FAQ: General Audio

What is the basic set up for the Quintet™ III and optional SUB 10 or 12 subwoofer?

For most home theater systems, you’ll use a standard RCA connector hookup. This is a shielded wire that is similar in construction to the wires leading from a DVD player to a receiver. It will connect to the single SUB or LFE jack on the back of your receiver and to either of the two inputs on the back of the sub. If you wish, you may obtain a ‘Y’ connector to hook up to both of the sub inputs; this will result in a slight increase in volume.

Cables specifically designed for subwoofer use typically are better shielded than standard ‘patch cables’ and may offer possible noise reduction or cancellation from electrical devices the cable may come in contact with. Some subwoofer cables are directional, (one end always hooks up to receiver, the other to the sub), so always read any instructions that come with your specialty cabling.

Settings in the receiver’s menu system are detailed in the owner’s manual. Here are some suggestions for getting the best possible sound and reliability from your Quintet III with subwoofer system: 

• Set all speakers to SMALL setting within the speaker setup controls, 
• Adjust the crossover (or Low Pass filter) to 110 or 120 Hz. 
• Set the LFE out to SUB ONLY (options might include mains or sub + mains)

Settings on the SUB rear panel are as follows: 

• Set the gain/volume to 8 to begin with; you’ll fine tune the balance with receiver remote control. 
• Set the low pass/crossover dial fully clockwise to 120. This eliminates the sub’s filter system. 
• Set the phase switch to ‘0’; you won’t be using this with the Quintet system. 
• Set the ON/OFF switch near the power cable to ON. This is the master power switch. 
• Set the auto/ON switch to AUTO. The sub will sense when music or a soundtrack is present and
  automatically turn the power on. It will wait a few minutes after the end of the movie to shut off.

If your receiver came with an ‘optimizer’ microphone and setup system, make sure to check the receiver’s settings after running the auto-setup. It is important that your speakers remain set to the SMALL setting. Quintet III satellite speakers cannot reproduce bass tones; allowing the receiver to send bass to them at movie levels might damage them.

Where can I get my "out of warranty" Klipsch product repaired?

Sybesma’s Electronics offers out of warranty repairs on most Klipsch, Jamo, Energy and Mirage products (not including headphones):

581 Ottawa Ave
Suite 100
Holland, MI 49423
1-800-456-4265

http://www.sybesmas.com

What is a full-range acoustic experience?

It’s the perfect acoustic situation where a listener gets a true-to-life sound experience with crisp highs and deep lows.

What does "IMG" stand for?

IMG refers to a type of material used for speaker cones.  It stands for Injection Molded Graphite.

What does THX® certification mean?

THX® certification is a quality standard set and granted by Lucasfilm Ltd. (one of George Lucas' companies). Basically, THX® certification ensures high quality sound reproduction by enforcing strict standards of performance and acoustic measurement. This means the sound you hear is virtually identical to how it was mastered in the studio. Go to www.thx.com to learn more.

What is a binding post?

A binding post in audio terms is a versatile type of speaker terminal that allows several types of connections. Many times referred to as a "Five-Way Binding Post" it accepts connections from bare wire and connectors attached to bare wire such as pins, banana plugs and spades. European consumer protection legislation now demands that the holes in the ends of 5-way binding posts be plugged. This is to avoid the potential for the user to plug European AC cords into speakers by mistake. The European power plug has pins similar in size to that which a 5-way post will accept.

How much amplifier/receiver power do I need?

The output of a speaker (measured in decibels (dB)) for a given amount of amplifier power is termed its efficiency. Speakers with high efficiency will require less amplifier power to produce a given sound pressure level. Live music and movie soundtracks have peak levels as high as 120 dB. To attain just a 3 dB increase in volume, an amplifier's power must be doubled regardless what the speaker efficiency. Therefore, the amount of amplifier power needed if you wish to attain the sound pressure levels of a live orchestra or a large explosion in a movie is greatly dependent on the efficiency of your speakers. Here is a chart that shows two different speakers, one with 88 dB efficiency (common) and one with 100 dB efficiency, and the amplifier power need to produce given sound pressure levels:

Sound Pressure Chart

The above charts show that the typical speaker with a sensitivity of 88 dB requires 1024 watts just to get to 118 dB! A more efficient speaker (example here is our KLF-30) requires just 64 watts to hit those levels of live music and Home Theatre. Therefore, the amount of amplifier power that a person needs is determined by the efficiency of the speaker that person is using plus the desired dB levels he or she wants to be able to produce. Other variables which impact the choice of amp power are the size of the listening room, the absorption characteristics of the wall and floor surface materials and the distance between listener and speakers. In a smaller room and with high efficiency speakers, 50 watts may be enough to provide full dynamic range. In a large room with low efficiency speakers, even 500 watts may not be enough. Higher speaker efficiency always helps deliver the most from whatever power you choose.

