I have heard good things about REL-SF as well. Personally, i used the Velodyne DD-18 with SF to very good effect. Specs of sub are important...but i personally am not that patient nor that experienced at setup...and thus the Velodyne's extremely flexible and detailed (but intuitive) setup was very helpful in getting a great blend. good luck.
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Sonus Faber makes a Cremona Subwoofer M. I wouldn't spend my money until I'd heard the Cremona M/Subwoofer M combination.
However, the Cremona sub is pricey at $7500 list. So otherwise I'd be looking
at the JL. I think they're way ahead of the competition in bandwidth, speed,
dynamic range, and therefore the ability to blend. I've heard a pair of
Magnepan 20.1s blended seamlessly with a pair of Fathom F212s. Great-
I LOVE Cremona Ms; adding a pair of JL F112s would turn them into a
seriously resolving, highly dynamic full range system.
Regarding your assumption: Not necessarily! The Rel has a separate .1 LFE input that you can connect directly to an AV system for for HT and still use the high level connection for music. There are also separate volume controls for these two purposes. These are very user friendly features. Hook-up is indeed easy! The JL's however come with a microphone to assist with best postioning. The REL's are more difficult to place.
Set up in the usual way, both the REL and JL "integrate" with your speakers while they run "full range". However, I talked with Barry at JL (954-443-1100). He recommends that the proper way run the JL is with a separate outboard crossover (e.g. Marchand) set at 80hz so that the sub actually takes over the low frequency duties of you speaker, allowing the speaker to concentrate on frequencies above 80hz. In my mind this begs the question, "Do you really then need two subs?". I would give him a call.
All subs require knowledgeable setup...generally done via a combination of 2 ways: physical placement and the crossover, phase, volume, etc of your subs controls.
- you'll have to experiment...corners can emphasize bass which can be good or bad.
- Auralex subwoofer platform. stunningly good and relatively inexpensive...60 bucks. Cleans up bass from vibrating thru floorboards...you end up turning the bass louder, but at least its signal from cone...vs vibration thru your floorboards and furniture
Crossover, phase, etc.
- Not everyone cuts off their main speakers. With Cremona Ms...experiment both ways. I ran my Guarneris full range rather than cut off and ended up preferring it this way...mainly due to quality of crossover in my Velodyne
- Phase: They should be in phase (not out of phase). To tell, reverse the leads going into your sub (or your speakers)...keep playing around with the phase knob on sub til bass seems to be at its LEAST...so sub and speakers are OUT of phase with each other. Then reverse the speaker leads back...now you're IN phase.
- CDs: Amos Lee (close-miked guitar...great to seeing if your sub is 'bleeding' too high up into the upper bass/lower mids. Nirvana Unplugged...great for kick drum speed, naturalness. Ame: anything by these guys for deep, propulsive electronic house/deep bass
In addition to the above, Velodyne allows you 8 different bass frequencies and an equalizer to further tailor for 'nodes' in your room which accentuate or cancel out various frequencies...quite typical in rooms.
Not affiliated with Velodyne in anyway...just satisfied with them. Heard JLs superior by far, but the variability of the Velodyne hookup is helpful to someone like me who isnt an expert or techie.
Finally, as to 2 subs or one...the main reason is that having 2 sources of bass should allow you much better ability to smooth out bass response across the room. It is not about bass power per se, though that too can be improved. Its mainly frequency response smoothing throughout the room.
When you've got a room where you end up placing the sub very close to one seating area...then [sometimes] sitting elsewhere means you get very different bass response. Having 2 (ideally 4!) can help smooth this out. But not all of us have the room, funds...or the time to mess around with ideally setting up 2 subs. one can be tough enough.
hope that helps...good luck.
Its very apparent that adding a sub - any sub- to a current two channel system sounds like a royal pain in the rear. You should really have an external crossover board -to properly integrate the sub with the mains and even that is fraught with issues. ( and cost ) Might just leave well enough alone as adding a sub might add more problems that what it would be worth. Thank you members for your input and it is still about the musuc !
It aint easy...but the Velodyne actually has pretty much what you need internally...just hook it up to your TV. you've got 2 options...it comes with a microphone you place at your seating position...push a button, and it automatically EQs the sub to your room.
Or you can do it manually, by adjusting the equalizer using a remote control.
I do sense that JL Audios are better...but i like the ease of setup...which as you say, can be a royal PITA if you are not experienced.
I think the sub integration issue is a bit overstated. I've integrated subs into at
least 7 different systems, most of them music-based 2-channel. Yes, it can be
bit of a PITA, but it's not like you go weeks on end moving, listening, tweaking,
measuring. Generally I've found that I can dial in something listenable within a
half hour, and after letting it run in for awhile, I may have to do a second run at
it that may take 2-3 hours. I've integrated subs into at least 7 systems, some
surround and mostly 2-channel. The more you integrate subs into systems, the
faster and easier it gets.
And get the JLs. I recently read a review of Focal Diablo Utopias mated with a pair
of JLs and the resulting $18K rig provided around 90% of what you get with the
$185K/pair Grande Utopias. Compared to ponying up the price of a really good
pair of true full range speakers, spending a few hours integrating the subs is
well worth it.
