Does a Sub Need To Match Other Speakers

Witterings

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Does a sub need to match other speakers or can you add any .... both when using in a stereo 2.1 config and also in a 5.1 surround setup.

I'm asking as the sub I currently have is very boomy / lots of reverberation which really isn't great if I'm playing stereo through my AVR but it's also overpowering for movies etc. so am thinking about upgrading to something "tighter" even if that's at the expense of the walls not shaking with explosions in movies.

Just before people ask I've run through every conceivable setup / configuration possible and re-run the calibration / adjusted channel levels etc. I've resorted to just using the main speakers for stereo although it does sound "nicer / fuller" when I use the sub with tracks that aren't bass heavy.
 

singularity6

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Oct 3, 2022
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Just a thought: If you're using a huge sub that's high powered compared to the other speakers, it will drown out your speakers. The brand doesn't need to match, but the size/power should be considered.
 

Witterings

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Sep 17, 2020
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Just a thought: If you're using a huge sub that's high powered compared to the other speakers, it will drown out your speakers. The brand doesn't need to match, but the size/power should be considered.
That made me think, it's probably worth mentioning that speakers came as a 5.1 package quite a few years back and are Acoustic Energy Evo's so this should theoretically should match with the others but it seems to have the chracteristics you mention as being overpowered in comparison to the others.
 

singularity6

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Oct 3, 2022
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That made me think, it's probably worth mentioning that speakers came as a 5.1 package quite a few years back and are Acoustic Energy Evo's so this should theoretically should match with the others but it seems to have the chracteristics you mention as being overpowered in comparison to the others.
Ah, then it sounds like they didn't do a good job tuning the system. That's supposed to be a good system, and has a 4 star rating here on What HiFi? (provided I found the right one.)

At any rate, I wish you luck in getting this sorted out!
 

twinkletoes

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It’s actually more important the sub matches the room size than speaker size and thats maybe what your hearing to much of a good thing as where. The system you have is good but the sub can easily be bettered for a small out lay if you wish to spend money. Personally the journey should start with svs and then go from there and prehaps velodyne.
 
It’s actually more important the sub matches the room size than speaker size and thats maybe what your hearing to much of a good thing as where. The system you have is good but the sub can easily be bettered for a small out lay if you wish to spend money. Personally the journey should start with svs and then go from there and prehaps velodyne.
You could be right but these, to me anyway, are home theatre subs.
perhaps not the case but I feel there are plenty of other subs from British loudspeaker manufacturers that are more suited to integration into a system for stereo replay.
That's just me though.
 
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twinkletoes

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@Al ears in general id agree, but in this case, he/she is using an AVR so any subwoofer will do as long it's nice fast one and doesn't lean to heavily into rumble for movies.

But yeah you are correct there are some British brands rel, bk, and so on but in general SVS is the defacto and the reviews of the micro are very good and doesn't cost much. If money is wishing to be spent.

the best advice i can give is to stick to brands that make nothing but subs that's been my experiance
 
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plastic penguin

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Does a sub need to match other speakers or can you add any .... both when using in a stereo 2.1 config and also in a 5.1 surround setup.

I'm asking as the sub I currently have is very boomy / lots of reverberation which really isn't great if I'm playing stereo through my AVR but it's also overpowering for movies etc. so am thinking about upgrading to something "tighter" even if that's at the expense of the walls not shaking with explosions in movies.

Just before people ask I've run through every conceivable setup / configuration possible and re-run the calibration / adjusted channel levels etc. I've resorted to just using the main speakers for stereo although it does sound "nicer / fuller" when I use the sub with tracks that aren't bass heavy.
A sub shouldn't be any different to conventional boxes. You can have different make of sub to your speakers.

Seen this at What hi-fi towers when I participated in the Big Q: they used Mordaunt Short front and back speakers with the Arcam AVR600. They had twin subs that weren't Mordaunt Short, all playing via a projector.
 

Witterings

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I spent quite a lot of time messing around with it last night and I borrowed a Q Acoustics 3060 sub from another room to try as well and if it's at reasonable volume it does the same.

