What is SPL? and also whats signifies a speaker as a "monitor" thanks
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I like a sub with music too - they add luxurius warmth to ther sound. Some music genre benefits more from it than others - Pop, jazz, and dance music where beats are important.
If you have a speaker you really like, sometimes a poor sub can obsecure that character. Make sure its upto the standard of your speaker.
Try it for yourself and decide - perhaps you have a speaker with good tight lows and want to keep the character alive - but I saw one guy with 15 incher speaker and he still thought a sub adds something to his system.
Hsu and monitor audio subs seem to be getting good write ups, in the below $500 range. I like the sony sa-wm500 ($150 on ebay). It's boomy, and some love it - others don't. You might try this one - if you don't like it for music, you can always use it for movies (especially good with movies).
I suggest you try one or two Rel ST subs. I have two Strata IIIs and I could not be happier. There are many threads in the forum archives that explain what the advantages are with Rel subs. But, as with any piece of equipment, some will love them and others prefer a different brand of sub or not having a sub at all. You mentioned that you want a sub for music and I think you will find that the consensus is the Rel subs are some of the very best when it comes to integration with main speakers for music.......John
Differs from person to person, and system to system, but unless you are willing to step up to the plate big time for a good sub, cross over, and extra amp, my opinion is that you are almost always better off with a better set of speakers, than with adding a sub.
The theory behind adding a sub is good, but in practical terms they are difficult to get sounding "just right" without having to monkey with them all the time. They can be difficult to integrate, and often leave you with a sonic hump or pothole right around the crossover frequency.
Make absolutely sure to try before you buy if possible. Rel, Talon, and Aerial (just to name a few) all make good subwoofers, but you would be wise to look into a Vandersteen 2W or 2Wq to begin with. They are great bang for the buck, and are relatively easy to obtain and resell. You might only lose the cost of shipping for that experiment, and it might be worth a try just to satisfy your curiosity.
I'd get a small sub with no bigger then a 10in woofer, and preferably an 8in. Your speakers start to roll off around 100hz and thats really when your sub should start to kick in, not at 60hz, in order to get a nice flat responce. You also don't want a lot of power behind it either or it will quickly overwhelm the rest of the system. B&W's ASW300 might be a logical choice with its 8in driver and modest amplification.
If you get a moment, the following website has two free journals you can download and print at your leisure. There is an article in one of the two journals regarding the benefits of adding a subwoofer(s) to an audio system(not home theater system). Take a look at it. It will definitely answer your question and then some.
You can spend kilobucks completely upgrading your speakers to ones that go down to subwoofer frequencies (and do it well) or you can audition something like a rel or vandersteen and see if it makes you happy. I had also heard the same line your salesman gave you. My speakers go down to 30hz. Adding the rel (stadium) was a no brainer, especially since I listen to, among other things, electronic/experimental music which often goes down to below audible - you just feel the floor shake a little - frequencies. You do have to be careful to only have the sub kick in when it's needed, though. I have to adjust mine every once in a while, depending on the recording, but mostly I just leave it alone. I love it!
I agree with Perkadin that you want your sub to start rolling in where your speakers start rolling out. In my experience, I only use my sub for some music. I have Monitor Audio silver 5i speakers and a bag end infra 18 sub. Despite it's large size, it is very musical and fast. I have it crossed over at 90hz. I disagree with Perkadin's analysis of smaller vs larger subs. I have also used M&K 10" and Sony 10" and auditioned a number of others. I think smaller subs tend to be overdriven and get sloppy sooner than a larger sub with more composure.
I have a 15" Mirage sub to go along with my Hale T-5's. I've listened to my system with and without the sub and my personal preference is to turn on the sub at a low volume level (around #3). I think it adds a life to the overall presentation. I don't notice any roll off or other harmonic distortion.
Consider that a subwoofer gives you a whole 'nother chance to custom tailor the sound of your system to the realities of your taste, aural sensitivity and listening environment. If your room likes to eat lower frequencies, like mine does, you may want to set your crossover well above the rolloff of your mains.
Do try the Rel line, and experiment to find your best answer.
I used to own Triangle Titus' which, like your speakers, don't go below 60hz. I got a REL Strata III subwoofer for bass augmentation. I dialed the cutoff to around 50hz and I got very good results (you have to play a lot with placement though).
There are some pretty good value subs out there like the HSU VTF-2. Try it first and if you don't like it, return it.
