Subwoofer in a First Floor flat - how viable / worthwhile?

jimdriver2

Active Member
Recently upgraded all my HC gear. Doing that lead me to regularly read, on here and elsewhere, that the centre speaker and the sub are the most important elements.

As per the thread title I live in a first floor flat. It's part of a conversion of some essentially terraced houses. Means I've got one neighbour directly underneath me and one through the wall my HC stuff lives in.

We get on well with them and they're cool with the current setup. I obviously don't have it booming when watching action films but we're not needing to set the AVR into 'night mode' type settings or anything.

I don't really understand the details of exactly what a sub does with the low frequency sounds. I had a (pretty cheap) home cinema sub some years ago when I lived elsewhere and when that was turned on it really did make things like explosions and action scenes very loud.

What I'm wondering though is if I had a decent sub is there a way to have it handle the low frequency sounds that improved the overall audio quality without just making everything louder and critically not just sending loads of annoying bass audio through to my neighbours downstairs?

Is that something worth doing or will I be buying something and just not really taking advantage of what it can do?
 

fatboy frank

Well-known Member
Depending on what your current setup is, you might not even need a sub?

Do you feel that you are really missing out on anything as it is?
Adding a sub may quite possibly improve the overall sound of your existing setup by improving your bass, especially if you have small satellite speakers that are unable to produce the bass, also by taking some of the strain from your main speakers and if set up properly, will allow your main speakers a bit more freedom.

Bass is generally non directional and has a much longer wavelength, so is more likely to be heard/felt by your neighbours and unfortunately there is not a great deal you can do about that. You can use sound deadening material or acoustic treatments to isolate and give a better degree of control of the bass frequencies, however, this can get expensive and not always feasible in a living room environment.

What is your current "HC gear" how big and what shape is your room and what type of floor/walls do you have, lastly where do you sit in relationship to it?

Size restrictions (placement options) & budget for sub also need to be considered.

I live in a second floor apartment that is solidly constructed (proper blockwork walls as opposed to stud walls and plasterboard) and i have dual 18" sealed subs :D
 

Osamede

Member
Short of asking their permission or finding out when they are not at home, you're not going to get alone well with them after you install a subwoofer.
 
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Andy111

Active Member
I've had a xtz 12.17 edge in my top floor flat and no complaints but I was pretty sensible with the volume unless I knew they weren't in
 

jimdriver2

Active Member
Thanks for the replies guys. Sounds like it's worth giving it a miss. It's not like the bass sounds poor currently. I was just really trying to find out if I'd massively misunderstood something and that doesn't seem like it's the case.
 

fatboy frank

Well-known Member
It all depends what you are looking for or think you're missing?

"Ignorance is bliss" & "you don't know what you're missing until you find it" springs to mind!

Adding a sub may well bring fantastic results/improvements to your current setup, but not knowing what you've already got doesn't help or what sort of bass management system/room eq you already have.

If you are happy, then i'd leave it well alone otherwise you could end up going down the "Rabbit hole"
However, if you are serious, then any decent retailer should offer you a "Home Trial" as it all depends on your room/space and placement within that space as to how good it will be.
 

jimdriver2

Active Member
Oh yep sorry forgot to write what I've got.

The AVR is a Denon x2600h. The speaker setup is a 5.0.2 arrangement. The speakers are mostly all Wharfedale Diamond ones. Centre is 11CS. Front left and rights are Diamond 220's. The front height ones are D300 3D and from Saturday they're going to be up at the top of the wall. (Currently they're on top of the 220's in the bouncing the sound mode.) The surround speakers are Monitor Audio Bronze FX's that are fixed to the wall and facing in toward the MLP.

I'm really happy with the performance, especially when content has an Atmos track. I'm pretty careful with the volume and certain the AVR is working that hard with the relatively quiet volume stuff is going out at.

My thought was to try and get a home trial on a sub from somewhere and ask my neighbours to tell me what it was like, if it bothered them etc. As that is a bit of hassle my whole reason for asking the question here was to see if it was even worth doing.
 

luiscardoso88

Standard Member
Before I moved I was living with a friend of mine and I was using my BK Gemini II on a first floor with no issues whatsoever. Just don’t buy anything too powerful and watch the sound volume at night and you’ll be fine.
 

missinglink

Novice Member
There are two paths by which your bass will be transmitted to your surroundings...one is obviously via air vibrations which of course is desirable and the other is via whatever the subwoofer is directly coupled to (the floor).
You can decouple the sub to some extent and I would suggest a platform which absorbs the vibrations typically made from high density acoustic foam.
Over the years, I have tried spikes, rubber feet, concrete paving slabs all of which ended up transmitting vibrations to the floor (although some frequencies were less attenuated than others).

After reading about an acoustic 'platform' for a guitar amp to stop it transmitting to a stage, I bought one and decided to try it under my REL Strata II sub, and it was a revelation because not only did it make a big difference with floor vibrations but it sounded deeper and with better definition.
My neighbours below said they could not hear much (much to my surprise).
 

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