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  1. #1
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    subwoofer really necessary?

    I'm not an audiophile. I just like good sound for movies & music. My system consists of Yamaha HTR 5850 Receiver, 6.1, Paradigm Titans (4) & Atoms (2) i.e. 3 Titans in front and 1 Titan and 2 Atoms in rear. It sounds great as it is. My wife keeps asking me why we even need a subwoofer when the bass sounds ok as it is. Will adding a sub really make that much difference? Thanks for your comments.

  2. #2
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    If your mains are big enough you might not need a sub for music. However for the LFE in movies to sound like it does in the theater, you really need one.

  3. #3
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gtmeade
    I'm not an audiophile. I just like good sound for movies & music. My system consists of Yamaha HTR 5850 Receiver, 6.1, Paradigm Titans (4) & Atoms (2) i.e. 3 Titans in front and 1 Titan and 2 Atoms in rear. It sounds great as it is. My wife keeps asking me why we even need a subwoofer when the bass sounds ok as it is. Will adding a sub really make that much difference? Thanks for your comments.
    Well without a sub,your most likly not hearing anything from 40Hz down and thats plenty in a action flick. It will make a difference in your speakers for everything.
    Look & Listen

  4. #4
    Forum Regular PAT.P's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Sub really necessary

    Quote Originally Posted by gtmeade
    I'm not an audiophile. I just like good sound for movies & music. My system consists of Yamaha HTR 5850 Receiver, 6.1, Paradigm Titans (4) & Atoms (2) i.e. 3 Titans in front and 1 Titan and 2 Atoms in rear. It sounds great as it is. My wife keeps asking me why we even need a subwoofer when the bass sounds ok as it is. Will adding a sub really make that much difference? Thanks for your comments.
    All depend where you live also (apt ,house ) .Personaly I cant imagine listen to action movies or music without one .( my towers goes down to 28 hz) and I still added two sub .Pat.P

  5. #5
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Should you add a sub?

    Absolutely!

    Quote Originally Posted by elbarono
    If your mains are big enough you might not need a sub for music. However for the LFE in movies to sound like it does in the theater, you really need one.
    I'm going to take elbarono's statement a step further. For many years "audiophile purists" were rather hesitant to add a subwoofer to their set ups. I can't say I blame them. With most stereo setups, you don't have the option of using the LFE out cable to the subwoofer, which created a real head-ache when trying to integrate a sub. And to be honest, subwoofers have come further in the last 5 years than probably anything else in audio IMO...even digital processing. So until recently subs probably weren't the best way to spend money in a lot of systems.

    Take a look at some $400 subs in 2000, and look again now. You'll find power has doubled, responses are much lower and flatter, connections are better, and most even have varibable phase controls on them now.

    While it is true that if you have large, full-range main speakers, you can cover most of the musical range were bass will be present...for most music this is around 35-40Hz or so. What people fail to accept is that just because a speaker can play that low, doesn't necessarily mean the speaker should play that low.

    If you were to look at a plot of any woofer's excursion (this is really true for speakers with responses +/-2 or +/-3 dB that only down to 40Hz or before dropping off), the excursion really spikes below and above the range where the port is taking over bass duty. This means your woofer is really working hard to make bass compared to the rest of the frequencies it handles. This also means that it's sound quality is dropping the lower you get. A woofer's struggles in the bass range will affect how it performs in the mid-range, Not to mention eat-up a lot of power handling capability.

    Why not relieve the speaker of this load so it can concentrate on what it does best? And why not add a subwoofer that's specially made for taking care of bass? Then you get the best of both worlds. Improved transient response, less distortion and better bass and mid-range performance.

    This is especially benificial for music, and the more dynamic and demanding the music is (classical, jazz, electronic stuff for example) the more you should at least consider a decent subwoofer.

    I'm always amazed at how manufacturers today often make "families" of speakers. The ones with more bass and power handling are usually towered versions of their stand-mount models, with more complications and price-tag that is double or even triple the stand-mount. Yet they really don't perform much better in the midrange or top end than the standmount model, so all that extra money goes into a few extra Hz. Put that money into a good sub and you could have so much more.

    If you use an a/v receiver to power your system (as most people probably do around here), then adding a sub to optimize your system is pretty easy.
    Personally, I think we're at a point now where digital finally sounds good enough that every pre-amp, or stereo integrated should have an LFE output - it doesn't even have to be digitally derived, maybe just another set of pre-outs that duplicates the signal for subwoofer purposes. Add a crossover option too!

