Which dual BK subwoofer setup for 100% music use?

Alex P79

Active Member
I am looking for advice on a dual BK subwoofer system for 100% music (2 channel) use.

First the basics as these may help:
Room is 3.4m x 6.5m x 2.4 high rectangular. Floor is carpet over concrete. House is detached.
Hifi system consists of Naim CD5si, Arcam Dv135 (SACD + digital out), Arcam D33 DAC, Arcam A28 amp all situated on rack at one end of the room between Tannoy Revolution 2 floorstanders which are mass filled, added internal bitumen pads (both made a big difference) and mounted on outriggers. I also have 2 x GIK 244 panels behind the speakers and 244 panels in the corners.

I have a Tannoy Revolution R-sub 15 (15 inch driver, dual front ports and large/heavy) and it has taken me the best part of 15 years to get it sounding as I wanted - it has now repaid this with becoming faulty🙄. I also have 2 x BK Gemini II subs (they have other uses normally) so I decided to put one either side of the rack between the speakers - after a short amount of setting up (a few minutes - not 15 years!) these subs have proven to me the benefit of sealed subs for music and also dual subs for ease of set-up/location. Apart from not going as low (or doubling up as a side table) this dual configuration is better than the Tannoy in almost every way. These were set up via low level connections from the stereo preamp of my A28 - very easy to do.

Which leads me to the question, which of the following combinations would be best suited to my needs:
2 x XXLS 200s - the cheapest and most compact option - no bigger than the Gemini II that I am using now but I assume better?
2 x P12-300SB - my preferred option visually and what I am leaning towards. Being larger they would also do a better job of hiding all the power cables for the rest of the system.
2 x XXLS 400s - the most expensive option but I understand than these are considered the best BK subs for music use - same size benefit as P12.
2 x Double Gem - this is more of an outside choice really but they look quite neat.
All but the Double Gems would be the DF versions.

I don’t want a monolith as they are huge, very heavy and being ported, perhaps not most suited to what I want. I also don’t really want to consider anything other than BK because:
1) It gets even more complicated.
2) BK is made in the UK and that matters to me.
3) Related to point 2 - BK are able to support their product service-wise years down the line. My Tannoy sub was made in China and parts/service is an issue - I assume this will be the case for most alternatives (Arendal, SVS etc. who use the made in China model). The exception will be JL who to my knowledge make their subs in the US but they are out of my budget.

Ultimately, in the long run I plan to upgrade the speakers to something like Tannoy Precision 6.2 LE (the UK made higher grade version), SF Sonnetto III or Fynne Audio F501SP (UK made version) so I would want the BKs to fit well at that level.

Any opinions would be greatly appreciated.
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
From that list. My money would be going on the P12. I owned a P12-300SB-PR (same sub with the addition of a passive radiator on the bottom). Was/is a great subwoofer. The only reason I sold it was because I wanted to go dual subs for my combined HT/Music setup & couldn't accommodate 2 of them. So I went with 2x SB2000 Pro's, which are:

1. Smaller physically
2. sealed, so great for music,
3. Bonus is they go a tad lower in frequency than either of the BK P12300SB's

Edit: AFAIK- the technical difference between the P12-300SB & xxls400 is this:

Post in thread 'BK Electronics P12-300SB Subwoofer Review' BK Electronics P12-300SB Subwoofer Review

FWIW: Further down the same thread it's suggested that in a pure music based system the XXLS400 is the better of the 2. Although there's also those that believe in listening terms, most won't hear a difference.

Maybe give BK a call. Tom gives great advice on which would be better based on system use etc
 
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Alex P79

Active Member
From that list. My money would be going on the P12. I owned a P12-300SB-PR (same sub with the addition of a passive radiator on the bottom). Was/is a great subwoofer. The only reason I sold it was because I wanted to go dual subs for my combined HT/Music setup & couldn't accommodate 2 of them. So I went with 2x SB2000 Pro's, which are:

1. Smaller physically
2. sealed, so great for music,
3. Bonus is they go a tad lower in frequency than either of the BK P12300SB's

Edit: AFAIK- the technical difference between the P12-300SB & xxls400 is this:

Post in thread 'BK Electronics P12-300SB Subwoofer Review' BK Electronics P12-300SB Subwoofer Review

FWIW: Further down the same thread it's suggested that in a pure music based system the XXLS400 is the better of the 2. Although there's also those that believe in listening terms, most won't hear a difference.

