control be set at max (+10dB) and trimmed at Subwoofer or both Helix and SW-10 set at Max and trimmed at Central Station? (I supposed this equates to "gain staging monitors?)

(6) Should the Helix Low Pass be deployed; if so at what frequency?
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Re: Nearfield Monitors w/ Sub (Connectivity / Cabling)

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Feb 13, 2018 5:00 pm

trunkdog wrote:My assumption is Secondary Sub / Left MSP-10 / Right MSP-10

No need to assume anything when there is a block diagram printed on the sub itself, and the handbook is only a click away:

http://download.yamaha.com/api/asset/file?language=en&site=countrysite-master.prod.wsys.yamaha.com&asset_id=7850

(1) Should I use the Helix Sub Out?

No. The console's sub-out is just a mono mix derived from either the stereo bus or aux 4. Useful in some situations, perhaps, but not yours. You need your sub to follow the level and source settings etc from the Presonus monitor controller, not to go off and do it's own thing based on what happens to be going through the desk at the time!

(2) Are "microphone" balanced cables suitable for speaker use?

They are suitable for carrying line-level signals, which you need in this application with active speakers, yes.

The Central Station allows for (3) sets of speakers (A/B/C) recommending placing the Sub on C thereby allowing the removal of the sub from the mix.

You could do that, if you want, in which case you would need to run two cables between the Speaker C (left and right outputs) and subwoofer L&R inputs.

Since the Central Station has only TRS 1 and 2 as pairs of 1/4 TRS connections:
(3) How is the Sub brought into the Central Station?

Huh? :?: :?

The signal flow should be: mixer (main left/right) outputs (and/or computer and other sources) into Central Station inputs, and then the Central Station speaker A outputs go to the MSP10 speakers, and the C outputs to the SW10 subwoofer.

Alternatively, if you plan to always have the subwoofer running, just take the Central Station A left/right outputs to the subwoofer, and then use the subwoofer's corresponding outputs to connect up to the MSP10 speakers.

If you connect the subwooder directly to the mixer, then turning things up or down on the Presonus, or selecting different monitoring sources, won't reach the subwoofer ... and that would be rather silly! ;-)

Suitable connection arrangements are explained in both the Presonus and Yamaha manuals.

(4) Is 80 Hz a suitable crossover / cutoff?

Yes. Set the HPF switch on the back of the MSP10s to cut off at 80Hz, then set the LPF rotary control on the subwoofer to the same frequency.

(5) Should Helix Level Control be set at max (+10dB) and trimmed at Subwoofer or both Helix and SW-10 set at Max and trimmed at Central Station? (I supposed this equates to "gain staging monitors?)

Neither.

The subwoofer should be getting it's signal from the Monitor controller, not the desk, so the Helix sub-out settings are irrelevant.

With the system cabled up as described above, start with the subwoofer level right down. Set a sensible listening level on the MSP10s, and then gradually increase the subwoofer level until it just fills in the bottom octave. You shouldn't really be aware the the subwoofer is there and should only notice when you switch it off!

(6) Should the Helix Low Pass be deployed; if so at what frequency?

Not relevant, as explained above.

H
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Re: Nearfield Monitors w/ Sub (Connectivity / Cabling)

Postby trunkdog » Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:10 pm

Thanks ever so much for the response Hugh. 

trunkdog wrote:
My assumption is Secondary Sub / Left MSP-10 / Right MSP-10

No need to assume anything when there is a block diagram printed on the sub itself, and the handbook is only a click away:

http://download.yamaha.com/api/asset/fi" target="phpbbpopup ... et_id=7850

You know I actually have a comprehensive library of all the gear I either own or hope to. Read daily for hours, everything from Eargle's, Alton Everest to various forum threads and most things in between. Now that particular manual (I have a few flavors of it) was consulted. Consulted the diagram on back of the sub itself, flashlight in hand. Heck I even screen a captured a portion of the page you mentioned, cropping that area on the left that was obviously "only techno-blather about phase, filters and schematics". <Face Palm> Boy did I miss it! I guess I was looking for the speaker hookup diagram for dummies" image. I still don't get the sub out "pass thru" unless it is for a second sub.

(1) Should I use the Helix Sub Out?

No. The console's sub-out is just a mono mix derived from either the stereo bus or aux 4. Useful in some situations, perhaps, but not yours. You need your sub to follow the level and source settings etc from the Presonus monitor controller, not to go off and do it's own thing based on what happens to be going through the desk at the time! 

I'm monitoring tracking thru headphones off the boards Control Room phone jack, mix (at console) monitored thru the Yamaha MSP's with sub.


(2) Are "microphone" balanced cables suitable for speaker use?

They are suitable for carrying line-level signals, which you need in this application with active speakers, yes.

Ah, yes, my speakers are active hence line level. 

The Central Station allows for (3) sets of speakers (A/B/C) recommending placing the Sub on C thereby allowing the removal of the sub from the mix.

You could do that, if you want, in which case you would need to run two cables between the Speaker C (left and right outputs) and subwoofer L&R inputs.

Aren't those ports (left and right) already occupied by the nearfields?

Furthermore; if I bypass the sub and my nearfields are set with an 80 Hz cutoff won't I loose all bottom end? Or do I actually get up offin me arse and remove the low cut?

Since the Central Station has only TRS 1 and 2 as pairs of 1/4 TRS connections:
(3) How is the Sub brought into the Central Station?

Huh?     

The signal flow should be: mixer (main left/right) outputs (and/or computer and other sources) into Central Station inputs, and then the Central Station speaker A outputs go to the MSP10 speakers, and the C outputs to the SW10 subwoofer.

