Descent I Rev110206 - MartinLogan

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DESCENT iTMuser’smanual

Serial NumberRecord your serial numbers here for easy reference. You will need this informationwhen filling out your warranty registration. Descent i’s serial number is located nearthe bottom of the backplate and also on the shipping container.Descent i Settings:LevelThe lightning bolt flash with arrowhead symbol, withinan equilateral triangle, is intended to alert the user tothe presence of uninsulated “dangerous voltage” withinthe product’s enclosure that may be of sufficient magnitude to constitute a risk of electric shock.The exclamation point within an equilateral triangle isintended to alert the user to the presence of importantoperating and maintenance (servicing) instructions inthe literature accompanying the appliance.25Hz Level50Hz LevelPhaseWARNING! Two people are required to movethis subwoofer.Low Pass FilterHigh Pass Filter: OutA/V Processor Bass Management Settings:Main Speaker Size(large recommended for full range speakers)Center Speaker Size(small recommended)Surround Speaker Size(small recommended)LevelHigh-PassLow-PassWARNING! Do not use your Descent i loudspeakers outside of the country of original sale—voltage requirementsvary by country. Improper voltage can cause damage that will be potentially expensive to repair. The Descent i isshipped to authorized MartinLogan distributors with the correct power supply for use in the country of intendedsale. A list of authorized distributors can be accessed at or by emailing

Thank you—to you the MartinLogan owner,for loving what we do,andfor making it possible for us to do what we love.

CONTENTS & INTRODUCTIONContents & Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4Installation in Brief . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5Controls and Connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6Accessing the Control PanelControl PanelRear Connection Panel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82-Channel Mode . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9Multi-Channel Mode . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102-Channel/Multi-Channel Mode . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112-Channel Mode Using Speaker Level Inputs . . . . . . . . 122-Channel Mode With 2-Channel Output . . . . . . . . . . 13Why the Filters Are Not EqualSub Out—Using Multiple Subwoofers . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14AC Power Connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15Replacing the FuseBreak-InPlacement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16Listening PositionInstalling In A CabinetAsk Your DealerEnjoy YourselfRoom Acoustics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17Your RoomTerminologySolid Footing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18Home Theater. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19MartinLogan Exclusives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20BalancedForce For Cleaner BassTriLinear ConfigurationServo-Controlled Dynamic DriversProprietary Switching Amplifier25Hz & 50Hz Level ControlFrequently Asked Questions & Troubleshooting . . . . 21Dimensioned Drawings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22General Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23SpecificationsWarranty and RegistrationSerial NumberServiceGlossary of Audio Terms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26Congratulations! You have invested in one of theworld's premier subwoofers.The MartinLogan Descent i represents the culminationof an intensive, dedicated research program directedtoward creating a world class reference subwoofer usingadvanced technologies and without compromising durability, reliability, craftsmanship or aesthetics.The Descent i subwoofer uses three custom 10-inchhigh-excursion drivers in a BalancedForce , TriLinear configuration, which dramatically reduces cabinetvibrations, allowing deep, tight, well-defined bass. Servocontrol woofer technology minimizes distortion. Threeproprietary digital amplifiers drive the output stage withprecision and extremely high efficiency. Low-pass filteringand phase control have been designed to make integrating the Descent i subwoofer with both MartinLogan andnon-MartinLogan products both seamless and simple.The materials in your new Descent i subwoofer are of thehighest quality and will provide years of enduring enjoymentand deepening respect. The cabinetry is constructed from thehighest quality composite material for acoustical integrity.This User's Manual will explain in detail the operation ofyour Descent i subwoofer and the philosophy applied toits design. A clear understanding will help you obtain maximum performance and pleasure from this most exactingsubwoofer system.In accordance with the European Union WEEE (WasteElectrical and Electronic Equipment) directive effectiveAugust 13, 2005, we would like to notify you that thisproduct may contain regulated materials which upondisposal, according to the WEEE directive, require special reuse and recycling processing.For this reason MartinLogan has arranged with our distributors in European Union member nations to collect andrecycle this product at no cost to you. To find your localdistributor please contact the dealer from whom you purchased this product, email or visitthe distributor locator at note, only this product itself falls under the WEEEdirective. When disposing of packaging and other relatedshipping materials we encourage you to recycle theseitems through the normal channels.4Contents & Introduction

