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Hifi with a subwoofer

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by SOUNDSTYLE, Dec 26, 2002.

  1. SOUNDSTYLE

    SOUNDSTYLE
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    Who has a hifi system and has a subwoofer connected aswell?
    Did you find it difficult to set up?
    I'm using a Velodyne CHT15 with my Arcam 8R and 8P amps and I have the volume set at 3 on the sub, and I'm using the sub's own crossover which is at 40.
    Is it normal to find that some music which is played can do with more volume on the sub and others not?
    Is it the way the music has been recorded which affects the sound of the low notes?
    Most albums can be played with the volume on the sub set at 3 but others I feel need a bit more oomph so I turn the sub's volume up to 4 or even 5.
    What I want to know, is if anyone else has to do this?
    Thanks
     
  2. buns

    buns
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    I used to use my storm with stereo, but it now is connected for only av purposes. I found as you did, that sometimes the sub was needing differently set for different music, i assume this to be much down to set up and placement, but i question if I could have had the sub set to my liking. There is of course another factor to consider...... quality. My set up is not too bad...... now to play my storm, that means i am letting out the low frequencies with a piece of equipment worth a small fraction of the set up playing the higher frequencies.

    Id like a pro opinion on the plitting of budget. So My stereo pair and amps are coming to £3k...... so how much should i spend on a sub? I suspect to get a true match in performance you need a very expensive sub. Tht being the case, I suspect that many of us use subs which probably are not a price match for our systems. I of course accept im likely wrong! :D

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  3. alexs2

    alexs2
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    I'd like to think my AV system performs well as a straight hifi system as well(which is how it started) and use a RELQ200 sub with mine.....like every sub,it requires careful integration to get decent results,and I deliberately went for a relatively compact sub,having had problems with the room modes when using a pair Linn Keltik speakers(active crossovers and a response+/- 2dB to 20Hz).

    I think that like all things,CD's also vary in quality,certainly also in terms of recorded bass levels on the discs,and thus some level of bass level management between discs is going to be inevitable.
    I find in my own collection that some cds have very high levels of bass EQ,no doubt to compensate for cheap systems poor responses,whereas many aimed at the audiophile market have nothing like those levels.....(try a comparison between a standard version of a particular cd and the Mobile Fidelity version of the same if it's available to try).

    As for buns' question,I'm not a pro,but do have a few years experience,and would certainly agree that price and quality often go together,although not always so...as above,I deliberately used a small sub,to limit the bass reinforcement in a resonant room in a 200yr old house.....I could certainly have afforded larger REL's or Velodynes etc,but found the in-room response was developing too much upper bass boom.

    You simply have to listen,and go with what you like and can afford.

    Perpetual Technologies P1-A upsampler
    Linn CD
    TagMclaren AV32R
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    B&W Nautilus 805's
    REL 201 sub
     
  4. buns

    buns
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    My point is that surely the bass deserves just as much attention payed as treble. So I spend £1000 on a pair of standmounters and £1000 on power amps....... so surely it isnt reasonable to say you should be looking to spend £2000 on sub or subs?

    The quality point is of course a big one as well. What are the amps within subs actually like!? Why dont higher end systems utilise passive subs powered by big amps? Surely this will end up with a higher fidelity, or am i misjudjing the quality os active sub amps?

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  5. alexs2

    alexs2
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    An active sub amp can be every bit as good as any other power amp if properly designed,and by running the speaker through an active crossover savings in efficiency can be made,plus improvements in speed and attack(I know,having run a triamped active Linn Keltik system for 4yrs.....no need for subs with speakers of that size,run that way,but as I said,too much upper bass reinforcement in a very old house).

    Your point though,buns,is very vaild,and the bass does deserve as much attention as the treble,and possibly more....my point was that as with all things,you have to find something that works in your room,and for your ears,regardless(to a degree) of price etc.
    You will find that high end companies,such as Krell and Linn use active subs for the reasons mentioned above.....efficiency,ability to tailor response,attack etc....designing an adequately adjustable passive crossover with bearable power losses would be interesting.
    Take a look inside the guts of a Krell Reference or Wilson WatchDog! sub,and you'll be amazed....the price will also amaze,btw!
     
