help me maximize my sonus faber concertinos

Where can I get the biggest improvement for my current system?

Sonus Faber Concertinos
Velodyne VA 1012 II subwoofer
NAD T750 receiver
Panasonic DVD-A310 (doubles as CD player)
DH Labs BL1 interconnects
Analysis Plus Oval 12 speaker cable

I definitely want to keep the speakers and cabling, everything else is fair game. I mostly listen to classical, some rock and pop, an occasional movie. Most important system consideration: must be musical/exciting/emotionally involving; detail and imaging are next.

Main Problem: the sub doesn't integrate well. It has a fixed, non-defeatable, 85hZ crossover. My receiver sends a FULL signal to the mains plus everything below 100hZ to the sub. This makes the bass very muddy because the Concertinos go down to 55hZ.

- get a receiver with bass management
- get a new sub with a variable crossover for bass fill
- get an amp and use the sub's crossover with LR pre-outs
- forget your bass problem and get a real CD/SACD player
- something I haven't thought of

I don't want to use the sub's crossover with speaker inputs/outputs because it has spring clips which preclude the use of quality speaker cables. Also, I read that this way sucks.

Please recommend specific brands, models, and a crossover frequency. Ideally I would like budget $500 for this and absolutely not over a $1000. Used is OK. I am limited in space and would prefer to replace equipment, but if I need to make space for additional hardware, so be it


You’re doing a great disservice to the SF with a receiver. Please get a dedicated amp you’ll never look back
I am a big believer that subs are critical to full range sound. Most rooms do not support full range passive sound and need correction below in the bass. 

With that being said far more important than the sub you use is how it integrate. Some options you listed are fine just have to decide what fits your budget and look. 

You really want a system that will let you cut the bass to your mains (highpass filter). If the speakers go down to 55hz they will be far less distorted (not that they are…) at 80-90hz. 

A preamp with bass management is probably the simplest. The best sound/flexibility probably comes from outboard crossovers like the JL Audio CR-1. Also a miniDSP could really do the trick too and they are cheap but kind of hard to setup from what I understand. 

Now for some rambling about the speed of sound…. 

At the very least your speakers bass will be canceled (lumpy) if you set the speaker anywhere between 39” and 7.2’ off the front wall. I choose to have my speakers far off the wall and my subs 30” off the wall and this fixes the cancelation issue to a point. The higher the crossover the closer your mains can be to the wall. With 80hz crossover your mains can be 59” with a 60hz crossover your mains need to be 78” off the wall… gets pretty crazy. You could set both under 39” but not sure how the soundstage will sound and it will be very room and speaker dependent. 

“You can calculate dmin, the minimum distance from your speaker to the wall behind it, using this formula:

dmin (feet) = 1.4(1125) / 4f-3dB


dmin (meters) = 1.4(343) / 4f-3dB

Where f-3dB is your loudspeaker’s low cut-off frequency. For example, if your speakers have a -3 dB low cut-off at 55 Hz, dmin = 2.18 meters (7′-3″).”

I agree that the Panasonic and the receiver are holding you back. I would put my money into improving from the source.

Does the Panasonic have digital output? If so it could be used as a transport into a DAC. I would replace the receiver with an integrated amplifier. Some integrated amplifiers have onboard DACs. Check out the Yamaha A-S801.  Buying used will stretch your budget.  

Sell the Velodyne sub, maybe replace with another one after maximizing the value you have in your main speakers.