Subwoofer question

I read in an older thread in which someone was describing how a "swarm" sub system was being installed, that the individual subs were placed close to the wall and facing the wall. This last part triggered my question which is:

What is the rationale behind facing the subs toward the wall?

Many thanks, Fred








For the most part it is a practical consideration in that it looks better. Low bass is non-directional so there really isn't any great difference either way. 

Swarm is a low cost system and it is smaller than most DBA subs. The 20hz -3db is consistent. It's easy to place and it is very inexpensive compared to some DBAs.

DBA doesn't say 4 for the system. DBS says more is better and placement is dependent on mode/node. Huge rooms can have subs hanging on the walls, floor, stacked columns or built in. The number of cabinets is not the issue, the results of smooth, deep bass is.

Swarm and Debra are actually a brand more than a way of doing bass. DBA is a concept of implementation, not a Name Brand. I'm sure I'll be corrected if DBA means something else. :-)

Time to feed the chickens..

I've never seen or heard a swarm. 

I keep yapping about 'stereo pairs' of subs, front facing, no ports, locate adjacent to mains: giving/preserving bass directionality, by virtue of both the fundamentals and overtones of those fundamental notes.

It finally occurred to me: those that use SWARMS must be adding them to systems that already have bass directionality, they are adding more to a system that has more bass than most of us have. i.e. my woofers, 15", 37lb monster magnets, I could add more below what they do if I wanted, SWARM might be best.

Adding a SWARM to a system that does not have decent bass directionality is what does not make sense to me.

in the context of higher end Home Theater multi-channel systems, more that 2 subwoofers is common place. the reason is that more than 2 subwoofers, up to 4, will even out the bass nodes in your room. and each sub is more linear than a single sub. even with only a single low frequency channel. and with movie soundtracks having so much low frequency information it’s a natural fit for that application.

there is lots of information on ways to integrate multiple subwoofers into a system out there to find. the SWARM approach is a very good one.

i have three Funk Audio 18.0 subwoofers in my Home Theater room (on a single LFE channel) and it’s awesome. and i have only level matched them so far, no fine tuning.

forget about deep bass directionality; while it exists really it’s higher frequencies that are mostly giving you directional clues. your deep bass priority should be to even it out as best you can so doubling and such is not overwhelming the music. and 3 or 4 subwoofers around your room will help with that.

"What is the rationale behind facing the subs toward the wall?"

Boundary (driver-wall) reinforcement is increased, thus more bass.

I’ve been singing the praises of the Audio Kinesis Swarm/Debra distributed bass array systems ad nauseam ever since I began using one in my system about 3 yrs ago.
I had no idea that you’re so familiar with the virtues of the Swarm subwoofer system and that you’ve used it at some shows.


AudioKinesis The Swarm Passive Subwoofer System

Again Swarm is a name brand, Swarm, Debra are a type of sub that is small, NOT large and uses the boundaries of the room and facing the wall to increase and also standardize a drop and plop type of listening. It just works. -3db 20hz

DBA is a concept that also encompasses, the AutioKinesis swarm and James Romney’s Debra, Passive subs.

1. They are not powered, they are passive subs.
2. They are smaller cabinets and smaller drivers, and 1-1.5cf cabinets or less.
3. They use the boundaries to reinforce the sub signal.
4. 4 not 44 or 5 or any other number 4 FOUR.
5. DBA (which is an idea) can use 2 large or 15 small ones, they just can’t occupy the same space, they are distributed. LOL
6. Debra is James Romney’s concept bass speaker system. They are HIS speakers not any speakers to comprise HIS Debra, (4 low rider passive subs, cabling and 2 remote power amps. Usually Dayton 1000 watt A/B bass amps.)
James employees a simular but slightly different cabinet construction. YES it make a difference. Not just any old sub will work..

Words Count.. BTW after they Break-in (not burn in) they sound better. I’m a pretty serious bass head. I been looking real hard at 21" active drivers with 2 18" passive radiators in 20 cubic foot 2.25" thick 60" tall cabinets. I made 2 of those columns.

I bet 2 will work just fine in a 800sf shop. It’s DBA, not anything else.

I make a personal product called SAT and Harp. Stack and Test SAT. Harp is an inline speaker cable quick change concept. You can add or subtract up to 20 different alloys to the cable construct quickly, series, parallel or both, Harp!

Someone else might call it jambalaya with red beans and rice. That’s not what it is..
Harp, SAT..

RELs Bass Arrays
OHMs Bass Arrays..

All different names, all DBA


I keep yapping about ’stereo pairs’ of subs, front facing, no ports, locate adjacent to mains: giving/preserving bass directionality, by virtue of both the fundamentals and overtones of those fundamental notes.

Some of the best statement systems have front facing subs or woofer towers for the exact reason you mention (it works better). I will never sell my Infinity RS1B woofer towers...unless maybe for a set of Genesis woofer towers.

@russ69: As a fellow owner (former in my case) of the RS-1b loudspeaker, let me recommend you try to hear one the Rythmik servo-feedback subs, which replaced the 1b woofer towers in my system.

Statement systems have great big front facing subs because they are statement systems. Music systems not trying to make a statement put the subs asymmetrically different distances from corners because they are more about the sound than the statement.

I would say it is like race cars have wings so guys put wings on their Camry because: race car. Except wings on race cars actually work. Stacks of front facing subs are there because they look good. Audiophile expect it. And it is way easier to give audiophiles what they expect than educate on what actually works.

Case in point, 20 years after DBA and still hardly anyone gets it.

+1 bdp24. Same here I used Infinity servos for a long time. Rythmik is on top of the servo game. There is a little bit of a supply issue as of late but, well worth the wait or step up or down in your plate amp choice.. The best I've ever found. NO they don't work with other subs at all, defeats the whole purpose of using servos. One or the other not both. It's like using a fixed port with a passive radiator one or the other. Conventional subs with correction or not, just a different animal, Swarm, DBA I don't care it's different than a GR or Rythmik servo system.

You can DBA GRs no problem, they been doing that for 6 year at least. Doubles, Triples or Quad towers. Milti-placement to smooth the bass. Pretty amazing actually. Not cheap and it does take a little work just to get to primer.. Well worth it for the best of the best.

No I don't sell or make money from their stuff.. Sure like it though..:-)

Right @oldhvymec, Danny Richie of GR Research always uses four subs, both at hi-fi shows and in the system at his place. A pair of ob's somewhere in the front of the room, and a pair of sealed subs (the F12G) in the back. His room was voted Best-Bass-At-The-Show at numerous RMAF's.