Upgrading sub to get a live feel.

I currently have a set of JBL 4319 which has its history as 4310. They are studio monitors and as a result they sound like studio monitors you hear everything, but they lack the physical presence on the low end. They have wonderful mid range and voice presence. I also have a pair of SVS SB1000 to help with the low end. 

I want to eventually upgrade to JBL 4367 with upgraded pair of subs, for this reason, but in the mean time would a sub upgrade be considered before the speakers. 

You Might try the Sub upgrade now..Many good ones out there.You could move up the SVS food chain and still be quite usable with your current JBL's.Those JBL 4367 are $15,000 correct?
My current short list of subwoofers are

JL F113 or Seaton Submersive

Most likely Seaton

I am hopping that the sub upgrade will hold off my 4367 purchase. 

     You may be able to improve the bass response at your listening seat just by repositioning them.  I'd suggest using the crawl positioning method sequentially for each.
     If this doesn't work and you have the room space, using three SVS-SB1000s, sequentially positioned using the crawl method, is virtually guaranteed to provide bass response at your listening seat approaching state of the art.  This is called a distributed bass array (DBA) system and it works amazingly well in virtually any room and with any pair of main speakers, even with faster and very detailed speakers like electrostatics and Magepans.
      The bass perceived is very smooth, detailed, as powerful and dynamic as the music requires, seamless integration with any pair of main speakers and an overall quality of effortless bass on music and HT.
      I use a 4-sub DBA system called the AudioKinesis Swarm in my 23'x16' room with large Magnepan panel speakers and it works like a charm.  The DBA concept usually requires four subs to function properly but works almost as well with three.  
     Here's an Absolute Sound review of the AK Swarm that gives a good explanation of how it works and what to expect.  The SB-1000 subs are ideal to use in custom DBA systems because they're very good subs and are relatively small.


Thanks a lot I will look into it.

i also believe that the mids and lf are the most important part of music.

i currently have the subs right under my main speakers. They image very well but still lack that physical presence.
Room acoustics and EQ matter a huge deal. More so than the sub hardware itself in a lot of cases.
Tim is right about the DBA/Swarm subwoofer solution. The one I built with 4 Morel 10" woofers and the Dayton amps for under $3k gives more powerful, deep, articulate and smooth bass than anything I ever heard anywhere even from vaunted state of the art speakers costing ten and twenty times as much. Using four subs spaced around the room works so much better than the old-school paradigm of one or two that it doesn’t hardly even seem to matter what quality or how much you spend, until you get to three or four you’re just never gonna get there.
I am going to join in the camp that says look at your placement and room setup before you replace your subs. That said, it is entirely likely that your subs are running out of output relative to your main speakers, which are capable of large dynamic swings. If you look at the output of the SVS-SB12 NSD (the prior model), you will see that its max output at 25 hz is 96.3 db, 31.5 101 db, and 40 is 104.6 db. You have a pair, but they are not co-located, so figure 3db more.


With this in mind, it is likely if you are listening at higher levels you are running out of output. To get a set of subs that will keep up with your current speakers, much less the 4367 at full chat, you are going to have to go much larger. Whatever you get, use at least a pair, and if you have the room and money, four (distributed bass as discussed above) A few I would consider:

I think you are on the correct track Seaton Sound Submersive HP, F2, or X21.  Mark Seaton builds excellent subs, as well as monitors which are used by studios and high end home theater and music systems.  I would take the JL off the list.  Very expensive for what you get.  

Rythmik- F18 or FV18- Amazing clean, tight, and huge output. I love my Rythmiks, but I have a slight hesitation, as I think the Seatons may be a better match to your speakers.

HSU ULS-15 MK2- Boring choice, but really great quality subs that sound good and with pair, should just have enough output.

I believe that for any sub you purchase, you should be using a high quality active crossover to bass limit your mains, with a crossover between the subs and mains at about 80-100 hz. I am big believer in Richard Vandersteen’s believe that to properly integrate subwoofers, your main speakers must be linear to 1 octave below the crossover frequency, and your sub one octave above. So here, your mains meet the need, comfortably extending to 40hz.

Finally, while I don’t want to send you looking at another website, you may want to post your question and systems setup over on the AVS Forum subwoofer section. Those guys are very data driven and spend about 100x as much time as people here playing with subs. They often have very good advice on sub placement and setup recommendations. Make sure you give your room size, as it is relevant to output.
Watcher, hold on to your tater (more southern terminology) If you are going to upgrade to 4367 the subs you are using now will be totally lost.
That is one very efficient and very loud loudspeaker. Don't waste your money on stuff you won't be able to use in the future. To keep up with those speakers you will need something like two JL F212s at the least. Get your 4367s and use the subs you have now knowing you will go for the real deal when finances allow. Patience is a virtue. 
No amount of room placement ever gonna make two speakers, or even two speakers with a sub, or even two speakers with two subs, sound anywhere near as good as two speakers with four subs. Never. Gonna. Happen.

Go with four though, and surprisingly they go with everything. Placement becomes a virtual non-issue. System matching? Total non-issue.

Search around, every single one of us who has tried this is super happy. Yet the particular subs we are using and the systems we are using them with are all very different.

Why? Because it works. As opposed to everything else, which does not.
Dear @thewatcher101 : You can't have deepest  bass no matters how many of those SVs you use becuse are not true subwoofers and with all respect just forgeret of what those gentlemans said about 3-4 of those units, just can't do it.

If you want real bass then you need true self powered subs that can goes below 20hz and you don't need more than two to enjoy it at your listening seat position.

In the other side if the 4367 already comes with the low end range you need then and as the other gentleman gave the advise to be `patience I agree with him: be patience till you have the 4367.

