Two are better.
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I did and they are. I am referring to one or two of the same subs. One large or two smaller ones are a much closer call. It depends on the subs, REL has something on this on their web site, also look at Sumiko site. They think 2 subs "load" the room better than one. I think I know what they mean and agree but their explanation is best direct from them.
two subs are better. particularly when you can hook them up with separate left and right audio signals, rather than each one having a combined L+R sub signal.
two make the soundstage better in my system. i am particular about the directionality of sound and two subs always disappear better than one to me.
and i would rather have two smaller subs than one big, honkin' one, but i suppose that's more of a matter of personal taste.
Partly the answer is simply "2 subs" because that allows asymmetric placement in order to minimize room effects - as noted above.
However, there's also this:
If you listen LOUD to LOW frequencies, 2 is also better because all subs behave worse at low frequency as SPL from that sub goes up. If you're listening at a given SPL, each of your 2 subs is playing 3db to 5db lower than a single sub of the same design. Let's say that SPL is 100db. Depending on which specific sub you're using, you will see markedly superior performance (distortion) at some particular frequency (range) where the sub is comfortable at 95-97 db but stressed at 100db. For many subs, this may be as high as 50+ hz, for others, it's as low as 20hz.
When a sub gets uncomfortable, it tends to fall apart pretty quickly - see subwoofer tests at HTshack.com's forums for "subwoofer tests".
So, listening levels, frequency content of the program material, room size/placement (determines actual output SPL from sub needed to achieve desired SPL at listening location), and particular model sub are all important in answering the question. In a small room, at 85db peaks, most music will not stress a decent single sub. At 105db peaks in a large room, HT content will stress a pair of excellent subs.
IME, 2 is MUCH better. Some people would suggest that all of this is usually inaudible, so YMMV.
Kal,you been hanging around J.A. to much.
Kal,on another note,I had asked you a few months back if you thought all amps sound the same.I'm still waiting for a reply. Thanks.
The answer could be dictated by your particular rooms acoustic signature. After adding a second sub in my HT space My Pioneer's room correction easily displayed the difference with its on screen EQ display. Honestly, I couldn't hear a significant difference in this room. I did notice a significant difference while at another location in the house.
So, in my house the answer is, defiantly maybe and yes. IMO for now it wasn't worth the expense but I'm not taking it out. I'm betting the audio quality for mass media will soon improve to a point where it will take full advantage of the current hardware. The quality is there the problem is post production and the medium.
Unless I missed it, no one posted the Harman paper that discusses this. http://www.harman.com/about_harman/technology_leadership.aspx Click on the White Papers link, then "Subwoofers: Optimum Number and Locations".
Sure two would be better. Four would be better still. It comes down to how much to spend and place to put them.
I bought one JL F-113 Fathom sub and it is awesome.
Again, two would be better... 2 costs twice as much, and I am not sure if I have the room for one more JL sub.
I use the JL sub with my Stereo system.
I also have 2 more subs (Outlaw Audio) for my Home theatre which is loacted in the same room with my 2 channel set up.
I think I still have a M&K 250 Watt 2-12 woofer sub if anyone is interested.
I found the Harmon paper interesting, although I think there was little new that I didn't already know, but it is a reasoned explication. Bottom line is that one well placed sub, often corner placed, is usually all you need unless your room is very large. As the series of papers notes, lots of unsubstantiated mystic in audio.