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problems with active subs?

Discussion in 'Subwoofers' started by karkus30, Nov 30, 2002.

  1. karkus30

    karkus30
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    I currently use a Yamaha Hitb system and find the sub struggles to cope with films like titan ae. I was considering swapping out the sub to a REL and then upgrading the amp and speakers at another time.

    Thought I would geta bit of advice from my local hifi guru as he has a REL at home. His advice was to stay away from the likes of REL and buy a balanced speaker package as he had been unable to set up the sub to his satisfaction.

    Interestingly, one of my mates runs a Boston system with a REL sub and is noticing directional bass, which now means he is considering stereo subs.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. Ian J

    Ian J
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    No doubt your local dealer who owns a REL himself also sells "balanced speaker packages"

    The better quality the sub, the easier it should be to integrate it into an existing system. The Yammy system that you have is quite good for the money but it was never intended to provide the copious amounts of depth and power that are generated by Titan AE and the like.

    Previously I had Def Tech satellites with first a REL Q Bass and second a REL STorm - lovely sound.

    Buy the best quality sub that you can afford which will improve the bass and lower mid range but beware it will show up the limitations of the tiny satellites so be prepared to upgrade them fairly soon.

    Don't buy a balanced system for the same reason that people advise others not to buy "All in Ones" as they are essentially a compromise and better value is available elsewhere.

    There are some exceptions.
     
  3. karkus30

    karkus30
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    Thanks for the reply Ian, just to put you in the picture the dealer in question is a mate of mine and sells seconhand HiFi and he tends to end up with quite a few RELs amongst others. Very rarely gets a full speaker package, the last one was a B & W.

    He gets to take loads of kit home to try for a few weeks, but he eventualy sold the REL he was using as he was unable to get on with it, he commented that he was constantly adjusting it and moving it around the room.

    The other thing that springs to mind is do you really need an active sub or can you get similar performance out of something like TDL RTL3, Obviously there are no centre speakers for this particular speaker, but in principle , would you loose much in the way of performance?

    Or is it that the majority of HC amps just dont have the 'welly' to drive speakers with good low frequency performance and so its easier to dedicate this with an active sub.
     
  4. bob007

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    I presume this Boston system consists of satellite speakers and a sub, the problem with these systems is that the satellite speakers have a very limited frequency so the sub has to compensate, so setting the sub xover to the 120Hz range will sometimes give away the position of the sub.

    There's not many speakers out there that can match the performance of a dedicated sub, a dedicated sub is normally the way to go if you want the real low down grunt to complement your system.
     
  5. Ian J

    Ian J
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    If you can get hold of a Q Bass, Q50, Q100, Strata or Storm at a good price from him (with home demo) this should give you the power that you are looking for but will show up the deficiencies of the satellites so be prepared to start on the never ending upgrading spiral :)
     
  6. karkus30

    karkus30
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    Cheers chaps, yep he lends me whatever Im interested in, I should point out that he was talking about satellite systems, so it looks like you have come to the same conclusion.

    Thing is where do you start, its not like I have a few thousand to chuck about. Most times upgrades are bit at a time. I intend ridding myself of the Yamaha system and buying larger front speakers and matching centre, DTS 6.1 amp or processor with power amps and a new sub......not in any particular order. Finally replacing the rears when funds allow.

    The Acoustic Energy Aegis systems look good value, or I might just get Neat acoustics to sell be a couple of pairs of critiques and a matching centre.
     
  7. bob007

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    This can be a very costly hobby, depends on your budget and how quick you want the new system to be up and running.

    You could keep your amp and start with the speakers as these are the weakest link in the system, then add the sub, then depending on the way you want to go next add the receiver/processor/power amps etc, then you will have come full circle and will be thinking of another speaker upgrade. :D
     
  8. Andywilliams

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    hi karkus30
    Ihad the yam hti-45 ichanged the sub to a relq150e the bass was very easy to localise with the small sats. So i upgraded to mission m71i bookshelfs and m7c2centre m7ds rears the sound then was transformed you could no longer hear where the bass was coming from even my 10year old son commented that the sub was'nt turned on that was until i turned it off that he noticed the differance ie less bass so you should'nt make your mind up that certain components arnt any good till properly intergrated in a system.
    gonzo
     
  9. karkus30

    karkus30
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    Thanks again for the replies.

    Bob. its unlikely that I will upgrade further once I have changed the Yamaha system, as I feel cinema sound is still too limited in terms of production in comparison to hifi systems. I already run a seperate hifi system, which is due for an upgrade anyway, so the HC is a secondary consideration.

    The Yamaha is a reasonable system and I could almost live with it if it was'nt for the lack of midrange and the clipping sub. As I intend to move away from a satellite system anyway, so it would appear that a new sub is in order and I will have to accept the localised bass until the front speaker upgrade.

    Gonzo: your experience confirms the problem with satellites and subs, it seems you were also forced along the same path as Im following. I have a feeling that something like the missions or the AE or even the wharfedales at around 500 quid would be sufficient. Do you play music /concert style DVDs through your system and how clear is the dialogue, I assume your still using the Yamaha amp ?.

