1 sub? 2 subs?

I'm interested in adding a sub(s) to my current system. My system is used for both music (75% of the time)and HT. In adding a subwoofer, I would like it to be as musical as possible...explosions etc for theater are less important since I think of those types of sound as more for entertainment vs. something that must sound exactly right (anyway, I have no idea what most of the explosions really sound like because I've never heard it in person). My front speakers are Sonus Faber Concertos. The room is 16x25 with 9 foot ceilings and opens up into another room that is just as big.

I've been following many of the threads here on Audiogon(which have been incredibly informative) and have noticed that some feel that 2 subwoofers are needed to obtain the best overall sound. I'd like some views on the issue of one vs two subs in this setup. If I go with two subs could I get smaller subs eg 2 Sunfire Trues instead of one large eg. 1 REL Storm. Also, any recommendations are welcome. I'd like to keep it under $2K and am willing to buy used. Thanks for all your help.
Milo yes i believe many will confess that 2 sounds more tonealy correct for music. As far as recommending the subs, i'll leave that for the others. I use 2 Rel Stadium 11's . Your room sounds large enough to handle a pair. What i like about the Rel's is that for music the subs can be connected speaker level and thus sending the same signal to your main speakers. The newer Rel's even do better in that they allow you to connect speaker level for music and high level from your sub out on your pre/pro for the LFE's and give seperate control for both connections.
Milo, I have heard the combo of Sonus Faber Concertos and a REL sub, and have not heard a better match yet, especially for a music oriented 5.1 channel set up. As far as two subs, get one good one first (REL), see how it goes, and then consider two. The two sub set up helps with cancelling standing waves, but can be overkill in a small room. I have also heard the REL Storm with the Sonus Faber Grand Pianos and the coresponding center and surrounds. Not for one second did I think of another sub, it sounded awesome in an approximately 25' X 16' room. However, it was mated with a very good amp and preamp (Musical Fidelity) which helped me to hear just what the REL is capable of. It made me want to trade up from my Stratus III ! Just heard the Sunfire this weekend for the tenth time... very attractive size and design but it mostly goes BOOM, BOOM, BOOM!
Mikec is correct as usual.
Depends on your budget. If you don't have much to spend, one great sub will be better then two cheap subs.
you can buy two new vmps original subs w/all the add-ons, a new marchand deluxe wersion of the xm-9 x-over, and a decent used s/s amp (or two), & still keep it under $2k. this will also give ya better electronics than are in the powered subs. for a bit more money, ewe could get the vmps larger subs, but ya mite not really need it in your room. call/email brian cheney of vmps - see what he sez. oh, and the marchand x-over is extremely flexible & easy to mate w/most any monitor.

as many on this site are prolly tired of hearing, i tink the vmps are far & away the best subs going, unless ya wanna spend >$6k, at which point yule get something as good... ;~)

regards, doug

ps, for ease of placement, proper imaging, lower distortion, i *strongly* recommend two subs, whichever make/model ewe ultimately choose...

My girl almost died when I bought a 2nd sub, she is always yelling about how loud it is and how boomy the sound is. But as she learned by adding a second sub I could control the amount of bass and you could feel it and experience it during movies, and music(but not so much) without that Boomy over powering feeling you can get with 1 smaller sub.

Obviously, you have not heard a Sunfire signature sub set up properly. To characterize the sound as "Boom, Boom. Boom" is entirely misleading. Typically, most users mis-position the sunfire (in corners and near to room boundaries.) In addition, the volume, in most cases, is turned up too high. When properly set up, the Sunfire Signature will produce clean and powerful bass down to 16Hz, while blending seamlessly with your main speakers (dynamic as well as ribbon, screen or electrostatics.)
I use a REL Strata II with my Sf Guarneri's, and I am very happy with the results in my smallish room. Integration is seamless and, again for my room, the Strata is more than enough. Before going up in size to the next bigger REL, I'd go for another Strata myself. The Strata sells for ~ $ 1300 new. Haven't seen many used ones for sale, and they usually don't last v. long.
while i still tink the best results will be obtained w/two subs (even in a smaller room - 2 subs will ameliorate standing-waves ewe can get w/only one), if ya have to get by w/only one, then it should absolutely be centered between the speakers. if ewe can get it into the near-field (ie: as your coffee-table/footrest/etc), even better - ewe can reduce the wolume & still get the same effect. also, keep the x-over as low as possible - critical for *all* sub usage; especially important w/only one.

