BK Gemini, BK XLS200 or none of the above?

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Protoplasm

Active Member
I have a pretty tight budget to get some kit to go along with my new TV (Panasonic TH42PX80) and I've ordered the Yamaha DSP-RX861 and am seriously contemplating the Tannoy Mercury F1 customs to go with it in a simple stereo setup for the time being.

Then I figured that adding a sub will (hopefully?) really add to my aural experience and I read a little and decided that the Mordaunt Short 309i sounded good, or perhaps the Wharfedale SW150, both being at the top end of what I planned to spend.

Then I read the reviews of the BKs and I swung to getting the Gemini as it sounded just my sort of thing, but now I wonder if in the longer term it's better to push for the XLS-200 (or something else but that really is all I can spend) or whether the extra cash would be better spent on getting something other than the Tannoys.

Err, that's it really... I appreciate any advice as I'm [-]a bit[/-] clueless and have never had a sub before so I don't know what is overkill bearing in mind how much I've skimped in the other departments. Anyway, some hopefully salient info:

* My room is about 4mx4m (about 3m high, carpeted and with quite a large opening into another room).
* I'll be listening to 90% TV/movies (Sky, Apple TV, PS3) and 10% music (Apple TV, CDs).
* It will be at a reasonably low volume, seldom going very high (semi-detached).
* It needs to have reasonable WAF.
 

[unique]

Standard Member
These subs are only usable to fill some low frequency gaps in main speakers.(+30hz)
That being said, if you expect "cinema" like bass i wouldnt even bother with these. Personally i think you could better spend the cash on better front speakers (if there are any in your price range, dont know the ones u selected now ;) and save for a decent sub. Or just save for a real sub.

I bought the xls200 to extend my main speakers, it does this but it doesnt bring any cinematic feel to my room.(it simply doesnt go low enough..)
Actually half of the time i dont even notice the sub since theres not much music with <38 Hz (where my main speakers cut off..).
And any higher freq than 40Hz sounds like crap from it...
 

Badger0-0

Distinguished Member
[unique];7026589 said:
These subs are only usable to fill some low frequency gaps in main speakers.(+30hz)
That being said, if you expect "cinema" like bass i wouldnt even bother with these. Personally i think you could better spend the cash on better front speakers (if there are any in your price range, dont know the ones u selected now ;) and save for a decent sub. Or just save for a real sub.

I bought the xls200 to extend my main speakers, it does this but it doesnt bring any cinematic feel to my room.(it simply doesnt go low enough..)
Actually half of the time i dont even notice the sub since theres not much music with <38 Hz (where my main speakers cut off..).


Well, I'm sorry, but your sub obviously isn't set up correctly then, IMO.

Actually half of the time i dont even notice the sub since theres not much music with <38 Hz (where my main speakers cut off..).

Really? I wonder what music you listen to and what speakers you own, to be honest.

And any higher freq than 40Hz sounds like crap from it...

Proves my original point then, in that the setup is poor.
It's extremely doubtful your speakers can reproduce 40hz better than a decent sub.
 

Badger0-0

Distinguished Member
Actually half of the time i dont even notice the sub since theres not much music with <38 Hz (where my main speakers cut off..).

I forgot to say that not noticing your sub until it's required, is actually a good sign that it integrates well with your system, with music.
I suspect it's just not turned up enough though.

Good subs do seem quiet and the XLS200 is rated as the minimum "proper" sub.
Excellent VFM too (for the OPs info) :smashin:
 

[unique]

Standard Member
Funny how forum members here always defend anything bk creates.

I can put it as loud as i want, i still wont get any real sub frequencys from it.
It will only hit its ceiling and start distorting more than on normal volume, not to mention it will **** up my mains since the crossover slope isnt steep enough. Im guessing people liking these subs must have half range main speakers..or something.

