new(ish) to the world of hifi's/need some subwoofer advice!

chrismanchester

Standard Member
Hi Everyone!

First of all, this is my first post. I’d like to say, although I’m no ‘HiFi’ expert, I am learning a lot from the threads that people are posting in here, i.e, bi-wiring. In fact, it was my curiosity into bi-wiring that led me to discover the forum this afternoon. Thank goodness I did, cause this is one hell of a dynamic place with so much for a novice to explore: it’s going to take me months, LOL.

I shall now bore you all with some history. I got into the world of 'HiFi' technology over a year ago. I was curious as to what was all the fuss about. I was even more curious to know why a lot of the players are sooooo expensive: I bought a copy of ‘What HiFi’ and saw a load of names such as ‘Naim,’ ‘Cyrus,’ and ‘Roksan’ etc to which I had no knowledge of, I had not even seen their names anywhere, which led to even more curiosity.

So, about a year ago, I decided to purchase a Cyrus 6vs and Cyrus 6cd along with a pair of ‘Spendors SE3' speakers and ‘Partington’ stands. The whole package including cable and interconnect cost me a good £2130: this isn’t a lot of cash to some, perhaps, but for my little income it is!!

Obviously after hearing them in the shop and then listening to them at home, I was simply amazed! Simply put, I could hear so many intricacies in the music I have: it was a real revelation!

However as time has passed by, I do feel that this set-up could do with a dab of bass. So I am in the process of looking around for a sub-woofer. I have been to a couple of shops in Manchester regarding a sub-woofer that will blend in with what I have. The price that I can afford is no more than £500.

So, this is where you guys come into the scene. Can anyone recommend me a good sub-woofer that would blend into my system and of course could inquire about when I go sub hunting this month?

Before I go, one of the shops I went into insisted that I should bi-wire my speakers for ‘superior performance.’ I was seriously contemplating this. However, reading what I’ve read in here about bi-wiring, has led me to think that this would be not such a fantastic idea and certainly would not justify the price of me doing this: I’m already on a tight budget!

Chris First of all, this is my first post. I’d like to say, although I’m no ‘HiFi’ expert, I am learning a lot from the threads that people are posting in here, i.e, bi-wiring. In fact, it was my curiosity into bi-wiring that led me to discover this forum this afternoon. Thank goodness I did, cause this is one hell of a dynamic place with so much for a novice to explore: it’s going to take me months, LOL.

I shall now bore you all with some history. I got into the world of HiFi technology over a year ago. I was curious as to what was all the fuss about. I was even more curious to know why a lot of the players are sooooo expensive. I bought a copy of ‘What HiFi’ and saw a load of names such as ‘Naim,’ ‘Cyrus,’ and ‘Roksan’ etc to which I had no knowledge of, I had not even seen their names anywhere, which led to more curiosity.

So, about a year ago, I decided to purchase a Cyrus 6vs and Cyrus 6cd along with a pair of ‘Spendors’ SE3 and ‘Partington’ stands. The whole package including cable and interconnect cost me a good £2130: this isn’t a lot of cash to some, perhaps, but for my little income it is!!

Obviously after hearing them in the shop and then listening to them at home, I was simply amazed! Simply put, I could hear so many intricacies in the music I have: it was a real revelation!

However as time has passed by, I do feel that this set-up could do with a dab of bass. So I am in the process of looking around for a sub-woofer. I have been to a couple of shops in Manchester regarding a sub-woofer that will blend in with what I have. The price that I can afford is no more than £500.

So, this is where you guys come into the scene. Can anyone recommend me a good sub-woofer that would blend into my system and which I could hear demos of in the shop?

Before I go, one of the shops I went into insisted that I should bi-wire my speakers for ‘superior performance.’ I was seriously contemplating this. However, reading what I’ve read in here about bi-wiring, has led me to think that this would be not such a fantastic idea and certainly would not justify the price me doing this: I’m already on a tight budget!

Chris :)
 

lazymatt

Active Member
Welcome!:hiya:

That's a nice system you have there.

