Musical subwoofer under $2000

I’m looking for advice on what vendors to look at as l’d really like to add a subwoofer to my 2 channel setup. The room is c. 30x15 feet or 42 square meters with low ceiling of about 7.5 feet or 2.2 meters. Budget is c.$2,000 and my 2 channel speakers are Sonus Faber Sonetto VIII. My amp offers pre-out connection. I’d like REL but their S range is now too expensive, so something close in musicality would be great. 


To better understand what you mean by a "musical" low frequency producer.

Imagine you had two units at your home for audition individually during the same session. They are both properly positioned in your spacious room and adjusted to a point were you can not discern were the speakers end and the unit takes over the low frequency output.

Played individually turning each one off, its apparent one displays a noticeably greater sense of extra low frequency fullness (not loudness) of your main speakers presentation than the other. Which units presentation would you consider to be more musical?

First and foremost, I’d recommend getting two subs instead of one. In your price range you can get a pair of SVS SB2000 Pro subs that’d likely sound great in your system. Best of luck.

You want punch in the gut tight bass? 
or blend just a little something down low? 

Thanks for the feedback on looking at the SVS sb-2000 pro and going for two. As for musical I just meant I wasn’t looking for home theatre sound but just a sub for use with music, so not boomy or obvious apart from adding low end that isn’t fully there with the SF. I’ll definitely look at the SVS.

I use a stereo pair of Gallo Acoustic TR3-D subs, have for years.
Right in your price range, too.

For my setup to be of correct frequency : driver surface area balance, I should have 3 subs per channel (long tall story, literally), but one sub per channel is enough for me.

I haven’t heard a more worthy sub for music in its price range.*

I can anecdotally attest that lifted 45cm clear of the floor, speed and clarity even without DSP has visitors taken aback with bass from my setup. Most of them own or have listened to setups many times the value of mine (admittedly, mine’s not inexpensive).

My only disclosure is that my room is large, but solid concrete, all sides including ceiling; room gain is on the sub’s “side” in my use case. I can’t vouch for drywall applications, but perhaps others can.


*denotes 100% factual comment conveying pure opinion 😆

Easy. Get two 12" Dayton Sub kits from Parts Express with Class D plate amps and a MiniDSP crossover. The kits are easy to build. You can paint them or cover them in equipment carpet. 

@soix +1

Plus with the SVS you have the phone app and can really dial things in for your room, and your liking. 

I just purchased a pair of REL T/5x subs, they are fantastic. I have a small listening space so the T7 or T9 would likely be a better match for you. The T7 is within your price range the T9 is about $1000 over (for a pair). The Neutrik Speakon connector makes it simple to connect and integrate. The integration is old school though as there is no app or DSP. I like the old school though and I found it easy enough to get them set up, a bit of tweak, take a seat and listen, get up and tweak and repeat. They are very musical subs, with a sealed enclosure so no boominess.

That is a pretty nice system you have there I, for the life of me cannot understand why you wouldn’t save a few more pennies and get the REL S510. Why go around, hoping that you will be happy instead of knowing you will be happy. Good luck in your journey. Hopefully you have found the velvet path

Thanks again for all the food for thought about what to consider. I’m going to research all your suggestions.

+1 @gkelly. Spending a little more to get what you want is usually a good thing. I will say though that having just bought two subs I would move down the chain and split the budget to get a pair, or buy the s510 and plan on budgeting for another to complete the pair. Two is better than one.

The KEF KC62 ($1500) is the only sub I have ever used so I do not know much about other subs. However, the KC62 is fast enough to keep up with my old KEF LS50 Meta and now the Magnepan LRS+.

My understanding is that most subs are not good with the Mgnepans (too slow). This is not a HT sub.

Thanks everyone again. I think I’m getting the message that 2 are better than one and that I should budget for that in the future. REL being old school interesting as more modern offer DSP, Bluetooth etc. I have been looking at Arendal 1723 S. Thought about REL T9xi too. Lots to consider, and really grateful for every suggestion.

I agree with hilde45

Get 2 Rythmik subs, Very musical and very flexible. Plus they have a fast servo amp system. IMO. I have two and they are very good indeed.


Before you buy any sub read this first.

