I had an earlier version of these, the VR4 GenIII's and they did not need a sub. I was running a very good amp w/them-an Ayre V-1xe, so maybe you're lacking something w/the amp?
19 responses Add your response
Question well taken. I'm using a Spectron Musician IIISE, now in for the MKII upgrade, so I'm confident I'm on solid ground. Like I said, I love bass. This character flaw has recently been exacerbated when I attended a live music festival and experienced live bass...maybe too much for a discriminating home listener...begs the question...what is real and what is exciting.
I hear ya on the live thing. In fact, I do some pro audio sound reinforcement part-time & was just at band practice this evening. Yep, nothing quite like having the whole auditorium (mostly) to myself. Then again, not many home systems can compete against a LRC/sub EAW array w/an 8' stack of QSC. I digress.
I talked w/Albert Von Schweikert at the CES a few yrs. back & asked him to play a cut from Supertramp's "Some Things Never Change" album titled, "You Win, I Lose", which not only has a deep bass line, but the kick can really pound you if you have it cranked. I could play that song & easily hit 105 dB at my listening spot. Anyway, he liked it & told me he really liked bass & designed his spkrs. to play deep. I think he might even play bass?
Don't know why yours aren't delivering though. I always bi-wired & even bi-amped before. Don't know how good that pigtail wire is. I thought at one time he used the Spectron to voice some of his gear? I did a lot of tweaking on my pair-you might find my review interesting.
Speakers sometimes take longer to break in than we think, and bass should continue to improve as you go. Note that breaking in with music takes hundreds of times longer than breaking in with a good test tone, because the test tone constantly is working out the whole thing, while music CDs often only have bass or whatever other part of spectrum here and there. XLO Reference is the one I use.
That said - and repeating other people saying that the Sr.'s should have enough as-is, I use the Hsu VTF-3w/Turbo to great effect and absolutely love it. And probably as you might, you can use it with some tracks and not others.
The more well-known 'standard' go-to subwoofer for high-end audio are the various REL units. For speakers in your price range I would go above the basic ones.
Hey - get the Rives profile CD and a RS meter. Profile the speakers. Make sure they are in the right place in the room. Tell us what the bass profile is, i.e., db from average at 20 is -10, at 25 is -5, at 30 is -2, etc. Unless I have those numbers I can't tell you if you are crazy (as you ask us!) or not.
If it is flat to 20 Hz you are crazy. If it levels off, you might play with speaker placement. Then, you might find it levels off very lightly.
If it levels off very lightly, you'll perhaps want to think about an active crossover, such as the Bryston 10BSub. The reason for this is that if the roloff curves are not steep enough then the available crossover in the sub won't be gentle enough.
Anyway, this topic is quite a large one and there are many pros/cons we could get into and lets just say for now that proper sub-matching for highly resolving speakers is quite a science and takes several saturday's at the least to get right. The lower you cross over the more the sound will blend well if your mains actually support crossing that low. 80 is a reference number many people use, there are acoustical reasons to go with 80. You could probably get away with at least 50, maybe 40.
Remember - no sub (except getting the next Schweikert in the series :) ) will match perfectly...
Those are my ideas...
But - my main point is wait 3 months, you might be happy by then.
Oh - and I know this is verbose, but one more idea, if you are getting output after profiling down to 20 Hz but its not as strong you might also look at one of the high end digital EQs - that is becoming all the rage these days, and then you wouldn't need a sub.
This speaker is flat to 20 hz. That is one of the best response curves I've seen!! So, focus on break-in and room placement.
Give that several months, then verify with other vrSr owners, then think about sub. I think you have an awesome speaker for bass even if you are a bass-head!!!!!!!
(Some dealers are good at room placement and for 100/hr or 60/hr depending on where you live might be able to help after breakin is over. Some of those are Rives certified with involves various training things - they may not be better, but it is at least a standard for training. You might check with the place, assuming brick and mortar, where you got them from.)
I feel that adding Subs to full range speakers improve even the best speakers. The reason I believe it helps is because good subs have room correction software that corrects room irregularities. They are also designed to work with their own build in amp. By being in a separate enclosure from the main speakers, room placement can also help to enable maximum output without distortion. The best speaker placementfor the low frequencies maynot be the optimumfor the highs. The more full range your speakers are the better they mate to subs. The fuller the base the better the midrange sounds. Check out these posts:
Is two Subs better than One & Sub. with full range speakers ?
I do not like adding complete electronic room correction unless I was only using digital signals. Placing more electronics in the path to my main speakers concerns me.
I use two Velodyne DD 15's with my Wilson 6. After seeing how much improvement the subs made to the mid and high frequencies, I decided to add super tweeters to my system. It also helped but not as much as the subwoofers. But placing them behind the speaker plane and closer to the midline increased the sound stage and individuality of each instrument.
