Corner placement of a sub will give you the most non-musical "BOOM". Back wall or side wall away from corner will be a better response. What amp is driving your speakers?
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I agree that REL subs may be on the cutting edge for this issue of corner placement, but as a general rule, many will "BOOM". I helped a friend with his ML sub, retail at well over $3000, owners manual said corner. Tried everything with adjustments, sub and pre-pro, and could not get a flat response. I was using a sound level meter and test disc with bass tracks only. We moved the sub down the side wall 1/5 of the total wall length, and was able to achieve a much better response.
To touch on the question of what your missing is questionable.
I can live with a well imaging speaker that rolls off at 40hz.
But you're missing about 10% of the music. If that much.
Good 40hz bass is MUCH better that bloated anything lower.
Sub's are very hard to blend perfectly with satalite speakers.
Once you've had full range speakers and then go the Satalite + sub, there's definatly a differance.
Just my two cents worth. John
I have a Rel B3 with my Dynaudio C1's and getting the phasing right is the tricky part. I have mine crossed over at 32hz (C1 rated to 45hz) and the gain up and there is no BOOM here. Honestly I will say if the phasing is off and or crossed over too high it will have a boom. I get that last '10%' but it really adds to the mids and overall sound stage.
Sounds like some expertise is required in implementing a sub with smaller monitor speakers. The Sonus Faber speakers sound very good and I don't want to mess it up. One procedure was mentioned on this thread, yet I wonder if there is a standard approach to connecting the sub, there is also the cost of IC's to the sub if it's at a distance. My current location idea is about two meters from my system, however I wonder about vibration, maybe if the sub I choose accepts speaker wire connect from my amp connected right to the speaker outputs??
Look into either a 215 or larger VMPS sub. They are totally adjustable to your room/system and can be bought with amp, with outboard amp, or without amp. I have the 215/with VSS upgraded driver and the bass blends with very quick speakers so that you have NO idea there is a sub in the room except the box. The dynamics and sound quality are unmatched at anywhere near the price. You could get one with an amp new for under 700.00 delivered to your door for the 215 or under 900.00 delivered for the larger. You can make the sound rounder, if prefered, or tight and punchy, or anywhere between. Just plain awesome sub.
I would absolutely use or attempt to experiment with a sub. You truly don't know what you are missing without the added weight of a few dB of 20-40 Hz. I have tried a REL sub recently with full range floor standing speakers in an upstairs room with dimensions that just won't support enough below 40 Hz. I found the REL integrated seamlessly with my room/system. REL recommends using the supplied Neutrik cable that hooks directly to your amplifier speaker terminals. This allows the quickest bass response and integration.
You have absolutely nothing to lose but some time. Get a used REL studio or strata on Audiogon and try it for a month or so experimenting with crossover and room position. If you don't like it enough to keep it, put it back on the 'Gon. REL subs sell like hotcakes in the used market. You won't lose a penny of your money. I'm betting once you try it, you'll keep it.
My current speakers are flat to 40, I came across one of the decent velodynes used and picked it up. It is rated down to the low 20's. I put it right next to my system with a 15' cable. It was peeky, I slowly moved the crossover point downward starting @ 60. I ended up just below 40. I then moved the sub about a foot at a time toward the corner. I pointed it in, I pointed it out, I pointed in down one wall, then the other, I increase output, I have a phase dial and used it ever so slightly. I ended up with a very nice result. I've had a few audiophile over, none even knew that it is there.... until I turn it off... I can say without hesitation the differences are indeed minor, but clearly add to the enjoyment of the music. Good luck, Tim
Rpg - If you go with Rel, depending upon which model you prefer, you might have to stretch your budget a bit. I can tell you that my Rel R-305 is a fantastic match for my Sonus Faber Guarneri Mementos. Someone has an R-305 for sale right now on the 'Gon and the asking price is ~ $150 above your approximate budget limit. I do not know the seller nor do I have any connection to the item for sale.
I have recently experimented with bringing my sub from a dedicated home threater into my two channel system (consisting of paradigm signature 2's). I immediately loved the additional bottom end as the sub really filled out the presentation and created a much more enveloping sound. However, I still don't feel that I've got the placement, crossover, and phase perfect. Honestly i don't know if I ever will. Rather that spending the bucks on a sub more suited to music and my monitors(was thinking about the paradigm sub 1 but that a big chunk of change) and trying to get it perfectly integrated, I'm now just going to upgrade to a floorstanding speaker that can play close to full range.
it might sound silly, but I look at Craigslist everyday. Occasionally I see some incredible buys. Also,
HSU has some very decent woofers. One brand new 15 that will cost around $1000.00 delivered. The Rel's are really quite good, but I'm a believer that with some trial and error that you will get a good experience with several different woofers if you do your homework and take your time with setup.
I scored a REL Q150E on ebay for $200 last year...all it needed was new grill cloth...and it works perfectly. If you can't dial in a proper sound by moving it around, adjusting phase, level, and crossover points I'd be surprised. Also note that although I leave mine alone a lot, sometimes I need to adjust the level a little...so I stuck a "chicken head" knob on it so I can tell where the knob is by feel without moving it.
>I currently have a pair of Sonus Faber Electa speakers. These speakers have 6" and 1" drivers respectively and have a 1st order crossover. The popular magazine test disk demonstrate the speakers go down to about 40HZ.
