Vandersteen subs are faster than Rel.
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I would have a look at the Zu Audio subwoofers. I own one of their discontinued models, the Mini-Method, and it is lightning fast. It blends in seamlessly with my Essence speakers. Their new models, the Undertone and the Submission, are supposed to be even better than my little subwoofer. The only way I would part with my sub would be to replace it with a larger Zu sub... even then, I might just keep it as a backup.
Yea - give the Martin Logan Depth I a try - designed to match the speed of Electrostatics.
I have one myself for my very fast mains (they are not horns but have tricks done like lining with 1/4 copper to decrease resonance and increase speed) and their speed is fine. The only issue is, as with any subwoofer, integrating it into the mains seamlessly. I personally only ever use it for HT because the music I listen to doesn't have much low bass. But when I do engage it for music, while I generally prefer it engaged, you can detect some anomalies caused by the fact its not seamlessly integrated - its speed however is fine.
What makes you think horns are 'faster' than anything else? Empirically horns would measure slower than any other type of speaker due to all the stored energy from reflections inside the throat.
My suspicion is that the Rel sub was just fine, it's the integration that needed work. Suboptimal placement will give the impression that the subs are too slow, the sound will appear to lag behind the impulse from your mains, when reality is small placement changes is all that's needed.
Bob_ +1 I must have at least eight subwoofers in cars, Bass amplification, computers, two channel, and HT. And I don't have a clue as to what is meant by slow sub?
I compared a REL Studio III with a JL Audio F113 and my DD-18 Velodyne in my two channel setup. To get the REL to integrate on its own it was a matter of lowering its gain to an unacceptable level. By comparison this sub with its high level connection method was a total joke but I can't say it was slow.
Using a line level connection from the Velodyne EQ to the REL helped a great deal. It also freed up the ability to find a better acoustical location. Connected to the REL my main speakers lost a bit of everything. But hey, they have a huge following.
I guess out of phase could give the sensation of slowness but most powered subs have a phase switch.
There can be a noticeable difference in presentation between small and large driver subs. Is that slowness?
Not enough info, as others have said.
Regarding "fast", there is no such thing as "fast" 60hz, or 50hz, or 40hz, etc. They all travel at the speed of sound and have periods (the time for one wavelength) equalling the reciprocal of the frequency.
Many "perceive" speed or lack thereof based on distortion. High second order distortion at lower frequencies is the bane of many loudspeakers and subwoofers. Adjustability is a real plus in a crossover. The key is getting a low distortion subwoofer with a crossover that is steep enough for your main speakers to not have a bump in the upper bass where they overlap, which will also cause you, I think, to say the bass is "slow".
I agree with Vapor1 & Vic. In theory a sub's group delay can cause it to sound slow. This is one aspect that sealed subs tend to do well and REL subs tend to do especially well. However, REL subs are really designed for augmenting the bass of true full range speakers. In the vast majority of cases "slowness" is the perception of a poor setup. Unfortunately, 2-channel analog systems don't provide the features to get the optimal use from a sub.
When people refer to "fast and slow" in relation to a speaker, they are referring to the dynamic speaker driver's ability to respond instantaneously and accurately to the signal provided at any exact moment in time.
How well it performs in this regard is largely determined by the mass of teh cone. All cone movements are affected by inertia and therefore must have some amount of temporal delay in responding to the signal at any particular instant as a result. That tendency in general can be described as "slowness". Larger, more massive drivers, like those in subwoofers, will be the most affected compared to to others. Smaller low mass cones, like those used generally in tweeters and midrange drivers, are less effected by inertia and hence tend to be inherently "faster".
Other factors of speaker design and tolerances may come into play, like damping factor, but I think size and mass of teh cone and relationship to inertia is the main one. Planars, electrostatic, ribbon type drivers tend to suffer less from effects of mass and inertia and tend to sound "fast" in that they are able to respond to signal changes more instantaneously in general than most dynamic drivers.
Another exception might be a transmission line style Walsh dynamic driver, where much of the sound is produced via "wave bending" principles as described by the original designer, Lincoln Walsh, rather than pistonic type driver movements, where the mass of teh speker normally comes more into play I would think.
Tweeters and midrange drivers tend to have low mass compared to woofers and subwoofers in particular. HEnce the perceived difference possible when using a sub with speakers that are relatively "fast" in of themselves.
Compression drivers used often in horns are generally also very low mass and inherently "fast", so matching subs with those in particular to get coherent sound top to bottom might be a somewhat more difficult challenge.
Speaker systems that are "fast" may or may not sound "coherent" top to bottom as well, in that other factors like crossover design and performance come into play there as well.
If you have a speaker that is both "fast" and "coherent", then I would say you really have something special that might also possibly sound particularly "musical" compared to others! Make it "full range" to-boot, and bingo!
