Vandersteen 2WQ


Has anyone had any luck blending the Vandersteen 2WQ sub with any speakers other than the Vandersteen models?
timo62
I have a pair of sealed custom made 3 way speakers of approx 97dB efficiency.....and have blended in a pair of Vandy 2Wq subs (one behind each speaker) for the last 4 years.
I found the 'blending' to work well and seamlessly (to my ears)....and far better than the REL Stadium II subwoofer which I had for the previous 10 years.
Initially I used the fixed low-pass filters of 50K on my RCA speaker cables....but have since switched to balanced XLRs using the active MP-5 filters for even better results at 33K.
I can highly recommend the 2Wq Subs (especially in pairs to counter room modes) and would never go back to 'au naturel'.
I heard the 2WQ goes well with Proac and Maggies. I was just curious what other folks have experienced.
i've used them with Revel and Wilson speakers - most seamless integration of any sub i've ever owned (Velodyne, JL Audio). not to mention they are extraordinarily musical.
The 2WQ is a fantastic sounding sub. It is nice to know that it blends so well with many other brands of speakers. I use to own one when I had my 2CEs. That was the best sub I ever heard.
Originally, I added a pair of 2Wqs to my Vandy 1Cs. When I upgraded to Ohm Walsh 2000s a few years back, they blended every bit as well as the 1Cs. I think Vandersteen is telling the truth: If your mains will go down to 40Hz, and you hook the 2Wq up as per the owner's manual, the blend should be seemless. I plunked mine down in the front corners of room, and I get deep, tuneful, controlled, high-impact bass that is anything but one-note. Last year, I upgraded to the MHP-5 battery biased crossovers, and got further improvements in the sound both above and below the crossover range. I think the 2Wq is one of the best bargains in subwoofers.
My speakers are Coincident Super Eclipse III's and I use a 6 watt SET tube amp. Adding a pair of Vandersteen 2Wq subs was such a major system upgrade, I could not be happier. Previously tried JL Audio and Cain & Cain subs, could not get them dialed to where they did not draw attention to themselves. The Vandy's blended in seamlessly even before tweaking the setup. Also the midrange is more clean and pure with the subs in the system.
Bondmanp , do the mains have to go down to 40hz? What if they do not? Is that a factor as to whether or not the 2wq will blend with certain speakers?
I used a pair with Quad ESL63s. It was the most successful sub with them I ever tried. I'd still be using them, but a change of room, and careful room treatment made them unnecessary. For whatever reason, I didn't have as much luck with them on Martin Logan CLSs... not bad, but found Velodyne ULD-12s worked better with those.
The issue with the 2Wq sub is the first order low pass filter. It effectively forces one to use them in pairs and place them close to the main speakers. This pretty much negates one of the best advantages of using a sub -- placing it where you get the best bass response. Richard Vandersteen told me many years ago that if you can only afford a single 2Wq, wait and save your money until you can buy two. I still wouldn't own them.
Bob , It sounds like you never owned a 2WQ subwoofer.

I owned just one 2WQ for years and was completly happy with its performance and blend.
I was able to move it around the room for different bass response. A 25ft pair of cables come with each 2WQ sub so you can move it around the room. It does not need to be close to the speakers whether you have one , or two subs.
The issue with the 2Wq sub is the first order low pass filter. It effectively forces one to use them in pairs and place them close to the main speakers.
I think it's a High Pass Filter allowing everything above 80Hz to pass straight through to the amps.
They fit on the ends of the interconnects and plug into the amp/s.
The subs themselves can then be situated anywhere you wish.
Timo62 - Because the amp in the 2Wq rolls in, 1st order, below 80Hz, reaching full output at 40Hz and below, and the high pass filter rolls off below 80Hz, first order, your mains should be able to output smoothly down to about 40Hz or below. If not, you might get a dip in power response in that 40Hz zone. But if you speak with Richard Vandersteen, there may be a work around, but I don't know. I think the M5-HP battery powered crossovers are hinged at 100Hz instead of 80Hz, as they were designed for the Model 5 rather than the 2Wq. Richard Vandersteen told me how to set the dip switches inside the M5-HPs so that the hinge point of the roll-off would be 80Hz, as required by the amp in the 2Wq for flat response.

