Eggs vs Balls - Do I need a sub?

Discussion in 'Subwoofers' started by blzbob, Oct 6, 2002.

  1. blzbob

    blzbob
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    Having read this forum for 6 months whilst saving my pennies it is finally time to make a decision.

    The amp decision I am comfortable with and it is likely to be between the Marantz SR5300 and the Yamaha RX-V630RDS. I am favouring the Marantz currently as the amp will also need to handle my music requirements due to space.

    I need a satellite/sub system for space and also for bass control. (I won't be playing the bass loud unless I want to annoy my neighbours (which can happen) as I am in a mid-terrace.)

    I was pretty settled on the Kef Eggs with some pretty good reviews, I like the styling etc. However, along come the Gallos and they are getting a lot of positive feedback, whilst the eggs appear less well thought of on this site.

    The issue is that my budget just about fits for the 6 KEF speakers, sub, stands and wires. Thus with KEF I could get a complete system - hurrah.
    If I go for the Gallo Balls and the associated stands etc. I will not be able to afford the £450 subwoofer for 6 months or longer. As I mentionned above, I do not need a lot of bass, however I am concerned that the lack of any low end support would impact my enjoyment through the cold winter months.

    Essentially, the help I need is: Assuming I get the Marantz SR5300, would the Gallos without a sub compare well with the KEF with a sub (albeit the unpopular PSW2000).

    I need to buy before christmas (I have been waiting months already) and if I suddenly keel over and die I will never make it into hifi heaven if I haven't bought any kit.
     
  2. DodgeTheViper

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    Hi,

    Have you auditioned any of the speakers you mention ?

    The Kef eggs also get some positive reviews on this site. Although they are not to my liking. If you go for a sub / sat system without a sub, it will be lifeless. So, if you can't wait, then i think you have the answer !


    Cheers
    Kev
     
  3. groundy

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    My advice would be to buy the Gallo's now.

    By purchasing the Eggs you would be making an unnecessary compromise. Be aware though the the Gallo's and the Eggs, like any sub/sat system, will be heavily reliant on the sub so YES, you would be missing out on a lot without the Sub. The Gallo's without Sub will not compare favourable to the Eggs with Sub but this is an unfair comparison.

    If I were you, I would buy 3 Gallo Balls and the Gallo Sub and do without the two rears for the next 6 months. This would be a much better choice and you will not regret it in the long term.
     
  4. MikeK

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    I'd advise the opposite! :)

    There's no shortage of better equipment if you are prepared to pay for it - but that's really the crux of the matter IMO.

    Buy something which you can afford and which does the job for you!

    While I don't think the Kef eggs are the ultimate in speaker design, nor, in absolute terms, even the best way to spend £600 (or £700 for 6.1 sets) or so, but if you must have a very compact speaker setup, and have a max budget of around £7-800, they are certainly worth considering IMO.
    (I say not the best way to spend £600, as my opinion is that you can get better sound by careful shopping for more conventional speakers - BUT, that inevitably means the setup won't be as compact as the eggs or Gallos et al).

    I haven't heard the Gallos, so how they compare head to head, I couldn't say - but you'd certainly hope and expect them to be better at twice the price!


    Obviously a test with your own ears is necessary.
    If you think the Kef system sounds fine to you, then to hell with what anyone else thinks - it's you who'll be spending the next few years listening to it, not us! If you don't like it - that's fine as well - then don't buy it!
    However, do get a listen to the Gallos too if possible- then you can really make your own mind up about the relative merits of each, in relation to your budget.
    In fact, get a listen to a few setups at or around your budget, then you can make a reasonably informed decision about the level it's worth going to for you.


    To take it to the extreme, there are plenty of people around who have spent a few hundred quid at Richer Sounds (or somewhere similar) and bought a very modest setup. They may well know that better sound is available if they spend more money, but that certainly doesn't mean that what they have is necessarily crap.
    If they enjoy listening to it, that's all that really matters in the end. Then again, maybe they don't know - but does it really matter in the end as long as they enjoy what they have.
    As an analogy, you can spend £50000 on a car that's better in every than a VW Golf for example - but that doesn't automatically mean the Golf is a crap car.
    It's all relative, and IMO, budget considerations certainly come into the buying decision, as, for many people, do aesthetic considerations.


    BTW, personally I'd only consider a sub/sat setup like this myelf if there was absolutely no way of getting a more conventional setup, especially if stereo music reproduction is a consideration. Every sub/sat setup I've heard (which I accept is by no means every one available), could have been outperformed by carefully bought, more conventional setups at similar or less cost - and more conventional doesn't have to mean huge (although it will inevitably mean bigger).
     
  5. uncle eric

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    All good personal views. The keywords being personal views
    My personal view is the opposite. A well set up, carefully chosen quality sub sat system will out perform "conventional" systems of the same price any day of the week.
     
