How does multiple subwoofers work?

kenshingintoki

Distinguished Member
General question please guys for education on how subwoofers work.
If I had for example an Arendal 1V and an TV2112, can they both work and play together? Or is it better to not mix brands? Or not mix woofer sizes?
Its all really confusing as I see some people with dual 15s and then a 18'' sub at the back etc.


I've heard you shouldn't mised sealed and vented as stuff can get messy.

but I'm a bit confused. For example, say I used my BK Mono plus with an Arendal 1V.. surely the BK Mono plus would make the sound/bass muddy and unrefined and make the 1V (the super sub) sound worse?
 

Conrad

Moderator
There's not really such a thing as "timbre matching" with subs, it's more about phase and capability matching. And, as usual, there's no "right" answer, it'll depend on lots of factors.

Generally you're trying to match capability and phase.

If you take the most complex example, mixing different brand's ported subs, you get some phase changes around the transition from driver to port being the main contributor. If one sub does that 20Hz and another does that at 15Hz you'll have a hell of a time trying to integrate those two under 20Hz.

Have sealed and ported can work, but again, they're tuned differently and where the phase changes in the ported sub you can get integration problems. This is solved by having matching subs because the tuning is the same so the phase variations happen at the same point on each.

If you have multiple sealed then you're going to be limited by the weakest performer. If you have two subs, one of which goes to 20Hz and one that goes to 15Hz then obviously the 15Hz sub is going to be doing all the work below 20Hz.

One of the key benefits of multiple subs is that, if you add cone area and amp power into a room, each sub has to do less. The further an audio component is away from its limits, the lower its distortion will be. If you have two subs that aren't sharing the load equally, you're not getting that benefit through the range.

If you try and make a lesser sub keep up with a more powerful sub through gain and EQ, you'll run into the limits earlier meaning that you're introducing distortion into the room.

So you're looking for subs that have similar capabilities (excursion, power, distortion), and a similar phase response. By far the easiest way to achieve that is to buy matching subs.

There are tons of exceptions to this though. People have different crossovers for different subs and mid-bass-units (which a 150w 12" sub might be fine for), people run subs at varying distances (near field and very near field) meaning that you don't need to hit the same levels. My VNF subs for example are EQd really hard and wouldn't perform well in a large room but because they're right behind me I run them at -15 in the minidsp and they don't struggle.

Some people run stereo subs or different subs for managed bass and LFE, there's a whole host of ways to do it.

If you're starting from scratch the best way to give yourself the best chance of success is to start with the biggest baddest sub you can and add a second of the same later.
 

kenshingintoki

Distinguished Member
There's not really such a thing as "timbre matching" with subs, it's more about phase and capability matching. And, as usual, there's no "right" answer, it'll depend on lots of factors.

Generally you're trying to match capability and phase.

If you take the most complex example, mixing different brand's ported subs, you get some phase changes around the transition from driver to port being the main contributor. If one sub does that 20Hz and another does that at 15Hz you'll have a hell of a time trying to integrate those two under 20Hz.

Have sealed and ported can work, but again, they're tuned differently and where the phase changes in the ported sub you can get integration problems. This is solved by having matching subs because the tuning is the same so the phase variations happen at the same point on each.

If you have multiple sealed then you're going to be limited by the weakest performer. If you have two subs, one of which goes to 20Hz and one that goes to 15Hz then obviously the 15Hz sub is going to be doing all the work below 20Hz.

One of the key benefits of multiple subs is that, if you add cone area and amp power into a room, each sub has to do less. The further an audio component is away from its limits, the lower its distortion will be. If you have two subs that aren't sharing the load equally, you're not getting that benefit through the range.

If you try and make a lesser sub keep up with a more powerful sub through gain and EQ, you'll run into the limits earlier meaning that you're introducing distortion into the room.

So you're looking for subs that have similar capabilities (excursion, power, distortion), and a similar phase response. By far the easiest way to achieve that is to buy matching subs.

There are tons of exceptions to this though. People have different crossovers for different subs and mid-bass-units (which a 150w 12" sub might be fine for), people run subs at varying distances (near field and very near field) meaning that you don't need to hit the same levels. My VNF subs for example are EQd really hard and wouldn't perform well in a large room but because they're right behind me I run them at -15 in the minidsp and they don't struggle.

Some people run stereo subs or different subs for managed bass and LFE, there's a whole host of ways to do it.

If you're starting from scratch the best way to give yourself the best chance of success is to start with the biggest baddest sub you can and add a second of the same later.


Thanks Conrad.

I've just been eying up the TV2112 but my apprehension in purchasing it stems from the availability if/when I would get the funds for a second one due to the rumours sometimes of them not being available after a while in the UK (say 1-2 years from now).

I was trying to think if I'd bought one, and another wasn't available, what I could do re: other brands subs or smaller subwoofers to integrate multiple subs in.
 

Conrad

Moderator
Thanks Conrad.

I've just been eying up the TV2112 but my apprehension in purchasing it stems from the availability if/when I would get the funds for a second one due to the rumours sometimes of them not being available after a while in the UK (say 1-2 years from now).

I was trying to think if I'd bought one, and another wasn't available, what I could do re: other brands subs or smaller subwoofers to integrate multiple subs in.
The practical answer would be to order it and wait, but I don't think you'll like that :D

It's a risk you run with any of the subs. Even UK based BK have issues fulfilling orders at the moment I believe. Sure, with PSA based in the US it's going to be a few months but if you ask Ricky to get you one, he'll likely put in a special order for his next pallet. The same could happen with Arendal and I believe their wait time is months at the moment as well.

The only guys that seem to be fulfilling orders quickly are SVS. If you want guaranteed availability then maybe PB16Ultras are for you?
 

kenshingintoki

Distinguished Member
The practical answer would be to order it and wait, but I don't think you'll like that :D

It's a risk you run with any of the subs. Even UK based BK have issues fulfilling orders at the moment I believe. Sure, with PSA based in the US it's going to be a few months but if you ask Ricky to get you one, he'll likely put in a special order for his next pallet. The same could happen with Arendal and I believe their wait time is months at the moment as well.

The only guys that seem to be fulfilling orders quickly are SVS. If you want guaranteed availability then maybe PB16Ultras are for you?


Thanks Conrad. I went for 2x mono15s.

Once I get them in house, is it as simple as hooking them up to my AVR390 and running DIRAC?... or do I need to use my minidsp?
 

Conrad

Moderator
I would hook them up using the minidsp.

Reset everything in the minidsp, connect the subs.
Measure the subs, time align them
Run Dirac with a single sub (assuming you don't have the DLBC)
Then measure again and adjust the timing and EQ to taste.

Happy to help out if you want, or Mark will do just as good a job.
 

kenshingintoki

Distinguished Member
I would hook them up using the minidsp.

Reset everything in the minidsp, connect the subs.
Measure the subs, time align them
Run Dirac with a single sub (assuming you don't have the DLBC)
Then measure again and adjust the timing and EQ to taste.

Happy to help out if you want, or Mark will do just as good a job.
Thanks Conrad.

Will need your help definitely. Thats completely confused me lol.
 

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