Best Way to Integrate Subwoofers?

What’s the best way to integrate subwoofers with monitors, or speakers?

I’m not referring to placement, or room treatments. I’m referring to what’s the best way to integrate via a crossover, without a custom dedicated crossover.

Do you run two separate signals to the subs vs the speakers and supress the lower frequencies to the speakers, while supressing the upper frequencies to the subs? It would seem that this method might allow you to move the crossover to higher frequencies, relying more on the subs for the bass and lower mids - if that is beneficial. It would also seem that this method would permit you to taylor the slope of the crossover to minimize overlap of frequencies between the subs and the speakers, which might improve clarity - depending on the capability of the particular crossover used. And, I suppose it implies / requires a separate crossover to be used to run both signals through to route the mids and highs only to the speakers and the bass and lows only to the subs.

Or do you run the same signal to the subs and speakers and just emphasize the subs up to the bottom of the frequency range of the speakers, crossing over from the subs to the speakers at that point (crossover notch). It would seem that this method would require you to fix the crossover at the bottom of the frequency range of the speakers, wherever that may be, and would not require a separate crossover to be inserted into the signal path. And it would seem to imply that the slope of the crossover would be limited to the slope inherent in the subs and speakers, which would limit the flexibility of the crossover.

Or, does it make any difference?

Showing 6 responses by bstatmeister

I like the Paul Mcgowan Method - Run a high level signal to the sub/s from your speaker amplifier. Just some extra speaker cable from the same banana's that are going to your mains. This has the benefit of keeping the sound signature of your amp and allows your Mains run full range as god intended. The sub only fills in what the mains can't do. The trick is to find out the best freq to cross over on the sub as you can't rely on the spec sheet from your mains for this. You will just have to listen and experiment. Of course you will need to find a sub that can except high level inputs...
Correct, the speaker wire from the amp over to the powered sub should only be seen as the signal. It's not actually driving the sub. As for latency, etc... Get a sealed servo sub or 2 or 4 😀. Those should keep up nicely. Volume should go up and down automatically with preamp volume control like normal. Just look for a sub that has high level inputs. REL and Rythmik should fit the bill.
If your mains are not being driven to their full potential currently with your amp then that's a whole separate issue I would takle first. I don't buy the statement that you should relieve the amp of low freq signals from the mains.
Step 1. Get an amp that can adequately drive your mains
Step 2. Worry about the other stuff
One of the main reasons I like high level inputs and letting the sub do it's own low frequency filtering is that you keep the signal as pure as possible for the mains. I think this is especially important if you listen to an analog definitely don't want something in your chain doing an ADA conversion if you've gone to all the trouble of investing in a high end turntable/phono preamp. I think if you can't do high level inputs to the subs (speaker wire from your amp) since a lot of subs don't offer this feature, the next best would be using an rca out from the preamp to the sub while still running the mains full range. Set up the sub to only fill in the low end the mains can't do. This will take some time to get right... although a lot of people will go the dsp route to handle splitting the signal, this will definitely be be easier to get right, but can't look past the ADA conversion... that bugs me.
True, if you use an external analog xover you won't do ADA, but you are still adding more 'stuff' in the signal path. I like to keep things as simple as possible. But, a lot of people go this route. Vandersteen subs are famous for doing this. My assumption in all this is you have mains you truly enjoy and an amp to back it up. If you do I'm not sure you need to worry about 'taking a load off your mains'. I think if you just fill in where your main can't go then you are truly going to get a seamless experience.
"Rel ,the best and easiest way to go.
2 t7i"

Looks mouth watering...but only 8"...ain't that a bit small?

You can get 2 15" or 12" sealed servero Rythmiks for around that same price....

If that 8" REL can really put-out that would be tempting...