Aerial 5b and subs

I have been looking for a sub to put a little floor under my Aerial 5b monitors powered by Primare I30. I already have a B&W asw 608 which sounded quite okay but lacked power. I have tried the Velodyne HGS10/DD10 and was disappointed, it sounded heavy and not a good match for the Aerials. I am guessing that it has to do with the servo which seems to have an iron fisted mechanical quality. My thought over this disappointment is that a downfiring sub would interfere less with the sound signature of a monitor and that the REL approach is the way to go. My problem is the size of a Strata and am looking for suggestions in the foot cube range. Opinions on the Schweikert VRS1 or other options appreciated.
True high performance subs are likely to require an enclosure closer to 2 cu ft (or more). (See or, "subwoofer tests" under threads).

The SVS subs and Rythmik audio subs seem to provide great value. The former are a bit larger, but provide more clean deep bass. The latter are more highly damped ("tighter/faster" you choose the word). You can check the Group Delay tests for the performance numbers. The Rythmiks don't perform as well below app. 35hz, but there's not much signal below that frequency in my entire music collection, so I chose them anyway for my music only system. In the end, it was really a toss-up.

Either way, a good controller will help you acheive seamless integration with your 5Bs (and EQ room problems in the deep bass). For me, this is more important than the performance of the subwoofer, itself, since room effects do some serious damage to the bass performance of any system.

I use a Velodyne SMS-1 sub controller @ app $500, but the SVS EQ (Audyssey) box @ app $700 is supposed to be great, too. The SVS requires an external x-over like the NHT x-2 @$300, while the SMS-1 has a built-in crossover. Even though I use the SMS-1, I prefer to keep it out of the main signal path, so I added the NHT for use as a high pass only. Bottom line, I'd add $800-$1100 to your subwoofer budget for a controller/x-over to get the maximum benefit from your new set-up.

Good Luck


To be clear, my comments on subwoofer controllers are based on my own experience, while those on the Rythmik and SVS subs are based on feedback I've read and test results alone. When I receive the Rythmiks, I'll be able to comment from experience.

Just to complete the budget analysis I started in the post above, the more desireable 12" models from Rythmic or SBS start at app $700, either way. I bought a pair of the gloss cabinet ($100 per unit upcharge) 12" Rythmiks to join my SMS-1 and NHT x-2 so my total budget came to just under $2500.

You just see so much great feedback about REL that it seems like an option you would have to really explore if you could make it work. I bought a VS-VRS1 sub to match an all VSA system and it has been an excellent performer. I never used it with 2 channel listening but do use it for surround sound concert DVDs, etc. and it is just really nice, easily integrated, and powerful sub. In a stereo set-up I would think about getting two.
Typically, the setup is just as if not more important than the sub itself. My understanding of the servo in a sub is that it prevents the driver from getting into distortion trouble. Unless you are really driving the sub hard (which means it's too small for your use), I don't think the servo control would be an issue. Location, setting phase and level matching are key to the setup.

I assume the I30 is an integrated amp. Many integrateds do not provide main amp in jacks so you're forced to run the monitors full range. Depending on the size of your room and the level at which you listen, that could be a problem.
Just a note regarding REL. Judging from test results at and (look under "forums" for "subwoofer tests"), REL subs perform very well on Group Delay tests ("fast or tight") but generally poorly for clean output at high levels at low frequencies. Most of these models appear to be excellent woofers but not great subwoofers.

That may not matter in most music set-ups. In fact, the Rythmic subs I chose involve a similar trade-off. However, the Rythmiks fare much better than most RELs at low frequencies and are cheaper, to boot. BTW, they are available in a downward firing configuration. Caveat: numbers may not tell the whole story. Still, when it came time to lay out my own cash, I went Rythmik. SVS was right there, but RELs never made my personal short list. Now, if I could just turn out to be right about all this....

Marty, looking forward to hearing about the Rythmik subs from you!

I'll do my best to climb out of my shell and voice an opinion.

Thanks all for the input.
My main problem has been in matching a sub to monitors in a room with resonance issues, lots of wood, high wood ceilings and wood floors.... not much sound damping. I chose the Aerial 5b because it is an acoustic suspension and not ported. Bass reflex ported monitors add secondary bass output which is magnified by a lively room and the sound becomes confused, adding a sub makes things worse. I got a loaner HGS10 which was enough to convince me that the flexibility added by the Velodyne dd10 would work. In my room the 5b's are flat to 50hz as tested by the Velodyne set up sweep tone. The sub just needed to be adjusted to do the absolute minimum. The result for my taste and this room is very successful. The down side of this monitor/sub set up is that it is fairly expensive. The upside is that you can get balanced sound without floorstanders or monitors set 4 or 5 feet into the room.