Subwoofer to go with PMC surround system

Jabes

Active Member
I'm thinking about a PMC surround system:

GB1i fronts, DB1Mci centre, wafer 1 rears

I had been advised by my dealer to look at a REL B1 or B2 - but I really need the system to be as discrete as possible.

Has anyone any advice as to a discrete sub that would go well with these speakers?

Best wishes
James
 

KelvinS1965

Distinguished Member
I've got a BK Monolith with my PMC DB1+ fronts and TB2+ centre and it blends in nicely both sound wise and appearance wise. The Oak finish is a good match from the two different suppliers.

Pictures of my room in 'My Setup' thread link in my signature.
 

Jabes

Active Member
From what I've seen the monolith doesn't exactly fall into the category of discrete?

Or is it actually smaller than it looks in pictures?
 

KelvinS1965

Distinguished Member
From what I've seen the monolith doesn't exactly fall into the category of discrete?

Or is it actually smaller than it looks in pictures?

I've got so used to mine (cunningly disquised as a lamp table :D) that I don't really notice it......plus it took my missus three visits into the living room before she noticed it. :D Having said that I missed the word 'discrete' in your original post, so maybe you might have to consider other models if you don't agree with my description. :)
 

PSM1

Distinguished Member
I have a T1 with my PMC setup. I believe it is smaller than the B range hence a little more discrete. It seems to go loud and deep enough. Sounds great with my setup, it is also significantly cheaper than the B range. Have a listen to a few different options to se what you like.
 

Jabes

Active Member
Are the RELs good for moderate volume? My current set-up doesn't have a sub, and whilst I would like one to plug the gaps I don't want to be too aggressive.

Just fill out the bass nicely and provide some LFE's but not blow the roof off. I have young children that might be sleeping :)
 

HiFiRuss71

Distinguished Member
In all honesty, the B Series aren't that big and their upright format is quite efficient in terms of floor space. They are, however quite expensive for the performance on offer, especially in the case of the B2. The B1 is a good sub and would work very well in that, or many other systems.

Assuming you have the £1700(ish) a B1 requires, but really want something smaller still, then you owe it to yourself to search out the Velodyne DD12. The RRP is higher than the REL, but you're more likely to find a discount and the built in room equalisation software is second to none.

Russell
 

Jabes

Active Member
The REL B2 is probably at the top end of what I would want to spend. But if spending more gives me what I want, then I would probably find a way to stretch the budget. However, I've not owned a sub before so I don't really know what I'm missing out on.

What is the normal ratio for price of sub to price of speakers?

Best wishes
James
 

PSM1

Distinguished Member
The T1 is certainly not too aggressive as I too have a young one upstairs asleep in the evenings (have had no problems so far and I run it all the time). I was lucky and managed to get a professional to set it up and it really adds to the PMCs without overshadowing them or sounding too much.
 

Jabes

Active Member
The T1 is certainly not too aggressive as I too have a young one upstairs asleep in the evenings (have had no problems so far and I run it all the time).

I've had a look through the REL range on their web site, and the 'R' range seem to "blend" in more... (in a visual sense) any opinions on these?
 

HiFiRuss71

Distinguished Member
The REL B2 is probably at the top end of what I would want to spend. But if spending more gives me what I want, then I would probably find a way to stretch the budget. However, I've not owned a sub before so I don't really know what I'm missing out on.

What is the normal ratio for price of sub to price of speakers?
There isn't a ratio as large subs can deliver staggering performance quite cheaply, whilst you really have to throw money at a small sub to break the laws of physics that the big sub harnesses naturally.

For instance, the Velodyne DD12 has 1500w (3000w peak) and yet can't get within 10dB of a humble £400 Monolith (300/600w) at 20Hz*. SPLs aren't the only concern of course but in most measured qualitative and quantitative respects a big sub will outperform a small one for the same price.

To put the Monolith size in persprective, it's bigger than a B1. That said, Big subs tend to act as tables, so whilst they are big, most people don't know that they're actually a speaker. You decide.

