|A couple of assertions in the audio world have me perplexed as to how to select a subwoofer for my two-channel system.|
Richard Hardesty makes the blanket statement in his Audio Perfectionist Journal that down-firing subs should never be used for high-end two-channel audio. Only front-firing subs are suitable for this application. I see, however, that some of the most-recommended subs on a'gon (Hsu TN series, ACI and REL come to mind) are down-firing (or up-firing in the case of Hsu.) Maybe the answer is that audiophile subs can't be purchased at the price point most mortals can afford, and the lower-priced subs just happen to be down-firing? Oh, Hardesty also says ported subs are not suitable for high-end audio; must go with a sealed box. Interesting.
The second assertion comes from Mike Barnes at nOrh, who says on his website that the plate amps used in 90% of subs today is crap and puts out only a fraction of power that is claimed. The sound that was rattling his windows and creating "earth-shaking bass" was not bass at all- it was distortion. He also states that he began tests in subwoofer development using the popular Peerless 12" woofer, which was literally shredded by a (non-plate) 150-watt amp.
So now I'm confused. Is it possible to buy a high-quality sub for relatively little money? I can't bring myself to spend $3-5k on a pair of speakers only to turn around and spend nearly that much on a sub. Oh, and then I hear that if I want the best possible configuration I need two subs at twice the price, making my subs more expensive than my speakers. Is this just a fact of life that I'll have to come to grips with if I don't want to buy speakers that go down to 20hz?