subwoofer for Quad 988 electrostatics

I am the owner of the Quad 988's along with Thor TPA 60
watt monblocks with a Thor Preamp. The rest consists of a
Cary CD Player and a VPI turntable. I have previously started a thread with regard to the best speaker around $15,000 per pair. It was suggested that I consider a subwoofer instead. Well, after careful reading it was suggested that I try the Audio Physic Minos subwoofer, which
in Issue 137/138 was reviewed very favorably in the Absolute
Sound. In fact, Paul Seydor owns the 988 and said the sub
blended seamlessly. The other choices are: 1. Vandersteen
2. Definitive Technology Reference Cube, 3. Martin Logan Descent 4. Alon Thunderbolts I am looking for a front firing subwoofer like the Minos as a downfiring sub will
really vibrate my tile floors. Has any fellow audiophiles heard the Minos, or heard it with the Quads?, or has anybody heard the Quad 988's with any sub that blends well
witht he 988's. Thank you in advance for any light that you can shed on the above.
The Quad 988 has adaquate bass if the right amp is used with them. I am not familiar with the amps you have. So, I can't comment if it is right for the 988. Adding a subwoofer to the 988 is like mixing a bottle of fine wine with a bottle of coke, just because you think the wine doesn't taste sweet. The quad speaker is one of the very best speaker ever made. They are full of details and information and have very adequate natural and accurate bass, provided you have the right amplifier for them. When I said the bass is natural and accurate because there is no box to create the kind of bass you think that is "there". I go to live classical concert all the time. What I hear in a well performed piece of music is not "extended in both ends" like so many of us look for in music playback. I didn't hear any over emphasis of bass and treble. When the brass or violins played, I don't hear any ear-piercing highs or when the 10 double bass come in, I don't hear the any earth moving low-end extension. What I hear is music in unison and in harmony. The quad speakers are one of the most natural and real music reproduction speakers ever made. So many of us audiophiles nowadays chase after something that we think is real music, but instead we are really hearing something that is very un-natural and fake. So, don't ruin the very fine bottle of wine you have. I hope I didn't sound like I am preaching. Hope this helps a little.
I couldn't agree more with Blptwp. And I love his fine wine and coke analogy. It's spot on. Like the Quads (I have both 989's and Crosby 63's), his post has "perfect pitch".
(disclaimer: I sell Quad equipment).

I have had good luck integrating both the Rel Storm and the Audio Physic Luna. The Luna does have one little problem in that it's crossover is at 32hz and 46hz. In my large (15x28 with vaults) room, I find that 36hz is ideal.

I probably listen to the 988's with and without a subwoofer an even amount. The sub is nice for far field listening because it gives truly deep bass and gives a weightier soundstage. Without the sub, the Quads have a more 'pure' sound due to their crossoverless single driver design. In a smaller room the 988's do give stronger bass. You can improve their bass by putting a diffusor panel (or thin bookcase with staggered books) behind them rather than pure dampening (or reflective surface). A diffusor is preferred because the Quad is designed to use both the forward firing wave, and the reflected backward firing wave.

It is true that putting a big amplifier on the Quads does improve the bass considerably. The bass you get has that fine detail, ultra speedy and 'cut of the same cloth' quality. I find that I most prefer a large tube amp (225w+) with them. This greatly improves the attack and 'shape' of bass notes.
As the person responsible for putting the subwoofer idea into your head (I think it was my post, anyway) I'll chip in on the first two responses to this thread.

I think you have to find a quad dealer who also sells a quality subwoofer (add REL to the list ... yes they fire down, but they will work for purposes of finding out whether you like the subwoofer concept). Ask for a demo of the 988s with a sub and see if you like it.

The reason that I think you need to take time to do a demo, is that many audiophiles don't like subwoofers, and will advise you that they are a bad idea. I have found that those that don't like them hold this view for one of two reasons:
1) Deep bass is just not important to them.
2) They have have never heard a correctly setup subwoofer.

I would hazard a guess that the two above posters fall into category 1). However their tastes might be different from yours.

Personally deep bass is important to me because music is just not enjoyable without it. Minimonitors sound lifeless to me, and without the depth and scale I couldn't care less about imaging and transparency. If you don't have a smile on your face and tapping feet what's the point ?

