A question of bass... Several actually.

I recently auditioned Dynaudio 72's and Rega R3's.
I enjoyed them, the Regas mostly. I found the Dynaudios didn't live up to their hype.
When I asked about bass (speakers having full bass response) the salesman (who owns the shop) said "If you want bass you have to shell out the big bucks."
Is that it?
Is it necessary to spend $1000 per speaker or over to have audible, palpable, appropriate bass reproduction?
To be clear I am not talking about disco dancing bass, but bass frequencies are a necessary part of the audio spectrum.
The salesman also mentioned that for high end audio a separate subwoofer is not appropriate as it "doesn't track."
To cover this fully, doesn't putting the amp output into a sub's crossover to be split to satellites compromise imaging etc?
A sub CAN be used with a high end 2 channel system. Personally I like a very fast sub that will be as articulate as the front 2 channels.

There are many Dynaudio speakers which have good low end reproduction. That is partially dependant upon amp pairing, room setup, etc.

$2000 for speakers is certainly a substantial investment, but each speaker design involves certain choices made by the designer of the speaker and some will have more low end than others. Be sure to take into account ALL the qualities of the speakers you audition and find the most complete match for you.

Sort of like dating, but with audio gear......

have fun!
Keep in mind Buff is a Dynaudio dealer.
Man, Bill, you ARE the Dealer Police, dude! I'm not a dealer, but I play one on TV. Depends on what they actually said, but in some sense your dealer is feeding you a bit of crap flap jacks with some crunchy bits and no syrup to cut that crappy taste. I like Buff's dating analogy. Try different things and see what works for you..there's no better way to figure it out and have fun along the way (hopefully).

My opinion is that subs are tricky to integrate but it can be done to rewarding effect with a decent sub. Speed in a sub is certainly important, but keep in mind that a sub is really to augment the low end, not to fill it in where it's missing. The sub usually produces sound that you feel more than you hear, though you can certainly set them to take over in the range that you hear, it has not been my experience that they can substitute for a speaker producing good,tight, natural-sounding bass below 35hz. A good sub in the affordable realms are those made by ACI (IMO). A great sub if you have more to throw at it is JL Audio Fathom. Bill's already making sure I'm not selling either one :-P Again, I don't believe either one is going to substitute for a speaker producing good detailed tight bass down deep and low, but they certainly can be integrated with some effort to rewarding effect. I think many folks end up setting them up with way too much volume and get tired of the one-note boom boom intrusion on their music. In that sense they'd be a poor choice (if you are not willing to put in the time and effort to integrate them well don't bother). I've only heard Dynaudio speakers, though not the ones you are talking about, at shows and have never heard the Regas. I'd have to agree with your dealer on one point: in my experience you do indeed have to pay significantly more to get speakers that reproduce excellent bass in the sub 35hz regions. A larger volume cabinet alone, or larger drivers, or more of them, do not assure you of anything at all (think white van speakers as the extreme). To get a firm grasp and render natural timbre and detail in those lows definitely is not the forte of inexpensive speakers...at least I haven't heard any that do it very well (read: Lifelike). That's not to say there are not speakers in your price range that can produced a rewarding sense of a low end...it's just not likely going to drop into the natural realm of those notes in reality. You can certainly throw your money at a $1000 speaker that reproduces sound below 35hz, but I truly doubt it will sound very good. Better to put it towards a great monitor...at least in my experience...which can be far more musical, engaging and rewarding at that pricepoint (this is a broad generalization based upon personal experience with the retail price of new speakers - take it for what it cost you). If I wanted to spend that kind of money and actually get some decent bass, personally, I'd be looking at vintage Klipsch Cornwalls paired off with a decent tube amp of about 35-70 watts, but again, that's a personal choice and YMMV. As far as why it does cost more to get good bass from a speaker, I could not do justice to that explanation. There are several very fine speaker designers who participate in these forums - Duke at Audiokinesis, for one, does a brilliant job at seamlessly integrating a very significant low end with at least two of his designs I've heard. Daedalus also excels in this realm...not sure if Lou is participating in these forums. Either would address this issue with far greater authority than I ever could, and perhaps spank me for saying something inaccurate...but that's my experience/opinion for what its worth.
I'll step out on a limb even further and give you my theory why it cost money to make bass go low and sound natural. Now daddy may be taking his belt off! Obviously there is the money in the actual driver, driver materials, as well as the crossover (materials). More so, perhaps, I would guess that a very dense and rigid housing is paramount for bass drivers. If you think about a large driver bolted to the outside of a wood cabinet producing significant energy within an enclosed wooden box, you start to realize that the more that mounting point and or cabinet walls flexes and resonates, the more of the energy is wasted in that movement, and the more potential for distortion of that energy (read: loose, inaccurate bass). I'd hazard to guess that is where the lighweight floorstanders tend to loose the race in the low end. Though they may produce sound down there, it may not be accurate or lifelike. I can say from my own recommendation of vintage Cornwalls, that you could do much to improve those speakers by adding additional bracing to the inside of the large plywood cabinet, as well as in adding some better sealant (caulking) around the seams of the back and drivers. There are several other tweaks you can do there, but I digress. The best low-end performers I have heard have evident attention paid to a rigid, heavy enclosure. I've not heard any that can perform as well which choose very lightweight materials as an option. The possible exception that comes to mind is a speaker I heard recently that uses an open baffle woofer (no cabinet at all), the Gradient Helsinki, which certainly surprised me. Oh man, I'm afraid I'm not going to be able to sit tomorrow.
You can only get so much bass from a 6.5" driver. After a point design makes the bass peaky and boomy on smaller drivers. Initially it gives the impression of more bass but as Jax2 pointed out it becomes one note boom. Move to a floor stander with a larger woofer for deeper bass ($$$)or a sealed box sub for responsive low bass. I would also recommend good solid state amps to dredge max bass from speakers though I prefer the sweet midrange of tubes.
A sub & monitor speaker combo will allow solid state bass with tube midrange and the stellar imaging of a monitor speaker.