Maybe give BK a call. Tom gives great advice on which would be better based on system use etc
Hi Jester.

Thanks for the info and your experience. I will give Tom a call when I get a chance and see what he would recommend.

Alex
 

Alex P79

Active Member
I rang Tom and had a useful conversation. He recommended XXLS 200 or 400 for music but, given the size of the room, he suggested 2 x 400 would be best. He did say there are options to make a 400 look more like a PB-12 if I wanted it to, which is nice.

Out of interest I ran a few REW frequency sweeps this afternoon. Please bear in mind that I don’t have a microphone - I used my ears while sat in my listening position. The output on the laptop was set to high and volume on my amp at 40. I tend to listen between 35 - 45 depending upon source volume/my mood etc.
I discovered the following:
1) with a 0 - 20khz sweep, I can hear audible output up to circa 17khz.
2) My Tannoys on their own produce audible output from 25hz - yes that surprised me too and they got louder then trailed off a bit from 50 - 70 hz then got louder again.
3) With the 2 x Gemini II subs set to 45hz crossover and 12 o’clock gain, I started to hear things from about 25 hz again but the sound was more full up to circa 45 - 50 hz where it went quieter before becoming louder again at circa 70hz.
So interestingly 2 x Gemini II don’t so much add extension to the system rather than add loudness/volume in the 25 - 45 hz range. I suppose what I should have done it raised the crossover point and observed what effect if any that this would have on the slight dip between 50 and 70 hz.
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
I rang Tom and had a useful conversation. He recommended XXLS 200 or 400 for music but, given the size of the room, he suggested 2 x 400 would be best. He did say there are options to make a 400 look more like a PB-12 if I wanted it to, which is nice.
Great stuff.

I do think of the 2, the P12 is more aesthetically pleasing, but the 400 is technically better suited to music listening. But if they can make a 400 look like a P12 - well that's gotta be win-win right there!

Out of interest what is the size of your room?

Edit: ignore the above question - just see the answers in your 1st post! My room's 3m x 4.5m so I'm hoping my dual 2000 Pro's sound good in it!
 

roscopervis

Active Member
You can use your phone to get pretty accurate response graph from an app like Spectroid in the absence of a measurement mic. This will be able to help you figure out nulls or peaks.
 

Alex P79

Active Member
You can use your phone to get pretty accurate response graph from an app like Spectroid in the absence of a measurement mic. This will be able to help you figure out nulls or peaks.
I downloaded Spectroid (the basic version) and have used my iPad situated in my listening position - see photo. Please ignore the cable spaghetti. Volume on the amp set at 41 (goes from 0 - 72).

I am yet to run a frequency sweep but this is typical of what is coming through music wise - I have been listening to Daft Punk Random Access Memories. As you can see the bass region where the twin subs operate is flat - whether this is true or an issue with the I-pad microphone I have no idea!
E2F94F41-74FF-475D-8328-AC0B8E1B791C.png
AC7341ED-0800-4B18-86A7-F3210748387D.jpeg
 

roscopervis

Active Member
Music is a bit of a random chance as it is at all different levels. You can play your sweeps (see if you can do them slowly, over a number of seconds - 10 - 250hz over 15 seconds) so you can watch the peak of the line to see how it flows. Set it to FFT on the graph, Hamming for the window, 16384 for the FFT size and keep the peaks on Max.
 

Alex P79

Active Member
Don’t know if this help anyone/is of interest but this was the Meas. Sweep from REW. See peak line in yellow.
1B52B887-9BB5-4BC1-8072-FAFF715797F4.png


And this is the Linear Sweep - notice the higher frequencies don’t drop off as much. Again please look at the peak line in yellow.

