Does this mean nobody has matched the Merlins to a subwoofer?
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For years I've been using a Vel DD-15 with modified VSM-MX and BBAM. The sub works well with crossover at 30hz and steep 24db roll-off. The effects are subtle, adding just the last measure of LF embellishment-- quality not quantity.
I believe the more recent Velodyne software revs don't allow crossover to be set below 40hz. IMO this precludes their use with VSM.
My experience with good subwoofers is you hardly know they are there, the venue seems bigger. I think Warnke also crossed over at 30Hz, he comments that not using the BAM does not gell as well, probably because of the need for the higher crossover point, and getting too much subwoofer driver involved at the higher bass frequencies, which are just about perfect with the VSM/BAM.
..funny, I have tried the VSM's with a Stella NOVUS bass managment (what a title) crossing at 31Hz. It was vg, but I kept using it in the Studio with its Stella OPUS speakers, where they make better optical and acoustic sense..
(The Stella is an extremely versatile offering - I believe their is a guy selling them in the States, for a mere 12K
LOL Such are exporting prices..)
I've (briefly) paired my VSMs with a pair of 12" Rythmik subwoofers.
When I use subs, I use room EQ on the bass signal to the subs and run the mains unprocessed, using only an NHT X-2 active x-over to low cut that signal. I generally use an x-over point between 70hz and 80hz, because that's the lowest x-over point that still allows the room EQ to do its thing. This set-up has always produced both great bass performance and seamless integration with the main speakers of my choice (I've used +/- a half dozen, including planars, which are notoriously tough to integrate well).
I love the EQ'd Rythmiks - they dramatically improve the sound of just about any speaker I've mated them to. I say "just about" because the Merlin is an exception. I got the usual seamless match and improved power in the lowest registers, but the final result wasn't better than the stand-alone, for me. The character of the speaker changed and that spooky "U R There" character of the VSM was diminished. As I lowered the x-over point (10z at a time), the Merlins regained more of their native character, but the improvements wrought by the subs diminished. In the end, a "before and after" comparison (without subs before, with subs after) of the system struck me as a "less than zero sum" game.
Not sure why, but the VSMs are one of the very few speakers I've owned over the last 5 years that don't take well to subwoofers.
I'm sure that others would prefer the "after" in this "before and after" comparison - so YMMV - but I still run my VSMs by themselves.
In my room, 1910 built quite soft plaster wall, high ceilings and wooden floor the Merlins make perfect sense, in a harder room i could imagine something different, and the Stella was actually used with the bass between 10-31Hz, no phase correction, but down 2db, so you can guess that my room might not need a sub.. that's the sound reason, why it went out again -
i actually have my TSMs matched to a pair of Rel Strata V's. placed near corners i found a Crossover at 36 Hz (Yup with the TSMs) working the best.this is somewhere around the 10db point.
I guess this crossover point works with the Rel since thats the way its designed. From what I spoke with Bobby the TSM works best with Sealed Box Subs such that the sub slowely starts taking over from 50Hz and below