I integrate an ACI Titan II with ACI Jaguar 2000's for a very nice full range. The signal to the Jaguar's cuts off at 85hZ thanks to in line filters and the Titan is quick and tuneful. Admittedly intergration can take some time fiddling but once it is there you are good as long as you don't make big changes in room arrangement or gear. - MHO
Rhanechak - what amp did you have driving the Dynaudios? My experience is that the A 72's can go very low and loud when driven with sufficient power (300W or more into 4 ohms). The Regas on the other hand are more efficient and can run on less juice - like that produced by a Rega amp...

Bass reproduction is a two-way equation, power to control vigorous driver movement and a combination of driver diameter and throw to move a lot of air. The smaller the driver, the faster and further it has to move to displace the same amount of air as the larger diameter driver. I have heard phenomenal bass from stand mount monitors when driven with lots of clean power. They weren't hitting impossibly low notes, but the notes they were hitting were controlled, clear and loud.

So, I might say that while it is not "necessary to spend $1000 per speaker or over to have audible, palpable, appropriate bass reproduction" it may be necessary to spend $1000 per channel of amplification to get it.

Subwoofers are an entirely different story, and the trick there is that most better ones come with their own capable bass amplifier designed to control the woofer. The idea provided above to split the signal after the preamp and drive a high quality monitor with a high quality but lower wattage tube or SS amp, letting the sub fend for itself is a good one. Sub speaker integration is usually possible, but takes some fiddling, and may actually require trying several subs with your system to find the best match.

With either the Rega or the Dynaudios, you should not need a sub unless you need the walls of your house and your heart to move with the music. As long as you feed either pair with adequate power (which would be more in the case of the 72's), they should reward you with nearly full range sound.

Good luck.
I was using a Prima Luna Prologue 1, the amp I was thinking of buying. Why not audition all the components I wanted to put together?
After having read the reviews of the Dynaudio 72's (many many many positive), and the Rega R3's (very few, although positive), I was really unimpressed by the Dynaudios.
Their presentation was flat and unimpressive.
The Regas presented a great image, and seemed more 'live.'
The bass in both speakers seemed adequate.
03-26-09: Rhanechak
I was using a Prima Luna Prologue 1
That's the answer
to the unsatisfactory bass from the Dynaudio speakers.

The Prologue 1 is not enough amp to drive the Dynaudio speakers. The R3 are a
better match.

I'm doubtful any tube amp would produce deep, controlled, balanced bass the
Dynaudio 72.
Would 100 wpc solid state do the trick for the Dynaudios?
03-26-09: Rhanechak
Would 100 wpc solid state do the trick for the Dynaudios?
That would depend on the size of your room and the volume at which you listen.

The Dynaudio 72 are not particularly sensitive at 86dB.

A 100wpc amp will run out of juice at about 105dB music peaks.

IMO, a 200wpc solid state amp would offer more flexibility.
Absolutely agree with Tvad. The ProLogue one is a great little amp, but much better suited to the Rega's

In a recent thread I suggested the following amps to power a Totem speaker the poster was having a difficult time driving with a 100 watt SS integrated.


I would add to this list the new NAD separates: the C 165BEE Stereo Preamplifier and the C 275BEE Stereo Power Amplifier. The integrated C375BEE will be just a tick less sophisticated than this pair.

These are very powerful, musical, relatively cheap and would mate quite well with the Dynaudios. I have heard the 72's with the precursor C 162/C 272 NAD separates to these new models, and it was the first time I decided I liked Dynas. And I liked them a lot. The NAD C 162 and C 272 separates or c372 integrated are still available a few places new at a steep discount, and occasionally used, and while slightly less powerful and resolving compared to the latest versions, would drive the 72's quite well.

