Subwoofer for classical music listener


This is my second post on the subject of subwoofers.
My first post wasn't specific enough.
I listen to classical music 90% of the time.
Are there any classical music listeners out there who have subwoofers?
if there are, could you let me know what you have?
i don't imagine I would need quite as powerful or expensive a sub as those who mainly listen to other types of music, but I may be wrong.

rvpiano
sealed subs, sealed mains. With variable crossover slopes on the subwoofer being available to you.

It's how one gets to the best level of integration, in general terms.

The issue with classical is that if you don't carefully adjust the crossover slope and crossover frequency, the entire midbass and bass --will be mud.

the same is true with 'regular' music like pop and rock, but tends to be less noticeable to most, due to the distinct instruments with their intended frequency ranges. like bass and drums.

the complexity of the bass ranges in classical, across many instruments, en masse, will cause inconsistencies to be, to the aware ear, generally more detectable. Depends on the listener.

the sub can be ported, but it can be considered (behaviorally) a sealed box at the crossover frequencies (in general terms) and thus it best crosses over to a sealed speaker. That is, if one wants the best in bass clarity.
The Gallo TR1 or TR3 is perfect for Classical , fast, clean and very good tone .
Works in any room and any system . And they are cylinders which look nicer than a box .
Don’t believe the old BS you can put them just anywhere.
They work best dead center between speakers with front of cylinder 1/8 "
in front of face of main speakers .
Rest, do what teo says . In my room crossing over at 80Hz is best for my
Totems, Rega’s Omega’s, Gallo’s and Meadowlarks .
 My listening is 70% classical, 20% jazz and 10% Celtic and other folk
music .
What are your main speakers? What is your budget? How big is your listening room? What electronics are you using? It would be helpful with some of that information!
Hi RvPiano,

I think you have the right approach, in that money and size won’t solve your issues as much as careful integration will.

First, what are your current main speakers, and what are your room acoustics like?


Best,

E
My floorstanders are competent for general listening of all genres of music, classical included without a sub.

Once hearing "Tocatta and Fugue in D minor" and the 2nd movement of Ludwig V's 9th with a sub, no turning back.

Dual Rel B3's(way outdated) deliver the goods. The new models
can be found used/demo for decent prices here on Agon.

The others-JL,SVS,Rythmic all good. Just do the homework with research.

Thanks for the responses.
I have a 25'x23' foot room, a much modified vintage system with great impact  which, to me, is perfectly balanced for classical except for ultra low bass (e.g. organ).
 System:
Modified Dalquist DQ 20 speakers, modified Nuforce amps, modified vintage CJ preamp, Theta DAC, Oppo BluRay player used as transport, Rega RP3 turntable, Grado Sonata cartridge.
I would like to spend around $1000, more or less (preferably less.)

A pair of Vandersteen 2wq's would be my recommendation, though a pair of 2w's would probably be as good.
B

Gallo TR3 is 799$ new, used ones don’t show up on here(a good thing). One sub is all that’s needed to play the odd organ piece and relieve mains from
burdens below say 80Hz which brings more clarity which is always needed .
I’ve heard Vandy subs but IMO Gallo beats them.
If your Oppo is less than a 105 a Cambridge CXC transport(449$) might do more for system than sub .
Might do more if it is a 105 .

Some say two subs evens out bass in room. I've found one is enough IF you get the placement right .
Post removed 
The B&W DB1 is a really great sub..... dual 12" drivers, easy to integrate and built like a rock.  Good aesthetics too.  They have an updated version coming out this summer with several changes to the amps and driver material, but also giving the user ability to adjust the parameters via an ios app.  I listen to all types of music, including lots of classical skewed heavily towards piano, and I get the most enjoyment from my sub specifically on classical.  I'm sure there are many other good choices in subs but I can't imagine one meaningfully better than the DB1. 
Does anyone have an opinion of the REL S/2 sub?
"Does anyone have an opinion of the REL S/2 sub?"

rvpiano- My experience with REL  is the with the B series. One of the last series "made in GreatBritain"

Having heard a number of systems with the S series, I can say they sound great.

