Thinking of adding a subwoofer for more bass.

I am running a cayin A50 amplifier with vandersteen 1 speakers and want more bass. I am wondering if a subwoofer will do it for me or is the problem that the signal from the amplifier not sending enough bass to the speakers? The vandersteen's have an 8" woofer.

Thanks for your help!
Just add the sub. It should do it for you. Don't know the Cayin.
I have the ta-30 (predecessor to the a50) and the bass information is definitely there. I dont know too much about the vandersteen 1's but try playing some bass test tones from around 40Hz on up and see what the response is in your room. My 6" driver monitors go down to about 45-50Hz without a sub so your vandersteens should go at least that low.

There will be many other factors at play such as your room size, listening position, speaker position, etc. Walk around your room to see if bass energy is higher at other points. If it is, your listening position is probably located in a null.

Short answer: since a subwoofer is a speaker for outputting bass, sure adding a sub will definitely give you more bass.
Hell yeah it'll make a difference if you hook up a sub. I have a Klipsch SW10 II that has a 100 watt amp in it. You can hook it up to satts. mains or use the rca jacks to your preamp so as not to use any power from your amp. It is 10 years old and has about 1hr playing time on it. No BS I just don't need that much bass. I you want the sub I may sell it. Even though it makes a big difference, you notice it more when you switch it off after listening to it for a while IMHO.
Have you tried moving the speakers closer to the front wall?
I have played with speaker placement, but still not satisified with the amount of base. Also, I changed out the speakers cables from the cheap clear stuff to the shielded and insulated cables and that did very little. Was thinking about changing out the tubes, but I know the sub-woofer will probably give me a better chance of getting what I want.

The reason why I asked the question is because I was worried that the output frequencey of the amplifier was the problem because the Vandersteens go down to about 37hz. After listened to your suggestions, I feel more confident the sub will do the job.

You may want to check out the Velodyne SMS-1 subwoofer controller - for use with any sub you choose. It allows room analysis below 200hz and Parametric EQ on 6 bands between 20hz and 120hz. I recently bought one for use with my Verity Parsifal Encores (and I also bought subs for use with other speakers that I rotate into my system).

This unit requires real effort - PEQ turns out to be more trial and error than I thought - but the results are really dramatic. The cost is app $600 ( plus whichever subs you choose.

Good Luck

Check out this thread: Add a subwoofer to Von Schweikert 4Srs?
I ended up adding a sub, an REL Storm III, and couldn't be happier.
Don't confuse more bass with lower bass frequency. A good Sub shouldn't ADD bass to the sound, only reproduces the lower frequencies your speakers can't handle (in your case anything below 37 Hz, which is not a lot and hardly audible. You feel it rather than hear it).
A lot of cd's these days just don't have a lot of bass in them and sound lean. That has nothing to do with your system and if you want more bass, than it will def. reduce the microdetail of your bass responce in case of a sub that's been adjusted to ADD bass. If you adjust the sub correctly it will not add, but just reproduce the frequencies below your speaker's bounderies. It could very well be the case that your speakers roll off at 40 or 50 Hz or something. Most speakers don't go nearly as low as told, in which case a good sub could be a solution.
But don't expect your lean cd's to sound full of bass all of a sudden. It won't happen.

Hope this helps.
To clarify my post: Hulskof's post is correct in theory, but not necessarily in practice. If your system is actually producing flat response to 37hz, you won't hear much difference with a sub. You will feel the extended bass, as he indicates.

In practice, you are almost certainly getting bumps and nulls in your bass below about 125hz - prior to adding the sub and eq, I was seeing "hills" of 11 to 12 db (reference to 80 db) and "valleys" up to 7 or 8 hz. A sub with equalization (like the Velodyne) can address this issue and you will most definitely hear a difference. I eventually acheived +/- 3.5db from 25hz to 200hz using the SMS-1, but it took a lot of time.

Note: The subs with auto EQ don't remotely acheive the same result as using the SMS analyzer to tweak and optimize response by hand. It's funny in that similar looking total deviation from flat response may sound quite different one graph to the next, but less total deviation (especially near the x-over point) definitely sounds much better (to me). In other words keep tweaking for flatter response and I'm confident you'll hear a difference.

Good Luck

The reason why I asked the question is because I was worried that the output frequencey of the amplifier was the problem because the Vandersteens go down to about 37hz.
Is this what you measured in YOUR room, or is this the spec that vandersteen publishes? If 37Hz is the response you get in your room, then I doubt adding a subwoofer will give you much other than bass bloat. What you are probably looking for in that case is bass slam/dynamics which is something else altogether.
Indeed. If bass slam and/or dynamics is what you're looking for, try different speakers and/or different (less compressed) music.
Martykl said, "In other words keep tweaking for flatter response and I'm confident you'll hear a difference."

Better advice has never been given.

