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  1. #1
    Rocket Surgeon Swish's Avatar
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    To sub or not to sub, that is the question.

    I bought a pair of Paradigm Studio 100s a year or so ago with the intent of using them as the fronts for my HT room which I'm in the process of building right now. I want to use them for stereo playback as well as for the various configurations in my 7.1 setup. However, I'm wondering if I should omit my Paradigm sub-woofer and set the 100s to 'large' and allow them to handle the bass management. They're certainly capable and another friend has done the same in his 5 channel setup, and I think his setup sounds just fine without a sub.

    Any thoughts on this?
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  2. #2
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Why not run the system with both?
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  3. #3
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swish View Post
    I bought a pair of Paradigm Studio 100s a year or so ago with the intent of using them as the fronts for my HT room which I'm in the process of building right now. I want to use them for stereo playback as well as for the various configurations in my 7.1 setup. However, I'm wondering if I should omit my Paradigm sub-woofer and set the 100s to 'large' and allow them to handle the bass management. They're certainly capable and another friend has done the same in his 5 channel setup, and I think his setup sounds just fine without a sub.

    Any thoughts on this?
    Keep the sub Swish. It increases the overall headroom of the system, and allows your amps to run easier by not having to reproduce the deep bass in the main channels. In reading the measurements in Stereophile, this speaker performance under 80hz practically begs for a subwoofer to accompany it. There is no way it will handle the bass from the L/R mains, and the LFE as well.

    You could run them full range and still keep the subwoofer on the LFE as another option.
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  4. #4
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    Have you heard your friend's system with a sub to compare? Even with my Dynaudio speakers which do bass well and play low I always preferred a sub for HT. I have yet to use a sub for 2-channel except in my 2nd system. The sub is more capable of giving you the physical feel of sound effects. I am also convinced a high quality sub can really make a HT system. I'm talking about a sub that is set up properly too, not one turned up too much. Your mains may allow you to hear an explosion but the sub makes you feel it as well. When I bought my 62" TV a few years back space was limited and I really wanted to go without a sub, and even more so when my Velodyne quit, however, after using a sub and then going without, it didn't take me long to begin looking for one. Even with a sub though I keep my mains to "large", the .1 still has dedicated LFE for the sub. Without a sub the mains really have to do more than what they normally would, you are asking them to do both the job of mains and a sub, by carrying the LFE in addition to whatever goes to main.
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  5. #5
    Rocket Surgeon Swish's Avatar
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    Because it would be a pain to have to change...

    Quote Originally Posted by GMichael View Post
    Why not run the system with both?
    ...the speaker setting from big to small and back each time. Well, I guess that's not that big of a deal, but I wish it were something that could be programmed into a Harmony remote.
    I call my bathroom Jim instead of John so I can tell people that I go to the Jim first thing every morning.

    If you say the word 'gullible' very slowly it sounds just like oranges.

  6. #6
    Rocket Surgeon Swish's Avatar
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    Hmmm. I didn't know that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody View Post
    Even with a sub though I keep my mains to "large", the .1 still has dedicated LFE for the sub. Without a sub the mains really have to do more than what they normally would, you are asking them to do both the job of mains and a sub, by carrying the LFE in addition to whatever goes to main.
    I guess I need to fool around with the setting on my Rotel to see how that works. I guess you and Terrance have made this an easy decision for me. Keep the sub.
    I call my bathroom Jim instead of John so I can tell people that I go to the Jim first thing every morning.

    If you say the word 'gullible' very slowly it sounds just like oranges.

  7. #7
    Rocket Surgeon Swish's Avatar
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    Okay.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible View Post
    Keep the sub Swish. It increases the overall headroom of the system, and allows your amps to run easier by not having to reproduce the deep bass in the main channels. In reading the measurements in Stereophile, this speaker performance under 80hz practically begs for a subwoofer to accompany it. There is no way it will handle the bass from the L/R mains, and the LFE as well.

    You could run them full range and still keep the subwoofer on the LFE as another option.
    Thanks for the input and technical info. I'm going to keep the sub and do as Mr. Peabody said, keeping the mains as 'large' with the sub connected.
    I call my bathroom Jim instead of John so I can tell people that I go to the Jim first thing every morning.

    If you say the word 'gullible' very slowly it sounds just like oranges.

  8. #8
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swish View Post
    ...the speaker setting from big to small and back each time. Well, I guess that's not that big of a deal, but I wish it were something that could be programmed into a Harmony remote.
    Switch back? I mean to leave the mains set to large and keep the sub as well.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  9. #9
    Rocket Surgeon Swish's Avatar
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    Yes, I got it now.

    Quote Originally Posted by GMichael View Post
    Switch back? I mean to leave the mains set to large and keep the sub as well.
    I didn't realize I could keep them as 'large' while running the sub. Thanks to all for the help. Some of the technical aspects of HT systems drive me batty, mostly because I don't have the time to read everything.
    I call my bathroom Jim instead of John so I can tell people that I go to the Jim first thing every morning.

    If you say the word 'gullible' very slowly it sounds just like oranges.