A better value may be the Rhythmic or SVS made in USA. I would check those websites for closeouts/demo.

This might be a good buy if your willing to take some risk.

https://www.audiogon.com/listings/subwoofers-rel-acoustics-b1-brittania-12-powered-subwoofer-in-cher...

A "REAL" Brit made REL. The current stuff is equally way nice if not better(wireless capability) This  B1 will either be trouble free for at least a few more years or it could fail without warning? 

The "budget" 8" REL's are always listed here and the other sites for good deals.
You may want to check those out. A pair possibly could be had for the cost of a single 12". IMO, it would sound possibly better than a single 12"




All subs are not created equal, and there is no "silver bullet" magic solution., especially with tubes in the chain. 

Similarly, room characteristics and placement are contributing factors.

The following article has been posted before and is rehashed again below - one of the better reads in the subwoofer selection process  .... one of the best articles I've seen discussing this....

August 3, 2008

http://ultrafi.com/why-everybody-needs- ... subwoofer/

"…And Why a Really Good Subwoofer is so Hard to Find

Audiophiles and music lovers are missing out on one of the most dramatic improvements they can make to their audio system: Powered Subwoofers.

Most audiophiles won’t even use the word “subwoofer” in public, let alone plug one in to their precious systems. There is a kind of snobbery that exists in the world of high-end audio aimed primarily at receivers, car audio, home theater and especially subwoofers. As a matter of fact, subwoofers are responsible for many people disliking both car audio and home theater, since it is the subwoofer in both of those situations that tends to call attention to the system and cause many of the problems.

The truth of the matter is that subwoofers have fully earned their bad reputation. They usually suck. Most of them sound boomy, muddy and out of control with an obnoxious bass overhang that lingers so long as to blur most of the musical information up until the next bass note is struck.

We have all had our fair share of bad subwoofer experiences, whether it’s from a nearby car thumping so loud that it appears to be bouncing up off the road, or a home theater with such overblown bass that it causes you to feel nauseous half-way through the movie. You would think that high-end audio manufacturers would be above all of that, but you would be wrong. In many cases, their subwoofers are almost as bad as the mass-market models because they too, are trying to capitalize on the home theater trend that is sweeping the land.

You see, it’s very difficult and expensive to build a good subwoofer. One reason is that a sub has to move a tremendous amount of air, which places big demands on the driver (or drivers). Moving lots of air requires a lot of power and that means an amp with a huge power supply, which can cost huge money.

Finally, in trying to move all of this air, the driver (or drivers) which operate in an enclosure, create tremendous pressure inside of the box itself. The cabinet walls must be able to handle this pressure without flexing or resonating. Building such a box involves heavy damping and bracing which gets very expensive. When you consider these requirements, you quickly realize that it is virtually impossible to build a really good subwoofer (I mean good enough for a high-end music system) for under $1000. Yet most of the subwoofers out there sell for between $500 and $900. Manufacturers do this because their marketing research has shown them that that is what people want to spend on a sub, never mind the fact that what people want to spend and what it takes to get the job done right may be two different things. The result is that even most high-end manufacturers are putting out poorly constructed subwoofers that just don’t sound very good.

I don’t want to give you the impression that anyone who really wants to can build a good subwoofer so long as they are willing to throw enough money at the problem, because that really isn’t true either. There are some pretty expensive and well-constructed subwoofers out there that you would never want to plug into your music system because they would most certainly make the sound worse.

Why? Because of their crossovers.

A crossover is inserted into your signal path in order to remove the lowest frequencies (the deep bass) from your main speakers so that they no longer have to do all of the dirty work. The deep bass will instead be dealt with by the subwoofer.

The #1 benefit of adding a high quality subwoofer to your system is not how it further extends the bass response, but how it can dramatically improve the sound of your existing power amp and main speakers from the midrange on up. That, my friends, is by far the most compelling reason to add a sub to your high-end music system. Once your main speakers are freed from the burden of making deep bass, they will sound cleaner, faster and clearer, especially in the midrange and midbass.

They will also image way better because there will be far less air pressure and therefore resonance and vibration affecting their cabinet walls.

