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Help me understand, why is this needed? I get what it does, just why would you want to change it once your subwoofer level is properly balanced, calibrated and tuned?

A JL Audio HD-RLC Amplifier Remote Level Control was installed in my 335i E92 center console. “it acts as an attenuator on the input gain of the amplifier and is used to adjust the overall level of the amplifier from the front of the vehicle”.

My amp is a JL XD500/3v2, one channel drives the Subwoofer, a JL 12W3v3-4 mounted in an OEM style, corner loaded trunk enclosure. The other channels drives the OEM under seat woofers.

I assume the HD-RLC just adjusts the subwoofer channel but I never asked my installer if it also adjusts the under-seat woofer’s.

I have balanced and calibrated many home subwoofers and always tried to get the sub level accurate. I am not one to try and add additional boost. If the audio source has bass, I prefer it at the level the artist, recording producers and engineers intended. Not that I don’t like bass. My home theater has an 18” and two 15” subwoofers, two more 12” woofers built in to my left and right mains and a 10” bass module helping out my center channel via an active crossover. They can rock the house. I also have separate subwoofers in my other home music and tv rooms.

Do people just use the level control because they like adding additional bass over and above the intended mix to songs or is there something about car audio that requires constantly adjusting the bass level?

I would think it would be best to balance, calibrate and tune and just leave it alone. I had an installer do my 335i recently but plan to build the subwoofer enclosure and add at least a three channel amp to my X6 and would prefer not to run cable up front to install a remote.

Thanks.
 

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Some stations or tunes/tracks have less bass or too much bass. So we'll just add a little or reduce it. Sometimes we have passengers and don't need that much bass lol.

Well.. maybe you might not need to run that cable and knob to the front after all. Just go the bass setting page on your idrive screen and long-press a number to save it. I have mine on preset/button 6. When i want to reduce or add bass, i'll just touch button 6 followed by the big knob to minus or plus it.

My number 7 is the hp/torque gauges/screen. My number 8 is the tire pressure/temperature info screen. Those buttons aren't for radio stations only. I have buttons 1, 4 and 5 for phone numbers ha ha

Edit: oops my button 1 is home address/navi.
 

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The take away from responses so far is what I surmised in my original post; "people just use the level control because they like adding additional bass over and above the intended mix to songs".

So there isn't something about car audio that requires constantly adjusting the bass level?

Not judging, plenty people boost bass at home as well. Seems I don't really need a control if my preference is for a calibrated bass level that matches my cabin speakers.
 

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Seems I don't really need a control if my preference is for a calibrated bass level that matches my cabin speakers.
True as long as you ears and cabin acoustics like all recording engineers' preferences.

I use it to attenuate as often as I use it to boost, admitting that it's usually set at the 'null' detent where it was set for my REW-based system tuning. Usually it's a matter of a track-specific tweak for me, rarely a whole recording / album (I tend to be an 'album listener').

In my case referring to the JBL shelf-filtering Wireless Bass Control analog knob that acts on both my sub and woofer MS-Axxxx amps. Nice to have - much easier to tweak than menu-based adjustment. Easy enough to leave it at 'null' when the tweak isn't desired - I don't see a downside to having it available.

YMMV
 

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Because not all mixes are done optimally. Let's be honest.... surely everyone has heard a poor mix or recording even though they liked the particular song or album. This spans across every listening venue available because it isn't always the venue, it's in the recording. That said, it's not a requirement as much as it is a convenience when trying to enjoy such poorly recorded tunes.

I have the ability to adjust global EQ and sub level in each vehicle. I don't use it often, but I am glad I have it when I feel the need to because it can make that much of a difference... some recordings are unbearable without it.

Man & Machine... Power Extreme!
 

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IMO yes car audio has its own challenges and sometimes a quick tweak on the bass knob helps.

Yes sometimes it's because the mastering is a little thin (or too boomy), but it could also be the speed you're traveling, the tire noise on different road surfaces, whether the window(s) be up or down, whether you're alone or have your grandma as a passenger, etc.
 

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Its a preference. Also sometimes you have people in your car that dont like subs so you turn the level down even if it is low. I sometimes have my parents in my car and even on low volume, they dont like the low end. Same with my wife, who will study and read on long trips. When she is in the car, I adjust the level up or down and in some cases turn it very low.
 