INSTALLATIONWe know you are eager to hear your new MartinLogansubwoofer, so this section is provided to allow fast andeasy set up. Once you have your subwoofer operational, please take the time to read, in depth, the rest of theinformation in this manual. It will give you perspective onhow to attain the greatest possible performance from thismost exacting woofer system.If you should experience any difficulties in the setup oroperation of your MartinLogan subwoofer, please referto the Room Acoustics and Placement sections of thethis manual. Should you encounter a persistent problemthat cannot be resolved please contact your authorizedMartinLogan dealer. They will provide you with the appropriate technical analysis to alleviate the situation.WARNING! Hazardous voltages exist inside—do notremove cover. Refer servicing to a qualified technician. To prevent fire or shock hazard, do notexpose this module to moisture. Turn amplifier off and unplug subwoofershould any abnormal conditions occur. The power cord should not be installed,removed, or left detached from the speakerwhile the other end is connected to an ACpower source. The main power switch near the AC inlet shallremain readily operable. No candles or other sources of open flameshould be placed on the speaker. No liquids either in glasses or vases should beplaced on speaker. Speaker should not be exposed to dripping orsplashing liquids. The terminals marked with the lightning boltsymbol should be connected by an instructedperson or by way of ready made terminals The power cord should remain readily operable should any abnormal conditions occur.INBRIEFStep 1: UnpackingRemove your new subwoofer from its packing. Note:Retain original packing materials for future use.Step 2: PlacementIdeally, place the subwoofer in a corner near the front of theroom. Please see the Placement section (page 16) for moredetails.Step 3: Signal ConnectionUse the best cables you can. High quality cables, availablefrom your specialty dealer, are recommended and willgive you superior performance.Attach your preamplifier/processor outputs through cablesto the signal input area located on the subwoofer’s rearpanel. Please see the Controls and Connections section(pages 6–15) for more details.If you plan to connect your subwoofer using Speaker Level(high level) inputs, please refer to the 2-Channel ModeUsing Speaker Level Inputs section (page 12 for moredetails.Step 4: Power Connection (AC) (see warning)Make sure the level knob is set at 0. Plug the subwooferinto a wall outlet. Review the AC Power Connection section(page 15) of this manual for more details.Step 5: Setting the Controls Set the Level knob to 3 or 4. Set the Power switch to ‘Auto’. Set the 25Hz Level and 50Hz Level knobs to 0. Set the Phase to 90 . Set the Low Pass Filter to the closest setting below thelow-end frequency response of your main speakers.These settings are only a beginning point. Your subwooferwill need proper setup to optimize performance. Pleasesee the Controls and Connections section (pages 6–15) formore details.Step 6: Listen and EnjoyInstallation in Brief5

CONTROLSANDCONNECTIONSAccessing the Control PanelThe control panel is located behind the inset metal platelocated on top of the subwoofer. To access the controlpanel, gently press the area above the MartinLogan logo.When the spring releases gently pull the metal plate awayfrom the subwoofer.Control PanelLevelSetting the level too high will cause the bass to seem bloatedand is the single most common cause of bad soundingsubwoofers. A rule of thumb is that the subwoofer shouldnot draw attention to itself, but should simply make thesystem’s low end seem more extended and accurate.Low Pass FilterWhen the Descent i is connected in multi-channel mode(via its LFE input), the low pass filter is not active and yourprocessor handles the bass management. When connectedFigure 1. Top control panel.6Introductionin 2-channel mode (via its speaker or line level left/rightinput), the low-pass filter is active.As a general rule the Low Pass Filter should be set at the optionapproximately equal to (or below) 70% of your main speaker’slowest frequency response. Example: The MartinLogan Vista’slowest frequency response is 43Hz. 70% of 43Hz equals30.1, so you should set the Descent i’s low pass filter to 30Hz.Remember, this is a general rule. We advise that once youtry the recommended setting using the formula above, youshould try the surrounding settings to see which sounds best.Optionally, an internal module in the Descent i can beupgraded with a custom tailored Low Pass Filter settingfor use with the MartinLogan CLX loudspeaker. When thisupgrade is implemented the 30 Hz setting on the Descenti becomes the CLX Low Pass Filter setting.Phase ControlThe phase control is entirely dependent on the size and