Alternatively, if you plan to always have the subwoofer running, just take the Central Station A left/right outputs to the subwoofer, and then use the subwoofer's corresponding outputs to connect up to the MSP10 speakers.

If you connect the subwooder directly to the mixer, then turning things up or down on the Presonus, or selecting different monitoring sources, won't reach the subwoofer ... and that would be rather silly! 

Suitable connection arrangements are explained in both the Presonus and Yamaha manuals.

The second scenario is how I presently have it cabled. Your first scenario makes better sense to me now. Wouldn't that give me the ability to do as you described; Speaker Out "C" to sub L/R? I'll go back and consult the PreSonus manual.

(4) Is 80 Hz a suitable crossover / cutoff?

Yes. Set the HPF switch on the back of the MSP10s to cut off at 80Hz, then set the LPF rotary control on the subwoofer to the same frequency.

Got it, thanks.

(5) Should Helix Level Control be set at max (+10dB) and trimmed at Subwoofer or both Helix and SW-10 set at Max and trimmed at Central Station? (I supposed this equates to "gain staging monitors?)

Neither. 

The subwoofer should be getting it's signal from the Monitor controller, not the desk, so the Helix sub-out settings are irrelevant. 

With the system cabled up as described above, start with the subwoofer level right down. Set a sensible listening level on the MSP10s, and then gradually increase the subwoofer level until it just fills in the bottom octave. You shouldn't really be aware the the subwoofer is there and should only notice when you switch it off!

Thanks for the system setup advice. I will take that into account and probably use one of the sub setup procedures I have:

http://www.krksys.com/krk-media-downloads.html" target="phpbbpopup

(Can't believe I just offered KRK props) 

(6) Should the Helix Low Pass be deployed; if so at what frequency?

Not relevant, as explained above.

H

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Re: Nearfield Monitors w/ Sub (Connectivity / Cabling)

Postby The Korff » Wed Feb 14, 2018 8:21 am

trunkdog wrote:Furthermore; if I bypass the sub and my nearfields are set with an 80 Hz cutoff won't I loose all bottom end? Or do I actually get up offin me arse and remove the low cut?

That was my one concern with Hugh's suggestion — if you disable Speaker C on your monitor controller (to listen sans-sub), your monitors will still be high-pass filtered. It's a shame the Yamaha sub doesn't have a footswitch input to disable it (and also its crossover settings).

I don't think there's a way around that, I'm afraid! Other than leaving the monitors at full-range and setting your sub to just fill in the ultra-lows.
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Re: Nearfield Monitors w/ Sub (Connectivity / Cabling)

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:36 am

trunkdog wrote:I still don't get the sub out "pass thru" unless it is for a second sub.

The pass thru connections are exactly that, so that the mains LR stereo input can be passed on to the satellite speakers, and if a dedicated LFE sitgnal is being used, that too can be passed on to a second subwoofer -- which some installations do employ.

I'm monitoring tracking thru headphones off the boards Control Room phone jack, mix (at console) monitored thru the Yamaha MSP's with sub.

If you're using the console's monitoring section, why do you have the Presonus Central Station? It makes no sense ... You can't control the monitor speakers from two different systems!

Wouldn't it be more logical to monitor everything through the Central Station? If you want to have access to the desk's monitoring (PFL etc), then hook up the desk's monitor outputs to one of the input source channels of the Central Station.

Aren't those ports (left and right) already occupied by the nearfields?

I thought you said your nearfields were hooked up to the console monitor outputs... I'm getting very confused! :?

Furthermore; if I bypass the sub and my nearfields are set with an 80 Hz cutoff won't I loose all bottom end? Or do I actually get up offin me arse and remove the low cut?

You need to decide how you want to use the system. The Yamaha intention is that you roll some of the bass out of the nearfields (using the switch provided for the purpose) when using it with the sub. The benefit is that the nearfields will then have greater headroom and will go louder and cleaner, while the sub picks up all the heavy lifting. It also means that the crossover between sub and nearfield is properly optimised.

The downside is that if you configure your system so you can switch off the sub, the nearfields won't have as much low end as they normally would...but isn't that the whole point of switching off the sub anyway? To hear what the track sounds like on small speakers without the bottom two octaves?

The alternative arrangement would be to leave the nearfields operating with their full bandwidth, and lower the subwoofer's low-pass filter setting to fill in whatever bottom end is missing. It's a valid approach, but you're in the lap of the gods as far as optimising the crossover is concerned. And you lose the headroom benefits mentioned previously.

The second scenario is how I presently have it cabled. Your first scenario makes better sense to me now.

:D

H
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Re: Nearfield Monitors w/ Sub (Connectivity / Cabling)

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:44 am

The Korff wrote:That was my one concern with Hugh's suggestion — if you disable Speaker C on your monitor controller (to listen sans-sub), your monitors will still be high-pass filtered.

This is true, they will still be high-pass filtered... but have you asked the question, 'why would I want to disable speaker C' (and thus kill the sub)?

When calibrating a sat/sub monitoring set up it's a useful check of the crossover settings. but once configured what's the operational requirement for this facility?

The answer, surely, is that it's to hear the mix track without the sub's low-end reinforcement (which may well be giving a false impression of the mix balance) and therefore simulate how the mix might sound on smaller speakers. Speakers which won't deliver any energy below 80Hz...

That being the case, what's the point in turning off the sub but putting most of the bass back into the nearfields by extending (slightly) their low-end again ?

That seems like it's a concept that's missed the point to me. ;)

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