Active/Passive Bass Correction Dilema
I hope that a lot of you will share my feelings and hopefully some of you have been in my position before and can lend some advice for the situation.
I'm literally wringing my hands over active versus passive bass correction right now, and it's getting the old lady upset, saying such things as "Just buy the stuff and see what you think!" Now, she hasn't been told the cost of my proposed experiment, and I think she would change her tune if she were told.
The big picture: I'm set on buying a stereo pair of VMPS subwoofers to add to my current system (which you can check out by following the link to gain some perspective). I need some bass and sub-bass reinforcement, that much is certain. I'm currently an apartment dweller with limited choice of speaker placement and no dedicated room. In the modal frequencies (bass), I've always had issues with peaks and nulls, but it hasn't been too much of an issue. With the addition of these subwoofers, I know that's only going to increase, and there are a number of solutions that I'm rolling around in my head. Keep in mind I've passively treated the room as much as I can without tearing down the walls (the landlord wouldn't appreciate that).
Solution One: VMPS offers passive crossovers for their Dedicated Subwoofers. They offer a simple 90Hz low-pass filter at speaker level that gently rolls the main stereo speakers in. They also provide something of an L-Pad for adjusting main speaker level (I imagine to match the subs with the mains in terms of level). This solution would not require me to buy another amp(s), but offers no correction. This would be the cheapest solution.
Solution Two: Order the Dedicated Subs fully passive and use an active/external crossover such as the Behringer DCX2496 to route newly-crossed-over signals to the stereo and subwoofer amps. In this solution, I would have to use XLR-RCA cables, and basically convolute the desired "direct" approach I currently have of taking my analog signal direct from the DAC to the power amps. My biggest mental hurdle with this solution is that, while it seems like the best, I'm forced to re-sample either the analog source from the DAC (redundant), or downsample my 24/192 content via my transport and pass it digitally to the DCX. Outside of essentially downsampling expensive ($30/album), awesome, best-I've-heard 24/192 content to 24/96, the DCX has only XLR (AES/EBU) inputs for digital. My current setup supports only RCA digital. This solution seems to have no postivies, aside from it's best: infinite adjustability of crossover points/slopes to fine tune system balance. That part is attractive. Again, no correction here, but more granular crossover tuning is a plus.
Solution Three: This solution is somewhat of a compromise, but seems enticing on a few levels. Again, I start by ordering the Dedicated Subs fully passive. By using another Behringer product, the DEQ2496, I can daisy chain from my power amps at line level to the DEQ, and then to the sub amps. This is the only solution of the three that offers room correction, as the DEQ comes with an RTA/correction function that can be done with an external microphone. I would exclude anything above the modal frequencies from the correction (or anything below the sub's stated maximum frequenct range). This would take care of the sub's bass peaks/nulls at the listening position, but wouldn't take into account the main speaker's bass output. They would still be running full range, and if they are complicit in producing peaks/nulls, I wouldn't be able to correct them without routing the mains through the DEQ as well.
Keep in mind that my stereo speakers are -6db at around 38Hz in-room. I think it would be a bit different if I were dealing with a small monitor that lacked bass energy, but I think the fact that my towers are near full-range is what makes this complex for me.
I know that there are many more solutions to the problem (PARC, DSpeaker, etc.), but I'm trying to get out of this for under $2500.
Where are my bass gurus? I need a calming voice in my brainstorm; tell me you've been here before and it will all be OK!