The main one I was talking about sounds absolutely amazing with songs like Nikkita by Elton John where there's a very distinct but punchy base line (and with most music) but if you play something like "Lost Without You" by Freya Ridings where it's long sustained bass notes ... then this comment best describes it

and doesn't lean too heavily into rumble for movies.
Which is exactly what it does about 1/3 of the way in and I'm not liking.

I'm wondering if I'm actually better off just setting the main speakers as full range for stereo unless I could find a really punchy sub .... even if that's at the expense of losing some rumble for movies which I often find is overkill anyway.

I don't know if going more compact would help and if something like a REL T Zero (although the drivers are the same size as my floorstanders) or a Kef Kube 8B might help achieve that or if there are subs specifically designed for music as opposed to surround / movies ... problem is I won't be able to tell unless I can get a home trial.

Cheers for everyone's responses, have been very useful :)
 
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Deliriumbassist

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I spent quite a lot of time messing around with it last night and I borrowed a Q Acoustics 3060 sub from another room to try as well and if it's at reasonable volume it does the same.

The main one I was talking about sounds absolutely amazing with songs like Nikkita by Elton John where there's a very distinct but punchy base line (and with most music) but if you play something like "Lost Without You" by Freya Ridings where it's long sustained bass notes ... then this comment best describes it



Which is exactly what it does about 1/3 of the way in and I'm not liking.

I'm wondering if I'm actually better off just setting the main speakers as full range for stereo unless I could find a really punchy sub .... even if that's at the expense of losing some rumble for movies which I often find is overkill anyway.

I don't know if going more compact would help and if something like a REL T Zero (although the drivers are the same size as my floorstanders) or a Kef Kube 8B might help achieve that or if there are subs specifically designed for music as opposed to surround / movies ... problem is I won't be able to tell unless I can get a home trial.

Cheers for everyone's responses, have been very useful :)
If any brand states that their sub is designed for music or for film, they've designed a compromised product. There are no 'music' speakers or 'movie' speakers - there are simply more and less accurate speakers.
 

twinkletoes

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Nov 16, 2021
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I spent quite a lot of time messing around with it last night and I borrowed a Q Acoustics 3060 sub from another room to try as well and if it's at reasonable volume it does the same.

The main one I was talking about sounds absolutely amazing with songs like Nikkita by Elton John where there's a very distinct but punchy base line (and with most music) but if you play something like "Lost Without You" by Freya Ridings where it's long sustained bass notes ... then this comment best describes it



Which is exactly what it does about 1/3 of the way in and I'm not liking.

I'm wondering if I'm actually better off just setting the main speakers as full range for stereo unless I could find a really punchy sub .... even if that's at the expense of losing some rumble for movies which I often find is overkill anyway.

I don't know if going more compact would help and if something like a REL T Zero (although the drivers are the same size as my floorstanders) or a Kef Kube 8B might help achieve that or if there are subs specifically designed for music as opposed to surround / movies ... problem is I won't be able to tell unless I can get a home trial.

Cheers for everyone's responses, have been very useful :)
What will help is a subwoofer with eq built in makes a world of difference even if you amp has eq they normal do a certain frequency range and tend to leave the subwoofer alone. Go to a few dealers and see what happens
 
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michael hoy

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What AVR are you using and have you run its room correction software if it has it.
It may be that the sub is just not set up correctly.
But yes as stated it does not have to be the same make but must match your room size.
 
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Witterings

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Sep 17, 2020
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What AVR are you using and have you run its room correction software if it has it.
It may be that the sub is just not set up correctly.
But yes as stated it does not have to be the same make but must match your room size.
Ohhhhhhh ..... Yeeesssssss :)

Then did it backwards, then standing on my head and doing it in both forward and reverse :)

I've seriously been through this hoop over the last 10 days, that said I've learnt so much about the system (Denon AVR 2311) and Audyssey it's not true so I have absolutely no regrets.

I just wonder if AVR's send out a different signal to subs than they do mains and maybe just aren't the best for stereo.
 

treesey

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I've done extensive 'music' with first a Yamaha AVR and now a Pioneer - bass is exactly 'right' for me, but changes massively depending on what the AVR is asked to provide.

