Subwoofer noob, please recommend uber budget, and setup

slim01

Active Member
TLDR - I am a TOTAL sub noob.
What can you get for around £220?
New or used.

-
Usage:
music is all that really matters really (but about 50% music, 20% movies/tv, 30% gaming).


Speakers:
KEF q550
(58Hz-28kHz)
(old) Q55.2 +upgraded q5 tweeter
(40hz-27khz)
Q6c Centre.
2 kef eggs as rears.

Amp:
onkyo tx-sr508 (90wpc).

Room:
small/med lounge, V-shaped roof (attic conversion).
Neighbours both sides!

---
had amazing KEF q55.2's for 20 years in 5.0 and finally "upgraded" to q550, largely due to cosmetic reasons.

The q55.2 are SO bassy I NEVER felt the need for a sub. They go low but are often boomy (i tried placement, bungs, amp), lacking a tight punch.
I Had a KEF cube once and sold it as didn't feel it added anything apart from complaints.

Could have got q750 (with the same size 6.5" driver as q55.2) but some reviews said the bass was boomier, contesting the exact point of the upgrade, and that q550 or q350 (bookshelves) +sub would "cover a bigger hz range" anyway.

So...
I have some general subwoofer noob questions:
1) down/forward/side fire; does it matter? I want to keep the bass IN the room, so is forward firing best?
2) does size and hz ratings on spec matter: should I be looking to go lower than 40hz on my old kefs, or will say a 10" sub just suck at doing accurate 50 or 55hz house music basslines?
3) is rca y cable best quality?
4) how the hell do I setup the thing? High pass low pass, what crossover setting, phase on or off etc. Feel I need a degree.

Thanks in advance :D
 
Last edited:

slim01

Active Member
The new wharfdale sw150 looks tasty at £150, will 10" fill the q550 to q55 gap range ok though? (the 40-60hz)?

---
USED...
£70-£100 REL quake
£150 REL Q150e
£150-£250 REL t-zero

------
NEW...

£120 Yamaha NSSW050
8", forward fire side ported, 28-200hz, 50w no crossover setting
-
£130 Polk Audio PSW10e
-
£149 Wharfdale Diamond sw150
White, 9.8", 35-110hz, 150w rms,
what-hi 5star review

-
£169 Cambridge Audio SX120 richer
8" forward fire, rear port
-
(£170 q acoustics 3070s
twin 6.7inch forward fire, rear ported, but only goes to )
-
£230 q acoustics 3060s
7.9" slimline side fire, 35-250hz, 150w
-
£240 Klipsch r-8sw
8" cube, downfire, 38-120hz, 150w peak, 50w rms
-
£270 Klipsch r-100sw
10" forward fire, 32hz-120hz
 

IWC Dopplel

Distinguished Member
Buy second hand as you will upgrade with a sub 3 figure sub budget, its inevitable !
 

slim01

Active Member
So you're saying anythjng below a grand isn't going to do me enough justice? 😂 😂 😂 Wow thought I only needed a tiny little boost haha

II've had 5.0 for 20 years, I'd be surprised if I get the temptation!

What would you go for used? And should I go 7 8 or 10 inch?
 

slim01

Active Member

MaryWhitehouse

Well-known Member
I use two of the sw150s for music and I’m very pleased with them. If I was to upgrade it would be BK400s but I’d want to hear them to know the difference, which is difficult.
Other than recommending the Wharfedales at the bottom of the market as a rule I’d look at buying a big driver with good size amp. I think the Wharfedale is 500w and in my moderate 4.5 m square room they’re turned about ¾ of the way up to blend well and not boom. I use the high level speaker inputs from my power amp as I found that blended best.
 

slim01

Active Member
I use two of the sw150s for music and I’m very pleased with them. If I was to upgrade it would be BK400s but I’d want to hear them to know the difference, which is difficult.
Other than recommending the Wharfedales at the bottom of the market as a rule I’d look at buying a big driver with good size amp. I think the Wharfedale is 500w and in my moderate 4.5 m square room they’re turned about ¾ of the way up to blend well and not boom. I use the high level speaker inputs from my power amp as I found that blended best.
Ahhhh that's great I was hoping someone with the wharfdales sw150 would reply as that's what looks the best regarding the specs above and what hi fi review!

So you say get the biggest driver, but if you want punch, wouldn't you go for a smaller driver? Say the twin 7"? Maybe I don't understand subs.

Seems weird also the cheaper units are the better specced ones.

So 150w rms the wharfdale is rated for is actually a 500w sub? I've never got rms vs normal wattage, and I see most subs above just are rated at 150w at 50w rms. So that wharfdale is a bit of a monster?
 