Bob - My 2Wqs are in the corners, behind and outside the speakers, about 2.5 feet away. Before I had two, I had one, in one corner. I never had a localization issue with this setup. YMMV, I guess.

Halcro - The in-line filters are 1st order, "elbowed" at 80Hz, so they are only down 6dB per octave, meaning 40Hz. That's still a significant amount of signal for the main amplifier(s). FWIW, the Vandersteen in-line crossovers are good, but not totally transparent. A great upgrade is to the M5-HP crossovers, which, IME, are more transparent, and provided subtle, but easily heard, improvements in soundstage openness, imaging, and transient reproduction.

Bondmanp,
Thank you for the information and feedback. I have a 2WQ being built right now at Vandersteen. Should be shipping soon along with the M5-HP Crossovers. It is a great sub and I am looking forward to hearing it in my system again.
Bondmanp,
A great upgrade is to the M5-HP crossovers, which, IME, are more transparent, and provided subtle, but easily heard, improvements in soundstage openness, imaging, and transient reproduction.
Agreed......I have them in balanced XLRs.
Incidentally...the instructions Vandersteen send with them, give you the correct dip switch arrangement for the 2Wq subs.
Timo62, you are correct. I have never owned a 2Wq and never will -- too many needless limitations.

Sure, you CAN place the sub anywhere you wish, but that doesn't mean you should. Look, a first order low pass filter means that the sub will be producing sound at higher levels farther above the crossover point than one with a steeper filter.

IF your main speakers are full range and the crossover is set low (around 40 Hz), then you can get by with a single sub and have some freedom of placement. Vandersteen's floorstanding speakers pretty much meet that criteria. He's designed the 2Wq for his speakers after all.

However, if you plan on using the THX 80 Hz crossover point, because the vast majority of floorstanding speakers are NOT full range, a first order filter will force you to place the sub very close to the main speakers since the sub will now be localizable. You then need a pair of subs to get the left & right channels to blend effectively. This is a needless compromise that negates the benefit of being able to place the sub where you get good bass response.
Halcro, the high pass filter is for the MAIN speakers NOT the sub. Vandersteen understands woofer distortion and even in his full range speakers realizes that the sub is better suited to handle the bass instead of the main speakers. The HPF has nothing to do with sub placement.
Bondmanp, 2.5 feet is relatively close to the main speakers. I think you're right, YMMV. In general, the physics indicates you can potentially have issues.

My point of commenting to this thread was to alert folks that the 2Wq is not like the typical sub. Vandersteen has designed a speaker system, not just a sub that can integrated well with any speaker. The manual alludes to the problem without ever pointing a finger at the first order filter.
Bob_reynolds ,
Vandersteen 2WQ is made and designed for Vandersteen speakers. The point of this thread and original post, was to have some input as to what other brand/models of speakers ( Other than Vandersteen)have blended well with the 2WQ.
I have owned the 2WQ and used it with the Vandetsteen 2CEs and loved what it added to the musical experience.
Do you really feel what you have posted here has answered this question?
Yes, I do. I'll repeat... If you are willing to place a pair of Vandy subs close to your main speakers, they should blend fairly well with any speaker. Unfortunately, you probably won't get the best bass response as if you could place the subs elsewhere without having the sub make itself known.

I was attempting to point out that the first order filters used in the Vandy 2Wq imposes some additional considerations that don't arise with subs that use steeper filters.

I thought this information would be more useful than citing a handful of random examples. I guess I was wrong.
Bob,
I appreciate your contribution......but am a little confused?
The Low-Pass filter built into the 2Wq subs own amplifier only operates below 80Hz I believe....or are you saying there is some output ABOVE 80 Hz for the actual sub?
I thought there was general agreement that below 80Hz......there was no audible directionality to the sound which would mean that the subs could be placed away from the main speakers without disclosing their locations?
Am I missing something here?
(((if you could place the subs elsewhere without having the sub make itself known))
Bob have you ever owned a Vandersteen 2WQ?
Cheers JohnnyR
Vandy dealer
Re Halcro's last question, a crossover point is usually (but probably not always) defined as the frequency at which both the low pass and high pass responses are down 3 db. A first order crossover, such as the 2WQ is described as having, will have a very gentle rolloff of about 6 db per octave from there. More precisely, for an 80 Hz crossover point a first order low pass response would be down only about 7 db at 160 Hz, 12 db at 320 Hz, 18 db at 640 Hz, 24 db at 1280 Hz, etc. So, yes, there will be significant output well above 80 Hz. Although mechanical rolloff of the drivers will eventually sharpen the overall rolloff at mid and high frequencies.

