Sub or Better Main & Centre ?

Discussion in 'Subwoofers' started by Mike Dando, Dec 20, 2001.

  1. Mike Dando

    Mike Dando
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    I have been contemplating adding a sub to my current setup
    for a while. Having started looking around I am beginning to wonder if I should upgrade my main speakers instead.

    I currently have Mission 702 fronts and a M7C centre which are OK but I am getting a bit bored with them.

    If am prepared to spend £800 on a sub, would I be better off upgrading to a setup which will reach lower levels of bass than my current speakers and have one less box in the room?

    If I spent the £800 on better mains/centre, Is the addition of a sub really necessary?

    :confused:

    Thanks,
    Mike.
     
  2. Lowrider

    Lowrider
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    Go for the sub, it will improve the other speakers sound too, as they wont have to play the lowest frequencies... not to mention the bang you will get from your movies...
     
  3. Guest

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    I agree with lowrider about the addition of a good sub, but unless you are going to upgrade the fronts I have great difficulty supporting spending such an amount on a sub alone. Surely it would be better to split the budget more sensibly?
     
  4. Family Guy

    Family Guy
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    It's got to be the sub. In Jan 02 issue of HCC, there is an article with Tom Holman, creator of THX. In a small box, there is a bit explaining that the footfall sound of the T Rex in Jurassic Park is ONLY ON the .1 channel. If you have your speakers set up to take the .1 then surely they are in grave danger of being damaged. And if you think the footfalls in JP were loud and low, wait until you hear JP3!! :eek:
     
  5. Peter Parker

    Peter Parker
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    I have to agree with the others here.

    A good sub adds a whole new dimension of sound and sensation to the listening experience. My first active sub was a Paradigm PDR10, and that added oodles of bass that I didn't know existed, and frightened the life out of me the first time I tested it (Matrix lobby shoot-out) because it caused the sofa I was sitting on to vibrate too! You can actualy feel the explosions etc now, as well as hear them.

    In my case, the sub is right next to the sofa, and sits on the same floorboards. Any vibrations get transmitted straight into the sofa. Toy Story 2 opening sequence will make you grin from ear to ear. (Not sure about the neighbours though :) ).

    It's a bit like turbo charging your car, as it helps enhance what you already have, so you may not feel the need to change your speakers (yet....).

    HTH

    Gary.
     
  6. Phil White

    Phil White
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    If you watch Dolby Digital films you have to go for the sub! Otherwise you'll miss out on all the fun!
    I had a similar dilemna - went along to Richer Sounds who 'lent' me a Mordaunt Short MSW 20 Sub. It is excellent at what's more only cost £150! I don't believe you need to spend £800 - that's unless you've got a 'Roller' on the drive!
     
  7. Phil Hinton

    Phil Hinton
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    Adding a quality Subwoofer like a Rel or M&K will enhance your existing set up by miles!

    Even using Budget speakers the Sub, when connected up correctly will extend the sound field and enhance your system.

    Have a look at the REL Storm III, priced at around £800. This is an excellent Sub and is very musical as well as great with film material, and you wont get the dreaded "BOOM". Instead you get quality SUB BASS.

    Best set up for movies and music is to set all speakers to small and bass to both main and SW, Then you can adjust the crossover to perfectly match your front speakers.

    Buying new main speakers and a centre won't enhance the overall sound as much as using a quality sub and budget speakers.

    And remember a quality sub will last you years and years without having to upgrade.
     
  8. GearHead

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    Phil,

    You suggested this to me a couple of days ago and although on first sight it looks a little non-intuitive, once the penny dropped I couldn't wait to try it out. It works !

    It has a number of advantageous over any other setting I've tried, the main one being that it allows me to overcome the fixed crossover frequency of my processor. 90Hz is just too high to blend the sub in with the speakers and allow a bit of gain at the bottom end for those chest-crushing effects. Another advantage is that by obtaining a lower crossover point, more of the centre channel's upper-bass is produced by the main left/right speakers rather than being pulled into the sub.

    I've gone for a slightly lower crossover setting on the sub than you. I'm using B-1 on the Storm, approx 32Hz IIRC. This is because I have a huge room mode around 45-50Hz. Allowing the speakers to drop (naturally) just above this and the sub to drop just below this avoids the worst of it. So hats-off for the suggestion.