In my opinion if you are not listening to loud bass driven rock of some type, the addition of a subwoofer to a full range speaker will not make a big enough impact to justify the expense. Also keep in mind that the ear is less sensitive to low bass so if you want to  experience 40 Hz at the same perceived loudness as 1k Hz. You need to be able to reproduce the 40 Hz. signal approximately 15 to 30 db louder the the 1k Hz signal depending on the 1k Hz overall volume level. That takes a lot of amplifier power.

Having said all of that I own four subs and I would never do it any other way. I own REL, Rythmik and SVS. The only thing REL does better than the other two is to take more money out of your wallet, otherwise very little difference between them except the REL can be a little more difficult to integrate well. I feel the Rythmik has a little better sound than the others but they seem to have slightly less power, so I would err on getting a larger size rather than the smaller. SVS in my experience has the better customer service.


looking at your system in your room, I have no idea how you can add more sound waves beating on the hard wood floor and the window...I suggest you should be looking  for intoxicating midrange. bass is bull sh#*


Usually "musical" means enjoying the music as a whole but can also be at the expense of detail and accuracy. What you are looking for is an "articulate" subwoofer where the bottom notes sound like real instruments and not a boomy mess. Finding an "affordable" one seems difficult - I’m in the same boat.

Maybe Vandersteen 2Wq or Sub3 may fit your needs.  There's also the AudioKinesis Swarm, but I'm not sure how articulate they are.  Other articulate subwoofers are priced higher : REL, NSMT. Funk, Perlisten, JL Audio...

Good luck

I listen to a wide range of music - rock, pop, country, electronic, opera, classical orchestral and lots of piano and jazz. I had a friend around about a month ago and he has Triton speakers with built in subs and commented on how my low bass wasn’t there, not badly, but just there was more low bass I was missing. I also feel the low end will give me more presence and atmosphere. I’m not displeased with my system and the midrange and top end are both great. I play mostly CDs and the PSAudio transport and Bel Canto DAC combined with the Pathos amp is revealing but not analytically detailed, but still detailed and tends to being slightly warm, which is great as the speakers are very neutral and I do have lots of hard surfaces. Again thanks kennyc; audiorusty; and sounds-real-audio for your valuable input and I’m hoping kennyc is getting value too as what he describes he is after is the same. 

I have owned Every major brand and the SVS4000-SB meaning sealed 

the driver itself is around 50lbs and weighs102 lbs it has a great app to fully tune your room and adjust the volume from your seat.

for-around $1800 a great sub  and will play flat inRoom true 18HZ or lower 

free shipping ,45 day Audition ,and even free return if-not happy a compact 13.5 inch driver.

5 year transferrable warranty ported,or subs with passive radiator more boom ,output but not as articulate . The JL AudioFathom are better but $4-5k and also isSealed , as is Magico, Wilson . 

REL Classic 98

Nothing compares to REL for musicality and this new model is a close match to my old REL Storm III now 20+ yrs old but still sounding great. The Classic 98 is very close in sound esp with my little Harbeths. 

In my opinion if you are not listening to loud bass driven rock of some type, the addition of a subwoofer to a full range speaker will not make a big enough impact to justify the expense.

I couldn’t disagree with this opinion more.  This is the statement from someone who has no idea what subwoofers are capable of.  

I also feel the low end will give me more presence and atmosphere.

I TOTALLY AGREE with this statement and what was totally missed by the prior response.  Subs add so much more than just more bass, and anyone who doesn’t realize that is just subwoofer ignorant.  There’s a reason Wilson uses subs with their Alexandrias and Magico uses them with their Q7s and up, and I think you obviously get that.


The Rythmic IMO and IME is not a great rock sub. Does not hit hard…….. at all. I would take one JL over 2 Rythmics all day. My Fathom F113 is on its ways back from repair. JL and I’m sure a lot of other subs are visceral, the Rythmic is not. The JL has articulation which is what makes a great rock sub IMO. Amp weighs 30+ lbs and is class d with some big ole caps. 

A pair of SVS SB-3000s would be my choice, sweet spot in their lineup, small enough to not dominate visually, and go very deep and loud, the icing on the cake is the remote adjustability via the app, priceless!

I just acquired a pair of new Rythmik F15HP2 Subwoofers.   I’ve only had them a day.   Paired them with my Totem Element Metal V2, which I think share some pleasant similarities with your Sonus Faber.


I am very pleased with the various tools on the subs to accommodate dialing in the paring with my speakers.   These subs are fast, detailed, articulate, and blend perfectly.   They go down to 14Hz and will play very quietly as well as deafeningly loud.   You might start with one sub, then add a second later, or go with two of the 12” subs now.   Either route will be within or close to your stated price range.


