Best Subwoofer(s) for SF Guarneri Homage

Recently purchase a pair of Sf Guarneri Homage's. I knew i would need a sub (or two) eventually, since my musical tastes spans range from chamber music to rock. My room is dedicated but small (12.9 x 14 feet with 8ft ceilings) I am still working on speaker positioning to get the 40 hz and up range just right. Rest of the system is full blown LP12 (Lingo, Ekos, Arkv) into a Linto pre-pre into a BAT VK5iSe, into Bryston 7B ST's. Interconnects are Emerald x3 (all balanced except for tonearm cable and pre-pre tp pre) and speaker cables are AQ Argent in a bi-wire configuration. Digital duties performed by A Muse 8 into a Muse 296. Have heard good things about REL, but no way to audition (no local dealer).. so thinking of going the Velodyne HGS route. Thoughts? This is a "first iteration" system cobbled together "on the run" as I moved back to the US last month and had to jettison most of my 220 volt equipment, so any comments/thoughts beyond the sub are welcome!! I find the tonal balance a tad bright, and the SFGH's don't quite "click" unless pushed fairly hard (95 dB peaks or so measured from the listening positioning). Thanks! Alex
Pretty good system for something just cobbled together. My advice is to only consider a subwoofer after you have completely worked out the main speaker setup. I like REL. Even if I couldn't test listen, I'd buy REL over Velodyne, Carver, etc. Go with a stereo subwoofer setup, if possible. Your room may not support deep, natural sounding bass, but if it does -- REL will deliver. Word of caution, steady exposure to 95 dB will ruin your hearing.
i agree w/onhwy61 about needing two subs, & the fact that a small room may not support *any* subs. however, i don't think *any* sub touches the vmps subs for *anything* near the price. i heard a rel sub (dunno the model, but it was $1500 retail), and it was just one-tone-thump city! a pair of vmps, w/a good active x-over (marchand or db systems are reasonably-priced, & better than *any* x-over in active subs), a good used inexpensive s/s amp like adcom, rotel, aragon, parasound, your-choice?, and yule have *excellent* subwoofing at a reasonable price. i have a pair of vmps larger subs, but my room is big - 25'x38'. vmps original (or even smaller) subs would be all you need in your smaller room.
i have sf extremas and use 2 rel stentor ll subs. contact me for more info.
one more thought. do not bi-wire your speakers. i own the extremas and they sound much better with a standard hook up,no comparasion.
Dear All Thank you very much for your postings. I will be contacting Ivysound directly to hopefully learn more about what has worked (and not) on his Extremas. To Onhwy61, thanks for the feedback and the compliment on the system - I am probably a couple of months away from making a firm subwoofer purchase decision, and have lots of tweaking left to do on speaker/listening chair positioning. Don't worry, I do not listen at 95 dB - but only when the peaks got to this level did the bass really begin to fill in (above 40 Hz, anyway), and thus my potential quest for a sub.
Being you have the Muse 8 & 296 have you given thought to the Muse 18? Still the Class A component its always been and its performance remains unparalleled.
I used to have Guarneri and I did try REL sub and I did get rid of it in 2 months...sure you get better bass and bottom but you will loose all that magical midrange and Guarneri's are about mids....who knows maybe they will work in your setup. :-)
Nice rig, Alex, I may recommend the REL subs very well, especially the STENTOR and STUDIO models, since they are real high-end performers as intended. The STUDIO is really a whole league above the STENTOR model, and I sincerely say it will fit and work in any system, no matter the cost and quality of speaker. So mr.Duzajabba his problem in the midrange is interesting, because i'm sure it has to be with placement,adjustment and room interaction, and not with the sub itself. what model REL did you use ? The GUARNIERI speakers are musical instruments really, what a great choice you have made. PLS. audition the REL STUDIO, if you are able.. Enjoy the music. Ron
one more comment about your (small) room - you may have a serious problem w/your turntable, especially if you ad subwoofers, in such a set-up. i'd try to get your turntable into the next room - perhaps w/a long set of interconnects to your linto...
Definitely take a look at the Paradigm Servo 15. This is a very musical sub and has gotton rave reviews. Stereophile rates it class "B", but says it's borderline class "A". After owning this piece for about six months I can see why. I run this sub with Kef Reference 4's. This set-up yields excellent dynamics. With 400 watts, the srevo 15 will have no problem keeping up and low end bass extension is awesome. This sub also plays with a very high degree of accuracy. The best part is the flexibility of the three crossovers you can choose from which accommodate any speaker set-up. The price is also hard to beat at $1500.00 list.(I paid $1250.00 out the door). For under $2000.00 the servo 15 beats all comers.