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
Hello the watcher101,

     Man, you've received a lot of conflicting advice on how to best improve bass response performance in your system and room.  I believe they're all sincere and well-meaning in the advice they've given.
    However, they all seem to have a complete lack of knowledge and experience of the most effective method of achieving excellent bass performance, in any room and with any pair of main speakers as well as without any room treatments and room correction, that I'm currently aware of: the 3 to 4 sub distributed bass array (DBA) system. 
     I recall having a very similar need for good bass advice as you have about 30 years ago but mine concerned how to get better system bass performance with Magnepan main speakers.  
     Well, it took me a lot of research and experimenting with subs, but about 29 years later I finally stumbled upon the ideal solution of the DBA. I'd like to save you some time and frustrations by relating  what I learned over the last three decades of searching for detailed, smooth, powerful, dynamic, seemingly effortless and seamlessly blended with the main speakers bass in my system and room.
     Through experience, I've discovered that one sub is able to provide good bass performance at a single designated listening seat if located properly utilizing the 'crawl' method but you may find it difficult, depending on the main speakers utilized, to configure it so that the bass seamlessly blends with the sound performance of your main speakers' reproducing the mid-bass or midrange on up to the treble. The bass may sound as if it's lagging behind and/or disconnected from your main speakers, especially on fast, smooth and detailed speakers such as electrostatic and planar-magnetic panels. I know the JBL 4319 and 4367 are very good bookshelf speakers but I'm not certain if they're fast, smooth and detailed enough to cause integrating seamlessly with a single sub an issue.
    I understand most individuals would prefer to buy a single top-notch sub and be done with it but, unfortunately, the truth is that attaining good in-room bass response is not that simple no matter the price or quality of the single sub. The reason this is true really has more to do with the quantity of subs in a given room and how they're positioned, than the quality of the subs utilized. Better quality of subs never degrades from good bass performance, it's just not as important as most would assume. I'll try to explain why.
      Two properly positioned and configured subs in a given room typically provides bass response at a designated listening seat that's approximately twice the quality level of utilizing a single sub. Two subs provide increased bass output capacity and impact as well as increased bass dynamics due to the sharing of total bass requirements between two subs operating well within their limits and stress free with ample power reserves for sudden bass output dynamic demands.
    Psychoacoustic principles also begin to be applied beginning with the use of two subs in any given room that results in the bass being perceived as smoother, more detailed and better integrated with the main speakers.  
    To understand how this psychoacoustic process works, it's important to understand how bass soundwaves behave in a room with a single sub. Soundwaves increase in length as the frequency decreases and deep bass tone soundwaves are very long. A full cycle soundwave of a 20 Hz deep bass tone is 56' long, a 30 Hz is 36', a 40 Hz is 28' and a 50 Hz is 23'. For reference, a full cycle soundwave of a 20,000 Hz high treble tone is a fraction of an inch long. This mainly explains why humans are easily able to determine the originating source location (localization) of the shorter soundwave and higher frequency tones above 100 Hz and are unable to do so on the longer soundwave and lower frequency tones below about 100 Hz.
    It's also important to know three facts:
1. Our brains can't even process the presence of a deep bass tone until the full cycle soundwave exists in the room and our ears have inputted this information into the brain.
2. Our brains require the input of at least three full cycle bass tone soundwaves before we're able to recognize a change in bass volume and pitch.
3. Our brains cannot localize deep bass tones (detect where the sounds are coming from) with frequencies below 100 Hz.
    With the deep bass soundwaves being longer than any room dimension in many individuals' rooms, this means the soundwave will leave the single sub and need to travel as far as it can in the room and then reflect off the first room boundary (floor, ceiling or wall) it meets then keep traveling in the reflected direction until it meets the next room boundary. This process continues until the soundwave runs out of energy and with each subsequent bass tone launched into the room by the single sub.
    These numerous bass soundwaves of various frequencies launched into the room by the single sub, and reflecting off room boundaries, inevitably run into each other at various angles causing what are called a Bass Room Mode at each specific room location at which they meet or collide. Depending on the specific angle at which the soundwaves meet, we perceive these bass room modes at specific spots in the room as either a bass overemphasis (bass peak), a bass attenuation (bass dip) or even a bass cancelation (bass null). The result is an overall perception of the bass from a single sub as uneven, not detailed, somewhat disconnected and not natural.
    However, when a second sub is properly deployed and positioned in the room, the very interesting and useful principles of psychoacoustics (how our brains process sound and our perceptions of it) begin to come into play, which results in a perception that the bass is smoother, more detailed, better integrated with the main speakers and more natural or realistic.
      Unexpectedly, this is accomplished through the second sub actually significantly increasing the number of bass room modes (bass peaks, dips and nulls) in the room. Our brains naturally and fortunately process the presence of multiple bass soundwaves below 100 Hz, by adding them together by frequency and averaging them out. This results in fewer bass modes being perceived in the room and a perception overall that the bass is smoother, more detailed, better blended with the main speakers and more natural.  
    Acoustical experts, such as Dr. Earl Geddes, Dr. Floyd Toole and others, have proven scientifically that in-room bass performance perception improves as more subs are added to virtually any given room, beginning with two subs and with improvements continuing up to the theoretical limits. Of course, there's a practical limit to the acceptable number of subs in a domestic room.
    I'm fairly certain the exact number of subs considered acceptable in a domestic room is higher for most men than most women but, interestingly, the scientists found significant bass performance perception gains were attained with each additional sub up to four but smaller more marginal gains were attained with each additional sub beyond four.

