Considering a Subwoofer

Considering a Subwoofer

Postby Orchids1 » Thu Jun 01, 2017 5:08 pm

I've been considering adding a subwoofer for some time now, although my YG Carmel 2s go down to 32 hz. I understand that two subwoofers are often recommended, but I thought I might start with one and see how it sounds. The subs I'm considering are the B&W DB-1d or DB-2d, JL Audio e112 and REL S-3 SHO. Any thoughts on the benefits of a sub, in general, given the fairly low frequency range of my speakers, and of these subs, in particular. Any subwoofer I get must be reasonably compact. Rich
Avenger, SS Paua cart, Phoenix Eagle psu and tach, Sutherland 20/20 phono, Audionet Pre 1 G3 pre, Benchmark AHB2 monos, YG Carmel 2 spkrs, Nordost/Audio Sensibilty ic, Kubla-Sonsa spkr cable; Auralic Aries renderer, Auralic Vega dac.
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Re: Considering a Subwoofer

Postby Cat5plus » Thu Jun 01, 2017 5:26 pm

I own the B&W 805Ds and have had all three subs. (REL was an S-5) Plus the JL Audio Phantom. I thought the DB-1 would have been the perfect match as it appeared it was designed to mate with the entire B&W line. This turned out not to be true in my case with the 805s. I ended up with two JL Audio e110s. Seems to be the best fit for my room. I am very happy with not only the sound but the build quality as well.
VPI Classic Signature 3D, Lyra Titan i, Ortofon MC A90, Eagle, Roadrunner, Pass Labs X-1 pre, Pass Labs X ono Phono, Pass Labs X 250.5, dcs/Berkeley digital, B&W 805D, JL Audio Fathom sub, Cables: Nordost, Siltech.
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Re: Considering a Subwoofer

Postby Orchids1 » Thu Jun 01, 2017 6:09 pm

Cat, Thanks for a great reply. Because the e110s are so compact, and get such good reviews, I've actually thought about starting out with two of them instead of just one of the other subs I've mentioned.

One other thing. Do you have any experience with subwoofers that are partially obstructed with soft furniture. I don't have many placement options. The subwoofer(s) would be blocked, perhaps by 50%, by large leather chair(s). The consensus seems to be that this kind of line-of-sight obstruction does not pose a sonic problem, as low bass tones are omnidirectional and also can pass through things like upholstered furniture. Nonetheless, I have my doubts. Rich
Avenger, SS Paua cart, Phoenix Eagle psu and tach, Sutherland 20/20 phono, Audionet Pre 1 G3 pre, Benchmark AHB2 monos, YG Carmel 2 spkrs, Nordost/Audio Sensibilty ic, Kubla-Sonsa spkr cable; Auralic Aries renderer, Auralic Vega dac.
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Re: Considering a Subwoofer

Postby babybird » Fri Jun 02, 2017 12:04 pm

I'll throw my two cents worth on the subject, although I do not have any experience with the subs mentioned in the OP. I've heard great things about the REL line, another possibility might be the Rhythmic subs which are also supposed to be a great value and perform well.

In general I can't recommend having subs enough, and the more the merrier. The advantage of multiple subs if implemented properly can even out or smooth bass response modes and nodes in small rooms much better than only one can accommodate. I have used the Genesis 6.5 setup for many years and love them, very fast articulate and musical bass. This system as designed by Genesis employs 5 subs, that is not a misprint. And as they like to say its not about more bass its about better bass, and I concur. Properly setting up a complex system like this is not for the feint of heart though. Regardless it is worth the effort, and can only recommend using more than one or as many as your pocketbook and room will allow.

Regarding the acoustics, I tend to believe that everything in a given room does make a difference, but there is truth to the comment bass notes are omni-directional with very long wavelengths and affected less by such obstructions. However that soft chair or sofa will most likely become somewhat of an unintentional bass trap which could be beneficial, or not. If you decide to go this route I would encourage you to experiment with room placement extensively and also running low frequency test tones while using a digital sound level meter to record the results. You might also find reversing phase one one sub while keeping the other in phase might help to even out the room modes/nodes.

