How much Subwoofer is too much Subwoofer?

Lrehcsa

Active Member
Like most on here I'm still trying to find bass Nirvana and have read it's possible to overload a room with too powerful subwoofers, my room is 6m x 4.3m and 2.4m high.

I currently have a Rel Predator 1508 which is very nice but still not the level I'm looking for, would just adding another 1508 get me where I want to be or should I sell it and look at a pair of Arendal 1723 IV or similar and make the move to ported Subs, would this move possibly cause bass overload?

I'm probably 70/30 in favour of movies over music.

I've had a play with REW room SIM for placement but don't really understand what I'm looking at in terms of graph shapes changing as I move the subs around the room and it makes even less sense when I add another Sub into the Mix.

Grateful for any suggestions. Thanks
 

Quantumboredom

Standard Member
Not an expert, but the idea that you could have too much seems nonsense to me, except of course that ridiculous amounts could potentially cause damage to very flimsy construction, hung pictures etc., but that's pretty unlikely.

You can EQ your frequency response down if needed, so the only effect of having many large subs would be that they would have an easy workload, meaning they would probably have much less distortion than smaller subs.

I have 2 Arendal 2V in a 4.2x3x2.5 m sealed room (so significantly smaller than yours), and it's definitely not too much. In fact I'd love a couple more, as I could definitely make use of more output from 30 Hz down.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
I guess it depends person. Conrad has 6x 15" PSA sealed subwoofers in 4m x 3m room and he is drooling 21" woofers so clearly it´s not too much. Bass overload with one or two 1V ported subs in ~25sqm room? No way! We have members with dual SVS PB16U (16" ported) in 5x4 room which is quite normal in US too, although they go even more mental there (18-24" ported).

What you feel is lacking? Deep bass or it doesn´t "hit" you hard enough, gunshots etc? The latter should be something REL does great if you are listening LOUD, but it also falls quite steeply around 20hz or so. If you crave deep bass that is felt more, then larger ported box will do that better!

Can you take screenshot with REW Room Simulator and keep the mouse arrow on the left side where you have placed the MLP (where you sit) so we see the distance from rear and side wall to MLP and of course room dimensions. I´m fairly sure the two REW doctors @Conrad. or @Ultrasonic could be able to help you. It could be poor placement and/or seating location.
 

Conrad.

Moderator
If it's deeper bass you want, more of the same won't do it (well it can, but it's a very expensive and inefficient way to do it). More of the same will give you more headroom (and therefore lower distortion as QuantumBoredom says). It'll also probably give you a smoother response across a wider listening area.

As Gasp says, if you want more slam then that's all about output. As a simple test you can try and turn the volume up with your current sub and see if it gives you what you're after. If it does then you might be able to get there just with levels and EQ.

Understanding your response is very useful as it could be that you're sitting in a null which can completely kill any sub. Move around the room and see if the bass is as you want it in other places. That'll at least give you some idea as to whether your current sub is enough or not.

By all accounts the 1508 is no slouch and your room isn't cavernous.

Untamed bass from a single 10" sub can be overwhelming, usually with a large ~40Hz mode that completely dominates the range. This means you end up turning the sub down because whenever something plays at 40Hz you get blown away and this leaves no bass anywhere else.

What AVR are you using, any Auto EQ should take care of the major peaks.
 

Lrehcsa

Active Member
Ok so thats good news I won't be overloading the room, hats off to you Quantum for having 2 x Arendal 2V in your room that must be epic.

The Rel 1508 is good, it provides fast tactile bass but I just need more for the big explosions and deep bass, maybe a 2nd 1508 will cure it but my gut is saying I need a couple of ported behemoths to get me where I want :)

Here is a REW SIM screenshot, the TV is directly opposite and I'm sitting on a large L shape sofa that cant really go anywhere else in the room, I was planning on putting the 2nd Sub in the right corner in front of me

I don't know how accurate the curve is as I have no idea what the surface absorption figures should be and I'm sure they make a big difference, floor is concrete and carpeted and there is an average amount of soft furnishings, curtains etc

I'd prefer to sit length ways in the room instead of widths ways but there is a large window one end of the room and and large french doors the other. Window is covered in heavy curtains in the evenings and french doors have large shutters on which I'm sure diffuse the sound quite a bit

Thanks again REW SIM experts if you'd like to comment

t2C8R38.jpg
 
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Conrad.

Moderator
That 50Hz dip could be killing your bass. Explosions can have deep bass to them but the main bit will be 30-80Hz and your dip is right in the middle of that.

One thing to try, play an explosion scene that you feel is a bit lacking and try two other places in the room, to your left on the couch (halfway between where your head is in the image above and the left side wall) and then try again stood in the rear right corner. It might sound muffled and bad, but pay attention to whether the bass is lacking.

What options do you have for moving the sub?
 