Are there some speakers better for music and some better for home theatre?

This is similar to the age-old question "are some speakers better for rock music and others better for jazz and classical". If a speaker is truly accurate, it will perform properly on any kind of music. When it comes to home theater, the same is true for the main speakers. If they can't accurately reproduce music, they will not be good for home theater. Whether one is listening to a classical masterpiece or Terminator2, wide dynamic range, low distortion and flat frequency response are all important to make the sound realistic. A good speaker will be able to reproduce the music or the movie sound as close as possible to the way it originally sounded, whether that was in a concert hall or a recording studio. The only exception is rear and center speakers which must be uniquely designed for surround applications. They too must meet the fundamental requirements of accurate reproduction to be satisfying in the final analysis.

Why should I use speaker feet or spikes?

Speaker spikes keep the speaker from rocking back and forth in response to driver motion, especially when the floor is carpeted. A midrange or tweeter moves very little on its own, and when bass is strong, the speaker may move more than either of these drivers due to the motion of the heavy woofer cone(s). This will have a negative affect on the sound. If the speaker is kept as still as possible, the definition and dynamics of the sound improves. On hard floor surfaces, the spikes can help to drain energy stored in the speaker cabinets into the floor, which will improve resolution. Make sure you do not use the spikes with a wood floor as this will cause damage to the wood. A coin under each spike, for example, will help protect the floor.

Should I play my speakers with the grilles off for better sound?

There are many factors that have an effect on the way a speaker sounds besides how it is designed. Room acoustics and speaker placement are definitely two of the biggest variables that change the in-room sound. One of the other factors that can change a speaker's sound is its grille. The placement of a fabric or metal grille in front of a speaker can effect high frequency response and imaging. Your ears will tell you which sounds the best: grilles on or grilles off. Remember that speaker grills also serve to protect the delicate drivers in your speakers, so if you have curious pets or young children, it may be best to leave the speaker grilles on at all times.

Where is the best place to put my main speakers in my room?

Correct speaker placement leads to the best sounding bass and the best imaging. It is generally a good idea to keep speakers 4-6' away from side walls to minimize early reflections. Those reflections upset the tonal balance of the speaker and also interfere with proper imaging. In general, placing a speaker closer to a corner or back wall will produce more bass. Raising a speaker off of the floor (such as putting it on a stand) will reduce bass. The two (or three) speakers you have on your front channels should also have their midrange/tweeters all at the same height in order to create an even image. It is particularly disconcerting when a pan jumps up and down as it moves across the front stage.

Finally, we recommend, with Klipsch speakers, that the midrange/tweeter horn be "toed-in" toward the listener to create the best imaging. Experiment with distance from the back wall till bass balance is smooth and extended. To achieve good imaging without a "hole in the middle" do not place speakers father apart than the distance between you and the speakers. That is, not more than an equilateral triangle. If your speakers are too close together, you will reduce the width of the image almost to mono. Try to keep the distance between your Left and Right speakers a little more than half of the distance from you to the nearest speaker.

What is the rear center channel for and what type of speaker should I use?

The rear center channel is a recent extension of both Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 processing, called EX and ES respectively. It is based on the same principle as the front center channel which is to "localize" sounds in the center of the soundstage or give them a distinct area they are appear to come from, filling in the sound gap between the left and right rear channels. Therefore, the same type of speaker used for the front center may be used for the rear center. Because of the need to "localize" the sound to the center, a monopole center channel speaker is usually the best choice. Some electronics offer the option of using TWO rear center speakers. What will sound best is dependent on the size of the room and what type of surround speakers you choose. WDST™ surrounds generally do not require the addition of a rear center, but adding one enhances the localization of events in the rear sound field.

How should I set my home theater receiver for a particular speaker size?

The "bass management" option on today's home theater receivers is designed to route mid- or low-bass or both frequencies to a subwoofer in the system. What setting you should select is based on the bass capabilities of the speakers in question.

