How important is a sub?

Synchronicity

Well-known Member
How important is a sub to your system?At the moment I have B&W floorstanders,with B&W centre and bookshelf B&Ws as rears(sorry,cant remember the model nos and Im in work atm but they are the new models),the sound is excellent and the bass seems decent enough but I cant help constantly wondering how much better it would be with the adition of a sub :confused:

I do have 1 slight problem,I live in a flat,and adjacent to my living room are my neighbours bedrooms:rolleyes: and Im a bit concerned about how much the sound will travel.The whole flat seems to shake when I have it cranked now,so I dont want to push my luck.

Any advice or reccomendations would be apprciated.
Cheers
JB
 

cribeiro

Novice Member
First rule is no sub better than a bad one.
Second rule is a sub makes a huge difference... but only in cinema. You won't miss much playing music, specially if you have some B&W floorstanders.

It really makes a difference when it comes to cinema, because the deep bass gives a lot of ambience, and makes that you go and experience the movie as being part of it.
So, if you have the money, go for it... Something to match the quality of B&W won't be cheap! But if you have more urgent things to invest your money in, I think you can wait... IT is a matter of priorities in the end... And I bet your system is already very good... Although well, a sub makes a difference :))
Don't worry about the neighbours, the sub doesn't sound, it is more a shaking thing... And you can always invite them! BTW, the sub also makes a difference at normal listening levels.
 

Ian J

Banned
A sub will extend the frequency range downwards towards the sort of levels that you may not be able to use if you live in a flat with neighbours that have sensitive hearing. Deep bass is the sound that travels furthest and even if the neighbours can't hear anything else the rumble will be tramsmitted through the walls.

It also depends on what sort of films you like watching as the sub adds most to Hollywood blockbuster that rely on special effects to make up for lack of plot. In many films it wouldn't make much difference if you had a sub or not, especially if you don't watch at high levels.
 

engaged

Member
Suspect that you'd make yourself just a tad unpopular with the neighbours if you got a sub... have they made any comments with your current system? Luckly, we live in a detached house now, and I've had a subwoofer for a month or so - but I certainly wouldn't want to live next to me if we were in a flat, or even in our old semi-detached place!
 

alexs2

Well-known Member
A sub can certainly make an immense difference to a system,both positive and negative.....as others have said above,no sub is better than a poorly designed one with sluggish,poorly controlled bass.

In a confined area,or one where sound leakage into adjacent areas is likely,a sub may not be the best idea,especially if you're happy with the sound as it is.

A sub is a much cheaper method of getting LF extension than a true full range speaker system which will reach down to 20Hz or less,but in general,the lower the LF extension,the greater the potential for annoying the neighbours.
 

Stellavision

Well-known Member
Without a sub you are actually missing out on part of a film soundtrack. The .1 channel in a DD or DTS film carries LFE that are not sent to any other of the speaker channels. There are noicable benefits to be had from using a sub in this context at low listening levels, but really it's often inted to create explosive effects best heard at higher listening levels.
I live in a flat and have always tried to be sensible with the volume but don't always keep the volume low. It depends on the time of day, ie. I would'nt watch Attack of the clones at -15db at midnight.
Moving to a house soon though so hopefully I can relax a little!:D
 

Synchronicity

Well-known Member
Thanks for the replies.
Unfortunately you have pretty much confirmed what I was afraid of:(

At the moment the system is used for music and home cinema but probably more for HC.I currently try to watch any films before11pm so hopefully the neighbours dont suffer too much.The neighbours have only complained once in the past but that was before Id upgraded to current system and I think it was just me being drunk and loud rather than my system,but that proves that the sound does travel to them:mad:

People have commented how good the sound is and the quality of the base from the B&Ws is great,but I know its missing that special ingredient:(

Looks like I will have to do the responsible thing and wait till I get a new house before I make my HC experience complete.My neighbours will never now how close they came to featuring on that "Neighbours From Hell"program.

Ah well,looks like Ill have to find something else to use my plastic on,a nice centre rear might be an idea.....
 

alexs2

Well-known Member
Originally posted by Stellavision
Without a sub you are actually missing out on part of a film soundtrack. The .1 channel in a DD or DTS film carries LFE that are not sent to any other of the speaker channels.
If you set your speakers to full range,the LFE is also fed to the speakers set as full range via the processor,so assuming that your speakers are up to the job,the LFE part of the soundtrack will not be lost.....it does however assume that the speakers can adequately reproduce very low frequencies.

