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REL B series vs. ? Opinions on value

fathervic

Established Member
Finally going to take the plunge and get a sub in the mix after a long time contemplating...
The question is what though?
Many people seem to rave on here about the likes of the SVSs but I've not heard any in the flesh. My dealer recently got in some RELs and after a quick blast I've been impressed (Quakes, t's and R's).
I need something heftier though to compliment my PMCs (OB1s) and was looking at the likes of the REL B3 as I've found one going 2nd hand for about £500. They seem to be a respectable company with a good reputation.
Against the competion, how does the B3 hold up - particularly with the 2nd hand price in mind....
 

badbob

Banned
You're easily impressed, I thought the Rel Quake was pants. I had a Storm at the time it was ok but now it's a poor quality sub.
 

ChrisEdu

Standard Member
Finally going to take the plunge and get a sub in the mix after a long time contemplating...
The question is what though?
Many people seem to rave on here about the likes of the SVSs but I've not heard any in the flesh. My dealer recently got in some RELs and after a quick blast I've been impressed (Quakes, t's and R's).
I need something heftier though to compliment my PMCs (OB1s) and was looking at the likes of the REL B3 as I've found one going 2nd hand for about £500. They seem to be a respectable company with a good reputation.
Against the competion, how does the B3 hold up - particularly with the 2nd hand price in mind....

I have used a Storm 3 in my system, on demo, along with a B&W PV1 and also listened to a Velodyne SPL1000R. Despite listening to these, and liking the REL and Velodyne, I have just purchased a SVS PC Ultra (unheard) simply due to what I have read about it and from the reviews other members have given them. If you like, I'll let you know what I think of it once it has arrived.
 

Ian J

Banned
I must admit that the one and only time I heard a Quake I wasn't impressed at all. It was actually in a REL demo at a hifi show and the overall sound was much better when they switched the sub off.

Like the two before me I also had a REL Storm 3 which I was very happy with - until I heard an SVS and realised just what I had been missing and have never looked back since.
 

fathervic

Established Member
Thanks Chris, that would be great.

I just think that at half the going price the B3 can't be that bad. I respect people's opinions here as they're obviously enthusiasts but either way £1000 is a lot of money to spend on somebody's word without hearing/seeing the unit in action...
I take it the SVS would be adept at music as well (very important to me). I'm not looking for something that has 'bang for buck' value and bought just because it can go loud and shake the house down.
What about wiring configuration - does it do the REL thing by taking both high and low level inputs simultaneously as the more I've read about it it kind of makes sense.
 

ChrisEdu

Standard Member
Thanks Chris, that would be great.

I just think that at half the going price the B3 can't be that bad. I respect people's opinions here as they're obviously enthusiasts but either way £1000 is a lot of money to spend on somebody's word without hearing/seeing the unit in action...
I take it the SVS would be adept at music as well (very important to me). I'm not looking for something that has 'bang for buck' value and bought just because it can go loud and shake the house down.
What about wiring configuration - does it do the REL thing by taking both high and low level inputs simultaneously as the more I've read about it it kind of makes sense.

Well, my SVS PC Ultra arrived today. I have hooked it up to my system and been very impressed already! Straight away it has performed better, in my set-up, at least, than the PV1 did and I'd say it exceeds the performance of the Velodyne and most likely the REL, although that would be a closer comparison to my ears. I can certainly feel it moving the air around in my room and the wanted trouser wafting, but without some of the resonance I was getting with the REL. Now, I want to get an SPL and try to get things optimised, or closer to optimal performance.

As to the point abouit musical performance, I've got Moulin Rouge on as I'm typing this and it sounds great! :D
 

jurmula

Standard Member
You're easily impressed, I thought the Rel Quake was pants. I had a Storm at the time it was ok but now it's a poor quality sub.

What if sub is purely for music? And music only 100%. I have REL Storm 5 now and am very happy with it, need to use crossover under 30hz, 28hz exactly, or it will boom a LOT. And I just need remote, other subs that have remote? This is for a lots of variety in music I listen, so I need to change volume a lot. Difficult with just knobs at back of sub. And I really think it is very good quality sub. My opinion.
Although I haven't heard any SVS, maybe they will give more dB but does they integrate to mains so good with music?
 

badbob

Banned
I agree that Rel have a niche with the ABC, lower crossover point. As for remote control it's useless as once set I've never had to increase or decrease levels. Upgraded from a Rel Storm V1 to a 20-39 PC Plus for the HT system. As for integration I cannot tell the sub is on no booming, until I switch it off then I know it's off.
 

jurmula

Standard Member
I need to change gain a lot, as music changes from light jazz to death metal to techno and drum and bass. So remote in my case is really necessary. Gain can vary like 5 to 15 steps depending about the music I feed it. I wish I could have this set up like I don't need to change anything, but it's impossible. This is going now very off topic, so I leave it here...
 

