Audiophiles telling me subs suck. Because real stereo is 2 speakers. True or false?

giocap

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I wanted a sub to complement 2 bookshelf speakers with poor bass.
Audiophiles in my area say subs suck.
Reasons:
1.sound comes from 3 different points , should come from 2 (only stereo music listening for me)
2. Hard to configure and balance with speakers, so you are constantly setting it up-tuning it.
3. "Detached sound" you lose immersivness cause the lower bass comes out of another place. So intruments that are half in the lower mids and half in the deep bass sound wierd.
(I thought super low bass was omnidirectional so this couldnt happen idk.)


I since then got frightened and got a pair of used jamo's tower speakers that have enough bass for me.

I ask myselfe Were they right? Or is it BS?
 
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podknocker

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A bit pedantic, but stereo derives from the Greek, stereós, meaning 'solid'. The illusion of a solid aural image, constructed from 2 or more speakers. There's also 5.1 channel stereo and a sub just underpins, augments, or enhances, the bass produced by any other number of stereo channels. It's all about the seamless integration of a sub. The room's size and shape will determine the levels you can produce, without resorting to bass traps, or room correction, via DSP etc. If you need a sub, then fine. I don't have the space and I'm not really into bass anyway.
 
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giocap

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A bit pedantic, but stereo derives from the Greek, stereós, meaning 'solid'. The illusion of a solid aural image, constructed from 2 or more speakers. There's also 5.1 channel stereo and a sub just underpins, augments, or enhances, the bass produced by any other number of stereo channels It's all about the seamless integration of a sub. The room's size and shape will determine the levels you can produce, without resorting to bass traps, or DSP etc. If you need a sub, then fine. I don't have the space and I'm not really into bass anyway.
Culture is never pedantic. Dont be ashamed of knowledge.
 

podknocker

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Many years ago, I was in an electrical shop and the assistant couldn't make a customer understand why having 2 TV speakers, didn't necessarily mean it was stereo. This old TV had 2 speakers underneath the screen, but it was a mono TV, with the same information coming through each speaker. No stereo here, just mono times 2
 
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I wanted a sub to complement 2 bookshelf speakers with poor bass.
Audiophiles in my area say subs suck.
Reasons:
1.sound comes from 3 different points , should come from 2 (only stereo music listening for me)
2. Hard to configure and balance with speakers, so you are constantly setting it up-tuning it.
3. "Detached sound" you lose immersivness cause the lower bass comes out of another place. So intruments that are half in the lower mids and half in the deep bass sound wierd.
(I thought super low bass was omnidirectional so this couldnt happen idk.)


I since then got frightened and got a pair of used jamo's tower speakers that have enough bass for me.

I ask myselfe Were they right? Or is it BS?
some would say they are correct on all accounts but I am not so sure.
yes the sub has to be correctly integrated with the speakers and this can be difficult but done correctly it can benefit the soundstage.
what may be more important is ensuring the two bookshelves need to work well in your room,if they don't then get rid of them and find something that does.
spending money on a sub hoping it will improve a bad system does not make good sense.
 
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giocap

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some would say they are correct on all accounts but I am not so sure.
yes the sub has to be correctly integrated with the speakers and this can be difficult but done correctly it can benefit the soundstage.
what may be more important is ensuring the two bookshelves need to work well in your room,if they don't then get rid of them and find something that does.
spending money on a sub hoping it will improve a bad system does not make good sense.
Yes and i avoided subs because i myself think there is merit to those three points, but unsure because so many experts and pro's are promoting subs
 
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AndrewF

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I'm not sure I agree with this statement. My own recent experience:

After 30 years, I decided it was time for a new pair of speakers. My total budget was "less than $3000". After a fair amount of research, I purchased some (extremely nice) Focal standmount speakers (Aria K2 906) and generic stands I could fill with pebbles. The bass response on the Focal's is quite good for a small standmount, but I wanted more bass response, but without "boom" or really even being able to hear the sub. Again, after research, I settled on an SVS micro 3000 sub, which is small, extremely musical, and controlled by an excellent app. The app allows me to set the low pass filter, for what seems a perfect handoff between the speakers and the sub, and to fine tune the volume of the sub, so that I get amazing bass, without any boom at all. I literally cannot tell that there is another speaker there.

I am extremely happy with this system, and think I would have had to spend much more money to get equivalent musicality and bass response from larger floor standers.
 

giocap

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I'm not sure I agree with this statement. My own recent experience:

After 30 years, I decided it was time for a new pair of speakers. My total budget was "less than $3000". After a fair amount of research, I purchased some (extremely nice) Focal standmount speakers (Aria K2 906) and generic stands I could fill with pebbles. The bass response on the Focal's is quite good for a small standmount, but I wanted more bass response, but without "boom" or really even being able to hear the sub. Again, after research, I settled on an SVS micro 3000 sub, which is small, extremely musical, and controlled by an excellent app. The app allows me to set the low pass filter, for what seems a perfect handoff between the speakers and the sub, and to fine tune the volume of the sub, so that I get amazing bass, without any boom at all. I literally cannot tell that there is another speaker there.