While Johnnyb53 has had experience integrating subs in more systems than I have, his experience parallels mine. With both Magnepan 1.6's, my ACI Talismans with integrated powered subs, and my current Tidal Piano Cera's, it wasn't any big effort to get excellent results with a half hours set up time for the subs. Sure, I listened and tweaked as time went by, but it is a fun and enlightening process to refine your listening and set up skills IMO. There a bit of variability among we audiophile's as far as our propensity for hand wringing, neurotic obsessing, and exaggerating difficulties in these matters, so take this into account in your considerations. The newest generation of subs from Velodyne, JL Audio, etc. have programs to help speed up the installation process and have corrective software for the worst room response anomalies.
This thread is unusually biased against REL. There are many who find REL subs to be the only choice for two channel systems sighting other powered subs as simply Home Theater accessories to be crossed over at 80 Hz. The word musical is generally associated in many REL descriptions.
I would suggest reading all the set up procedures involved with any subwoofer you're considering. There is also the option of purchasing DSPeaker along with any sub that doesn't have an auto EQ program.
In my experience any subwoofer is going to be room dependent to a degree. I was able to audition side by side the JL F 113, REL Studio III, and my Velodyne DD18. I have gone into greater detail elsewhere on this site regarding this comparison. To sum it up they are all top tier products. In the end I used the Velodyne Optimization Program to maximize integration for them all. The REL was very difficult to integrate and its performance the least musical which made it my last choice. The JL is a stellar performer but a bit to tight for my taste in my room. The Velodyne simply disappeared. Keep in mind these results are extremely subjective and confined to my room.
Since you have space issues I would suggest beginning with a small Velodyne DD10+. If you find its output unsatisfactory, which I doubt will happen, simply ad another.
.....at the expense of being the origional poster and continuiung this thread....thank you Vicdamone for your input, however, you contradict yourself in that your initial statement indicates that REL is the one of the few truly musical sub woofers and later you state that they are the least musical ??? I am leaning towards the REL.....and through this site and all of the members help, I realized that I don't need the larger REL but maybe the R110 which does not include a downfiring passive radiator and just might be the right one for my room. And also that the R110's price point, I could but two and that's why I am looking into adding a good crossover and go that way.
The Velodyne has both a low and high pass filter that limits the low frequency going to the main speakers. They recommend this connection if the main speakers are somewhat deficient in the low mids. It requires a high level speaker connection to the subwoofer. Refer to the pdf manual for any misinformation I may have provided.
Using the Manual optimization software you can see your main speakers behavior below 200 Hz
Since you're so close to the Marchand I'd suggest trying the active crossover last.
REL has the advantage of being able to blend high and low level signals. OTOH, at least of the REL test report I read, the REL simply added a sharp bass spike centered around 45 Hz and it was entirely up to the user to move the sub around the room and fiddle with levels and placement to get this spike to broaden via room boundary reinforcement and blend with the rest of the system. Measurements here.
By comparison, the JL had a broad, flat frequency response that didn't start rolling off until around 20 Hz. The JL drivers are a thing to behold, with massive, deep castings and a magnet that could probably pull a car from across the street. If you're really down to JL and REL and you are willing to spend REL money, you *really* need to audition JL. Fathom F113 measurements here. JL subs are essentially flat from 20Hz to 80-100 Hz depending on model.
I also read a review of JL's entry-level F110, where the reviewer felt the 10" sub flap his pantsleg from 10 feet away. The F110 is about the same price as the REL R-328.
I heard JL F212s blended seamlessly with Magnepan 20.1's. If they're fast enough for panels, they're fast enough for anything. Also, they are capable of such high output they can be brought out into the room next to the stereo speakers.
Johnnyb53....thank you, this is exactly the inforamtion that I was looking for and some of it I did manage to find online. But you nailed it ...based on my room the JL Audio's F110 is the one that I think will be best of the two ( REL - JL ) and if I like one I will get another and add on a exterior crossover unit. Thanks for all of your help !
I guess I am lucky, I don't know much of anything about integrating subs. Just read the instruction manual, stuck it in the corner and adjusted till it sounded "right" to me, and sounds just fine to me. Just one little REL T9 is all I needed for my big basement room. Maybe I am easy to please though so Good Luck with your sub choice.
I am glad to see this post. I have Cremona Ms also. Originally had difficult getting them to produce a satisfied bass response. Even considered up grading, but took suggestions such as up grading cables, power cords and source. I did all above and they were correct. Went with Transparent speaker wire, sim audio 600i (had originally), 310lp with balanced ic and truly brought a low end i never heard originally. Am i satisfied, nope. When moving back to the states, i will look at a sub combo. I have my two channel integrated into my multi channel system so combing a low input for multi channel playback along with the two channel is ideal. Ill post my system here if i can and i will take thoughts.
I would give just a short version of it. I recently added two JL Audio F-112 subs to my system, and I can confidently say, that the benefits are enormous (provided they are set up properly). Steve Shliesman of Synergy Audio&Video spent about 10 hrs setting up mines.
You gain in a few areas simultaneously- imaging, LF sound pressure, more even in-room bass response, bass articulation, etc.
Now I honestly think, that separate subs are a MUST in any 2 Ch system.
I just added an REL T9 to my system, Dynaudio Contour S1.4s, T+A Music Receiver. I'm still playing with it but so far really happy with the addition. Just adds a depth and lack of congestion that opens up the listening experience. Even a mostly acoustic recording like Ry Cooder's Into the Purple Valley was enhanced. Sometimes, I get startled by information that I didn't even know was on the recording!