And don’t forget to just enjoy the music along the way.

Take a look at HSU Research ULS-15 MK2 Dual Drive. I’ve had HSU subs in one iteration or another for 25 yrs and have never felt like I needed “better”. However, if you need variable phase control look elsewhere.


FWIW I have an Arendal 1723 1s. I use it in my modest 5,1 HT. It is a fantastic sub, two for music would fit you very well. I consider them the equivalent to an SVS SB 4000-in specs.  They have a 45 day audition period. You had mentioned it on your list of candidates. 

Strong recommendation for a pair of used Vandersteen 2Wq subs.  I bought one, then a second, and eventually bought the M5HP battery biased crossovers.  They are, to me, ideal.  Deep, tuneful bass when it's present in the source material, and not heard when it's not.  The only caveat is that your mains must go down to about 40Hz in order to blend properly with the 2Wq.  They are designed to sit in the corner, where most people put them anyway.  I mass load mine with floor tiles and ammo.  When bass heavy stuff is played, I can feel the bass, with the room energized.  But there is never any boominess or bloat, or obscuring of the frequencies above the Vandy subs.  I like them so much that when I last shopped for speakers, being a good match for the 2Wqs was a major requirement.

I own 2 JL e110’s in my setup and they work wonderfully with my Raidho XT-2’s.

Highly recommend them. Bought them in high gloss for around $1,500 each several years ago, I think the price has gone up to about $2,000 each.

I think you are right not to spend too much, as Class D amps (I think all subs use Class D) can’t be repaired once they fail. I spent about $2,500 on a Paradigm sub for my home theatre setup and it failed after about a decade of use. It’s why I’d never buy active speakers. Who wants to buy a pair of speakers that will only last a decade? JMHO.


I’m using two Rel, T/7x with Magnepan 1.7i speakers and they work amazingly well in my large room. I started out with just one, which sounded very good, but adding a second one took the bass to another level. They blend so well with the Maggies, that you can’t tell your listening to subs. They’re fast & tight & keep up with the speed of the Maggies.  I personally don't see the need for the Rel S series. 

Here are some videos from Paul McGowan of PS Audio, giving his take on connecting subs to amp outputs vs pre-amp outputs. Also, his take on one vs two subs.

The best way to connect a subwoofer - YouTube

Two subwoofers vs one (


 To everyone who has responded to my search for advice I cannot overstate how grateful I am for all the links, personal experiences and knowledge being shared. I don’t know if it’s making the task any easier as it looks like there are so many options to explore. The audiorusty link to the sounddoctor articles is eye opening and thank you soix for your insights.


Look used for better value.  There is an ad here on Agon for a pair of S/510 for $2,700.00 (located in Chicago).  I know, above your stated budget but maybe you could up the budget a little bit and make an offer.  Then you get two of the subs you want!  

Just sayin'


soix +2. I have a SVS SB2000 PRO. I got in on CL for $350.00! SVS was kind enough to send me the optional foam port plugs. Two of them would help with room acoustics and tonal balance issues. It’s big. I’ve rarely seen larger. Two of them would be beautiful I think with your Sonus Fabers. 
It goes down to 17hz. I never realized how much information was down there (below 35hz.)  in a wide variety of  program material. At lower volumes nothing is missing. 

@ditusa Thanks for that link.  Doug Blackburn and I both wrote for Soundstage at the same time, and I always admired his depth of knowledge.  There were some really interesting discussions behind the scenes at Soundstage between the two Dougs at Soundstage (Blackburn and founder Schneider) about the virtues of time/phase coherence that was a most interesting read.  They completely disagreed with each other and both made very valid and interesting arguments, but it was always respectful and I learned a lot from that discourse.  Anyway, thanks again for that dated yet still very useful link — I bookmarked it for future reference.

I have ML ESL-X for 2channel and wanted something "quick" to blend with electrostats.  SVS was an excellent option.  as others mentioned, DSP app lets you dial it in.

My experience with SVS:  beyond good!

- ordered an SP2000-pro AND a micro (dual 8") and demo'd in my system, knowing that I could only afford to keep one.  I did receive a discount for buying a pair.  Also note- the "blems" page has nice discounts.  most blems you won't ever notice. they provide pictures.

- the SB was musical, but really powerful (12")  I wanted badly to keep it but this is not home theater.