And since the power required to make the deep bass is provided by the subwoofer’s built-in amplifier, your main power amp will be free from that burden and begin to sound like a much more powerful amplifier.

The one big problem with all of this is that you need a crossover to roll off the deep bass in your system and achieve all of these benefits. And the crossover that comes with almost every subwoofer on the market will cause more damage to your signal than can be overcome by these benefits. That is the main reason that audiophiles refuse to consider adding subwoofers, even very expensive ones with well built cabinets.

Enter the Vandersteen 2Wq 300 watt powered subwoofer. This is the only subwoofer that is specifically designed to be inserted into the highest of high-end music systems without doing any harm to the precious signal.

So how does Vandersteen do it?

Simply. In fact his crossover scheme is so ingeniously simple that it’s a wonder nobody else thought of doing it the same way. I’ll spare you an in-depth description and just say that the only thing you end up inserting into your system is a couple of high quality capacitors. That’s it, nothing more!

No additional wires or gadgets enter your signal path. Hell, you don’t even have to disconnect the wire between your amp and speakers to add this subwoofer. The model 2Wq sub uses the same basic crossover scheme as the $15,000 flagship Model 5As. As a matter of fact, you can even run the specially designed Model 5A crossovers (M5-HP) with the 2Wq if you want the most transparent sound imaginable.

So what about the other reason to add a subwoofer to your system: for more powerful and extended bass? I don’t care how big your main speakers are, they’re no match for a good subwoofer in the bass.

A really good subwoofer can run rings around the best floorstanding speakers when it comes to bass extension, power and control because it is designed to be good at that and nothing but that, whereas main speakers have to be good at higher frequencies as well. Ideally, you want two subwoofers so that you have true stereo separation down deep into the bass. Stereo subs can also help to lessen room interaction problems by providing two discrete sources of bass information. Remember, if you can’t afford to buy two subwoofers at once, you can always add the second one later. Adding a pair of 300 watt powered subwoofers is exactly like adding a pair of 300 watt monoblock amplifiers to your system and upgrading to a pair of better main speakers at the same time. The beauty is that you don’t have to replace your main power amp or speakers to do it.

But there is a problem here as well.

Everything comes at a price, and the price you pay with most subwoofers is that when you add them and their built-in amplifiers to your system, they don’t tend to blend or integrate well with the sound of your power amp and speakers. This is especially true if you own a tube amp, because the character of your amp is nothing like the character of the big solid-state amp that is built into most subwoofers.

The result is that your system sounds split in half. You can hear where one part of the system leaves off (namely your amp and speakers) and where the other part takes over (the sub and its amp). This is a HUGE problem for audiophiles who aren’t willing to destroy their system’s coherence for additional power and bass extension.

Fortunately, Vandersteen has the perfect solution for this problem that is, again, so simple, I wonder why nobody else thought of it first. His solution is to build a very powerful 300 watt amplifier that strictly provides the huge current needed to drive the subwoofer. You can think of this amplifier as only half of an amplifier; or just the power portion of an amplifier. The release of this power is controlled by the signal that is provided by your power amp. Vandersteen’s amplifier needs a voltage to modulate its current output, and what better place to get that voltage than from your main power amp? This way, your power amplifier is directly responsible for the sonic character of the deep bass coming from the subwoofer because it provides the necessary voltage signal. This voltage signal contains the unique and characteristic sound of your main power amplifier and insures that that character is maintained in the sound of the subwoofer itself. The beauty of it is that your amplifier is only providing a voltage reference and no actual current, so it is not taxed with the burden of “driving” the subwoofer in any way. As a matter of fact, your amplifier doesn’t even know that the sub is connected to it. The 2Wq’s potential is almost unlimited given that it will ratchet up its performance as you improve your power amp. Remember that you always want your subwoofer to sound just like your power amp. No better, no worse. NO DIFFERENT!

After having spent time with the amazing Vandersteen Model 5A loudspeakers with their 400-watt powered, metal cone subwoofers, we were reminded of the sound we had with the awesome Audio Research Reference 600 mono power amps. With the Ref 600s there was a sense of effortlessness, openness and unrestricted dynamic freedom that we have only otherwise heard with live unamplified music.