My main speakers, Spica angelus, though much cheaper, and I would expect inferior, to the quads have been compared to quad electrostatics in that they excel (within their price bracket) in the same areas as the quads. Midrange, imaging, and microdynamics are excellent. However until I added the sub I just didn't enjoy listening to them because without the deep bass there was no scale to the music, no rhythm, no pulse.

Last weekend a friend visited and listened to my system. He fell into category 2) above. He said he had never heard a subwoofer system that sounded truly integrated and would therefore never buy a subwoofer, instead opting for large, bass-producing main speakers. After listening to my system he completely changed his mind about subwoofers. He commented that the sub made the spicas come alive, without detracting from them in any way. He also commented that he could absolutely not tell that any of the sound was coming from the sub until I turned it off halfway through a track.

Anyway, the point of this rambling post is that you should go and listen to some 988s with a good subwoofer, from a dealer that believes in the subwoofer setup and see if it moves you. You'll know within the first 30 seconds of listening whether you're onto something, or whether you really need to change your main speakers.
The Definitive Supercube Reference Rocks! You need to audition the DT SC Reference. It will change your opinion of subwoofers. My SC Ref sounds effortless and musical; it extends the bass of any speaker. You can adjust the level ans xover to match your mains. It is the only subwoofer that really has the power to make you feel that you are there (at a concert).
Try Virtual Bass Technology. This sub is very fast and blends perfectly with my 989's. The soundstage went from big to huge and I enjoy music that I lost interest in before adding the VBT Magellan Vll sub.
Hello Kjl,

Most dipole owners at one time or another try adding a subwoofer to fill in the bottom octave, and most find the sub to be a mixed blessing.

The reason it's so difficult to blend a sub with a dipole is the discrepancy in the radiation characteristics and resonant properties. The dipole's figure-8 pattern puts 5 dB less reverberant energy into the room's bass resonant modes than does the omnidirectional pattern of a monopole sub, so the notes decay more quickly with less muddiness and overhang. That being said, the faster and less resonant the sub, the better the blend (if you have to use a monopole sub).

I used to have Quad 63's and confronted the subwoofer integration issue; I ended up with a pair of Gradient SW-63's (dipole subs that the Quads sat on top of). The blend was very good, though still didn't really do the bottom octave.

I know a Quad 63 owner who's using the woofer sections of a pair of InnerSound Eros speakers as his subs. The transmission-line loaded Eros woofer is free from the resonant colorations that arise with sealed or vented subs, and stick out like a sore thumb in contrast with the ultra low coloration of the Quads.

I sell a dedicated transmission line sub, the Buggtussel Tegmentum, that will do what the Eros woofer sections do but go a lot deeper. The Tegmentum has an extremely flexible crossover (flexible slopes, two-band parametric EQ) that is quite helpful in getting a good blend with a dipole speaker. I would suggest running the Quads full range and just using the sub to fill in the bottom.

Eventually I replaced my Quad 63/Gradient system with a pair of Sound Labs, and haven't even thought about needing a sub since then. But that would be back to the fifteen grand (retail) price range, which I take it you've ruled out.

Gradient has threatened to sell the dipole woofer section of their Revolution speakers as a separate subwoofer, and if so that would be the ideal sub for Quads, Maggies, and such. I have a call in to the importer now to see if the Gradient dipole sub is a reality yet; if so I may be able to offer you an in-home audition.

Best of luck in your quest for that elusive bottom octave,

Okay, to follow up on the Gradient dipole subwoofer I alluded to above...

A pair of dipole woofer modules plus the active crossover made specifically to work with the Quad 63/988 would retail for about six grand (roughly half for the crossover and half for the woofers - additional pairs of woofer modules available for ballpark three grand). I could of course do better than full retail, but it would still be a very expensive subwoofer system.

Just for the record, the most natural-sounding bass I have heard at a CES was at CES 2001 where they had an active Revolution system set up with three woofer modules per side, so I have no reservations about the naturalness of the Gradient subwoofers (they were way ahead of the older SW63's I used to own). I was amazed that this little system (roughly ten or twelve grand retail at the time) sounded more natural on full orchestral music - at least in the bottom octaves - than did any of the big $40,000 - $120,000 speaker systems in their much larger rooms.