The Rega/ProLogue one combination will sound really nice, but will never be a bass monster. The 72's are much more capable of life-like bass sonics if driven properly. But that would mean a different amp - and not necessarily a super expensive one. If you want both your highly nuanced mid range and treble with your a$$ kicking bass too, check out the list in the thread above.

Good luck.
If you want to keep the mids and highs of the Primaluna, and still get respectable bass, you have to have a set of speakers that are designed to allow the amplifier to do just that.

For more information on matching equipment see

Dynaudios for the most part are not designed for tubes, being Voltage Paradigm technology. In addition, their efficiency is so low that you will really need about 600 watts to really make them work if you want life-like spls.

Audiokinesis has made some very impressive speakers that also play bass on lower powered tube amps. Coincident is another, but you might be looking at used to get in the price window you have.
I have a pair of Dyn Aud 82 in the garage waiting for new amplification. Big bad and beautiful. Picked em up locally on Craigslist for a good deal, in great shape and all pkging. Let's put it this way, I have a pair of Bel Canto Ref 1000 mkii on the way. Can't wait to throw 1000 watts and outrageous damping factor to those woofers. The owner's set up did not sound great--and made the Dyns sound flat like you said earlier. He had an old parasound amp and a crappy phillips cd changer for a source. Curiously for a purported a/v installer, he had the gain set too low too, which limited the current from the amp. But I really liked their imaging, soundstaging, smooth treble and build quality. They seemed to have potential. They got my toes tapping--always a good sign in a speaker, especially a big one-- and I decided to take a chance that what was missing from the equation was good equipment with enough current to make em sing. This won't be the most revealing and refined set up, but I think it's gonna rock when I turn it to "11". I think it is going to be fun. I also considered a parasound halo a21 which does well with these speakers. But I really wanted to throw some power to em. I'd suggest the same for the Aud 72s. Good luck and have fun!
Dear Ranechak: +++++ " Is it necessary to spend $1000 per speaker or over to have audible, palpable, appropriate bass reproduction? +++++

IMHO it is necessary for low bass with good pitch, definition/precision, no overhang, etc, etc.

the 72's goes down in room maybe no more ( usuable ) than 50Hz that belongs more to the low mid bass that to the low bass. Btw, IMHO the " diso dancing bass " it is something totally different: in an audio pure concepts that is not bass.

About what the salesman told you that a separate sub is not appropiate on high end I think that he has a misunderstood about.

+++++ " doesn't putting the amp output into a sub's crossover to be split to satellites compromise imaging etc? " +++++

IMHO the answer is NO. As a fact it help to those speakers and your whole quality system performance achieve a level that you ever dream about.

If you can please read what I psted on the subject, maybe it could help you:


Regards and enjoy the music.
When I asked about bass (speakers having full bass response) the salesman (who owns the shop) said "If you want bass you have to shell out the big bucks."
Is that it?
Is it necessary to spend $1000 per speaker or over to have audible, palpable, appropriate bass reproduction?

Good bass is really expensive. Just think about it - a good subwoofer is at least $3K if not a lot more. This is physics. You can get modest amounts of small speaker big bass sound from resonant designs which are underdamped for low cost - however this is really what I would call "fake bass". It isn't bad but it just doesn't sound like real musical instruments that's all.

I'd say I agree with your salesman if you are talking accurate bass reproduction. Big woofers in big boxes aren't cheap.

There is probably some curve you can draw where the cost of accurately reproducing bass notes increases geometrically with lower frequency, requiring increasing quantities of power, woofer area and box volume and bracing. SO yes, "accurate" bass costs a lot of money (and breaks your back moving it around your room).

But I do think you can get "good sounding and reasonably accurate" bass with decent floor standing speakers like the Audience 72 by driving them with a powerful and high dampening amplifier.

And I also think there is nothing wrong with using good subwoofers to augment your system's ability to reproduce the lowest notes, but it requires patience, a sound meter and a good ear to set things up properly.
Ah that "good ear"...
Can I get one of those on Audiogon, or do should I get a new one (with warranty).
You really don't need a good ear, but you do need a SPL meter and the free program Room EQ Wizard available for free at the Home theater Shack for free, did I mention it is free?

If you really want to know what is going on in your system this is the best way, please, no more guessing about in room freq response. See the problems in your systems low freq response and fix them by tuning your system and room.

And know for a fact what it is doing. You can even post the results right here, and there are many here to help interpet the results and help you get better bass and therefore overall sound from your system.


You need more than a sound pressure meter in my experience. Most people's ears are more sensitive than a SPL meter and can integrate a lot more information in real time. SPL meter gets you on the green - your ears take you to the cup.

