Question How can I get clearer, punchier bass out of my Dali Oberon 5s, Rega Brio and Thorens TD160?

SloRick

Well-known member
Mar 5, 2022
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Hi folks. So my system is pretty good, but I'm missing the clear, defined, punchy bass guitar sound at low volumes that I like. Right now, so hear it, I have to turn it up to louder than I like (enough that you'd have to raise your voice when talking). I'm not looking for a boom boom thump thump, but being able to hear the electric bass guitar clearly at low volumes. I'm running Dali Oberon 5s, a Rega Brio, and Thorens TD160 turntable (M2 blue), playing mostly old rock and soul records. The room is kind of a standard apartment living room, maybe 20 by 30 feet or so, with old wooden floors. I've tried different things with the speakers, but currently have them on little cork and rubber furniture pads.

I don't really understand the dynamics of this, and seem to get different answers from everybody. I've found what I'm looking for on different friend's systems, one with old JBLs with 12 inch speakers (somebody told that bigger speakers are better for low volumes and don't actually require much power). But I've also heard it on bookshelf sized B&Ws on speaker stands. And sometimes it comes out that way in a car stereo or good headphones.

So, Hi-Fi experts: how do I get there? is there something I can do with my existing system (spikes, stands, further or closer to the wall, etc)? Do I need to upgrade the speakers somehow, maybe to Monitor Audios or something? Or would traditional box speakers do a. better job than these floor standing ones? Upgrade to a tube amp?

Again, looking for clear, punchy sound/defined bass guitar, at low volumes.

Thanks for your inputs.
 

SloRick

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Mar 5, 2022
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Thanks for addressing the subwoofer issue. My experience with subwoofers is limited and old, but I think of them as boomy, for video games and jet engines in movies, not for listening to music. Am I out of date?
 

Al ears

Well-known member
Thanks for addressing the subwoofer issue. My experience with subwoofers is limited and old, but I think of them as boomy, for video games and jet engines in movies, not for listening to music. Am I out of date?
Probably not as I also have never used one for music.
If you're not getting what you want out of your current speakers can I as why you bought them?
PS: upgrading to a tube amp will do nothing when it is, ultimately, your speakers that aren't doing it for you.
 

record_spot

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May 30, 2015
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Thanks for addressing the subwoofer issue. My experience with subwoofers is limited and old, but I think of them as boomy, for video games and jet engines in movies, not for listening to music. Am I out of date?

Yes. Very. I just thought they were likely to be too boomy, but even the basic Wharfedale SW150 I picked up recently has been a revelation.

Fills out the sound beautifully and looks way more than the £175 you'll spend getting one. Done well, they just blend into the background and you can adjust the bass level to suit.
 
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Jasonovich

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Hi there welcome to the forum 😊
The Oberons are excellent speakers, I would say keep them, get a subwoofer. The Rels and SVS have excellent bass but not sure if this is within your budget.

Vinyl’s tend to trim off the very low end frequencies, this is due to limitations in the manufacturing process. I would suggest you loan a friends CDs and CD player and see if this improves the speakers low frequencies.
If this reaffirms my synopsis, and you're hearing deeper bass, you know, it isn't the speakers. If this proves inconclusive, you could change the speakers but this may compromise the balance, it may give you tighter bass but other aspects of the sound may not be the desired outcome. Adding a subwoofer will maintain the continuity of the existing sound and free up the low frequencies. The trick is to get speaker fully sync with the SW. A litte bit of work there.
 
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SloRick

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Mar 5, 2022
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Probably not as I also have never used one for music.
If you're not getting what you want out of your current speakers can I as why you bought them?
PS: upgrading to a tube amp will do nothing when it is, ultimately, your speakers that aren't doing it for you.
hi thanks. I was just trying to put together a decent sounding system for a reasonable price, and this seemed to fit. Apparently in the UK and the US you can try everything out at home, but I haven't found that in Switzerland. So I had to read reviews and guess :)
 

SloRick

Well-known member
Mar 5, 2022
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545
Hi there welcome to the forum 😊
The Oberons are excellent speakers, I would say keep them, get a subwoofer. The Rels and SVS have excellent bass but not sure if this is within your budget.