Get a decent sub and see how you like it. It is definately worth testing. A good subs can be had for under $500 as well, such as ones from Hsu or SVS. Experimenting is a good thing.

Glad you approve of the advice, but it's usually an excersize in frustration! Utilizing PEQ below 200hz is the only effective method I've found to consistently and EFFECTIVELY "tweak away" the bass response issues that Marantz describes. There may be other approaches, but I couldn't find one for my room. Some folks get lucky with room/speaker mating but others (like me) are stuck with hostile environments.

In reply to your comments I am reading the 37 Hz right off the specifications. My main concern was that if the output of my system was not generating the low frequency the sub woofer would not make enough difference. I guess I will have to experiment. I have been looking at the HSU units, and they have gotten great reviews.

One other solution I have thought of is tube rolling. I have heard the Svetlana winged C's are really great tubes and they should be an improvement over the stock Cayins. FYI I play records and CDs. Hate compressed music. Most likely I am going to try the woofer first because I wasn't not too-impressed when I changed out my speaker cables.

Thanks for your help!
Marntz, the spec you are reading usually states the anechoic frequency
response. This is measured with no reflected energy - basically in a room
without walls. Most listening rooms, however, actually have walls and those
wall create reflections.

In my room, there is a large (+/- 15db peak) rise between 100hz and 130hz.
There are significant but narrow nulls at 80hz and 50hz and a broader null
below 35 hz. The net effect is that the published specs rarely correlate to
what I hear in the bass region. I've only had 2 speakers in this room that
provided decent response to 35ish hz - the Merlin VSM and the Ohm 100.
The Verity Parsifal Encore, which provided solid response to 32hz in my last
home, won't get below 38hz in this one. That is not a giant difference, but
coupled with other room related bass effects, the Verity sounds thicker and
slower with less real deep bass than it should.

IMHO, the greatest advantage of modern subs is that they allow you to
address these issues with room analysis and EQ. You can essentially
"fix" the room. Some people will reject the whole idea because
you are "creating" the sound rather than listening to sound which
the speaker manufacturer intended you to hear. However, if your room


PS I noted the exception to the best bass extention at 38hz in my earlier post
to this thread. The subs go flat to 25Hz.
Thanks for that last repsonse Marty, I think I am going to go with a 8" to 10" subwoofer and try it out. If it doesn't work I will just send it back. As far as the equilization is concerned, I am going to set it up to my listening preferences.

my objection to bass room eq is that once you eq out the 100-130hz rise and the nulls at 50 + 80, what do you have?
my guess would be that you end up with other problems or a fairly small sweet spot....the 2nd would work for an individual up to 4 person space, but for a HT where you'd want more persons to share good sound, you may be in for trouble.

What I've gotten is "order of magnitude" improvement. I have enjoyed the expected benefit in deep bass: organ, (particularly synthesized) bass lines and drums are all rendered with more definition and impact. The biggest difference has been in the mid-band. With the bass "muck" gone, the midrange imrpovement has been both unexpected and pretty startling.

I have ordered 2 bass busters (hemholtz resonators tuned to "absorb" excess energy in the range extending roughly 1 octave above roughly 80hz. At the least, this should minimize the amount of eq I need to apply in that range. It's an approach that might work for Marntz as well, either alone or in combo with eq'd woofs.


I should have responded to your other point. My set up is 2 channel, one listener. You may be quite right about unsatisfactory results over the broader area required for HT. I don't know, haven't tried.

If you are happy with current rig, than by all means LISTEN.
For a single sweet spot room, you got it licked. How big will those 'resonators be? I think my den acts like one at pretty low freqs.
My problem is a little different, my system being used by groups sometimes, like when the relatives drop in. Optimization over a larger space is an issue. I think I may have caught a break in this room, at least in the bass, it being 8 sided, and a few 45 degree walls.
I find it funny that many "audiophiles" will now recommend a sub. There once was a time when your system should not color the music only reproduce it, and a well built speaker (and system) should do this.... Or so I believed....EQ's were a no-no... and a sub where the listener can turn up one portion of the spectrum? Witch Craft...

Having owned the same system in 3 homes, I can tell you that placement fixed my problem. I placed my speakers only about 12 inches (yes more witch craft...I thought we needed the speakers 2 inched from the coffee table to sound good) from the back wall and the bass came to life. Not boomey, but clear and accurate..... and very hard hitting. In my other two homes it was more like 3 to 5 feet...

I also came to realize that not all recordings are created equal. Some recordings are just crap... I am not talking "audiophile crap" but rather a complete lack of bass that the average person can hear. My favorite example is "Rush" I can't listen to it on my high end system without a sub. I play it in my suv with an 8 inch sub or on my home theater system with an 18 inch sub and it sounds great. Michael Buble sound great on any of my systems... The bass drum is deep and rich and you feel every attack...

I like subs. They are a fast easy way to fix a bass lacking room... Moving the speakers was cheaper....