I, at least, expected some more from a 425 euro expensive sub than the 3 Hz it extends my mains. The sub is ok for music, but for movies i would stay far far away from it and buy something with a bigger cabinet/woofer that actually does LFE ranges. And yes i have a hard time noticing it listening normal music (trance/house/metal/blues/ambient etc.) which is why i doubt theres any real market for it, except maybe for people with half range mains. (if i could get my money back i would do it instantly..)
With the extra 400 euro you could probably get better mains which go lower aswell, which will eventually sound much better. (saves you cash on the electricity bill aswell, since the xls200 has no auto power off :x )

Funny how people blame the setup too if the sub doesnt sound that fantastic.
Ive moved it around every possible position in my room, even tried it in other rooms with no improvement. The "boomy/muddy/crappy" factor for higher frequencys stays for sure, and for <40Hz its "ok" but lacking serious output power.(and steeper crossover filter)

Oh yea for the record: The bk's seem to be cheap compared to other brands with supposedly same specs (maybe thats also over exaggerated on these av forums??). So maybe subs are just too expensive for what they deliver to the buyer. All i can say is that the 400 euro investment surely didnt pay of for my situation and i rather have spend the cash somewhere else..
 

cribeiro

Well-known Member
@[unique]
:confused: Have you measured the frequency response in your room? If you intend to use and listen to a sub at that critical level, it is the least you must do.

If you don't use a steep crossover, you can't expect miracles with the integration, no subwoofer will come with a steep crossover.

At which levels are you listening? That sub reaches 100dB anechoic with just some distortion, but nothing as you describe...

What are your main loudspeakers?

If you look at the group delay and time decay, it is a really fast sub, so any boom/muddiness is caused by your room/setup. Period. Measurements don't lie.


How do you define "real sub frequencies"? If you look at the anechoic frequency response, it shows -6dB at 36Hz, and Illka says it may well reach 20Hz flat with room gain (-6dB at 15Hz). That sounds very "real sub" to me...


BTW, I don't own any BK sub, and have no interest in them, I have never heard one either. But I have seen the reliable measurements (you can find them in other forums, just search for finnish subwoofer tests). And I see facts there that just don't correspond with your description. Could it be that you got a faulty unit?
 

Badger0-0

Distinguished Member
[Unique]

You're reading stuff that isn't there mate.
I've owned a BK Monolith and hated it, so don't think for one minute that I would defend the make to the death.

You still don't say what your speakers are.

I bet you any money they don't go down to a genuine 38 hz, otherwise you wouldn't have even looked at an XLS200 mate.

I absolutely guarantee the BK will be better than your speakers at 40 hz, unless you have massive mains, which I doubt.

In short, I think you're just a troll, sorry.
 

jwlawler

Active Member
I have a pretty tight budget to get some kit to go along with my new TV (Panasonic TH42PX80) and I've ordered the Yamaha DSP-RX861 and am seriously contemplating the Tannoy Mercury F1 customs to go with it in a simple stereo setup for the time being.

Then I figured that adding a sub will (hopefully?) really add to my aural experience and I read a little and decided that the Mordaunt Short 309i sounded good, or perhaps the Wharfedale SW150, both being at the top end of what I planned to spend.

Then I read the reviews of the BKs and I swung to getting the Gemini as it sounded just my sort of thing, but now I wonder if in the longer term it's better to push for the XLS-200 (or something else but that really is all I can spend) or whether the extra cash would be better spent on getting something other than the Tannoys.

Err, that's it really... I appreciate any advice as I'm [-]a bit[/-] clueless and have never had a sub before so I don't know what is overkill bearing in mind how much I've skimped in the other departments. Anyway, some hopefully salient info:

* My room is about 4mx4m (about 3m high, carpeted and with quite a large opening into another room).
* I'll be listening to 90% TV/movies (Sky, Apple TV, PS3) and 10% music (Apple TV, CDs).
* It will be at a reasonably low volume, seldom going very high (semi-detached).
* It needs to have reasonable WAF.

I spent a long time trying to make a similar decision. After a while, my short list came down to the BK Gemini or XLS200. My room is a bit smaller than yours. Finally, I settled on the Gemini and ordered it. Unfortunately, I can't yet tell you whether I made the right decision since it has not arrived yet. When it does, I will post again.

My requirements are a bit different from you. Performance with classical music is important. However, I don't need high volumes either hence the final choice of the Gemini. The wife thinks that she will be happy with either, they are both quite cute nice cubes. We chose light oak. Downward firing makes them a bit prettier.
 

Protoplasm

Active Member
Please do let me know how you get on! I've put off the purchase of the sub for a couple of weeks to give me time to reflect. The light oak downfiring model was my choice also, for what it's worth.

