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2 vs 2.1

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by mobily, Feb 12, 2005.

  1. mobily

    mobily
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    Hello all,

    I know that there is a core of people on here who firmly believe that stereo is best for music.... and I completely agree. However is 2 or 2.1 best? I presume it rests on the speakers and how much bass they produce but do you think that you can receive a much better soundstage through adding a sub?

    Your thoughts would be appreciated,

    James :)
     
  2. nwgarratt

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    I don't thinka sub is always a good idea. I have B&W 602's that can create enough deep bass for me (goes down to around 52hz). I also have B&W 601's which although the bass is much lighter (70hz). I get the music either drowned out by the extra bass or it sounds unatural when using a subwoofer eit both sets of speakers.

    I only use a sub with my 5.1 setup.
     
  3. Londondecca

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    Adding a decent sub can improve things but it is an additional layer of complexity. In basic terms, if it is done correctly with the right equipment, it can make a big difference.
     
  4. CJROSS

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    Best thing Ive ever done is adding a sub to my system which was a 2.0 effort. Now 2.1.

    I guess im lucky in that adding one to my system was a piece of cake, Ive also relocated in my listening room to a new position and setup, very simple and very easy to integrate IME. My standmounts gave up the ghost at 60Hz, the sub adds another 25-30Hz to the low end spectrum. Quite simply the way to tailor the sound via crossover/gain & positioning to me is a lot more user friendly than a set of full range (or near full range) floorstanders.

    All IMHO of course.
     
  5. alexs2

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    True full range speaker systems(and by that I mean capable of going down to 20Hz at useful levels,or beyond) are not only relatively uncommon,but also predominantly expensive,and with that in mind,a good sub can add a lot to a system,in terms of added weight,rythm and underpinning to the music being played.

    Setting up a sub,as Londondecca has said,is not only very important for AV use,but even more so for music,where the music can easily be overwhelmed by a poor,or poorly setup sub.
     
  6. G a f f e r

    G a f f e r
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    My Quads (12L) are meant to extend smoothly (flatly) to 50Hz and roll-off sharply below, but they sound more like 70-80Hz.
    So I added a passive subwoofer that "fills-in" down to below 20Hz.

    As it's not active (I wouldn't recommend active anyway, your amp should be able to cope with driving the cone in a tri-wire set up - my speakers are bi-wired and the added bass cones from the sub effectively mean it's tri-wired as those cones are not seperatley amplified.....passive subs are more coherent/integrated with the existing speaker load imo and sounds less flabby than powered subs I've heard)...
    ...anyway as it's not active it doesn't amplify low bass, it just extends bass into regions your speakers can't quite get, which is what you want....

    In short...you need bass extension not amplification.


    (....if at some point i have the money to upgrade to PMC OB1/GB1's, I'll remove the sub I think as these floorstanders go deep)
     
  7. Ovation

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    I've found it easier to properly position standmounts for imaging and a sub for best bass response compared to positioning "full-range" (say down to 35hz or lower) floorstanders, as the best position for bass response is rarely the same as the best position for imaging. IME.
     
  8. dynamic turtle

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    Mobily, do you live in a modern house? I do, and my sub used to shake the walls and floor & ceiling something rotten. Things in the lounge would resonate with the sub too. What was resonating was sometimes extremely difficult to locate and pin-down!

    Bear in mind, that locating a sub near any internal walls can be disastrous.

    Victorian/georgian houses made from stone and solid oak, rather than cardboard and mdf, should be fine though ;)

    EDIT: Most electrostatic speaker systems use subs. These are technically 2.1 systems but are considered very stereo and very audiophile!
    I'd love a pair of Magneplanar or Final's, but don't know how the room would react to the sub :(
     
  9. mobily

    mobily
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    Thanks for all your opinions.

    Is it easy to add a sub to a system (either passive or active)? Is there a connection on the back of the amp for one?

    Thanks,

    James :)
     
  10. Commited

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    I dont like the sound of a sub in a stereo system :)
    only benefit is in movies imho
     
  11. Knightshade

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    Never felt the need for a sub. Somehow it just goes against the grain.
    Must be all those boom systems I hear in cars.....
    I think maybe if I had to go down the satelite or small bookshelf route I may consider one But with a good set of floorstanders on the right equipment in the right room....Naaaahhhh! All my own opinion of course. :)
     
  12. Ovation

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    A properly integrated sub in a stereo system will NOT sound anything like the atrocious noise coming from cars. Just one spin of Peter Gabriel's UP, with and w/o a sub (and I don't care what kind of speakers you have, unless they're TRULY flat to 25-30hz) will be sufficient. IMO, of course. :D
     
  13. dynamic turtle

    dynamic turtle
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    listened to that last night Ovation (200g vinyl)! Loads of lovely deep bass coarsing through that album. Great stuff.
     
