HELP: Subwoofer for music

I would like to get a subwoofer for music purposes. I don't really need earth rumbling low notes(I go to the movies for movies), but it would be nice to hear a low bass tone when one comes along. I bought the plans for the Decware WO32, horn loaded software, but there are so many variables that I am not sure I could build one correctly without building several until I got it right and I don't have the time and money, plus I think I will be hiring a skilled carpenter to build the thing for me(it will still be cheaper than buying it built from Decware). I found another set of subwoofer plans from BESL,, and it looks promising(not as complex to build as the Decware WO32). The thing about the WO32 is that it is hard to find a subwoofer amp plate that will fit in the alloted space of the WO32 without taking it apart and I am no electrician, so who knows what can happen with that. I could just put binding post on the cabinet and use a solid state 100w amp that I am no longer using, but now I need a crossover....and....well....what a mess! The vandersteen(sp) looks like what I would like; 3 x 8in speakers, which would make it fast, but the price is out of this world for me, not to mention that you have to tune it for your system and what if I change my system?

Any suggestion would be great.
One of the high points of the Vandersteen sub is it can be readjusted to whatever system you change to. It is extremely flexible. It doesn't take a lot to set it up correctly. It does require you to install high pass filters into your amps inputs for a 6db rolloff @ 80 hz depending on your input impedence. These are easy to make or you can buy the Vandersteen crossovers x-2. Richard Hardesty in his online journal #4 of "The Audio Perfectionist" tells you exactly how to set this sub up. He also talks about other subs and why they don't work for music (such as bass reflex) I use a pair of these in my system and you cannot tell they are there except the deepest part of the musics foundation is there in spades. Never boom and do not call attention to themselves. I'm sure you will get many opinions because everybody's got one but give these a listen.
These subs sell on Audiogon from time to time for about $850. That is about the least amount of money you are going to pay for a quality sub such as these.
I purchased a REL Stadium III on Audiogon. It is tight and musical, easy to integrate and very highly regarded. REL has smaller Subs (in terms of $$$) in their line up, which might serve you well. However, I think Bigtee is correct, it may be difficult to find something satisfying below the $850 sticker price.
You don't hear about it enough--perhaps one of the best kept secrets. Try the Sunfire Architectural Sub. It's an 11" cube. Fast, tight, great extension and designed for two channel listening. Lists for $1400, but can be found, nicely discounted. I like the size and the way it integrates with my Revel M20s. I let my speakers run fully extended and crossover the sub at about 45 Hz. Beautiful. Good luck,
Hey Matchsticman, I'm working on the same project. Got all kinds of ideas going on. Like you i want a sub for music , not for HT purposes, not for movie sound effects. Natural (very low key) and subtle. Here's what i got going. I'm going to buy a sub cabinet from madisound, then get a carpenter to cut the hole for a Seas Excel W26. Instead of a sub amp(Hypex200), think i'll gamble on the Marchand XM9 xover, will carry 20-100HZ. I think the Hypex sub amp will deliver more bass than i really want. I'm looking for an intergrated bass. I get the feeling some folks are not happy with the intergration of the sub bass. I'm hoping the OUT on my Jadis intergrated is just for this purpose..??? Keep in touch.
Bigtree already said the magic "two words": Vandersteen 2Wq. Buy one -- or even better, buy two -- you won't regret it.
I cured my problem 2 ways: I got a Janis sub amp/crossover and a passive sub which is installed between the pre and amp. It integrates better than any powered sub I've heard. It works wonders plus alleviates the strain on my SET amp.
I have also played with a pair of Nelson Reed Passive subs. They are big (the size of old Advents but heavier), have no appearant bottom limits and have unbelievable built in crossovers.
With either choice I can make mini monitors sound every bit as good as much larger speakers. Both the Janis and Nelson-Reeds are a fixed cut off of 100hz but have adjustable volume, phase and more. I may consider selling?
I use a VELODYNE HGS-12 Subwoofer ( servo. controlled )and would highly recommended them.
I think Velodyne is the Best out there. Detailed, Precise, and I believe the Lowest Distortion level out there for subs. See if you can audition some subs ( on your system )to see what is Best for you!
Go to these site : and
Good Luck and enjoy,
Hey Tweekerman,
I talked to Steve Deckert at Decware about having a tough time finding a subwoofer amp plate that would fit the WO32 and he said that it was one of the reasons they stopped selling the sub fully built. It was hard to find reliable amp plates, and when you found one, you had to do surgery on it and yadda, yadda,, I told him about my idea of using an external amp with a crossover and he said that this would make for a better sound because most amps have more "balls" than subwoofer amp plates, too. I have done some research and AudioSource( makes a 100w monoblock, couple this with a Paradigm X30 crossover and you are there. It would go like this: Source to preamp to crossover to solid state monoblock to subwoofer cabinet with binding posts(solid state makes a better amp for bass signals). Here is my problem...too much stuff in the path, but then we are talking about bass, (so not much signal loss) plus using this method would leave the high and mid part alone; source to tube amp to satelite speakers by themselves(semi bi-amp setup). I use DM602s and they go down to 52, so I need the crossover to start at 52 and go down from there. It seems, in theory, that it should work.

As for the Vandersteens. I am seriously thinking about that one, too, considering that by the time I get the subwoofer cabinet built, buy the drivers, amp, crossover and whatever else I need, the cost might be as high as buying one Vandersteen. But here is the thing; I have read that Vandersteen need a crossover up front(more stuff in front of the high end signal) and this crossover starts at 80 or so, and my DM602 are rated to start at 52, so that is about 30 points(80 - 52) or so that the DM602 will lose or not use. Am I right or wrong on this.