ymmv, doug

Gmorris, maybe you have heard the Sunfire in carefully set up surroundings, but I have heard it many times in 3 different well designed listening rooms in NYC, and every time it was more thud than tone. Now granted, they may not have taken the time to impeccably optimize set up, but the first time I heard a REL sub it was brand new, and just plugged in at a dealers. Without any kind of set up, no break in, no careful setting of crossover frequencies I immediately sat up and asked what was that! It was a stunning sound, unlike any sub I had heard. So under the most undesirable circumstances the REL was a knockout, and under very decent circumstances the Sunfire was consistantly typical of everything that made me dislike subs in the first place. If there was a sub that sounded like a REL that was the same size as the Sunfire I would stand in line to be the first customer. The only other sub I have heard that impressed me was the big Aeriel, which costs a heck of a lot more money than the Rel, and is probably not as versatile, being better matched to Aeriel speakers , wheras the REL can compliment a wide variety of systems. Sorry, you can keep your Sunfire, I'll keep my REL, thank you very much.
Forgot to mention Audio Physics' top of the line, damn good sound as well.
I have a REl Stentor. A little more in price then quoted but I also wanted to push Rel. You can always get one now and upgrade later to a second one.
i've heard the 18" velodynes, the sunfires, the rel stratus - in all cases i was extremely underwhelmed: boomy one-note thump. then again, the set-up seemed to me to be less than optimal. the only time i ever heard a powered one-sub set-up integrate well was an old-style hsu (the short, fat model), centered between the speakers, & in the nearfield.

i'm a firm believer that the best way to do low-frequencies right is not to try & defy the laws of physics by cramming one or two drivers into a small box, & then using electronics to compensate, but to keep everything as simple as possible, and use big boxes, optimized to the drivers. thus, my preference for the vmps subs, which are far more accurate than the smaller powered-subs, and the equal to the largest way-expensive powered models. the only subs i've heard that competed on an equal footing to my pair of larger vmps' were the sub towers from the old infinity irs series, similar to the top-line genesis - six 12" servo-controlled drivers per side, in 75"-tall towers.

ymmv, doug

Try titan II at www.audioc.com
Our different experiences with the RELs and Sunfires underscores how system/room and preference dependent observations can be. To wit, my friends and I who live in houses with "sprung" floors have encountered difficulties integrating the RELs with the main speakers (ranging from Watts, Maggies, Proacs) in our listening rooms. For the most part, the RELs have been "boomy" (maybe due to the fact that the woofers are firing downwards.) I agree that the RELs are excellent subs, but properly set up Sunfire Signatures seem to work better in the systems alluded to above.

What is your opinion re using a single sub vs a stereo pair?

Have a good day.
Could you please describe the improvements gained by using stereo subs versus a single sub in your system and room?
Gthirteen, thanks for the clarification. I have a friend with dedicated home theater in a custom built room who uses two Sunfire subs. The sound in the room is excellent, without the subs calling any unnecessary attention to themselves. Your explanation of the flooring aspect makes a lot of sense. In stores the Sunfire was consistantly boomy. Although I was not bowled over with excitement listening to my friends system, there was nothing wrong with it at all. I use my system for 70% music and 30% movies and TV. The REL had such good pitch that I couln't make an improvement on it, without mucho dinero to spend. Hope you enjoy your system.
** meant to say Gmorris.
I am building a dedicated listening room (15x26x9) with poured concrete floor. I will revisit the RELs after completion.
Good luck Gmorris. I know that can be quite a complicated and expensive undertaking.Do you already know what amps and speakers you will be using?

i must confess that i've never tried using only one sub in *my* listening room - when i decided to sub-woof, i got two from the start. my reasons were based upon what seemed reasonable & logical to me: two subs means half the distortion for any given spl. two subs mean faster bass, that much easier to match w/your monitors (similar to distortion - half the work for a given spl). two subs means i can set them up in a proper stereo configuration, for better image/soudstage. two subs means easier to awoid standing-wave problems, as the sound is eminating from two distinct sources as opposed to one. this will work especially well, imho, if your speaker system is not directly centered on the wall behind them, but shifted over one way or the other a foot or three. also, summing a stereo signal to mono for bass frequencies may possibly lead to some signal cancellation, which is not what yure trying to do here...

again, my experience w/other single-sub systems has been that only when the summed-mono sub was centered between the speakers, & in the nearfield, did i get decent non-boomy, well-integrated bas response.