Apologies if you've said already, but what is your subwoofer's low-pass set to?
 

treesey

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You could be right but these, to me anyway, are home theatre subs.
perhaps not the case but I feel there are plenty of other subs from British loudspeaker manufacturers that are more suited to integration into a system for stereo replay.
That's just me though.
Has anyone actually done comparisons between types of subwoofers? Absolutely some will be better than others, but has anyone provided/published anything useful out there in the interweb?
 
Last edited:
Just a thought: If you're using a huge sub that's high powered compared to the other speakers, it will drown out your speakers. The brand doesn't need to match, but the size/power should be considered.
Not really. A good sub won't do that. It will be more effortless in performance and will complement better. I've always believed in buying the biggest sub you can afford and accommodate as it makes a huge difference to the overall system. As said, matching the sub to the room is more important.
 
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badtime7

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Oct 8, 2022
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If you're gaming, you want a close match (same speaker maker and series at least) since things will be panning around you and it sounds weird when a sound changes significantly from one speaker to the next. If not gaming, it's less important, but I'd still want something with a similar tweeter.
 

Deliriumbassist

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Apr 27, 2011
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Make sure the speakers are set to "small" and the same crossover is set on the AVR as well as the sub. Start with 100Hz and also try 80Hz.
You should never set the crossover on the sub and in the AVR in a home theatre system. For two reasons:

1) The crossover in the AVR sets a high pass for the main speaker, and a low pass for the subwoofer. The filter slopes are set so that when they combine with the expected response in the expected crossover region of the speakers/sub (generally flat for the sub, and 2nd order roll-off for a sealed main speaker. Roughly), an approximately good handoff is achieved. If you then introduce the low pass filter on the sub itself, you throw that considerably out of whack - you are filtering the subwoofer twice. A low pass for a sub is generally a 4th order filter. Add the two together, and that creates an 8th order, which is now dropping the subwoofer output in the crossover region by 48dB per octave, whilst the filter frequencies for the sub and the main speakers are not being changed. That will create a big hole in the crossover region.

2) If you set the low pass filter on the subwoofer itself, you are hobbling the LFE channel. LFE is a discreet channel that runs from 3-120Hz, in the same way that each speaker receives its own discreet signal. It is not affected by what you do in the bass management of the AVR.

OP is doing exactly the right thing by setting the sub crossover as high as possible. Only thing better is if the sub has a dedicated LFE mode or input to bypass the filter completely.
 
But if you do that, won't the AVR try to compensate for a small speaker by boosting the use of the subwoofer? So what is your reasoning?
 
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treesey

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Interesting. In calibration mode, the Pioneer designates (correctly) which speakers I connect as 'large' or 'small' if they are proper speakers or satellites, presumably by analysing the test tones fired at the microphone.

Your/their point above means I'll have to listen to everything again.... and I am changing in/out Mission 753, Mission 752, PMC GB1i, and Polk satellites to decide which combo I prefer, so I hope you are happy with the massive amount of extra work you've given me. :)

I doubt that one subwoofer can replace and better the lower frequencies from four proper speakers, but I will give it a proper go.
 
Interesting. In calibration mode, the Pioneer designates (correctly) which speakers I connect as 'large' or 'small' if they are proper speakers or satellites, presumably by analysing the test tones fired at the microphone.

Your/their point above means I'll have to listen to everything again.... and I am changing in/out Mission 753, Mission 752, PMC GB1i, and Polk satellites to decide which combo I prefer, so I hope you are happy with the massive amount of extra work you've given me. :)

I doubt that one subwoofer can replace and better the lower frequencies from four proper speakers, but I will give it a proper go.
Setting the speakers to "large" or "small" is more to do with whether you have a subwoofer in your set-up or not, rather than the size of the speakers. A good subwoofer will easily better the lower frequencies than speakers as that's exactly what it's designed for. It will also allow the speakers to perform optimally at the higher frequencies without getting muddled.

Even Denon advises this:


In fact, you got the same advice on AV forums few months ago.

 

treesey

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Setting the speakers to "large" or "small" is more to do with whether you have a subwoofer in your set-up or not, rather than the size of the speakers.
The AVR knows there's a subwoofer already. But I'm not disagreeing per se. You'd hope that setting the AVR to subwoofer=Yes would do all of the above. Otherwise it's confusing (at best) and people will get.... confused.

In fact, you got the same advice on AV forums few months ago.

Not me Guv - that's the OP ;)
 
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