Lrehcsa

Active Member
Thanks for the tips Conrad I'll try moving to those two positions you suggested with a bit of Mad Max Fury Road. I can move the Sub around a bit but not the seating position

The TV is on a 2m wide BDi unit and then my floor standers are either side of that, there is probably about 1.5m of play inwards between the front left and right corner to play with, rear right corner is a possibility but It'd be tight and I might need to move the sofa further left into the room, if it's only by 20cm then that's possible, rear left corner is no cigar as that's where the door is

I have a loaner Marantz AVR that I've run Audyssey on and am just waiting for one of the new Anthem MRX1140 to arrive so I can EQ dual subs

Can sketch the room out if it helps you guys
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
What most people want is not more sub, but the crucial area from 50-80Hz. We perceive this as punchy bass and it's also the natural bass peak we get in most cars - which is why some music just sounds great blasting out on the car stereo!

For that trouser flapping bass, you cannot beat horn loaded speakers or just big drivers moving huge amounts of air. That's why the old 80s JBL boxes with their 12" or 15" woofers sound great with bass, even if they are not accurate or go particularly deep.

Managing bass around this region is the key to music, but of course for movies you want that deep extension as well - and that might need bigger drivers.

Phase and coherence all have a part to play here, so consider placement and room treatment as part of the total package.
 

Ormy

Member
No such thing as too much subwoofer, you can always turn down the volume. I have 4x stereo integrity 18s in a 4m-by-5m room (approx 1500cu.ft).
 

Ultrasonic

Well-known Member
No such thing as too much subwoofer, you can always turn down the volume.

Well, there is from the perspective of it ending up being a waste of money and space... It depends how loud/low someone wants, and additionally how smooth the response is over a larger area when we start getting into well set up multiple sub systems.
 

kenshingintoki

Distinguished Member
more subwoofer = more headroom = easier to calibrate and smooth our frequency response for a perfect straight line.. right?
 

pmj_172

Standard Member
I’m in the same boat. I’m looking to upgrade for some dramatic base effect kick in the chest stuff and have 4.5m x 3.5m dedicated room. I’m thinking of a svs sb4000.
 

Ultrasonic

Well-known Member
more subwoofer = more headroom = easier to calibrate and smooth our frequency response for a perfect straight line.. right?

More headroom means more scope to apply boosts. If it makes it easier to get a smooth (not necessarily flat*) response will depend on the hardware/software in use. Depending on the room/subwoofer location and listening position combination there can frequently still be dips in the response that can't be fixed with any realistic amount of EQ.

When talking about a smooth/flat response it is important to make a distinction between doing so at a single point and how the behaviour varies over the listening area, particularly but not exclusively for multiple listeners. I can get a completely flat response at a single point with my one sub whilst it still being able to go loud enough for most I suspect. Move away from this point and it won't be flat though, although it still sounds a lot better than the raw response. To get a more uniform response over a wider area then multiple subwoofers have an advantage, provided that hardware/software and user knowledge/skill enable them to be set up well. I use bass traps to help reduce the variation in response with position as well.

All of this is to say that whilst headroom is useful you can definitely still reach a point where there is more headroom than is actually useful as far as I can see. Note I'm not in any way criticising the many members here who have way more capable subwoofer systems than my own, but just trying to make the point that a bald 'more = better' argument could lead many people to end up with 'too much sub' to truly be of any benefit to them.

Beyond just headroom across the frequency range most are normally interested in, where 'more sub' can make more of a difference is for those who want high output level capability and very low frequencies (under 10 Hz or so). I've not experienced this to comment but for the overwhelming majority of source material I am personally sceptical how useful this truly is.

(For context I am currently using a single PSA S1510 sub in a room that is about 4.65 m x 3.35 m x 2.35 m, LxWxH. This will easily impress most 'normal' people but the more extreme 'bass-heads' here will clearly find it lacking.)


*A sloping response that is higher at the lowest frequencies is commonly preferred by many if not most.
 

Ormy

Member
Well, there is from the perspective of it ending up being a waste of money and space

Yeah I can agree with that.

where 'more sub' can make more of a difference is for those who want high output level capability and very low frequencies (under 10 Hz or so). I've not experienced this to comment but for the overwhelming majority of source material I am personally sceptical how useful this truly is.

I was skeptical too until I upgraded my subwoofers to my current setup, there's lots of content below 16Hz in many films from the last decade or two. I agree that for music there's not much at all below 16Hz.

Now I just want even more output below 20Hz, but above 30Hz I have more than enough headroom. I have a BK Concert and I'm looking into a BOSS setup but it's not the same as 'feeling' (you don't really hear them) those super low frequencies in the air. That particular 'feeling' of the low frequency pressure waves from nearby thunder or when you walk under a train bridge while a freight train crosses is so visceral, I find it addictive. The frequencies are there in a few rare movies (can be varified by looking at the waveform/spectrum) if you have enough subwoofer power/displacement to reproduce them.
 
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John3:16

Active Member
Some great advice here.... 👍
 

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