Of course, given that you haven't owned a sub before, you may be pleasantly surprised by what some of the best compact subs can deliver at surprisingly modest prices. The likes of the REL T-1 and the less commonly known BK Electronics XLS-300/PR (snappy name that, I know) when set up well, will show all but the best large speakers a clean pair of heals in bass depth and quality. Either will stuff the GB1s bass out of sight, but the emphasis is on correct setup as with any sub.

Don't bother with the REL R Series they're not very good and REL themselves do better for less.

Russell

*Okay, I realise the servo control has something to do with that, but even so distortion is already higher than the Monolith, so turning the servo down wouldn't resolve that.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

grimep

Active Member
Funny this Q should come up today cos Ive just added a sub to my PMC surround setup after 18 months of 5.0 :rolleyes:

I had a PMC TLE1 for a week, and though I'm going to remain very brand-loyal to the PMC cause, it just failed to move me. Sounded fine with movies, but a bit lacking with music. Maybe being a demo unit it had been abused, but I dont think that was the issue. And for the thick end of 2 grand I'd expect to be left with a big grin on my face.

So today I've been manhandling an SVS PC12-Plus into place. The sound is fabulous, exactly what I wanted... its like 3 or 4 octaves have been added to what my DB1s can do. To be honest I'd been a bit dissapointed with my system, which is several grand's worth of Quad, Arcam and PMC niceness. This sub had done the job.

Did you say discrete? :rotfl:

Thats the last thing this beast is. But if you want to feel like there's a double bass in the room with you thumping out a bassline, you're going to need something that's approaching the size of a real instrument. I guess youve chosen PMC for that recording-studio monitoring quality... ? I wanted to hear what musicians hear when they're pounding a final mix out of studio monitors, and the SVS has given those clean powerful missing octaves.

Havent tried it with a film yet :rotfl:
 

BAD Dave

Active Member
I am starting to think about upgrading my subwoofer (SVS SB12+) to something bigger and better, to go with my PMC floorstanders.
I am considering the Monolith, an SVS box or cylinder, or a REL B series (Crustyloafer's suggestion).
I would be interested to hear the views of any PMC users about which subs go well with PMC floorstanders.

Grimep - have you tried your SVS cylinder out properly yet? How is it?
 

Ian J

Banned
I would be interested to hear the views of any PMC users about which subs go well with PMC floorstanders.

It shouldn't be relevant which make of sub goes well with your loudspeakers as the better the sub the better the overall sound will be irrespective of make.

If you are thinking of upgrading your SVS SB12 + I wouldn't bother with the Monolith as it wouldn't be sufficient of an upgrade to warrant the outlay in my book but if you are happy with a cylinder the new PC Plus or even better the PC13 Ultra will give you a considerable improvement as I have just found by doing exactly the same thing
 

BAD Dave

Active Member
It shouldn't be relevant which make of sub goes well with your loudspeakers as the better the sub the better the overall sound will be irrespective of make.

Good point. Quality is important, not make or tonal matching.

I wouldn't bother with the Monolith as it wouldn't be sufficient of an upgrade to warrant the outlay in my book but if you are happy with a cylinder the new PC Plus or even better the PC13 Ultra will give you a considerable improvement as I have just found by doing exactly the same thing

I thought the Monolith would have been a good cost effective upgrade. Perhaps more in power & depth of bass but not so much in quality?

Ian, what PMC speaker do you have with your SVS cylinder?
 

IronGiant

Moderator
By "exact same thing" I think Ian means he's upgraded an SB12+, not that he has PMC speakers...

Dave
 

grimep

Active Member
Grimep - have you tried your SVS cylinder out properly yet? How is it?


Not a total, properly planned out listen yet. I'd been really worried that it wouldn't live up to expectations, specially with no audition, just recommendations and hype ... also, with hifi kit, a lot of your perception of sound improvements is psychological, and I suspect that people who have bought kit that isn't quite what they hoped for tend to think there's been a great improvement rather than admit theyv'e made a duff purchase.......

But no such worries with the SVS :D Its the kind of device that when added to your system has you digging out long-forgotten discs to play again... depending on whether the recording goes low you suddenly realise you were missing loads of sound.

So far I've stuck the computer animated film Final Fantasy in... not because its a great film, really it was the first thing to hand. In the first 5 minutes there are a couple of scenes in space with spaceships rumbling past. I didn't have the volume up high but the way the room suddenly throbbed made me jump out of the seat!