Listening to those monstrously powerful amps made us realize that all other systems sound compressed by comparison. Only when we heard the new Vandersteen Model 5As with their hugely powerful built-in subwoofers, did we again have a strikingly similar sonic experience. The reason is that the Model 5As provide a total of 800 high-quality watts, to which you have to remember to add the power of the amp we were using, the ARC VT-100, at 200 watts.

This means we were listening to about 1000 total watts of amplifier power – not far from the 1200 total watts provided by the Ref 600s. With the Vandersteen subwoofer crossover and amplifier, you are able to get those hundreds of subwoofer watts to blend seamlessly and even take on the character of the ARC VT-100. It’s amazing! What’s even better is that the price of the system with the Model 5As and the VT-100 is under half the cost of the Ref 600s alone! Since this discovery, we have achieved the same kind of unbelievable dynamics and seamless blending with ProAc loudspeakers and twin Vandersteen 2Wq 300 watt powered subs.

So, if you want the sound of Ref 600s but cannot afford them, buy a pair of Model 5As or your favorite pair of ProAcs plus a couple of 2Wq subwoofers and mate them with a VT100 and you’ll get surprisingly close.

You can cut the cost even further by running a pair of Vandersteen 2Wq 300-watt subwoofers with your existing speakers.

Or mate a pair of 2Wqs with your favorite ProAc. In any case, it is the magic of SUBWOOFERS that allows this to happen.

It is for all of the above reasons that there is only one subwoofer in existence capable of integrating seamlessly into a high-end music system, allowing you to reap all of the benefits of having a subwoofer, with none of the drawbacks.

And the Vandersteen 2Wq is the one. And just in case you think I am a biased source, our correspondent Blaine Peck (who, for all you know is also a biased source) recently wrote the following, with no discussion between us about the topic prior to his sending us his comments.

Whether reproducing the plucked string of an acoustic bass or the sound of an analog synthesizer, the Vandersteen 2Wq subwoofer is a seamless extension of any system. Nothing else need be added! With its internal 300-watt power amplifier, it is the perfect compliment to any sound system. Designed to take on the characteristics of your main stereo amplifier, the amp in the 2Wq will not sound foreign in your system. Also, through an extension of the Vandersteen design philosophy, a unique gradually sloping crossover system is implemented so you simply do not know where your main speakers stop and the 2Wq begins.

Now that your main speaker/amplifier combination need not concern themselves with those power demanding low frequencies, they are freed up to work in a more comfortable range. Yes, now what is coming from your main speakers will sound better than ever.

The 2Wq is not just another subwoofer. It consists of three 8″ floor-facing drivers, each with a massive motor. So why not a more typical single 12″ or 15″ design? Well frankly, the mass of a larger driver will not allow it to respond as quickly as the Vandersteen 8″ drivers to today’s demanding recordings. The 2Wq’s 8″ drivers are designed to handle the content but be “fleet of foot” at the same time. Concerned about where to put them? You need not worry. With the control of both its respective level and the “q” (how loose or tight the low end is) you have the flexibility to place them in a location that fits your living environment and not sacrifice performance. The simple beauty of this product will soon become an addition to your room.

So whether on orchestral music, hard rock or something in between, the Vandersteen 2Wq will exceed your expectations...."
"The #1 benefit of adding a high quality subwoofer to your system is not how it further extends the bass response, but how it can dramatically improve the sound of your existing power amp and main speakers from the midrange on up."