MaryWhitehouse

Well-known Member
So you say get the biggest driver, but if you want punch, wouldn't you go for a smaller driver? Say the twin 7"? Maybe I don't understand subs.

Seems weird also the cheaper units are the better specced ones.

So 150w rms the wharfdale is rated for is actually a 500w sub? I've never got rms vs normal wattage, and I see most subs above just are rated at 150w at 50w rms. So that wharfdale is a bit of a monster?

Sorry getting numbers mixed up, it is 150w.

I'd suggest big driver jus because of the physics of what a bigger driver can reproduce against a smaller driver. For music I'd avoid terms like punch and slam and just look for reproducing music how you think it should be.
 

slim01

Active Member
Sorry getting numbers mixed up, it is 150w.

I'd suggest big driver jus because of the physics of what a bigger driver can reproduce against a smaller driver. For music I'd avoid terms like punch and slam and just look for reproducing music how you think it should be.
Awesome. Well I went for the wharfdale, seems to be great value for the money, esp if diminishing returns is a thing on subs. I'm sure the RELS and BK are good but £1000 is a heck of a lot of money and would probs be better spent on an amp for me anyway (not sure my amp is even doing my small ish q550 justice).

I'm sure the klipsch ain't bad at only £280 also, but the 10" is double the price and £150 is a lot of money when you're on basically minimum wage.

Will have to find some music with sub 30hz tones! 😂 😂 😂 Any idea how I can know what hz my tunes are at?
 

MaryWhitehouse

Well-known Member
Will have to find some music with sub 30hz tones! 😂 😂 😂 Any idea how I can know what hz my tunes are at?

For that and lots of other fun you need REW software and a UMIK microphone. Not my idea of fun though I prefer to use my ears and get what I like rather than what theory says is right.
 

rccarguy2

Distinguished Member
Use a higher crossover on the Q55 also move further away from back way. I used to have Q55 and yeah quite boomy in bass region the bigger Q75 much tighter

£200 won't get you much, I've got a SW150 it isn't bad but I'd say get something a bit better.
 

slim01

Active Member
Use a higher crossover on the Q55 also move further away from back way. I used to have Q55 and yeah quite boomy in bass region the bigger Q75 much tighter

£200 won't get you much, I've got a SW150 it isn't bad but I'd say get something a bit better.
Got q550 now.

Couldn't really put the q55 any further away from the walls than they already are (a good 30cm) and it's a bit of an annoyance.

I'm hoping the non ported q550 will keep the bass in the room but not sure that's how bass works and will maybe need to research bass traps?
I'm in a c shaped roof attic conversion... Didn't notice it as much in other houses but it's like bass is on low, until I move my head into one of the corners or go downstairs.... Or, whack the volume/bass right up... And then in the corners the bass is earthshakingly loud 😂 😂
 

rccarguy2

Distinguished Member
Using bass management will help, try it out, set your mains to small 160hz (sub set to yes) you'll notice bass reduction in the mains. Good method if your speakers are too big for the room and there's too much bass gain down low.
 

slim01

Active Member
Use a higher crossover on the Q55 also move further away from back way. I used to have Q55 and yeah quite boomy in bass region the bigger Q75 much tighter

£200 won't get you much, I've got a SW150 it isn't bad but I'd say get something a bit better.
Also what do you mean use a higher crossover?

Tbh I've never played with any crossover settings in amps.
Or do you mean on the sub? My understanding is if the speaker goes down to 50hz you would set the crossover on the sub to 50hz also so that it doesn't start playing until your other speakers bottom out, because you don't want the sub doing the job your floorstanders are doing, right?

And what would you say is better for £200 ish? That's my budget or I have to wait ages with little q550 bass lol
 

slim01

Active Member
Using bass management will help, try it out, set your mains to small 160hz (sub set to yes) you'll notice bass reduction in the mains. Good method if your speakers are too big for the room and there's too much bass gain down low.
That's awesome didn't know that. Always had sub to no as never had one so assumed to leave it off.
And always had q55 as large. What does that actually do? Large just sets the bass to come though them, and if small, bass is reduced?
 

rccarguy2

Distinguished Member
Your method is if you have a stereo amp, you send full range to sub and speakers, then adjust the subs own crossover to suit

But since you have a AVR then you use bass management in your AVR. Try small 80hz for all. If you have a option in the AVR for sub, try 80-120hz. On the sub itself put the crossover dial to maximum. Relicabate.