Vinyl’s tend to trim off the very low end frequencies, this is due to limitations in the manufacturing process. I would suggest you loan a friends CDs and CD player and see if this improves the speakers low frequencies.
If this reaffirms my synopsis, and you're hearing deeper bass, you know, it isn't the speakers. If this proves inconclusive, you could change the speakers but this may compromise the balance, it may give you tighter bass but other aspects of the sound may not be the desired outcome. Adding a subwoofer will maintain the continuity of the existing sound and free up the low frequencies. The trick is to get speaker fully sync with the SW. A litte bit of work there.
Hi, thanks. Good to know. I do like them otherwise, just missing that defined bass that makes you groove to the music, you know? RELs have been recommended to me. I see Dali makes subwoofers as well. Is it better if it's the same company?
With subwoofers, I'm also concerned about bothering the neighbors, as this is an apartment. Currently, the Dali's seem fine, but I'm worried about a subwoofer on the floor shaking the walls (again, I may be out of date here....). I guess I should go for the smallest model, and something that isn't downward pointing, but rather just outward facing like a regular speaker. Is that correct?
 
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Fandango Andy

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Jun 10, 2020
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I'm not familiar with your speakers or your amp so have just looked up the specs. Nothing jumps out. The speakers have plenty of base extension. The nominal impedance is 6ohms so they will take more to drive them. Your amp isn't the most powerful, but within what's recommended for the speakers.

Firstly I would look at positioning. Are they a good distance from the wall? Are they far enough apart, and are you at the right listening distance? Once you have that sorted, try toeing them in a little bit at a time.

If none of that works, it could just be your setup just isn't for you. From the little I have heard them, in a similar size and price range to your Dali, I like Triangle Borea BR08. But That's just a personal opinion, and they are notoriously Unforgiving in placement.

I would recommend you vist a hifi shop ask for some recommendations, and borrow a pair to take home and audition.

Finally, as others have mentioned you could add a Sub. Done right this works too.
 
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Jasonovich

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Jul 28, 2022
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Hi, thanks. Good to know. I do like them otherwise, just missing that defined bass that makes you groove to the music, you know? RELs have been recommended to me. I see Dali makes subwoofers as well. Is it better if it's the same company?
With subwoofers, I'm also concerned about bothering the neighbors, as this is an apartment. Currently, the Dali's seem fine, but I'm worried about a subwoofer on the floor shaking the walls (again, I may be out of date here....). I guess I should go for the smallest model, and something that isn't downward pointing, but rather just outward facing like a regular speaker. Is that correct?
Hi Rick
I have the Dali's E-9F and if you want to please your neighbours, there is the option to purchase the much larger E-12F or the K14-F, great sound quality as well. I didn't mention the Dali's because I didn't want to come across as partisan but I do love the 9Fs tonal signature. My other Oberon 3's speakers sound much larger than they should and it is about positioning; to my ears the Oberon 3 bass is more than adequate, I can expect the O5's to go deeper even further.

Yes does make sense keeping the Dali's, though visually the E-9Fs look nothing like their floor standing siblings.

The 9F's drivers are front facing and fully enclosed as per the photo.

The choice between downward facing or forward facing? If you're thinking about minimising the noise, it really depends on your room setting, if you choose downward facing drivers and you have it sitting on carpeted flooring, you're going to get sufficient damping, if it is hard floors, some boom.

If it's forward facing, port hole at the back and up against the wall, some boom. If it's forward facing, port hole at the front or fully enclosed, less so and more flexibility with the positioning.

1707386191176.png

You could also try repositioning the Dali's, if they're close to the wall move them out a bit, if they're far away bring them closer to the wall, this could make a difference.
 
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matthewpianist

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Feb 18, 2022
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What cartridge are you using on your TD160? How old is the cartridge, and how old is the stylus?
Are you happy that you have set the arm up as well as possible?