Amen to the above! I for one always found subwoofers subtractive more than beneficial. Virtually ALL of the audiophile systems I’ve heard with subs had issues that were problematic to me if not necessarily the owner, too much boom, too overdone too much attention to the fact that a subwoofer was in use at all. The LAST good sub system I heard, many years ago was Vandersteen. I finally decided to try one with my monitor system about 2 years ago. 3 different folks recommended the Rel Strata III, no longer made but available used. A powered sealed box sub. This thing was a revelation. Most striking is the first paragraph of this post, the dramatic improvement in depth, clarity, effortlessness and soundstaging. Most recently I decided to purchase another which became available at a very good price to see the benefit over one. Interestingly enough when I purchased it, the settings were EXACTLY the same as I had on my first which was set-up using a spectrum analyzer. I had to move things around a bit to get things sounding ideal and without the benefit of the analyzer. The improvement over the 1st was almost as dramatic as going from none to one. smoother, greater ease, dynamics AND clarity. My wife came in the room to find out what was going on. One cavaet the system plays bigger and is much more dynamic so it is imperative to not overdo it as it can get loud without realizing so monitor those dbs!

Is a subwoofer good for classical, yes I’ll say, and rock and all music even music that wouldn’t seemingly benefit from a subwoofer, small scale. My system is truly fullrange while maintaining the benefits I love from my 2-way monitors, that wonderful coherence and natural tonality, the best of both worlds IMO.
Akg-ca.     Wow!  What  a comprehensive post!
Is there any reason not to go with the Vandersteen 2Wq!?
Anyone else have an opinion?


rvPiano,

Your room will have powerful room modes.

Get a subwoofer which has very good auto-EQ. The best right now is JL, IMHO for music, but they are also super pricey.

Also consider bass traps.

Best,


E
My mains have 18" woofers and I run two JL subs in my system. I love the sound and I don't think you can beet the JL Audio drivers. The trick is in the details. The Auto-EQ is nice and I use it for my analog source but on digital I tune the subs down.  Timing is the big issue with the quality of the sound and I believe that is why a lot of audiophiles poo poo subs. You simple have to have your mains and subs firing at the same time for your system to sound right. I use a processor for my bi-amped mains that has a timing function to achieve my desired result. 
you really shouldn't hear your sub-woofer... What you will hear however if done properly is a cleaning up of the mids/highs, and less boom from room resonance.   Classical music is the most difficult to bring into your home.  It requires the best components money can buy and even then misses the mark. 
"Classical music is the most difficult to bring into your home."

Of course it should be readily apparent to all that this is false because a Music Reproduction System has no way of knowing what style of music it is tasked with reproducing. Yes it is certainly true that some make this argument about so-called classical music because traditionally this style of music has been played with natural acoustic instruments but of course it is equally true that many types of music also rely on natural acoustic instruments including much of jazz and yes horror of horrors even rock often incorporates natural acoustic instruments. So-called classical music is not even the most demanding in dynamic range although it is among the more demanding types of music in that respect. What this claim regarding so-called classical music actually indicates is an elitist attitude about music and a supposition that there is something especially refined about so-called classical music which is an absurd claim on the face of it and indefensible using properly applies reason and logic because there is nothing about so-called classical music that is inherently different than any other kind of music even if it traditionally does rely more on natural acoustic instruments.
Post removed 
"So-called" classical music is not an elitist term.  Admittedly it is a vague genre. But it usually, but not always, indicates acoustic music. There is electronic (synthesizer) classical music and jazz-oriented classical music using electrified instruments.  The term is just descriptive to differentiate it from other forms (folk, ethnic, jazz, etc.).
As you say, it generally relies on natural acoustic instruments, but in a specific space (concert hall, auditorium, club, studio, etc). It is this variable of space that, I believe, makes it more difficult to reproduce on playback.  Spatial elements are more critical in acoustic music and therefore harder to reproduce.
" You , knowledge, wisdom, reason, manners and logic are mortal enemies "

You are obviously confused to believe that things like knowledge and wisdom are mortal enemies indeed a sound argument can be made that the absolute opposite in the case. However you obviously have some deep inner need to attack my commentary on this esteemed board and should you feel that my contributions here are not worthy of sharing space with someone as knowledgeable as you because they detract from your ability to share your wisdom I invite you to alert the moderators and seek to have me dismissed from this board. In the absence of action from them I will continue to speak the truth here especially when you assert such absurd notions such as your defense of so-called classical music as presenting some deep exceptional unusual challenge to your Music Reproduction System that is not the equal of any other kind of music which you apparently hold in some deep-seated hatred so that you can cultivate, display and promote your so-called superiority over others who you regard as ignorant. Have a nice day.
I don't think others are ignorant . I know you are .
So, rvpiano, are you going to get some Vandy 2wq's?
Yes!
Thanks to your recommendation and one other that was glowing, and a price I couldn't refuse, I bought a used one on Audiogon.
The only problem now is to find a crossover that matches the impedance of my amplifier.  I suppose I can use the sub just the way it is now without any damage.
I wrote to Vandersteen about obtaining one.