Vapor, I think we're not taking about horns being faster than a diaphragm but high frequency being faster than low.
Timing is timing: if this user is finding the timing is disconnected or does not match his horn loudspeaker it seems that there is a disconnect. I recommended a front firing sub placed forward in the set up if possible works like magic.
Horns are faster in the sense that they can increase both the dynamic range and spl by as much as 5db making them seem faster as they are often more in your face.
One of the most knowledgable sub designers is Tom Danley who developed the phenomenal servo belt driven driver motor. If anybody can speak to the original posters question I'd suggest him.
Some interesting responses that go right over my head. I honestly can't say if this has any effect on the time aspect of a subs delivery. In the seventies Techniqs (Panasonic) marketed a line of speakers with staggered driver units keeping the driver motors inline with each other. B&W followed with their 800 series.
Going from a single 18" to two 12" subs I changed sub location to the outside of the main speakers and slightly forward of the mains baffle. While the Velodyne EQ plot looked like a smoother starting point I honestly can't speak to any sonic advantage. Looks good though.
Mapman, I've read the argument about mass of the cone many times and at first glance it seems to have some merit. The thing I don't understand is why the motor driving the cone is not considered in the argument. It seems logical to me that as long as the motor is scaled with the mass of the driver, then the "speed" of the driver whether it be a 1" tweeter or a 12" woofer should be the same.
Besides I doubt that many people could determine which cone has less mass by listening.
I can see that having less mass in a cone means that less energy is needed to move it, thus I guess that means the driver is more efficient.
Technically subwoofers don't need to be fast as the frequencies they do are relatively slow. As far as the mass argument, it's more the ability to stop than go. Rythmik uses a servo system that allows the driver to be a bit lighter but, usually, heavier means more extension and larger means more for less excursion, where too much leads to distortion.
A sealed sub will have a fraction the group delay of a ported or PR sub but sacrifice deep bass with an earlier, shallower rolloff. Not usually a big concern for music and subs 12" and over, considering room gain. For the HT bass fanatics, it's another story.
Have you considered an active crossover, one that has a high pass for the main speakers? Maybe something like a Paradigm X30, Reckhorn S-1 or miniDSP. Maybe even a Harrison labs FMOD inline passive. How about a DSPeaker Antimode?
The advantage of field coil or em type driver motors is these can be made more powerful than natural magnets and make for a faster drive when needed, almost always for large bass drivers.
An alternate approach are very light but rigid drivers like the paper drivers in triangle titus monitors, which are often praised for their "speed", but they are small and have limited extension. Scaling to larger drivers for more bass this way is a challenge.
Bob_reynolds wrote 'Can anyone explain what "fast" means? What does "slow" sound like?'
Well speed in the case of a sub-woofer is obviously not an apt description since they are concerned with frequencies that have no 'quickness' at all. In that case its the impression you get with a low distortion subwoffer that is not blurred by things like cabinet resonances and has other measures like servo feedback to ensure better tracking.
With regard to full range speakers its the ability to hear nuances you might not otherwise hear. In electrostatics for example due to the light diaphragm material they have it can accelerate and decelerate quickly. In my speakers, which are conventional, its due to them being lined with 1/4 inch copper that reduces resonances that mask detail. In horns its due to their acoustic impedance matching.
Basically is the impression you get of detail jumping out at you without blurring - you say its fast.
It is the shape of the in-room bass frequency response curve, rather than the "speed" of the woofer, that is primarily responsible for how "fast" the bass sounds.
Lumpy bass = "slow" bass, as over-emphasis somewhere in the bass region gives the subjective impression that we tend to describe as "slow" or "fat" or "boomy".
Smooth bass = "fast" bass, it's actually not any faster, but it sounds that way when the fundamentals and their overtones are in proper proportion.
Group delay is of far less subjective significance than we'd tend to think, because the ear's time-domain resolution is quite poor in the bass region. Controlled listening tests that used digital signal processing to isolate group delay from frequency response have shown that group delay on the order of what we'd get from a vented speaker system is barely audible on test tones and statistically inaudible on program material. The reason sealed subs generally sound faster is the shape of their frequency response curve (which is generally more room-gain-friendly), rather than their actual "speed".
Anyway, imo the key to smooth, and therefore "fast", in-room bass is how the subwoofer(s) and room interact. What the room does to the sub's output dominates. Yes we can hear the difference between one sub and another in a given room, but still the room's generally detrimental signature is imposed on whatever the sub is doing.
The solution I advocate is, multiple small subs distributed around the room. Each will inevitably have a different room-induced peak-and-dip pattern, and the sum of these multiple dissimilar peak-and-dip patterns is much smoother than any single sub's output would be. And to address the issue of room gain (more precisely boundary reinforcement) boosting the low end a bit, I prefer subs whose native frequency response starts out as approximately the inverse of typical room gain.
