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I'm in the anti-sub camp.I have Aerial 10ts. With the right equipment they go pretty low. The bass must have increased many times over,since I first got these speakers. AND, for me, it isn't quantity; it's quality.I've heard some HTs with enough bass to flap my clothes,press in on my chest. This isn't for me.
I run Sonus Faber Extremas with a REl Stentor sub. The Rel is seemless and completely transparent Athough I beleive that using stand mounted speakers with a sub is the best way to go it does have its disadvantages. It just doesnt move as much air as a full range speaker. The rel gives you quality over quanity but I beleive the perfect system would have both.
I use BOTH. 8 foot tall Acoustat 2+2s which go down to about 30 Hz, crossed over to a Legacy sub which is -2 dB at 16 Hz. Pinpoint imaging is not my main goal as I don't hear this in the concert hall. My priorities are "air", inner detail, dynamic range. Stage width and depth are more than adequate thanks to the Theta Gen Va.
Seems to me (I don't have my reference books handy here just now, sorry) but I thought the average ear worked between 20hz and 20khz, maybe a taste lower at each end, but there ya go. So if it can be heard, and it can be recorded, then shouldn't we at least try to reproduce it? And to do that, we need speakers that can get there. For the most part, the upper range is no problem, many manufacturers build tweeters they claim can operate to 20kHz (ProAc claims 30 kHz on several of their models). The lower end is tougher, operating ranges for "full range" models vary from the upper 40s hz to as low as the aforementioned 20hz, for monitors the low end is generally in the 30s, but can be as high as 55hz (Your mileage may vary). Subs can therefore fill a roughly 10+ hz "hole" in the audible spectrum, just based on operating ranges (and accepting the premise that most subs will go down to, if not below 20hz). This is a huge simplification of the issue, I know, but enough people have written books about this stuff, and Audiogon isn't a publishing house. My point is, I think, still valid - to fully exploit our native abilities we need gear that will present the full audio spectrum. A sub helps many speakers achieve that. Naturally, like all gear, how it's set up will effect the sound: a sub that "flap(s) my clothes" may be appropriate for HT (I've been next to a 122mm howitzer firing at max range, not only do your clothes flap, your brain rattles!) but at normal, non-bleeding-at-the-ear levels, listening to typical music, you shouldn't even be able to tell where the sub is located in the room. But in my opinion and experience, you will be able to tell whether there is a sub in play or not. Whether you will like what it does or not is, like all things audio, your preference.
I can't say what the best sub-sat setup is that I've ever heard (I've heard many in many listening sessions at many places and times), so I'll cheat a little and just say I like both Hsu and Velodyne subs, but own a Paradigm 'cuz I bought it with my first system years ago, and am too cheap to replace it just yet!
In spite of the huge numbers of subs produced and sold by independent, "sub only manufacturers" there is virtually no help by them ,or the audio rags, in recomending good mating systems. Of course some full range manufacturers do produce mating subs and this may be the answer ? Another question involves the one or two sub requirement.
i tink the sub-sat arrangement *is* the way-to-go - yust ask many designers of cost-no-object speaker-systems, which are in-fact sub-sat designs.
i have good results using a pair of vmps larger subs & a marchand deluxe version of their xm-9 x-over. the marchand has *wery* flexible controls, & w/24db/octave slope, can seemlessly mate the vmps' w/most anything. i've successfully used both thiel 3.5's & meret re's w/my subs. also successfully demo'd proac tablettes, totem arros, nht super ones. i hope to demo some proac 2.5's, & i hope to purchase some newform research's, not sure of the model.
vmps (a full-line speaker mfr, btw), will offer good set-up support for their subs. i feel they are more accurate than any sub at anywhere near the price - my sub system, consisting of 2 larger vmps', 2 adcom gfa555's run bridged-mono, & the marchand x-over, is about the same price as *one* top-model velodyne, w/all its amplification/electronics included. i woodn't trade my system for *2* velodynes.
oh yeah, i'm also a firm believer that 2 subs are needed for proper 2-channel audio.