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It's really no different than a stock head-unit having Bass/Mid/Treble controls. The sub knob basically just adds another adjustment for the sub. As already mentioned, you may want to boost or reduce the sub output depending on song, source, passengers, mood, etc.

Personally, I don't have a sub knob right now myself, but I just have a small under-seat powered sub, so I just set-and-forget - but I can certainly understand why someone might want one - and I may eventually add one to my system as well. Still kind of in the building phase and I have multiple "knob" options (via AmpPro, DSP, sub itself, etc) - not sure which one I'd use to control sub output. Certainly don't want/need the knob for every single one of the devices that are capable of using a remote volume knob. :)
 

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The take away from responses so far is what I surmised in my original post; "people just use the level control because they like adding additional bass over and above the intended mix to songs".

So there isn't something about car audio that requires constantly adjusting the bass level?

Not judging, plenty people boost bass at home as well. Seems I don't really need a control if my preference is for a calibrated bass level that matches my cabin speakers.
I'm of the opinion that properly setup in the first place there is no need to adjust the bass. Sure, recordings are different, but that's the whole point. After careful tuning, I've always been satisfied with how the bass is represented across all of my music. Sure, some music is lacking, but it was supposed to be lacking in the first place. I'm not interested in trying to make all of the recordings sound the same, they should be unique, that's why they are interesting.
 

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While my view differs from gijoe's on set it and forget it, I cannot argue that his is wrong as it works for him. I prefer to be able to adjust the bottom end. Having spent time in a band and hanging out in several recording studios with friends over the years I learned what I like the kick drum and bass guitar to sound like and that different producers record kick drum and bass differently for sure. I like to blend the bass in with the mids and highs and I have noticed that the lower bass seems to be the area that needs to be blended or "re-blended" the most often.

As and example. KISS - song - Love Gun - [email protected]/96 to me lacks kick drum punch so I bring it up to about 3/4 on my knob to blend it in.

Second example. Slayer - South of Heaven Album - [email protected]/96 to me is kick drum heavy and I will take it down to about half on my knob to blend it in.

It is quick and easy to do so I don't pay it any attention really and honestly, the majority of music I listen to I keep the bass knob at 1 click above half.
 

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The mystery is what did it sound like in the studio? The world may never know, but that isn't really the point. The objective is to have a realistic and natural playback as much as possible. Even Dr. Floyd Toole admits to occasionally making minor tone adjustments while using headphones due to recording differences.

Man & Machine... Power Extreme!
 

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One of the problems is that as you increase and decrease the subwoofer you are changing where the subwoofer and midwoofer cross over. Remember that crossovers have a slope, so as you raise the sub the point at which it crosses with the mid gets higher. Raise the sub and you end up with not just more bass from 80hz down (if that's your crossover point), but also quite a bit above that. So you don't just add more sub-bass, you also boost the frequencies for about an octave above your typical HPF. When you use a gain knob you are changing everything around the crossover point quite a bit each time you raise and lower it. This can have a really negative affect on midbass, because you're constantly altering how much overlap there is between the sub and midbass, you're not just boosting, or cutting the sub, you are making the midbass either bloated, or thin in the process. You're also making the sub more localizable to the rear of the car since you are now getting more output from the higher frequencies.

The transition between the sub and mibass is a really important transition for a good sounding stereo. You need your time alignment to be solid, since we localize sounds by phase at those frequencies, and you also need a smooth transition from sub to mid at the crossover point. By using a gain knob you throw all of the work you spent tuning for great midbass down the toilet. You screw with a lot more than subbass when you turn the knob.

If you use a gain knob, make sure that you tune with it at its neutral position so that even when you increase or decrease the bass you still know exactly where it is optimized for. This neutral position should be where it provides the best frequency response, based on your tune, then increase, or decrease a bit for a particular album

Remember, a lot of this music was never intended to have that much bass, and I really think if you take the time to tune the low end well, with a nice smooth transition between the subwoofer and midbass, and set your TA correctly, then you won't have the desire to change the bass level nearly as much. Most songs sound better with a predictable frequency response, instead of ruining midbass clarity in exchange for more sub bass. Ideally, you want great sub-bass without sacrificing midbass detail, but you don't really get that option with most gain knobs.