Let me go off on a psychoacoustic tangent here. The ear/brain system tends to average out peaks and dips that are fairly close together, but if they are too far apart, the ear/brain system can't average them and they stick out like sore thumbs (especially the peaks - dips are harder to hear). The room-induced peak-and-dip pattern of a typical home listening room with a single sub has the peaks and dips spread way too far apart for the ear/brain system to average them. But with a distributed multisub system, not only are the peak-to-dip ratios significantly reduced, but we also have more peaks and dips bunched up closer together, so that the ear/brain system's averaging-out characteristic can work to our advantage.
Imo this approach has advantages over a single equalized sub, in that the bass response is much more uniform throughout the room. And if you do want to equalize a multisub system, you get better results because you don't have as much response variation from one location to another.
For deepest-loudest-bang-for-buckest bass, go with a single mighty ubersub. For smoothest (and therefore subjectively fastest) bass, I think the acoustics and psychoacoustics both favor a good distributed multisub system.
dealer/manufacturer (yes, of multisub systems... grains of salt all around)
2 things come to mind. First the sub is not in phase with the mains. You don't want the sound from the sub either leading or lagging the mains. My Rel B3 has a phase switch of 0 or 180 degrees. I had to physically move the sub forward or back to get it to blend in properly. Second if using the high level input the stock Rel cable is as poor as you can get. On a whim I ordered a Nordost baseline cable made to Rel spec ($35 upcharge from Norsost) and the effect was very noticeable. I heard attack and decay that I didn't know was there. Also when I put in the Nordost cable I found the timimg/phasing still wasn't quite right. Once dialed in it is fantastic.
That being said I use the Rel to pick up where the mains drop off.My Dyn C1 speakers are rated to 45hz but I cross the sub over at 34hz and have the gain about 10 o'clock.
I have tested many many sub's in 15 years of time. In the past Rel was the most popular brand and most sold. These days they are not the best anymore. I Always owned very expensive Highend sets but without a subwoofer. Even sub's like the Rel Stadium and Stentor were too slow. The best and fastest sub's are Always sealed . And they have only one bass unit in front of the cabinet. In the past with Rel sub's you didn't go above 80 hz because they were too slow for this and they became very noisy. Avove 80 hz low freq. become touchable. With Audyssey Pro I use my Monitor Audio Platinum PLW-15 sub from 16 hz till 140 hz. This is possible because the response and control is superior to any Rel sub. Using it to 140 hz you get a new level in quality with a sub. Instruments and voices become more round, more natural sounding and they still have the same and small dimensions as in real. Rel sub's often make instruments and voives bigger than they should be. And I have the stealth integration I dreamed of for many years. Only in the last 5 years I found sub's fast enough for stereo use. I Always hated them for stereo use. Time has changed. Using Audyssey pro and using them till 140 hz sets everything to a new dimension!
Wenn it is slow it is not syngron with the music played by the speakers. And instruments and voives become bigger in proportion as they should be. Instruments and voices are very direct to point out in real. And very small in dimension. Timing is crusual in music. Most sub's on the market are too slow for stereo use.
Bol972s posts, although sincere, are basically bolcrap. Having heard live music doesn't make you an expert on recorded sound. I listen to, perform, and mix live sound (primarily acoustic instruments) professionally but my opinions have no "special" relevance because of that, and only a self important pretentious bonehead would claim that it does. Recorded sound is a completely different animal unless you set up your rig in Carnegie Hall and sit in the 9th row for all your active listening. Also, the amp signal arrives at a sub's voice coil the same exact time as a main speaker (unless your sub cable is 2 million miles long), speaker cone paper is extremely light and stiff, and the time it takes the paper to get moving compared to an aluminum, carbon, or plastic cone is irrelevant and audibly unnoticeable, regardless of the hype you may have been subjected to. Period. Room sound has BY FAR the largest influence on the blending of a sub, and differences in various subwoofer designs obviously do make them sound different, but the term "speed" as an overused catch-all phrase used primarily by people who are actually noticing other acoustic anamolies having little or nothing to do with cone material...or the time they spent listening to guitars in a room full of people.
No doubt the room acoustics is the biggest and often hardest factor to get a handle on in regards to bass and overall sound quality. Even more so in teh case of "full range" sound. Optimal placement of a sub or better yet multiple subs makes a big difference, as does how well the sub(s) are sonically integrated with the mains. "speed" or any sonic artifacts that might be attributed to that, even with most decent large subs or bass drivers, are a distant second and practically may not matter much at all if components are selected and set up well in any particular room to start with.
