If you were designing a (cost-no-object)speaker system having response to 20 Hz or so, would you choose to put one of the drivers in a separate enclosure located several feet away from the rest of the system? I think not. IMHO, each main speaker should have its own subwoofer...the driver which the manufacturer left out to lower cost.
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two subs......there is a no brainer experience when you hear the difference, i waited a long time and wasn't going to do it, a friend who knows quite a lot said the bottom end was always in mono, but after adding the second one, wow , no going back unless as eldartford said....one speaker with proper crossover and all bottom end....do it....
Assuming you have freedom of placement, a pair of subs can yield a smoother frequency response. See the Harman papers:
Click on White Papers and then these two papers:
"Subwoofers: Optimum Number and Locations"
"Part Three: Getting the Bass Right"
Now whether you want to run them Left & Right summed mono or separate Left & Right is another topic. Actually, the first paper cited makes mention of this as well.
Another vote for 2 subs. However, for me, the key was proper integration - hard to do without help. In my case, I use a Velodyne SMS sub controller for this purpose, but there are also other products with similar functionality. For instance, any of the Audyssey enabled products will help optimize X-over and eq.
After reading all responses here now I'm wondering whether to fork out another $2,500 for a similar subwoofer for my 2-channel system.
I have another $600 subwoofer currently relegated to HT duties due to its incompetence when compared to the $2,500 sub. Although I have not tried it before, I was wondering whether there would be a slightest chance that both subwoofers can be hooked up together as a stereo pair and give better results. Any advice would be appreciated.