clearthink, sorry to say but you need to chill a bit. I don't think anyone here considers classical music - I assume western classical, something "elitist". This genre of music just by its nature, e.g., large number of instruments, drastic transients, generally large venues, etc., etc., is difficult to reproduce accurately at home. That's the bottom line. I have two "systems" that sound great playing almost everything pretty well but they suck with western orchestral classical music. Doesn't bother me much but I recognize its limitations. OP is asking a valid question and IS getting great input.

((Is there any reason not to go with the Vandersteen 2Wq!?
Anyone else have an opinion?))

 absolutely great choice!
 rvpiano start with using the supplied assessment box and read the well written manual.
 This will assure your investment is safe.
 The manual will explain how you experiment with the various settings that
 work with your amps specific input impedance.
 The most important thing to realize some amps like rotel and bryston
 you may need to go lower in the settings then usual to get the right amount of bass.
A pair of these will improve your in room bass response while also allowing your main amp to benefit from doing any heavy lifting.
 when its all set correctly leveled and spiked your whole system dramatically performs better and on a more engaging level.
 Let us know how your doing
     Enjoy
 Best JohnnyR
 Vandersteen dealer
There have been many advancements in subwoofer design, amplification, and control, since 2008. 

More helpful would be to describe the brands and models of your receiver, integrated amplifier, or preamplifier, your main speakers, and your listening rooms approximate size.

If you've been reading up you may have learned that two subs can provide a much better room interaction which may determine affect your budget.

The majority of powered subwoofer offer basic rear mounted controls for gain, crossover point, and fixed or variable phase adjustment which date back long before 2008.   

There is a brand that includes four small subs that's said to offer very good room interaction. A few models include a microphone to preform automatic room correction and some will also preform automatic and/or manual equalization and show the in room effects via a laptop or TV monitor. Others offer remote controls that allow you to adjust the subwoofer volume or select from preset or manually adjusted equalization presets for up to six different settings from your listening position.

In the past many music lovers didn't take to what the subwoofers with the basic controls added to their systems presentation. Many of those same people now employ subwoofers with room correction and/or equalization because they can hear how it can smooth out the response between the main speakers and its interaction with the room whether its rap or classical. Read on.

 

    



 


Audioconnection:   Thanks for your encouragement.
I've already looked at the manual online.  It mentions a  wx-2 variable crossover that's included with the sub.  The seller says he doesn't have that variable crossover.  He ordered a designated crossover which matches his amplifier.
It probably won't match mine which has an input impedance of 22K. I don't think he knows the impedance of his amp.

Just saw a Pre-owned VANDERSTEEN 2Wq subwoofer and crossover for sale in AZ

Just an FYI: (not my sale nor any association with seller or his unit) 

http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/details/649351979-vandersteen-2wq/

Quested Subwoofers, With the Quested Amplifier that has the Analog Control Domain to intergrate it with your speakers. Its used by many studio and i find it clean and fast.

It has a faster sound than my Seaton Subs. Its more aticulate sounding than the REL Subs.
No DSP are used on these subwoofers its purely Analog. So you don't get a bunch of articfical boosting to give you better specs.

No Boosting or EQ. Its clean and flat down to 15htz
Hi Dragon_vibe,

EQ / DSP in subwoofers is almost mandatory and has more to do with how difficult room integration is, than creating better specs.

I strongly encourage anyone considering a sub to get it with EQ/DSP. Right now the bet models I know of fare in JL audio subs, but they are super pricey, so I roll my own with Hsu and miniDSP.