    Three properly positioned and configured subs in a given room typically provides bass response at a designated listening seat that's approaching the optimum quality level attainable at a single listening position. Three subs provide even further increased bass output capacity and impact as well as further increased bass dynamics due to the sharing of total bass requirements between three subs operating well within their limits and stress free with very large power reserves for sudden bass output dynamic demands.
     Psychoacoustic principles are more strongly applied with the use of three subs, as opposed to two subs, in any given room that results in the bass being perceived as even smoother, more detailed and better integrated with the main speakers.  
    My opinion is that the SVS SB-1000 (a small sealed sub with bass extension down to 24 Hz) and the PB-1000 (a slightly larger ported sub with bass extension down to 19 Hz) subs are ideal for utilizing in two and three sub bass systems because they're both very good quality, are relatively small, have all the necessary features/controls and are currently great bargains at about $500/each (slightly more for gloss black or white finishes). 
     The larger and more expensive Seaton, Rhythmik, HSU  and JL Audio subs may be better subs with more features but, remember, the critical factor for in-room bass performance is the quantity of subs used in the room and the quality and features of each is much less important. Besides, the reality is they're all high quality subs and room correction is not required for optimum performance on bass systems utilizing two or more subs.  
      However, if you prefer the best in-room bass performance, the Audio Kinesis 4-sub Swarm distributed bass array (DBA) system is definitely the ultimate bass system that I'm aware of. This is a complete $2,800 kit that includes four 4 ohm unamplified subs that are each 1' x 1' x 28", weigh 44lbs and have a 10" aluminum long-throw driver and a 1,000 watt class AB amplifier/controller that powers all four subs and controls the volume, crossover frequency and phase of all as a group.  
      The use of a 4-sub DBA system will provide near state of the art bass performance not only at a single listening position but throughout the entire room. This is very useful if you have multiple seating positions in your room and prefer having very good audio at each position for both music and HT.
    Of course, only the designated listening position will be optimized for bass, midrange and treble response along with stereo imaging but very good full-range audio will still be provided at each seating position.
    They're also other benefits of the 4-sub Swarm DBA system. Absolutely no bass room treatments are necessary. You'd just need to incorporate room treatments for the midrange and treble response on your main speakers (first reflection points on each side wall and possibly some treatment on the front and rear walls). And these subs look very stylish in the room, kind of like hi-end wooden art gallery pedestals, since the 10" drivers face towards the nearest wall and have connections hidden on the bottom so all that's visible is three wood sides and the top in the wood of your choice. My wife usually has a small vase with fresh flowers sitting on one of the two that are visible in my room. They also make good end tables since they're an ideal height of 28 inches.  
    You also have the option of creating your own custom 3 or 4-sub DBA system, rather than using the complete Swarm system, by utilizing three to four SVS SB-1000 subs, you already have two so you would just need one or two more at $499 each, or any three to four subs you'd like.  I also believe adding one or two PB-1000 subs (that extend down a bit further than the SB-1000's 24 Hz to about 20 Hz) to your system would extend the perceived bass in your room down to about 20 Hz.
     The only down side of using a custom 3-4 sub DBA system is that you need to configure the volume, crossover frequency and phase settings individually for each of any self-amplified subs used rather than once for all four subs as a group on the Swarm system. 
     As I've stated, I use the 4-sub A K Swarm system in a 23'x16'x8' room with Magnepan main speakers and it works like a charm.  But, while I haven't personally tried it to verify, I believe three subs would perform nearly as well, especially at a single designated listening seat.

Hope this helped you a bit,
Sure, swarms are nice, but not everyone can afford or has the space for them.

Also, most people have never heard a great single sub integrated well.

The difference in sound quality between a poor sub set up and a great set up is astounding.
The difference in sound quality between a poor sub set up and a great set up is astounding.
Earlier this year I added a REL S/5 to my system. Just a foot of placement and an inch or two of fine tuning was the difference between extreme room nodes and virtually no room nodes. The direction the cone points is critical.  Distance from wall is critical.  So is cutoff and volume.  Now bass is tight and right, quick and integration is perfect, the sub is an inert box. I have full range speakers and irregular room dimensions, so that may have helped.  
I missed seeing how big your room is.  That's going to make a big difference in how you approach things.

I have a single SVS SB-12 NSD in my small computer room and it provides more than enough bass in that small space and integrates really well with my speakers.

In my large living room, which opens out into my kitchen, I have two SVS SB13 Ultra subs and two Rythmik F25 subs spread out as far apart as I can in a "swarm".

I’ve experimented a lot with this system. My speakers have 3 12" drivers and I thought I didn’t need subs. In fact, it seemed like the speakers had "too much" bass.

I tried adding in just one of the F25s in the front of the room near the speakers and that sounded really good, but only at the sweet spot. Just down the sofa where my girlfriend sits there was a big peak and it was really boomy and sounded terrible.

I tried positioning one of the subs behind the sofa and this was much better, but it wasn’t until I put all 4 subs into play in different locations all over the room that I really noticed a big improvement. The soundstage expanded, the boominess is gone, and there’s plenty of presence. I still have some tweaking to do, but I have to agree that using multiple subs in a large room can have a really positive effect.

The subs I used are overkill for this space, I’m sure I could have gotten by with smaller ones, but I already had them in place for my home theater system. Someone suggested that the smaller SVS subs aren’t up to the task, but there’s no need for sub 20hz extension for most music and 4 of even their entry level subs should make a big improvement in a large room if you have the need and the space for them.

While there’s no need, nor would it be practical to have multiple subs in the small room where I have my computer based system, my large living room with no room treatment benefited greatly from using multiple subs.
Hello Erik,

     I understand your points but think they’re only partially valid:

"Sure, swarms are nice, but not everyone can afford or has the space for them."

     Thewatcher101 currently has the $4K/pair JBL 4319s and was looking for a sub or subs that would perform and integrate so well and "live" with them that he wouldn’t need to spend $15K/pair for the JBL 4367s for a significant bass performance upgrade.
     I suggested he could significantly improve the bass performance of his system by any of the following methods:
A. Create a custom 3-sub distributed bass array (DBA) system by either adding one SB-1000 or one PB-1000 sub, both currently on sale for half price at $500. I know this would produce exceptionally good in-room bass response and integration with his current or any future pair of speakers he may own for a total expenditure of $500.
B. Create a 4-sub custom DBA by adding two of the $500 SVS subs. I’ve learned this would produce virtually state of the art in-room bass response and integration with his current, or any future pair of speakers he may own, for a total expenditure of $1,000.

C. Buy the AK Swarm 4-sub DBA kit that not only will produce state of art in-room bass response and integration in any room and with any pair of speakers, but also has the advantages of using relatively small subs and being much easier to configure. The ease of configuration results from the volume, crossover frequency and phase controls only being required to be set once for all four subs as a group rather than individually for each sub. Total expenditure equals $2,800.

     Compared to the OP attaining better bass by upgrading to a pair of the $15K JBL 4367s, this means that thewatcher101 would realize savings between $12,200 and $14,500 by adopting one of my suggested solutions as well as guaranteed better in-room bass response and integration than any pair of speakers by themselves, including the JBL 4319s and 4367s. I thought he would appreciate being aware of this and is also why I don’t believe your point on affordability is valid.
     To quote the owner of Audio Kinesis, Duke Lejeune, "two subs will sound twice as good as one, four subs will sound twice as good as two and eight subs are likely good grounds for divorce".
     However, I believe your point about individuals having the space for up to four subs has more validity but it’s not insurmountable. I also had concerns about accommodating four subs in my 23’x16’x8’ combination living/music/HT room. I decided up front that excellent bass performance and integration were my top priorities and not room decor. So my plan was to just position the subs according to the procedures so the bass was optimized and rearrange the room furnishings afterward as best my wife and I could manage. As it worked out, my total room furnishings rearrangements consisted of moving an 8’ couch along a 23’ side wall about 2’ closer to my front 16’ wall. You can view my system photos on my profile and decide for yourself how well they blend and are inconspicuous in my room.

