Best type of Sub to consider?

I'm not looking for a brand or model recommendation at this time, but rather the best type of sub to fit my room and system. If you access my System pics, you will see that I have open corners behind my speakers and that my Horning speakers are rear ported. This has caused some energy loss, especially in the bass when compared to my previous setup in my other home.

I am a newbie to subs and see different design types that fire up, down, up and down, and forward. There may be other variations. So, does any of this matter when applying the best design type to a room, my room? My knee-jerk reaction is to go with forward firing in my situation, but that's complete speculation on my part, so why I'm asking.

Showing 20 responses by kennythekey

ricred1 and gdnrbob,
Thanks. I have only been looking at sealed subs, and even in that category, there are all these different types. So, why I posted.

Yes, I completely read your comments about your success with your Tannoys and Crown, so thank you. You're right, here I go again finding my way around.
onhwy61 - No choice, I do not have two closed corners anywhere in the house, except one tiny bedroom. What you see, is my only option. One advantage to this setup, is that my detail has gone up a couple of notches. Subwoofers were recommended by my Horning dealer, but he does not sell them.

Dan - Thanks, Yes my forward firing option that I had mentioned, was based on the JL Audio subs that I was checking out. However, I'm trying to avoid brand recommendations, and get down to the physics and applications for the different types of subs.So, regardless of brand name, does one firing direction have an advantage over another or not. And, which one would work best in my setup, if any? That's all I want to know.

Thank you for your informative answer, because that's what I was looking for. I did speak to a sub manufacturer, who recommended that I place two subs behind my speakers about four inches from the walls. These subs fired down, and it made me wonder how this would differ and/or be an advantage, or not, over a forward firing design. In my mind, a forward firing design may help to take out the need to rely so much on closed corners. However, I must admit that my study of speaker design and sound wave physics is truly limited. My ears are everything, but as we know you cannot sample everything. I appreciate you wishing me luck, but I will do my best not to rely on that. Thanks again.

Juan - Thanks, but the link you provided is not working.

Tom - Good information. I wasn't thinking so much about the hookup. One of the brands I am considering is sealed, and the cable it comes with connects directly to my Horning speaker posts. Then, I read on another brand's website that this is an inferior design flaw. So, another can-of-worms that can be opened up.

I have to think, that if I owned full-range speakers with forward firing built-in woofers, I'd be in good shape. However, many full-range speakers place their woofers in different locations, so on the sides and in the rear, like mine. These different designs must be designed around an ideal room layout. My Hornings want corners because they're rear ported, for example. This makes me want to believe that stand-alone subs are the same, so how they fire should make a difference to how the room is laid out.

In contemplating the right fit for my room, my best guess would be to use forward firing subs, and to try placing them almost up against the inside sides of my Horning speakers. If not a design flaw, it would then be easiest to connect the subs directly to the Hornings. However, in doing this post, I'm trying to extract the science of these different designs, so to take some of the guesswork out and reduce the number of subs to try.

As to adding subs in the first place, I have always been a purist and never cared for them. This is mostly from way back in the day when I could not find coherency in the combination. I realize, that I'm going to have to put out some serious coin to keep up with my Hornings. In these current times, I have been blown over after listening to the likes of the big Cessaro's, for example, with their add-on and powered subs. So, matching becomes critical, and I want to believe today, that a combination can improve my sound quality.

l have also heard, that there are audiophiles out there who are using subs with their Horning speakers. Are there any of you out there?

Al - Again, great information, so thank you.

1) No, not balanced.

2) No, not bridged.

3) No, single-ended.

4) No, 300B SET.

Wow, four out of four!

Whart - Thank you, it sounds like you're having success with careful tweaking. Yes, the driver is a modified Lowther DX65.

1) This back wall that you see only has the one useable corner, so you're only seeing one half of the room. The other corner is 31' from the corner you see.

2) It would be great to know what jumpers you liked best.

3) Interesting, I'll look into those. And, an indication that design may not play such an important role.

4) That's very reassuring.

You got me there, because Jeff is my dealer. And, the best one I've ever had the fortune of meeting. He doesn't sell a subwoofer line, but he has spent a lot of time, setting up his Cessaro subs.

bondmanp - I think you may have misunderstood, because I don't have corners. If I did, I probably would not want subs.


Okay, so I found a link on the Rhythmik site for Salkaudio, who builds their subs. They refer to them as sealed, and on the Rhythmik site they offer plans for both sealed and ported. And, back on the Salkaudio site the pics show forward firing subs, but a picture of the baffle design has the sub firing down. What's the recommended fit here? I believe, I understand that the baffle design is open even though in a box, but I need help sorting out the rest of this.
bdp24 - Thank you for the recommendation and I did visit both sites, but I'm having some difficulty in identifying the sub kit. Can you help with that?

jwt - Your compassion and enthusiasm about these products is certainly there. And, I'm very happy that you discovered reasonable products that get the job done right for you.

A quick question for both of you, can/will these companies send me sample products to try? Or, do I have to build this myself to find out? I won't buy something like this without hearing it first.

bdp24, Thanks for directing me to more specific information, because things are becoming more clear. At least, I know why I'm having trouble zeroing in on these. I think my best course of action would be to contact these guys directly.