As for music, I won't be listening to much classical but a fair few of the tracks I like have orchestral overtones, so I'm definitely interested to hear what you think. I'm certainly not into "bass," which is why I've taken heart in reading posts that imply what a lot of people call bass is simply distortion. I just want my music to have that low frequency "oomph."

My latest musing is whether I realistically need to purchase some equipment to help me set up the sub correctly, or whether I can do it by ear... there's definitely a learning curve with all this stuff but, fortunately, I quite enjoy reading up on stuff.

Anyway, thank you jwlawler. I hope you love your Gemini!
 

jwlawler

Active Member
Please do let me know how you get on! I've put off the purchase of the sub for a couple of weeks to give me time to reflect. The light oak downfiring model was my choice also, for what it's worth.

As for music, I won't be listening to much classical but a fair few of the tracks I like have orchestral overtones, so I'm definitely interested to hear what you think. I'm certainly not into "bass," which is why I've taken heart in reading posts that imply what a lot of people call bass is simply distortion. I just want my music to have that low frequency "oomph."

My latest musing is whether I realistically need to purchase some equipment to help me set up the sub correctly, or whether I can do it by ear... there's definitely a learning curve with all this stuff but, fortunately, I quite enjoy reading up on stuff.

Anyway, thank you jwlawler. I hope you love your Gemini!

Yes, I will happily post again when it comes. I had hoped for it by the weekend but since they have not told me that it has been despatched, that is unlikely now.

As you probably know, a plus of BK is their very attractive prices but a minus is that you cannot go to a shop for a demo. Have you heard of MJ Acoustics? Until recently BK manufactured for them and there is a close match between the models of the two companies except that the MJ ones are about twice the price. I had previously considered an MJ Acoustics Pro 50 but it was £300 so I thought very carefully. We heard a demo and we all liked it, even the wife. Now, this is apparently pretty much the same as the BK Minotaur at about half the price so I could have gone for that. I didn't since I could afford a bit more and I could find few reviews of it. The Gemini v XLS200 choice was hard since logic suggested that the Gemini would be enough but the XLS200 has so many good reviews. I would dither between "I will never need more than the Gemini" and "well, the XLS200 is only £90 extra and it should last for many years".

I don't want very strong bass, it is more that I want low bass. I calculated that the lowest note of a double bass is 41Hz so a sub-woofer may help. In principle, my mains (Tannoy R3s) can go down to 39Hz but I expect that there is some fall off near that extreme. For the non-classical fans, the lowest note of a bass guitar is the same. A large organ may go even lower and drums may also benefit from the extra range. I want my sub to do a good job in films but I hope that at these prices they all will, so I expect music to be the discriminating factor.

I probably won't buy a meter or other fancy set-up stuff. I have been leant a THX test disc which may be useful. One test plays a tone which starts at 200Hz and drops to 20Hz. This should be useful for crossover testing. I expect that if the sub is set up well, I should not be able to tell when it takes over.
 

-=Rob=-

Active Member
* My room is about 4mx4m (about 3m high, carpeted and with quite a large opening into another room).
* I'll be listening to 90% TV/movies (Sky, Apple TV, PS3) and 10% music (Apple TV, CDs).
* It will be at a reasonably low volume, seldom going very high (semi-detached).
* It needs to have reasonable WAF.

I had very similar requirements and have a simlilar size room / layout as you. I opted for a BK XLS200DF and after a lot of tweaking, moving things etc etc I am more than happy with the sub. There will be a few hours of trying different things and running in before it starts sounding it's best, be patient and you'll be more than happy.... Lots of helpful advice on here too :smashin:
 

AngelEyes

Distinguished Member
@ Protoplasm

I think my own money would be on the MS309i or the BK XLS200, apparently [Unique] is unique in being the only forum member I know who has used almost all his 10 posts on criticising his sub. The cynical would call this trolling but if he is struggling with integration and hasn't actually heard clean bass before it can be a bit of a shock getting a 'real' sub.

I always thought bass was that thumping boom you get in the back of a Nova or in a nightclub. Actually that is 95% distortion, when I got my 1st SVS I was initially a bit disapointed as all the 'bass' had disapeared. Once I got used to the lack of distortion it really put a smile on my face and i knew what i had been missing.

However don't expect to buy a sub and get the best out of it tuning by ear. As unique has shown, without an SPL meter and some time spent measuring your room response you could end up dissapointed. The good side of things is that there are loads of friendly people here who can guide you through the possible pitfalls and help deliver bass that will have you grinning from ear to ear!