...set the music free!
What is a Janis sub amp/crossover? Where can I find out about it?
Hey Matchsticman, Just hold off a bit and consider. The Seas Excel drivers are very musical. They just came out with a new 10 inch woofer , the W26 ($250 each). She's a beauty. The vandersteen is gigantic! Way way too big for my room. The w26 will deliver all the high fidelity bass you need. Now the problem for me is, how do i get the Marchand XM9 xover($400?) to work in the set up. I'm still waiting for Jadis to email me about the OUT on the back of the Orchestra intergrated. I guess its like a pre out../// If so i may need to hook the XM9 to the...??? hummm, nope...anyway... W26 250+ XM9 400 + Cabinet 150. I'm not looking for a powered sub, have heard folks complain about powered subs dominating the room. I'm looking for a subtle, background bass.
This would be something I would be interested in...but, only this company makes it and I can't seem to find anything else like it.

An external, subwoofer amplifier with built in crossover.
The thing that is great about the Vandersteens it the 3 8" drivers. They are small and because of this, very fast. The three of them put together can push alot of air and this probably results in really clean low bass. Stanley Clarke probably sound great through a Vandersteen. Doesn't anyone make a 3 8" driver setup? Yamaha makes one with 2 8", but it is front firing.

I am hoping to get this resolved by the beginning of next year so that I can get back to the whole reason I started this in the first listen to music!
Yea that sure is alot of woofer! But more in not always better, most often not. So let me make a recommendation, take a close look at the Peerless XLS 12. If i did not go with W26, that would be other choice. One sub is enough for my 20x20 room. So now i know the OUT on my intergrated can go to the Hypex amp, thus drive the W26. Will order the cabinet from Madisound. Keep in mind whatever distortion is in the Vander 3 woofer sub system, no matter how small %, will be tripled.
A short time back, the listening group of which I am a member (systems from $3000 to $300,000 and 15,000+ pieces of software) did a shootout between a REL Stentor III and a VMPS Larger Subwoofer with a Marchand xover and Crown K2 amp.

To the absolute amazement of almost all of us, the VMPS won hands down on everything but build quality and appearance. It was just as tight, more musical, MUCH more dynamic, and it integrated seamlessly with a pair of JMLabs Mezzo Utopias. Despite the 10" Volt driver in the REL and the huge no-name drivers in the VMPS, we had no sense that the VMPS ever got behind the MUs. On a homemade digital recording of the organ at St. Philip's Cathedral in Atlanta, the sound of the enormous stopped 32' flues was impressive on the REL but on the VMPS actually created the hair-raising shudder that one experiences when actually in the near presence of the pipes. No subwoofer I've ever heard did this so authentically.

Don't get me wrong, both sounded absolutely superb. In the opinions of a dozen very experienced musicians and listeners, however, the VMPS clearly came out on top.

It was an eye-opener, especially for a confirmed REL lover like me. Maybe Brian Cheney knows something after all.

Anyone else made comparisons of this sort?

I've done alot of reading this weekend about subwoofers and I am going to have to check out a Vandersteen this weekend. See what you have done? The Vandersteen is starting to make alot of sense.
Scratch my vote for the Seas Excel W26. Go to Linkwitz's web page. Check out the Thor sub..Peerless XLS12. That's the one.
I contacted a Vandersteen dealer to try out one of their subs at home and guess what; there is a waiting list to try their subs because EVERYONE seems to want to check it out, so I am on the list and somewhere in the next two weeks I can try one at home. I will let you know what happens. I just want to tell you one thing I learned from my rock guitar days....just because the cabinet has Celestion speaker, it doesn't mean it will sound like a Marshall!!
OK that's cool. Just post your review. In the meantime, do check out Linkwitz's Peerlesss XLS12 design, called Thor. Very simple cabinet, and as you know he's very knowledgable in speaker stuff. He claims this XLS delivers very accurate musical bass. just type in Linkwitz Lab. But definetly post the review.
I have a similar dilemna, although I'm not a DYI guy. I presently use a single Paradigm Servo-15. It supplements my mains, which are B&W Nautilus 802's, which are pretty fast. The Servo-15 does pretty well, but I like very tight sound and I'm 90% music. I have heard great reviews of the Vandersteen and the RELs. The other unit recommended to me was the NHT Sub Two, with two 10' woofers. It only goes down to 21hz, but is supposedly very fast. I am considering getting 2. I'm not sure if I would supplement or crossover the Nautilus 802s. Any thoughts on this?
Dang, Nautilus 802s? Ah, to dream is nice!!
My FINAL VOTE: Peerless XLS 12..refer to linkwitz's web page. The real McCoy. Anybody could build that cabinet, the XLS sells for like 150, Hypex subamp 299,..Top Dog!
ACI Titan or pair of Force. I've played w/ many subs. These are the real deal for music.
REL, REL, REL!!! Get one intended for music, at least the Strata. It's the easiest sub to set up and ends up simply sounding like an extension of your speakers. Much easier to set up than the Vandersteen which attempts to do the same thing but, since it was the first to try, is far too comlicated and fussy. RELs just set up and then you forget about it. O.K., maybe a little tweaking as time goes on.

By the way, I had a Janis sub/amp/x-over and the bass notes were just fine. Problem is, it crosses over at 100hz, way too high! I have my REL set at 28hz and the music is seamless.
If youi live in Europe REL is the leading contender. In the states, ACI subs offer significantly higher value. The $800 Force is easily competitive w the twice as much Strata III.
the Titan is better than the Strata and competitive w the Stadium (the Titan sells for around $1200)
i know this is an OLD thread, but in case any of youse 'still interested in DIY subs, especially in the likes of matchstickmen, here's a cool page i stumbled