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Use a Subwoofer for Hifi?

Samd

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Mar 6, 2013
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I am very pleased with my BK 400 for AV but have still not got round to connecting it for hifi. Just wondering how many peeps bother with a sub for hifi particularly, perhaps, for those with floorstanders? Mine go down to 44Hz.
 

Al ears

Moderator
I don't any longer, though have done in the past with certain standmounts. In fact I had twin REL TZeros. Difficult to integrate accurately though and since getting my Acoustic Zen s they have become unnecessary.

My Quad subwoofer, centre, and surrounds are now solely used downstairs in my home theatre set-up.
 

MajorFubar

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Mar 3, 2010
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I do (see sig below) but it's more of a luxury item than a necessity. A lot depends on your musical preferences. You would think opposite, but in rock you'd be surprised how little there is going on below about 45Hz, especially 70s and 80s rock albums, where the bass was often deliberately curtailed during the mastering stage so that an album of predominantly loud music running 23-25 min per side could be cut to vinyl and still be playable. With EDM and classical / orchestral though, there can be a hive of activity below 45Hz, which mostly you feel more than hear.
 

jonathanRD

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Jan 27, 2011
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With stand mounts I used mine quite a lot, but that reduced when I got floorstanders. Swapping amps during the summer for home demos, I removed the High Level connection and did not replace it. Now I have my new amps, I havent bothered either. When I have some time I might re-connect but I'm in no hurry.

I got mixed results depending on what type of music I was playing. Sometimes it was a bit too much.
 

Samd

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Mar 6, 2013
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MajorFubar said:
I do (see sig below) but it's more of a luxury item than a necessity. A lot depends on your musical preferences. You would think opposite, but in rock you'd be surprised how little there is going on below about 45Hz, especially 70s and 80s rock albums, where the bass was often deliberately curtailed during the mastering stage so that an album of predominantly loud music running 23-25 min per side could be cut to vinyl and still be playable. With EDM and classical / orchestral though, there can be a hive of activity below 45Hz, which mostly you feel more than hear.
Interesting - love organ music also so might try a flac of Felix Hell through AVR and then compare with same through hifi amp. Even though different amps should hear the base extension?
 

MeanandGreen

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Dec 26, 2012
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That's got a lot to do with my room size and layout. In my last house I didn't need a sub at all, but in my current L shaped living room/dining room the bass gets sucked out of the sound where my sofa is. I find a subwoofer (actually two subwoofers) helps to reinforce the low end throughout the room in any chair I sit in.

I run a stereo amp and floorstanders for both music and movies and find the current set up works incredibly well. It comfortably goes down to 20hz cleanly and effortlessly, I've set it up with test tones and music by ear. I know any material which may have sound as low as 20hz will be reproduced.

If I had a different domestic situation, I don't think I'd necessarily feel the need for a sub, but what I have now works impeccably.
 

MajorFubar

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Samd said:
Interesting - love organ music also so might try a flac of Felix Hell through AVR and then compare with same through hifi amp. Even though different amps should hear the base extension?
I would certainly expect so. In lieu of owning a truly flat SPL meter I used various methods to set up the cutoff and volume level of my Gemini II, including listening to theatre-organ music.
 

MajorFubar

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Samd said:
might try a flac of Felix Hell
Just been listening to "Prelude & Fugue on the Name BACH, S. 260" from his album Organ Sensation, via Apple Music. Turning it only as high as I dare considering it was 11pm at night and I have neighbours, the bass pedals in 'Prelude' sank through the floor!
 

lindsayt

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Apr 8, 2011
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MajorFubar said:
I do (see sig below) but it's more of a luxury item than a necessity. A lot depends on your musical preferences. You would think opposite, but in rock you'd be surprised how little there is going on below about 45Hz, especially 70s and 80s rock albums, where the bass was often deliberately curtailed during the mastering stage so that an album of predominantly loud music running 23-25 min per side could be cut to vinyl and still be playable. With EDM and classical / orchestral though, there can be a hive of activity below 45Hz, which mostly you feel more than hear.
For serious listening with AVI active speakers, I'd rate a subwoofer as essential in order to avoid an overly lean and uninivolving listening experience.

Here's a frequency spectrum chart for Suzanne Vega's Solitude Standing, LP version.



And no, this is not rumble / vinyl roar as a frequency spectrum chart of the run in groove would show.

I do agree with the bit about feeling rather than hearing the lowest bass IF you're listening at lower volumes. As this chart shows, the threshold of audibility at 30 hz is 60 dbs.

 

avole

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Jul 15, 2016
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I'm not that keen on subwoofers, somehow they don't sound right, but I see why people use them as standmounts do need more bass, as, to be honest, do some floor standers. I'm inclined to agree with Lindsayt that big speakers are the best way to go, so intend looking at some large JBLs and Klipsch models next year.
 

muljao

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Jul 18, 2016
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I don't think I'd ever add a sub to a music system. I've never heard a system with a sub that sounded natural for music (but that does not mean they cannot be great or better than stereo).

I think it adds another level of difficulty balancing out the system and would prefer to just have better stereo speakers. YMMV
 

steve_1979

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Jul 14, 2010
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luckylion100 said:
;-)

A sub is an absolute must have with DM10's. I'd like to add a second.
I disagree and think that the DM10s are great with or without a subwoofer. A sub does help though, especially where EDM and movies are concerned.
 

MeanandGreen

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Dec 26, 2012
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For those who are against the option of a subwoofer for a stereo music system, saying it doesn't sound right or it sounds unnatural. I assume you haven't heard a properly setup sub?