configuration of your listening environment, the placementof the unit, and your seating arrangement. Due to the waybass sound waves develop in different rooms, there is no ruleof thumb for setting phase. For instance, if your room hasa peak at the subwoofer crossover area, you may wish toset the phase so the actual acoustic outputs of the subwooferand main speakers are out of phase. Experiment, try different settings and be patient.PowerThe Auto/On/Standby switch controls Descent i’s energysaving feature. When set to 'Auto', the Descent i will turnon when a music signal is detected and off when there isnone. The 'On' setting prevents the Descent i from entering energy saving mode. The 'Standby' setting forces theDescent i into energy saving mode. While set to 'Standby’,the Descent i will not operate.25Hz & 50 Hz LevelThe 25Hz & 50Hz Level knobs significantly adjusts frequencies where peaks and dips of different amplitudesoften manifest in real world environments. The ideal setting is dependent on room size and construction, systemconfiguration and personal preference.High Pass Filter: OutThe High Pass Filter: Out control filters the signal outputfrom the Right Out and Left Out connections.Status LightSee descriptions of the status light on page 8. The top control panel status light functions identically to the back platestatus light.Figure 2. Graphs demonstrating the frequencies effected by the 25HzLevel and 50Hz Level controlsControls and Connections7

Rear Connection PanelSub OutFor systems utilizing multiplesubwoofers. Connect Sub Outto the LFE Input or Right In /Left In on additional sub(s).Status LightThe Descent i is equippedwith a multi-color LED toindicate the current status of the woofers. Thefollowing list explains themeaning of the different colors:Right Out / Left OutShould only be used if connecting this sub betweena pre-amp and amplifier.Connect to the Left In/RightIn on the amplifier. The HighPass: Out control filters theoutput from these connections.No color: No power. Thesubwoofer is not plugged in,or the fuse has blown.LFE In (Balanced)Connect to LFE Out on yourA/V processor. The subwoofer’s Low Pass Filter controldoes not effect this connection. Crossover settings for LFEIn are controlled through theA/V processor.Green: Play mode. This indicates the subwoofer detectsan audio signal and has automatically switched into playmode.Yellow: Standby mode. Thisindicates the Power switch isset to Standby, or the sub hasdetected no audio signal formore than forty minutes andhas automatically switchedinto standby mode.LFE InConnect to LFE Out on yourA/V processor. The subwoofersLow Pass Filter control doesnot effect this connection.Crossover settings for LFE Inare controlled through the A/Vprocessor.Red: Initializing or Safemode. This indicates that thesubwoofer is initializing. Thisalso indicates if the subwoofertemperature has exceedednominal operating range. Ifthe subwoofer overheats,please allow it to cool andreset it by unplugging the unitand plugging it back in.Right In/Left InConnect to Main-Out orPre-Out on your receiver/preamp. Descent i’s Low PassFilter control effects the signalreceived through these inputs.Speaker Level InThis set of binding posts provides a place to connect thesubwoofer using standardspeaker cable. Descent i’sLow Pass Filter control effectsthe signal received throughthese inputs.AC Power Connection, MasterPower Switch, & FuseFigure 3. Rear connection panel.8Controls and Connections

WARNING! Turn the Master Power switch Offand unplug it before making or breaking anysignal connections!2-Channel ModeThis setup is recommended if your subwoofer will be usedin a 2-channel only system. When a signal is connected tothe subwoofers Left In/Right In, the Low Pass Filter controlis active.Signal Connection (see figure 4):1 Connect the left out/right out from your preamp/receiverto the Left In/Right In of the subwoofer. Use quality RCAinterconnects. If your preamp/receiver only has one set ofoutputs you need to obtain Y adapters from your dealer.Recommended Control Settings (see figure 5):1 Calculate the number equal to 70% of your main loudspeaker’s lowest frequency rating. Set the Low Pass Filterswitch to the closest setting below the resulting number.2 Play familiar music with bass content. Increase the Levelcontrol until the music has deep extended bass. Becareful to avoid levels that become overwhelming.3 Try the phase control in different settings until the bestblending is obtained. If you are using the subwoofer toaugment other MartinLogan products, we suggest starting with the phase set at 90 .Figure 4. Signal connection for 2-channel mode.4 If you have completed steps 1–3 and still have weakor boomy bass, adjust the 25Hz Level and 50Hz Levelknobs to compensate for these anomalies. Experimentwith the controls and listen to the effects. Try to finda position that sounds correct to you. Experiment bychanging the Level control while adjusting these knobs.Find a position that gives you deep extended bass andgood blending with your main speakers.Figure 5. Adjust these controls for 2-channel mode.Controls and Connections9

