The Focal 936 is roundly considered a better speaker than the PSB T3, and the bass is more authoritative. The 948 slightly moreso. Of course, if you're talking $10k speakers, man up and get the Focal Kanta No.2.
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I don’t think there is anything wrong with your speakers or your subwoofer.
Doesn’t your integrated amplifier have preamplifier outputs? What brand and model is it?
JL Audio states that using the E-Series high level (speaker) inputs for receivers and integrated amplifiers without line level outputs is not the desirable method.
I attended the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest last October and listened to a lot of speakers. The best speakers I hear were the SALK SONG3 ENCORE tower speakers. They sounded better than a pair of $60,000 speakers I heard at the show. Jim Salk sells direct to consumers because this allows him to purchase the best tweeters, mid and bass drivers possible for the money. Because he doesn't have to sell wholesale to retailers, he does not have to compromise quality in order to be able to sell to retailers who then make all of the profit. I just wish I had heard these before I purchased mine. Jim Salk is the real deal. He is honest and he knows more about speaker design and manufacturing than 95% of his competitors. I don't think you will need to buy a subwoofer. These extend down to 24 Hz. You can buy these without hearing them because you will not hear a better speaker priced below $30,000. The Bowers & Wilkins Diamond series speakers can't even hold a candle to them. I listened to the Focal Aria 926 and 948 and the reason I didn't purchase them was because I kept asking myself...........where's the bass? I think Focal is allergic to bass.
* Philharmonic Phil 3, wait time as it’s built to order.
* Salk SoundScape 8, also a wait time, but likely even longer, but it’s custom cabinet finishes/veneers (more exotic customization adds fees, they can be as high as $3000 upgrades).
* Revel PerformaBe F228Be
Those are the only ones I know of ≤$10K that can reach below 30Hz while still being a reference speaker. Also, the Phil 3 is actually 88dB efficient, it’s just instead of saying +/-3dB, he uses the -3dB point (at 25Hz).
B&W has an even brighter upper treble, so you must be talking about ~3kHz where B&W usually adds a dip in the response, some prefer it, but most don’t. Their speakers are also neutral, so I don’t see how they can be called top heavy, maybe you just prefer Harman’s target curve over say B&K’s, and/or you listen at lower volumes where we can’t hear bass as well, so then neutral bass actually sounds recessed.
No, all modern B&W gear have an intentional dip somewhere between 2kHz-5kHz, even the 800 D3 models, but less severe than say the 600 models.
Maple refer to this as the BBC dip, as the LS3/5A has it, but that had it as it’s off-aids wasn’t optimal, spreading the myth that neutral on-axis in that region isn’t ideal, it is, but the off-axis needs to be ideal as well. B&W speakers usually have great off-axis relative to the on-axis (which is what imaging is), so that makes up for it.
For my far less than $10K... I purchased some Sonus Faber Olymica ll"s here on AG and added an ancient M&K 125 powered sub crossed over at 35hz driven by speaker level inputs off my ARC power amp. This gives an extremely coherent sound stage and deep controlled bass when its actually on the source recording... Not added as a by product or an overly emphasized thickening agent. Most people who have a new subwoofer want to "hear it working" at least at first, and then over a period of time, dial it in to be as transparent and coherent with their room and overall system as possible so as avoid listening fatigue.
Pay detailed attention to placement of speakers and subs too.. Acoustics play a huge role in your listening experience and fantastic speakers/subs can be awesome or terrible by way of room placement.
When I was in the high end audio business years ago I often had to make some home visits to assist in clients getting the best out of their gear. Many of the better dealers want you to be 100% satisfied with your system, they love it when you love it! They want you to be an enthusiastic hobbyist, maybe even drag your friend in! So be sure to ask for on-site help from a pro for trouble shooting if your are not happy with your sound. AG can, of course, be a great information source however... Your room, gear and ears are uniquely YOURS!
It appears from my understanding of this discussion that you are not driving your subs with the proper outputs... This makes a HUGE difference and you are correct in that an electronic crossover in the signal path can have substantial negative sonic artifacts and for that reason many subs are driven by speaker outputs off the power amp at the end of the output chain rather than earlier.
Some pre amps are not designed to drive lower impedance loads... ARC pre amps need to have a 20K ohm load or more to work properly and I am sure others have their own design limits. Driving a sub with the speaker output method also tends to reduce cable sonic artifacts although not entirely. Good quality speaker cables can still play a role...
