Why subs?

MajorFubar

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Where did the notion of needing subs come from?
Or, to put it another way, why did HiFi speakers dispense with large drivers to start with, if subs prove that they're still wanted?

It didn't used to be so.

In the 60s and 70s even many budget speakers were floor-standing with 10"-15" woofers which could reach low down and thwack you in the chest. Ok over the years there have been many refinements, and modern budget speakers no doubt better their large-coned predecessors overall, but bass has suffered to such an extent that there's now a buoyant market for supplementary bass speakers (subs), which often aren't just confined to their original cinematic '.1' usage.

Would there really be no market for a pair of 'traditional-styled' floor-standing HiFi loudspeakers with a 12"-15" driver already built into each cabinet?
 

theexcitableboy

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From someone who knows little about the engineering and history of such things, a suggestion would be that it now means companies can sell their subs for hundreds of pounds, sucking more money from us. After all, people like us will pay the money for a good sound, and they know that! Furniture these days is also generally less solid and more minimalist - people don't want huge whacking floorstanders any more because there simply isn't room.
 

chebby

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MajorFubar said:
Would there really be no market for a pair of 'traditional-styled' floor-standing HiFi loudspeakers with a 12"-15" driver already built into each cabinet?
There would be a small market (and some are still made) but the price would be prohibitive compared (in relative terms) to those once made in large numbers by the likes of Wharfedale, KEF, Celestion, Goodmans, AR et al. who provided examples in all price points in the 1960s and 70s.

Domestic acceptability/compatibility has gone against such speakers in the last few decades as affordable homes have got smaller and smaller and people have to live closer and closer to their neighbours (without the thick walls between them that older properties had).

In truth, some of those old speakers (especially the Goodmans RB series from the late 1970s) were bloody awful with horrible uncontrolled bass! (Especially as a lot of users liked to push them into corners and behind sofas and drive them from cheap music centres with every available tone-control cranked up to maximum.)
 

Frank Harvey

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The late 80's saw the beginning of the decline of large speakers with 8" drivers or more. We have seen a leaning back towards that a little with the likes of Monitor Audio's RX2's and Spendor's Classic series, to name but a few. One of the earlierst I recall would be the Mission 753's, which were hugely popular, and many manufacturers followed suit.

As Chebby mentions, a lot of those big old speakers don't actually sound that good, having overblown and ploddy bass.
 

DocG

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May 1, 2012
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Golden Ear Technology's Triton speakers go full range, with their built-in powered subwoofers.

Didn't get to hear them (coming to Belgium soon...), but they get very good reviews. The looks are - how shall I put this - not really offensive, and the dimensions are very living-room-friendly.

http://www.goldenear.com/products/triton-towers
 

oldric_naubhoff

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MajorFubar said:
Would there really be no market for a pair of 'traditional-styled' floor-standing HiFi loudspeakers with a 12"-15" driver already built into each cabinet?
you mean like these?

 

busb

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oldric_naubhoff said:
MajorFubar said:
Would there really be no market for a pair of 'traditional-styled' floor-standing HiFi loudspeakers with a 12"-15" driver already built into each cabinet?
you mean like these?

For such large speakers, they image rather well but for the price, they have to be soddin' good! Heard them with a dCS source in Eton. Amazing sound.
 

busb

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It's easier to design speakers around smaller woofers that are longer throw rather than having a 12" cones that break up into some very unwanted non-linear modes. I'm not sure how well subs would sell with smaller drivers that didn't look the part! Maybe some subs have smaller drivers anyway. I would imagine that large cones work best over a limited freq range such as with subs.

As for why I suppose because the main speakers can be less obtrusive & the sub switched off late at night, when neighbours are around etc. I personaly don't like the idea of them but have no experience using them either. I can remember Leema using some pretty small speakers on substantial stands with a sub tucked away to very good effect a few years back at a Bristol show. My Arros have 4" woofers but manage to surprise the odd visitor who tell how bass-shy they must be! IMO, modern speakers are hugely better than say only 20yrs ago.
 

chebby

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oldric_naubhoff said:
MajorFubar said:
Would there really be no market for a pair of 'traditional-styled' floor-standing HiFi loudspeakers with a 12"-15" driver already built into each cabinet?
you mean like these?

They aren't 'traditional'. They look like they are about to 'slip a disk' and it would useless trying to place a potted rubber plant on top of one. It would fall off. (We are back in the 1970s here and big speakers had to be able to support big plants.)

BRING BACK TYGAN GRILLES! :)
 

Hi-FiOutlaw

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There are a lot of speakers in the market with 8,10,12'' cones, but they are associated to hi-end brands, apparently, those who have money don't need a sub in their set up to have access to low frequencies.