HiFiRuss71

Distinguished Member
What if sub is purely for music? And music only 100%.
Why? What about quality of reproducing accurate bass is required by music that isn't required by movies or visa versa? Accurate reproduction requires a smooth frequency response, low distortion, ample headroom and low group delay. Where price is a factor, some subs will obviously compromise one or all of these areas to some degree. I would suggest any sub that totally compromsises one or more of those qualities at the altar of the others, will probably be limited in it's all round capabilities to an unacceptable degree.
I have REL Storm 5 now and am very happy with it, need to use crossover under 30hz, 28hz exactly, or it will boom a LOT.
It is a common misunderstanding that it's the subs fault; It's not the sub that's booming, it's the room. Your crossover point is simply being used to roll the sub off before the rooms issues take effect - in other words, you are using the one filter you have to equalise the problem away. That's not to say such flexibility is a bad thing, it's not, but it only enables a best fit solution, rather than the tailored solution an EQ device can provide.
And I just need remote, other subs that have remote? This is for a lots of variety in music I listen, so I need to change volume a lot. Difficult with just knobs at back of sub.
Amen to that, I use my SMS-1 remote a lot.
And I really think it is very good quality sub. My opinion.
Although I haven't heard any SVS, maybe they will give more dB but does they integrate to mains so good with music?
It's not simply about pure SPL levels - power is nothing without control as they say and the ability to integrate smoothly means a lot of different things to different people. FWIW, whilst SVS subs don't quite have the mega low crossovers of REL which would rule them out in some circumstances, but many of their subs sport room size compensation and equalisation features that can be every bit, if not more useful. Horses for courses as they say.:)

Russell
 

Andori

Prominent Member
Amen to that, I use my SMS-1 remote a lot.

As a matter of interest, what are you changing when you use it a lot? Are you swapping between EQ curves, or simply changing the overall gain?
 

jurmula

Standard Member
Yes I know, it is not subs fault when it booms with higher crossover settings. And yes, I know it is my room. But there is this kind of rooms and setups that need this lower crossover setting, I think. It is easy to make sub disappear with this, but when it is really needed, I mean really needed, Storm will vibrate floors and walls like hell. I know there are people that think that Storm can not even do that, but it will, in my case anyway.

I can not say that REL could be somekinda superior in music compared to some else brand, but I never could say that it is poor quality in any way.

Oh, and by music only I wanted to say that these things cannot maybe produce high dB that is needed with HC setups, but with music they do integrate with ease and give very good and clean bass.
 

badbob

Banned
I don't know about the Rel Storm V, but the Storm V1 is way way inferior HT subwoofer. Upgraded from Rel to SVS, brother had the Rel, as I upgraded the PC Plus to PC Ultra brother got the PC Plus. Massive difference between the Rel and SVS.

The Rel might vibrate the floors and walls, but the SVS will flex them. :)

As for seperate levels, I just use the Lexicon Music modes, with a few dB knocked off the LFE channel.

hmm Rel Storm V (10" ported 200W) is a couple of hundred quid more than PC Ultra, and £300 more than my PC Plus.
 

jurmula

Standard Member
Ain't Storm V1 totally different from V5? Anyway looked SVS site and ultras and there seems to be awful lot of knobs in the backpanel:eek: I can see myself adjusting that monster for years and not getting it right even after that. Storm 5 has only few settings that properly done can make it pleasure to use. But SVS must be a great device in HT systems when properly set up. How can you connect it to stereo amplifier? Seems very different connectivity that REL's neutrik.
Anyway, to stay on this topic a little bit... I have also looked for REL B1, but it seems to be more HT sub than music too. Would be nice to hear if someone has B1, what he/she thinks of it.

Hell, I'd go for REL Studio or Stentor anyday, if I just had money for those:suicide:

Maybe my neighbours have something else to say if I'd do that:rolleyes:
 

ChrisEdu

Standard Member
Ain't Storm V1 totally different from V5? Anyway looked SVS site and ultras and there seems to be awful lot of knobs in the backpanel:eek: I can see myself adjusting that monster for years and not getting it right even after that. Storm 5 has only few settings that properly done can make it pleasure to use. But SVS must be a great device in HT systems when properly set up. How can you connect it to stereo amplifier? Seems very different connectivity that REL's neutrik.
Anyway, to stay on this topic a little bit... I have also looked for REL B1, but it seems to be more HT sub than music too. Would be nice to hear if someone has B1, what he/she thinks of it.

Hell, I'd go for REL Studio or Stentor anyday, if I just had money for those:suicide:

Maybe my neighbours have something else to say if I'd do that:rolleyes:

Don't let the knobs scare you - you can choose to keep it simple if you want! Storms can have lots of knobs too. The thing with the 5 is that the settings are got through that one knob - but there'd still be as much to alter!
 

badbob

Banned
here seems to be awful lot of knobs in the backpanel

Fairly simple really, you have the PEQ which for now leave alone. For a HT you'll use gain, crossover to off. In stock format, 20hz subsonic filter, and room compensation to what size your room is. For stereo crossover enabled, and crossover probably to 40hz.
 

fathervic

Established Member
I'm sure as direct competion the SVS units against the RELs are obviously popular and highly regarded.
...addressing the other part of my original query, considering the COST of the B3 available to me I feel it must be worth going for (though I've the sneaking suspicion that someone will hold up their hand to say that the SVS would still be twice as good and worth paying double for :D).
Has anybody had any hands on experience with the B series itself like Jurmula asked?
 

