With the Vandersteen's, I would go with the 2Wq. It is designed to mate perfectly. Why did the REL stick with you more? You really shouldn't "Hear" a sub. It shouldn't increase the loudness, it should only allow for the lowest octaves to be reproduced. Setup will play a bigger part than anything.
The REL is a nice sub and should mate with the Vandersteen's if you want it to. What I would listen for is does the tonal qualities of the REL reflect those of the Vandersteen 2Ce's. Also, the Vandersteen sub is 300 watts vs 100 for the REL and uses 3-8" drivers instead of a single 10". Also, with the Vandersteen Feed Forward Error Correction using a 80 hz crossover, you cannot dynamically restrict it and/or cause distortion.
With all that said, the choice is ultimately yours and YOUR listening preferences. Need to try both and see what works for you using the 2Ce's with each sub.
There has been a lot of discussion on A-gon over the past 18 months or so about the Vandersteen subwoofers (2Wq and V2W). If you have not perused the A-gon archives, I think you should do so -- there is a lot of information that will be informative for you.
A 2WQ does sound quite good with optimal placement. However, the Vandersteen's 6db/octave crossovers do not allow it to disappear into the soundstage as well as the steeper (and lower) crossovers of the Rels and ACI (Titan II LE and Force). This is especially noticeable when the subwoofer cannot be most optimally situated.
As well as allowing the more flexible placement options that my room requires, my ACI Titan II LE also seems to go louder and deeper than the Vandersteen 2WQ, and (IMHO) it is also a fine-looking piece of furniture (it functions as an attractive end table in my living room).
Setup is also quite flexible in that it can be run Rel-style (with the main speakers running full-range and the subwoofer crossed over below that) or quasi-Vandersteen style, using ACI's 12 db/octave highpass filters between the preamplifier and the amplifier that drives the mains.
I've used both methods to seamlessly integrate my Vandersteen 1C's with my Titan II LE. Each method has its advantages in theory and in practice, but recently I'm gravitating toward the highpass filter method, because it usually sounds a bit less congested and clearer in the lows and mids. It also provides me with extra peace of mind when I play the occaisional explosive movie.
Given my strong Vandersteen orientation, I probably would have looked no further than a 2WQ, if I had been able to get it to work okay in my room. I am very glad that I checked out ACI.
I have the REL Stadium III. It is a wonderful sub-woofer. However Sek, Sdcampbell and others have identified something very important. The Vandersteens, in particular, tend to be congested (to my ears) in the mids. The highpass filter relieves the burden placed upon the mains to reproduce low frequencies and tends to clear up their presentation, while passing the burden for VLF to the sub. This enhanced clarity in the mids is, in my opinion, the primary gain of using a sub with these speakers; not low frequency extension of the mains.
Sek, why do you think that a phase correct first order filter would cause the problems you atribute to the 2Wq? I am stumped! And I also don't understand the placement issues you have with the 2Wq. No woofer works well if it can't be "optimally situated". I get the feeling you never listened to one in your system. By the way why would anyone want a woofer to be able to play louder than the Vandersteen? I would invite you to do a bit more research on the 2Wq. Their are as Sdcampbell says lots of good posts out there on this topic.
Judit, the bass congestion you refer to is in my opinion a room/placement issue and not an inherent quality of the speakers. Yes this is a tricky area to get right in most rooms, but with some effort can be worked out. Yes the woofer does make it much easyer to get it right, as the woofer can go where it needs to and the mains can be placed for their best performance. Do you now own or have you owned the 2's? I tend to agree with MOST of the rest of your post.
Matchstickman,(and Sek for that matter) go to the Vandersteen site and read the article listed under the link for indipendant reviews. Open the link for the 2W then find the Audio Perfectionist Journal article. It will expalin very well the benifits of the Vandersteen unit. I will highlight some here. First the 6db per octave phase correct x-over and second the fact that with the Vandersteen you get the true benifit of Bi-amping. Read it. This guy knows what he is talking about!
Maxgain, you are quite correct about the phase benefits of first-order crossovers. It is one of the prime factors in the "Vandersteen magic" that I dearly love. But not all of us can optimally position our speakers for their best performance. I have doorways, heat ducts, windows, WAF, and other restrictions to contend with that compromise almost everything.
The fact is that the Vandersteen 2WQ did not work nearly as well as the Titan II LE in my room with the placement restrictions that I have. That gradual crossover slope allowed more bass frequencies in the directional range to emanate from the 2WQ, which made it stand out more sonicly for me than the Titan II LE (I must place the subwoofer in front and to the right of my 1C's). Both the 2WQ and Titan II LE would certainly perform better if I could place them somewhere between my main speakers or in a front corner, but, alas, I cannot.
Maxgain, I don't understand why you continue to doubt the veracity of what I say. I speak on this topic from my direct experience and have done the research on the Vandersteen line, mining the superb resources on the Vandersteen site and the many helpful posts by Sdcampbell and others here and on other audio sites.