  6. Nobber22

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    Probably quite true Eric, but unfortunately very few of us can set up a sub/sat system properly to your standards (I certainly can't), so conventional speakers which require much less tweaking to get them sounding good is far more preferable (WAF not considered), particularly for stereo use.

    Some of us will probably dislike the Gallos if we bought them and set them up (incorrectly) ourselves. You say they are easier than most sub/sat setups to get right, however those who have heard them demoed (eg. at Harrods) have been underwhelmed: even Gallo's quality doesn't seem able to rise above "average man's" setup skills:rolleyes:
     
  7. Guest

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    Blzbob,

    Definately try and get a listen to the gallos, otherwise you may be left with nagging doubts if you just plump straight for the Eggs.

    The PSW2000 sub is considered the weak link with the Eggs. True it does not plumb the depths of a good REL or a Velodyne but properly tuned it isn't as bad as some people would suggest. If in 6 months you want more slam then a Velodyne or REL would be worth an audition.

    Mikek basically said it all.
     
  8. blzbob

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    Thanks for the replies all.

    I have heard the KEF's with Gladiator, not auditioned (with any music etc.) or with either of the amps I have selected. I was pretty impressed with the surround during the big fight scene though.
    Never heard the Gallo's, but my mate has just said he did not think they were worth the extra money when he heard them doing Star Wars at Stuff Live on Friday.

    Groundy - 3 balls idea and the sub:
    I really want the surround element and thus whilst this would probably be a good idea for building the best system, I just can't wait.

    As for demo's - I agree definitely the best way is to test them both in the same environment (preferably my home) - but given the newness of the Marantz and the Gallo's not being that widely distributed I am not quite sure where I could go within a reasonable distance. I should be able to audition the eggs and Marantz together in Reading/local shop though. Also there is the added complication, that as I am on a tightish budget I need the advantage of the cheaper internet prices and I would feel bad getting a dealer to demo the kit and then to go buy off the net.

    I have thought of the alternative of the Gallo balls and a very cheap sub (one of the <£120 ones from Richer Sounds) which I can upgrade next year but looking at their frequency range they may do more harm than help to the sound. Any thoughts on this?

    However, I have to say I am favouring the KEF's mainly from the lower spend involved - which is effectively a week abroad. I will try and demo the KEF/Marantz combination and if it is acceptable then I need never know how good the Gallo's are. The other factor is that if I have £1500 speakers with a £400 amp there may be pressure from the evil upgrade goblin to get a better amp. No No No No evil goblin!!!

    I still have a month left to decide though.
     
  9. NicolasB

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    As an alternaive suggestion to KEF eggs, have you thought about Acoustic Energy's Aegis Evo 3B package? You can get the lot for £770 (including sub) from HiFiBitz. It will probably do a better job than the KEFs for music, but will be slightly less diffuse for films.
     
  10. Nobber22

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    Don't feel bad. It's just business to the dealers and many will try to price match anyway (your local in Newbury won't tho - I know 'cos it's my local too!)
    An alternative is to get the Kef's and never come on this bleedin' forum again! I didn't give a toss about frequency response, etc until I started following sub threads, etc.:D Don't blame the goblin either....it's the blokes on this forum who are trouble!:cool:
     
  11. MikeK

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    :)

    Personal view? - very true!

    The issue I have is that for most of the sub/sat systems I've heard, the subwoofer has to be set too high.
    The problem is that the sats can't get down to 80Hz or lower, being more comfortable with 100 or 120Hz settings.
    On some, even that isn't enough. (to be fair though, they then often use a different connection setup, and don't use the bass management in the AV amp at all).
    Now, all this may not be much of an issue if you can position the subwoofer roughly centrally between the two main fronts - however, if you can't.........
    Then it certainly is an issue, and one I've heard several times - the sub becomes easily locatable, and the soundstage is effectivley ruined, especially with music.

    Set the subwoofer lower than the sats are capable of and you get a response hole in the mid bass area - probably the very area where you least want one.
    This will rob the sound of some of it's "richness" and "warmth" - how do you describe it ? :)

    To use the common (and THX designated) 80Hz setting successfully IMO, you really need sats which are capable of getting down to 50 or 60Hz, or else the natural rolloff of the sat speakers augments the crossover filter's rolloff, and you are a lot more than -3dB down at 80Hz (obviously how much depends on the sats in question).
    Now very few satellite speakers in the sub/sat combos I've heard are capable of 50-60Hz.

    True, it depends on exactly what your definition of a sub/sat combos is, and on rereading my post, some may think I was talking about more conventional speakers in terms of using without a subwoofer - if so, that's my clumsy explanation.
    What I meant was more conventional speakers + sub versus sats+sub. I usually think of satellite speakers as very small - about the size of Kef eggs for instance.