"Also, most people have never heard a great single sub integrated well."

     I have and definitely have learned that two subs properly positioned and configured will significantly outperform a single sub, no matter the single sub’s size or quality, in bass impact, dynamics, detail, realism and ability to seamlessly integrate with the main speakers.

"The difference in sound quality between a poor sub set up and a great set up is astounding."

     Whadda ya know? I completely agree with you.
     Based on my experience, I would rank the effectiveness of the various general sub set up formats in order of in-room bass performance effectiveness from least to most effective, with the stipulation that any set up format has the potential to be further improved through the use of room correction software/hardware, parametric equalization and higher quality subs, as:
1. A single sub
2. Dual subs
3. A three sub DBA
4. A four sub DBA
5. Live music in a small venue heard in person
     No matter which general sub set up is utilized, of course, proper positioning as well as the proper setting of the volume, crossover frequency and phase controls of each sub is critical for optimizing performance and the integration with the main speakers.
     I’ve read many of your posts over the years here on Audiogon and mainly tend to agree with your statements. I’m somewhat surprised we disagree a bit on the subject of subs.

  I understand your points but think they’re only partially valid:

"Sure, swarms are nice, but not everyone can afford or has the space for them."

Unless you happen to not be able to afford the money or the space, in which case they are 100% valid.


Hello Erik,

     The truth is that any audio and music lover, who even briefly experiences the state of the art bass from a DBA, would obviously do whatever it legally or illegally takes to get the money and find the space. 
     The concept works that well and I'm just trying to spread the word.

The 15 inch woofers in the 4367 cross pretty high up some where around 700 Hz I think. They are a pleated short throw design which will not go well below 40 Hz. Putting 2 high quality subs under them would clean up the lower midrange to a substantial degree and add that lower octave. You could also plug the ports which might make further improvements. I would rather two high quality subs than four cheap ones. Room control is a must for thewatcher with two subs as his room is very square. Make yourself a plan and stick to it. Messing around for the sake of messing around is a waste of money. 
The truth is that any audio and music lover, who even briefly experiences
the state of the art bass from a DBA, would obviously do whatever it legally or illegally takes to get the money and find the space.
    The concept works that well and I'm just trying to spread the word.

So would anyone who hears a well integrated sub in a small living room vs. no sub or a poorly integrated one. Sadly, very few people have ever heard this.
More than one way to skin a cat.  Not that I'm endorsing cat skinning by any means.  I like cats.
If you want a sub that actually does go to 20hz, find a used Mackie HR120...they were designed for studio use as opposed to their live sound stuff (and they’re around although not made anymore)...I found one in a local music store that sells used gear and they had no idea how to use the thing. About 150 bucks later I brought it home and stuck it in my music studio...amazing...I use a couple of REL subs in my listening rig, and hooked up the Mackie in that system out of curiosity (no small feat as it weighs 92 lbs) and realized I really don’t need 19hz in there and prefer the main amp signal driven RELs, but man...a great sub. 500 A/B watts, and a plethora of adjustments available...12" down-firing EAW monster woofer, 12" front firing radiator, balanced and single ended inputs. Get four of ’em!
Dear @thewatcher101 : what @mijostyn posted about the 4367 crossover frequency is truly relevant and a main parameter to take in count.

It crossover 700hz and that means the the IMD level distorions are really high in the mid range and up to it due to the developed harmonics.

The main target to add true subwoofers to any passive speakers is that the IMD generated for the speakers woofers goes really down and when this happens your room/system quality whole performance goes to the " sky ": nothing less, you will discovery a new quality level performance even if you think you know very well the resolution of your room/system.

A " side line " adding true subwoofers is that we can get true low bass frequency range to honor the MUSIC.
Rigth now you don’t have neither of those trgets.

In any room/system MUSIC belongs to both frequency extremes. As better the overall bass range and HF range as better not only mid range but way better whole system resolution and system listening quality

You can read something about here and why:


Now, if you normally use your system to listening MUSIC then normally you listen MUSIC at one seat position because at mid range/HF ranges we can have perfect response in those frequency ranges at one the seat position.

For that you only need two true subwoofers ( the ones that goes down to 16 h. ).

The Harman Group ( JBL, ML, Revel, etc, etc. ) proved that through scientific research. Here the link:


from those white papers:

" " Four subwoofer at the wall midpoints (configuration 11) was the best practical configuration in terms of MSV. Two subwoofers at opposing wall midpoints (configuration 6) was nearly as good and also offered stronger low-frequency support. These results appear to be generalizable to reasonably dimensioned rectangular spaces [19] . ""

The manufacturer of DBA solution ( Audiokinesis. ) posted in other subwoofer thread:

""" You can get good bass in one sweet spot with two equalized subs. ""

No one needs more than two true subwoofers for one seat position. The key words are: true subwoofers. Not the ones you own or the ones noble100 owns.

Wait for your 4376, do it a favor and don’t waste your time or money before those 4376. Patience is always worth to do it for its rewardings to collect.

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS;

Some points about the Swarm/Distributed Bass Array approach that have been made repeatedly, but obviously due to not sinking in need to keep being made, over and over again:

1. Its not THE sub. Its HOW MANY subs.

2. More small cheap subs is far better than a few expensive subs.

3. This is so true that even really small subs that take up hardly any room, ie can fit easily under furniture, will work better and take up less space than the normal huge sub everyone thinks they need.

4. The same amount of money spent on four subs will outperform the same amount of money spent on just one.

5. Yes even if its not very much money.

6. Sub (note: singular) is crucially important.

7. Subs (note: plural) by the time you get to 4, where they go hardly even matters.

8. Everyone who has actually tried it knows what they’re talking about and can’t stop talking about how great it works.

9. Everyone who has not actually experienced it should maybe every time they are about to write something on the subject first write: Of course I have no actual experience to base this on, BUT....
"I would rather two high quality subs than four cheap ones. Room control is a must for thewatcher with two subs as his room is very square. Make yourself a plan and stick to it. Messing around for the sake of messing around is a waste of money. "

Hello miijostyn,

Even though I’ve learned it is true that 4 cheap subs if properly positioned and configured will typically deliver better in-room bass performance than two subs regardless of their quality, I believe you’ve confused the current $500 half-off sale price of thewatcher101’s subs he’s already using, two high quality SVS SB-1000s, and assumed they are cheap, low quality subs which they definitely are not..