I am extremely happy with this system, and think I would have had to spend much more money to get equivalent musicality and bass response from larger floor standers.
And you cannot hear any of the problems i reported? For example, when switching type of music, do you find youself having to fix the sub levels every time?
If so, im happy to avoid subs. I like to do my tinkering once, and then just enjoy the music. Not on every listen.
Is it possible these problems would happen with lower cost stuff, but less with more expensive?
 

AndrewF

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And you cannot hear any of the problems i reported? For example, when switching type of music, do you find youself having to fix the sub levels every time?
If so, im happy to avoid subs. I like to do my tinkering once, and then just enjoy the music. Not on every listen.
Is it possible these problems would happen with lower cost stuff, but less with more expensive?

When I first got this set up, I set the sub decibel level to what SVS suggested. Over the next couple of weeks, I lowered the volume about 10db. I literally do not notice it at all anymore, other than to be impressed at how nice the bass is in my new system. :- ) I haven't even opened the SVS app in weeks now. Set it and forget it.

I should add that I also tried the 3000 micro with my older, floor standing Naim Credo speakers, and they make those sound better too. If you are somewhere where you can try the 3000 micro, you ought to give it a shot. They have an excellent money back return policy. I know that there are other similar micro subs too- I haven't tried them, but the reviews are similarly excellent.
 

giocap

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If you already have poor bass sound with your 2 fronts, then adding a sub isn't going to improve the bass, produced by the main pair. With DSP though, you can set a cutoff point and offload the bass burden, from your front pair. All the bass below this setting will be managed by the sub and with a bit of tweaking, it can sound really good. Also, handing most of the bass to a sub means the main amplifier is working less hard, driving your front speakers. This should improve how the fronts behave. John Darko does this a lot. I like the idea of letting the sub do the work, rather than having it there to just add more bass. It depends on your musical taste, available space and the funds you are prepared to spend. A sub will not make tunes sound worse, if setup correctly. I like bass to be a foundation to the music, not overwhelm it. It should be quick and 'bouncy' with real texture and speed. Some music really does motor along when you get the right setup.
I am happy with current sub of my towers.
But i wanted to resolve this contention in my head , because i can see a future where i want "feel it in your bones" bass, and it seems that speakers +sub is cheaper than trying to obtain that level of bass with speakers alone.
But all this criticsm puzzles me. There are "2 speaker purists" that make good points.
 

SeattleChris

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Felt the need to represent bassaholics on this one. My musical preference is precise midrange/treble with a good bass thumping. Had a single sub positioned left and with a low pass rolloff starting at 80hz (which I like tonally) I could perceive the sub. Got a second sub positioned right and now have a very coherent soundstage. If you don't have neighbor constraints and like bass by all means get a sub (or two).
 
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AndrewF

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Felt the need to represent bassaholics on this one. My musical preference is precise midrange/treble with a good bass thumping. Had a single sub positioned left and with a low pass rolloff starting at 80hz (which I like tonally) I could perceive the sub. Got a second sub positioned right and now have a very coherent soundstage. If you don't have neighbor constraints and like bass by all means get a sub (or two).

I have been staggered to discover how much bass is on a lot of modern recordings. Like, weird amounts of bass, on music that doesn't seem to require that much bass. But it's awfully nice for the things that call for it!
 

manicm

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Those audiophiles are right and wrong.

1. Most subwoofers are non directional, so in theory you should not be concerned.

2. I may be wrong but in difficult rooms where speaker placement is not ideal, one would benefit more from installing a sub than room treatment or DSP alone. Because you could let your speakers focus more on the mid and high frequencies, and let the subwoofer do the heavy bass lifting. One simultaneously makes the speakers work more efficiently, and thus your amp too.

3. Where you have space for satisfactory room placement then I personally would give a subwoofer the boot. I don't want one if I don't need one, if only for not upsetting integration or avoiding optimisation headaches.
 
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giocap

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Those audiophiles are right and wrong.

1. Most subwoofers are non directional, so in theory you should not be concerned.

2. I may be wrong but in difficult rooms where speaker placement is not ideal, one would benefit more from installing a sub than room treatment or DSP alone. Because you could let your speakers focus more on the mid and high frequencies, and let the subwoofer do the heavy bass lifting. One simultaneously makes the speakers work more efficiently, and thus your amp too.

3. Where you have space for satisfactory room placement then I personally would give a subwoofer the boot. I don't want one if I don't need one, if only for not upsetting integration or avoiding optimisation headaches.