- the micro, with a pair of 8" matched best with the dual 8's in the mains.  With 3 bands of DSP- able to configure +-dB, slope and Q I was able to prevent peaks and smooth out the response curve.  This cannot be achieve without DSP

- I was able to return postage paid the SB2000-pro for full refund. They did NOT withhold the difference I saved from the "pair" discount!  AND, a couple of weeks later, I received an additional credit for a price drop!

Take a close look at SVS.  a pair of micros likely have sufficient output for your room and will be more musical.  but if you desire lots of bass, a pair of SB will drive you out of the room. 

"@kennyc  Usually "musical" means enjoying the music as a whole but can also be at the expense of detail and accuracy. What you are looking for is an "articulate" subwoofer where the bottom notes sound like real instruments and not a boomy mess."

Kennyc,  Absolutly. My description completely overlooked the mentioning of articulation in lower frequency presentation in my question to the OP's meaning of 'musical'. Thank you for making that point. 

I was attempting to bring to the OP's attention that his choice is a -6dB bass speaker that simply doesn't go that low with any authority and whether that was a priority. 

@kennyc  (Just found out how to include replies to individuals!) Articulate is what I want and getting real sound of the instrument (cello, double bass etc.) I'm leaning heavily now to ordering a single Rythmik E15HP2 to start and then going from there. I must admit the app capabilities of both Arendal and SVS appeal too, but with SVS I cannot get a white finish in the model I'd go for and I think the 15" woofer size of the Rythmik would move more air in my room. 

I think you’re making a mistake.  I’d get an F12G and then add another one when you can.  But that’s me. 

@fred60 ,

"I think you are right not to spend too much, as Class D amps (I think all subs use Class D) can’t be repaired once they fail. I spent about $2,500 on a Paradigm sub for my home theatre setup and it failed after about a decade of use. It’s why I’d never buy active speakers. Who wants to buy a pair of speakers that will only last a decade? JMHO."


I sent my JL F113 amp into JL to get fixed. It's a flat $450 charge and they put a bunch of new caps in from the V.2 line, replace anything broken and replace anything that is known to be problematic or doesn't measure out. I didn't think that was too bad a deal. If you send the entire sub in they will even replace or re cone the woofer if there is any degradation. Super responsive emails and really great to work with company IMO. I could not believe when I looked up the F113 current line and they are 6k! At that price I'd say they are probably overpriced! I think I paid like $3,500 12ish years ago. Guess my point is that class D can be repaired like any other amp. 

@mofojo That's great to hear.  Happy to hear that as an owner of two JL Audio subs.  Paradigm was not at all like that.  They quoted me $1,700 to "fix" my dead sub that cost $2,500.  I'd of course rather spend the $1,700 on a new sub.

My point was that unless the manufacturer is willing to repair the sub for a reasonable price, taking it to a certified audio repair facility-- they will tell you that they can't repair it.  

JL Audio is a good exception to that.  Good to know, thanks.


Just got my Absolute Sound issue (Jan. 2024).  They highlight products of the year.  You might look into the Golden Ear ForceField 30.  It got a Product of the Year from The Absolute Sound.  I have no expericene with the sub, just passing along info.  It's $900, with a 1000W switching amp, a 8-inch long throw driver with a downward firing passive radiator.


@soix I think your suggestion to go for one of  the F12G instead is right as I am still conflicted about going so large and I thought @noodlyarm comments of using F12G’s we’re interesting about room size and his Totem speakers. 

Thanks for the topic sparksgja

Following my own advice (see topic "Happy Holidays and Your Favorite Tips?) ... I consulted with a long time subwoofer builder who has great passion around the topic, also others having formidable experience.  I was guided to a Rythmic Direct Servo sealed L12 for my purist 2 channel small studio.  Still selling at a delivered price of $629, it integrates seamlessly with my super quick monitors, digs into the low 20's and abounds in musicality.  I found one well-placed sub superior to having two, in my system.  Money saved can be applied to bass traps.  Bonne chance. 

More Peace and Joy       Pin                 (bold print for old eyes)


I listen to classical organ, and orchestral music, and early rock. I don’t understand why REL is so expensive for what you get. Examples; T9x is -6db at 27 hz., 1500 US. Classic 98 is 1400 US with identical response figures. The S/510 is down -6db at 20 hz. Now we’re starting to plumb the depths, but 2500 US ? They’re pretty, but way too expensive for what I call an honest subwoofer.