As the resolving powers of many high end audio systems can be revealing of every component, interconnect, AC power, fuses etc... It gets to be a matter of can you hear music the way you want to hear it? Does the equipment fit well into your space? Thats why auditioning equipment is so educational in this hobby... To many, the cosmetic appearance of gear, especially speakers can also play a big role in choices.
I love the sound of many B&W speakers, way ahead in sound for their day and even visited their main factory in Brighton England with John Bowers himself... I loved his wit and I quote... "We do our best to make our speakers idiot proof, the problem we find is that idiots are so F---ing ingenious!!!"
From my memory, the REL subs mentioned above in this discussion are designed to only be driven by the speaker outputs of an amp and they are some of the best subs I've heard, great looking too and come in a variety of price ranges and sizes. I think REL also provides a wiring harness to hook up to your amp outputs but its been a while since I auditioned them so things may have changed a bit. I will probably get one in the future.
If I were redoing my system speakers at the $10k price point I would consider the Sonus Faber Olymica lll's used here on AG, which are 90db efficient compared to my Oly ll's at 89db, go deeper in the bass down to approx 35hz and sell here on AG for well under $10k leaving some $$ for the REL Sub of your choice. Of course your ears, your room, your taste in sound is unique to what gives you the pleasure when your listening. Enjoy the music!
Wilson Sophia’s. $5000 - $7000 range for a decent pair. You won’t need a sub since you’ll get detailed resolution down into the low 30hz range and you’ll get better soundstage, dynamics and resolution than most speakers mentioned. Don’t take my word, do yourself a favor and listen to a pair before purchasing.
Tekton Ulfberhts for $9K. That is the deal of the century. The $3K Tekton DIs displaced my B&W 804s I loved for years. Wasn’t even close. I then upgraded to the Ulfs. It was an amazing transition. They are large but if you’re looking for a truly full-range in a speaker, this will handle anything you throw at it. https://www.tektondesign.com/specials.html
I may be biased, but I'm upgrading from B&W 805S to new B&W 804 D3s. I invested a couple of hours at my dealer listening to these with some of my favorite test tracks, most of which need speakers that can move air. IMO, the B&W's delivered all the low end I was looking for and in a way that didn't overpower me or seem artificial. Articulate, smooth and very engaging is how I'd describe them. I think the 804's are the hidden gem in the B&W 800 series.
Before you buy anything, try to listen to a pair of Bryston Signature series Model T speakers, simply amazing. I have a pair I ended up buying in Santose Rosewood, they are gorgeous and make the room sound like a live concert. The best bass I have felt/heard with triple 8 inch woofers in each speaker.
Full Range Passive Speaker.
Even the best are down 3dB just when most rooms need boost in that region, unless that's acceptable.
Full Range w / Internal Powered Sub.
Now you've got the ability to boost but the sub / room location is far from optimal and may actually increase room nodes, unless that's acceptable.
How about $7K speakers which are flat to 55Hz and two small subs with on board room optimization. The advantages of independent positioning and subwoofers with on board room optimization will dramatically reduce the rooms nodes while loading the room with what will seem like a tighter quicker bass response optimized for unnoticeable system integration. Real controlled full range presentation with subwoofers you'll use with any future speaker choice.
As @m-db said
”JL Audio states that using the E-Series high level (speaker) inputs for receivers and integrated amplifiers without line level outputs is not the desirable method”
I know JL says this but I have very good results using the high level inputs on my JL E110’s.
Let me repeat what @gregb63 said
”You won’t find a better speaker then Tekton Encores (9k) for under 30K” this is the gospel.
skimrn OP6 posts01-01-2019 8:48pm@m-db, My amp is Marantz PM-10, it does have "Power Amp In" for Preamp, would that work? I thought I needed an "Out" for sending signal to the powered sub L&R.Skimrn, Looking at the Marantz PM-10 manual, page 5 shows the rear panel item 2 "AUDIO OUT". This output is labeled (RECORDER) output which usually outputs the full (all the way turned up) signal. Try connecting these L&R RCA connections to the subwoofer with the subs volume turned almost off then slowly increase the volume.
If this works for the subwoofer you can purchase a pair of affordable long RCA cables from MonoPrice or Blue Jeans cable to locate your sub anywhere in your room.
I was in your shoes 1 month ago. I have a very nice pair of stand mounted speakers. I wanted more bass and fullness of sound. I did not want to give up clarity though. I bought the Goldenear Triton Reference speakers. First off, I am looking at them right now and I think they look great. The sound is crisp, clear and powerful. I can't imagine wanting more or better than these.
Incidentally I own some Salk Song3 speakers and love them too. Very good especially for the price.