  10. #10
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Even with a sub though I keep my mains to "large", the .1 still has dedicated LFE for the sub. Without a sub the mains really have to do more than what they normally would, you are asking them to do both the job of mains and a sub, by carrying the LFE in addition to whatever goes to main.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sir T.
    Keep the sub Swish. It increases the overall headroom of the system, and allows your amps to run easier by not having to reproduce the deep bass in the main channels. In reading the measurements in Stereophile, this speaker performance under 80hz practically begs for a subwoofer to accompany it. There is no way it will handle the bass from the L/R mains, and the LFE as well.

    You could run them full range and still keep the subwoofer on the LFE as another option.
    You probably don't need anymore affirmation but these are both good pieces of advice...and the way I configure my system too.
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  11. #11
    all around good guy Jim Clark's Avatar
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    Yeah, keep the sub. I didn't read every response word for word so it may be covered but you may be able to listen to music on "direct" stereo mode which won't use the sub and just use the 100's. That's how my Arcam preamp is at any rate. I'm assuming Rotel is similar. It may be an onscreen set up item for you. To be honest, with a decent CDP, which I assume you have, I personally think it's the way to go anyway.
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  12. #12
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by Swish View Post
    I didn't realize I could keep them as 'large' while running the sub. Thanks to all for the help. Some of the technical aspects of HT systems drive me batty, mostly because I don't have the time to read everything.
    Famous last words.
    ENGINEERS are always doing stupid things. WHY set your mains
    (or any other speaker) to limit the bass they emit? In most ht
    setups you need all the bass you can get. This is like the "turbo"
    switch on old computers. ALWAYS set all speakers to as
    large a setting as you can get.
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  13. #13
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pixelthis View Post
    Famous last words.
    ENGINEERS are always doing stupid things. WHY set your mains
    (or any other speaker) to limit the bass they emit? In most ht
    setups you need all the bass you can get. This is like the "turbo"
    switch on old computers. ALWAYS set all speakers to as
    large a setting as you can get
    .


    Untrue. Some mains can be harder to drive than others. Driving those with an entry level receiver can be tough. Setting the speakers to small and letting the sub handle anything below 80Hz can free up the amp's load and give it more headroom.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  14. #14
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    In addition to what GM already said, many of us use smaller surround speakers and crossing them over to allow very low frequencies to the sub actually gives more impact.
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  15. #15
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Those Studio 100s have plenty of bass, so you might want to try tweaking with the placement to see if you can better optimize the lows. You can try running the speakers on LARGE and use the subwoofer just for the LFE. That would work well with your speakers because of their range.

    But, by setting the speakers to SMALL and using the receiver's bass management, it actually helps out your midrange by taking the low frequency load off the speaker drivers and the amp. If you can adjust the crossover frequency on your receiver, try a low setting like 40 Hz or 60 Hz. Even with full range mains, a subwoofer can help in other ways.

    One advantage of using a subwoofer is that it allows you the flexibility to place it where the bass sounds optimal. Typically, the middle location along the wall, where the main speakers normally go, is less than ideal for bass reinforcement.

    It also gives you the option of using a parametric equalizer to reduce any room-induced boominess (IMO, the room interactions can absolutely ruin the bass, and even the best subwoofers on the market cannot overcome bad acoustics and placement). Ideally, you want to make the bass as full and even as possible, and a subwoofer gives you a lot of paths to improving the lows.

    One disadvantage with subs is that the coherency is not quite as good as with a full range speaker. You can address this if your receiver allows you to change the delay timing for the sub (or enter the distance for each channel). But, IMO the greater placement flexibility and option to EQ the sub produces a fuller and more satisfying sound overall.

    But, bass really is one of those things that you need to take your time and work through. The lows are by far the most difficult area to get right with a HT setup, and it takes time, practice, and indeed getting familiarized with some of the technical concepts (such as room acoustics and boundary reinforcement). But, when you're done, the results speak for themselves.
    Last edited by Woochifer; 07-06-2011 at 05:47 PM.
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  16. #16
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMichael View Post
    Untrue. Some mains can be harder to drive than others. Driving those with an entry level receiver can be tough. Setting the speakers to small and letting the sub handle anything below 80Hz can free up the amp's load and give it more headroom.
    Not to mention the placement flexibility and the option to EQ the sub by redirecting the lows away from the mains. The point of crossing over the mains is to let them focus on handling the midrange. I noticed an immediate improvement in the midrange coherency and clarity when I added my subwoofer. Taking the low frequency load off the receiver certainly doesn't hurt.
    Wooch's Home Theater 2.0 (Pics)
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  17. #17
    Rocket Surgeon Swish's Avatar
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    That gives me plenty to chew on Wooch.

    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer View Post
    Those Studio 100s have plenty of bass, so you might want to try tweaking with the placement to see if you can better optimize the lows. You can try running the speakers on LARGE and use the subwoofer just for the LFE. That would work well with your speakers because of their range.

    But, by setting the speakers to SMALL and using the receiver's bass management, it actually helps out your midrange by taking the low frequency load off the speaker drivers and the amp. If you can adjust the crossover frequency on your receiver, try a low setting like 40 Hz or 60 Hz. Even with full range mains, a subwoofer can help in other ways.