I consider that a 2.0 system is less artificial, but when there is need for a sub, why not?I rarely turn on my, because my speakers provides me with a fairly complete range of low frequencies.
 

scene

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chebby said:
They aren't 'traditional'. They look like they are about to 'slip a disk' and it would useless trying to place a potted rubber plant on top of one. It would fall off. (We are back in the 1970s here and big speakers had to be able to support big plants.)

BRING BACK TYGAN GRILLES! :)
Tygan grilles, marvellous stuff - think London underground use the stuff for indestructible seat covers now :)
 

Overdose

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Having tried to integrate a sub, with varying degrees of success, I would say that one is not neccessary, unless you want more impact for movies. It can also be a pain to set up a sub, with room acoustics and placement being critical.

There is very little going on at or below 40Hz as far as music goes anyway, so any good speaker with a reasonable lower frequency response down to near this area would be fine for most music.
 

Frank Harvey

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There is a lot of electronic music out there that has plenty going on below 40Hz, or requires better performance around the 40/50Hz mark than most speakers can manage.

It's the user's choice as to whether they want to exploit this bass, and whether to take the easy route and add a sub, or invest in a speaker with better sub 50Hz performance. The former ONLY adds in the lower bass (subject to quality), whereas a speaker more capable below 50Hz will generally come with benefits over the whole frequency range, and come with the advantage of not having to spend time on placement/crossover point/setup etc.
 

chebby

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FrankHarveyHiFi said:
Given...

(a) ...the number of people who post about what do about their speakers when they have toddlers, maybe it's time for the return of sturdy grilles and grille cloth that could repel these creatures.

(b) ...the number of people who find their speaker's tweeters too harsh/forward/screechy, maybe it's time for a bit of 'filtering'.

(c) ...that no-one calls the woven/punched metal protective domes - on a lot of modern tweeters - 'filters'. MA, KEF, Harbeth, Epos and many more companies use (and have used) such protective tweeter covers. Tygan (or Vynair) is probably no more or less 'transparent' than sticking a miniature metal sieve over a tweeter.
 

CnoEvil

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chebby said:
FrankHarveyHiFi said:
Given...

(a) ...the number of people who post about what do about their speakers when they have toddlers, maybe it's time for the return of sturdy grilles and grille cloth that could repel these creatures.

(b) ...the number of people who find their speaker's tweeters too harsh/forward/screechy, maybe it's time for a bit of 'filtering'.

(c) ...that no-one calls the woven/punched metal protective domes - on a lot of modern tweeters - 'filters'. MA, KEF, Harbeth, Epos and many more companies use (and have used) such protective tweeter covers. Tygan (or Vynair) is probably no more or less 'transparent' than sticking a miniature metal sieve over a tweeter.
Stylish and practical......what more could one poosibly want!!

(I wonder does it come in Donegal Tweed?)
 

Frank Harvey

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A bit excessive - that stuff could survive a bear attack! :rofl:

On budget speakers, they've more there for protective purposes. You'll probably find this sort of thing is disappearing, and if protective tweeter grilles are being used, they're also being designed to aid HF dispersion :)
 

psurquhart

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I use a 5.0 set up.

Using PMC GB1's front left / right and a DB1C.

Rears are Mission Freedoms 752's.

The bass is so good I have never really had the urge to buy a sub.

Am I missing something ?

Must point out though, I have wanted one but never had the finances to justify one. Plus the walls are paper thin in our terraced house - not sure the neighbours would like one either.
 

CnoEvil

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FrankHarveyHiFi said:
A bit excessive - that stuff could survive a bear attack! :rofl:

On budget speakers, they've more there for protective purposes. You'll probably find this sort of thing is disappearing, and if protective tweeter grilles are being used, they're also being designed to aid HF dispersion :)
You're not wrong.....it has the consistency of "thick cut" Marmalade! :grin:
 

basshead

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most of the music i listen to has lots going on in the lower frequency ranges, unless i want to buy big floor standers a sub is a must have.best advantage of smallish speakers + sub for me is being able to turn the sub off at 10pm so as not to get a court order for annoying neighbours.also, it makes it easier to have more smaller boxes rather than 2 massive ones when moving house (lots of people rent flats/houses and move yearly, buying big floor standers while living in a nice big house and then moving into a small flat could be a problem).plus, buying a good sub with budget speakers gave me the option of upgrading my bookshelf speakers and acheiving vfm compared to upgrading big floor standers

most of the music i listen to has lots going on in the lower frequency ranges, unless i want to buy big floor standers a sub is a must have.

best advantage of smallish speakers + sub for me is being able to turn the sub off at 10pm so as not to get a court order for annoying neighbours.

also, it makes it easier to have more smaller boxes rather than 2 massive ones when moving house (lots of people rent flats/houses and move yearly, buying big floor standers while living in a nice big house and then moving into a small flat could be a problem).

smaller speakers are more practical. those who care enough about bass will buy buy a sub to go with them. most people dont care enough (i think they're the lucky ones!)
 