What sort of condition is the Thorens in? It's a sprung design, and if things are perished inside it won't be helping.

Where are your turntable and speakers positioned?

Is your Brio a half-width one, or is it one of the older models?
 
I'd say look at a more potent amplifier.

If you want to look at subs, placement and setup is key. Many subs are designed more for producing bass below which most speakers roll off, so from around 50Hz or so downwards, so they're more complementing than improving certain aspects, unless you have some sort of bass management to roll the speakers off a little earlier and let the sub take over some of the heavy work. Of course, speaker placement could improve things - the closer that rear port sits to a solid wall, the more bass you'll get, and the muddier it'll get - pull them out bit by bit until the exaggerated bass falls away - you may then start to hear something little more punchier.
 

SloRick

Well-known member
Mar 5, 2022
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545
I'd say look at a more potent amplifier.

If you want to look at subs, placement and setup is key. Many subs are designed more for producing bass below which most speakers roll off, so from around 50Hz or so downwards, so they're more complementing than improving certain aspects, unless you have some sort of bass management to roll the speakers off a little earlier and let the sub take over some of the heavy work. Of course, speaker placement could improve things - the closer that rear port sits to a solid wall, the more bass you'll get, and the muddier it'll get - pull them out bit by bit until the exaggerated bass falls away - you may then start to hear something little more punchier.
Thanks, I've tried moving them around but frankly I don't hear that much difference.
 

SloRick

Well-known member
Mar 5, 2022
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545
Bear in mind all hi-fi components have their limitations, the Oberon 5 will perform a lot better with, for example, Rega Elex-R or Elicit-R or other similar priced amps.
Is that true? It looks like an Elex is now selling for about $1,000, which is what I paid for the Brio a few years ago.
 

SloRick

Well-known member
Mar 5, 2022
29
5
545
What cartridge are you using on your TD160? How old is the cartridge, and how old is the stylus?
Are you happy that you have set the arm up as well as possible?

What sort of condition is the Thorens in? It's a sprung design, and if things are perished inside it won't be helping.

Where are your turntable and speakers positioned?

Is your Brio a half-width one, or is it one of the older models?
It's a Thorens TD 160. I've had it refurbished by a pro. The cartridge is an Ortofon that was on there when I got it. I've upgraded to an Ortofon M2 Blue, which did improve the sound, fuller and warmer. The Brio is half width, very heavy!
 

SloRick

Well-known member
Mar 5, 2022
29
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545
So: I was going to follow all of this helpful advice and get a small REL subwoofer, when I found out that the Rega Brio does not have a subwoofer output! Apparently there are way to hack it, but not sure if I want to mess with that (in my early hi-fi days in college I managed to short an amp by criss crossing the speaker wires :)
 
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gasolin

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https://www.thomann.de/gb/isoacoustics_iso_puck_mini_set.htm


https://www.futureshop.co.uk/isoacoustics-orea-series-isolation-feet (you need 4 pr speaker)

https://www.futureshop.co.uk/isoacoustics-gaia-series-threaded-isolation-feet (you need 4 pr speakaer)
 
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Jasonovich

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Jul 28, 2022
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So: I was going to follow all of this helpful advice and get a small REL subwoofer, when I found out that the Rega Brio does not have a subwoofer output! Apparently there are way to hack it, but not sure if I want to mess with that (in my early hi-fi days in college I managed to short an amp by criss crossing the speaker wires :)
Oooh that's unfortunate. In theory, you could run off the output from Brio to an active preamp that has a dedicated LFE subwoofer output, though it has to be said, not sure adding extra layer of electronics to the signal improves the integrity of the sound?

Maybe option 2, new amp, Elex is worthy, also worth considering, Roksan Kandy, Hegel, Primare, there's too many to mention and my lovely besties I have at home, the Atolls. Still, I think it is prudent to try out those little tweaks first, speaker suspension spikes/pads. Far less costly, may tighten up the sound or bring incremental improvements, that may be all that is needed?
 

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