    I didn't of course mean "conventional" as in 5 (or 6 or 7) speakers with no subwoofer :)
    That would be asking a bit much!!!!

    Subwoofer aside, which I think we would agree is a bit of a necessity for HT, I meant 5 more conventional sized speakers and sub, vs 5 very small sats and sub (all things being equal of course - by no means all conventional sized speakers are good either)
    I guess you could actually consider any speaker setup which redirects bass to a subwoofer as being a sub/sat combination, even one which uses huge floorstanders at the front.
    Terminolgy differences I suppose!

    Now the reason I mentioned "especially if stereo music reproduction is important" is this - again a personal view, fair enough!.
    For music reproduction the way a subwoofer integrates with the main speakers is IMO more important than the sub's outright extension (although of course it must have some of that).
    For HT, a sub's outright extension is more important than the way it integrates with the main speakers (although it must integrate at least reasonably).
    That's talking about a reasonable subwoofer as well of course!!!


    Now before there's a howl of derision, that's not to say that one is important and the other isn't (if you can have both, so much the better), just that I think the priority is slightly different, depending on what you are trying to achieve.
    Obviously people going for a 50-50 split between movies and music will want both to a high level - fine, but it costs!

    I honestly think that in many cases when people describe a sub as being very musical, what they are actually describing is very good integration between their main speakers and the subwoofer (often accompanied by a good room and ideal positioning)
    Obviously the subwoofer must have some amount of reasonable extension as well though, or there's little point in using it in the first place.
     
  12. Nobber22

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    So Mike, what do you recommend Bob gets: eggs/sub or small conventional/sub for his £700 pounds?
     
  13. Ian J

    Ian J
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    It would seem that no M&K speaker goes below 80Hz so what chance have I got with the cheapest of the Pro range.

    £1,000 per pair and they're no good. :mad:
     
  14. groundy

    groundy
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    MikeK, you obviously put a lot of thought in to your posts but do they have to be quite so boring :p. I struggle to stay awake at work at the best of times but you're certainly not helping :D.
     
  15. uncle eric

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    Mike,
    Exactly.
    If you someone does not have the room for 3 dinky satellites and sub, how are you going to get three "full range" speakers up front :rolleyes:
    By full range, I don't even mean my usual definition (20KHz to 20Hz), I mean even matching the Gallo subs 28-30Hz.

    I think the term you're looking for is "going around in circles"
     
  16. uncle eric

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    Groundy,
    Mike likes to cover himself and every aspect of what he is saying.
    I like to get to the point ;)
     
  17. groundy

    groundy
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    A refreshing approach it is too :).
     
  18. James45

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    To answer the original question... yes of course you'll need a sub eventually people seem to forget that because of the sat/sub design principle you NEED both to produce the whole frequency range. And I think you'll be happy with the Marantz 5300, I picked one up last week and so far, so great. Easy to use/set-up, great sound and very good tuner (a bonus). Although it's the biggest bloody amp I've seen!

    As for the speakers, I was underwhelmed to say the least by the Kefs, I went for three Gallos up front and will get the Sub and surrounds when funds allow, yes I'm currently listening to less than half the full sound the system is capable of generating but i know in the long-run (ie. when I've got the other bits) it will have been worth the wait, I'm a patient bugger. As for set-up the Gallos couldn't be easier, they have no external porting and they are so small placement is not really an issue, although listening to them I can see placement of the sub is going to be critical to getting the best out of them.

    I watched Amadeus the other day (not a lot of thundering blockbuster bass, but loads and loads of crisp clean vocals, both speech and song) and the Gallos sounded great, extremely clean with excellent clarity. I can't wait for the sub. I'm marble slab hunting in preperation for it!!:D :D
     
  19. lmccauley

    lmccauley
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    I spent a short time with just my M&K S85s without a sub and was quite surprised that they didn't sound too bad. Despite only going down to 80Hz, that still covers the midrange and treble perfectly well (where most vocals and music is).

    With the sub, it just sounds even better :)

    Cheers,
    Liam
     
  20. Guest

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    digggsy, did he? you must have been the only one who statyed awake Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
     
  21. MikeK

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    Because unlike some, most people are using a big CRT TV set which usually sits, rather inconveniently, on a big stand. Not too sure I'd like to put a big subwoofer too close anyway - magnetic staining and vibration issues etc, especially if it's an aperture grille based set (eg Sony). Much the same for RPTV owners.
    So, yes, I think while many people could accomodate larger (and larger doesn't have to mean huge) front speakers, what they can't necessarily do is place a subwoofer centrally at the front.
    In that case, using speakers capable of staying flat(ish) to 80Hz (and preferably a bit lower) and lowering the sub's crossover to 80Hz will most probably do the trick, by allowing the subwoofer to be moved away from centre to some degree.
    The lower the crossover goes (main speakers willing), the more latitude you're going to have!