It’s also becoming more apparent that you have a lack of knowledge and experience concerning the distributed bass array (DBA) concept in general. I’m basing this on your comment that the OP would need to use larger and more powerful JL F212 subs on a previous post and your comment that room control is required on your last post, neither of which are true.
My previously proposed plan for the OP to use a 3-4 sub DBA system is based on my belief that home audio systems are best optimized in performance by considering them as two systems, a bass system and a system for everything else, due to the very different manner that the very long bass and much shorter midrange/treble soundwaves behave in any given room.
I recommend first getting the bass sounding good (powerful, dynamic, smooth, detailed, with a seemingly effortless and unlimited quality and seamlessly blended with the main speakers) because it’s typically the most difficult to achieve in most rooms. The best method I’m currently aware of to get the bass sounding good in virtually any sized and shaped room, even in an acoustically challenging square one like the OP’s room, is a 3-4 sub DBA system.
The lowest octave on music is about 16-32 Hz with the audible range extending down to 20 Hz and anything lower only felt and not heard. The ability of a bass system to accurately reproduce deep bass tones down to at least 20 Hz creates a solid bass foundation that a lot of music is built upon and on which the OP can build the remainder of the audible frequency spectrum, reproduced by his main speakers, upon.
Utilizing a 3-4 sub DBA system also allows the OP to extend the deep bass response performance by adding one or two PB-1000s subs (with a rated bass extension limit of 19 Hz) to his two existing SB-1000s (with a rated bass extension limit of 24 Hz).
Just to be clear to you and the OP about 3-4 sub DBA systems:
-There’s no lack of bass output or dynamics since bass duties will be shared between 3 or 4 subs and you can adjust to your preferences using the volume and crossover frequency controls on each. You definitely do not need to purchase higher quality and more expensive subs.
-There’s absolutely no mics, room correction, parametric equalization, bass room treatments or anything else required.
- The main reason the DBA concept works so well is the psychoacoustic principles involved which take advantage of how our brains naturally process bass soundwaves below about 100 Hz.
-The quality, agility, smoothness and speed of the bass produced by 3-4 sub DBA systems allows them to be seamlessly integrated with virtually any pair of main speakers you currently own or will own in the future.

Hopefully, the OP will check back in soon and let us know his thoughts and impressions.

I ordered two PB-1000 subs and will work with two my SB-1000, they are free returns for 45 days, so there is no harm, with wonderful upsides, and will report with my experience.

I’ve also found a store around me with JBL 4367 to demo, and I will see how much low end those speakers will produce, and if my current setup can compete.

JBL 4367 do lack the lowest octave, because of their driver design, and will need subs regardless. 

Check back in a month.

Thanks Tim.
I would have stuck with sealed subs and got more of the SB 1000 or SB 2000.  Are you using the system for home theater also?
Should I have the seal or ported closer to me?

I watch a few movies here and there, maybe once a month. I don’t really care that much for movie sound quality, most of the time it isn’t master very well, at lease the ones I am watching. But when it does it’s nice.

I think you can always plugged the ported ones up and get close for testing. 
I'm not sure what the best answer to that question is.  My intuition is that it would be better to have the ported ones farther away in case there's port chuffing.  On the plus side, the PB 1000 will go lower and have more output than the SB 1000.  I suggest giving SVS a call and let them know how you plan to use them and get their advice. 
I am still concerned about him having enough output even with the addition of two PB1000s.  The PB1000s run out of steam at about 100db in the 20-30hz range.  Even if you combine them with the SB1000s, depending on how loud the JBL's are turned up, the subs are still going to run out of output capability.  All four, with being used in a distributed array are likely to max out in the 105db range at 20-30hz.  


If staying within the SVS line, I would consider spending the extra for the PB-3000s.  This will get you the output that will keep up with your mains, plus 3 band parametric eqs to help with any final tweaking.  .  

Finally, I agree it is a good idea to discuss with SVS, making sure you have your room dimensions handy.  
I still don't think we know how big the room is or what the OP's budget is.  Adding two additional subs that have more output should be an improvement regardless of room size.  If the four subs don't have enough output and he can stretch his budget, the PB1000's can be exchanged for something bigger.  Let the poor guy aft least try out what he's bought first. 
Hello watcher,

     Congratulations on your decision to give the 4-sub DBA concept a try.  Prepare to be amazed! 
      Pay no attention to critics claiming there'll be a lack of output, poor integration with your JBL 4319s, the 4367s or literally any other imagined shortcoming of the DBA concept because it works like a charm in virtually any room as well as with any pair of speakers. The only criticism of a 3-4 sub DBA system I consider even faintly valid is having the room space to accommodate  3-4 subs, but this is easily solved by using smaller subs and a little redecoration imagination.  I'm sure they mean well, it's just that they have a complete lack of knowledge and experience with DBA systems.  They just don't know what they don't know.
      But you made a very wise choice and I know you're going to gain the knowledge and experience of what a good DBA is capable of soon enough.
      Choosing to add two PB-1000s to your existing two SB-1000s will extend your system's bass response down to the audible limit of 20 Hz.  It shouldn't matter whether you alternate between sealed and ported or use the two taller ported subs as end tables.  The reason is that your brain is going to just sum and average all the bass present in your room by frequency; your perception of the bass will reflect the average by frequency.  Psychoacoustics in action.
      If you'd like, I can offer specific further advice on sub positioning and the setting of the volume, crossover frequency and phase controls on each sub.  I can also answer any questions you might have, you won't find a DBA advisor charging lower fees.



I think you are failing to see the forest through the trees because you are so focused on obtaining the smoothest in room response for the maximum number of listening positions (what a distributed array accomplishes).  In doing so, you are missing another side of the equation, the OPs issue of wanting to get a live feel in the bass range.  

Lets step back a moment.  In regard to the distributed array, there is no question, it provides the smoothest response over the widest listening area.  The same studies that have demonstrated that time and time again, also show two subwoofers can get the same smoothness at a single listening position.  So far the OP has not indicated he has listening parties.  