Judit, I would be able to relieve more of the bass congestion and open up the mids of my 1C's while running them full-range, if I were able to position them further into the room. They are currently a little over 2 feet from the back wall; when I've moved them much further into the room, I've jeopardized the WAF (and the 1C's spikes in carpet do make them exceedingly difficult to continually move back and forth, plus I must readjust the Vandystands' alignment each time I reposition the speakers on my uneven floor). I think that the 65 Hz highpass filters do help me place my 1C's closer to the wall.
Sek, I just found it dificult to understand the statement about the first order crossover not allowing the woofer to make a seamless transition. It was from that statement that I made the assumption that you had not tried it in your system before making this judgment.I supose that if you had qualified your statement a bit more it would have made it more useful to Matchstickman. I only hope to clarify the information so as not to confuse the author of this thread and would like to thank you for what you have added in order to do the same.
I do usderstand that some rooms are less than ideal places for a music system and we all need to do the best we can with what we have. I am happy that you have found a suitable solution in your given situation. I just thought that some clarification was in order, as that was sort of a blanket statement, and as you know I tend to question statements of that nature. The impression you gave was that one of the outstanding features of the 2W woofers, the crossover design, was in fact a hinderance to it's performance. I do DISAGREE strongly with that! Hence my questioning of your direct experience with the unit.I do this only because it directly conflicts with my own findings on this topic and I do feel strongly that it would be difficult to find a better choice than the 2Wq for a system with Vandersteens as the main speakers, at least in a music(read,not home theater)system. Sek,please try not to take it as a personal attack, as it is not intended in that way.I have people question what I say here all the time. It is the nature of the forum. No one has to beleive a word I say here. It does not affect the sound of MY system if they don't like what I say. Which by the way is better than ever!
I am confident that both Bigtee and Sdcampell will agree with me that when the circumstances allow for proper set up that the woofer calls NO attention to itself. My mains/sub integration is nearly flawless after what I admit was some considerable but very worthwhile work in this area(with some help, consultation, and advice from both of the Agon members I mentioned). Thanks guys!
I agree, concerning the Vandersteen 2WQ, when the circumstances allow for proper set up that the woofer calls NO attention to itself. I first heard a 2WQ set up quite optimally in a friend's system. His huge Kendalls integrate flawlessly with his single 2WQ (crossed over at 75 Hz., BTW) that is clearly visible to the eyes in the left front corner of his dedicated listening room yet is sonicly invisible in operation.
The 2WQ's crossover design *was* a hindrance to its performance *in my setup* *in my room* (while the 1C's which also use a first-order crossover are quite flexible in the same specific context: apples and oranges). Apparently, with an ACI or a Rel subwoofer, one may trade off some forms of distortion for others, but what's most important is what combination of components sounds better overall, given one's very specific circumstances.
Sek, how does he acomplish this cross at 75Hz? Perhaps you mean he has 75K fixed X-2 filters(their is no 75K setting on the switchable unit that comes with the woofer).
Bigtee and Scott, I have a question my self. It is my understanding that the low pass portion of the X-0ver built into the 2W's is fixed at 80 cycles, and that the feed forward correction does nothing to compensate for input impedance variations and theirfore lowered or raised High pass starting points. i.e. a 75K fixed filter into a 100K amp gives a high pass value at roughly 63Hz and thus an overlap of frequencies being produced by the woofer with its low pass x-over point at 80HZ. Or is their some mechanism that I am unaware of built into "Dick's" feed forward correction set up to compensate for this?
He started with the variable crossover that came with the 2WQ and from there, after consulting our local Vandersteen dealer, determined the proper value for the higher quality fixed Vandersteen crossover for which he paid an additional charge. 75 Hz. is my best recollection.
You can change the crossover "Hinge" point by adjusting the value of the capacitor in the crossover vs. the input impedence of the amp. Using the formula 6.28 x input z x crossover frequency, you can adjust for whatever sound you want by allowing the main speakers to operate further down in frequency or up in frequency. For example, if you set the crossover at 80hz and then re-adjust say at 70 hz, the sound will be more bass heavy. If you do the opposite and go from 80 up to say 90hz, the sound will be leaner. You can always adjust the level control on the sub to compensate for some of this. The 2wq error correction is designed to exactly match the rolloff of the 6db filter at 80hz with a boost in exactly the same fashion creating a flat frequency response. However, room acoustics affect this considerably. That is why Vandersteen says try a value above, equal to and a value below. Since the lowpass on the 2wq is non-adjustable, this is the only option you have. In the owners manual, it shows this. The boost created by the "Error correction" remains the same. You just adjust the crossover point for the sound you prefer.
I can't imagine with some effort not being able to make the 2wq work in any position.
One of the problems the 2wq corrects is the phase shift created by faster slope subs. This was designed into the error correction based on Vandersteen's trials. Everything is going to be a trade off of sorts. But with a little patience and an open mind, you can get this bad boy to work!