In general, "satellite" and bookshelf speakers should be set to "small." Floor-standing speakers should be set to "medium" or "large" depending on their ability to accurately reproduce deeper bass. At the same time this option is set, the frequency of the subwoofer's bass reproduction should also be set. If, for example, you have small bookshelf speakers you have set to "small", you should set your subwoofer to 100-120 Hz. If you have big speakers set to the "large" setting, you should set the subwoofer lower (i.e. 50-80 Hz).

The correct settings on both the receiver and subwoofer will allow the subwoofer to pick up the bass where the speaker leaves off; creating a smooth transition that reduces boominess at frequencies both the subwoofer and the speaker are delivering. The correct settings are best obtained after experimentation yields the best sound to your ears.

Where is the best place to put surround speakers?

Surround speakers are generally designed to be placed on either side of the main listening position, approximately 5-7 feet above the floor. They should be mounted on a wall or positioned on a stand with some space on either side of the speaker (this is especially needed with bipole and dipole speakers which need wall-reflected sounds for maximum effect).

Klipsch WDST™ surround speakers offer more flexibility in that if side walls are not available, a rear wall or even a combination of a rear and side wall may be used to create excellent surround effects.

What are the different types of surround speakers available and what are the differences?

There are three "common" types of surround speakers available today plus some unique types created by different speaker manufacturers.

"Monopole" speakers consist of a speaker or group of speakers all firing on the same plane in the same direction. This includes the vast majority of all speakers made. What people think of as "normal speakers" are termed Monopole. With regard to current surround sound formats, monopole speakers are the least desirable because they are the least effective in creating an "enveloping sound field" (ambience). They are good at localization, but that alone is not enough to produce the desired surround effect.

If you take a monopole speaker and add another speaker placed 180 degrees opposite of it (i.e. back to back) firing in the same phase, you have a "bipole" speaker. Firing in phase means all drivers on both sides are at the same excursion point at the same time. This creates the exact same sounds coming from both sides of the speaker at the same time. By design, Bipole speakers send no sound directly toward the listener. A bipole speaker will produce good "ambience" as all the sound is reflected off the walls of the room, but is not effective in producing "localized" sounds.

If you take the basic design of a bipole speaker with the rear facing drivers firing exactly opposite of the front, you have a "dipole" speaker. Dipole speakers produce a very diffuse sound, which is good for ambience, but, like bipoles, are not very effective at localization. Dipole design further reduces direct sound to the listening position.

Both bipole and dipole speakers should be mounted on the sides of the listening position and use reflected sound off of the walls to produce their effects. So if monopoles can offer localization but not enveloping ambience, and bi-pole/dipole speakers deliver ambience without localization, what can provide both important characteristics at the same time?

Klipsch produces a unique surround speaker that utilizes a technology called Wide Dispersion Surround Technology (WDST™). Each WDST™ enabled speaker contains two Tractrix® Horn drivers and a woofer. Each horn covers a 90-degree arc and the combination of the two covers a full 180 degrees. This coverage gives excellent ambiance without having to use the walls to reflect sound. The controlled pattern of each horn (what we call "controlled directivity") leads to excellent localization of sounds because there is sound directed at the listening position, regardless of where in the room you are seated. And because the WDST™ surround speaker does not rely on wall reflections, it can be mounted in many different places in a room, leading to greater flexibility with placement. It is rare to have perfect side-wall positions available due to the placement of doors, drapes, furniture and such. WDST™ design delivers enveloping ambience WITH localization for the ideal surround sound result AND gives you the flexibility of placement to solve room design problems.

I’m experiencing a humming or buzzing noise. What should I check?

This could be a ground loop hum/buzz or possibly a transformer hum through the speakers. In fact, large subwoofer transformers are more susceptible to a slight hum noise.

A speaker hum at your listening location is never normal. To determine if the sub amp is functioning correctly, the best thing to do is disconnect all of the connection inputs going into the subwoofer. Keeping the subwoofer plugged into the AC outlet, turn it on; if the hum still exists, there may be a ground loop issue or a problem in the sub amplifier. In that case, the amp should be serviced or replaced. If there is no hum at that point, the issue might involve the preamp or another ‘upstream’ source component. Some common causes of a ground loop hum are cable TV connections, digital recorders or satellite dish receivers.

If the hum issue is found to be with a cable TV coax wire, then a device called a MAGIC box possibly may help eliminate the ground loop from cable TV, or an OTA antenna. Some, if not all surge protectors have a cable or satellite in and out cable connection; try that as well.

