subwoofer comparision

I'm planning on buying a sub for HT but would like to get a would really like to get something positive out of it for music too. I guess what I'm trying to find is the best musical sub that will still do a great job in home theater.

I know all these subs are great, so I'd like to hear from people that have done head to head comparisions or have owned more than one of them. They will paired with Soliloquy 5.3 mains.

The players are:
Soliloquy S-10
Talon ROC
ACI Titan II
any SVS
any M&K
any REL
Paradigm servo-15

I believe the Soliloquy would be a good choice for music, but I'm afraid that would be a significant compromise for HT.
The REL Q series subs (Q100E, Q150E, Q201E, etc) are their HT entries and still close to being as musical as their ST series (Stratus, Storm, Stadium, etc) The Q100E is a former Stereophile Class B and I mean their audio ratings, not the new HT magazine. I have a Q sub in my HT system and a ST sub in a separate audio system. An ST sub will also do a great job with HT if you love real wood veneers.
I'm a big fan of REL also, and I think their subs work just fine for HT although my main interest is music. It depends on what you are looking for in a HT system. If your thing is getting walloped in the chest, then go for one of the big servo subs (Paradigm, Velodyne). But for mainly music and HT on the side, REL is the best.
Of course I would like to feel the bass while watching movies, but if I have to pick one or the other I'm leaning torwards music. I'm thinking of taking home the Soliloquy S-10 to see if it helps my 5.3s with music. If that one can't keep up with music to suit me, or doesn't improve the main's performance then I'll probably settle for cheaper HT only sub.

Although, I think I would have more trouble selling the Soliloquy sub than a REL or similar sub whenever I get the upgrade bug again.
AFAIK, REL subs are the only one's that let you use the low level and high level inputs at once. Meaning, when you're listening to two channel music you are using the speaker level hookups to get seamless integration and when you're watching a movie with a .1 channel you are still getting the seamless integration for extending your stereo speakers but when .1 data is available on the RCA/XLR input it is blended with the speaker level signal and everything is played through the REL at once.
I know the manual doesn't quite read that way (didn't for me anyway) but I called a tech at Sumiko, they explained what setting needed to be where, I tried it in all sorts of music / movies, and it works as described above.
AND, the RELs are musical and powerful.
I wouldn't think of using something else unless it did all of the above better.
i tried a rel stratus in a big room - one-note-thump. my brother-in-law tried it in a small room (he'd actually purchased it) w/a pair of proac response 1.5's. the soundstage collapsed, & the details were hidden. he sold it after a week after purchase...

for *real* bass that won't break the bank, get a vmps sub, w/outboard electronics - far better quality electronics for the money, than what's included in powered products. i like my marchand xm-9 x-over w/upgraded op amps, & my pair of vmps larger subs w/options. i have been able to successfully audition many different speakers in my rig w/the amazingly flexible, transparent marchand unit. amps? choose any decent used s/s amp. *real* bass, clean, undistorted, high spl's. check out vmps' & marchand's www's. oh yeah, if you only want *one* sub, the original & larger vmps models allow for use of a stereo amp, w/one channel driving each separate driver...

doug s., yust a satisfied customer...

ps - i don't *own* a ht set-up, btw - my system is audio-only...

I don't dispute your choice of VMPS subs and the Marchand or even doubt your experience with the REL. What I do find rather perplexing is that both of the anomalies you describe (one note thump and collapsed soundstage), are the hallmarks of what a REL does NOT do in my experience. I have tried a number of subs in my years in this hobby and, IMHO, the RELs' incredible flexibilty of inputs/coarse/fine adjustments, high/low settings etc. make them emminently adjustable to fit your needs.

How high did you (or your brother in law) have it crossed over? Placement is crucial too as is patience in adjusting the controls. I have a pair of Velodyne ULD 15 MK-IIs that I formerly had in an HT set-up (and then tried with a set of Silverline SR-15s for audio only) -- not horrible -- but nowhere NEAR as musical and seamlessly integrated as my REL Stentor III with my main system. I have it crossed over at 23 hz though. BUT if I cross it over at even 40hz, I start approaching the normal "one note thump" you get with some subs.

Again, I do not question your knowledge as much as I wonder if something wasn't either wrong with the sub (e.g., defective) or if the room set-up was not optimized.
Sedond, too bad neither of you had the patience to allow the REL to break in before you sold it. It is the last sub in the entire world that would ever be accused of "one-note thump" if broken in and set up properly (and both of these things generally take several months, if you want to reach the full potential of these subs). In fact, that is why all us happy REL owners got ours in the first place, because we like MUSIC and can't stand the thump-thump that just about everything else gives you. Find one that has been set up right and broken in, and then take a listen.
I own a REL strata and I'm very pleased with it. It is crossed at 30Hz with Spica Angelus in a 10x12 room. The soundstage has not collapsed and it is not a one-note thump. In fact it complements the spicas wonderfully. I only use it for 2ch music. I would not discount Doug's post, since REL didn't work for him, but I would balance it against the many happy REL customers.

I think a strata might not be powerful enough for HT, though, especially if you like to crack the plaster.

So RELs are very good and easy to resell (though somewhat overpriced in the US relative to the UK). The only other sub in the same price range which people seem to like is the ACI titan. You might want to home demo one of each, though personally I'd go for a used REL : it's a no risk policy. If you don't like it you sell it for the same as you paid yourself.
I'm not going to go to the seperate amp route. After further thought. I'm leaning torwads a audition with the Soliloquy S-10, ACI Titan II-LE and the REL Storm. The Sol and the Titan will be easy for me to audition, don't know about the REL though.

