Subwoofer thoughts from a newbie...

I have been noticing from people I know that use a subwoofer that a subwoofer seems to get used in the wrong way(or different way). It seems to me that a subwoofer should be used to capture the frequencies that the satelites or mains don't get. That is the way my subwoofer is set up, but it seems people use subwoofers to punch up frequencies handled by the mains and in incense, the subwoofer are duplicating frequencies. Am I using my sub wrong?

Also, I have placed my subwoofer right in the middle of my mains, against the back wall, and that goes against what I hear about placing it in the corner. The two mains are focused to such a degree that it sounds like everything is coming from the center subwoofer and then out of nowhere something kicks in from the far left or far right, especially with classical music. I may be doing it wrong, but it works ok on my so-so system.

I sometimes turn off the subwoofer and honestly, most of the music that I listen to doesn't need a subwoofer. What the subwoofer does for me is add dynamics here and there throughout the music I listen to when the sub is on. I listen to some rock and when it thunders, the sub kicks on. That sort of thing.

What about others?
Right or wrong is up to the listener, but it seems my philosophy agrees with yours. When I was younger and into car stereos my approach was much like you friends'.

Since becoming bewitched by the audiophile bug, the way I listen and what I like have changed quite a bit. Just like you there are times I turn my sub off and just enjoy the flow of music from my monitors. And when using the sub I try to have it's presence known only when the music calls for it.

Since becoming a fan of acoustic instrumentals and female vocalists, my boom boom music days are a thing of the past. When it comes to movies, well that's another story.

It's true that putting the sub in a corner will help it load up, but that often has the effect of creating spikes at certain frequencies which can result in an overly boomy sound. My room prevents me from doing that so for a few years I had my sub set up like yours in between my mains. Now I have it off to the right side wall half way between the listening position and the mains.

Manufacturers like Revel which advocate their subs being placed in the corner have equalizers built into their crossover/amps that are used to tune and tone down the frequency humps that can occur when a sub is placed there.

All in all how you set it up and what kind of bass reproduction you prefer is a matter of personal preference.
Don't worry, you're right! Most sub crossovers are set too high and overlap with the mains, which is annoying to say the least.

Also, placement is quite variable. Corner placement reinforces the output the most, but also generates the most uneven standing-wave response. Best placement is highly room-dependent, so what works well in one room may be terrible in the next.
I have some "Ok" mains, B&W DM602, that I am hoping to upgrade to Vandersteen 2Ce later on this year. The DM602 are great for Mid and Hi, but they don't do much at the low end; hence, the subwoofer. However, the Vandersteen can go below what my B&W will do. I may just end up without a subwoofer after I get the Vandys.

I have learned some thing along the way about subwoofers. Tell me if I am right or wrong. A "musical" subwoofer will make a very low bass note sound like a bass note while a non-musical subwoofer may make a very low bass note sound like a bass drum, i.e., much more percussive and with a loss of the bass instrument tonality. Am I anywhere close?
Oh you've got the bug all right. 602's just okay and want Vandersteens. You ought to list the rest of you're equipment and room specs for the knowledge folks around here to suggest what upgrade path to take.
This is definitely a personal thing. It's, again, very room dependant. I have mine placed in between my monitors, and I believe, from what I have read, you usually cannot go wrong with this placement. Then again, I'm a two channel guy. HT, probably another story.
Matchstikman, if you're referring to cheaper subs having "one note" bass, then you're on the right track. Subs like the RELs are known for their natural, musical tone while having the ability through much trial and error of integrating seemlessly with your mains.
IMO, there are not that many good subwoofers out there for music. Some people think getting the biggest driver you can will give you better sound. FALSE! Also, a good sub will have an advanced crossover network to blend in with your mains. For music, if you want bass guitar to sound like a bass guitar, bass drum sound like a bass drum, with the correct amount of decay time, and one that is fast to keep up with your mains, audition subs with a 10" driver or less (or multiple drivers), and with a good crossover. The best subwoofer I have found for music applications was the REL. Fast, the crossover network is very sophisticated (and easy to setup), and using small drivers are able to go as low as 8 or 10hz. As always, you need to audition equipment in your home to make sure it works for you!
Speaking of 10" woofers, I have the Sunfire Architectural Sub. Fast, tight and blends beautifully with my M20s. I crossed over at 45Hz and let my M20s run full range. It's a match that works great. You don't hear people talk much about this sub. It's one of Sunfire's best kept secrets. It's designed for 2 channel. Front firing, small, very powerful,and musical. Check it out. YOu may be pleasantly surprised. I liked it much better than the Rel and Velodyne. And while the Revel sub was better, not enough to justify the price. Well, I take that back. If I had the $ i would have gone that way.