Wow! I thought the thread was pretty "dead" by now. Thank you all. I did contact Muse early on about the Model 18, but they never developed a personality card for the SFG's. Since they are currently not making any subs, I just didn't want to take a chance on a 2nd hand model only to face integration issues. So...after reading the posts and all the reviews I could find and talking to the dealer who sold me the SFG's, just yesterday morning I ordered a REL Strata III (the new, sealed enclosure design). Ron - the dealer told me that anything bigger than the Strata would totally overload my small room. I even asked about two Strata, and they discouraged this (amazing, considering I was ready to buy...). So, much as I'd like to get into one of the bigger REL's, the Paradigm, the Muse, or the Genesis 900, I need to work with the room. Will post again to let you all know how it works out...
Hi Alex! Just an idea - it's a fact that subs are differicult to match - with both room and speakers. I have tried the Tact room-correction 2.0 unit from Tact audio - this is spectacular! I use the B&W N802 in a small room and the 2.0 does it's job perfectly. The perspective is accurate, dynamics overvelming, and the bass definition is perfect matched with the room. The Tact 2.0 can be set up with a sub as well, and in this way you could still keep the fameous mid-range from SF - and even improve the overall sound! Best Regards Michael, Denmark
felicidad Alex ! A clear good choice to go for the REL Strata 3, although a smaller model than the Stentor and Studio, it will deliver. If you have a small room, [which you mentioned again] than the Strata will also work fine. what i tried to express in my words was that, in a fair listening room [without major problems] the bigger REL models will outperform the smaller ones by a big margin. Now when the word BIG is written, you Americans have BIG all over the place ! I meant better bass, sub-bass, and not more or bigger bass... The downright quality of bass as done by the Stentor and Studio is plain High-End like. Your dealer says; "anything BIGGER will overload the room" [well either you have a room problem ie; a standing wave problem, which is hard to solve under say 80hz,] But with the REL bigger does not means MORE bass, it just means that the bass can and will go deeper, and still is capable of pressure at lets say 16hz, but ANY rel is adjusted very precisely to the main system. Well anyway you will enjoy your Sub-Bass system ! take your time to adjust. When you have the chance to listen to the so. you will know what I meant. Enjoy ! RON
Wait for Sonus Faber (2002 I think) to come out with their sub replacing the stands in year or two. Have heard good things--albeit rather preliminary--concerning them. It will be an all-out assault on high end big$$$ speaker systems (Wilsons etc) which sound "dry and etched." From what I hear it is beyond R&D and isn't too expensive, for those who already own the best speaker around. Word is that it will integrate beautifully (aesthetics) and add lowest bass--though many believe (since the Guarneris can go as low as the vaunted Quads 57-63 already) that it is unnecessay. Most Guarneri owners won't bother, but given that anyone who can afford them can buy the subs...they'll probably sell. I've dumped my subs on the Totems...wrecked the sound according to my friends and I reluctantly agreed. Amazing how full range some small speakers like Guarneris and Totems really sound. My own measurements in my room showed ancillary equipment was more responsible for the loss of any lower octaves than was the perfect design of these speakers--like the Guarneris--dependent more on source material and front end than subs which screw up the great midrange/highs.
The best sub i'v heard is the Aerial SW 12 Subwoofer. This sub sounds amazing on Movies and Music. The Paradigm servo 15 is very good to.
Ivysound, question about Sonus Faber Extremas. I know someone that has the Sonus Faber Extremas. That speaker has to be the hardest speaker, to get a sub to blend in with them. He tried using the Rel and Velodyne F1800 sub on them and they didn't sound right. I'm curious how your luck has been using 2 rel subs. Email me at
Well, having lived with the Guarneri/REL combo for a few months, I am thinking about thaking the sub out. Even at it's lowest crossover setting, the sub generates output up to 50 Hz, and leads to a hump at arounf 40 Hz given the Guarneri's respectable output (in my room) at this frequency. I guess this is due to REL's crossover desing, which does not cut off output abrubtly. Still have a couple of tweks to try (positioning). Does anyone know if the Velodyne subs allow you to set a sharper high pass cut off than the RELs?
alexc, get a passive sub - or better still - two (i like my vmps') & an active outboard crossover. i like my marchand xm-9, which is 24db/octave slope, & has a volume control for the x-over setpoint, as well as for low & high pass. x-over point can be changed w/inexpensive plug-in modules. *very* flexible - especially for a situation as you describe. i find that the electronics of a good outboard x-over are superior to that of active subs, as well as quality of amplification. marchand also has a x-over w/48db/octave slope, but i'd bet the 24db/octave would be fine in your situation. doug