  14. CJROSS

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    Ovation a very good point many owners of floorstanders readily think theyre speakers are full range, I reckon a few would be surprised what a quality sub bolts on bas wise to what they hear at present.

    I would also note that many (and I mean many) stereo audiophiles I know use subs in stereo systems (some with floorers) over on the HFC forum. some of the systems are well onto stratospheric ranges as well. The ease of integration and underpiining and support of the freq range of out main speakers is stunning.

    Subs have so much more going for them compared to trying to match a floorstander to your preference IMHO. Gain setting, Crossover setting, room placement. High level & low level connection. The list is endless - the list of people I read who cant integrate subs (no offence to them) is tiny compared to those who can.
     
  15. bass007

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    Hello, my friend is going for a subwoofer to add to his system, he currently uses the 805 Signatures.

    Even though I own a sub, I am totally against subs on 2 channel systems. Don't get me wrong I love bass, when its tight bouncy and and so on, my only reservation is I don't want to add bass or boost low end frequencies to sound louder which can be mistaken for bass. Would adding a sub to hifi add bass or play whats there in the first place? I want the music to sound like it was intended not to change it is this possible? I have not experimented, I will judge when my friend add his sub.

    Also I have read many reviews on much larger speakers like the B&W 800 and KEF 201 which all say they need a sub!!
     
  16. Londondecca

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    A sub should complement a stereo system and it should be no more audible than a tweeter
     
  17. dynamic turtle

    dynamic turtle
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    (in a Homer voice) Mmm, 805 Sigs....

    I hope he manages to integrate them properly. T'would be sacrelige to defile the sound of such sublime speakers!
     
  18. CJROSS

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    Bass is audible from 20Hz upwards, hardly any speakers on this planet can reach down to 20Hz unless the are very large floorstanders or have very large bass drivers. My speakers give up producing bass @ 60Hz, this is bass that you would call “tight bouncy bass”, but between 20-60Hz there is “other” bass – lest call this bass “invisible bass” if you don’t have a sub of a full range freq speaker, I think you are getting confused or mixed up with the fact that bass can overlap or cutoff at the exact same point, overlapping bass or commonly known as the crossover frequency is a very easy way to combine to systems (ie standmount bass to 60Hz & Bass from a sub from 60Hz down to 20Hz), then adjusting gain (or loudness can also integrate it into existing bass freq) I hear material on on old album I missed before, yet I read a few comments that it’s a bad idea to add subs to stereo speakers. Adding a subwoofer is purely dependant on what your existing speaker already produce, you then set crossover & gain to a level that your ears like, there is no common denominator in setting up a sub. You can also have bass overlapping if you wish, a misconception of bass IMHO is that the lower it goes the less speed it possesses compared to mid-level bass, low or sub bass is just that speed is not an issue, have you ever heard a really good organ recording from a Cathedral ? Bass that in some recordings can plummet below 20Hz. Adding a sub is purely a mechanism to help an existing speaker system, as Much as B+W sig 805s are nice speakers, if they are not producing anyhting below 40-50 Hz then they are only hinting at the frequency range in a recording.

    PS I notice you are against subs in hifi, then go onto to ask what adding bass to a hifi system would do. No offence but it does not sound like you have a good idea of frequency response of bass or the mechanisms of adding bass from a sub to another speaker system to integrate/overlap bass response properly.
     
  19. Mroizouk

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    I believe subs are invaluable for full-range music playback. The lowest musical note is low C found on a pipe organ, at 16hz. You certainly won't experience that without a sub!
     
  20. bass007

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    Thank you for explaining to me the mechanics of bass, I have not taken it as an offence, which is why I ask these questions in the first place. I have spoken to many dealers regarding this topic and they didn't seem to give me a proper explaination.

    I will now try my REL Strata 5 on my Hifi maybe on the weekend, I will keep you posted.
     
  21. Crustyloafer

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    In my opinion really good pair of small monitor speakers partnered carefully with a good subwoofer can easily outperform most similarly priced floorstanders. The small cabinet of a monitor exhibits less colouration and offer superior imaging whilst the subwoofer will extend the frequency response down to 20Hz and below which a vast majority of floorstanders at any price will struggle to do easily. It is not the easiset combination to get right but the rewards that are to be reaped far outweigh any disadvantages.
     