Good luck with your decision. Hope this helps.
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Re: Considering a Subwoofer

Postby Cat5plus » Fri Jun 02, 2017 1:33 pm

Hi Rich, In my case the more I learned about sub woofer placement on paper the more confused I became, as nothing seems to be set in stone. There are far too many differing opinions out there. I too have VERY limited space. After much trial and error I settled for each sub directly to the right side of the B&W 805ds. (Note: The JLs are front firing only.) (The REL and DB-1 are a hybrid with two different drivers down firing and front.) Nether the REL or DB-1 worked as well in my room. TAS had a great article regarding the JL Audio e110 subs. I believe it was written by Johnathan Valin who did not care for sub woofers at all ! Boy did he do a 180 after setting up and dialing in the e110s. I believe he now uses the top of the line JL Audio Gotham in his own reference system. I can't overstate that JL Audio was extremely helpful. They took the time to answer any set up questions I had and helped me to find the best possible placement. They even went so far to follow up with me several months later. I have all the various SPL meters, software etc. They were all useless in my particular set up and limited space. I think experiment with room placement is by far your best bet. If you are considering the JL Audio subs read the TAS article I think you will find it very informative. Johnathan came up with the same conclusions that babybird did, "The more the Merrier"
VPI Classic Signature 3D, Lyra Titan i, Ortofon MC A90, Eagle, Roadrunner, Pass Labs X-1 pre, Pass Labs X ono Phono, Pass Labs X 250.5, dcs/Berkeley digital, B&W 805D, JL Audio Fathom sub, Cables: Nordost, Siltech.
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Re: Considering a Subwoofer

Postby Orchids1 » Fri Jun 02, 2017 2:50 pm

Thanks to you both. Rich
Avenger, SS Paua cart, Phoenix Eagle psu and tach, Sutherland 20/20 phono, Audionet Pre 1 G3 pre, Benchmark AHB2 monos, YG Carmel 2 spkrs, Nordost/Audio Sensibilty ic, Kubla-Sonsa spkr cable; Auralic Aries renderer, Auralic Vega dac.
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Re: Considering a Subwoofer

Postby edw » Fri Jun 02, 2017 5:34 pm

I've been using a 2.1 system for several years. I also recommend using a sub for a music only setup. If properly integrated, it's a great way to go.

I'm using B&W Matrix 802s for the mains and one JL Audio F112 for the sub. Even full range mains can benefit from just that touch of weight a sub can provide. The critical thing IMHO is to be able to integrate the LF decay of the mains with the SW. I now use an active crossover for best results (Linkwitz-Riley, 4th Order) but you can still get good results by using the natural decay of the LF of the mains with the internal crossover settings of the SW. Some work better than others and depends on how the LF of the mains actually decay.

I have thought about adding a second SW but my active crossover point is at about 60Hz, if I recall, and you can't localize the LF sound that low. So a second SW was not an issue for me. If you have a crossover point higher - like 100Hz or so, then I would want a second SW because that can be localized.

Also, my SW fires directly at the lower portion of a leather chair that's about 100 lbs. It's about 3 feet away. I put some cotton pillows near the chair and it provides great damping. No worries about nearby furniture. YMMV.

If you're on the fence, I recommend going for it.
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Re: Considering a Subwoofer

Postby madrac » Fri Jun 02, 2017 7:58 pm

As babybird suggested, I'd look at the Rythmiks as well. I have the E15HP, which I purchased through Ascend Acoustics.
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Re: Considering a Subwoofer

Postby 10ovr » Wed Jun 07, 2017 9:50 am

Rich,,Uncle Kevin has some good deals on REL Subwoofers,,Great guy to talk to,Never a hard sell,,, https://www.upscaleaudio.com/collection ... als?page=9
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Re: Considering a Subwoofer

Postby gene9p » Wed Jun 07, 2017 10:14 am

I am a Velodyne fan. I have used several models over the years from HT set ups to two channel. I use a Velodyne mini sub with my B&W 805 signatures and it is very nice.

Image

I have since moved the sigs into another room but the Vel is still in place with my Bryston Mini t's but only gets use during movies and the Mini T's have great bass

Image
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