I use a sub with a pair of NHT 1.5's. The sub I use is the NHT SW2P which has its own external mono amp. This sub matches well with these speakers.
The problem with alot of people is they have no concept of balance when using a sub I.E usually to loud. I use mine for both music and movies and usually don't have to adjust things to much,and I like what it does for my system.
I also had my doubts about a sub being musical so I tried a REL and found it a little hard to place and a bunch of others that just didn't make any grade.
I did find a sleeper though.A Von Schweikert.Pretty little thing 8" woofer and does it make music!!!
Just threw it down a little left of center in between the Spendor FL-6's and it is truly magic.Easy to pick out a bass guitar ,stand up bass,kickdrums and all with tonal precision and at the same time.Dead easy to setup,took about 2 minutes to get it right.
Give it a listen .
Read the article at 'Audioperpectionist'. It will disspell many of the myths you will hear.If someone tells you they ruin the music then that person either bought junk to begin with or didn't know or didn't take the amount of effort it takes to integrate a sub properly.
Some of these guys desgning/building subs aren't stupid.
Making the decision to add or not to add a sub is easy. The diffucult part is to set it up properly before you decide whether it works for you or not. I recently became a believer in subs importance to the overall system synergy. One thing I realised now that in the past I never heard a sub properly setup in any home, that is the reason I was without a sub, I was wrong and so were the folks who set it up improperly whose systems unfortunately I had heard.
I use the REL Strata III but I will refrain from giving a sermon on its behalf. You will find plenty of information on REL on Audiogon as well as elsewhere.
In the end, its YOU who has to decide.
I have a Velodyne HGS-15 and it sounds great for just music. It has very low distortion which gives it a very clean and punchy sound. It has a remote so you can make adjustments from your chair, when necessary.
Low powered subs can be boomy, when played too loud, that might be how they got a bad rep in the first place. But some people like their music that way, go figure.
I think that most speaker systems benefit from a good sub, that's set up properly.
There has always been different opinions on subs vs. full range speakers. The argument for no sub, was that it was hard to integrate and never are they seemless. I never agreed with that argument, in that monitors almost always image better than full range speakers, are easier to place in a room and almost never detonate or excite the room. For most of us, we don't build custom listening rooms and have to integrate our systems into living rooms, which usually are far from perfect. The monitors give us the midrange and upper registers and a good sub-woofer produces true bass and in most cases, improves the sound of the saterlites. I own Piega speakers and use a Rel Strata III sub and I'll match their performance with most of the highly regarded full range speakers for a lot less money.
I had originally intended to avoid the use of a subwoofer, and I went with full range speakers (Thiel CS3.6). However, it turns out that my listening room has some rather extreme dropouts in the low frequencies (it's a very cut up and open room). This lead me to consider adding a subwoofer, and after much investigation and auditioning, I finally picked up a Velodyne DD-12, which is from their new Digital Drive series. This has been the most significant improvement that I have made to my system. It allowed me to find, and corret for, all the deficiencies in the low end, and I now have a very flat response. It is a very controlled and musical sub, and if you didn't know that it was there, you'd never suspect that the low end is coming from anywhere other than the Thiels. It has interfaced very well with my system, and certainly makes music sound much more, well musical. Not only do the lower notes themselves sound more real, but having the proper fundamental underneath them also very much improves the higher frequency notes, even cymbals, and especially human voice.
Of course, that said, a boomy subwoofer can really muck things up. So, audition as many as you can, and hopefully find a tight, fast sub.
I'm going to post my two cents. I own four Bag Ends and three Vandersteen 2W's. I love both of them and don't think you can find anything better for the price. In my opinion, one Bag end or two Vandersteen's would do you fine. Stereo subs are the best though. You can find a used Bag End or Vandersteen here on Agone for about half the retail price.
As I started looking for speakers, I noticed I didn't like many, if any, floor standers. I wanted to, but they just didn't seem to have the detail. I'm also a dedicated "budget buyer" and I'm sure that didn't help. However, I did find speakers that fit my need, PSB Image 2B's. I've added the budget PSB Subzero and have heard a very good difference. I keep the sub down in volume and the crossover at 110. I rarely notice the sub, but I do notice the speakers have become more detailed. The key for me was to find a volume level that is very low, but still adds substance. I had to experiment a lot but now I never change the settings. Well, I never have to change it until I use the system after my sons get done with it. I can always tell when my sons have been using my stereo when I walk into the house and notice all the pictures hanging crooked again and my dog is hiding in a corner in the fetal position. They crank the sub.