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Best subwoofer under £400?

Discussion in 'Subwoofers' started by N9ne, Mar 26, 2006.

  1. N9ne

    N9ne Member

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    I need a subwoofer to accompany 5 speakers but my budget is < £400. What's the greatest thing these days in this price range?

    Also, since different retailers sell them at different prices, I would be very grateful if you could point me to where to buy it from. I don't know much about subwoofers but I've heard the Epos ELS SUB is quite good and < £400...
  2. paulst10

    paulst10 Active Member

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  3. Miguelcarvalho

    Miguelcarvalho Guest

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    I agree with paulst10! :thumbsup:

    I have a Monolith-DF and I´m more than happy with it. If you want to feel the explosions on yor chest you don´t need to seach more!!! You can find more info here:
    http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=309538

    Cheers
    Miguel
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  4. N9ne

    N9ne Member

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    Thanks for the replies.

    I should add that I will be listening to a lot of music using my system. Are these subs equally good with movies and music?

    Edit: Those subs look quite large (especially the monolith!). My room is about 4x4 metres. I don't particularly want a sub that is 'overkill'.

    I'd also like to add that although I'm spending &#163;1000-&#163;1500 on my sound system, it's not necessarily "high-end" in the thousands of pounds sense. Would a cheaper subwoofer suffice, something that's say &#163;200-300ish?
  5. Miguelcarvalho

    Miguelcarvalho Guest

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    I agree with you when you say the Monolith is huge! My room is 5mx6m. I only have the Monolith for a couple of days and tested mainly with movies... But you can get more info in the thread I posted above.

    Before the Monolith I had the XLS200-df from BK too. I think it will be more than enough for your room size.
    But if this is mainly for music and you want to save some money the Bk Gemini it will be good because has 2 crossovers. One for the high level input and the another for the low level which permit you to control best the sub. You can listen to movies with low level and stereo with high level. You don´t need to always change the crossover when you listen to movie or music.
    I have a couple of friends with the gemini which they use mainly for music and they are satisfied with the sub. If you look carefully to the specs you can see this one is similar to Rel Q150.

    Cheers
    Miguel
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  6. mhuk05

    mhuk05 Active Member

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    N9ne, my room is about 4 x 4m and my sub is quite big but makes my old one seem like a satellite speaker. I'm listening to "Angel" by Massive Attack as we speak and at -30dB I can feel the bass as well as hear it. If you buy a beast and don't like it you will be able to sell it very easily on the forum.

    Good Luck!:)
  7. Member 96948

    Member 96948 Active Member

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    You don't say what speakers you have so I am going to assume floorstanders. A good sub of any size can be integrated into any room, although it may take some sort of equalisation, either intregrated into the receiver (Audessey etc), or externally (Behringer Feedback Destroyer), or both. Unless your room is very, very small, at this price level only the likes of a SVS PB10 or BK Monolith will plumb the foundation shaking depths - regardless of volume. Any quality sub should be capable of doing movies and music equally well. Smooth, extended frequency response and dynamic ability are a prerequisite of both.

    Now, if your system is performing the dual roles of movies and music you may be best off searching out a sub with simultaneously usable high and low level inputs. In my opinion music, CD in particular is best served with the minimum of processing by the AV amp and when running in pure direct modes the sub output is often diabled. For this you require a sub with separate high and low level cross-overs and gain.

    You connect via the usual LFE low level inputs for DVD (and DVD-A and SACD for that matter) and go through the usual setup procedure. But then you attach the high level input to the amps speaker terminals and perform the same procedure with the LFE disconnected.

    Below £400 choices are limited. The PB10 rules itself out through only having an LFE input. Most other subs have both, but only one crossover and the needs of music and DVD conflict, which rules most out including the likes of most RELs and the XLS-200 & Monolith offerings from BK. The MJ Ref 100 (aka BK Gemini) is one such example that has two crossovers with separate gain controls. Same subs £100 difference, I'll leave the VFM equation to you. Neither is going to shake the earth. Second hand the MJ Ref 150 and 200 are available for £400 or less and are, the 200 in particular, altogether more capable whilst still being discretely sized. It will go very loud but 25Hz is about as low as it will go - That's still an octave or two down from most floorstanders though.

    If, on the other hand, absolute Hi-fi reproduction of music is not your absolute priority, then you are freed to choose what you want.

    For my part I run floorstanders and find vanilla CD stereo to be at it's most effective and communicative with Pure Direct everything on, all processing off and no sub. Within your total budget a quality pair of floorstanders, matching center and decent sub for movies is quite achievable. Just a thought.

