Question What Sub would you buy to get a full frequency range 2.1 system paring it to a pair of KEF Q100? SVS SB 1000 Pro vs REL T5/i

cescobar

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Mar 14, 2021
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I have a pair or KEF Q100 bookshelve speakers, and a Polk Audio PSW108 subwoofer in a music only listening room (no home theater or video interest!). The system sounds fairly good at the moment (at least for an entry level system and my inexperienced ears).

I've had this setup for almost a year now, the thing is that I have found myself investigating about hifi more and more everyday, and a couple of days ago I realized I'm probably not getting the full frequency spectrum in my system, and what I'm do getting is probably out of balance. Le me explain:

The Q100s have a rated frequency response of 49 - 40000 Hz. And the PSW108 is rated at 40 - 160 Hz. Both ratings represent their +- 3dB limits. And the lowest crossover frequency the PSW108 let's me set is 80Hz.

So, this means two things:

  1. I'm only gaining about 9Hz with the PSW108, in terms of low frequency extension. From the 49Hz lowest frequency the Q100 can hit, to the 40Hz from the lowest PSW108 rating.
  2. My sub and speakers are overlaping on frequencies from 49Hz to 80hz (the lowest crossover the sub let's me set).

Not only the sub is not giving me the low frequency extension I need to have a full frequency response system. But it's probably augmenting the frequencies from 49 to 80Hz creating a peak in that region.

At this point I just said, ok I need a new sub then, off to the forums and YouTube videos to choose the new member of the family. With around $500-$600 as the budget though.

One thing that I noticed right away was that the two main competitors seemed to be SVS vs REL. With REL being the most musical, quick and well integrated subs you can find for a stereo system.

So, following the advice from YouTube reviews, I checked the REL subs on Amazon and it seems like the one I could get for my budget is the T5i (at least from the ones marketed for music), which is rated -6 dB at 32Hz and a -3dB at around 40Hz, looking really similar to the PSW108 low frequency extension rating, again only giving me those 9 new hertz .

Given this, I continued searching for subs with lower frequency extension at that price range, and I found the SVS SB 1000 Pro. With good reviews and rated from 20hz to 160Hz, and it comes with a cool app to set up the sub making it ajustable to the room using DSP.

I'm not sure if there's something I'm not seeing because the obvious pick to me seems to be the SB1000, but everybody seems to agree that REL is the way to go when it comes to stereo. Is this assuming you can buy a higher tier REL?

I've also noticed that almost all the content in the web for sub reviews are more targeted towards home theater folks and don't really cover the 2.1 scenario so often.

So my questions are:
  • What would you do?
  • Is there another sub I should be taking into consideration?
  • Is there something I'm missing in my train of thoughts regarding this sub-speakers integration?

Thank you very much for you answers in advance :)
 

jjbomber

Well-known member
Dec 22, 2006
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Welcome to the forum.

With a musical sub you are looking for timing and soundstage. REL was Richard E Lord, a professional classical musician. REL subs have always been music first. They only make subs. Cambridge Satellites (later SVS) was founded for satellite speakers. So two different DNAs. Hence you'll hear REL for music and SVS for home cinema.

In reality, you won't go far wrong with either one. Try to avoid the ''paralysis by analysis'' with technical specs. Just like stats can tell you a SUV can carry more passengers than a Ferrari, go across fields and carry loads, what if you need something to go from A to B as fast as possible? The stats are useless. In a similar way, where are the figures for timing and soundstage? Basically trust your ears.

So I'd go for a REL in a music only environment. Others will choose SVS. Both solutions are right for some people.
 
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cescobar

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Mar 14, 2021
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Yes you are totally right! I guess the best way to go would be ordering and auditioning them in my home to keep the one I like the most and return the other one. As the two companies have a try it, keep or return policy. The thing is that I live in Costa Rica and I can't do that from here :/
 

RoA

Well-known member
Feb 11, 2021
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Personally I would choose the SVS. It is (very) well reviewed (more so for music), You get a 12inch driver in a small chassis. The app is a reasonably sophisticated DSP allowing you to programme different settings and adjust according to your room requirements. This has trickled down from their more expensive products in unchanged form. More importantly, you can do all this from your seat. I believe that DSP with room correction in a sub should be standard for anything but absolute entry products. It seems better value than an equivalent REL.

I'd pay the premium for either of the optional finishes though. The standard non gloss finish looks a little drab imho.
 
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D

Deleted member 116933

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Out of those 2 for a pure musical environment id take the REL any day regardless of DSP, It will integrate better due to the easy to use hi-level connector. Basically, it will play what the speakers are playing with no delay which CAN lead to that sluggish feeling through AV amps using the LFE port or the pre outs on a stereo amp.

Though if your looking a REL and want more for your money look at BK electronics if you can you will get 12inch cone for the same prices

HAVING SAID THAT

I seriously consider looking a 2 other brands and saving for a touch longer tbh and get it right from the off.

If you want small there's no better and can vouch for both

Paradigm Seismic 110

and velodyne SPL 800

Both built like
:poop: brick houses and pretty much indestructible.

Only if you can save for longer that is. Though both do come up second hand every now and then in your budget you just have to be patient.
 

cescobar

Member
Mar 14, 2021
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Thanks @RoA and @millennia_one for your comments. This has proven to be a tough investigation indeed haha.

Yesterday I was also checking the Rythmik L12 which has a direct servo system and it's around $500 too. But it has no high-level inputs, that's another can of worms I've seen.

But the thing that puzzles me the most is, why would you pick the T5/i over the SB-1000 or the Rythmik? Isn't it better to have a sub that can go lower so you get a full frequency range in your system? Or is there something I'm not seeing on what REL brings to the table?

I keep reading that REL is the total winner when it comes to musical subs and I do believe it, but, at this $500 range, would it justify buying a sub that won't give a full range? Or, the assumption to going REL would make more sense when going up some tiers and buying something like the T9/i which does go lower and gives you a more full-frequency response. That's out of budget though, I would then have to save up for longer, and probably my small Q100s would be unbalanced for a T9/i, right?
 
D

Deleted member 116933

Guest
Thanks @RoA and @millennia_one for your comments. This has proven to be a tough investigation indeed haha.

Yesterday I was also checking the Rythmik L12 which has a direct servo system and it's around $500 too. But it has no high-level inputs, that's another can of worms I've seen.

But the thing that puzzles me the most is, why would you pick the T5/i over the SB-1000 or the Rythmik? Isn't it better to have a sub that can go lower so you get a full frequency range in your system? Or is there something I'm not seeing on what REL brings to the table?

I keep reading that REL is the total winner when it comes to musical subs and I do believe it, but, at this $500 range, would it justify buying a sub that won't give a full range? Or, the assumption to going REL would make more sense when going up some tiers and buying something like the T9/i which does go lower and gives you a more full-frequency response. That's out of budget though, I would then have to save up for longer, and probably my small Q100s would be unbalanced for a T9/i, right?
It’s not really about depth with the rel more about tone they have more “texture” they deliver the subtleties a little more. Depends what you value more I guess
 

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