If you really aren't into investing the time and fiddling about, then go for a less powerful sub, like the gemini, the lower a sub goes the harder it is to integrate well in any given room.

Adam :)
 

Protoplasm

Active Member
Thanks Rob, it's good to hear positive thoughts of people in similar situations.

Adam, thanks also for your opinion. I am more than happy to invest time fiddling about so long as the results justify my efforts. I guess when I look to purchase it I might be best adding an SPL meter to my list if I end up plumping for the XLS-200! :)

I'll see what jwlawler makes of his new baby, then I'll change my mind to and fro many hundreds of times before splashing the cash and then underestimating it's true cost to the wife. ;-)
 

AngelEyes

Distinguished Member
Thanks Rob, it's good to hear positive thoughts of people in similar situations.

Andy, thanks also for your opinion. I am more than happy to invest time fiddling about so long as the results justify my efforts. I guess when I look to purchase it I might be best adding an SPL meter to my list if I end up plumping for the XLS-200! :)

I'll see what jwlawler makes of his new baby, then I'll change my mind to and fro many hundreds of times before splashing the cash and then underestimating it's true cost to the wife. ;-)

You know it makes sense :devil:
 

Protoplasm

Active Member
A man can never have too many tools, right?!

Also I've just noticed I got your name wrong in my previous post. Sorry 'bout that!
 

AngelEyes

Distinguished Member
A man can never have too many tools, right?!

Also I've just noticed I got your name wrong in my previous post. Sorry 'bout that!

Happens all the time, I must read like an 'Andy'? :confused:

Mind you a few have mispelt my name as 'baldy' and several four letter work I can't repeat :rolleyes:
 

[unique]

Standard Member
Yes im starting to look like a ranter, i just get shivers seeing people choosing and suggesting the xls200 just cuz of 1 amateur reviewer and a handful of people who actually own them. The rest just thinks they are good based on the few specs available.
Anywayz people in general are tempted to like anything, as long as they owned/bought it...

I too choose this sub since audio enthusiasts seemed to like it so much (yes i studied the frequency response graphs myself before buying), and i came back home from a cold shower. In my experience either my sub is faulty, or BK or some fanboys are giving them way more credit than they deserve.
Then again its up to you guys to buy whatever you want, i just feel that i should put this sub more into perspective, seeing i actually OWN one, and been listening to it for months.
If i get my new amp i will try to post a frequency graph since i do not have a decent enough mic atm.
Thing is im still unsure which amp to buy ;) Since thats even harder than choosing a sub :D
 

cribeiro

Well-known Member
[unique];7029501 said:
The rest just thinks they are good based on the few specs available.
Few specs? :eek: That's more measurements than what you can find about your Focal speakers. And the measurements actually define pretty well how the subwoofer should perform.
[unique];7029501 said:
i just feel that i should put this sub more into perspective, seeing i actually OWN one, and been listening to it for months.
And of course your perspective is not amateur :confused: and more worth than that of many other owners posting here, and unbiased, etc?
[unique];7029501 said:
If i get my new amp i will try to post a frequency graph since i do not have a decent enough mic atm.
You can't say the sub is not working properly before measuring the in-room response, there is way too much that can go wrong with the setup.

If a handful of people, a lot of meaningful measurement and an "amateur reviewer" (with plenty of experience in subwoofers) agree regarding the great performance of the sub, what makes you think that your single experience implies that they are all fanboys, instead of rather thinking that something is wrong with your subwoofer or setup?
 

HiFiRuss71

Distinguished Member
[unique], it is extremely easy to see from your posting history, that you have consistently ignored advice on how to improve your situation, by objectively investigating exactly what the problem is.

You prefer instead to continually criticise a product that by your own admission you haven't applied tried and trusted techniques in the process of integrating it into your room/system. It could well be that the XLS-200 isn't suited to your system/room, but as you don't know, or prefer not to find out, I'll continue to take your opinion with a large pinch of salt and I'd suggest others do likewise.

BTW, assuming that for some reason 'amateur' ears are less capable than 'professional' ears(whatever they are), then take the word of Adam Rayner from Home Cinema Choice, who has been reviewing and installing subs since I can remember; He said, in print, that "Given it's price, any complaints would be churlish".