    One advantage of using a subwoofer is that it allows you the flexibility to place it where the bass sounds optimal. Typically, the middle location along the wall, where the main speakers normally go, is less than ideal for bass reinforcement.

    It also gives you the option of using a parametric equalizer to reduce any room-induced boominess (IMO, the room interactions can absolutely ruin the bass, and even the best subwoofers on the market cannot overcome bad acoustics and placement). Ideally, you want to make the bass as full and even as possible, and a subwoofer gives you a lot of paths to improving the lows.

    One disadvantage with subs is that the coherency is not quite as good as with a full range speaker. You can address this if your receiver allows you to change the delay timing for the sub (or enter the distance for each channel). But, IMO the greater placement flexibility and option to EQ the sub produces a fuller and more satisfying sound overall.

    But, bass really is one of those things that you need to take your time and work through. The lows are by far the most difficult area to get right with a HT setup, and it takes time, practice, and indeed getting familiarized with some of the technical concepts (such as room acoustics and boundary reinforcement). But, when you're done, the results speak for themselves.
    I'll be fooling around with my Rotel for hours I'm sure. Thanks for taking the time to comment...and everyone else too!
    I call my bathroom Jim instead of John so I can tell people that I go to the Jim first thing every morning.

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  18. #18
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMichael View Post
    Untrue. Some mains can be harder to drive than others. Driving those with an entry level receiver can be tough. Setting the speakers to small and letting the sub handle anything below 80Hz can free up the amp's load and give it more headroom.
    You shouldn't be driving mains like that with a puny receiver.
    NOT to mention that most speakers today are very efficient.
    I DROVE a set of top line Axioms (4 ohms) and they played
    fine with a 350 dollar ONKYO, and just about anything else I
    hooked then up to.
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  19. #19
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody View Post
    In addition to what GM already said, many of us use smaller surround speakers and crossing them over to allow very low frequencies to the sub actually gives more impact.
    Why not do both?
    YOU CAN SET your mains to large and run bass to the sub also.
    THE BASS of a small speaker wont matter much, but every little bit...
    I EVEN have a setting on my receiver called extra bass or something like that, sends bass everywhere. But really, why cut off
    the response of any speaker?
    THE THOUGHT was in the old days that mid range on a smaller speaker would be better if you sent the bass to a sub, but is
    that really the case?
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    sub asw2500
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    sharp Aquos BLU player
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  20. #20
    Rocket Surgeon Swish's Avatar
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    Just to be clear, I don't have a receiver.

    Quote Originally Posted by pixelthis View Post
    You shouldn't be driving mains like that with a puny receiver.
    NOT to mention that most speakers today are very efficient.
    I DROVE a set of top line Axioms (4 ohms) and they played
    fine with a 350 dollar ONKYO, and just about anything else I
    hooked then up to.
    I have a Rotel RSP 1098 processor and use two Adcom amps, one a 5 channel and the other a 2 channel, both rated at 150 W per channel. I have plenty of power to do the job.
    I call my bathroom Jim instead of John so I can tell people that I go to the Jim first thing every morning.

    If you say the word 'gullible' very slowly it sounds just like oranges.

  21. #21
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pixelthis View Post
    You shouldn't be driving mains like that with a puny receiver.
    NOT to mention that most speakers today are very efficient.
    I DROVE a set of top line Axioms (4 ohms) and they played
    fine with a 350 dollar ONKYO, and just about anything else I
    hooked then up to.
    Like it's never been done?
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  22. #22
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swish View Post
    I have a Rotel RSP 1098 processor and use two Adcom amps, one a 5 channel and the other a 2 channel, both rated at 150 W per channel. I have plenty of power to do the job.
    Sorry Swish,

    Just responding to Pixy's blanket statement that mains should always be set to large. In your case, you should IMO. You have plenty-o-power. Not everyone has that kind of headroom and setting them to small can help a lot.

    Pixy, not everyone has the cash for external amps. Some people have receivers because they are on a budget and are driving the speakers they have available. It sure beats driving a sub with a receiver's amp like you suggested last week to someone.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  23. #23
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pixelthis View Post
    But really, why cut off
    the response of any speaker?
    Because many speakers cannot adequately handle low frequencies. If the tuned port frequency for a ported speaker is set well above the lower bass range, then a lot of bass will cause uncontrolled cone movement, since the back pressure from the port that normally dampens the cone movement unloads at that point. This affects the midrange, and depending on how loud you play, it can damage the driver.

    Quote Originally Posted by pixelthis
    THE THOUGHT was in the old days that mid range on a smaller speaker would be better if you sent the bass to a sub, but is
    that really the case?
    It still applies.
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  24. #24
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    Keep the sub!!!!

  25. #25
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    I would avoid overlapping speaker frequency ranges, because the sub/satellite cancellation effects are hard to predict even if you know how to calculate them. KEEP IT SIMPLE: limit the smaller speakers to frequencies not handled by the sub.

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