Musicwise, I grabbed a handful of random discs for a spin. One track in particular had a similar ***?! effect, the disc is called Skampler, a compilation of tracks from techno label Skam from quite a few years back. The track's by Jega, a sort of instrumental electronica meets D&B. It does this weird thing with the sub bass which I would never even have known about but the PC12 just pushes out an amazing pulse of sound. Had me searching out for other stuff by Jega..

Build quality is great, and it takes 2 people to lift it... you really feel like you are getting your money's worth even before you've heard it. Couldn't praise this sub highly enough....
 

HiFiRuss71

Distinguished Member
I thought the Monolith would have been a good cost effective upgrade. Perhaps more in power & depth of bass but not so much in quality?
I dont often disagree with Ian, but I will on this one.

Offering a whole 12dB of extra output at 20Hz, with 50% less distortion at the same frequency, plus a response flat to 18Hz against the SB12s 26Hz, the difference isn't in the least bit subtle and a clear demonstration of big box superiority when it comes to effortless reproduction of deep bass.

The Monolith also offers cleaner output at every frequency and volume beneath 50Hz too; It is a better sounding sub and the more you turn it up the wider the gap sounds. For the likely £100 outlay (after flogging the SB12) it would be an extremely cost effective upgrade and better than any SVS with music up to the 13Us.

You can clearly do better than both subs yet mentioned, but it costs. The B1 (the pick of the B Series) is a very nice sub with a very high standard of finish and well worth a long hard look, especially if you're looking for something to underpin the FB1s with music that is reasonably discrete in terms of size and add a dollop of low end over what you've already got.

That's not to say the 13Us aren't good with music - they're easily SVS's best music subs yet because the same set of criteria that satisfy good movie reproduction, satisfy good music reproduction. No, it's that their awesome room wobbling movie ability (and this is way in advance of the B1) comes with a significant size penalty and the finish and detail is relatively basic to hit the aggressive price points they occupy. Again, it's not bad (but it's not REL), but there is a lot more of it to look at!

For pure movie use without compromise, the 13Us are a no brainer, but if there are other considerations, they're not the only answer.

Russell
 

Ian J

Banned
I dont often disagree with Ian, but I will on this one.

Offering a whole 12dB of extra output at 20Hz, with 50% less distortion at the same frequency, plus a response flat to 18Hz against the SB12s 26Hz, the difference isn't in the least bit subtle and a clear demonstration of big box superiority when it comes to effortless reproduction of deep bass.

I assume that you are getting your figures from Ilkka's subwoofer tests but don't forget that those measurements were taken outside without the benefit of any room gains which will lessen the differences between the two subs in terms of real world performance.

I will have to defer to your opinion regarding the Monolith being a "better sounding sub" as you have more experience of one than I do but even so I would still think it adviseable to skip one link in the upgrade chain if he can afford both the higher price and physical size of the Ultra.
 

Crustyloafer

Distinguished Member
You can clearly do better than both subs yet mentioned, but it costs. The B1 (the pick of the B Series) is a very nice sub with a very high standard of finish and well worth a long hard look, especially if you're looking for something to underpin the FB1s with music that is reasonably discrete in terms of size and add a dollop of low end over what you've already got.

That's not to say the 13Us aren't good with music - they're easily SVS's best music subs yet because the same set of criteria that satisfy good movie reproduction, satisfy good music reproduction. No, it's that their awesome room wobbling movie ability (and this is way in advance of the B1) comes with a significant size penalty and the finish and detail is relatively basic to hit the aggressive price points they occupy. Again, it's not bad (but it's not REL), but there is a lot more of it to look at!

I would agree withh Russell there. If you are after something that offers a really significant improvement over what you already have, is relatively discreet and has the fit and finish to match the lovely PMCs you already havre thne the REL B1 would be the one the look at. I just did a demo yesterday of the B1 in conjunction with the PMC OB1i, CB6i and TB2i and it sounded utterly sublime.

As Russell also points out there are lower cost alternatives that are said to offer similar if not better performance for less money. However these are physically much larger products and a lot less likely to be finished to the same high standard as you get with the REL B Series or the models above it.
 

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