  22. bass007

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    Crustyloafer, notice you use the AE1 MK3 how is it? if you compared to either the Wilson Bensch Arcs, 805 Sigs or perhaps some floorstanders?

    Do you use a sub on your 2 channel?
     
  23. Crustyloafer

    Crustyloafer
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    Hi Bass007, the AE1s are fabulous, they image lke a .......er........ really imagy thing. ;)

    I have't listened to the Wilson Arcs but have listened extensively to the 805 Sigs which were nice but a little coarse at the top end. I use to have a pair of B&W CDM9NTs which were ok but no comparison to the AE1s. I have listend to many other montitors including the Art Expression, JM lab Micro Utopia Be and many more.

    In fact I am on my second pair of AE1s, my first pair got damaged slightly when I knocked one of them off their stand whilst drunk. It fell onto the concrete slab underneath my speaker stands and to my amazement only a tiny chip came off of the Piano Laquer Exterior. However once I knew the chip was there, (couldn't really see it unless you looked) it kept bugging me. I sold that pair and couldn't think of anything I'd prefer to have so I bought another pair.

    I do use a subwoofer for 2 channel as well as movies. I use a REL Stentor 3 which is set to crossover at 38Hz. I have this connected to my MF A308 with a custom made High Level Lead using Black Rhodium Horizon Biwire cable. The AE1s can produce a surprising amount of bass but with the Stentor attached the sound is awesome.

    The only restriction with the AE1s is that they don't really like large rooms as they don't go very loud. Dont get me wrong, in my room (6m x4m) they go plenty loud enough and they do require a lot of power, 150 Watts into 8 ohms minimum, ideally about 250 Watts.
     
  24. bass007

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    Thanks for that, I am currently using a A308 Pre and The Original Nu Vista 300 Power amps, and B&W CDM1NT's will experiment with my sub a and listen if I can find a dealer to the AE1 Mk3, the new 805 Series and Wilson Arcs, with a sub maybe.
     
  25. alexs2

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    I also compared the Arcs and 805s when making a change to my system a couple of yrs ago,and found the 805s definitely worked best with my system and room,but this is no discredit to the Arcs which were very good,if a little restricted by comparison.

    The 805's,like AE1's require a LOT of power,and may end up sounding a bit dead at low levels,and can be very critical of the amps they are driven by(in my case I found theshop demo almost put me off buying them,with TAG 100x5 amps proving inadequate and clipping quickly).

    The AE1 is still an excellent speaker,even if the original design is now some yrs old,but the updates have always produced worthwile improvements in sound quality,if not efficiency.....all are in my experience,highly recommended in any music based system.
     
  26. Plump

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    I'd say if you have good speakers and if they can (for real and not on the specs paper) go as low as 40 Hz I'd always use 2.0
    Otherwise you have to go for 2.1
     
  27. Mr_Sukebe

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    I have a REL sub and have simply never managed to get it to sound as cohesive when used in parallel to my existing Linn kabers (using high level inputs).
    So my vote is a big NO for subs with stereo kit. I just feel that the cons outweigh the pros.
     
  28. Crustyloafer

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    The AE1 Mk3 is not comparable to the Mk1 or Mk2, it is a complete redesign and hence sounds very different. If you haven't listened them then I recommend you do so as they really are quite special.
     
  29. Nimby

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    I'd suggest there are many acoustically poor rooms responsible for poor subwoofer/speaker combinations.

    What is vitally important is a lack of subwoofer distortion. Such distortion muddies the speakers' output.

    Room mode peaks will have a similar effect to distortion. By reinforcing specific frequencies in the mid-bass.

    Ideally the speakers' full-range signal should be left well alone. Which means no filtration. The subwoofer merely underpinning the speakers' own bass to extend the bass downwards.

    It takes a good sub to avoid overblown bass. But a good sub will allow a "hot" setting without bloated bass on some music. Though not all.

    Nimby
     
  30. alexs2

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    Not quite what I said...I wasn't making a comparison of the models,but was saying that the AE1 remains an excellent speaker......an update can encompass anything from minor mods(like the Watt5/puppy 2 combo upgrades),to a full redesign(some of the later Wilson upgrades to the Watt/puppy design for instance).

    No disrespect to them was intended,perhaps just a semantic misrepresentation on my part,as I still regard the AE1 in it's various incarnations
     

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