More often than not the best placement for your mains is not great for bass. In my room full range speakers just don't deliver the bass I crave in my listening position. I have an older pair of VS VR4 MKII and now a pair of Aerial 9's and neither one can deliver satisfying bass in the optimal location for imaging and soundstage. Now if I were to move them for the best bass response the bass improves greatly but everything else suffers. I know that both of these speakers can deliver great bass in the right room, unfortunately I don't have that room and neither do you.
The best sub I have ever owned is the JL Audio Fathom F113. If you get a pair of these or even a pair of the F112 you will be set, probably forever. The first sub I have ever owned that can accurately convey the most subtle bass notes and I could actually describe as articulate. I have had the velodynes, Revel's, M&K, SVS, Von Schweikert and the list goes on in subwoofers but the JL Audio sub just kills for music.
I'll offer another comment reinforcing the room/placement influence. I have a pair of VR4 GenIII's (I bought them from Driver) in a dedicated multi-media room. Before I bought them I was doing research, and spoke on the phone with Albert Von Schweikert about them vs the VR4 JR. Although he raved about the merits of the VR4 GenIII, his one caution to me is they may be to boomy in my room (14x20x8'). My experience has been the opposite - the bass is weak vs what I expected, and what it is in my other larger(and irregular shaped) room.
I also have Totem Mani-2s that I run with a Rel Storm III, which I run normally in the larger room, but have swapped with the VR4's. It's easier to place the Storm to counter the room influence what it is the VR4's, but it still take some doing to place the Storm for optimum bass. There's something about my room acoustics that I need to address one of these days (just been too lazy).
Thank you all for the advice. Now that it's the weekend I can try a few of your suggestions before actually trying a sub. First off, on the issue of speaker placement and room acoustics, I've been less than thorough at looking at that. We are in the midst of a minor remodeling project (old house...new ceilings and floor sanding and refinishing) and in doing so the re-arrangement has temoparily changed a few things:-there is half the furniture in the room there usually is -rugs I had on the walls behind the speakers are on the floor, under the speakers (at my wife's request "don't scratch the floors!") - I slid the speakers further out into the room (why not...no furniture to bump into). Basically, most everything has changed acoustically...though the mids and highs are currently glorious in my opinion. I just removed a good chunk of the Dacron from the speaker ports and slid the speakers back about 12 inches towards the rear wall...difference heard already. From a system perspective, concurrent with the housework I sent sent my Spectron amp in for an upgrade (goodbye 600 WPC) and pulled in my NuForce 9SEs (180WPC)...duhhhh...gee, that could make a difference. So...no final verdict forthcoming in the near future, but I hope to report back later. Say, Inhisservice, about the placement of the Dacron, are you saying not to leave it in the port...the tube part...but push it to the very back of the cabinet or take it out entirely?
Yes if you stuff the port you will give Albert Von Schweikert a heart attack! Just kidding. But the speaker is not designed to have the port stuffed only the cabinet. You can also take some of the Dacron out from behind the drivers by unscrewing the drivers. With the Spectron and a little less Dacron the VR4sr should be able to cause an earthquake.
Aside from adjusting the innards for more bass (Albert can offer excellent advice there, instead of guessing), what I found is that just by moving my speakers a little closer to the back wall/corners, I picked up all the bass I need or could ever want. I found that as my VR-7's have continued to break in, the bass has also improved.
I own Senior Mark II. Bass was not so great when they where first hooked up. I had them in a large room with hardwood floors with conventional wood framing. However they improved greatly with breakin and I then purchased a pair of Sound Anchor bases which really changed them tremendously. Know they shake the room. Depending on the room placement and more importantly your floor construction the base can be seriously compromised.
Mancuso: I know what you mean about break-in time with Von Schweikerts...can't be stressed enough. Sounds like your floor construction is similar to mine. I'm going to guess your Sound Anchor bases (versus my outriggers NOT coupled to the floor) are a better tweak to enhance bass performance. In recent weeks I have been experimenting with monitor speakers (Sonus Faber Concertos and Usher BE 718s) with the addition of a REL Storm III sub. The monitor/sub combo has great coverage from top to bottom. When I run the sub with the Seniors, it adds a little less than half an octave of depth...a very satisfying arrangement. Regardless of what I do with the monitors, the Storm sub will be staying.
I added a Velodyne DD-15 sub to my VR-7's 2 wks ago and this weekend during RMAF Albert was kind enough to come over and dial in both the speakers and the sub to my room. Its a sonically difficult room and Albert was able to make those 7's sing!! I was amazed at how quickly he overcame several room anomalies, as well as how great my system now sounds. Albert's skill and knowledge are very impressive, plus he's a nice guy as well.
you can buy the biggest sub and the biggest speakers and if you put them in the wrong location in the room, you will not get the bass you are looking for. i have heard systems that when you sit down, there is no low end. when you stand up and stand behind the chair you just sat in, the bass was overwhelming. most of the rooms at RMAF had positioned their speakers many feet into the room and they still provided all the bass you would ever want plus the imaging and spaciousness that you get from pulling them out into the room.