There seems to be two thoughts with regards subs and stereo systems.

1) Don't do it!
2) Do it!

:rolleyes:

Basically it can be very difficult to properly integrate a sub into a stereo system, where the speakers are generally designed to deal with full range audio.

I, personally, fall into the 'don't do it' category, and believe your hi-fi should be able to give you the sound you want coupled to the correct stereo speakers.

So I guess you have 2 options...sell the Spendors and stands and go for floor standers (MA RS6's would be my vote, or some big B & W's), or wait until one of the 'do it' guys comes along!

I guess one of the REL subs would be worth a look though.

As for bi-wiring - I wouldn't bother. The best thing to do is replace the little connector plate at the back of the speakers that connects the two terminals together with a piece of speaker cable, but that's it.
 

co55ie

Active Member
As above have a look at a Rel R205 sub about £100 more than your budget. I have the R305 and it sounds aboslutely superb adding some low end to my GS10 speakers.

If you take your time to setup the sub properly it really will integrate seemlessly with your main full range speakers. I actually prefered the smaller front / sub combo for stereo to the larger floorstanders as you could really dial the low end to the acoustics of your room with a decent sub.

Each to their own but do definitely consider one of the Rel's I doubt you would be dissappointed
 
C

Caralfa

Guest
I agree with lazymatt. Don't do it. Having started my interest in 'Hi Fi' in 1956 when I purchased the very first copy of Hi Fi News magazine I am a firm believer that the correct amplifier coupled with the correct speakers in the first place will give you all you want in sound without having to resort to sub- woofers.
Spendors mounted on stands have always been a bit light on true bass.
It's still hard to beat a good horn loaded speaker if you want bass that can give you a natural bass sound which can be heard when you also listen to a live orchestra at a concert in a concert hall or to a small jazz group in a club/pub.
Always 'audition' any speakers that you are interested in, actually in the room that you intend to site them as they will sound completely different to how they sounded at any Hi Fi Show or in any demonstration room, and coupled to the amplifier you intend to use.
 

alexs2

Distinguished Member
Now another to add to the do it list...possibly....

A good sub,properly integrated into a stereo system,with small main speakers can add a huge amount to the overall sound,but the 2 caveats are as given above....a good sub,and the time taken to integrate it properly.

Done poorly,it can kill the sound of a decent system,with sluggish,lumpy bass being the result,and it does take time,and also auditioning a number of subs in your own system to get any idea of what may or may not suit your room and system.

I'm fortunate enough to have tried several,and also have the benefit of roomEQ to iron out any deficiencies in the room,but even without that,used with notoriously bass-light speakers such as Quad ESLs,it IS possible to integrate a good sub correctly and achieve good results.

Take your time...try as many subs as you can both afford and have the time for...look at REL,BK,SVS,B&W etc etc,and the more effort you put into it,the liklier you are to get a good result.
 

co55ie

Active Member
I think the smaller standmount and sub combo V Floorstander larger speakers is a very personal choice and dependant on the type of music and syle of presentation you are after.

To me the GS10's and Rel Sub combo sounded better than the larger GS60 floorstanders, the floorstanders really didnt suit my preference in music at all

Trying to say one is better than the other is impossible as its personal taste.

Best advice is make your own mind up and home demo a couple of subs that take your fancy and put the effort in to try and set it up properly, I am sure you will find ots of advice on this forum and perspectives on how to achieve.
 

alexs2

Distinguished Member
Trying to say one is better than the other is impossible as its personal taste.

Best advice is make your own mind up and home demo a couple of subs that take your fancy and put the effort in to try and set it up properly, I am sure you will find ots of advice on this forum and perspectives on how to achieve.

Very true.....the only way to really decide which suits your needs best is to try as many of both as you can.....it's time consuming and hard work,but well worth the effort and often cheaper in the long run,as you get a system that works and suits what you want,rather than buying and finding that you need to change again soon.
 

CJROSS

Well-known Member
1) Don't do it!
2) Do it!