    There's other mechanical and electrical benefits to the speaker that you'll see too if you relieve it of bass duties, but excursion is the biggest.

    You should ask Woochifer or Sir Terrence to explain why the best place in your room for a bass reproducing device is rarely where you'd place your main speakers, another benefit to adding a sub.

    I bought a new 2-channel system over a year ago. I like it, my speakers are full-range down to the mid 30's before and total response into the high 20's, but even they'd benefit alot with a sub for music. I think my next stereo purchase is going to be a good pre/pro so I can have the best of both worlds, and I'll probably integrate my stereo into my home theater. I'm doing more listening on my HT system now anyway.

    Like anything though it's a trade-off. If you've got so much money to spend, you'll have to ask yourself if it's best allocated towards a subwoofer for better bass response, or maybe somewhere else? Better main speakers, better amp? Only you can answer that.
    IMHO though, a subwoofer is a really inexpensive way to add a lot of performance to your system if you you've got the time and space to set it up right.

  6. #6
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    Hi..
    I have Rotel pre RC-972 and Power RB-971MKII with two bookshelf speakers(AR.COM).
    I am listening most of my time to music and watching a movies on my computer a little.
    I want to anjoy the effects in movies.
    My main problem is, if i will add a ressiver, i will need to connect my speakers to it and when i whant hear music i need discinnect Speakers from a resiver and connect them to my power amp.
    Maybe i should buy a proccesor an another pover amp for another two bookshelfs?
    Or there is some ather way?

  7. #7
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    Great posts so far. I'd add that what you listen to affects your decision to use or sub or not as well. For example, my mains go down to the low 30's and when I'm listening to jazz or swing, which is my preference, I'll rarely turn on my sub. However, when I'm listening to rock I enjoy the viceral impact of the sub so I may or may not turn it on. Yesterday, I found that I had to turn on my sub for classical because there is just a helluva lot more lower octave information with this type of music and my speakers simply can't retrieve it.

    With your set-up, I'd absolutely add a sub. The Titans are only spec'd to 60hz so you are missing a TON of information right now. My guess is a good sub will make you really want to listen to all of your recordings again just to hear what's actually there.

    Hope this helps.

  8. #8
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    Couldn't agree more regarding adding a subwoofer to improve sound and feel during music/movies! I added an inexpensive Definitive Technology PS80 ($250) to my HT and was shocked by the improvement. As Topspeed said, I listened/watched all of my CDs/DVDs again!

    Now, I just can't imagine if I had a better quality sub. The Def Tech is fine for what I need, but always curious how movies can sound better.

  9. #9
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    Yup. I would add a sub. My speakers go into the 40 hz range, so for music I don't use the sub that much, but I definitely use the sub for movies. Since your speakers go to about 60 hz, a sub will make a pretty big difference. While watching a movie without a sub, you'll hear the explosion. While watching with a sub, you'll hear more of the explosion. You'll also feel it Good luck.

  10. #10
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    To all who have submitted their comments--I really appreciate it. I now better understand why a sub is a good idea after it was pointed out that my Titans only go down to about 60hz. That in fact, was my main question, i.e. how do I know that adding a sub would really make a difference. But now that I better understand the limitations of my current speakers i see how adding the sub should make a noticable improvement. So I think tomorrow I may go out and get one. I won't spend a lot of money though and I don't want one that is too big. I saw a Yamaha yst-215 8 inch sub at Best Buy as an open item for around $100 so I'll probably check that out. Thanks again for all of the insight.

  11. #11
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    grmeade...
    Hold on for a second here...I wouldn't really advise you to run out and buy the cheapest, first sub you find. A small 8" sub for $100 probably isn't going to be on the same level as your Titans in terms of performance (of course I haven't heard this unit, but Yamaha isn't known for their speakers these days). I'm worried that this sub might be what we call a "one-note sub". Lots of boom, but the boom always sounds the same. And for $100 at 8", I doubt that one note is "sub" anything.

    You'd be much better off IMO to look at the used market - ebay, audiogon, etc...Or take your time to save up some money for a better one. I would shoot for a 10" sub as a minimum..but that's just me.

    You should be able to find some ideas for a sub here, or post a new thread.

    Good luck!

