I sold the first sub I ever owned, a Rel Strata III with the intent to upgrade, but now finding it difficult to decide what to buy. Given my system, GMA Europa Max speakers, and my orientation is for 2 channel audio, what should I buy? I am torn between the Rel Britannia B3 or the Martin Logan Depth. Are the Vandersteen 2wq subs as good as people say? Am I just being snobby towards them due to their inexpensive price?

I have a single Depth, and find it to be the best I've used
with my (electrostatic) CLSs, for the following reasons:

Incredibly fast transients, which you'd better have if using a sub with electrostatics (better than the Descent IMO)

Very tolerant of placement (probably due to the omnidirectional radiating pattern, but that's just a guess on my part.) Very hard to hear where they are (a good thing) so two are really not required, unless for HT effects I suppose.

Very easy to dial-in to your room and main speakers.

My experience with other makes: Velodyne (really suck!), Hsu (OK budget sub for HT), Kinergetics towers for the CLS (hated them, but they looked good!) Wilson Puppy 2s (incredible as subs, but required electonic crossover and another stereo amp -- too much stuff)

Have no listening knowledge of the Vandy or Rel, but am aware of their good reputations, so they'd be worth comparing. What attracted me to the Logans was the innovative solution to eliminating cabinet resonances, and the uniform radiating pattern. Also, FWIW, I've never heard a downfiring sub that I liked.
Dam Nsgarch, as much as I appreciate your post, it’s your dam fault I'm in this predicament!!! I was prepared to buy the Rel but read your post on the Martin Logan (nice system by the way) that made me think about the Depth. Given your experience and taste in gear, the ML seems like a good piece. It would be a little cheaper than the Rel, so that’s also a perk. ML’s website does a good job bragging on the Descent and describing the servo control system, which is not mentioned for the Depth. Is that poor marketing or not a feature on the Depth? Anyway, thanks again for the post, now go away;)
I own 2 vandy 2wq subs, and I,m very satisfaied with them, Their pro,s :
-Integrate really well with your mains , as long as your mains go down to 40 hz easily.
-They use unique Vandersteen passive x-over before the preamp which cuts at 80 hz -6db p/oct. which takes out stress y duties from both your amp and your mains.
-Fair price for what they do.
Minor weakneess:
-They don,t go as low 20-22 hz at the most , as opossed to the big and expensive Velodynes (DD&Hgs series).
I agree that the ML is as good as the reviews say and owners also. It is very fast and musical with great punch- very hard to pull off these at the same time though it does not dissapear like the other two. Rel is musical but not powerful sounding-perfect for many but it goes for depth and pitch over power. It is better for full range speakers. Vandersteens are also pitch perfect and tunefull- they dissapear the best of the three. But also are better with full range speakers just augmenting the lowest notes but not adding any dynamics to the system. All three are set up differently so that is a point to look into before you buy. Don't discount the vandi price- it's total quality and the one I would go with of the three.
Martin Logans,REL's, etc all do it for us music people because they take 12 to 18 inches of surface area and break it down to something that can be moved fast enough to pitch accurate for music.Didn't spend a whole lot of time with them but one large driver sub that did move quickly and delicately was the the Revels.Might be worth a listen.ML is great but pricey.As far as the Vadersteen 2WQ don't expect to exceed the performance of your Strata but if you are somebody who might give it a go (get a one with 30 day return) they are defintely and have ben for many years one of the best buys in Hifi.$1200 list and $800 used for a pitch accurate speaker tha everybody else would charge 1/3 more for could allow you to get a pair (and once you do you will forget that bass can't be localized under 150hrz and you'll never want a single bass unit again.)But with Vandersteen don't expect miracles.I am not sure exactly how it works but you don't use a line in with the 2WQ.You hook it up with your speaker wires at the amp taps.It's crosover is said to respond to the amps entire waveform.Of course it's going to respond primarily to low pass but this unique tech is one of the reasons it is said to be as musical as it it is.I sold Velodyne and agree theyare good for "Boom In Th Room" uynless you want to spenmd some bucks.The new DD series are supposed to be in terms of room crrection etc out of this world.You could get a HGS12-18 and I here that Velodyne will sell you the electronics that come with the $2500-$5000 and latter buy the electronics kit that does it's stuff (using TV to set up) so you could do the worth while Velodyne instages.Lastly in 5 to 10 years every amp will be a digital model and every hi-end pre willbe like the DEQX which not only takes "hump" out of room but do eveything else.I know somebody who sheelled out the 42600 and he went from $10 Infinity Preludes an swore he tweaked his 20 year old Dahlquists to sound almost as good.That bring to mind the Infinity it self which has the software if not to take care of room refelections etc at least takes care of the "hump" and it can sound terrific if it's something that bothers you but you don't know how to describe it.That along with Revel and stage by stage Velodynes are my help in further confuse the issue.But just to let you know I am myself am partial to multi drivers still at this point and because of finacial issues where cash is needed in so many other parts of my system taht's I'd go with one or make a deal with someboduy on two Vandersteens.
G'luck and put up a new post when you have solved all your problems.
I am very impressed with the Velodyne subs especially the DD-12. The room correction works very well and the sub is much better than my two Mirage 15" models. The room correction can be purchased as a stand-alone xover that will work with any sub and has the capability to control up to three at a time.
Thanks everyone for your posts. I bought a ML Depth today...won't be here til next week:( I chose this after reading all your helpful comments and was able to make some observations about my Rel and what I wanted out of my next sub that I was not able to do without your comments. The Rel did disappear very well and mated with my Europas...probably too well. One would hardly know the sub was on. Based on my experiences with speakers (limited by all means) I miss the 'slam' from full range speakers. Not boomy slam that one might get from other subs, but something with more feel than what the Rel gave. Nsgarch expressed it well in his review of the ML and I am hoping I find the same results.

