BASS - controversial?

M

Matther54

Guest
Just wondering people's opinions on having 2 smaller standmount speakers backed up by a subwoofer rather than 2 large floorstanders. Anyone had any good / bad experiences and anyone got any favorite combinations? This is purely from a music perspective.
 

Daneel

Active Member
If done well, it can be very good. Nimby may be a good guy to talk to about this.

In my experience, if you have a bad room or inadequte sub, it's not going sound good. My Velodyne CHT-10 wasn't up to it, although if I had EQ on it at the time, it may have had a chance. I've not tried it with high level inputs though, just line level with my receiver doing the crossover.
 

Beobloke

Active Member
In my experience, there are very few subwoofers out there that have the musical ability to match a decent pair of floorstanders in the bass agility and musicality department. Most subs are best left for movie grunt!

Adam.
 

Nimby

Distinguished Member
Difficult to be precise about this. I ran Linn Kans with matching passive subwoofers for some years. That was in an large open-plan space. The entire attic space of my cottage, wide open to the living room below the minstrel's gallery. I wouldn't go the passive route again. It fries amplifiers and you have little control over higher frequencies. These days you just bung a plate amp in the side of the sub.

In a smaller room you'd be struggling with two subwoofers spaced far apart to keep one close to each speaker. The subs would compete at one frequency and add to each other at others. Leaving you with a lumpy response curve. You can't use a BFD with stereo. And I hope you wouldn't try.

The best bet for stereo music if you want to follow this satellite route is to put one decent sub in the middle between the speakers. Then the soundfield doesn't get all lop-sided if the bass is one-sided. Like on a Jazz record when the bass player is off centre. Or the basses in the strings of an orchestra are off centre. The speakers will "steer" the soundfield and the sub will just reinforce in the bass without giving away its position.

You are going to need a quality subwoofer that also has high-level (speaker cable) connections. Unless your amlifier has pre-out sockets which can be used to feed a sub with a low level full range signal. The subwoofer would have to have an adjustable, built-in crossover or continuously variable low pass filter since a stereo amp doesn't have one.

You leave the vital speaker signal untouched. Straight from the amp to the speakers. NO connecting the speakers to the subwoofer output terminals (if any). The subwoofer must just underpin the stereo speakers in the bass region. Not compete with the speakers. Imagine the in-room response of your speakers simply being extended downwards into the bass region without a lift in the response curve.

Worth trying, but don't expect instant success. You may spend a lot of time playing with sub levels/roll-off points and speaker and sub positioning rather than listening to music.

Nimby
 

lowrider

Standard Member
People keep associating subwoofers with satellites, of course satellites are not good enough for music, regardless of what you do... :suicide:

You have to start with a monitor size speaker that plays music well, but could use some help with deep bass...

Then you add a good subwoofer, not those boom boxes that all they put out is distortion pretending to be explosions and other special effects, two is much better particularlly if you want to use an active xover at 80hz or more to spare low frequencies to the speakers and increase dynamic range...

You get a system that is easier to integrate in a "normal" living room, sounds better, and goes lower in bass than all but quite expensive floorstanders...
 

Reiner

Active Member
Most normal standmount speakers are no match for a sub either, unless you talk big and expensive (generally) with the matching amplification to go with it.
On the other hand I have heard bookshelf speakers that could rival standmount speakers.
Thus it's not as simple as bookshelf = no bass and standmount = bass as good as from a sub.

That said maybe personal preference, placing and cost come into play when deciding what type of speaker to buy, however a bookshelf speaker should go on a solid stand and will then often cost as much as a comparable standmount model.

Nowadays I prefer to use the sub with my standmounts, though in my old apartment I didn't consider it necessary, room acoustics seem to play a part in all this, too.
 

robfitzp

Active Member
How big is your room? People underestimate the amount of free space most floor standers need to really give of their best.

For a given sum you will be able get a better quality pair of standmounts and unless the room is large a lack of bass should not be a problem. Quality and clarity bring their own rewards.

Speaking from personal experience: sold nautilus 804s, bought wilson benesch arcs, in my room 18ft x 11ft they work better. In the demo room (vast) the 804s sounded great.

No need for a sub.

Cheers
Rob
 

lowrider

Standard Member
What happened here, many posts disappeared, or was I drunk last night... :confused:

:oops: , I am mixing threads... :blush:
 

Londondecca

Active Member
It is possible to integrate a decent sub with a stereo system but it does require some effort. I would disagree slightly with Nimby and argue that the correct acoustically placement of a sub is not necessarily in between the two main speakers.

In my view, subs require a lot more effort than 'normal' speakers to get a half decent sound. In a properly set up system, it should not be possible to hear the sub anymore than you could hear a tweeter
 

Nimby

Distinguished Member
Londondecca said:
It is possible to integrate a decent sub with a stereo system but it does require some effort. I would disagree slightly with Nimby and argue that the correct acoustically placement of a sub is not necessarily in between the two main speakers.

We aren't talking about stereo systems. We are talking about satellites and subs. Otherwise you'd be right. But you're not! :p

In my view, subs require a lot more effort than 'normal' speakers to get a half decent sound. In a properly set up system, it should not be possible to hear the sub anymore than you could hear a tweeter

Agreed. :)

Regards
Nimby
 
M

Matther54

Guest
Actually I was on about a stereo system, just with smaller bookshelf speakers (not tiny satellites). I reckon my room is too small for good floor standers (~16ft by 10ft) as is my budget and as I said in another thread i'm probably going for B&W 602s: a bit of a compromise really. I was just wondering about peoples opinions on the subject.

Basically my mate has a powerful multimedia set up with his computer and the sub with that kicks out a lot of bass (maybe not good bass, but at least you can feel it). The stereo speakers I've demoed are infinitely better quality wise, but lack impact. It seems like you have to compromise on the lower frequencies to get the better sound quality for a given budget. :(
 

Londondecca

Active Member
Matther54 said:
Basically my mate has a powerful multimedia set up with his computer and the sub with that kicks out a lot of bass (maybe not good bass, but at least you can feel it). The stereo speakers I've demoed are infinitely better quality wise, but lack impact. It seems like you have to compromise on the lower frequencies to get the better sound quality for a given budget. :(

Yes and no, higher sound quality is less obvious than a boom box. A cheaper system may sound initially better but if you listen, there is little or no definition. If you can hear the sub, it is to loud.
 

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