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Can i get away without a sub?

Discussion in 'Subwoofers' started by Spacecowboy, Nov 21, 2002.

  1. Spacecowboy

    Spacecowboy
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    Simple question. If i have a pair of floorstanders as my front 2 speakers, can i get away without a sub? Will this be the case with most floorstanders?

    If i was to have a pair of standmount speakers as my front 2, would the bass be rather lacking?..... say something like Mission M71, or Wharfedale Diamond 8.1?
     
  2. Ian J

    Ian J
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    You can get away without a sub but you won't get that deep bass that is all important in blockbuster type films without one.
     
  3. Sessen Ryu

    Sessen Ryu
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    Floorstanders typically will go lower than bookshelf speakers - but as always - it depends on the individual speaker (some bookshelves will well out-perform some floorstanders).

    Whether you'll 'get away with it' depends on you. Personally I wouldn't dream of a HT/music hi-fi set up without a sub.

    If I was you I would book a demo or two and listen to the speakers you're considering with and without a sub. See for yourself :)
     
  4. iwatkins

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    Some floorstanders have large woofers built into the side of the cabinet in a ported enclosure to give the bass.

    The Eltax Hollywoods have this and I find they give more than enough bass for most of the stuff I watch. Tends to have no problem shaking the floor and rattling the windows.

    I guess it is all down to taste whether a floor stander with big woofers goes low enough for you. Similar arguement for car hifi, some people prefer the punchy 8 inch sub woofer, others prefer the deepest of deep rumbles from a 12 inch sub.

    Best bet is to demo the speakers you are looking at. However, do bear in mind that it might actually be cheaper to buy a sub than two floorstanders that can do it all.

    Cheers

    Ian
     
  5. lightningvictim

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    I was under the same impression as Sessen Ryu - 5.1 without the 1 - unthinkable!
    THEN
    I dem'd the Mission M74i floorstanders (which I eventually bought) - rear ported and boy do they pump out the bass - I have even had to bung them to calm them down a bit now they are in-situ in the house.

    Now whenever I think I need a sub I just put on Pearl Harbour initial attack sequence or LOTR Mines of Morria and feeling the bass bounce off my chest soon makes me forget about blowing another £300-£500 on a sub.

    Get out there and dem - you might just get a pleasant surprise....

    Cheers
    Les
     
  6. ditton15

    ditton15
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    What do you mean by 'rear ported'? Please describe the configuration you are using?

    Ditton
     
  7. lightningvictim

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    My understanding is that.......
    The woofer is in an enclosure.
    The enclosure has an "anti-turbulance port" at the rear of the cabinet....this give according to Mission - "clean, tight bass with optional resistive loading for room optimisation" i.e the bungs.
    According to Mission these speakers are best if they are placed with the rear of the speaker placed at least 0.5-1.0m from a wall.
    Bass is non-directional so it doesn't matter where the sound originates from but when these speakers are placed too close to a wall the amount of bass seems to cause some interference/booming but the bungs stop the really low end bass which causes this - so problem solved?!?

    Does this make sense?
    Cheers
    Les
     
  8. Sessen Ryu

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    #

    Personally I would not consider buying a quality subwoofer as "blowing your money". - in fact they save money, as the price of a pair of floorstanders capable of producing sound that a quality subwoofer can is beyond what most of us can afford.

    I'm one of these people that likes to hear what the artist/director intended me to hear - and that means real sub bass - not just 45hz upwards. My floorstanders, like many floorstanders under a £1,000 extend quite nicely down to 44hz at a decent spl, and yes, give a nice 'thump in my chest' - but it's not all about volume. For me (and countless others who've experience true sub bass) it's about depth (at a respectable spl). It's a completely different experience.

    Personal opinion/taste as always.
     
  9. juboy

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    This is true, but only when relating to certain bass frequencies and, unfortunately, those frequencies tend to be those of around 30hz and lower... and those are the kind of frequencies that most floorstanders can't reach, meaning that the vast majority of their low frequency output is very much directional.

    Depending on how your sub is integrated, it's also usually fairly easy to locate a sub (blind) unless it's only pumping out the lowest of the low frequencies.
     
  10. lightningvictim

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    I think the above to quotes just about sum up the argument. Personally having just spent an extra £4k on redecorating/soft furnishings over and above the insurance settlement for the lightning strike I was quite happy to save myself an extra £300-£500 (at the moment) for a sound that I find more than acceptable.

    However I did cable up for a sub and a centre-rear whilst the carpets were up so read into that what you want!

    Cheers
    Les
     
  11. Matt F

    Matt F
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    This surprises me a lot for two reasons:

    1. I did a load of searching on the net to try to establish the lowest frequency that is directional to the human brain - what I found was that a few people can locate bass frequencies down to 70Hz and by 150Hz most people can locate it.

    2. The standard (if there is one) small speaker crossover is set at 80Hz and this would seem to tie in with point 1. above. I can't imagine that the likes of THX would specify an 80Hz crossover if that would make the bass directional.

    Out of interest, where did you get the 30Hz figure from?

    Matt.

    p.s. it would be good to have the learned views of Uncle Eric on this subject.
     