The second part of the equation is output.  Your argument is that it will be sufficient, but here it isn't.  The OP is in an entirely different position than you or I, both of whom are using large Magnepans.  Even 3 series Magnepans with 500+ watts per side are hard pressed to hit 102-104 db.   Your swarm hits about he same in down to the 30hz range.  

The OP is using a speaker that will comfortably hit 115db on peaks.  He mentions live sounding bass.  For a full scale orchestra, that is 105+ db.  Move it to a rock show and you are talking 115db+.   The OP's requirements are much more like a home theater than someone that wants to listen to string quartets.  

The guys over at the AVS forums are bass nuts that are also very measurement focused.  Many of them use distributed bass arrays, but not with small subs, but large Seatons, SVS, HSU, or Rythmiks.  The reason, sufficient power for reference levels (which is 115db for movie soundtracks, the 105db for the mains and the +10db requirement for the sub channels).   It is simply impossible to hit those levels with smaller subs.

Let's put it another way, lets do a really cool distributed array with eight subwoofers.  Except in this case, we are going to use 4" drivers (there are 4" drivers that will go down to 20hz).  It won't work worth a crap, as the subs won't put out more than about 75db.  Even with the gain of multiple subs, you might be at 90db.  Obviously this is not sufficient.  

We don't know how large the OPs room is (but unless it is tiny, there is going to be little room gain).  We also don't have an MLSSA for his room to see what the response looks like.  We do know that with his current setup, he is not seeing more than 100db from his subs when his mains are capable of 115db, a 15db shortfall. 

We also know the OP has considered a JL F113, which runs about $3,900.  The OP can get smooth response AND THE OUTPUT HE IS SEEKING within that budget, but it isn't going to be with PB-1000s.  With SVS, he needs to step up to the PB-3000 ($2600 a pair) or better yet the 4000 ($3400 a pair) which will get him the output, but also a 3 band parametric in each that can be used to further tune.  

Or the OP can go with a Seation SubMersive HP+ and Slave (4 15" drivers in total).  For $3,800 this will net him enough output to even keep up with the larger JBLs should he get them in the future.  At this point the two SB1000s will be useless, but again, he can get great frequency response with two subs at a single listening position (and being the Seaton's are bipolar, they will load the room more evenly than a monopole sub, just by virture of the fact the two drivers are a couple of feet apart).  
Hello mcreyn,

     I agree with you that a pair of higher output subs such as the Seatons, JL Audios and larger SVS subs, properly positioned and configured, are capable of providing good bass response performance at a single designated listening position sweet spot at a higher volume level than a pair of SB or PB 1000s subs are capable of. 
     I'm not certain, however, whether a pair of SB-1000s and a pair of PB-1000s setup as a 4-sub DBA system, would provide a sufficiently high bass volume level to meet the OP's requirement or even exceed the bass volume level of a pair of larger and more expensive subs are capable of at his listening position sweet spot.
    Just as we're unsure of the exact size of the OP's room, we're unsure of the OP's actual desired bass volume level requirements, "live sounding bass" is not very specific.  I can only rely on my own perception of loud bass but the four relatively small Swarm subs in my room are capable of providing very good bass performance almost flat down to 20 Hz and at extremely high wall- shaking volume levels, much higher than I prefer.
     Of course, it's the OP's preference on bass volume levels that matter.  Hopefully, he'll respond again soon and let us know.

I agree with a lot of what has been said but in my experience ported subs for music reproduction is a no-no. Using ported subs can create phasing issues. You will hear thick rich low end but will loose punch and clarity, specially if your main speakers are also ported. I do not have any experience with a DBA system ( and I wish I did) so this effect maybe reduced. I do achieve a very live feel with my system with a pair of SVS SB4000s and a pair of book shelf speakers.
Hey Tim, its great to read you love your four subwoofers.  I may be wrong but it kind of seems like I read it before.

We do have a pretty good idea on the OP's preference for bass levels, he has a pair of SB1000s and is not satisfied.  To get a significant feeling of increased volume, he needs to pick up 10db.   Adding two more SB1000s will only net him about 6db (again, because we are not co-locating).  The PB-1000 a little more.  Two Seaton Submerssive HPs are capable of 115+ db at 20hz without room gain.  By 30 hz, we are well over 120db.  We do know this will keep up with his current speakers as well as his future speakers.  


You make an excellent point about the phase issues with vented subs.  While a well designed vented sub can have virtually the same transient response as a well designed sealed sub, the vented has far more phase change through its range.  Sealed subs are easier to integrate, especially with multiples.  
"Hey Tim, its great to read you love your four subwoofers. I may be wrong but it kind of seems like I read it before."

Hello jetter,

     Okay wiseguy, I get the sarcasm.  Yes, I may have previously mentioned a few thousand times on various threads just how amazingly well 4-sub DBAs actually work.  
     Sorry, but I felt the overwhelming responsibility to spread the word to the humans, kind of like that long-haired bearded guy a few thousand years ago spreading the word about his father.  
     What can I say?  I am a true believer.  The only difference being I'd likely cut it out if threatened with crucifixion.  I'm a true believer but have my limits.

Seems like what I have heard before is phase blah blah blah timing blah blah blah EQ dB blah blah blah. Same blather that has been around everywhere since like forever and never worked anywhere ever.

Because it can't. Because: physics.

The one thing I never heard anywhere ever before, until reading it here, is using four (or more) relatively small subs spaced at random around the room. This it turns out is not new, as in it was not invented just the other day, but is new in the sense of hardly anyone knows about it.

Which seems primarily to be due to it being such a different approach, which makes it challenging for people because lets face it people are lazy even (especially?) when it comes to thinking, and this definitely requires thinking. Anyone can just buy bigger, its almost a reflex and requires near zero thought process. Understanding the things like Tim is talking about, not just acoustics but psychoacoustics as well, well that is not exactly a knee jerk reaction.

Which would be all fine and dandy if that's all it was. Not being bothered to think, okay. Not being willing to admit they've never even tried, all right. Ignore it? Fine. Be that way. But, belittle?