As unpopular as it may sound, a bass boost is almost better because it acts more as an EQ, boosting whatever frequency it's intended for, but leaving the crossover point alone. You don't want to be messing with the crossover point once you finally get it right with your tuning.
 

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One of the problems is that as you increase and decrease the subwoofer you are changing where the subwoofer and midwoofer cross over. Remember that crossovers have a slope, so as you raise the sub the point at which it crosses with the mid gets higher. Raise the sub and you end up with not just more bass from 80hz down (if that's your crossover point), but also quite a bit above that. So you don't just add more sub-bass, you also boost the frequencies for about an octave above your typical HPF. When you use a gain knob you are changing everything around the crossover point quite a bit each time you raise and lower it. This can have a really negative affect on midbass, because you're constantly altering how much overlap there is between the sub and midbass, you're not just boosting, or cutting the sub, you are making the midbass either bloated, or thin in the process. You're also making the sub more localizable to the rear of the car since you are not getting more output from the higher frequencies.

The transition between the sub and mibass is a really important transition for a good sounding stereo. You need your time alignment to be solid, since we localize sounds by phase at those frequencies, and you also need a smooth transition from sub to mid at the crossover point. By using a gain knob you throw all of the work you spent tuning for great midbass down the toilet. You screw with a lot more than subbass when you turn the knob.

If you use a gain knob, make sure that you tune with it at its neutral position so that even when you increase or decrease the bass you still know exactly where it is optimized for. This neutral position should be where it provides the best frequency response, based on your tune, then increase, or decrease a bit for a particular album

Remember, a lot of this music was never intended to have that much bass, and I really think if you take the time to tune the low end well, with a nice smooth transition between the subwoofer and midbass, and set your TA correctly, then you won't have the desire to change the bass level nearly as much. Most songs sound better with a predictable frequency response, instead of ruining midbass clarity in exchange for more sub bass. Ideally, you want great sub-bass without sacrificing midbass detail, but you don't really get that option with most gain knobs.

As unpopular as it may sound, a bass boost is almost better because it acts more as an EQ, boosting whatever frequency it's intended for, but leaving the crossover point alone. You don't want to be messing with the crossover point once you finally get it right with your tuning.
Every word you just said makes sense. When I up the "bass knob" on the 3Sixty.3 remote, I can hear more bass guitar above the sub. 90Hz by the way and the midbass is also 90hz... What are you thinking? Increase the gap between the sub and midbass? i.e. 80hz for the sub and 100hz for the midbass?
 

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If you are parked and doing critical listening, then I agree that the bass knob is redundant. Once you start traveling, however, you might want to boost it a tad to overcome road noise.

Of course one could argues that adding boost to a car's engine is useless, because a normally-aspirated engine will do the legal speed limit just fine...but where's the fun in that? ;)
 

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Im going with gijoe on this one. Once initial Bass level is set, I never touch it in any of my vehicles. If I happen across a track that has "lackluster" bass, or "abundant" bass, Its 3 1/2 minutes I can live with.
No particular rhyme or reason, just my way. I'm no tweaker! Lol
 

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The knob should be full clockwise when the sub amp gain is set. You then use the halfway point of the knob as a nominal setting, then you have half the knob for more bass and half for less bass and no worry about overdriving the sub amp.
 

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Every word you just said makes sense. When I up the "bass knob" on the 3Sixty.3 remote, I can hear more bass guitar above the sub. 90Hz by the way and the midbass is also 90hz... What are you thinking? Increase the gap between the sub and midbass? i.e. 80hz for the sub and 100hz for the midbass?
A shelf filter solves this, but unfortunately, very few offer this. JBL MS amps were one but went further. You're not just adjusting frequency response of the sub, but can also link to the mid amp. This works well since the blend is kept, but also if a song tends to be too lean on the low end, it's more than likely that midbass is rather weak too. Helix DSP offers the same through the Director I believe. I wish more products would do the same.

Man & Machine... Power Extreme!
 

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The knob should be full clockwise when the sub amp gain is set. You then use the halfway point of the knob as a nominal setting, then you have half the knob for more bass and half for less bass and no worry about overdriving the sub amp.
This is EXACTLY what I do. It is EXACTLY how mine is set up. The only reason my computers speaker systems (A stereo pair of active near field Samson monitors and a JBL active servo subwoofer) subwoofer doesn't get messed with is because I don't have a remote knob for it.
 
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