Go to a dealer and ask for a demo in your room with your current system.
One of the best things I have ever done in hifi was adding a sub. So you can milage varies vastly in this hobby.
 

chrismanchester

Standard Member
Thanks to all of you who have taken the time and effort to offer some advice. Much appreciated. Today I went into several shops in the North West. I listened to some models by ‘REL,’ ‘MJ Acoustics,’ ‘B&O’ to name a few. I was by far struck by the REL ‘Quake’ model, which was being offered to me for just under £350. I was lucky enough to demo them through the ‘Spendors’ and ‘Cyrus’ system I own and must say I am impressed: there is a nice bass sound that complements the Spendors. So if I am going to buy one it would probably be that one.

But the interesting thing struck me was, the dealer had (at first) the music running through the Spendors without any sub or anything and I was simply amazed at how different they sound! They sounded much much better than in my room. Both my friend and I were really impressed. The soundstage was much greater. And they sound even louder than in my room. This of course has made it crystal clear that what sounds great in a showroom does not in one’s bedroom, as there are many variables that effect the sound. Of course I knew this beforehand: it is common sense, but I didn’t realise just how much dramatic these variables could have.

The problem now is that many dealers do not allow for people to sample the products in their own home. This I think is really annoying. I was told when I bought my system that I could not demo them in my own home. So how on earth can others and I expect to know what a system will really sound like in our homes? Maybe there are some dealers who will allow the consumer to sample the equipment before purchasing them.

Also, I don’t know if it’s just my friend, and me but we were simply aghast by the sales staff at some ‘HiFi’ showrooms. A lot of the staff was really not ‘keen’ or motivated to allow us to demo some of their equipment! We were very polite and we did ask “Is it possible to hear these subs?” to which they replied, “Yes, no one has booked in for a demonstration.” Yet, when we asked to hear a couple more subwoofers, they seemed hesitant or at worse unmotivated to get them hooked up! This was a surprise to me.

As a fan of Social Psychology: the study of how people are influenced by others and in turn can influence others, I was a bit dumbstruck to be honest. Surely the aim of any business is to please the customer (to some extent) especially when a sale could be forthcoming, and which could possibly cause the customer to purchase more products from them. Yet I can honestly say that my inclination to buy was stifled by this reaction.

I am wondering if others have experienced the same or was it just a bad day for those that I encountered? I sure hope that it was the latter cause I wouldn’t like to know others have experienced similar reactions.

Chris :)
 

harv

Active Member
I'm on the "get a sub band wagon" I've run subs with 2 or 3 different types of small speakers (Linn Kans, Eltax Monitor iii, Cyrus CLS 50 and my present maggies)... some speakers are easier to intergrate with a sub or two:D then others. Is worth it ? Yes IMHO, it can be frustating as the getting the levels right can leave with you with too much/little bass. But I tend to think that once you got it right you have less room interaction issues then with a Floor standers. Plus when you're feeling silly you can rattle your organs :devil:
 

Knyght_byte

Distinguished Member
Try a branch of Sevenoaks hifi, if you are happy to leave a full price deposit on an item there is a good chance they will be ok to let you borrow their shop demo model for a day or two, best to do this during the week however as at weekends they really need their stock in the shop.....

The REL Quake is a really nice subwoofer to back up a pair of standmount speakers, it doesnt go amazingly deep and doesnt have wall trembling ability (i know as i had one) but it does give that extra low end and is a nice tight fast performer too.....

however....it is a little limited as i say with its overall depth......

what you might want to consider for your budget is pick up an REL Strata 5 second hand.....its still a nice fast sub (although mounting it on top of a concrete slab (paint it or cover it with carpet if you want) will help it even more.....it has a remote so you can adjust it to your preference from the armchair instead of having some poor mate leaning over the back of it for a half hour...heh......its relatively compact given the depth it reaches, and it definitely has more real presence.........second hand it will fall around £400-450 nowadays depending on its age......but for music purposes its fantastic quality to my mind, both build and sound......i very much enjoyed mine, i only traded to a different sub from it because i wanted extreme crunch for movies...which i certainly got with SVS PB12+, however musically i gained nothing to be honest apart from a few more hz lower, but those dont come in to action all that often......and its twice the size physically....lol....

