Natural sound (REL Subwoofers)

I am looking for a natural sounding subwoofer, and I hear that REL makes some of the best in the business. I am interested in the REl Stadium and Stentor. Has anyone had the opportunity to try these subs or make comparisons to similarly high-priced subs? I have heard less expensive subs like Sunfire and Velodyne and they seem too boomy, and therefore not worth the money...I am looking for something that will add ambient "space" to my music. I have heard the Snell 18" subs that go with the reference "A" speakers ...very nice sound but too big. Others that I am considering are Audio Physic, and Talon. Please tell me about your experiences, preferences, and biases. I have an aleph 3, proac 2.5s and plan on running them straight from a resolution audio cd55. Thanks
I use a pair of REL Stadiums (w/ Monitor Audio 50s) and the combo works wonderfully. I also auditioned the smaller Audio Physics sub and thought it was a very good product. I don't think you can go wrong with either product. Care must be taken to set them up correctly (can take a few days to a month).
My REL Strata III doesn't have that boom, boom thud that most subs have. It sounds like I have a full range pair of speakers. When I first heard the REL I was really shocked, it was the first time that I had ever heard a sub that stayed in time with the mains. I was a "sub-hater" converted. You also have the advantage of setting the REL's for 5.1, and 2 channel from the speaker terminals with separate settings for each.
I have the REL Storm III. Highly recommended for music. I am another former sub-hater converted.
I'd also take a listen to the NHT Sub 2. I know, I was skeptical too at first till I heard it.I use it with Newform Research 645's & it blends in great, fast, tight& musical with no boominess at all.
With all due respect to you sub guys (and yes, I have owned a REL), I wouldn’t put a sub anywhere near 2.5’s (assuming they are in a small room). If you have a larger room, you should be putting that sub money toward 3.8’s, and keep subs away from those as well! The RA 55 is a great player, but it never sounded right to me unless I put it thru a decent preamp.
I also always assumed I would upgrade the speakers eventually, and would never consider getting a sub. The problem was I liked the sound of my speakers and of course the whole system, since the sound produced by those speakers depends on what powers them. I was only not satisfied with the low bass. Well the REL Storm III filled in the bottom perfectly, and also improved the entire spectrum of sound without changing the basic sound I liked. So the sub was the perfect sollution. Some would think higher frequencies are unaffected by bass, because "they contain no bass". This is not true. If it were true, the "exact" same note would sound exactly the same whether played on a piano, violin, clarinet, human voice, etc. These instruments all sound different and can be distinguished from the other, as do person's voices, because the frequency and harmonics surrounding the particular note embraces a much wider frequency spectrum. So anyway, if you like your system overall try out a sub and see if that works for you before changing your system. IF YOU GO TO you will find lots of reviews by actual users on various subwoofers and all the the REL models.
I have owned the NHT Sub-2 and my friend has a REL StentorII. The StentorII is a superb sub that will mate very well with your 2.5's and is better than the NHT. It should be as it retails for $4000 and the NHT only sells for $1200.00. The NHT is a very musical sub for the money but with Proac 2.5's I would stay with the REL. The REL also does amazing things for a speakers midrange. You gotta hear it to believe it. Highly recommended!!!
I have a pair of Rel Stentor II's with Sonus Faber Extremas in a fairly large room. The sound is seamless.
You should check also Vanderstein subs. The 2wq is extremely fast and tight and probably one of the most musical sub on the market. As a rule of thumb if you shop for a sub for music, sealed designs are the most musical and fast. Note that I am not talking about subs with passive radiators,.like for ex. the sunfire sub, because the passive radiator acts like a bandpass. I know that the 2.5s are power hungry and your amp might have a little problem driving them, which surely explains the lack of bass, in my oppinion 30w is not enough. If that is the case, I definetely suggest that you go check the Vanderstein as they have a very good solution to free up some power which will in turn free up the midrange and highs. Go check their website at To end this I can only tell you that buying a sub might only be a temporary solution for the innability of your amp to do bass. Try an amp with more power first to see what happens because I know that the 2.5s can definetly do bass.
Own a pr of REL Stadium 11's w/Aerial 10t's with positive results as mentioned by others. Use BMI Eel power cords on Rels, even better results than stock PC's. Placement and fine tuning w/possible treatment will result in fabulous sound and enjoyment. Can't tell where the sound is coming from and blends in seamlessly, like an extension of the 10t's that was meant to be part of the spk system -- HIGHLY REC -- CLASS A all the way
have vandy 3a sigs w. one rel stadium II. can you say seamless. where is the sub? really, these rels do work for music.and they go way down.
There is a review of the REL Strata II by Robert Harley at the REL website. It is truly worth reading, even if you are interested in a different model.Try
i would suggest a pair of vmps larger subs, coupled w/a high-power solid-state amp (or two) & a marchand xm-9 active cross-over. *very* flexible, and you can't touch the sound quality *and* quantity - for twice the price, imho. if the size of these is a problem, their original subs will still be very nice, & even less money. doug
Thanks for all of the great suggestions. I understand that the REL subs come with a speaker level connectors that run from the amp to the sub... which sounds like a bad idea to me...Rel owners...are they banana plugs? Do the affect the sound...of the sub or the task that I am asking the amp to do? What is the best type of connection? By the way, this is what I found on the other subs so far. I have already looked at much of the again for all of your comments.
hi souporhero, i only auditioned the bottom-line rel, & only for a short period. (and only one, not a stereo-pair). i found its electronics to be a limitation, or perhaps it's yust that ya can't defy the laws of fisiks w/a driver that small, & there was yust too much driver distortion for me. anyway, i wasn't too impressed - pretty much one-note-thump... don't forget to check out ;~) doug
The thin cable that connects to the speaker terminals has no discernable effect. You can also order a custom cable with banana plugs and buy a piggyback type of speaker connector like Monster X-Terminators, but that may draw more upon the amp. Don't worry, it is this type of connection that makes the REL unique, and allows for seamless integration with your mains.
The input impedence of the speaker-level inputs to the REL is way way above the speaker's impedence, and so high that current delivery is just not an issue, and extraordinarily easy for your amp to deal with. Therefore the cable requirements are quite different from speaker cables. It therefore also has little impact on what you hear out of your main speakers. The claimed benefit is that you get some of the flavour of your amp/speaker interaction input to the REL - providing a more seamless blend. In practise I find both the speaker level and line level to work well. The biggest issue with RELs is that they are designed to augment your main speakers, not share the load with your main speakers (through an electronic cross-over). I find augmentation to be the only acceptable way to use a sub-woofer, else the additional cross-over spoils the sound through the main speakers.
Bag End ELF (1,700) and 2 S-18 (1,200) stereo sub B-Lo RESonance system even with high inaudible distortion f------ rules!!! Accurate. Not 1 note full range.
I have used the REL Stadium II with Linn Kan II's and found the sub kept up nicely with the speakers which are noted for their speed. A gentleman by the name of Jerry Siegel has an audio related website with reviews of both the Stadium II and the Strata II or III, I forget which, and he prefers the Strata. God bless.