$500 sub for Quad 11L2s

Hello AudiogoN,

I'm looking to find a small powered sub to supplement my Quad 11L2 bookshelf speakers in a small-medium room. My FIRM price ceiling with shipping is $500. I'm looking for this sub for music only (no home theater). I listen to a wide variety of music and would like to maintain a relatively balanced and musical sound, but have a little extra punch for kick-drums an rock, hip-hop, funk and electronic base. I plan on running it out of the speaker terminals of my Cary Audio CAI-1 (integrated amp), so I need it to have speaker level inputs in the sub. My 11L2s have the cherry finish, so something that matches would be a plus, but black will work as well. I realize my list of needs/wants makes this a difficult order to fill, but I would love any suggestions you all have. THANKS!
Hsu Research
2nd the motion
I had an HSU STF-2 and liked it a lot. They're available on the HSU site now for $319.

Another one to consider, especially if you would prefer something physically smaller than the HSU, is the Mirage Omni S8 or S10. I replaced the HSU with the S8 and have found it somewhat easier to integrate in my particular system. It's much easier to place in a smaller room, as well.
Thanks for the suggestions. I am picking up a HSU VTF-2 MK2 from another AudiogoN member. Can't wait to get it in the system!!!
Although the OP has made his decision, for others interested in this application, the Mirage MM8 or its identical twin Energy ESW-M8 are ideal companions for a 2-channel music-only system for mini-monitors.

I have a pair of the MM8s paired with some small towers (Mirage OMD-15) and they are wonderfully musical and have the speed, upper reach, and configuration controls to get a good blend with bass-shy minimonitors.

First of all, they are very quick, having a 1200 watt (peak) amp driving an aluminum cone driver with special high excursion surround.

Second, they are sealed enclosures with two passive radiators to provide some very controlled venting for more extreme excursions.

Third, they have 0-360 deg. phase control, volume, and crossover control (range of 50-250 Hz plus open-ended).

Put it all together and you can blend these little 9" cubes seamlessly with a wide variety of speakers, whether they just need some sub-50Hz oomph (as mine do) or fleshing out all the low bass for mini-monitors. One will work, but two are better, especially for larger rooms.

These originally marketed at $800 each and sound every penny of it. I got mine a year ago at the blowout price of $269 ea. Right now the MM8s are a bit more again, but you can get the Energy equivalent for $299. If you have a $500 budget for a single sub for music-only, come up with another $100 and get a pair of these. I'm listening and enjoying the hell out of my mm8-augmented system as I write this.
I don't think your requirements is a difficult list to fill at all. The answer is a REL T-1 available for $499 brand new, comes in a cherry finish and has a reputation of being more of a musical sub than HT. Plus, REL recommends the high level hook up from your amps speaker terminals to the sub. They even provide the speakon neutrik cable that makes integration a snap. If you check Ebay you can readily find sellers at this price.

I have a Rel T-1 hooked up to my Vienna Bach Grands in this manner and am extremely pleased. Bass is fast and tight easily keeping up with musical content. Hope this helps.

I have the exact same sub in my HT system, have also used in a 2.1 system, and I have been very happy with it, it is a very versatile unit. Mine has the rosewood veneer. I visited with Dr Hsu at RMAF, he's a good guy.
I had a Hsu VTF-2 MK3 and currently have a Martin Logan Abyss, and both were (are) great. I'm currently running a pair of Emotiva X-REF 10 and I think they're every bit the equal of the Martin Logan, and probably the Hsu. Plus, you get a 30-day return policy. Sale price tends to be $400 each, including shipping, if you're patient.

Just another option for anyone looking for a musical subwoofer.
More to discover