It takes days of listening and tweaking to get a sub absolutely right. A properly intergtated sub shouldn't sound like anything, you shouldn't be able to notice it's there. There should be the impression that the main speakers have well extended, well defined and controlled bass and nothing more.

Subs can and do work and they have their place, but I do agree that most speaker and room combinations most likely don't 'need' one.
 

steve_1979

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Jul 14, 2010
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MeanandGreen said:
For those who are against the option of a subwoofer for a stereo music system, saying it doesn't sound right or it sounds unnatural. I assume you haven't heard a properly setup sub?

It takes days of listening and tweaking to get a sub absolutely right. A properly intergtated sub shouldn't sound like anything, you shouldn't be able to notice it's there. There should be the impression that the main speakers have well extended, well defined and controlled bass and nothing more.

Subs can and do work and they have their place, but I do agree that most speaker and room combinations most likely don't 'need' one.
Agreed.

2.1 can be made to work perfectly for music listening but only if it's setup correctly which basically means very very subtly so that the subwoofer is virtually unnoticeable.

Also don't bother trying to make 2.1 work with low quality speakers because they just won't integrate properly for various reasons.
 

stereoman

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Mar 22, 2016
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I would say - never ! As well as 5.1 and similar setups. The proper stereo setup will suffice in 100% as far as proper bass and soundstage is concerned - the condition being - the right stereo setup. if you feel the lack of bass then you have a wrong system, especially loudspeakers. BUT, adding a sub will please many deep bass lovers because indeed it will sacrifice midrange for the sake of low frequencies which in turn make the overall sound extremely filling. So a matter of taste - but once again - in no case sub is an audiophile aspect to me...although you have audiophile 2.1 expensive systems ( not so many though ).
 

MajorFubar

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lindsayt said:
For serious listening with AVI active speakers, I'd rate a subwoofer as essential in order to avoid an overly lean and uninivolving listening experience.
Even without a sub I can't say I find them lacking bass more than any other speakers with 6.5" woofers. But equally, as the American's say, there's no replacement for displacement, and it's unrealistic to expect them to deliver window-shaking sub bass.
luckylion100 said:
A sub is an absolute must have with DM10's. I'd like to add a second.
I'd thought about doing this when funds are more flush, even if just to add visual symmetry because atm the sub is sat between the left speaker and the AV cabinet but over on the right is a big fat nothingness. However unlike on the ADM9's, there is no output for a second sub on the master speaker, so instead I would have to connect the two in parallel with a Y adaptor. On the second I would turn down the rolloff to the minimum 30Hz setting so that it really was only handling the absolute lowest frequencies.
 

MajorFubar

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stereoman said:
I would say - never ! As well as 5.1 and similar setups. The proper stereo setup will suffice in 100% as far as proper bass and soundstage is concerned - the condition being - the right stereo setup. if you feel the lack of bass then you have a wrong system, especially loudspeakers. BUT, adding a sub will please many deep bass lovers because indeed it will sacrifice midrange for the sake of low frequencies which in turn make the overall sound extremely filling. So a matter of taste - but once again - in no case sub is an audiophile aspect to me...although you have audiophile 2.1 expensive systems ( not so many though ).
I'm with you part of the way. If a person finds their setup bass-light and they're hoping a sub will fix it, I agree they're buying it for the wrong reason and they'll probably be disappointed. I can't agree though that subs "sacrifice midrange for the sake of low frequencies". Maybe you think that way because you've yet to hear a sub that's been set up properly, and all you've ever heard is systems where they've been implemented poorly to unnaturally boost the bass.
 

avole

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Jul 15, 2016
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to get decent bass says a lot about the inadequacies of their speakers in that area. It also means that, once you factor in stands plus the cost of subwoofers, smaller speakers are neither great value for money and effectively take up more room than larger speakers with decent-size bass drivers. Larger speakers also remove the disconnect between the bass and midrange, which must always exist since the speakers are in different locations.

Anyway, I'll be looking for larger speakers at some point next year, probably Heresies or JBLs.
 

MeanandGreen

Well-known member
Dec 26, 2012
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stereoman said:
I would say - never ! As well as 5.1 and similar setups. The proper stereo setup will suffice in 100% as far as proper bass and soundstage is concerned - the condition being - the right stereo setup. if you feel the lack of bass then you have a wrong system, especially loudspeakers. BUT, adding a sub will please many deep bass lovers because indeed it will sacrifice midrange for the sake of low frequencies which in turn make the overall sound extremely filling. So a matter of taste - but once again - in no case sub is an audiophile aspect to me...although you have audiophile 2.1 expensive systems ( not so many though ).
I completely disagree. The only way a subwoofer can have a detrimental effect on a system is if it's poorly implemted.

Muddy midrange, poor imaging and a bass dominated sound is a result of a thrown together system with no tuning.

A sub should be subtle and undetectable by ear.
 

chelstondave

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May 23, 2010
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By the wife for stereo I don't have room for large speakers and find a 2.1 system a good compromise. I do most listening by headphones but am quite happy with the sub now I have the crossover right
 

steve_1979

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Jul 14, 2010
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MajorFubar said:
I'd thought about doing this when funds are more flush, even if just to add visual symmetry because atm the sub is sat between the left speaker and the AV cabinet but over on the right is a big fat nothingness. However unlike on the ADM9's, there is no output for a second sub on the master speaker, so instead I would have to connect the two in parallel with a Y adaptor.
Some of the Marantz NR series receivers which have pre-outs for use with active speakers also have dual subwoofer outputs too. I'm not sure if the subwoofer outputs are stereo or dual mono though. Not that it matters either way below 60Hz.

Merry Christmas Major. :)
 

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