Multi-Channel ModeThis setup is recommended if you will use your subwooferin a dedicated home theater or multi-channel system. Whena signal is connected to the subwoofer’s LFE In, the LowPass Filter control is NOT active. Your processor handlesmost of the bass management.Signal Connection (see figure 6—RCA shown):1 Connect the LFE out of the processor to the LFE In. Useeither an RCA or an XLR interconnect.WARNING!Based on the performance of most processors,it is recommended that MartinLogan centerand effects type speakers (i.e. Stage, Cinema,Theater, and Script i) not be run in large, wide orfull range mode. Doing so may potentially damage the speaker if the processor attempts to drivethe speaker beyond its rated frequency range.This warning also applies to products from othermanufacturers.It is recommended to run center and effects typespeakers in limited or narrow mode.Recommended Control Settings (see figure 7):1 With multi-channel source material playing, adjust theLevel control to your preferred level.2 Try the phase control in different settings until the bestblending is obtained. If you are using the subwoofer toaugment other MartinLogan products, we suggest starting with the phase set at 90 .Figure 6. Signal connection for multi-channel mode.3 If you have completed steps 1–2 and still have weakor boomy bass, adjust the 25Hz Level and 50Hz Levelknobs to compensate for these anomalies. Increase anddecrease to controls and listen to the effects. Try to finda position that sounds correct to you. Experiment bychanging the Level control while adjusting these knobs.Find a position that gives you deep extended bass andgood blending with your main speakers.4 Follow the bass management setup instructions in yourprocessor manual to fine-tune the subwoofer level.Figure 7. Control settings for multi-channel mode.10Controls and Connections

2-Channel/Multi-Channel ModeThis setup is recommended if your subwoofer willbe used in both 2-channel mode and as a LFE channel in a multi-channel system. By following this setup,you will allow your processor to handle most of thebass management while running in multi-channelmode, and relinquish control of the low pass filter tothe subwoofer when running in a 2-channel mode.Signal Connection (see figure 8):1 Connect the left and right out of your preamplifier tothe subwoofer’s Left In / Right In. Use quality RCAinterconnects. If your preamplifier only has one set ofoutputs you need to obtain Y adapters from your dealer.2 Connect the LFE output of the processor to the subwoofer’s LFE In. Use quality RCA interconnects.Recommended Control Settings (see figure 9):1 Set your front speakers for wide, large or full mode inyour processor. Set the center and effects type speakers inlimited or narrow mode (see the warning on page 10).2 Calculate the number equal to 70% of your main loudspeaker’s lowest frequency rating. Set the Low Pass Filterswitch to the closest setting below the resulting number.3 While playing familiar music with bass content, turnthe level control up until the music has deep bass thatis not overwhelming.4 Try the phase control in different settings until thebest blending is obtained. If you are augmentingMartinLogan loudspeakers, we suggest you start withPhase set at 90 .Figure 8. Signal connection for 2-channel/multi-channel mode.5 Use the bass management section of your processor’sspeaker setup to set the subwoofer level at an appropriate level. Follow the instructions in your processor’smanual to fine-tune the subwoofer level.6 If your processor offers the option to setup crossovers for asubwoofer, we recommend that you start with the following settings—Crossover: 70Hz, High-Pass: 12dB,and Low-Pass: 24dB. The optimal setting for theseoptions may vary depending on your room and listening preferences.Figure 9. Control Settings for 2-channel/multi-channel mode.Controls and Connections11

2-Channel Mode Using Speaker Level InputsThis setup is recommended if your subwoofer will be used ina 2-channel only system with full-range front loudspeakers.When a signal is connected to the subwoofer’s Left In/RightIn subwoofer’s Low Pass Filter control is active.Signal C

The MartinLogan Descent i represents the culmination of an intensive, dedicated research program directed toward creating a world class reference subwoofer using advanced technologies and without compromising dura-bility, reliability, craftsmanship or aesthetics. The Descent i subwoofer uses three custom 10-inch

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