Best,

E
rvpiano, I have a pair of wx-2's if you want to borrow them.
You can find out what settings you need before ordering the fixed units.
Bob
Oh yes, don't connect the sub without the crossover or you might do some damage. The Vandy sub is set to deal with the attenuated bass signal from the crossover. If you run it directly, it will be getting the full signal and amplifying it accordingly.
B
Gdnrbob:  Thank you so much for your post and your offer!
I only just emailed the question of whether I can run the signal without a crossover to Vandersteen. The 2Wq's are coming with crossovers of 200 k.
my amplifier's impedance is only 22k.
Can you email me your response to rvallis@optonline.net. so we can discuss this further.
Again, thank you so much for your kindness.
Another vote for the Vandersteen 2wq sub. I owned one for a couple of years, and bought another. The crossover setup makes this the most seamless sub system I have heard. I have used them with Quad ESL-63 and Snell Type A speakers. These subs are wonderful, and they are subtle. I listen to a good bit of classical, largely piano. Chopin, mostly. These subs do not draw attention to themselves but create the wonderful "feel" of the room acoustic ... that intangible (it's actually nearly tangible!) foundation.

One caveat, and I would love to be educated further on this by the Vandy dealer that posted... once I tried these subs with speakers that had sensitivity of about 91 dB and I could not dial the sub output high enough to keep up with the mains. Therefore, unless I am missing something these subs are the best you can find for mains that are 89dB  or lower sensitivity and completely unusable for 91db sensitivity and higher.

Regarding crossover, I bought the MH-5 outboard passive used in the Vandy 5a and they are transparent and amazing. I bought one used for $600 I think. So if you can find a 2wq used for $600 and an MH-5 for $500 you are close to budget.
actually maybe I bought two MH- crossovers for $600... sorry I can't remember!
Sorry if I am misunderstanding one of your posts, but if you are using the 2wq without a crossover in between the pre and power amp, it poses no danger to anything of course, but you are doubly reproducing a fairly wide range of frequencies from both the subs and the mains, because the subs have a reverse curve of the 1st order crossover that is anticipated to be used. This could mean way too much energy in the 50-100 hz range. But depending on your sub placement, I have no idea what reinforcements or nulls it could create, especially in conjunction with your room. To allow the bass to perform correctly and not have suckouts or boom that obscure the mids, make sure you get one of the Vandy crossovers.

Hopefully above wasn't from the Dept of Obvious...
After much difficulty I finally got to set up my used 2Wq sub only to find that the left channel doesn't work. I followed the directions in the manual exactly in setting up the wx-2 variable crossover, matching it to my amp. I checked all the connections several times for tightness and correctness.
 I even reversed the connectors to to the amp and the left channel still was out!
Both channels work fine without the wx-2 and sub attached.
Prior to getting the sub Richard Vandersteen himself wrote and warned me not to hook it up without the crossover as it would cause damage.  A very generous member of this forum lent me the wx-2 as it wasn't included by the seller.
After many hours of experimentation I still have gotten nowhere.
The seller says it worked fine for him with a fixed crossover.  He is sympathetic and is willing to give me a full refund.  I hate to return it because the one channel that works sounds great. I can only imagine how stereo would sound.
Does anyone have any ideas?

(((Sorry if I am misunderstanding one of your posts, but if you are using the 2wq without a crossover in between the pre and power amp, it poses no danger to anything of course,)))
Montaldo
I know you mean well but read the manual please
as you are very wrong here and giving bead advice.
You must always use either the assessment box or the proper high pass
 its that simple.

 rvpiano call me with a pen and pad at audio connection Verona NJ tomorrow and I will run you through proper set up.
 you most likely have the dip switches set incorrect.
 Best JohnnyR
Sorry if I misled ... I know you are supposed to use the crossover to get any kind of good results. But running the full range signal from the amp to the sub doesn't endanger the sub, does it? It just puts a bunch of higher frequency information to the sub, most of which rolls off.

I was absolutely not suggesting no crossover should be used ... I just saw a post that he might try it or was trying it. No danger, but probably bad sound, correct?

I just realized I am completely wrong. Apologies all. JohnnyR is right of course. No crossover sends far more bass information than the sub is supposed to see and the inverse curve in the sub would produce far too much low frequency info and damage the sub. My bad.

