I've found that augmenting the output with a subwoofer in my larger basement room does indeed help with bass extension/weight/slam. However, if you find that the room is so large that it is bass frequencies ABOVE 80 Hz that ALSO need help, I would consider using a larger speaker with more/larger drivers. I set my sub's crossover at 35Hz, and yet it still does slightly augment the room response up to around 80Hz, and this works well for my floorstanding "MTM" speakers (each have two 5 inch woofers, and are tune-ported). In this large room, the speakers roll off very steeply below 40 Hz....but then, they're also nearly 7 feet out into a carpeted concrete room that is treated with several ASC traps. The room's volume is 4200 cubic feet............................To sum up: I highly recommend that you try a subwoofer, especially if it has many adjustable parameters, like crossover and phase. My opinion is that it is always possible to use a subwoofer to augment a speaker system, assuming the subwoofer is of adequate quality, and you are willing to spend the time it takes to adjust those parameters, and also expereiment with room placement and the direction the sub is "firing". And yes, two subs are better than one in large rooms, but two cost twice as much as one, and the end result is hardly ever "twice" as good, IMO.
If you are going to get a subwoofer, you should start by reading Widescreen Review's recent publication titled "The Essential Subwoofer Buyer's Guide". It is the best publication I have seen on subs. It reprints a series of articles on subs that are very informative, and also has in-depth reviews of 50+ subs. You will note that two of the highest rated and most musical subs are made by Vandersteen.
I was struck by your general satisfaction with your present system.It may not be an option for the obvious cost reasons but unless you really need that last half-octave and are concerned over maintaining the coherency of your Merlins,you might consider biamping as an alternative to a subwoofer>You gain not only slam,drive and authority but fine resolution is usually dramatically improved as well. What biamping won't do is enlarge the sense of scale of the presentation.It still takes lots of moving air for that one. Best, Ken
Rhyno before you lay down the long green, try this simple tweak. Insert the appropriate size vibrapods between your 2 way monitor and stands. This will give a noticeable increase in bass extension among other benefits. I have a second system with PSB 2 way monitors also with 6.5 woofer, although this may seem counter to your instincts, try it you will like the results, Sam
Rhyno Do your Merlins have the BAM module if they don't consider it since this is specifically designed for your speakers by Merlin. There are some VSM with BAM in auction and maybe you could get more info on this from them. Have you tried to change speakers position in the room to emphasize the lower frequencies closer to front wall might improve response... What do you think?
i used to run thiel 3.5's - w/the aid of thiel's active equalizer, thew were +/-2db, down to 20 hz. they still were improved w/a pair of vmps larger subs, crossed over w/a 24db/octave active x-over, at ~90hz. and, i dint need the equalizer anymore. i now run the same sub-crossover system w/a pair of meret re monitirs, w/the x-over point changed to 60hz. it's great! while ewe *are* adding extra electronics to what your monitir sees, if it's a hi-quality x-over, i feel the benefits are outweighed by reducing the stress on teh monitors' woofer. of course, ewe could opt to still run your monitor full-range, & yust x-over the subs.
i have vandy 3a sigs which go clean to 25hz. i added a rel stadium 11 and it made a huge improvement, and i don't notice the sub AT ALL.getting seamless low end extension is'nt easy, but the rel does it.
I have Merlin VSM-SEs in a rather heavily damped room, and I also added a Rel Stadium II. I agree with Marklivia. The Rel does do it, probably with all speakers that roll-off their bottom ends smoothly and cleanly without "burping" or "harrumphing" as they reach their lower limit. That's because according to REL, their speakers work best as bass augmentation, i.e., adding bass that your main speakers running full range just can't produce.
My sub does that very well also, and it isn't a REL.
hey carl_eber, what kind of sub do you use? i've heard great things re: REL & Vandy, but i'm trying to keep my options open. fwiw: i don't want a sub to simply 'fill in' info that my mains cannot produce--i want a sub to reproduce the same bass info in a non-directional manner so that a) i cannot discern where the added bass is coming from b) additional weight & scale is provided to the music thanks to the subs reproducing the same freq. as the mains (and implicit in this is the requirement that the sound of my mains is not affected--the merlins are incredibly coherent) (and given the higher freq coverage of a sub, should i look exclusively at front firing subs like M&K?)
You are wanting to use a high-pass crossover on the Merlins? My sub's hi-pass crossover isn't transparent enough for that, and my philosophy goes against ever high-passing the main speakers anyway (extra line level circuitry, two more sets of brass RCA connectors in the signal's path, a whole other set of ic's, etc.). You should just get a sub, ANY SUB, and get started deciding what you like, and what you have time to do with your room/setup. It takes time, and thinking you'll solve all the problems ahead of time never got anybody anywhere. If you want another sub after trying the first one, they usually sell incredibly quickly. Or you might try the bass module with the Merlins, I hear they are pretty good.