A 6" driver can only provide clean output on acoustic music at subjectively realistic levels down to about 120Hz.
If you don't want your mid-range mucked up from IM distortion and fuzzy bass, you need to remove the high frequencies from the driver which means an electrical high-pass filter on the main speakers.
That rules out the RELs where the main speaker signal is unmodified and sub-woofer low-pass set to where they meet.
Place the sub out in the almost middle of the room as close to your listening position. It will blend right in with the monitors . In my setup it sounds as if the speakers are actually producing the bass . It is amazing .Also set the crossover very low say 30 and only turn up a few clicks on the dial. Please try this and you will be a happy camper !
The REL's adjustments obviate an eq. All sub adjustments are based on personal taste responding to room interaction, so you can ignore most opinions from people not residing in your house. Also...it is possible to get low-ish bass from small woofers...I have 3.75" woofers in my Silverline Preludes and they kick ass...the REL just makes everything better.
By "eq" I mean an electronic equalizer, not moving things around (do you mean obtaining room equalization by moving the sub?), and my observation is based on the actual use of a REL sub...I assume you haven't heard Silverline Preludes or any other modern "array" type small speakers...properly loaded well designed small woofers (large magnets, metal cones, etc.) can make plenty of bass at very reasonable SPLs...and cleanly, but the addition of a sub increases the level of the lower octaves. Understand? If not, read the reviews, although I bought mine because I listened to them at a friend's, not because of John Atkinson's measurements. I've been a professional musician and sound technician for 40 years, and I play bass among other instruments...I've owned plenty of large woofer speakers (including Altec A7s) and small woofer speakers for both pro and home use...I suggest you invest in some sand so you can pound it.
I like the Preludes, but I do think that you're overselling them a bit. I own a pair and agree that they will amaze you with their ability to reproduce rock music from such a tiny footprint, but...
The Preludes' have no output in the deep bass, at least in my room. I moved them briefly into my listening room (they're featherweight) to measure their on-axis response with my RTA system (studio EQ wizard, at that time), because I do this with all of the speakers that I own. (I'm building my knowledge base as best I can.)
The Preludes are very satisfying in their overall tonality and, particularly, bass response because they manage some very clever trade-offs to present a "sense" of deep bass where none is present. This goes well beyond the ol' mid-bass hump trick and is more a function of a smoothly falling FR from their low end peak (pretty sure it was low 50s in my room) right on thru the midrange, where things begin to reverse themselves. There is usable, tho rapidly declining output into the mid/high 40s - not half bad for a speaker this size.
I've never meausred for THD (don't have the capability) but I wouldn't want to see those results, either. These speakers still live in my gym where they are played loud enough to distract me from the fact that I'm on a treadmill. Distortion was quickly evident at the high spls I initially tried and I've backed off from LOUD to loud. Break-up can still be heard ocasionally when the program material gets challenging.
I bought them a while back, maybe in '07 - IIRC, so I'm doing my best to recall the details here, but I remember that this misbehavior at volume was also evident on the demo pair I auditioned (a local dealer had special ordered them for a customer who bailed on the purchase) and nearly dissuaded me from buying them. However, floor space is very tight in my gym and the Preludes proved the best compact option at my price point, so I made the trade-off, and I'm happy that I did. They still get "worked out" regularly (pun intended).
It's always possible that these speakers will behave differently in a different room, but IME...
The Prelude is a very good little speaker that provides really satisfying bass from a tiny footprint. They are a great value when you need the impact of a kick-drum, but I don't expect that at very high SPLs and I don't expect the lowest register of bass guitar/organ/tuned drum to have the same presence. IMHO, it's not reasonable to expect the Prelude to hang with a subwoofer and -in my room- it doesn't.
Hey...I thought I had the last word! The "Ludes" (nice huh?) are the best speakers EVER and if you don't agree I'm gonna thrown my drink at the wall. There...I feel better already.
I tend to get rid of things I don't like and bagged a very expensive "full range-ish" (ha) 2 way because of upper mid congestion, thus necessitating a speaker search...I heard the "Ludes" (there it is again!) at a friend's, liked what I heard, and scored a pair VERY cheaply on line. They arrived with one woofer not working (bad) that was fixed easily by my local tech (good). I actually spoke on the phone to Alan Yun (he's pretty interesting) about the "Ludes" and he had some suggestions about biwiring (I tried both ways...don't do it..."less coherent" as Yun says) and a price for the woofer I eventually didn't need.
I completely agree that the bass response isn't as deep on its own as one might prefer, and my point is merely that the bass that is there sounds "right" somehow, and is, after all, there. I did a simple "test tones" check with the "Ludes" away from the walls (sub off of course) and was surprised at how low they actually go before giving up. I've always used 'em with the REL anyway. High SPLs? I would not use the "Ludes" as main speakers at a Lady Gaga show but in my listening area they're fine.
I don't like EQ in my home system as I think well designed gear doesn't need it, and room acoustics are a fact of life that I actually like. I just shoot for good sound at my listening sweet spot and the "Lude-REL" combo hits it well. For the money...and I mean not a lot of money...nice smallish drivers with a well placed sub can amaze. I certainly detect no REL distortion, but I think I exhibit some self control in its use albeit not so much in my posts.