Why can't I select 5 channel stereo while listening to a Dolby Digital 2.0 signal?

5 channel stereo can not be applied to Dolby Digital 2.0 signals.

What is Dolby Digital?

Dolby Digital soundtracks can contain anywhere from 1 (mono) to 5.1 channels of information. Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtracks can have post processing applied to them such as Pro Logic II Music or Movie mode, or you can listen to them in just Stereo.

http://www.dolby.com/tech/co.br.0103.DDFAQ.html#q1

I ran the test tones and I am getting sound out of all the speakers, but I still have no surround output outside of the test tones.

Not all modes or all soundtracks are designed to produce output from all channels. Below is a list of possible reasons for lack of output in a channel or channels. 

During Stereo decoding (no mode LED's lit) the system will only output from the main left and right speaker, and the subwoofer.

Dolby Digital can be anywhere from 1 (mono) to 5.1 channels. Not all Dolby Digital soundtracks are designed to produce output from all 5 channels. In general, the DVD packaging, or the DVD player On Screen Display should provide an indication of how many channels of information are contained in the soundtrack.

Some soundtracks may not be surround encoded, and processing these signals with Pro Logic II Music mode or Movie mode may result in output from only the center channel, or no surround output. This does not indicate a problem with the system.

How do I bi-wire?

Your speaker must have two separate positive and negative connections (one set for the woofer and one set for the midrange/tweeter). Connect one wire between the positive terminal on the amplifier/receiver the positive terminal on the speaker. Connect the other wire from the negative terminal on the amplifier/receiver to the corresponding negative terminal on the speaker. Remove the jumper straps connecting the two sets of speaker inputs. Repeat this process for the second set of terminals on the speaker, connecting them to the same positive and negative terminals on the receiver/amplifier. Repeat the steps for each speaker you wish to Bi-Wire, connecting them to the appropriate terminals on your receiver/amplifier.

How do I bi-amp?

Bi-amping is similar to bi-wiring, but involves separate amplifiers, one for the woofer and one for the midrange/tweeter. Passive bi-amping involves a direct hookup between each amplifier and the speakers separate high frequency and low frequency input terminals (if the speaker is so equipped). Active bi-amping involves inserting an active (electronic) crossover network between the preamp and the power amplifiers typically one amplifier for the woofer and another amplifier for the mid/highs. This should only be done on a speaker that does not have a, passive crossover network in the speaker. Ideally the active crossover would be designed to work with a specific loudspeaker. Passive bi-amping is easier to do but care must be taken to match the gain structures of the amplifiers if they are different designs. Failure to do this may result in a noticeable upset of the speakers spectral balance (too much or not enough bass for instance). Active bi-amping is a difficult and expensive approach that we do not recommend with any of our home entertainment loudspeakers.

What is the difference between bi-wiring and bi-amping?

Bi-wiring is using the same power source (amplifier) but separately connecting that power source to a woofer and a midrange/tweeter on a speaker.

Bi-amping is using two separate power sources (amplifiers) and connecting one amplifier to a woofer and the other amplifier to a midrange/tweeter on a speaker.

Can any of your speakers handle a full kilowatt each or more?

To answer to this question, we should first talk briefly about efficiency. Our horn-loaded speakers are extremely efficient, meaning you will get more output for the input you put into them, with less distortion. For example, Klipsch speakers rated at 100 dB sensitivity will take 1 watt input and hit 100 db output 1 meter from the front of the speaker. Each 3db more sensitive one speaker over the other gives you the equivalent of doubling the amp power.

With highly efficient speakers, you do not want to put 1000 watts into them, even peaks. If you do the math yourself (each doubling of power in gives you 3Db more output) and 1 watt into 100 dB sensitive speakers gives you 100dB’s out, 2 watts gives 103dB’s, 4 gives 106dB’s, 8 watts 109dB’s etc. etc., 1000 watts would (if it did not fry the speaker) give you dB levels that would almost instantly blow your ear drums. A “high” power amp like that is designed for much less efficient speakers (for example 88/ 89dB sensitivity or less), although, again, at that type of output, even for just instant peaks, it will probably fry any “home audio” speaker.

If you enjoy really “loud” (and clean and lifelike) sound, we suggest our Klipsch Reference Series RF-7 II speakers. They are rated at 250 continuous/1000 peak, but, again, you will never put that much into them unless you want to blow yourself through the wall behind your main seating position.