That said, the graph at the bottom of page 2 of the manual appears to depict rolloffs that are far more rapid than 6 db/octave, even for "position 1," which is described as providing "the tightest bass and best transient response" and is apparently the most neutral. Which leaves me perplexed.

Disclaimer: I have no experience with any Vandersteen products. Just trying to shed some light on the technical issues.

Regards,
-- Al
Halcro, your statement about bass below 80 Hz is exactly correct and the basis for my comments is that the first order low pass filter allows output above 80 Hz. It allows substantially more output than a 4th order filter. It's this difference that determines how much freedom of placement you have with a particular sub.

In the manual Richard talks about stereo subs and the directional cues that are lost when summing to a mono signal. Reading between the lines here indicates that there is output above 80 Hz, because otherwise there are no directional cues to lose.

Richard also talks about choosing multiple smaller drivers for motor to surface area reasons. While that may be true for some larger drivers, another reason for using a smaller driver is that it will have a wider dispersion at higher frequencies than a larger driver. This is another subtle indication that the sub will have output above 80 Hz.

It was not my intent to beat up Vandersteen subwoofers. I've talked to Richard on the phone on more than one occasion and I have a lot of respect for his skills as a speaker designer. But, I will say that I've never understood the first order filter belief system that he and Jim Thiel have built their companies around.

I also think it should be expected that designers will stress the potential strengths of their choices and give little attention to (or ignore completely) the disadvantages. That's just smart marketing. There's always trade-offs to be made and consequences for those choices. The consequences are not always clear from reading a manual.
The reason for first order filters mostly is they ring much less.
The Vandersteen 2WQ 3- 8 inch sealed woofers are Down firing,slot loaded which blocks higher frequencies but still maintains a more optimum transient response.
The reason for stereo sub-woofers is because there is
stereo information in the bass.
On some recordings the difference between them enhances the sense of space at the venue.
Using two sources, placed in two different locations,in the room gives a more linear response always.
Quasi first order low- pass filters sum better with a first order high-pass with notably less ringing.
JohnnyR dealer
+1 John! I can attest that what JohnnyR @ Audioconnection is saying is spot on, IME. I am now borrowing a different amplifier for my rig, and with the Ohm Walsh 2000s, I am once again getting a seemless blend between subs and mains. Yet, and this is key, the connection scheme of the 2Wqs allows me to hear quite clearly the differences between my amp and the borrowed amps. I can hear the differences in the frequencies covered by the 2Wqs as well as the frequencies covered by my Ohms. The 2Wq is a pretty unique product, and a heckuva value, IMHO.
I apologize if I'm highjacking the thread a little bit, but I've been looking at the 2WQ and this thread seems to be a good place to ask my questions.
1) Are the 2WQ meant to simply extend the bass response beyond the frequency of the main speaker, or also fix the in-room bass response - address the bass response in the room and make it "better" (tighter, more defined)? Reading the 2WQ's manual on the Vandersteen website, it seems that they are supposed to actually improve the bass response beyond simply making it deeper despite room/speaker placement limitations.

2) How do you connect the subwoofers to your existing equipment? The diagram in the manual is very confusing to me. You connect your line preamp to a crossover, crossover to the main amp, and then perform some weird cable crossover between the speakers and the subs? How does the amp know what frequencies to send where?

3) High pass filters. Only the "higher" frequencies go through to the main speaker, while the low frequencies go to the subwoofer, right? Does that mean that if I have a rumble problem with my turntable my main speakers will no longer exhibit woofer pumping?

