Question Improving a 5.1 surround system: Addition of surround speakers v 2nd Subwoofer

justmeagain

Active Member
I am looking at improving a Monitor Audio Apex 5.1 surround system. I have decided against going down the atmos route at present (wife does not want ceiling speakers and I am finding it difficult to place up-firing speakers). Therefore, what would your priorities be to improve the sound. The Bass is great, but when I listen to music, I tend to move around and the Bass quality changes depending on the position I am in the room. Too close to the subwoofer and it starts to boom a bit. The sweet spot is where I tuned the system but is in a sitting position ( I tend to stand when I listen to music). I was thinking of adding a subwoofer to the rear of the room to give more impact in more positions.

Alternatively, I could add 2 more surround speakers in the hope I could make use of any DTS.X movie tracks. What are opinions?

My setup comprises a RX-A2050 Yamaha receiver, Panasonic TX-50CX802B TV, Panasonic 4K HDR Blu-Ray player (music sounds good passing through it to the receiver), Monitor Audio Apex 5.1 surround system. Qobuz music streaming service, Netflix and Amazon prime video.
 

password1

Well-known Member
An alternative to downward firing cieling speakers and upward firing angled speakers is front height speakers.

That is, speakers mounted above the front left and right speakers up high firing across the cieling.

If you have restrictions and not allowed to have speakers visible, then you could consider picture frame speakers, such as Monitor Audio soundframes.
 

justmeagain

Active Member
I've just taken a look at them on Youtube. They look impressive and by all accounts sound good too. Definitely a possibility. The only issue is 'the wife'. I have more chance of adding speakers if she can't see them :0( If I could add presence speakers but hide them in use, then that is a way forward. Hiding an additional subwoofer would be easy, especially if I use Monitor audio's wireless transmitter and receiver.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
If you add the wireless transmitter to only one of the subs it will make the setup little harder as written below.

Also hiding the 2nd sub doesn´t sound necessarily good.. I would first use REW program (free) to see does the response gets better where you are suppose to place the 2nd sub. If it goes to rear of room then the opposite side to front. There is often clear benefits adding second woofer, but just throwing it somewhere hidden and hoping for best is quite risky..

Last thing.. You probably have Apex AW12 sub which costs 999£ and the usual recommendation is to have two identical woofers. But you would be little bit of crazy paying such price for this product as there is better ones for less. Apex sub is small and probably quite cute if you ask from wife so it might be hard to swap something more boxy.
 

justmeagain

Active Member
If you add the wireless transmitter to only one of the subs it will make the setup little harder as written below.

Also hiding the 2nd sub doesn´t sound necessarily good.. I would first use REW program (free) to see does the response gets better where you are suppose to place the 2nd sub. If it goes to rear of room then the opposite side to front. There is often clear benefits adding second woofer, but just throwing it somewhere hidden and hoping for best is quite risky..

Last thing.. You probably have Apex AW12 sub which costs 999£ and the usual recommendation is to have two identical woofers. But you would be little bit of crazy paying such price for this product as there is better ones for less. Apex sub is small and probably quite cute if you ask from wife so it might be hard to swap something more boxy.

I spoke to Monitor Audio directly today. They were extremely helpful and informative. I did mention that it did not make sense to purchase another AW12 due to the cost. He assured me that he has tried various second subwoofers that were not identically matched. He informed me that as long as the power range was similar, it will still improve things. Having said that, it would not be as transformative as having identical subwoofers. That being said, he did say I would hear a definite difference as long as the second one was placed correctly (as you also suggested). He went so far as saying that he has heard a system with a larger subwoofer and smaller second subwoofer that made a difference in impact.

I have asked the question on the forum as I am prepared to pay around £500 to upgrade. Should I spend it on 'presence speakers' or an additional subwoofer. Which will I notice the difference in more? I have not listened to a home theatre setup with a second subwoofer or presence speakers. So I am after advice from people who have. What setup do you have by the way and if you modified along the way, why did you? Thanks for your advice by the way. Its much appreciated.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
I spoke to Monitor Audio directly today. They were extremely helpful and informative. I did mention that it did not make sense to purchase another AW12 due to the cost. He assured me that he has tried various second subwoofers that were not identically matched. He informed me that as long as the power range was similar, it will still improve things. Having said that, it would not be as transformative as having identical subwoofers. That being said, he did say I would hear a definite difference as long as the second one was placed correctly (as you also suggested). He went so far as saying that he has heard a system with a larger subwoofer and smaller second subwoofer that made a difference in impact.