Another question, for music, would 2 lesser subs be better than 1 better sub? Maybe something like 2 ACI Titans vs 1 ACI Titan II-LE? Would these be easier to integrate than just one?
to some of the comments above - the strata my brother-in-law purchased was fully broken in, as he purchased it used. (definitely the way to go w/rels - he *was* able to resell it w/o taking a big loss.) i'm sure he tried it crossed over quite a bit higher than 23 hz, as he wanted to run his proacs thru the x-over. and, his room, while small, at ~14x16, is a bit larger than 10x12. i know i tried it at ~60hz, running my thiels thru the x-over, in my kitchen system...

i've had success using my marchand/vmps system as high as 100 hz (they're presently set at 60hz), and this allows the main speakers relief of the need to play that last octave or so, making them all the more transparent & detailed.

i'm sure that stentor is a lovely sub, but at $4k usa prices, it is just not competitive, imo. i know these are better deals in the uk. i am a notorious cheapskate, but when it came to subs, i bought brand-new: both vmps larger subs, *and* the marchand x-over. one adcom gfa555 was bought new years ago & pressed into service, the other i bought used to have a matched pair. the total expenditure, including both amps, was still <$2.4k... if you went w/the vmps original subs and a single stereo amp (all that's needed, really, except for *really* big rooms), you could bring it in for ~$1500. that's for *two* subs. you could even save more money, as both the vmps & the marchand are available as kits...

gunbunny, while powered subs may seem less complicated to set-up, in the long run, separate sub/amp/x-over ultimately gives you more flexibility, imo, but hey, it's your call! :>) as far as two vs one, i *strongly* encourage you to get two, especially since audio is a priority. better soundstaging, easier integration w/room *and* monitors, less thd at any given spl, w/two subs. as far as getting a pair of *lesser* subs, you may want to consider getting a better single sub now, and adding a second, as funds permit.

regards to all, doug s.

Sedond we all know how much you like your set up since you post in every Sub Woofer topic presented. If you do not like the REL line then this is fine but please do not hand us this garbage about the REL sound.

Gunbunny, make an effort to hear the REL Storm III. I own two of them, and it is one of the most astonishing equipment upgrades I have ever made sonically.

BTW, I am presently set up for LP's only.

When it comes to music you are always bettr off with one good sub rather than two average ones. I have to jump on the Rel bandwagon since I have a stadium II. I have tried numerous subs in my system some were good for movies but I always was unhappy with their musical performance. They would sound great on one song & stink on another. The Rel took some time to properly dial in but for music & movies I have never had another sub that was even close to it in performance. Larry W
thanks for the replys, I've got more time to decide than I had planned on since serious car problems came up yesterday... 7K miles after warranty!

Like I said earlier, I'd like to audition the ACI Titan II-LE too. I wonder if anyone carries REL near Austin, TX?
Sedond, it doesn't sound like you guys set it up correctly to me. I use a Strata III with Thiel 1.5s in a 15x17' room and I can make the drywall shake if I want to. I have it crossed at 37Hz for the speaker level input and 80Hz (preamp's only option) for the LFE. What Thiels do you have? How does removing 50Hz from their bandwidth help their transparency and detail? Jim Thiel is squirming in his seat right now. Also, aren't REL amps made by B&K? They're definitely high current like the Adcom. Sounds like quality to me.

While you are more than entitled to your opinion I would love to hear from another person with the same sysptoms as yours.

djohn, yes, i *do* post a lot about vmps in subwoofer topics, because it's a largely overlooked product that offers supreme performance, especially for the money. the specs are outstanding - only the most expensive rels come close - and the performance is there to back it up.

as far as "hand(ing) us this garbage about the REL sound", i am only handing you my honest experience, & that of someone whose rigs i am very familiar with. just because you may not like it, or it is different from *your* experience, doesn't mean it's garbage. in fact, it seems likely to me, from experience of others above, that my experience is *not* out of the ordinary, if the x-over point is much above, say, 30 hz. for me, this eliminates one of the benefits of using a sub: the ability to cross over your main speaker so it does not have to see that last octave or two...

and, fyi, i *don't* think vmps is the only game in town - if i had the bucks, i'd surely audition a pair of bagend d18e-i's, w/an elf-1 integrator. this system, retailing at ~$6200 (w/no amps), can be had for ~$4k from if i *had* to have an active sub, i'd audition the bagend infrasub18, retailing for $1500, available from for $1100...

regards, doug s.

I hate to appear ignorant on this but...
What is the difference between a sub for music and HT?

I realize that some of the so called subs for HT are not
really subs at all.

In my opinion, a good, properly set up subwoofer should be able to do both music and ht well. My ACI Titan II LE sure does and has all the required inputs and crossover options. Also a properly chosen Rel will serve about as well, but an equivalent Rel costs 2 - 3 times as much new in the U.S.A. as the Titan II LE. I have also been impressed by a friend's Vandersteen 2WQ for music, but placement is more critical than with a Titan II LE and the Rels that I've heard.
ctyler, for h-t, you can get away w/a sub that has a lot higher distortion levels, and one that may not go as low in frequency, but is boosted in level at, say, 50-100hz. these traits will not be conducive to the best performance in an audio system.

doug s.

just found out this weeekend that my dealer will let me have his maple finish Soliloquy S-10 demo for $800. That is very tempting. Any opinions on this?
These are really good subs for music and movies.