    Russell
  8. Ian J

    Ian J New Member

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    In your book maybe but not in mine nor in many other forum members. N9ne did state in his post that he didn't know much about subwoofers and I think that much of your reply is confusing.

    I have never bothered connecting up either my current SVS, my previous SVS PB-10 or the REL Storms that I had before that by anything other than a single LFE connection and the reproduction with music was excellent.

    The PB-10 may rule itself out in your book for not having high level connectors but most of the rest of us don't seem that bothered judging by the recent connection poll.
  9. AngelEyes

    AngelEyes Active Member

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    Well Ian pretty much beat me to it (he lives here I think :rolleyes:). I would also add that a recent review of the PB-10 in Home Cinema Choice rated it well with music.
    more extracts from the review here: HCC Review
  10. paulst10

    paulst10 Active Member

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    it wouldnt bother me at all, i only use low level connection on my pb12+ and music sounds excellent :thumbsup:
  11. Member 96948

    Member 96948 Active Member

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    Well, as ever, my opinions are just that. Knowing a few people who are well into the realm of seriously (stupidly?) high end stereo reproduction, I can't think of one that uses the low level input. Most are running pre power setups and so there is no lack of pre-amp outs, but it just seems to be the way things are done. Maybe the high level signal is more robust, I don't know. The stereo crowd always seem to be chasing the n'th degree of signal puity and this is what they have settled on. Either way, if you want to run two crossovers to accomodate the two differing forms of connections, choices are limited.

    I definitely prefered using the high level connections for straight stereo replay, as any level of extra processing in the amp just muddies reproduction. How many crossovers does a signal need to pass through? In the end, as I point out, I don't even bother with a sub for music anymore.

    The originator of this thread also points out his concern about the size of the PB10/Monolith which throws further doubt on the suitability for his application.

    I am doing my best to give a set of opinions based on my experiences and to a lesser or greater degree, may not have succeeded. As to how n9ne chooses to interpret that is up to him. I am NOT having a go, as I have derived great benefit from your experience in the past, but it may be more useful to comment on his query than my reply.

    Regards

    Russell
  12. AngelEyes

    AngelEyes Active Member

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    Hi Russell,

    I think there is little argument from those that have tried it that High Level connections are the superior/prefered connection for listening to 'stereo' music. In that respect you post was perfectly fine.

    However for someone who claims
    perhaps it was a little too much information, especially considering the budget.

    We don't want to scare people off after all :)

    I certainly apologise if my comments seemed critical of your post :)

    Adam
  13. Nimby

    Nimby Active Member

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    I'm backing Russel on this one. :)

    His "Everything you ever wanted to know about subwoofers but were afraid to ask" covered much of what one needs to know.
    The OP mentions not being well up on subs. Russel answered that need most eloquently.

    His points about high level connections and filters being absent from the PB10 are perfectly valid where our friend specifically mentions enjoying more music than films.

    Despite having more than his fair share of speakers for pure stereo a subwoofer may well be automatically removed from the equation by his receiver on stereo replay.

    A subwoofer can offer a great deal to music. Without it most speakers are quite simply emasculated.

    Our friend cannot use a subwoofer for stereo without high level connections and the PB10 has no high level connections. QED.
  14. mhuk05

    mhuk05 Active Member

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    When I play a music CD in stereo with a low level sub connection the sub works (2.1)?
  15. skinnyfat

    skinnyfat Guest

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    One would have to assume then that these (stupidly) high end stereophiles are using active crossovers (seeing as how passives attenuate the mid and high freq. and sap up amps' damping factor etc etc). No offense to N9ne here but if you're buying a sub under 400 then you're not in uber-high end territory so being concerned about the difference between high and low level input is not too much of a concern. In a blind AB test I seriously doubt you will make any discernable difference between the two.
  16. AngelEyes

    AngelEyes Active Member

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    My processor allows Stereo + LFE which was what I was getting at by adding speechmarks around 'Stereo' but I should have been clearer about that.

    I disagree that you should rule out a subwoofer for music because it lacks these facilities. You can listen to music without High Level connections. I think it is misleading to state that, as it implies you cannot listen to music without high Level connections.

    it is a minor point and perhaps I am slitting hairs...
  17. skinnyfat

    skinnyfat Guest

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    Too often we get wrapped up in what is theoretically superior instead of actually taking time to listen and hear for ourselves which is better or not to our ears. N9ne, if you can, organise some home demos and you decide which is better for you:beer:
  18. chrisgeary

    chrisgeary Member

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    i still think using the low level input gives you room EQ advantages - which IMHO is worth far more to me than removing a layer of processing to sub 80hz content. as most of us don't live in acoustically perfect rooms, the use of high level inputs on a sub doesn't seem the logical choice (for those already using BFDs etc)

    also I firmly believe that removing sub 80hz content from your main speakers improves focus, clarity and imaging a great deal.