Thank you for any clarification and again I apologize for taking the thread off topic.
((( Are the 2WQ meant to simply extend the bass response beyond the frequency of the main speaker,))) Yes
(((also fix the in-room bass response))) Yes
(((address the bass response in the room and make it "better" (tighter, more defined)?))) Yes
((( Reading the 2WQ's manual on the Vandersteen website, it seems that they are supposed to actually improve the bass response beyond simply making it deeper despite room/speaker placement limitations))))
A Vandersteen 2 WQ or pair of 2WQs allow bass to enter into the room more evenly. This will even out the in room Bass response.
When you even out the bass response the whole frequincy responce just blends better.

((How do you connect the subwoofers to your existing equipment))

Simple the 2WQ gets its input at speaker level.
This has its advantages as the sub amp will
now take on the same character as your main speaker amp.

((((High pass filters. Only the "higher" frequencies go through to the main speaker, while the low frequencies go to the subwoofer, right?))))

Think of a high pass as the device that takes the load off of the main Amp/speaker by allowing less of the lowest bass into the main amp.
This lowers the distortion by four times dramatically improving dynamics clarity and transparency of the whole system.
Isolation of a turntable away from moving surfaces is
always best.
JohnnyR
Vandersteen dealer
@ Actusreus...
the setup has the main speakers and the sub receiving the same signal. this signal is high passed, ie, the low frequencies are gradually rolled (80 hz, 6 db per octave) between the preamp and the poweramp. the main amp and the main speakers are therefore relieved of the lowest octaves. the amp in the vandy sub then boosts the signal to recover what the high pass filter removed - it's incredibly effective and the most seamless integration i've ever attained with a sub (velodyne, jl audio, vandersteen) and mains (wilson, revel).
Thanks guys. My listening area is rather small (11x12x9 but open on one side and somewhat enlarged by another 3x7 area plus a walk-in closet and bathroom). Taming the bass is obviously a challenge and the idea of a subwoofer seems counter intuitive since I'm already trying to control what my big monitors put out. Hence my question whether adding a pair of 2WQ would actually help in my situation, or make it worse?
Actusreus , What equpiment do you use? You will need a Preamp and Amp combo to use the Crossover , or a external processor loop on an intergrated amp.

It is a easy set up and you will benefit from the extended bass. The 2WQ will tighten up the bottom end and add a lot more detail.
It has a Q control to adjust from 1 to 10. 1 being a tighter bass response and 10 a looser response depending on your room and personal preference. The output level of the 2Wq can be adjusted to match speakers with an efficiency rating
of between 82dB and 100dB. You set this to match your speaker , or to use to match volume level of speakers. Plus , you can move the sub itself to adjust bass response.

I have Vienna Acoustic Mozarts and have a new 2WQ due to arrive very soon. I am getting this sub to compensate for loose bass resonse at times from my speakers and to add more lower bass detail.
Tim,
Thank you for your response and the personal message through A-gon. Yes, installing the 2WQ would not be a problem as I have a separate line preamp and power monoblocks. I currently use a pair of the Silverline SR-17.5 monitors, and they blend in quite nicely despite the room limitations, but the bass response could certainly be improved. I've also been having some issues with one of the tweeters (see my thread here regarding speaker advice I posted a few days ago), and consider potentially replacing Silverlines with the Vandersteen 2CE, but again I'm concerned they would be too much for the room given their generous bass output. That is why I jumped into this thread with my questions. It sounds like the 2WQ would improve the overall bass response even though they would at the same time increase the actual bass output within the room boundaries, correct?
(((It sounds like the 2WQ would improve the overall bass response even though they would at the same time increase the actual bass output within the room boundaries, correct?))

Because of the Vandy high pass, you now have control on
the main speakers/amp and can adjust to preference tighten or loosen them up at the rooms resonance or overload point.
The 2WQ as mentioned above can now be adjusted for the rooms best transition blending, while achieving genuine extension lending music a more enjoyable foundation.
JohnnyR
The Vandersteen 2WQ is a great sub. I am using The Vandersteen M5-HP crossover with my Conrad Johnson equipment into my Vienna Acoustics Mozart Grands/ 2WQ. Sounds great! I was able to blend the 2WQ very easy with my VA with the help from the M5-HP crossover , sub controls -sensitivity control (volume) and the Q control ( Loose to tight sound) and placement of sub in room. I have been using the 2WQ for several months now.