  6. William Shin

    William Shin
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    Are you still happy with your set up using a sub with your hifi amp for music?

    After various trials(Rel Q50, Quake, Velo CHT10) I realised it sounds better without a sub connected so I just gave up using a sub for my hifi system but only for the av system. Now I can enjoy both equally.

    I don't know whether it is necessary for the normal music to go down below 50 or 40hz(does it give more musicality?) unless you listen to movie soundtracks e.g. Titanic. Some albums sound okay to me with a sub but when you play some CDs with too much bass EQ you may notice awful bass dominating and ruining whole music by the sub(even at volume level 1 or 2). Simply I couldn't bear it.

    That's why I am curious how you manage to listen to your music nowadays.

    If I am wrong pls give me some tips how to improve sound.;)
    Cheers
     
  7. Spligsey

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    alexs2 makes some good points.

    I am lucky enough to be able to set different settings on my processor (Meridian 568.2) to cater for 2 channel & multichannel duties...

    There's so many varying situations to consider.
    Actually, some of the fiddling i did resulted in some interesting settings, especially for getting the right integration that i wanted out of my HGS and Dynaudio's

    It can be as good for Hi-Fi as it is for Multichannel.

    Adzman
     
  8. William Shin

    William Shin
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    Adzman

    I am sure you could get the better integration as far as you let your processor handle with two channel duty.

    No doubt processor or av receiver route will give much better integration with subs for music. I have been enjoying 2 channel set up through my denon receiver til I used the dedicated hifi amp.

    How about the hifi amp+sub (high level connection) route? Does it improve musicality as Rel claim? I am dying to know how other people do on this.

    Any advice would be welcome.
    Cheers
     
  9. SOUNDSTYLE

    SOUNDSTYLE
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    I still use my sub using the high level connection and most music sounds alright, sometimes I have to turn the volume (on the sub) down, sometimes I have to turn the volume up, and sometimes the bass is so overblown that I turn it off completely, but I still think (when I'm listening to a cd, vinyl etc. and it's been produced correctly) it adds that extra bit which makes it sound better.

    I'm not entirely happy with the situation but I can live with it.
     
  10. deckard

    deckard
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    Have been pondering this myself lately...

    What makes a 'musical' sub? Surely if there's sufficient extension, power and low distortion then all such subs should be able to 'do' music?

    My own experience, and clearly that of others mentioned here, is that it's not that simple.

    I'm also contemplating a new sub and would like to run it at high and low level inputs to cover both music and AV duties. Has anybody got any bright ideas why subs are so tricky to integrate for music?? (Not that they're that easy for AV!)

    Alexs2 - if you're out there - how did you connect your sub up with your old Keltiks? I've got biamped active Keilidhs, did you take a high level output from the amp with the bass module?
     
  11. warrj

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    I use a sub both for hi-fi and av. My system (for hi-fi) is as follows:

    Arcam AV8 (pre-amp)
    Roksan Caspian AV Power Amp
    Arcam FMJ CD23 (CD player)
    B&W Nautilus 805 (Main speakers)
    Sonus Faber Gravis (sub)

    My personal preference is for good quality standmounters + good sub rather than full-range fronts (given my budget and listening room). I always listen to music with the sub (via the high-level connection). Once I was happy with the sub-settings I haven't found the need to tweak it on a per album basis. Remember, if the sub is clearly audible (esp. on, say, acoustic, material) then it's probably set too loud.

    Regards,

    Jules.
     
  12. William Shin

    William Shin
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    IMHO it's not about capability of sub but how to integrate it with other system.

    I admit people are naturally tempted to increase a bass volume until it is enough audible.

    When I feel some exciting bass through a sub it is most of case a double-bass(rather than solid and clean bass but a little bit muddy bass due to bass overlapping). When I reduce a volume level or x-over point down to 30 or 40hz I hardly get any benefit from a sub, almost same as without using a sub.

    I believe most decent speakers even standmounters are quite capable to go down enough to cover low note as far as music is concerned (flim sound effects are different category, it should go down far below, not heard but felt).