I'd say you want a XLS200 minimum. 10" or 12" driver with 300W+
 

slim01

Active Member
For that and lots of other fun you need REW software and a UMIK microphone. Not my idea of fun though I prefer to use my ears and get what I like rather than what theory says is right.
Same... That doesn't sound much fun tbh, then again neither is making loads of accidental bass noises farts and earthquakes and having the Mrs go mental hahahaha

Just spoke to a guy on another thread though he was trying to help someone with poor bass, flat tones and rattle on q550 and the guy said there's a playlist on Spotify that goes through the different tones to try (to see if both speakers were doing it)
 

rccarguy2

Distinguished Member
You should not set your q55 as large they're not full range
 

slim01

Active Member
You should not set your q55 as large they're not full range
What is full range then I must be confused? 40hz is lower than most subs and goes up to like 27khz?
 

rccarguy2

Distinguished Member
What is full range then I must be confused? 40hz is lower than most subs and goes up to like 27khz?


Full range is down to 20hz. Your speakers are incapable of playing that, so a sub receives those frequencies from the lfe and the other bass managed channels.

With bass managment your speakers receive 80hz and up or whatever you set the individual or single crossover point.

For two channel music ie cd full range/pure direct is fine most speakers will be ok, even bookshelf. But for movies you really don't want to be sending full range to speakers.

I have mine set to small 60hz and my speakers bare way bigger much lower frequency ability being with 3x8" drivers each
 

password1

Distinguished Member
I'd avoid the QA3070.. Common amp failures and not very deep.

Consider a used bk Gemini 2 or xls200, usually anywhere between £100-£200 depending on age, condition and whether accessories are included.
 

slim01

Active Member
Full range is down to 20hz. Your speakers are incapable of playing that, so a sub receives those frequencies from the lfe and the other bass managed channels.

With bass managment your speakers receive 80hz and up or whatever you set the individual or single crossover point.

For two channel music ie cd full range/pure direct is fine most speakers will be ok, even bookshelf. But for movies you really don't want to be sending full range to speakers.

I have mine set to small 60hz and my speakers bare way bigger much lower frequency ability being with 3x8" drivers each

Wow guess this is one of those "depends who you ask" kind of things.

-Bk sell a "full range" speaker, 30hz-17k,
-the Internet says what the human ear can hear (which seems to range but many saying sub 30hz is pointless),
-you say 20hz (didn't even know dedicated subs went that low tbh)
-and pretty sure the shop who sold the q55.2 to me said the spec was bang on full range (40hz - 20khz), sub not needed but let's them "breathe". 😂 😂 😂

Tbh it's all getting a bit too confusing for me. I forgot the HiFi world was like this, and the only thing that remains true is listen with your own ears I guess.

Shame about covid. Heck the q55 might even sound better than q550 +sub. I will just have to have a play after I've set them up tonight and see what this wharfdale 10" sounds like.
I'll try the settings you've mentioned as well thanks , honestly just thought as had no sub and they're large, I'd set to large 😂
 

slim01

Active Member
Honestly though, bk, rel, good sub, bad sub I can see myself sending it back anyway if the neighbours complain during testing, the q550 would likely follow if bass is rubbish.

I asked the guys at sevenoaks and then richer which is better to produce noticeable bass without upsetting neighbours and again got two totally different answers lol.

-Seven Oaks said go for a tiny REL 6" t zero, smaller driver would be more neighbour friendly...
-richer said bass is bass, it'll go through walls, may as well get a speaker that covers a bigger range and just get a decent 10"
 

rccarguy2

Distinguished Member
They're both right, bass is bass no matter what you do it'll travel. A less thunderous sub won't shake the room as much as a big sub.

However the rel t has tiny driver, barely better than your speakers in low frequency ability, and expensive.

If you just want a cheap but decent build sub look at bk subs. There's the Gemini, double Gemini, xls 200 and xls400. Monolith and monolith plus
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Honestly though, bk, rel, good sub, bad sub I can see myself sending it back anyway if the neighbours complain during testing, the q550 would likely follow if bass is rubbish.

I asked the guys at sevenoaks and then richer which is better to produce noticeable bass without upsetting neighbours and again got two totally different answers lol.

-Seven Oaks said go for a tiny REL 6" t zero, smaller driver would be more neighbour friendly...
-richer said bass is bass, it'll go through walls, may as well get a speaker that covers a bigger range and just get a decent 10"

Call this number below tomorrow, it`s for BK Electronics but it is their other side of company (Colosussxb) which sells new grade-b products cheaper. Ask do they have any BK Gemini II there or coming soon. Naturally they will ask which finish you like.
Phone: 01702511900

This model, you would save roughly 30£ or so if they have one.

The new Q550 should be less bass heavy quite considerably compared to what you got. Leave the space you can behind/sides and if possible don`t lay/listen against rear wall as that will make things sound worse. Moving the seat/couch forward small amount can make positive difference.
 

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