Both websites don't really get to the heart of the matter and it makes one wonder (me), how special can this pairing actually be when here are their other products/kits but where's this one? You're right, they should have a page for the OB/Dipole Kit even if it's just an overview.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and recommendations.


What's interesting, is that the four woofers per Horning speaker in my system are in push-pull configuration and rear ported. I'm not sure if this is an isobaric design or not, but the bass can be excellent when set up properly. I've heard an almost identical system as mine at another audiophiles home with closed corners and careful setup, and the bass was wonderful.

l'm hoping to retain the extra detail that I've acquired, by the setup of my current system, plus reinforce the bass to the level that I've heard in that other system. That would do it for me.

bdp24 - You have suggested that my system may benefit from the OB/Dipole Sub, but it seems like most users are driving these with planar loudspeakers. This post also acknowledges the pairing of these subs with planars.

For matching, why do you think these subs would match up so well with my Horning Aristotle speakers?



bdp24 - Again, thank you for the enormous amount of quality information that you provided regarding the OB/Dipole design type by Rythmik/GC Research. My next step would be to speak to them directly and take it from there.

I also want to thank everyone for their contributions to my post. I now have hit the limit for what I can absorb and I need to start doing. From the various sub types available, I will start to request try-outs from key brands, and this may help to eliminate some who do not have a lending policy. For me, it's not about price, promises, or proclamations, but proof-of-sound in my system.


Bacardi, I missed your comments, so thanks.

gdnrbob - This may take awhile. I agree about the educational part, and eventual fun, but I just started thinking about shipping subwoofers multiple times, so where did I put the Teleporter?
The guys at Rythmik quickly got back to me, so they checked out my system and room layout relating to integrating the OB/Dipole subs that have been recommended above. Unfortunately, they did not recommend the OB design with my dynamic speakers as they work best with planar speakers.
What is interesting, it was suggested adding a small sub upfront with a larger sub in the back. I'm now working out those details, because with two subs, I was looking for two channels. I'll wait to hear back and let you all know.

Whart - I need to take a break from my busy day and call Brian and/or Enrico to get a better sense of the sealed and ported differences. The recommendation of two subs small and large had to do with the reflections advantage of my room's cathedral ceiling (small/up front), and my back wall (large/rear). This makes sense to me, but I also want subs for both channels. So, it makes me think that four subs may be overkill, and I'm looking for an alternative because there are a number of design types available just within Rythmik's line up of subs, for example.

bdp24 - There's a correct fit for me, so I just need to poke and prod until it reveals itself. I can also reach out to Danny. Hopefully, I can reach a consensus based on engineering advantages, from both companies, in support of what works best for me.


All - There are two parts to this. The first is the quest to best match my room and system layout to a specific type(s) of sub(s). So, the science of it. I really don't care who makes the best sounding sub for me or for anyone else at this point. It would be good for me to make a distinction between sub type as it applies to best filling a room's layout (firing direction(s) and placement), and the subs type as it applies to its sound characteristics (sealed, ported, OB, horn, etc.). Is this possible? This is the second part about the sound, so if it can be separated would be another post.

Bdp24 - Again, you've provided a ton of excellent information, and even though some of it gets past what I'm needing right now, you have also revealed some important information about people and their own sound preferences when designing products. I did describe my system and room layout to Brian and Enrico, plus l let them know that I'm not trying to shake the rafters for a home theater system. Instead, I'm looking for a natural and authentic reproduction. I will reach out to Danny for his opinion.

I contacted Danny from GR Research and he was a wealth of information. I wanted to know how an open baffle design would be an advantage in my room's layout. He responded, open baffle woofers don't load the room like a sealed or ported sub. So the OB woofers greatly minimize room boom.

Apparently, the OB Subs should not get placed close to a wall, but rather at least three feet from my back wall, which makes them a great setup if placed to the sides of my speakers.


Hey guys, is there anyone out there making the H frames for the OB Subs to order? For example, no extended table top or bottom base? So, let's say I wanted them to look like my Horning speakers in terms of styling, like rounded edges, etc.. I also would probably want front grills or have them prepped for that. I've seen those options mentioned and considered, but...

I got a couple of links from Danny for two guys that are building frames, but in the thread there was some hesitation regarding customization due to setup and cost. I understand that, but in the end l'm trying to get more of an aesthetic look, because the cabinetry of my Hornings are special. I would also want to add a veneer. And, is there contact information for the two builders on Audiocircle, or do I need to join the forum to find out?

Happy 4th of July everyone!

Eric - Good stuff, so thank you again for this useful information. I will want to contact Jay.

I'm not purchasing anything until I put all the pieces together, and there are quite a few of them if I go this route. I'm not an aspiring do-it-yourselfer, so when I do a DIY project it's because l can't get what I want any other way. If I need more outside help then that's an added cost.

Eric - And, thank you for your generous offer to trade product.

Thank you for your kind words. After eight years, I'm finally replacing my line stage, so the last piece of the main gear. Tweaking after that.

Yes, I remember that McIntosh discussion. The place where I got my Birdseye Maple MR71 cabinet was from here:

If that's where your subs make your system sound the best then that's where they belong. I added subs without wanting them, but needing them. It all worked out for the better.