do persevere in getting a home demo of the sub though, placement IS critical, although i get the feeling the REL's are a little easier to site than some other subs......

as for biwiring, if you are considering biamping eventually then you could biwire now if you wanted and the extra cabling will still come in use later on even if it doesnt turn out to make much difference at the moment......and i would definitely recommend trying biamping....if the shop has the matching power amp, ask if you can borrow that.....biamping often brings good improvement to bass ability, so it might even be worth borrowing a sub first, see what you think, then borrow a power amp and see what you think, then buy whichever makes the biggest difference that you'll enjoy for however long it takes to save up to buy the other one ;)

edit: just wanted to add, for some music i actually dont use my sub, i prefer it without the extra depth, for some music i have the sub on because the music contains very deep freqs that are a major part in the storyline of the track......basically if you can afford to do it, get a sub, then use it when you feel its necessary......again the REL 5 models help here with their remotes...lol
 

Thekop

Active Member
Adding a subwoofer can cause more problems than they resolve if you choose the wrong one... Home demos is the only way of knowing what you're really after.

Setting up can be especially tricky. When you think you've got the right balance, it can all come crashing down with the next CD you play.

I always work from the theory of driving your speakers with a good front end and a meaty, powerful amp first and foremost.. A lot of people use subwoofers to hide the cracks and deficencies in the rest of their systems. But it's often the case that they end up disappointed because of poor integration, musicality and timing...

If your set up is up for it, then i would always recommend a quality, powerful sealed subwoofer over a ported design. That's down to personal preference. Others would disagree with me, so that's why it's important for you to have loads of demos, and to hear for yourself.

Goodluck

Tim :)
 

chrismanchester

Standard Member
Setting up can be especially tricky. When you think you've got the right balance, it can all come crashing down with the next CD you play.
Tim :)

Thanks Tim for that piece of information. Funny you should mention that, cause I was thinking the same thing when I was demoing the models yesterday. Do you think that it would be best to purchase a model that has a remote control?

Also some members have used certain terminology such as 'fast' and 'timing' in reference to the sound of a particular sub. Can anyone explain what this means? Is there a link to a technical jargon page that can unveil these terms?

Chris :)
 

alexs2

Distinguished Member
Also some members have used certain terminology such as 'fast' and 'timing' in reference to the sound of a particular sub. Can anyone explain what this means? Is there a link to a technical jargon page that can unveil these terms?

Chris :)

Fast and similar terms simply describe a speaker's ability to keep track with the pace of the music...with a sub in mind,one that's slow in reacting to changes in pace will sound as if its a bit behind all of the time,and results in sluggish,poorly paced bass.

You'll find all manner of terms used,but the end results are very obvious....a good properly integrated sub isnt obvious until a good deep bass line comes along,and then the contribution is very clear.....I've been through a few subs here,with a difficult listening room in a very old house,trying to get close to the bass I had previously with an active Linn Keltik setup,which wasnt really suited to the room in a few ways.

The current system,with the benefit of roomEQ,integrates very well indeed,and has all of the power the system used to have,plus better extension and the control is pretty good also,albeit without the benefit of the Krells running the bass end now.
 

chrismanchester

Standard Member
Fast and similar terms simply describe a speaker's ability to keep track with the pace of the music...with a sub in mind,one that's slow in reacting to changes in pace will sound as if its a bit behind all of the time,and results in sluggish,poorly paced bass.


Now I can comprehend what people mean about the term 'fast.' Thanks 'alexs2' for that.

Chris :)
 

Phazers

Active Member
But the interesting thing struck me was, the dealer had (at first) the music running through the Spendors without any sub or anything and I was simply amazed at how different they sound! They sounded much much better than in my room. Both my friend and I were really impressed. The soundstage was much greater. And they sound even louder than in my room.


Stating the obvious but you have got them wired in phase and not out of phase?
 

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