Russell
 

Badger0-0

Distinguished Member
Unique,
How about you just realise you're a fool* and come and ask people how to set your kit up correctly?

You will get any help you need, no problem :smashin:

Otherwise, just do one, IMO



Sorry Mods, but I can only stand so much.

*A person who has been advised, by more than one person, but still won't listen, is a fool, IMO.
 

[unique]

Standard Member
Some of you people picture me as a dude who put that box in a corner and bitches about the quality of it. Reality is far from it, ive tried all in my power (and equipment) to get any decent sound out of it and spend a lot of time moving box and adjusting settings (in 2 rooms). In the end fact remains that the bass is muddy and not very deep. Its just "ok" for music, which im using it for atm. Either way why are we even discussing my situation.
The topic starter clearly wanted a sub for, i quote:
"* I'll be listening to 90% TV/movies (Sky, Apple TV, PS3) and 10% music (Apple TV, CDs)."
And for TV/movies this sub just isnt a good choice, at least thats my opinion.

Remarks like this ill just ignore since the posters clearly dont read my posts properly:
".... instead of rather thinking that something is wrong with your subwoofer or setup?"

Also the setup in my room will never be perfect since the room is too small for it. But ive tried this sub in a nice big room with good dynamics, and it still sounded bad. So before you actually heard a xls200, and more specific MY xls200 i cant really see why your lecturing me for expressing my opinion about a product i actually own.
And no i dont have many posts on this forum, this forum was one of the few that made me buy this sub due to the enthusiasm of some people.
Either way Ive expressed myself quite enough now, anyone looking for a xls200 will probably read a post and at least question himself if it is worth buying an non auditioned sub. :boring:

Also @ badger:
"I absolutely guarantee the BK will be better than your speakers at 40 hz"
Thats pretty cool statement, seeing even YOU hated your bk monolith, which is what? 5x better than a xls200... :lease: wheres your common logic?? And yes my mains ARE better at 40 hz. They cut of after 40Hz quite obvious, hell the reason i bought this sub in the first place, since forum members keep bragging about how low it should be able to go.( even one guy in this thread..)
 

[unique]

Standard Member
*A person who has been advised, by more than one person, but still won't listen, is a fool, IMO.*

Yes, just run with the sheep... maybe an idea to start thinking for yourself sometimes? :rolleyes:

I was a fool.. for buying this sub on opinions from people i dont know.
Many times this went ok in the past, but on this sub not, hell the reason i post about it. Its just pathetic people are trying to correct my opinion in their line of thought, even though most of them never even heard an xls200 first hand. Blame everything, me, my room, my setup, my ears, the position of the moon, but not the fact that the sub is just bad. I seriously dont get you people anymore..

Secondly any more info on my setup is already posted 2 or 3x before so search for my posts.
I only expressed my opinions on this forum, the fact that people want to lecture me is nice, but half the time the stuff their suggesting has been tried already, hence the reason i never even asked people to help me setup this sub. Funny reading posts with "get a spl meter" and a bit later "BK sells great ones!". Makes me wonder if BK actively has people posting here... which is odd cuzz i was pretty content with their service. I received my sub nicely packaged (after a long wait though) and its lovely crafted, it just doesnt sound great.. oh well
 

cribeiro

Well-known Member
[unique];7032453 said:
Remarks like this ill just ignore since the posters clearly dont read my posts properly:
".... instead of rather thinking that something is wrong with your subwoofer or setup?"
Sorry, but it's you that must learn to read (and write, by the way. Hell, English is not my mother tongue and even I realize about it). You've just taken half of a sentence I wrote and put it out of context. If over 20 persons, several experienced with many other subs, say the sub is good, and you say it's not, I think it is good. It's not because of you, it's statistics.

Look, you are not reasonable, nor coherent, so just forget about it, go kick your BK sub if it makes you feel better. Nobody cares but you. Several people have tried to help you, but you only want to complain, not to solve your problem.

BTW, I doubt very much that your speakers are better than the BK at 40Hz.
 

Badger0-0

Distinguished Member
And yes my mains ARE better at 40 hz.

I'm unsubscribing now as I've had enough of this mug.

JWLawler, the XLS200 is a pukka sub.
You can take peoples advice of course, but as always the best advice is go and listen for yourself :smashin:
 
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