Brain freeze last night.
Stu
Rvpiano 6-1-2017
After much difficulty I finally got to set up my used 2Wq sub only to find that the left channel doesn’t work. I followed the directions in the manual exactly in setting up the wx-2 variable crossover, matching it to my amp. I checked all the connections several times for tightness and correctness.
I even reversed the connectors to to the amp and the left channel still was out!
You indicated earlier that you are using modified NuForce amplifiers. Like some other class D amps some or many of the NuForce models have their + and - output terminals offset from ground by 24 volts, or some other comparably high voltage. Depending on the internal grounding configuration and other characteristics of the design of the particular sub, connecting a powered sub to that kind of amplifier output can cause either improper operation, or no signal to be heard, or damage to the amp or the sub.

For example, from this manual for one of the NuForce amps:
WARNING: Do not connect NuForce speaker-level outputs to the line-level inputs of active devices such as active subwoofers or semi-active speakers with powered woofers. If you use semi-active speakers where the woofer is powered, or a subwoofer that accepts speaker-level signal from the NuForce, or sums the left and right input signals from the speaker outputs of two NuForce mono amplifiers, please consult NuForce or your dealer before proceeding....

Floating Speaker Output – The speaker output terminals are floating, with a 24VDC offset (DC across the speaker terminals is still 0V). Please consult NuForce Support (support@nuforce.com) if your setup requires any of the following configurations:

1. Multiple amplifiers to drive a single speaker driver (Never do this!).

2. Subwoofer that accepts and sums left and right input signals from two NuForce amplifiers’ speaker terminals.

3. Grounding other audio signal grounds to any of the speaker terminals on the NuForce amplifier.

4.Using two amplifiers to drive a bi-amp, series-crossover speaker (uncommon setup).
The fact that you "even reversed the connectors to the amp and the left channel still was out" would seem to confirm that the problem is related to the amp/sub/speaker interface, not to the crossover. But the fact that "both channels work fine without the wx-2 and sub attached" presumably means that the amp has not been damaged, at least not yet.

So depending on your specific NuForce model it might not be possible to use it with any powered sub that only provides speaker-level inputs.

Good luck. Regards,
-- Al


Al:   Thank you so much for your input.
Before I obtained the sub I spoke to the NuForce technician who modified the amps and told him I was adding a subwoofer.  He didn't raise any objections.
Hopefully he knew of the problem.  I'll call him today
I spoke to a Vandersteen dealer today who thinks the problem is a faulty wx-2 variable output box.  I'm going to try to get another box to see if that's the problem.
Al:  you are a lifesaver!!
i just spoke with the NuForce technician and he confirmed what you said.
I can't use the Vandersteen with my amps.
Thank the heavens I didn't blow the amps.  They seem to be working fine.
Again thanks a million!!!

Any 2wq owners out there who know of a flat or thin speaker wire I can use  instead of the original cable that came with the sub? I need to run it under a rug and need about 14 feet.
@4hannons ,
If you do run cable under a rug, route it such that it will not be trod upon. Walking on cable can wear down the insulation on the cable and give you other problems.
As far as a cable, I believe Almarg recommended this for me a while ago:
http://www.cs1.net/products/cable_solutions/O2X-Series_12awg_speaker_cables.htm#purchase
I use it for my 2w subs
Bob
Rvpiano, glad I was helpful.  Unfortunately I didn't read the thread in time to recommend against the purchase in the first place, given your mention of the NuForce amps.

4hannons and Bob (Gdnrbob), yes I had recommended that cable, while also pointing out that given the very high input impedance of the 2wq (described as being more than 100,000 ohms) it is overkill in terms of gauge.  Given the very high input impedance the thinness of the gauge that could be used would only be limited by the physical fragility of the wire and its connections.  "Speaker wire" in the traditional sense of a heavy gauge is not necessary from an electrical standpoint.

Regards,
-- Al
 
Thanks Bob, thanks Al, much appreciated. I see on ebay someone is selling some RadioShack 24 gauge zip cord, maybe I'll start with that.