    I didn't mention "full range" speakers, I just mentioned speakers capable of 50-60Hz or so - where did you get "full range" from?
    Speakers capable of 50-60Hz don't have to be huge - but, fair enough, they'll probably be bigger than "dinky" satellites!


    IanJ

    Many M&K speakers have their low end extension specs quoted to -2dB, not the more usual -3dB, so I suspect they are going to get a little lower than you suggest. However, just because M&K state that they will produce 80-20000Hz, doesn't necessarily mean they won't do better.
    I wouldn't really argue that much about a few Hz either way anyway, but it's a moot point - if M&K can only manage 80Hz, should we then believe that very small "dinky" satellites, can manage the same?
    Their makers claim they can :)
    Maybe the spec sheets aren't accurate - but no, surely they'd never seek to pull the wool over our eyes (and ears) like that? :)

    If 80Hz is all that's needed, why are some makers now switching to additional 40,50 or 60Hz crossover options in their processors (in fact some have had this for some time).
    Maybe it's to do with the fact that in some cases they may think that the lower you crossover the subwoofer (main speakers willing that is), the better.
    Perhaps those who own such devices should steer clear of M&K :) :p

    In any case, the principle of crossing over your drivers before their natural rolloff points isn't exactly a novel idea - it's been one of the basics of loudspeaker crossover design as long as multiway speakers have been in existence.
     
  22. Nic Rhodes

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    some one please wake me up when this is over
     
  23. Guest

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    beekeeper,
    i was thinking of about cryogenics if i ever won the lottery.
    you know, go into a coma jobbie in a frozen state and wake up a thousand years from now.
    i've now sussed out a cheap way out. just get mikek to do one of his usual posts that make us fall asleep. Trouble is when i wake up he'll still be here going on and on about the same old stuff :eek: :eek: :D
     
  24. groundy

    groundy
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    Well I thi [​IMG].
     
  25. blzbob

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    NicolasB: Thanks for that, very nice, the floorstanders will limit my control of the bass (important for neighbour annoyance control ;) ) and I need little speakers particularly at the back.

    Nobber22: Which nearby shops would you recommend, I can't say our local dealer inspires me to buy/hand over money. Although I must say the new B&O store looks nicer on the corner than the shop before.

    James45: thanks for your comments - gives me hope - Which is your next purchase sub or rears? Also what concerned you with the eggs (I want to know what to look out for in the demo - rather than noticing it post purchase).

    All: Would a really cheap sub(<£120) fill the bass hole until I save the money if I go Gallo :confused:

    Gallo users: Just so I can do the numbers (again! :rolleyes:) what speaker wires would you recommend work well with the Gallos - (going under the carpet).
     
  26. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    blzbob

    I would look to three balls for now, a Gallo sub and stick some crap on the rears just for now (£10). I think if you can push for that it will give you the best bet for your money. It will minimise loss as well. The other option is a Paradim cheapo sub and 5 balls. I prefer the former.

    Gallos come with a very respectable cable, can't remember it's length though. Good honest solid core ala DNM. All inc.

    Back to sleep like all good drones and workers during the winter....Zzzzzzz
     
  27. Ian J

    Ian J
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    If you listen to decent speakers with a cheap sub the overall sound will probably be poor. If £120 is your max have a look at something in the classified forum like a Paradigm which you can always get your money back on later.

    I use Ixos 607 which is a flat speaker cable for hiding under the carpet.
     
  28. uncle eric

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    Thanks for the lecture Mike, I've learnt a lot ;)
    God I wish I had the patience of Nic Rhodes to answer some of your inaccuracies at length. Unfortunatley, I neither have the time or the patience.
     
  29. James45

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    Definitely the sub, without the surrounds I'm only missing out on some surround details, but without the sub I'm losing the whole bottom end! The Gallos come with shed loads of thin solid core (12m per speaker??).

    The Eggs had no life, no spark or energy to them, very flat dull sound.

    Personally I'd save your bucks and put them towards the Gallo MS-150 sub.
     
  30. Inukjuak

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    Why indeed, can't see the point when amps with bass management have this option already, just set speakers to large. So speakers rated at 50Hz set to large and set crossover on the sub accordingly. You can try this at home. :D

    If you have speakers rated at 40, 50 or 60Hz set to large and re-set the sub etc, then you will be able to tell which is best, 80Hz crossover or the 40, 50 or 60Hz crossover. Bet you switch them back to small.

    Maybe it's to do with the speaker and not the crossover, a decent speaker rated at 40Hz is going to reproduce a good quality 80Hz even 60Hz but think that 40Hz is taking the speaker to it's limits, it may reach 40Hz but at what cost to the quality, therefore to set it to small and limit it's frequency makes sense. To me anyway. ;)
     

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