Upgrading MA Radius subwoofer

Hoku

Active Member
So as not to derail the other thread, I’ve started a new one.


I’m considering upgrading my Monitor Audio Radius R370HD, which is very much the weak link in my system. It won’t be for a few months yet, but I’m starting the process of checking reviews and putting a shortlist together.

I’m not a novice: I’ve been into hifi for over 30 years and owned many different setups over this time, but my current system is very close to how I want it to be now.

However my sub is retained from several system upgrades ago, so I will admit to being less experienced when it comes to subs.
My room is about 3.5m x 4.5m, curtained and carpeted.

My system is set at 5.1. I have no interest in Atmos and my room and aesthetic choices mean that dual subs are not an option. My current sub is in the front right hand corner, which is where I would place its replacement.

My listening habits have changed over the years. I play CD’s, stream Tidal, watch quite a bit of multichannel music (live concerts such as Hans Zimmer, Stevie Wonder and some jazz and classical Blurays), and play 2.0 & 5.1 TV and watch Bluray movies.
Overall music vs movies is 50/50, although the musical performance of my system is more important to me. Music choices are very wide really: I’m a real fan of movie soundtracks, but also love jazz & funk, disco, world, classical, electronica and modern folk. Movie choices are similarly eclectic. I love the blockbusters such as Star Wars, Interstellar, Le Mans ‘66, Arrival and the like, dramas such as Viceroy’s House, Woman in Gold, Sarah’s Key etc, but I also love stuff like Zootropolis, Trolls and Spies in Disguise.


I play two channel music in straight two channel, unless I’m playing something like Massive Attack or Submotion Orchestra that tends to use bass in the 30-50hz region. So at present I tend to solely use the sub for multi-channel music and movies.

My DALI Rubicon 2’s are just a few months old and I’ve spent some time tweaking the crossover and LFE settings on my Anthem to get it to my liking. With previous speaker systems I’d tended to set the crossover at 80hz (or 60hz on my previous floorstanders) and LFE channel up to 120hz, but an 80hz crossover robbed the DALI’s of one of their greatest strengths. Although they only go down to 50hz, what they do produce in tandem with my Anthem between 50hz and 100hz is some of the most sublime midbass I’ve ever heard. The texture, speed and naturalness is just glorious, so I now play the DALI’s full range, and it’s a big improvement for music and movies.

I keep the MA sub LFE up to 100hz. Although it adds nothing to the texture in the midbass region, it does have the effect of widening the sound stage (also a DALI strength) still further. But below where the DALI’s bottom out is, despite Anthem’s Room Correction, quite ‘one-note’, and comparatively slow.

I don’t have a huge space for a replacement sub, so I’ve been looking primarily at 12” sealed subs, with the exception of the XTZ, mainly due to its flexibility with plugging one or two ports and its EQ options, and its footprint is still reasonably small - its just a 100mm or so taller than the sealed subs which is fine.

Sorry for all that preamble, but it puts you in the picture hopefully. Anyway, here’s my shortlist so far;

REL HT/1205: £699. Looks like it might hit that nice balance between music and HT and the price seems very reasonable. And who of us doesn’t like bang for the buck? Compared to the XTZ, the thought of buying from my local Richers is certainly appealing. But reviews I’ve read about its musical ability seem contradictory.

XTZ 12.17 Edge: 690 Euros - with current exchange rate plus VAT that will be applied by UK customs should end up being £735. Despite the VAT added, the sheer power of that sub is amazing for the price. Again seems to sit at that midway point between musicality and HT performance which is probably what I’m after. The main negative with the XTZ is the cost and all round faff of returning it to Sweden if there’s a problem. My current sub needed a replacement board after a couple of years, so that’s in the back of my mind.

FYNE AUDIO F3-12: £800 Doesn’t seem to go especially low, but the reviews seem so positive that it’s worth including- although I really don’t like the black ash finish - that could ultimately be a deal breaker.

SVS SB2000 Pro: £999 (gloss black preferred). Size and finish seem ideal, but do I need to pay for all those DSP settings when I’ll be using the Anthem’s ARC anyway? Doesn’t seem to add much to the XTZ for the extra money.

REL T9i: £999 I had to include this really. I appreciate this doesn’t win on the spec wars, but may just do what I want between the 28hz and 50hz. I can’t imagine it suffering from the one-note bass which is the principal problem with my current sub.

SVS SB3000 Pro: £1349 (gloss black preferred). Awesome power and value seems great, until you look at the XTZ which is almost half the price.

The BK XXLS400, had been on the list, but a Class A/B sub without Auto on/off or 12V trigger is prehistoric IMO, so that’s off the list now.