Which come to think of it, heard that one before too. Goes like this: blah, blah, blah... or is it yada yada? Either way pretty sure the most apt reply is yo mama. Tim of course would never stoop so low.
"We do have a pretty good idea on the OP’s preference for bass levels, he has a pair of SB1000s and is not satisfied. To get a significant feeling of increased volume, he needs to pick up 10db. Adding two more SB1000s will only net him about 6db (again, because we are not co-locating). The PB-1000 a little more. Two Seaton Submerssive HPs are capable of 115+ db at 20hz without room gain. By 30 hz, we are well over 120db. We do know this will keep up with his current speakers as well as his future speakers."

Hello mcreyn,

You stated " To get a significant feeling of increased volume, he needs to pick up 10db. Adding two more SB1000s will only net him about 6db (again, because we are not co-locating). The PB-1000 a little more."

      If 4db more volume gain could be attained by using two additional PB-1000 subs rather than the net 6db more using two additional SB-1000 subs, wouldn’t that provide the net 10db increase in bass volume to perceive a significant feeling of increased volume?
     Without specifically knowing or measuring, I’d suggest we can’t know with any certainty and it’s best to just wait and let the OP decide based on his perception of the bass. Do you agree?

     Also, I don’t believe it’s reasonable to assume the OP wants to listen to music or HT with deep bass at a 115 db volume level. Doctors claim exposure to 115 db sound levels for more than 30 seconds can cause permanent hearing loss. I’m just stating the OP needs to verify he listens regularly for extended periods at this high of a volume level.


He currently is peaking at about 100 db at low frequencies.  A general rule for each identical sub added that is not colocated is 3db, so 6db total.  Adding the PBs 1000 may give more than a 6db gain, but as pointed out by others, with different phasing, there could also be cancelation (keep in mind the phase shift (group delay) is entirely different for sealed v vented subs).  Here we have a limited ability to compensate for this, unlike the home theater guys that adjust all their phasing and eq in the digital domain.  

This brings us back to if the OP is going to do a swarm, he should use 4 identical subs.  This limits us to the 4 SB 1000 and about 106 db.  Also most people run their subs 4-6 db hotter than their mains.  He feels the current pair are not enough, 6db more is not a substantial change.  We aren’t even getting into the discussion of the high distortion levels that occur when pushing subs to their limit.  

This is why I came back to the pair of Seatons.  He gets the smoothed response at his listening position, but the output capability to not run out of steam.  

I forgot to mention, you can’t respond.  That way I get the last word and the OP doesn’t abandon the thread (assuming he hasn’t run for the hills already).   


If the OP has the budget, bigger is better. It's a good thing to have headroom. Again though, I would suggest that we let him try out the subs he has already ordered (and can return) and see what he thinks for himself. 
Hello mcreyn,

       Between you arguing for the ability for mega-bass at arena rock volume levels in his living room and me arguing for very high quality bass at less masochistic volume levels, I believe thewatcher101 will understand his options and decide for himself.  
     To be fair, I wanted to point out that running subs well within their limits is definitely beneficial, mainly lower distortion, a sense of ease to the bass and ample power reserves  for powerful bass dynamics.  
     For balance, I wanted to also point out that my Swarm system, with four 4 ohm passive (not self amplified) subs each consisting of a single 10" long-throw driver in a 1'x1'x28" cabinet that are all driven by a single 1K watt class AB amp connected in a series-parallel configuration, operates well within its limits, provides low distortion bass with a sense of ease and ample power reserves for powerful dynamics with the volume control set at the 11:00 o'clock position, a bit less than halfway.  In the four years I've used the Swarm, I've honestly never perceived the bass as being not loud or powerful enough on either music or H T. I perceive the bass output as consistently high quality, powerful, dynamic, with not only a sense of ease and naturalness but also a sense of unlimited capacity no matter what volume level is chosen on the Oppo's remote. 
     I could be wrong, but I currently believe a 4-sub DBA consisting of a pair of PB-1000 and a pair of SB-1000 self amplified subs is likely capable of performing just as well, provided the OP wasn't referring to hearing loss inducing volume levels when he mentioned "upgrading sub to get a live feel". 
     You are now welcome to the last word as we await watcher's verdict.

I am going to be a live feel, not actual live music db. 

Be patient. 
Hello watcher,

     I think you meant to say "I’m going for a live feel, not actual live music dbs."
     If so, I’m very glad to hear that since you’ll likely be more inclined to really enjoy the bass performance of your new custom 4-sub DBA system consisting of your two existing SB-1000s and the two new PB-1000s.
Mcreyn was right about the bigger and more expensive Seaton and JL Audio subs producing even deeper, louder and more powerful bass than the SVS-1000 series subs are capable of.
    However, I believe mcreyn’s knowledge and experience on subs is more slanted toward HT usage like many of the members on the AVS website that put more value on the size, bass extension, room shaking capacity and maximum deep bass db level ability as signs of a sub’s quality. In general, Audiogon members knowledge and experience on subs is more slanted toward music usage and they put more value on the sound quality and seamless integration with the main speakers as signs of a sub’s quality.
     Mcreyn’s suggestion that you need subs with a capacity to output deep bass down to 20 Hz at a volume level of 115 dbs to match the max output of your JBL main speakers was ridiculous and an obvious clue that his priority is not high quality music reproduction, which I believe your main priority is.
    I’ll continue to monitor this thread just in case you need assistance but I realize it may take a month until you have your new custom 4-sub DBA up and running.

I would stop what I’m doing, not think twice and jump on this opportunity to purchase the REL S/5 SHO which is now reduced $600 to make run for a model update this fall. For under 2k you cannot but a better sub. In fact, a better one doesn’t exist for under 2.5k - the regular price. https://rel.net/shop/powered-subwoofers/serie-s/s5/

Thanks for your assumptions, but they are completely wrong.  It is rather ironic that you attack my position and claim that high quality music reproduction is not my goal, while you time and time again say that the quality of subs matters little, only the quantity.  Keep in mind your frame of reference is that your bass is the best you have heard.  That doesn't mean that there aren't much better sounding subwoofers, just that you haven't experienced them.  It is akin to someone saying that a quarter pounder at McDonalds is the best burger out there and the only way to do one, when the only burgers they have ever had are from Sonic and Burger King.  McDonalds may the best that person has had, but it doesn't mean they are the best.  

For the record, I don't have a home theater system and never have.  I did hook my TV up my stereo this year after we rearranged the room and the TV ended up between the speakers (someone gave us a 75" TV).  Since I don't want movies, I think I have listened to the TV through the stereo twice, the $179 Yamaha Soundbar from Costco is what I use, as it gives great dialog clarity without blasting the sound level.  