  12. #12
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    I've heard the Yammie "sub" and it sucks. There are soooo many better options for you. The most important characteristic that is routinely overlooked in our little hobby is patience. Everybody wants instant gratification, however short lived it may be. Save you money, wait a bit, and get a real sub. Paradigm makes some very notable subs as do Definitive Technology, HSU, and SVS. Ask Kex about his DIY subs. You already mentioned you don't really miss a sub, so waiting a little longer won't be much of a challenge, right? Take your time, do your research, audition as much as you can, and make the informed decision. A good sub can be one of the last things you'll ever want to upgrade IMO.

    Hope this helps.

  13. #13
    Forum Regular Florian's Avatar
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    Well for music only, it depends on your main speakers. Many CD's actually have bass down to 20-30Hz regions. My speakers play down to 22Hz (in my room) which makes a subwoofer pretty pointless. For a HT it is necesarry tough and adds real slam to them

    -TT
    Lots of music but not enough time for it all

  14. #14
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    but Yamaha isn't known for their speakers these days
    Prior to reading audiophile forums I just did reviews from different websites and purchased yamaha's yst-sw1500 sub.

    Based on the specs is this sub decent, I'm sure had I found this forum I could of gotten a better sub for $450.US.
    Thanks
    Greg

    specs are:


    12" Flagship Subwoofer

    Main Features

    Thick (1") real wood cabinet
    Advanced-YST Active Servo Technology for expanded bass response
    A/V ready, magnetically shielded for video use
    Power

    Built-in 1000 Watt high power amplifier
    Highly efficient power supply
    Extremely efficient amplifier
    Driver Size

    12" long stroke with dual bias cone driver
    Specifications

    Frequency Response: 16Hz-200Hz
    Dimensions (W x H X D): 16-1/2" x 20-1/8" x 17-3/4"
    Weight: 52.8 lbs.

    Other Features

    Auto Power on/off
    Line level and speaker level connections
    High pass output for music listening
    L.F.E. Input
    High cut slope:-24dB/octave
    Volume control
    Phase normal/reverse switch
    BASS selector switch
    Remote control
    2-Way binding post speaker terminal

  15. #15
    Forum Regular thepogue's Avatar
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    it's a no brainer...

    get a sub....for 2 channel or HT it's really a good buys...as stated above for the 400-500 bucks range you can find some really neat subs...also I added a sub to my two channel set-up a few years ago when I was running the Paradigm 100's and having a was a great way to manage bass and adds a new dimension ..although I don't use the sub any more...and in fact I'm selling the sub and the two fronts.

    go ahead...get the sub!!

    Pogue
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  16. #16
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Don't waste your $$$!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by gtmeade
    To all who have submitted their comments--I really appreciate it. I now better understand why a sub is a good idea after it was pointed out that my Titans only go down to about 60hz. That in fact, was my main question, i.e. how do I know that adding a sub would really make a difference. But now that I better understand the limitations of my current speakers i see how adding the sub should make a noticable improvement. So I think tomorrow I may go out and get one. I won't spend a lot of money though and I don't want one that is too big. I saw a Yamaha yst-215 8 inch sub at Best Buy as an open item for around $100 so I'll probably check that out. Thanks again for all of the insight.
    A $100 sub from any brand is going to be severly limited. If your willing to spend just a little more you can get a decent 12" "cheap" sub that will do a LOT better.

    $162 get's you this one with a 2 year warrentee.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...779630595&rd=1

    I've owned one, and it ain't bad. It's an acoustic suspension design. I even had it paired with my old Maggie III's for a time....and it worked!
    Audio;
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  17. #17
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    Exclamation Low Frequencies are essential

    I tell ya what...Low Frequencies are found in FULL RANGE loudspeakers,with
    a frequency range of at least 20Hz/50kHz.
    But most of us don't have the dough to purchase those ones,so we' ve got
    ourselves to have subwoofers to fill the low frequencies's void left by our non-fullrange
    speakers.Going down to 50Hz isn't good enough to watch movies.Some songs sounds
    so much better with really deep bass,don't mistake LOW with BOOMY.Having said
    that,YES you must purchase a subwoofer or if you're a millionare,buy yourself a
    AVALON SENTINEL (16Hz/100Khz)
    http://www.avalonacoustics.com/sent.html

  18. #18
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    Hmmmmmmmmm... Interesting.