I have asked the question on the forum as I am prepared to pay around £500 to upgrade. Should I spend it on 'presence speakers' or an additional subwoofer. Which will I notice the difference in more? I have not listened to a home theatre setup with a second subwoofer or presence speakers. So I am after advice from people who have. What setup do you have by the way and if you modified along the way, why did you? Thanks for your advice by the way. Its much appreciated.

I have only heard in-ceiling speakers which do make difference, but not sure can you do that. Super slim on-ceiling speakers could be option too? Example KEF T301 white and then hide the wires with D-line trunking. See pictures on link below

MA doesn´t give full specs for the sub so it´s always bit guessing how it really performs. But something like SVS SB2000 would be good choice with a better performance than Apex, but otherwise quite similar on paper with compact size, 12" driver in sealed cabinet with 500w (rms) amp. It`s on sale now as new Pro model is out at 899£. Sadly the price is still bit too high vs. your budget.



If you can´t up your budget/use finance for the SVS then perhaps BK XXLS400 which is slightly larger, forum favourite in the lower budget range over 10year time. DF and FF driver orientation with a difference in cabinet dimensions.


 

password1

Well-known Member
As MA doesn´t give full specs for the Apex sub it´s always a bit guesswork how it really performs against something like SVS SB2000 which may or may not be 'better'

One thing for sure is that the Apex is class d, has thick cabinet walls and is fairly compact for a 12 inch sub.

MA quite 21hz (eq2) and 27hz (eq1) figures but that's meaningful without knowing if thats at 0, -3db or -6db or whatever db and without know if thats free field or in room response and, as with other manufacturers, how they tested to get those figures.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
It isn´t -3db for sure and MA doesn´t have similar expertise as SVS when it comes to building subwoofers. For music the AW12 and Silver W12 seems to be good choices sold together with speakers, but for movies the ID companies will offer more performance for lower buck. Where they differ from ID brands is the offering of nice matching finishes and smaller cabinet size with rounded nice looks which may be more important for some folks (nagging wife) over pure performance/build quality/performance/warranty+support which tend to be better with the likes of SVS.
 

Jeffers01

Active Member
Just back to the original problem. Are you sure you can’t convince the wife about ceiling speakers for Atmos? Almost all grills are paintable and in truth they simply disappear. I never notice mine. Nobody looks up. They really need to be pointed out once you are past the novelty of knowing they are there. It’s all in the mind and a much smaller problem in real life. Push harder for it. Paint some cardboard and stick it on the ceiling and ask a week later if it’s really an issue. Don’t give up on Atmos!!
 

password1

Well-known Member
Just back to the original problem. Are you sure you can’t convince the wife about ceiling speakers for Atmos? Almost all grills are paintable and in truth they simply disappear. I never notice mine. Nobody looks up. They really need to be pointed out once you are past the novelty of knowing they are there. It’s all in the mind and a much smaller problem in real life. Push harder for it. Paint some cardboard and stick it on the ceiling and ask a week later if it’s really an issue. Don’t give up on Atmos!!
Not that simple, there is all the routing and extra wiring through walls, cutting holes, taking floorboards apart, not to mention declaring any modifications to the house to the insurance/mortgage company (if applicable), convenants and for people with older listed buildings...all the mess and possiblity of asbestos.
 

justmeagain

Active Member
Just back to the original problem. Are you sure you can’t convince the wife about ceiling speakers for Atmos? Almost all grills are paintable and in truth they simply disappear. I never notice mine. Nobody looks up. They really need to be pointed out once you are past the novelty of knowing they are there. It’s all in the mind and a much smaller problem in real life. Push harder for it. Paint some cardboard and stick it on the ceiling and ask a week later if it’s really an issue. Don’t give up on Atmos!!

I've been trying for a couple of years. Having said that, when I took her to listen to a Monitor Audio setup that included ceiling atmos speakers she was for it (SMC custom installations in Shrewsbury) I purchased all my kit from there in the end. Excellent advice and demo service at the time (2015) . Anyway, my budget (and potential to lift the bedroom floor off to fit the speakers) scuppered the idea. Since that time, when I have suggested we explore in bringing in atmos, she has quite frankly been cynical and dismissive. In my ideal world, I would add a second subwoofer and atmos speakers. The obstacle (as is usually the case) is the missus. Still love her to bits even though she can be a pain and difficult to rationalise with regarding aesthetics and speakers.
 

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