    The only thing I am missing is the DTS as the amp is 5.1 only, so that will be next on the list , followed by the surrounds.
     
  10. Andywilliams

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    hi karkus30
    the amp ive got is the new htr5540 same as yam 430 rds the dialogue is spot on with the m7c2centre. movies are awesome with the new speakers the music through pro logic2 is also very good . The cds i play are mostly popular music but i must say the sound is very respectable . sky music channels mtv- digital radio are also very good .once you start on the upgrade path its very hard to stop as you know things can only get better. changing the speakers really made a BIG difference to my system next step is a new amp possibly the new denon 3803 when its released.
    gonzo:)
     
  11. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    Your mate is coming from a 'classic' stereo background. I don't use a sub here ATM as the set up problems are often tricky but not impossible. REL are actaully really good here, some great leads from Ian J post

    Re AV, different kettle of fish, has you mate any experience here? Most AV processor do 'things' to match subs.

    Re boston, directional bass, yes very realistic and two subs is the way to go. Loads of other advantages as well.
     
  12. karkus30

    karkus30
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    Gonzo, so you changed the amp as well. Are you using this as your main music source?

    Luckily, I rarely get bitten by the upgrade bug unless I hear something that far exceeds th system I already have or I have a problem as is the case with the Yam sub.

    I have had the same HiFi system for about 5 years now and to make a significant difference is going to take quite a bit of cash, I usually buy S/H but this means a bit of waiting before the right piece of kit appears.

    Glad your enjoying your system, are you using a TV, plasma or PJ.
    If you can afford it, a PJ makes a significant difference to your viewing pleasure on a similar level to getting 5.1 sound for the first time on a decent system compared to plain stereo from TV mounted speakers.

    Thanks again for the reply.
     
  13. Andywilliams

    Andywilliams
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    hi karkus30
    The kit ive got is panasonic tx32pl10 tv- sony dvp-ns900v dvd player-yamaha htr5540 receiver- speakers missions and rel sub -qed silver anniversary bi-wire ixos cables .have read people having problems with pana tx32pl10 picture but ive had no problems picture is bob on .
    gonzo
     
  14. Ian J

    Ian J
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    There is an interesting review in Hifi Choice this month of the Copland multichannel pre-power combo and I have already fallen in love with it despite not having either heard it or the £3,800 to buy it.

    I have long advocated that whilst quality hifi has less and less facilities every year, AV has taken the opposite route and tried to cram as many bells and whistles as possible into the box, which must be detrimental to the sound.

    The Copland power amp is a standard, powerful, power amp but the pre-amp £1,500) is valve driven and has analogue inputs only. Most decent DVD players will have inbuilt decoders which will feed analogue signals and as long as you can live without THX, extended surround, presumably pro logic and video switching, this pre-amp will give you the same levels of sound quality as available from high end stereo equipment for multichannel as well.

    Tempted ? - I certainly am and would love to hear this coupled with my existing Denon AVC10SE amp.
     
  15. karkus30

    karkus30
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    Ahh valve front end with transistor power amp no doubt, knowing Copeland its my considered opinion that this is the best compromise for HiFi. The build quality of the Copeland gear is fantastic, but like you I have never heard it, at that sort of money I probably never will as they are rarer than rocking horses**t on the secondhand market.

    Are you considering it as a dual amp for your HiFi as well or only stand alone for HC?
    Unfortunately my HiFi and HC are not even in the same room so if I liked it Id have to buy two:eek:
     
  16. karkus30

    karkus30
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    Missed your post somehow Beekeeper, he is less experienced with HC and most of the systems he has tried out have been sub sat systems.

    I do not like active subs in standard HiFi systems, Ive tried them in the past and have come to the conclusion a passive sub, integrated into a well designed full frequency speaker enclosure is a better way to go in. Something like an Isobarik configuration seems to work OK.
     
  17. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    be careful here, it ain't as easy as this
     
  18. karkus30

    karkus30
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    Dont get me wrong, I would'nt attempt this myself. I have seen it done by a friend of mine who runs NEAT acoustics, its part of their design for the upper range of speakers.

    I had a development pair of his Ultimatums at home for a couple of months. Outstanding speakers, using isobarik loading ,4 front drivers, 2 soft dome and 1 super tweeter. He uses the coupled cavity loading principle.

    They were awesome, but stood about 7 feet high and a foot wide, too big for my room, they were also black, like the 2001 monoliths and tended to suck the light out of the room.
    Very easy to drive and they really do the bass thing well.

    Bob who runs Neat is a musician foremost and has played in bands ranging from metal to folk a lot of the time he plays Bass, thats electric and double, so he has high standards.

    This guy can walk into a room and before he has even sat down can tell if your speakers are out of phase or a drive units a bit off, scary.:eek:

    Not sure how big a matching centre speaker might be if he ever got round to shielding them:eek:
     

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