    Vandersteen 2Ce circa 1991.
    Specs say 29 Hz - 29KHz +/- 3 dB
    32 Hz - 21 KHz +/- 1.5

    I am wondering if I might benefit from a subwoofer. So far, so good with the bass output of my mains, but I really do get limited by what I can do at, ahem, "higher" volumes. This characteristic is compounded by 1) some movie soundtracks 2) more dynamic classical music 3) hip-hop. (Fault the wife for that one, it resulted in a new driver from Vandersteen. Nice folks...)

    If I cut the lows being sent the the mains at some optimal frequency (I assume this is how the digital controls on my RVX650 work), I wonder what that does to the overall power handling. Sound quality at high volume. ???. Two volume limitations of the Vandersteens: Instantaneous, ridiculously loud passages such as 1812 cannons. Heat buildup after extended play at loud volume. What do you guys think, give it a shot? Would this work for movies and such? For music listening as well? Is it all in the setup parameters? How does that thing work? Perhaps I ought to read the manual...

    I always wanted to build one of those subwoofer kits from Parts Express. I understand they perform pretty well and represent a good value.

    Thanks,

    jocko

    Also... I continue to use my old Carver Receiver (I am old school) for the mains, high current, and all the better to lower power burden the receiver. (Besides, I like the retro brushed look, rack handles,and the little backlight! Van Halen STILL rocks, dammit.) Pre-out to pre-in. I can get my hands on an old Adcom (545?) but the output would probably be a wash. The volume from this amp and speakers is very good, but I could go for a bit more at times. I just don't want to muddy up what is pretty good low-end sound.

    jocko
    Last edited by jocko_nc; 06-14-2005 at 08:40 PM.

  19. #19
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Jocko, if you add a sub, and set the receiver's crossover to say, 80, 60, or even 40 Hz, your Vandersteen's mechanical power handling should increase considerably. More dynamic range available, less heat etc...err...how loud do you play these?

  20. #20
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    LOL! Probably louder than I ought to.

    Let's see... For two channel music, I have the preamp to +10 dB for L and R Mains. This seems to be ideal for the gain of the pre-in on the Carver. That is, the power output seems properly scaled to the volume as it was when using the Carver outright. At this setting on the receiver, I do turn the main volume to -15 dB to -10 dB, depending upon what I am listening to (and my mood). Most music works well at these volumes. Movies or heavy-bass stuff is a definite no-no, however. Some movies max out at -20 dB to -25 dB, modern stuff w/ real crazy lows.

    Anyway...

    jocko

  21. #21
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    Exclamation Getting Lows & Highs

    The easy thing to get is a good subwoofer to enjoy the
    lowest frequencies,but it seems that everyone forgot the
    HIGHER frequencies,even though we,human beings,just
    can't hear above 20kHz...the CATS do hear up to 65kHz!!!!
    But the higher frequency range a louspeaker get,the better
    for it'll gain in detail,so I was told by the gamuT folks about
    their new and fancy AVANCE L-5 loudspeakers that can
    reach up to 60kHz.

  22. #22
    Big science. Hallelujah. noddin0ff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pulsar19
    The easy thing to get is a good subwoofer to enjoy the
    lowest frequencies,but it seems that everyone forgot the
    HIGHER frequencies,even though we,human beings,just
    can't hear above 20kHz...the CATS do hear up to 65kHz!!!!
    But the higher frequency range a louspeaker get,the better
    for it'll gain in detail,so I was told by the gamuT folks about
    their new and fancy AVANCE L-5 loudspeakers that can
    reach up to 60kHz.
    But, I don't like cats!

  23. #23
    Forum Regular Florian's Avatar
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    Well if you have the choice of a true fullrange speaker like a VMPS RM/X, Wilson Watt Puppy7 Max..,( Apogee Duetta, Scintiila, FR, Grand, Studio Grand etc..)

    or a tower with a sub then definetly choose the fullrange speaker.

    IF MONEY IS A BIG CONCERN (LIKE 99% of US)

    then choose a speaker with not too much bass and add a fast sub.

    -Flo
    Lots of music but not enough time for it all

  24. #24
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    Talking Good choices

    If I only had plenty o'space,I'd could pick a pair of high
    frequencies's capabilty loudspeakers and obviously add
    a SVS 16-46 PC Plus.This would be sweet.
    Subwoofers were made just to complete the system,
    be it to watch movies or hear music.You guys already
    noticed that the higher frequencies a loudspeaker can
    reach,the more bucks you'll pay.

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