I do have a lot of experience with subwoofers and their integration.  More than 30 years ago, I started building subwoofer enclosures for cars because the ones that I heard were all boomy and crap sounding.  At that point, all calculations had to be run by hand using the Thiel Small parameters and a calculator.  

The great thing about cars is they have a fixed cabin gain below about 50 hz with NO standing wave issues and a fast decay time.  With good drivers and a properly designed enclosure (or infinite baffle) you can get amazing, accurate, low distortion bass in a car.  With cabin gain, a well designed sealed enclosure will roll off at the same rate as the gain, with perfectly flat response to below 20hz.  I am not talking about the 160db SPL competition bass (which is achieved with narrowly tuned vented enclosures in the 60-70hz range), I am talking the ability to hit 115db cleanly down to 20hz.  The current system in an old BMW I have does exactly this (HSU 12" driver in a 1.25ft sealed enclosure, QTC .65, mains will do about 105db).  

There is something magical that happens when you have that free dynamic headroom.  Most home subs suffer from dynamic compression and distortion when turned up.  It starts in the 90db range below 30hz for nearly all subs, until you start getting into the big boys.  For example, even the Velodyne DD18+, considered a huge, accurate sub, cannot hit more than 110db at 30hz, 105 at 20hz.  Same for a Rythmik F18. 

When all you have ever heard are subs that are running into dynamic compression and distortion (which is the case with almost all home subs when pushed to even 100db), they sound great, until you hear a setup that doesn't.   When you hear the setup that doesn't you experience this effortless, fast, tight, bass that seems to come from blackness.  It also has a dramatic effect on the sound of the mains, making them sound much cleaner.

At the end of the day, it is not about hitting huge SPL levels, it is about getting the best sound, which requires using subs that can stay clean and not run into dynamic compression.  4 10" subs can't do this in a reasonably sized room.  It is why my progression of home subs has taken me from Velodyne F series, through ULD's, to HGS, and finally Rythmik.  At each step, it has seemed to be amazing (and better than anything I ever heard at a dealer), but the next step revealed more.  

Finally, you can rag on those guys at the AVS forums, but unlike many, they spend a lot of time correlating objective data with subjective sound to get improvements.    

Sure, swarms are nice, but not everyone can afford or has the space for them.
The Swarm is not expensive as subwoofers go, and if space is an issue, the Swarm is often an excellent solution, as the actual boxes are small and easy to place since they are specifically intended to operate in the room boundaries, i.e. against the wall.

Another aspect about them is they are only meant to go up to 80Hz. At and below this frequency, bass is omnidirectional (its *harmonics* above 80Hz that impart location information to bass instruments). Part of this is that it simply takes a while for the ear to detect bass at these frequencies- by the time its done so, the bass waveform has traveled a distance longer than most people's rooms!

**So especially if space is at a premium** the Swarm is an excellent option. We are seeing a lot of our older customers going into smaller rooms and otherwise downsized living situations- this is an excellent means of not having to sacrifice musical enjoyment just because the listening room got smaller.
@mcreyn, wow really good post. I'm actually restoring my '84 911 and was thinking of adding a car stereo system, but always wondered if I could ever get something that would sound close to what I get in my home system. I have to admit I am a bit of a dinosaur when it comes to car audio, but you have now sparked my interest to research this further.

On the home front my room is somewhat small, 20' x 12', and I have used a version of the swarm for the last few years that was inspired by some work Roger Modjeski at Music Reference was doing and the way in which he designed and ran his ESL speakers. I don't play loud, under 80 dB, no home theater, and most of the music I listen to doesn't have anything that extends below 30 Hz. I'm now upgrading the woofers to 10" housed in sealed boxes, and thanks to mijostyn who has posted on a few of these threads I have rearranged my swarm to be what he refers to as a line source bass array. We both use Acoustant speakers (his 2+2, mine Model 2) so his experience was helpful. In addition to my panels, I use a Beveridge RM3 crossover with 4th order 24 dB slopes for high and low pass, and biamp. I've been really pleased with the results so far and I'm looking forward to hearing what the upgrade brings.

Your experience though has me thinking about some other options for the future. In some ways perhaps active subs might be more beneficial for my next listening room. Rythmik is on my radar, but would be curious to know more about your setup and some pointers about using multiple active subs.

For car stuff, I find simple is great. Check out CDT, Hertz, and Diamond Audio for components. For subs, Image Dynamics work well. For a car the size of a 911, an 8" will just cut it, a 10" if you can fit it. You can use speakerboxlite for free on an IOS device to model drivers in enclosures. Sealed works best in a car unless you are looking for max SPL.

Regarding your setup. Given your listening levels, you are not likely to be running into compression or high distortion levels. I will caution you with using sealed subs in a home environment, you will likely need to eq to compensate for roll off in excess of room gain. BTW, loved those Acoustats, remember hearing them driven with a Hafler front end (XL-600). Now I am giving away my age.

Sealed Rythmiks are an experience. The only way I can describe them is slightly dry, very clean, and great impact. In my office, I use their base L12 with a paper driver, which is slightly tighter and cleaner sounding than the HGS-12 it replaced.  In my main system, I used an F15HP, which is significantly tighter and cleaner sounding than the two HGS-12s it replaced, and crushes them in output).   Don’t tell Noble, but I am only using one right now in my main setup (after using two subs for a couple of decades). There is a second on the horizon, but my listening room has little in the way of standing wave issues at my listening position. This is driven in part by its large irregular shape (21 feet long, 13 feet wide for part, 19 feet in part, a ceiling that goes from 9 feet to 18 feet, and two large openings to other rooms). As a result, I have one dominate mode in the 40hz range that is easily addressed with a single band parametric eq. Two will provide a more even response, but some additional headroom (which is needed, as a certain wife has bottomed the Rythmik when in control of the volume, music, drinks and dancing).

As far as setup, lots of trial and error with REW and moving the sub (subs before) around and playing with phasing, cross-over, and PEQ. I have tried a Mini DSP after the crossover and did not like the results (but it could be I am not savvy enough with the setup). When I say trial and error, I probably ran 200 sweeps before I got everything dialed in. REW is a gift compared to doing it with a CD with tones, an SPL meter and graph paper or a spreadsheet. Well worth the cost of the UMIK ($100) and the learning curve.