Thanks again.
>Lastly in 5 to 10 years every amp will be a digital model and every hi-end pre willbe like the DEQX<

What a ridiculous statement that is.

And BTW, Chazzbo, is english a second language for you?

Mdomnick - I know you bought the ML Depth, and I hope you're happy with it of course. I didn't see this post until now, but still think I should relay my experience.

While I'm sure the ML subs are good subs, I spent some time auditioning them and found the lack of adjustments to be a deal-breaker to me. I spent plenty of time comparing the ML Dephth and Descent to the REL Strata. The ML subs only have 2 crossover points, something like 40hz and 70hz. So if one of these two crossover points isn't the perfect integration with your speakers, then you're pretty much out to lunch with one of these subs. I couldn't get either ML sub to integrate with my dynaudios nearly as well as the REL Strata, but I hope it works out for you.

I ended up purchasing a velodyne DD15. With its remote control, I can change it from being fast, accurate, and musical and integrated with my Dyns for classical, jazz, etc. Then I can hit a button to change the EQ curve a little bit to rock out with AC/DC. Then I can hit another button to crank it and make Jurassic park a blast. All of which will be using the built in EQ to fix major +/- 10db peaks and valleys that my room brings. I feel as though bass equilization is an ABSOLUTE necessity, unless you have measured your room to be flat.

That type of functionality is worth my money.
Goatwuss, the ML Depth has (the important low pass) x-over points at 30, 35, 45, 55, 65, and 80 Hz (a total of 6, not 2)

If you are concerned about using high pass filters (40 and 70 Hz for the Depth) I'm curious why that would be important to you. Most folks interested in good sonics use a separate set of interconnects for the sub and don't pass the main audio signal through it. Besides, why would you want to castrate the low end of the main speakers (especially Dynaudios!), since the purpose of a sub is to augment and extend the low end response of the main speakers, not to replace it.

The ML Depth also has a full complement of other adjustments necessary for good sub setup: 4 phase angles, level adjust, plus separate 25Hz level adjust (very useful) as well as separate LFE input for an HT processor which bypasses the subs own settings.

Providing additional functionality for creating sonic environments, adjusting equalization for problem sources, etc. should be done through the (HT) processor IMO, not the sub. Getting those functions by directly altering the sub's response means that the driver-enclosure design can never really be optimal across all functions.

I agree with you that adjusting for room response and finding proper placement is quite important, but if you can't achieve good results using the 25Hz level and phase angle adjustments on most subs, then you need to treat the room, which most people agree is primary source of bass response problems.
I used the Vandy subs in my system for a number of years and they were certainly excellent for augmenting the bass. The one problem I had with this sub was that it placed a crossover directly in the signal path. Even though I used Vandy's highest quality crossover (not the little black box that comes with the sub), I could always hear some upper midrange grunge when this crossover was placed in the system. It got to the point that, when I wanted to listen to music that did not contain deep bass, I would disconnect the sub. Of course, at the time I was using Quads as my main speakers and these are quite revealing of midrange anomolies.
I am now using a REL Strata III. It does not produce as much bass as the Vandy but it is close and it has the advantage of not introducing a crossover into the signal path. I suspect you already knew that this was a significant advantage of the REL design. All this to say, if you are using the sub in a music only system and if you are sensitive to anomolies introduced in the midrange, I would be careful with the Vandy sub system. After experiencing the REL, I could not live with the Vandy again. I cannot comment on any of the other subs mentioned.

Thanks for the comments, but I think Nsgarch has detailed the crossover in the Depth. As much as I can appreciate the tweaks one can apply with the Vel (and I really like the idea of a remote to help set up the sub since I currently live alone) I come from the camp of set it and forget it. I am not one who like to make tweaks based on what flavor music or movies...hence my move to a tube based, no 'frills' system. My pre doesn't even allow for bass/treble adjustments; this of course makes all the upstream gear and cables even more important. I found worring about "is this the best setting" to be distracting from just sitting back and enjoying the music. And of course I can tweak the bass in my pro as necessary for movies, but that is a distant second to 2-channel.

Thanks for the info on vandy...they truely do seem to be a good buy given their price. I very much liked my Rel, and hope I made the right decision...I was set on the B2, but got a little scared off due to the extra $$...I have a wedding to pay for in July. I admit not being well versed in subs as the Rel was my first, but as much as I liked it, I felt it was too subtle. I'm not looking for punch me in the gut bass, more pat me on the butt bass. We'll see in the ML delivers that. I can always return it if it doesn't.
One of the best ways (as described in some other threads) to set up a single sub (a bit harder to do with two subs) is to place the sub at your listening position and then walk around the room to find the spot(s) where the bass response is flattest. Then locate the sub at one of those places.

Could you elaborate on the term flat? Least boomy? I am expecting my sub on Thursday...I'll have details on my system and room by the weekend.

On another note I've always wondered how an independant sub interacts with phase coherent speakers. It seems logical that a sub would not adhere to the time aligned speaker, so how does one circumvent such an issue?
A Martin Logan subwoofer is not even in the same galaxy as a REL.