HiFiRuss71

Distinguished Member
I think Bose is a little harsh! Good grief!:eek:

Their larger subs have an excellent reputation, although the smaller sealed offerings have tended to trade on that reputation for a good deal longer than their actual ability would warrant.

The only B Series sub I've any experience of is the B1 when demoed by REL at the Bristol Show a couple of years ago. Unfortunately the demo was poor due to RELs stubborn insistence that subs be placed in a corner, even though the B1 is clearly large and powerful enough not to need such assistance. As a result the resulting A/B comparison of sub/no sub, only served to prove what excellent speakers the Vienna Acoustics were.

You mention OB1s which have a fairly profound low end despite their slim profile. There's an interesting parallel here as RELs Acoustic Resistive Matrix is basically a transmission line, (or at least thats what someone who used to build RELs told me) so it the ARM loaded subs do extract a very extended bottom end from comparatively modest drivers, (albeit at the expense of ultimate SPL capabilities) which should come as no surprise to a PMC owner.

You don't say whether you're running a pure stereo setup or not, but if you are the only likely candidates with crossovers low enough to get near the bottom end of the OB1s, will be RELs, but I'm not sure the B3 will be deep enough to add significantly deep down. Add yes, but significantly deep enough? Much as REL would like us to think it, they can't defeat physics and the B3 isn't big or powerful enough to really plumb the low 20Hz with real authority.

There's no doubt that at £500 it's a good buy and will still be churning out tunes once we're all dust, but in the context of your main speakers, I'm not so sure it would be £500 well spent. Personally, I think you would be better off searching out a second hand Stadium III as a minimum.

Russell

PS. If you can get it home to try it, what's to loose?
 

fathervic

Established Member
Cheers Russ, very constuctive.

At present my stereo set-up has been relegated so I'm just running an Arcam receiver. At present I just feel I'm getting nowhere near the potential the OB1s have due to room constraints and poor positioning. I was hoping that taking the route of the B3 would be a solution of sorts to give me a bit of grunt but not sacrifice too much in quality.
I've been wanting to add a sub to complete the set and get the .1 and although I love PMC, I don't belive the TLE1 would be the best compliment to delve further.
I could wait a little and I may be able to stretch to a B2 but I think the likes of the REL Reference range is well out of my league for some time to come...

The Bose comment was meant a little tongue in cheek although judging by several of the coments around, they don't seem very favoured.
 

j0hn

Banned
Fairly simple really, you have the PEQ which for now leave alone. For a HT you'll use gain, crossover to off. In stock format, 20hz subsonic filter, and room compensation to what size your room is. For stereo crossover enabled, and crossover probably to 40hz.

Dont just simply do this without using REW to check the effect. When I used it REW showed a dramatic drop off and switching it off gave me a much better and smoother response/curve.
 

badbob

Banned
I've got a pretty large <30hz peak on "small" setting then fairly flat 30-50hz, 50-65hz huge valley :(. 4x3.5M room
 

j0hn

Banned
I've got a pretty large <30hz peak on "small" setting then fairly flat 30-50hz, 50-65hz huge valley :(. 4x3.5M room

yes but you would never have known if you didnt run REW or at the very least test tones. I was just pointing out to poeple reading its not as easy as thinking 'oh my rooms small, I'll set it to small' It doesnt work like that. My rooms small, 4x4 and I dont use it.
:)
 

j0hn

Banned
Can't be bothered to do REW again, but what does room compensation do?

here you go straight from the horses mouth.

Optimize in-room frequency response with built-in room compensation

Some of our subwoofers offer variable tuning (which changes how low they can go). This sub is different. Because it's small, we expect many customers will want the option to install it in small rooms. Small rooms are actually quite advantageous in producing deep bass. So much so that a deep running small sub like this might actually get too much of a good thing.

Known as "room gain" most rooms support a phenomenon that actually increases the effects of deep bass. The lower you go below 25Hz the greater this effect can be. Again it's generally considered a good thing, room gain. But if your room is on the smaller side, (say 1,400 cubic foot [ft3] range) it's best to roll the deepest response of the sub just a bit before the sub would do it otherwise. This tool serves to keep frequency response flat and powerful even below 20Hz using your room's natural acoustics, and helps keep the amp running cool and clean as well.

The bigger the room, the less this compensation is needed. Up to 2,400ft3 rooms the medium setting will tend to work best, and over 2,400ft3 the "Large" setting with the least subsonic filtering. Customers in this class are best served by more than one SB12-Plus or one of our larger more efficient subwoofers however. Each room is different, but matching your room's deep bass character with your subwoofer now is a twist of a knob away.


http://www.svsound.com/products-sub-box-sb12plus.cfm#extension
 

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