SWARM / Multi subwoofer questions

So this is for the peeps that know what "SWARM" means not just loud but Headroom, Sound stage, and for Music only. I have an all sealed system and getting excellent results with two Hsu ULS `15's on opposite sides of my room and my Dunlavys. I will be adding a 3rd for Fathers day to myself. So question is who makes a bass EQ to help make it as perfect as it can get? I bought a DSpeaker 8033 and a mini DSP with questionable results... Actually like it better running speaker level off my Pass Aleph. Possibly I just dont know what Im doing actually really good possibility. but I would love an outboard X Over that actually works for a swarm set up. I know JL Audio makes a CR1 but it gives me angst to spend 2-3K and Im sure there has to be some pro Equipment out there especially given that Im running my speakers Full range and dont need a high pass. Any advice is greatly appreciated! 


Here is a review of ULS 15's with specs supposed to be plus and minus 2 db from 20 to 100 hz. Speakers are Dunlavy SC 3's and annoying ruler flat to 50 or a lil deeper. Get the right gear and they are CLS, Avalon, Soundlab, Watt Puppy magic. least to me.  

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Showing 3 responses by millercarbon

The main idea behind the Swarm or distributed bass array is that while any one sub is going to produce lumpy modal bass response, a whole bunch of them in different locations will produce a whole bunch of lumpy modes that combined together result in smooth, deep, articulate bass.

It works. Tim and Duke and often times even me will go into all the many solid reasons why- the physics, scientific research, human hearing physiology, etc- which is certainly nice to know. But honestly, it works so well you will be 90% of the way there and pleased as punch even if all you do is plop em down wherever they go, twist a few levels by ear, and sit back and enjoy. Its that good. Because you have science on your side.

Briefly, its not that EQ won't help. A little EQ can always tweak things a little better. But the main reason people think they need EQ so much is because they are using just one or two subs and getting the awful response one or two subs always give. Soon as you go to four (or more!) a lot of that need goes away. What little you are left with can be easily handled with the level adjustments on each of your subs.

Again, yes you will be able to get it "more perfect". But the improvement from four subs vs three is so much that if it was me I would take whatever money I was thinking of spending on EQ and just buy another sub. Or two.

Another thing is, its really hard to ever have too much bass. Don't misunderstand me. Not saying you can't turn the bass up too high. You certainly can do that. What I mean is it is really hard to have too much low frequency headroom. Vast majority of the time, vast majority of recordings, there's hardly any really low bass. It is as if your awesome Swarm subs do not even exist. Every now and then though, you play the right thing loud enough, its freaking insane how much bass energy there can be! It was always there, you just never knew it, because even with one or two really good subs they just never got it to a level you could notice. Seriously. Get four. You will see.

So in other words if you can buy four awesome 15" subs then go for it. But just keep in mind, the improvement from four is so great you will probably be better off with four less awesome subs than two or even three really awesome subs. 

One real life example since this is a hard concept to grasp. There was a guy here with four ordinary two-way speakers. Not subs just ordinary 8" or maybe 10" two-way speakers. He asked what's a good way to hook em all up. I said two normal stereo, use the other two like subs, down on the floor facing the wall. He was blown away how much smoother, better and more articulate the bass got. So the Swarm concept is so powerful you don't hardly even need good, just more.
Right. Only its not exactly like you will feel its still needed. More like when you add it you will be surprised and wish you'd done it sooner.

Its hard to explain but I think it has to do with the way really low bass works. With moderately low bass, like 30-40 there are lots of times where its pretty easy to spot. You hear a bass line, get the feeling that as the notes go lower they should be all the same, but they're not. They trail off. So you know to do something about that.

Really low bass though is completely different. Its not even hardly heard at all. Its more a sensation. And its there in some surprising ways and sometimes where you would never expect it. A lot of the time its not even really part of the music. Its more a part of the room. In other words a big recording room or concert hall, it has a natural reverb to it that is very low depending on its size. You don't really hear this, but you do feel it. Sense it. This is what people mean when they say good bass opens up the sound stage. Its really opening up your room by making it feel not like the little room that it is but the big one the music was in. We're used to that from good imaging where the high frequencies seem to make the stage extend out beyond the walls. But with really low bass its not just in front on the stage. You are enveloped in it.

A quick search turned up 537 different subwoofers. And subwoofer development must really be going gangbusters because amazingly every single one of them is the best newest most powerful and greatest because of their cone, coil, port, lack of port, huge size, small size, voice coil, EQ, active, passive, amp, wired connections, wireless connections,
sorry, running out of room to even list all the reasons why each one is better than all the others.

Man I would hate to be the schmoe who messes up and buys one of those loser subs. Although I guess any time he wants to feel good about his mistake he can always parrot ad copy. Not that anyone would ever do that.