    let the main speakers reproduce instruments, vocals and other delicate content
    let the sub shift air and control its room interaction

    all IMHO of course :smashin:
  19. Member 96948

    Member 96948 Active Member

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    The stereophiles in question (by the WAY, "stupidly" refered to one of them having a £14k pair of speakers:eek:and wasn't intended as an insult to him), are NOT using passive subs. It's the usual selection of RELs, MJs etc (I can't remember them all) and they are fed by high level speaker connections. Subs of decent quality are available below £400 with simultaneous high/low level connections so why not consider this option. I do agree, however, that at this level it may difficult to discern the difference. I could, but decided I couldn't be bothered with it, or for that matter a sub at all when it came to CD.
  20. skinnyfat

    skinnyfat Guest

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    At no point did I assume they were stupid or anything else, just continuing your reference to their HUGE budget for stereo. I also did not infer that they were using passive subs. The active X-over reference was to their FL/FR main speakers. My main purpose for bringing the subject up was not to open a can of worms but rather to illustrate that a balanced approach needs to be taken. We both agree that at this level a difference would be hard to notice. I have no doubt that high level input has its pro's as does low level, I'm not punting either one here i'm merely saying don't discount one or the other until you've (n9ne) heard both options.
  21. Member 96948

    Member 96948 Active Member

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    We've discussed this EQ aspect of sub use quite alot on the Denon Owners Forum. We've been variously split between those who benefit from the taming of room resonance, those who don't suffer enough from it to want more processing interfering, those who don't use subs for music for whatever reason and those who periodically use all of the above options.

    Intersting experiment to try - unplug your main speakers and play something with male vocal. You'll hear plenty through the sub with an 80Hz crossover
    which can't be totally ideal having three (or two if you consider the stereo image as one) discrete sources of the same vocal. A 40Hz or lower crossover to underpin floorstanders would largely solve this, but that is at odds with the 80Hz croosover used by HT. A simultaneous high/low level connection can help for those who need it.

    That said, it's horses for courses and who can say who's right.:confused:

    Russell
  22. Member 96948

    Member 96948 Active Member

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    Agreed absolutely.

    Russell
  23. compact7

    compact7 Member

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    I got my own expereince..
    I am a pure music listener who love classical, jazz, some new age and pop songs. I have only stereo amp and normal CD player.

    I got a REL Strata5 now. I did believe REL advise on "Please use "Hi-Level" connection in order to get the REL best performance. Ok, all the while I was listen via Hi-lev until one day I got myself a Paradigm X-30 external actvie x-over.

    My stereo amp now is connected to my Strata5 from speaker out to its Hi-Le, pre-out to x-30 to Strata5 LFE input. When I listen to Hi-Level input I turn LFE volume to zero and when listen to LFE inptu I turn Hi-Level input volume to zero. Very easy for me to do that because Strata5 is remotable:smashin:

    I did plenty of AB listening...I cant detact any differences between Hi-L input and LFE input.

    Stil now, I am still listen my music with pre-out to x-30 to LFE input and I am very happy with it and nvr miss my Hi-Level input.:)

    I think there is actually no differences in sound when stereo listener using Hi or LFE input to play their music IF the sub they own, both LFE and Hi input are using sub's internal cross-over and feeding the LFE input with pre-out from the amp but not LFE out.

    The REL strata5's LFE is bypass its internal cross-over because REL said ppl can use AVR x-over. That was why I took a X-30 to find out how true was that huh? REL?

    So I think, when we can heard any differences between Hi input and LFE input is when LFE in is using AVR cross-over and using AVR LFE output which, normally out some pre-processed signal, but not sub's internal cross-over. Normally, for pure stereo (Stupidly)listener that very critisize in sound will not like pre-processed signal from any output including LFE.

    If you are willing to use a PB10 with an additional external cross-over with your stereo only system than I doubt you will not like it.

    For who own a pure stereo amp (NOT HT amp or AVR) with stereo pre-output (NOT LFE out) and own a Sub that Hi and Low input are both using sub's internal cross-over pls help me do a AB listening..I doubt you can hear any different..:) of cos, you may need to do fine tuning for each input as I did on my Strata5...

    The experience on Strata5 wake me up that LFE input is not a problems..the problem is from the signal. So with a x-30 on hand now, I will going to try if PB10s can sound as good as my Strata5 in music. Am I going to change my signature??:rolleyes:

    Wish me good luck man!!:D :D

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