FennerMachine

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I've had two subs.

I had a Yamaha sub with an Aiwa stereo.

Aiwa system cost £400.00, sub cost £180.00

Great when playing Celine Dion, Falling Into You, tracks 10 to 12!

Second sub was with a Kenwood 5.1 system.

It was a kind of a separates system but all designed to be used together.

I then upgraded to an AV amp with B&W DM speakers with 602.5's as fronts.

Never had a sub since.

I changed to Mission 782's in about 2002.

I've had two different stand mount speakers since then.

Thought of getting a sub a few times but not really practical in my room.

When watching a film recently all seemed OK except the low frequencies for there absence.

Them WHAM! Something in the sound track required some bass & I felt it. Only happens when needed without a constant low frequency rumble that a sub gives. Also at the volumes I listen at I can turn up the bass on my preamp without stressing the speakers.

For stereo:

For the same cost smaller speakers seem to have more benefits than equivalent priced larger speakers or same size plus sub. Sub will give more bass and floor standers have other benefits but same combined cost on 1 good pair of stand mounts seem to be better overall.

For AV:

Having said that about stereo, in a larger room I can see the benefit of a dedicated speaker (sub) for very low frequencies. AV is a bit different as you have more amps and speakers to contend with so it depends on priorities. The budget has to be split differently and a sub may be the best way to go depending on room and use.
 

v1c

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MajorFubar said:
Where did the notion of needing subs come from?
I think this sums it up
History

  • The subwoofer was born out of consumer complaints that surrounded the bass response in speakers that were popular during the time. In the 1960s, the subwoofer was invented in Los Angeles by the owner of a store whose customers were complaining about just that. In the 1970s, subwoofers became widely known as it was used in theaters to relay deep bass sounds to the audience. During the 1980s, subwoofers allowed people playing compact discs the ability to relay bass with at home speakers. It wasn't until the 1990s that the subwoofer found its way into home theater systems, but by the 2000s they became widely used at home, in car audio systems and in clubs and music venues.
Significance

  • In the past half a century, the subwoofer has completely changed the way people listen to and play music. Without them, low bass sounds would not be as clear and audible as they are today. If people recorded music or sound with a heavy bass, the entire sound would be muddled and not work correctly. The subwoofer, however, created clear, distinct bass sounds that can be altered by whomever is working the system the subwoofer is a part of. Listening to music anywhere has never been the same.
Thanks To Ken Kreisel.

Also an interesting read

The Bottom end

What i find interesting about Subs is that they were invented with music in mind first not movies.

I never got the Sub love until i got an MK KX10 which had Discover Deep Base on the cone as a tag line and that is exactly what i did had a rel before which TBH i could take it or leave it but now i wouldn't be without one i love my sub. Which i why i rate Ken Kreisel as a speaker God.


 

Overdose

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FrankHarveyHiFi said:
There is a lot of electronic music out there that has plenty going on below 40Hz, or requires better performance around the 40/50Hz mark than most speakers can manage.
A lot of electronic music does not constitute a lot of music in general. There are genres of electronic music that use a lot of sub bass, but still, not the majority of music in general, or indeed electronic music in general, so a sub is not going to get much use unless the system is exclusively used for this type of music. In addition, this type music is not generally going to be played extensively on hifi anyway, with most listeners, I suspect, using headphones, car audio and club sound systems.

The other main benefit of a sub can be to alleviate the power sapping lower frequencies from the main speakers, so to allow more headroom for the frequencies above the cutoff.

Most hifi speakers are capable of reproducing the lower registers, though perhaps at a reduced level and in general the majority of hifi listeners/owners would be perfectly well served with stereo speakers alone.
 

Hi-FiOutlaw

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Overdose said:
FrankHarveyHiFi said:
There is a lot of electronic music out there that has plenty going on below 40Hz, or requires better performance around the 40/50Hz mark than most speakers can manage.
A lot of electronic music does not constitute a lot of music in general. There are genres of electronic music that use a lot of sub bass, but still, not the majority of music in general, or indeed electronic music in general, so a sub is not going to get much use unless the system is exclusively used for this type of music. In addition, this type music is not generally going to be played extensively on hifi anyway, with most listeners, I suspect, using headphones, car audio and club sound systems.

The other main benefit of a sub can be to alleviate the power sapping lower frequencies from the main speakers, so to allow more headroom for the frequencies above the cutoff.

Most hifi speakers are capable of reproducing the lower registers, though perhaps at a reduced level and in general the majority of hifi listeners/owners would be perfectly well served with stereo speakers alone.


And why these speakers have them...? 8/10/12' drivers...????

There's a lot of low freq in a orchestra, and in music in general!

Or the buyers of these speakers just listen to electronic music?
 

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