1. Low frequencies are non directional Yes, not sure under how many hz they become non directional, some say 60hz others say 100hz.
So i think its safe to say that keeping your sub above that threshold is a no-go. At that point the "detachment" and general wierdness may occur.
From what andrew says (he doesnt really "hear" the sub) it seems he keeps it well below that limit.

2. About "relieving " speakers from doing bass and therefore improving it, i dont agree. Any half decent speaker was designed to do all the work it can. We don't know the end result of making it do only from lower mids to highs.

3. Maybe? You can have the best placement in the world, but if your speakers are not confident under 120hz, nothing will save you.
 
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manicm

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1. Low frequencies are non directional Yes, not sure under how many hz they become non directional, some say 60hz others say 100hz.
So i think its safe to say that keeping your sub above that threshold is a no-go. At that point the "detachment" and general wierdness may occur.
From what andrew says (he doesnt really "hear" the sub) it seems he keeps it well below that limit.

2. About "relieving " speakers from doing bass and therefore improving it, i dont agree. Any half decent speaker was designed to do all the work it can. We don't know the end result of making it do only from lower mids to highs.

3. Maybe? You can have the best placement in the world, but if your speakers are not confident under 120hz, nothing will save you.

A subwoofer relieves a speaker of the lowest frequencies - the point at which it pulls the most power from amp, so I repeat it increases its efficiency at the very least. And thus could improve it, because it's not hampered by placement and subsequent distortion where it's much easier to place a subwoofer.

It could also improve the use of tone controls too I would think, as there's less frequency bleed.

On two speakers I tried the bungs on the ports, and I didn't like what I heard. In such a case I'd have a subwoofer instead.
 

MrReaper182

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Do what you wanna do and don't worry what anyone thinks as life is to short to be caring what others say, especially fickle audiophiles. As long as your happy with how your hi-fi separates system sounds then that is all that matters as your be the one listening to it and not audiophiles on forums.
 
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twinkletoes

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What MrReaper Said above

having said that…..

It’s not the subwoofer that’s the problem, and adding a subwoofer to a system can be an eye opener. And can really enhance the sound and no question about it

The problem comes from not being able to integrate it into the system. really you need high pass ( this would improve sound by taking away the burden from the amplification) and distance controls (delay) at the very least. Room correction would be best as it would work all this Pitt for you.

Subwoofer integration be achieved without the above but it can be a challenge and. in some cases might not even be possible depending on the room, so yes there is an element of truth to what there saying.

As ever the answer is never black and white.
 

giocap

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What MrReaper Said above

having said that…..

It’s not the subwoofer that’s the problem, and adding a subwoofer to a system can be an eye opener. And can really enhance the sound and no question about it

The problem comes from not being able to integrate it into the system. really you need high pass ( this would improve sound by taking away the burden from the amplification) and distance controls (delay) at the very least. Room correction would be best as it would work all this Pitt for you.

Subwoofer integration be achieved without the above but it can be a challenge and. in some cases might not even be possible depending on the room, so yes there is an element of truth to what there saying.

As ever the answer is never black and white.
Got it. It can be good if done properly. It can be bad and all the things i said *could* happen.
They were probably telling me that because i was a newbie. Just to keep me away from potential failure.
 

giocap

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Felt the need to represent bassaholics on this one. My musical preference is precise midrange/treble with a good bass thumping. Had a single sub positioned left and with a low pass rolloff starting at 80hz (which I like tonally) I could perceive the sub. Got a second sub positioned right and now have a very coherent soundstage. If you don't have neighbor constraints and like bass by all means get a sub (or two).
Why the neighbours?
If i listen at the same moderate volume, does more bass annoy the neighbours more? Does it make it worse?
 

Roger_A

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It can be tricky getting the setting just right and need some trial and error whatever the instructions say and can vary widely whether trying to add the subwoofer to active or passive speakers.

Perhaps the best guidance I've read is that when the subwoofer is working you can't tell it's there but if you turn it off you notice that it's missing.
 

skutters

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I have had my little Harbeth P3esr speakers for a good few years and always thought they sounded nice but now and again just wanted a bit more weight and depth to them. After seeing a few YouTube videos on the subject of adding a Subwoofer to a 2 channel system I decided to give it a go and bought a Rel T5x Sub. It took me a couple of days to get it set up right and integrated into the system but it has made a substantial difference the sound now has more weight and depth with lovely bass, and the bass just sounds like it's coming from the speakers I am really happy with it just wish I had done it sooner.
 
I have had my little Harbeth P3esr speakers for a good few years and always thought they sounded nice but now and again just wanted a bit more weight and depth to them. After seeing a few YouTube videos on the subject of adding a Subwoofer to a 2 channel system I decided to give it a go and bought a Rel T5x Sub. It took me a couple of days to get it set up right and integrated into the system but it has made a substantial difference the sound now has more weight and depth with lovely bass, and the bass just sounds like it's coming from the speakers I am really happy with it just wish I had done it sooner.
Townshend super tweeters next then?? :)
 

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