  12. KeefyR

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    I was firmly in the "why do I need a sub" dept until I started down the HT route -- already have Mission 753s powered by an audiolab 8000A which is capable of a pretty impressive sound
    (in my humble opinion)

    Having taken the plunge and bought a Velodyne CHT10 the difference is enormous -- I Have the Variable Low pass cross over set to about 50Hz and the low bass extension provided by the sub is very obvious in either music or Films.

    I'm a convert !!
     
  13. juboy

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    You've heard of sub's having cross-over controls? Use one and you can slowly turn it to only produce lower frequencies. At the same time you can listen to the sub and see if you can locate where it's positioned in the room.

    I found that at between 30 and 40hz it is possible to locate where the bass is coming from. Now, I totally agree that this may have something to do with detecting the location by 'feeling' rather than actually hearing where the noise is emminating from but it's still locatable.

    And if you're relying on stuff you've researched on the Internet, I could point you to several sites claiming bass directionality at 40hz and below.

    You yourself have mentioned that some people can detect location at 70hz, which kind of contradicts your later comment about THX specifying 80hz.

    I don't doubt that somewhere between 60 and 80hz is the generally accpeted point at which LF becomes omni-directional (especially when mixed with all the other frequencies simultaneously and you're not straining to detect it's location) but on it's own, LF can be located at lower frequencies if you're really trying to.
     
  14. Matt F

    Matt F
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    Just a quick point on a couple of the floorstanding speakers mentioned and of the suggestions that you don’t need a sub with them. They drop to the following:

    Eltax Hollywood Fronts: 40Hz
    Mission M74i: 44Hz

    Whilst those are reasonable figures you should bear-in-mind that even the smaller subwoofers (MJA Pro 50, for example) will drop somewhat lower than this – down to 30Hz or so. When people talk about floorstanding speakers that do not require a sub then, with all due respect, they are not talking about the speakers listed above, they mean the likes of PMC (£1400) FB1’s that drop to 22Hz flat.

    However, even the FB1’s aren’t really equipped to deal with the .1 LFE channel – whereas the 5 main channels can drop to 20Hz, the LFE channel can go a lot lower than this – down to 10Hz or even lower (down to 5Hz on U-571). Most subwoofers have trouble dealing with this, let alone main speakers.

    Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying “You must have a sub” – it’s great that you are happy with your set ups – all I’m saying is that there is a lot of lower bass on many DVDs that you will not be able to reproduce without a subwoofer or a very select few main loudspeakers that cost a small fortune.

    Matt.
     
  15. Sessen Ryu

    Sessen Ryu
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    Benefits from adding an (active) sub do not stop at producing bass.

    The knock on effect of leaving all the hard work of producing LFE to the subs amp, frees itself to concentrate all/more of it's power on the mid and top end. :D
     
  16. juboy

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    That's a point that has always interested me... surely if speakers have a certain frequency response range they'll simply play any of those frequencies from the signal fed to them?

    The cross-over of the speakers deals with the LF and HF, so if anything below the HF lower cut off point is not fed to the speaker, why would this make the tweeter perform any better?

    I can sort of see how the lower mid range and upper LF reproduction via the woofer might seem a little clearer and could benefit but again I can't see how it would suddenly 'decide' to focus on improving HF reporoduction. Speakers just aren't that intelligent are they?
     
  17. Sessen Ryu

    Sessen Ryu
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    My understanding is that the more power you have on tap to give to an individual speaker, the cleaner the signal/sound will be. Seeing as the mains amp hasn't got to work as hard it will have more power to give to the mid and top.
     
  18. Matt F

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    Thanks for your reply juboy. Did detect a hint of sarcasm in your “You’ve heard of sub’s having crossover controls?” question?

    Whatever, of course I appreciate what the crossover control is and what it does. I also know that it’s not a “brick wall” filter – in other words, if you set it to 50Hz, there will still be some output above 50Hz coming out of the sub because it rolls off gently – it doesn’t stop dead.

    I would have therefore thought that the only way to test how directional bass frequencies are would be to take two identical subs placed probably where your main speakers would normally go and equidistant from room boundaries. Then play a series of test tones – 30Hz, 40Hz, 50Hz and so on up to, say, 80Hz – switch between the two subs on each frequency and see if you can tell which one the sound is coming from. This would be an interesting experiment – if I had two identical subs I’d give it a go.

    Also, I don’t know but I wonder how much of an issue distortion is with locating lower bass frequencies – I would have thought that if the cone of the subwoofer is misbehaving for whatever reason then this might make it easier to hear where those noises are coming from.

    Finally, given that you yourself can hear the direction of bass frequencies below 40Hz, does this mean that you would consider a subwoofer that only allows a crossover point down to 40Hz (such as my own subwoofer) to be a flawed design?

    Matt
     
  19. juboy

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    Not at all.

    All I have tried to maintain all along is that I believe LF are a lot more directional (even at very low frequencies) than many people would have you believe.

    I myself have no idea whether this is to do with distortion, physical movement or whatever... all I know is that to think you can simply place a subwoofer anywhere and it won't make much difference is not a good starting point.

    I guess I was just trying to provide a little balance to the advice which would lead you believe putting a sub under your sofa isn't a bad idea.
     

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