    Essentially I'm now getting that very powerful and fundamentally well supported sound I heard round at your place - although not quite to the standard you've achieved yet.

    BTW, I'm now using a Model 100 centre channel spkr. It came up cheap 2nd hand and I decided to go for a quality transducer. I suspect the shortcomings now compared to your results are down to the small rear speakers I'm still using and the fact that you have a DSP-A2 and I'm using the RXV800 - damn, I should have gone the whole hog !

    Allan
     
  9. Lowrider

    Lowrider
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    Sorry to disagree, again, of bass to both main and sub, if you pretend to use the main speakers full range, you should set them as large and connect the sub both high and low inputs, set it to position 2 and, then set the subs crossover to match the front speakers properly...

    This way you get the bass below the receiver´s crossover from the center and surrounds plus the .1 channel all the way to 120 hz, as in your recordings, thru the low level input, and the sub to complement your front speakers as you like, thru the high input, your way you are losing some info, and doubling other...
     
  10. GearHead

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    Antonio,

    Your connection method appears to have some merit, although a little more complex due to the extra cabling involved and the requirement to 'tune' the sub's volume for low-level and hi-level for the correct balance (better flexibility here though). I'll will try it and see.

    The one disadvantage I see with your method is that output below 90Hz for the center channel will be directed into the sub. I would be happier for this (at least for an octave lower, say) to be reproduced by the main left/right speakers.

    Using Phil's method, correctly setup, the sub and the main L/R do not cross, therefore I don't understand how I could be "doubling-up" on some info. Or indeed "loosing" any.

    Allan

    Post Script:

    Antonio, position 2 on the sub bypasses the sub's filter. Are you saying that the hi-level inputs still go through the filter regardless of the position of the mode switch ? I guess that must be the case as any high-level input is almost certain to have a high-frequency content.
     
  11. Lowrider

    Lowrider
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    As you can imagine it does make sense that the levels should be different for complementing the front speakers and to play the .1 signal... This way you can have the "low" level higher for those special effects...

    If the center and surround bass (shouldn´t be much anyway) still bothers you, just set them to large too and loose whatever they cannot handle...

    The extra cabling is included with the sub (for some reason ;) ), I know it will be an extra run of wire around the room...

    I you set to "both" it will still go to the sub, and to the center itself, never to the front speakers, unless you set it to "no sub" and center as "small" (the only way it will go to the fronts)...

    If you set "both", the bass will go to both the sub and the front speakers, doubling...

    The high level crossover is never disabled, it woudn´t make sense...

    I prefer all small just using the low input (remember that the bass of the speakers you set to large will "overload" your amp, and increase distortion), but I can see your point. Now, your ears are the final judges, and if it sounds better to you, your way, then you should stick to it, doubling or not... :cool:
     
  12. GearHead

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    Antonio,

    Yep, with you all the way there, apart from this one thing:
    Just to clarify, we are talking about the center here. If I set the centre to "small", low frequencies (<90Hz) will be directed within the processor towards the sub. Because the sub is set to "both" the processor will also send this signal to the Left/Right speakers. Because the L/R speakers roll-off naturally at around 45/50Hz they will be reproducing the center content between 45 and 90Hz. The sub (if set correctly) will be reproducing the center content below 45Hz. Therefore no doubling and the front L/R *does* handle some of the bass output from the center.

    I do think your connection method has the big advantage of routing ALL the .1 channel into the sub instead of it being sent to both sub and front L/R and reproduced depending on frequency. I'll give it a go. I think the pros might outweigh the cons.

    Allan
     
  13. Lowrider

    Lowrider
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    If you set the sub´s crossover to 45 or less and don´t connect the low input, it will be as you say, but you waist center and .1 above 45 hz, .1 is supposed to go till 120...

    If you connect low as well, then you get double the low frequencies... under 45 on setting 1 and under 90 on setting 2, this from the speakers set to small, plus double all the .1...

    You probably right about the center bass, if set to small, going to both the sub and the fronts...

    Well, I guess you will be busy this weekend... ;)

    Happy New Year,
     

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