    For audiophile I wonder which is more important, either clean, tight and solid bass or low and big bass.

    Does upgrading a better pre/power amp (+speakers) give more excitement to music than adding a better sub? Particularly when you have to choose one option within your tight budget.

    Soundstyle: it is too painful for me to adjust volume levels each time.:(
     
  13. deckard

    deckard
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    William Shin

    This 'double-bass' is exactly the kind of problem I've noted when listening to a sub in tow with 2 channel music. It's either too much or inadequte.

    I suspect I might be better off getting a sub that's designed for out and out AV use and sticking with my main pair only for stereo listening, they're not exactly slouches in the bass department.

    I came across something on the forum the other day that somebody had researched, showing the lower bass limits of musical instruments - barely anything dipped below 60Hz.

    I guess therefore that for 2 channel music with capable floor-standers a sub is probably not necessary.

    Would be nice for a bit of Leftfield though...:D
     
  14. alexs2

    alexs2
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    Deckard....Hi....I didnt use a sub with the Keltiks as they simply didnt need it.....they actually go flat down to 20Hz,and just need huge amounts of power to drive them.

    I sold them as the bass reinforcement in my 200+yr old house was simply too much.....there was no way of taming the bass response adequately using the active crossovers.

    Having bought a set of Nautilus 805's to replace the Keltiks,I obviously did need a sub to replace the missing lower registers,and bought a REL Q201 after much listening etc in my own room....I did try several other brands,and rejected many on the strength of the in-room response.

    The Linn subs,for HiFi use,are very good,with plenty of attack and little overhang compared to many AV subs.

    If you intend using a sub with bi-amped active Keilidhs(which I had before the Keltiks)I would suggest a high level feed from the bass end of the system,and a low level feed from the AV system's LFE out,if you're using one.
     
  15. deckard

    deckard
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    Cheers Alexs2

    I had a feeling you probably weren't in dire need of a sub with the Keltiks, they do kick serious butt!!

    Thanks for your advice on connection, that was what I thought I'd have to do.

    I guess the only way to answer my question is to loan a sub off my dealer.

    Which Linn subs have you heard - Sizmik 10 or 12, Melodik?
     
  16. alexs2

    alexs2
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    Deckard...it was the Melodik I heard and was impressed by,but then at that sort of price,it should have been!

    I havent heard the Sizmiks,but any good Linn dealer should be able to loan any of these without trouble...my local dealer used to swipe my card and not charge(!)providing the demo model came back in one piece.
     
  17. deckard

    deckard
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    Had a sneaky feeling it might've been...

    Slightly out of my price range unfortunately :( , still we can all dream!!
     
  18. Matt F

    Matt F
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    The lowest note on a bass guitar (open E string) is around 41Hz. Bass drums vary but, again, can be down to around 40Hz so a good pair of floorstanders would cover this.

    If you are into pipe organs :rolleyes: then it's a different story as they can drop to 22Hz or so. Mind you, the lowest note on a concert pianno is a surprisingly low 27Hz.

    So, you might think that if you are into mainly rock music then a good pair of floostanders will suffice. There is a fly in the ointment unfortunately and that is synthesizers which can produce notes as low as you like - down below 20Hz if required :eek: .

    I must confess to being a fan of subs plus small standmounts but it's fair to say that the integration is tricky. As I use a processor with bass management then the crossover is taken care of for me so all I have to do is set the volume using an SPL meter.

    I haven't come across any music tracks where the subwoofer has needed turning down but there are some that sound better with the sub volume increased a tad (luckily my sub has a remote control). I do have one of these servo controlled subs that has almost zero distortion and I think this makes the integration a lot easier plus it never swamps you with overblown distorted bass on bass-heavy tracks - it just plays clean and deep.

    Connection wise, I always go for the line level option if I can. I know some argue for the speaker level connection but to me, I don't like the idea of amplifying a signal that has already been amplified - I may be wrong but that sounds to me like a sure way of increasing noise/distortion. In fact if you look at high quality car hifi instals, you will see that people always go for a line level connection to the sub amp - a speaker level one is only used as a last resort if nothing else is available - can't see why the principle should be any different for home audio.

    Matt.
     

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