I have also the experience wenn we did a live recording it sounded a lot different later after we played the recording. But it is still not difficult to compare sub's in speed, syngron quality and if instrument keep the same proportion. 10 years ago we had to do it with our own hearing to get the best results with sub's. These days room acoustic systems make it more easy. Only cause of Audyssey Pro I get a stealth integration. Without it it would be another world.
Something that isn't obvious at first glance is that we literally cannot hear bass in our home listening rooms without hearing the room. The ear cannot detect the presence of bass energy without hearing at least one full cycle. And it cannot detect the pitch of a bass tone without hearing several cycles. Consider how long the wavelengths are in the bass region, and the size of our listening rooms, and you'll see that by the time you begin to hear a bass note, the room's signature is already all over it. So if high quality is the goal, we have to consider sub(s) + room = a system, because working on the sub(s) alone is ignoring the elephant in the room (which is the room itself).
A subwoofer may start out with a perfectly flat (and perfectly "fast") response, but by the time you hear it, the room has modified that flat response into a roller-coaster of major peaks and dips. Some subs will synergize better with a particular room acoustic situation than others, but no single sub can give you reasonably flat (+/- 3 dB) response anywhere in the room without equalization, and no equalized single sub can give you reasonably flat response across a broad listening area (because our room interaction peaks and dips change places as we move around the room, EQ that improves the response in one location is almost certainly making it worse somewhere else). So if you have a high quality speaker system, imo you're simply not going to be able to extend that quality down into the low bass region with a single sub, no matter how good it is. And having low bass that doesn't blend into the rest of the spectrum is often worse than having no low bass at all.
Nothing against bass traps, they can certainly help, but cannot correct the basic room acoustic situation of what the room is going to do to a single bass source. With multiple bass sources distributed around the room, they average out much smoother (and subjectively "faster") than any one alone. Intuition may tell you that the differing arrival times would cause smearing and blurring, but that intuition would be wrong, because the ear doesn't begin to have that kind of time-domain resolution at low frequencies. Remember our inability to even detect the presence of bass energy from less than one full cycle, and our need to hear multiple cycles to detect pitch? That's an indication of the ear's poor time-domain resolution at low frequencies.
I originally developed my multisub system (based on the ideas of Earl Geddes, which I'm using with his permission) to work well with planars. In the planar world, most who try a single sub go back to using no sub at all, because the discrepancy between what the sub is doing and what the panels are doing is just too great. On the other hand, most who try two subs end up keeping them, as they offer a worthwhile net improvement. Two subs are roughly twice as smooth in-room as one sub. Each time we double the number of subs, we essentially double the smoothness (or, halve the lumpiness), as long as our subs are spread around somewhat. This approach absolutely does not require special subs - you don't need to buy my system, you just need multiple decent subs. And they don't need to be large, high-output ubersubs because you're basically still getting ubersub air-moving capability by using multiple smaller subs.
Imo, ime, ymmv, etc.
Others might disagree but I find trying to integrate subs and maintain the Mid's of a 2 channel system is an impossible feat.I disagree. I have Wavetouch Audio Grand Teton with a pair of Velodyne SPL s2 - 10". I am very satisfied. Almost all conventional speakers don't have enough resolution and presence that all frequencies (hi, mid, low) are easily washed off with the powerful subs' physical acoustic energy (like a sonic bomb). The integration of speakers and subs is easy when speakers have the realistic presence and palpable acoustic focus.
I can't imagine a HT without subs. It will be boring! The couple of subs in hi-end 2 ch system add much excitement in music.
**Warning! Many sub-woofers in HT could hurt you and (especially) young family members' ears. I recommend bass shakers under your seats and sofa.
IMO, the sub is not slow. You are hearing and feeling the prolong vibration of the room and furniture cause by subs. That's what subs are supposed to do. Without it, the sub-woofer is no fun! The problem is your speakers which doesn't have enough resolving power.
The two primary researchers in the field of multiple subs are Todd Welti of Harmon International, and Earl Geddes of GedLee, LLC. Briefly, Welti investigated symmetrical configurations while Geddes advocates asymmetrical configurations.
Todd Welti on multiple subs, in layman's terms:
Earl Geddes on multiple subs (you may have to cut and paste this to a new browser window):
And a well-written blog article on the subject (author uses Geddes' approach):
In my experience with Lowthers, Voice of the Theaters, Klipchhorns, Acapellas, Avantgardes, and Beauhorns, no there are none fast enough.
The same is true at the other end. Only the Muratas super tweeters with nothing below 15k Hz works with horns or for that matter any speaker, and they aren't made any more.
Not sure how it works exactly but Rhythmik direct servo technology is a unique advertised feature that at a glance sounds like it should make some difference. Looks like a kind of negative feedback associated with the built in amp maybe? Not sure what makes theirs so special in that most power amps use negative feedback, but surely not all NF is created equal.