114DBF8E-4B98-45B8-8004-E6389B13CC41.png
 

Alex P79

Active Member
Music is a bit of a random chance as it is at all different levels. You can play your sweeps (see if you can do them slowly, over a number of seconds - 10 - 250hz over 15 seconds) so you can watch the peak of the line to see how it flows. Set it to FFT on the graph, Hamming for the window, 16384 for the FFT size and keep the peaks on Max.
Have just seen this message - many thanks - will have a go!
 

pcourtney

Standard Member
I have similar room size to you, but the following
Tannoy Precision 6.4's - stereo fronts and just the one sub - as it happens a lovely BK Monolith finished in Yew veneer, and am really very happy with how well the BK underpins the 6.4's without noticing that a big sub is in the room :)

The Monolith has a a genuine in room response of 15Hz @ -3dB - my brother also bought a Monolith a few years back, and for a couple of weeks I ran two Monoliths in my lounge, and whilst I can see the advantages with maybe organ music and when you get two organs playing at the same time in the Cologne catherdral, and recordings like this one - Liszt, Bruckner, Strauss: Transcriptions for Organ - Winfried Bönig

this SACD is a true masterpiece - the review on the SA-CD site sums it up better than I can


but playing Living Stereo SACD's like these - Saint-Saëns: Symphony No. 3- Organ / Debussy: La Mer / Ibert: Escales (Ports of Call), and with it being pointed out to me by my daughter that the lowest note a full 88 key piano is 27.5H, and the organ down to 16.4Hz - the actual need for me to have two subs has now subsided and it just does not make enough difference to my listening enjoyment - so been there - done that - got the T shirt - I did experiment with two subs though, and it just did not make enough of a difference to me - just to give you another point of view :)
 

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Alex P79

Active Member
I have similar room size to you, but the following
Tannoy Precision 6.4's - stereo fronts and just the one sub - as it happens a lovely BK Monolith finished in Yew veneer, and am really very happy with how well the BK underpins the 6.4's without noticing that a big sub is in the room :)

The Monolith has a a genuine in room response of 15Hz @ -3dB - my brother also bought a Monolith a few years back, and for a couple of weeks I ran two Monoliths in my lounge, and whilst I can see the advantages with maybe organ music and when you get two organs playing at the same time in the Cologne catherdral, and recordings like this one - Liszt, Bruckner, Strauss: Transcriptions for Organ - Winfried Bönig

this SACD is a true masterpiece - the review on the SA-CD site sums it up better than I can


but playing Living Stereo SACD's like these - Saint-Saëns: Symphony No. 3- Organ / Debussy: La Mer / Ibert: Escales (Ports of Call), and with it being pointed out to me by my daughter that the lowest note a full 88 key piano is 27.5H, and the organ down to 16.4Hz - the actual need for me to have two subs has now subsided and it just does not make enough difference to my listening enjoyment - so been there - done that - got the T shirt - I did experiment with two subs though, and it just did not make enough of a difference to me - just to give you another point of view :)
Hi

Thanks for your reply. In the end and after a lot of experimenting with positioning etc. I bought another satin black Gemini II and run dual subwoofers with them positioned inline with the main speakers but on the outside of each one - this has had a noticeable effect on broadening the soundstage but the sound is very cohesive and integrated - I’m very happy.

I have also just purchased a pair of Piega Tmicro 60 AMT slender column speakers to use as over-specified rear speakers in the av system. The idea is that when I fancy a change with my Revolutions I swap them over - means I get to keep the Revolutions as I really like them. First impressions are that the Piegas are very clear at the top end and have great clarity - the Tannoys in comparison are more laid back but have a lovely natural mid range - I’m happy with both options.

Incidentally I don’t have to adjust the subwoofer settings at all when I swap the speakers over which is a major bonus!

Regards

Alex
 

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