Careful listening is an acquired talent, which you already have based on your first post above. But I did see an Agoner in Cleveland with a pair of experienced ears listed for sale recently, 8.5/10 condition... (sold as is).
If you want a reasonable subwoofer approach, take a look at the SWARM by Audiokinesis, http://www.audiokinesis.com/ click on Planetarium

This system obviates the usual room nodes and provides a seamless, extended natural bass.

There is probably some curve you can draw where the cost of accurately reproducing bass notes increases geometrically with lower frequency, requiring increasing quantities of power, woofer area and box volume and bracing.

Yes, exactly.

As for decent bass from most modern speaker designs - I'd agree with that too.

I took the term "palpable, appropriate" to be the OP's criticism of most small box big bass sound. I think it is fair to say that with small speakers either

1) You can have very limited bass extension but excellent bass.
2) You can have great bass extension but merely "good" sounding bass.

You can't have 1) and 2) at least not at realistic SPL levels - so you can't have your cake and eat it so to speak.

The points made about room eq wizard are also important - as the room/setup can spoil the bass through suckouts and humps.

Agree completely. Too bad it is often easier to change speakers than it is to change rooms...
The answer to the OP's question, IMO, is no, you don't have to spend anywhere near $1000 per speaker to get great bass. I second Jax2's suggestion of used Klipsch Cornwall's with a good tube amp. I have them myself, and the bass is great. I bought them here on audiogon for $600.
"Good, necessary, appropriate" are relative terms. I'm sure the person with Genesis 200's or Dunlavy SC-V's has a different perspective than another with little monitors.
My problem is that I have things dialed in nice with my digital front end and then when I change to analog I have to lower the gain on the sub.
>Is it necessary to spend $1000 per speaker or over to have audible, palpable, appropriate bass reproduction?

If you're buying new through normal retail channels it is.

You have to move four times the air to reach a given SPL for each additional octave of bass extension. The only way you can do that is with a bigger driver; which in turn isn't going to have acceptable dispersion at high frequencies.

IOW, you need a 3-way design although sub-woofers can count if the mid-bass driver is big enough and you get good integration.

Going from a 2-way to a 3-way can double the driver cost and triple the price tag on the cross-over network (the mid-range now needs a high-pass filter too, and the reactive components are larger and more expensive than between the tweeter and midrange due to the low frequencies).

>The salesman also mentioned that for high end audio a separate subwoofer is not appropriate as it "doesn't track."

Not using a SPL meter to match output levels will make integration difficult. Trying to cross a ported speaker over near it's low-end roll off is unlikely to work well due to what's happening with its phase there. Adjustable phase or a time delay on the sub-woofer will help. The ability to use asymemtric high and low-pass points may help work around room issues. A cross-over an octave above a ported speaker's bottom end roll off will work. Fourth order electrical low-pass on the sub-woofer with a second order electrical on a sealed main speaker that matches its roll off works. Second order electrical low-pass on the sub-woofer and relying on a sealed speaker's natural roll-off works.

>To cover this fully, doesn't putting the amp output into a sub's crossover to be split to satellites compromise imaging etc?

No provided that you're using a sub-woofer (not above 80Hz with a 4th order cross-over; a Bose "sub woofer" module iwhich runs up past 200Hz is a woofer not a sub-woofer), it's not distorting, and its port isn't making aerodynamic noises.
BTW, I just purchased a pair of Rega 3 loudspeakers. I thought they would be more than adequate for my small room.
In the shop they provided clean, quick reproduction with some audible, palpable bass. I figured my room is smaller, so the bass (and overall output) should be improved for my circumstances and with some tweaking.
Well, let me tell you, I am currently running the speakers with a ridiculous, non-audiophile amp that is way underpowered.
I played with the position of the speakers and found that placing them near the room corners near the side walls reinforced the bass output to the point that it overwhelmed the highs and mids.
I can't wait to hear the Rega 3's with the tube amp I am expecting.
The Rega 3's are fine speakers and I really enjoy them.
I dont see much written about them on the web, so if anyone is interested I will write a review and offer my humble opinions.
Rhanechak, that's great! If the amp you are expecting is a PrimaLuna ProLogue or similar, you should have a very musical system.

Next up - the Source?!?
Indeed, indeed.
The source?
The source? E.g. CDP, DVD, music server/computer, Turntable, Tuner, Tape Deck, etc. - to go with your new amp and new speakers. Or maybe you are just telling me you are all set in that department...
Oh, duh! Turntable, CD, sometimes computer.
I'm set for sources now, but there's always upgrade.
If you do decide to go the sub route visit Vandersteen's site and take a look at the 2Wq. It's designed a bit different that most subs and will integrate very well with most any speakers.
Why thank you.
Will do.

Been lurking here, and have learned a lot from this thread. Enjoy your Rega's -- they're very nice.