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Sub Woofer Auditioning

Discussion in 'Subwoofers' started by andy-p, Dec 30, 2001.

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  1. andy-p

    andy-p
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    Planning to pop into Sevenoaks tomorrow to have a listen to the MJ Acoustics Pro 50 sub-woofer. A unit which I have read excellent things about in a couple of magazine reviews, but nothing on this forum. This will be my first sub, I currently only have a B&W 600 series 2 set-up with no sub. Any advice on how to audition a sub would be most appreciated, and also what to listen to. I was thinking of taking Star Wars TPM and Saving Private Ryan on DVD.

    Andy P.
     
  2. lmccauley

    lmccauley
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    How about a CD of music you know well.

    I like to use Madonna's "Ray of Light" when auditioning speakers, amplifiers (or CD players, even!) because it has some quite complex music with lots of bass.

    For movie recommendations, try The Fifth Element - the ZX1 gun and the opera scenes are good.

    Cheers,
    Liam
     
  3. Stuart Wright

    Stuart Wright
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    There's some advice on what to listen for at the rel website.
    www.rel.net
    To be honest, if you haven't heard a subwoofer before, unless you go with someone who can tell you what you are listening to, the exercise will be pretty pointless.
    Was for me when I first went.
    Only a home audition gave me the time to experiment.
     
  4. BadAss

    BadAss
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    I would take Blade. The opening sequence has a thumping soundtrack. A good short scene which has lots of controlled bass, just what you need to make a comparison with.
     
  5. russraff

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    By all means, audition the sub at Sevenoaks. The people up here in the Newcastle branch are very helpful indeed, and offer impartial, erudite advice. However, and I don't think I am alone on this, but the most difficult thing about subwoofers is their positioning. I know it's taken me a month to sort out this REL Storm, and my listening room is nothing like the dealers. As a result of this, that the sub sounded completely diffferent in my room compared to the dealers dem room. What I am failing to say is use the Sevenoaks dem to create a shortlist (don't just listen to one sub, try REL or M&K ones too), and insist on a home dem before you buy. Only then will you be sure.

    Russell
     
  6. BadAss

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    russraff, I can understand why you would say this but is it practical with a sub? What I mean is, with a normal speaker you just plug it in, listen, swap to the other speaker, listen and so on. But with a sub, you find a possition plug it in, set the crossover frequency, set the DB level and so on. Isn't it far better to listen to a sub set up and ready to go when you walk in? That way you spend your time listening to the bass rather than wondering if youve set it up right. If you listen to two subs, all in all the better one will still sound better no matter where you have it set up. And physically lugging two subs back and too aint going to be fun.
     
  7. russraff

    russraff
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    Badass: The reason I said what I said is because of the REL Q201 that I demed in a dealers room. It sounded fab, but when I got it home, no matter what I tried, or the dealer recommended, it just didn't sound good at all - certainly not up to the quality I heard in the dealers listening room. The Strata III was much better; everything just gelled together with a minimum of fuss and further tweaks just expanded on the quality of sound. Now, if I had paid for the Q201, and not heard the other subs in my listening room, I would have thought "Oh, well, I haven't set the thing up right. I'll just spend a few days, tweaking the thing 'till its right". Fact of the matter is, I did have the sub set up correctly (or as good as it was going to get), but the sub just didn't want to work in my room. So despite the sub sounding good at the dealers, I would have been lumbered with an underperforming product, had I not had the Strata for comparison. Is this making sense :confused:

    Surely, the £600 or £700 I would have spent on the Q201 ( I actually got a Storm III in the end for £750, but that’s beside the point) is worth a couple of trips to the dealer in order to make sure that sub is the one for you?
     
  8. andy-p

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    Many thanks for all your advice guys, it’s really appreciated.

    I’ve booked a session for the end of the week at Sevenoaks, and will compare the MJA Pro 50 and Rel Q150 with a ‘sub-woofer experienced’ friend. The Rel at £499 is really pushing my budget though, the MJA sub (in ‘her-indoors friendly’ cherry veneer!) is £399.

    One other question, as I’m sure most will know the MJA Pro 50 is downward firing, whereas the Rel Q150 is outward firing. What are the pros and cons of each configuration? Currently I have a carpeted concrete floor, but soon will be laying a suspended wooden floor (pine floorboards on 1” battens).

    Thanks.

    Andy P.
     
  9. Ian J

    Ian J
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    The REL may be pushing your budget but you probably won't regret it. If you catch upgradeitis like many of us here you will change your amp and speakers several times but if you start off with a good sub you will keep it.

    I am on my third amp and fourth set of speakers but still have my trusty REL Q Bass which I think was their original design and the only reason that I would part with it is because the newer models that you are looking at are smaller.
     
  10. BadAss

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    Too true, I spent £575 on only my second Sub and dont feel the need to replace it yet.
    The question about the firing possition is little talked about, but I think downward firing drivers builds pressure beneath the sub before reflecting into the air which creates a sound with greater weight. They also have a port to draw in air where as front drivers dont.
     
  11. andy-p

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    Today I listened to three subs in the end, including the MJ Acoustics Pro 50. Unfortunately the Q150 wasn’t available (demo model had been sold), so as a contrast of what a much better and more expensive unit would sound like, I listened to a REL Strata III…… WOW! Now, I’m definitely no audiophile, and quite often struggle to understand or hear the differences in sonic performance between cheap and excellent systems, but this sub was just streets ahead of the little MJA Pro 50. Don’t get me wrong, the Pro 50 was very good considering it’s size, and I know the Strata III is in a different league, I just never realised there would be such a difference. A bit of a cliché term I know, but it really was so much more integrated and subtle than the Pro 50. I also listened to another monster, the REL Q400, which I absolutely hated! I assume this unit was probably just too big for the listening room we where in and the rest of the system, I found it way too over powering.

    Before I decide I will of course listen to the Q150, and possibly a Q200, but to be honest I think they will have a hard job to match the Strata III. I have now read reams of simply glowing reviews (both ‘professional’ and independent) about the Strata III, it does seem to be able to do no wrong!. A couple of things I am just a tiny bit concerned about though, is the suitability of this sub for mainly HC use, and also the downward firing driver with my pending suspended wooden floor. Any thoughts?

    Also, kinda blows the budget apart too! But I know where you guys are coming from when you talk about buying a sub only once.

    Andy P.
     
  12. Joe Abbeywood

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    Andy P, I have recently bought a MJ Acoustics Pro 50 and can only say that all the reviews are spot on. Take a look at their web site (www.mjacoustics.com) and read some of the testimonials. I auditioned almost all subs in the price range from £200 to £700 and found the MJ Pro 50 to be the best value for money. Its cheaper by almost 50% than that of the REL Q150 and it sounds better too. The finish is true class in satin black. Better than the impossible to wipe clean REL rough finish.

    Auditioning I found was best done in the sought of setup found at a Sevenoaks Store and your ears will lead you together with the sales staff. Beware though that salesmen always try to impose the addage that the more you pay the better it is. NOT SO with the M J Acoustics Pro 50.

    Go Buy an MJA Pro 50 and I know you will be as happy as I am. Or if bigger turns you on then audition a MJA Pro 100 which has twin 8"drivers and blows the Strata III away and its £599 WOW!.
    Good Luck!

    Joe Abbeywood
     
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