How much spent on sub versus the rest


Established Member
Jun 18, 2003
Reaction score
Grays, Essex
As a result of a comment raised in another thread...

...I thought it may be interesting to get an idea what ratio people have spent on their sub/s versus the rest of their speakers. Is there an average ratio of spend that gives a satisfying balance of sound and quality. In my case I spent approximately 50/50 on my set up and am very happy with the sound.

So what is everyone else's ratio and is the resulting set-up satisfying?
Mine is similar if taken at RRP

3 X M&K MPS1510 fronts + 2 X M&K K4 tripole surrounds = £2000
1 X SVS 20-39PC+ = £750

So, the split is about 73/27 sat/sub and, yes, it is equally satisfying
I actually believe a better sb than my set up shows is necessary. I currently have

6x celestion A1 = £2700
servo 15 sub = £800


My belief is that since the sub includes amp cost, the same should be done with speakers. hence my speaker/amp setup costs £8100 so I feel i should be up using a DD series/contrasbass/(insert super sub) to match up. I expressed this in a thread a while ago, i cant honestly remember what the responses were (i suspect alot agreed in principle, but not in practice).

Well I may as well post mine directly on this thread -

Based on retail prices my ratio is 74% (£3,450) Speakers and 26% (£1200) Subwoofer.

My figures are based on a 5.1 speaker set up. Obviously you have to consider other components as well.
Almost exactly 50:50 split.

Proac Response 1sc and CC1 for front and M&K S85s (rear): £2600

Sub - Velodyne DD-15: £2700

In my case it was important that the sub was equally adept at music and movies. Seem to have finally found the perfect combination.
Hmm this is a bit wobbly
1 Pair MS 914 £300/ MS905 £120/ 1 Pair MS 506 £480= £900 total
2x MS 909 £500 each= £1000 total

Subs cost more than the speakers (and rears cost more than the fronts!) but in my defence the front three speakers are stopgaps waiting for approximately £1500 of the new performance range to break cover which will eventually wind up with a more normal 65/35 split.
Well the pattern so far seems to be around the 70/30 (speakers/sub) mark with me being the odd one out!! Interestingly, if I'd just bought the one sub then I would have acheived a similar ratio. Purchasing two has given rise to my 50/50 split, though I never considered it like this.

Buns - Your ratio's workout as:

without amp 77/23 (speakers/sub)


with amp 91/9 (speakers/sub)

Interestingly, if I include the amp into the calculation then I get a ratio of 70/30 (speakers/sub) and in terms of power, I have an amp capable of up to 1,190w (7 x 170w) and subs of 1,800w which I think gives a fantastic sound. Of course I don't run the system at anywhere near those levels, my ears would bleed a little, I think. :eek:
If i work on retail prices mine is possibly the silliest at the moment.

As i am only running 2.1 with TDL Nucleus speakers that i bought for £60 from Richers and a Rel Q200 sub the difference is highly disproportionate.

Soon though, I will be running 4.1 with a set of Polk speakers that probably retailed at around the £600-£700 mark when new so the ratio of cost goes down to a more reasonable 60:40 (ish)

When i eventually find a supplier for a Polk centre speaker to match the rest of the speakers then i will be more in the region of 70:30 in the favour of the speakers.

Roll on 5.1 again! :clap:
I am about to get an entirely new system, what should be the split (RRP) over Fronts/and/or Centre, Rears, Sub and amp?

Should the speaker wire/interconnects be 10% of the system as with Hi-Fi?
Four Monitor Audio Radius R90's at £250 a pair and one R180 at £150 = £650
One M J Acoustics Reference 100 subwoofer in beech veneer at £400
Speakers to subwoofer ratio = 1.625:1
Based on RRP's and not what I actually paid :D

1 pair MS902's, 1 x MS905, 1 pair MS302's = £390
1 x Vibe Alpha One Sub = £300

Not quite 50/50 but not far away.

Originally posted by Tons of fun
Hmm this is a bit wobbly
1 Pair MS 914......
......but in my defence the front three speakers are stopgaps
For how long? Would be very interested in the 914's if/when you decide to sell.
Surely the ratio should be dependent on the type of speakers you have. If you are using smaller speakers then you need to spend more on the sub as its doing a hell of a lot more work, eg making up for the lack of bass extension in up to seven speakers. If however the main speakers are larger then the subs doing a lot less work and the ratio should lean towards the speakers rather than sub.
Originally posted by Malabbey
For how long? Would be very interested in the 914's if/when you decide to sell.

Assuming the vultures that constitute the younger members of my family don't pester me into a "donation" I will certainly try and contact you. I'm also selling an unused black 304 shortly.
Originally posted by Tons of fun
I'm also selling an unused black 304 shortly.
Ach! See you. I put up an ad here for one of those and ended up buying a new one but had to get one in graphite 'cos no-one had any black ones.
2X Mission M74i, 1X M7C2 4X M7D's = Approx £700

B&W ASW-675 = £649

Roughly a 50/50 split.
I think buns has got the right idea, surely comparing passive speaker costs with an active sub cost is no different to trying to compare the prices of active speakers with passive ones, its a completely unfair comparison, one needs additional amplificattion and one doesnt. Surely it makes more sense to add the cost of your power amp to your speaker costs or a percentage of your receiver cost, say 40%??

I dont know what the exact RRP of my speakers and sub are but I think its roughly.

Kef Q1's - £250
Kef Q9c - £250
2 x Kef Eggs - £200
Kef PSW2000 - £300

Which would give a 70/30 Speaker/Sub ratio, but add a percentage (say 35% as I'm only using 5 of the 7 channels and it seems to be quite a good processor) of the cost of my Denon 3803 which is £900 RRP

This gives a 77.2/22.8 Speaker/Sub ratio.

Definitly need a sub upgrade, but it will wait till my rears are upgraded first.
Originally posted by rscott4563
Surely it makes more sense to add the cost of your power amp to your speaker costs or a percentage of your receiver cost, say 40%??

No allowances have been made for the less than one percent of members that have active speakers it is true but it isn't meant to be the ultimate in market research but just a rough idea of how forum members have allocated their speaker budget.
Consistency is right.

But, is there a pattern forming?

I can see two schools in the - without main speaker amplification calculations (i.e passives):

Some (like me) fitting into the 50/50 camp


Some fitting into the 70/30 (main/sub) camp

Of course this can mean nothing at all if you've overspecified all your speakers such that they are running well within specification.

It's just a bit of, non-scientific, fun/interest.
kit speakers (total parts cost £1300):
78:22 (excluding main amplifier from main speakers, but including sub amp in sub)
83:17 (excluding sub amp from sub costs)
front 3 £2475
rears £1200

sub £2350

so roughly 60/40 split
Front pair £750 + stands £200
centre £450
3 rear speakers £1075
total £2525

sub £3000

So I guess 60/40 split in favour of the sub
Mine works out at 57/43 speakers to sub based on list prices. Would have been about 70/30 if I had bought a more sensible sub, but isn't that what this home cinema lark is all about.:devil:

Might have to go 7.1 to redress the balance a little:D
I wonder how many more people would have bothered adding to this thread if previous posters had stuck to a % and not £ :rolleyes:

The latest video from AVForums

RESTORATION vs. REVISIONISM: At what point do 4K video and audio 'upgrades' cross the line?
Subscribe to our YouTube channel
Top Bottom