In general,true full range speakers are expensive,certainly a lot more so than a good sub,and also demand good amps as well.
 

cribeiro

Novice Member
Alexs2, even if you don't have sub, you can set the amp to send all the LFE to the main front speakers, AFAIK (might depend on the amp, but I'd guess all modern ones are able to do so).
Conclusion of Stellavision is right, but reasoning is wrong. You will loose it because the main speakers probably won't be able to reproduce that sound at the right SPL.
 

alexs2

Well-known Member
Originally posted by cribeiro
Alexs2, even if you don't have sub, you can set the amp to send all the LFE to the main front speakers, AFAIK (might depend on the amp, but I'd guess all modern ones are able to do so).
Conclusion of Stellavision is right, but reasoning is wrong. You will loose it because the main speakers probably won't be able to reproduce that sound at the right SPL.
Which of course is exactly what I'd already said....btw,thanks also nobber22
 

eviljohn2

Novice Member
Summarising the thread:
A sub is preferable, it adds the SPL that your speakers won't produce unless you crank them up. At low levels they can make a significant improvement as the speakers simply won't be pushed hard enough to make the low bass audible.

The downside is that the effect you're trying to produce naturally travels - especially through walls!

I'd recommend maybe getting a small sub to fill in the mid-to-low bass. This is especially beneficial at low volume in my experience.

Consider the smaller Rels, MJ Acoustics and the XLS200 (but not until after I've received mine!). I used my Paradigm PDR10 in this manner last year at university and I had both party walls of a terraced house in Bath.

I should emphasise that the subwoofer will add a "bonus" to what you already have. By the sounds of it your system is more than adequate for your situation already.
 

cribeiro

Novice Member
Sorry, might be my english, but what I understood he said was "part of it won't be lost", so I said it is possible to send the whole LFE signal to the main speakers, and not only part of it (which is also possible). If I misunderstood, I apologize.
 

Stellavision

Well-known Member
By setting your mains to large you will get LFE, but not LFE sent from the .1 channel. This was touched on in another thread a while back and we established that the .1 channel will not get redirected to mains set to large.
I carried out a small experiment by using my pc test tones set to my amp via coaxial from my NVidia onboard sound. with sub turned off and my mains set to large the sub/.1 test tone was not audible. If the .1 channel is directed to your mains in theory I should have heard this test tone.
 

Nobber22

Novice Member
Originally posted by Mr Jason B
Im assuming my current set up wont allow me to do that anyway:confused:
Relax Mr B. Your setup is very fine indeed and plays LFE very nicely too. 603's are not budget bookshelf speakers or lifestlye Eggs - they have plenty of low-end grunt already.

Adding a sub will give you that last couple of % of really low bass - however it probably comes along less than 6 secs total in the average Hollywood blockbuster, so whoop-de-doo........

You aren't missing out on much and wringing your hands and worrying about being "left out" is crazy. Enjoy your films on your current setup and just be glad you aren't getting the neighbours knocking on the door bitching about the racket.
:)
 

alexs2

Well-known Member
Originally posted by cribeiro
Sorry, might be my english, but what I understood he said was "part of it won't be lost", so I said it is possible to send the whole LFE signal to the main speakers, not part of it. If I misunderstood, I apologize.
What I said was "the LFE part of the soundtrack will not be lost"....but your english is a whole lot better than my spanish,so no problems!

Getting back on track,as Nobber22 says,having a system you enjoy the sound from,and without the neighbours beating on your door is much more important than the last few Hz of the frequency spectrum where these things have to be considered....not many of us are fortunate enough to have neighbours far enough away to remove that as an issue.
 

Synchronicity

Well-known Member
Originally posted by eviljohn2
[B

I'd recommend maybe getting a small sub to fill in the mid-to-low bass. This is especially beneficial at low volume in my experience.

Consider the smaller Rels, MJ Acoustics and the XLS200 (but not until after I've received mine!). I used my Paradigm PDR10 in this manner last year at university and I had both party walls of a terraced house in Bath.

[/B]
Just when Ive resigned myself to having to wait,you pull me back in:devil:

All undecided again now:rolleyes:

edit:after reading the couple of posts which appeared b4 this 1,I think Im better off waiting until Im in more suitable accomodation.
Thanks for the advice guys:smashin:
 

cribeiro

Novice Member
Ok, I apologize, Alexs2, I really read too fast. You are right :)

Stellavision, I didn't check myself, but that is not what stated in Yamaha's manual of my receiver... Maybe it depends on the receiver??
 

eviljohn2

Novice Member
In that case, if you're using a Marantz 4XXX then consider the sub, otherwise just buy a load of CDs or DVDs or something. Maybe a console if you havn't got one, or just take someone out for a nice meal! Or go for a few beers and a curry with your mates.

Those last options will leave you with plenty of change left over and you'll have just as much pleasure! To often we forget the finer things in life by getting carried away with this AV lark :D
 

Nobber22

Novice Member
Depends on your room. Can you place it well so it integrates well with the other 2 rears? Your amp should have delays, etc but initial placement is important.

Do a search on "rear speakers, 6.1, etc" for lots of opinions on this move.
 

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