It’s worth talking budget. I’m always keen for a bargain and good value, regardless of the actual price, (much of my system is either used or open-box. Very little has been paid at full RRP) but if it means that spending more gets a significantly superior performance, that’s fine I’ll just wait a little longer. Having said that, my ultimate goal is to add a power amp for the front three 4-ohm DALI’s which are quite power hungry, so any money saved on the sub I can put toward the power amp. So if I can get a sub near the £700 mark that’ll keep me happy, I don’t see any reason to throw more money at the issue.

I guess what I’m looking for is a sub that will add speed, texture and a degree of nuance below where the DALI’s tail off, in the 20-50hz region. I’m sure all of the above subs will outperform my MA between 50-100hz, so it’ll achieve at least what my MA does in that respect at filling out the soundstage. I’m less worried about midbass, because the DALI’s already have that covered to an exceptionally high standard. So I’m searching for that sweet spot somewhere in between music and movies. A good all-rounder.

So if you own any of the above, or have heard them first hand, I’d be interested in your experiences. Obviously I’d love to demo, but that’s not looking possible for some time yet.
 

Hoku

Active Member
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Some pics to give you an idea of room layout and size.
 

Corbaatje

Active Member
I owned the XTZ 10.17 Edge and SVS SB2000.
I preferred the SVS, better integration and better sounding.

A sub is a speaker, did you check if your current sub position is a good one?
A better sub will not bring much if placed wrong.

ARC is better then the DSP in almost any sub, so no need for extra DSP.
 

Hoku

Active Member
Thanks for your experience. Noted, and interesting. The position seems OK. It’s not too boomy or localized. But looking back, I can see the MA was quite expensive for what it was, compared to what’s on offer from specialist sub manufacturers. And it’s a 10” downfiring sub with about 200w, so quite a bit down on power and speaker driver area compared to the ones shortlisted.

Others have mentioned the Arendal 1961. I’d probably be looking at the S for size (12.2” driver), but intuitively having a driver facing the right hand wall doesn’t feel right.
 

Liammonty123

Well-known Member
As above, If you’re going to be spending the money upgrading the sun, I’d also seriously consider getting a UMIK1 and learning basic REW, so as to be able to see if you’re current sub in its current position gives a good response at the MLP, if it doesn’t then an upgrade may not bring you what you are looking for!
 

Hoku

Active Member
Every day’s a school day! Thanks for the advice.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
As above, If you’re going to be spending the money upgrading the sun, I’d also seriously consider getting a UMIK1 and learning basic REW, so as to be able to see if you’re current sub in its current position gives a good response at the MLP, if it doesn’t then an upgrade may not bring you what you are looking for!

Here is the response MLP 1,30m from left wall, 0,5m from rear wall with the sub at right front corner. The dip gets little better for listeners closer left wall. Second picture rear right corner with same MLP position. If more listeners closer to left wall there is some bigger suckout around 80hz.
 
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Hoku

Active Member
Actually that's completely fine. I'm not worried about nulls that high up because I'm perfectly happy with the results I'm getting at the moment above 50hz. Anthem ARC seems to smooth out those sawtooth edges just nicely.

So that does make me think that an old review of my current sub I found was on the right track. Actually the review wasn't as bad as I expected overall, but it did say "The Monitor Audio's not the last word in precision, though, allowing the inward and outward edges of notes to occasionally become a little fuzzy."

I'd concur with that really. So I'm just looking for some better PRAT lower than 50hz. Most of the amps on the shortlist are at least double the power of mine, so that usually helps if the damping factor is half decent.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Actually that's completely fine. I'm not worried about nulls that high up because I'm perfectly happy with the results I'm getting at the moment above 50hz. Anthem ARC seems to smooth out those sawtooth edges just nicely.

So that does make me think that an old review of my current sub I found was on the right track. Actually the review wasn't as bad as I expected overall, but it did say "The Monitor Audio's not the last word in precision, though, allowing the inward and outward edges of notes to occasionally become a little fuzzy."

I'd concur with that really. So I'm just looking for some better PRAT lower than 50hz. Most of the amps on the shortlist are at least double the power of mine, so that usually helps if the damping factor is half decent.

I think you would be setting your system different way (normal) when you get "real" subwoofer as something like SB3000 will give you mid-bass from different world to MA or Dalis, so no need for them to play so low which is also asking more juice from Anthem!

As a side note it`s rare to see one using identical LCR as in three bookshelfs placed at same height and orientation. :) Most companies doesn´t sell the speakers individually. Anyway great to see this and i bet those sound great! :smashin:
 

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