Vandy 2WQ bottoms out with movies

Hello. I have the following in my system:
Vandy 3A Sigs, VCC5, VSM1s, 1 2Wq, and 1 V2W, Bryston SP1.7 (SP2 on order) and a Bryston 9B SST.

The single 2WQ in the system is new. I was told by Vandersteen at one point before the purchase to leave the processor set to large for the 3A/2WQ. Of course leave the V2W LFE sub active as well. Well I am disapointed to hear that the 2WQ is bottoming out on some movies. (Having said that I did buy the 2WQ mainly for music anyway.) I have heard many say that rather than having the two different subs (one for movies and one for music) that 2 2 WQs work well and will deliver about the same level of bass. Unless there is something the matter with my system setup, I can't imagine how that would work. If one is bottoming out then surely two of them would too. I was thinking of going this route too. I would appreciate any advise from Vandy owners.


There is sub sonic material on some movie sound tracks that make it difficult for any sub woofer.

At one time I had two 14" Fosgate THX subs (JBL LE drivers) with a high end 1000 watt mono block transistor amp on each. Even with all that power and control, some sound tracks bottomed out the woofers or clipped the amps, I don't know which.

Sometimes I think the temptation to raise the level on the sub (via Dolby processor) is too tempting. I probably had the level set too high as lowering it just slightly solved the problem.

The Vandy is an excellent sub and as you already pointed out, excellent for music. Perhaps like me, you are asking too much of it?
I must say I don't own these subs, but I have heard them many times at a buddy’s house. He has stereo 2WQ's. Last week we were switching out cables and left one sub disconnected and in his largish room there was a very audible reduction in impact and subjective extension. It went as deep, but did not have the same solidarity. I don't know if two 2WQ's will eliminate the amps clipping or speakers bottoming, but you should be able to run them at a lower level in tandem. One other thing, have you tried changing the Q value on the back of the sub? This can really create more subjective bass, but of course it will make the bass more "boomy" and not as quick. I hope this helps.
Hi Dwight,
You have a great system, I have owned several Vandersteen set-ups with Vandersteen's older 2w and the current 2wq subwoofers over the past 15 years. I have never owned the v2w unit.

The 2wq is designed to be used with a Vandersteen furnished simple crossover ( 6db roll-off at + or - 80 hz ), this crossover is a simple quality capacitor selected/sized for your amps input impedance value. You could make one yourself.

Do you have the Vandersteen required crossover inserted between your processor and amplifier?, setting your proccessor to full range would be correct setting with the required Vandersteen crossover inserted. You could be overloading the 2wq without this crossover in-line.

Most processors have built-in bass management crossovers and settings, maney of these setting are at 12 db or 18 db rolloffs at various seleted frequencies that may not match the 2wq's factory pre-selected settings.

I had a stereo pair of 2wq's with the 3a sigs and Vandersteen center/rears. I used a proccessors for movies only, set proccessor at full range fronts but used the Vandersteen crossover, when I watch a movie with LARGE effects, I just kicked up the sub output a few db's and when listening to music, set subs back to my preset music levels. Never had a overload issue with the stereo pair.

With the 2wq set-up correctly, it is very seamless, very different from a standard home theater set-up with a subwoofer overpowering everything, the big differences that I notice with my various Vandersteen 2wq installations was a cleaner midrange/vocals. Low frequencies can be tough to get correct in most rooms, when bass is slow, muddy, or set-up to a high output level, it can cloud up the whole frequency range. With the Vandersteen crossover inserted, you can off-load low frequencies from the main speakers and the main amplifier over to the subwoofer, this is a basic bi-amp system set-up.

My thoughts would be to get a second 2wq for your fronts, purchase the Vandersteen Model 5 crossover that has adjustable capacitor settings, and maybe use your single v2w sub for rear channel effects only, hopefully a few Vandersteen pro's will chime in with their thoughts, just do not give up on the 2wq just yet!
Thanks for the responses.

Steve, thanks I do love my system. I am baffled with this problem (disapointed actually). I have the temporary crossover in place right now. It is a single ended crossover. I will get the balanced version to use when I decide which crossover I require. Having said that, this shouldnt be the problem.

Do you guys think that the Bryston SP1.7 will send LFE signals to the 3A/2WQ as well as the the LFE sub (V2W) with the main speakers set to "Large"?

I have Bryston balanced interconnents for all of my channels but have used cheap single ended cables for the temporary sub crossover. Once I know which one I need I will replace the it with the balanced version of the crossover.

When I hooked the sub up the as noted above, the levels for the main speakers and the sub were way out and had to be readjusted on the SP1.7. Why?

Right or wrong, I know that many people that are more into music than movies have chosen to use a pair of these 2WQs rather than going with the V2W with no issues.

Again, my suspicion is that when the speakers are set to "large" on the SP1.7 it sends LFE info to them as well even though the processor is set with a LFE sub active?

I used Digital Video essentials to set the levels. When I did so, with the setting as described above, the sub pink noise went to both the V2W (LFE sub) and the 2WQ.

When I use the SP.1.7 pink noise it only appears on the LFE sub.

When I turn up the level for the LFE it appears that not only does the V2W (LFE sub) get louder but so does the 2WQ that is being used with my main speakers.

Dhel, I have actually tried turning down the "Q" with the thought that it should reduce the amount of the bass thus not bottoming out the 2WQ. Problem was still present.

Albert, I hear you on being tempted to crank things up for movies but that isnt my case here (at least not intentionally).

Your help would be appreciated.
I'm not an expert by any means on this, but when you set the speakers on large, aren't you telling the bass management to send low bass to the fronts? So it would seem that your suspicion is correct (which you have confirmed, IMO, when you found that turning the LFE level up, makes the 2WQs sound louder. However, why not ask the folks at Bryston?
Setting the front speakers to "large" sends full-range bass. Many movies with low-frequency effects have them mixed into the fronts as well as (or even instead of) the .1 LFE channel.

I have a full Vandersteen HT setup, and tried using stereo 2WQs at one point. They are great subs for music, but I found the same thing that you did - they tend to bottom out with very intense movie sound effects. I removed them and use the fronts with a processor crossover setting that puts mid-bass into them, but shunts all of the really low stuff to the V2W sub, which handles movie LFE much better than the 2WQs did.

If you really want to keep the 2WQ for music, you might want to set a crossover point in your processor that keeps the really low stuff out of your fronts (assuming your processor has this capability).

So anyone take note, who was involved in the former post recently entitled, "anyone with high end home theater sans the subwoofer"!!!
In this, several people posted that you could indeed have a high end home theater, running your high end speakers(passive no less) full range, and forgo the subwoofer... Yeah, I think not!(talking stricktly of passiver towers)
There are easily some subwoofers, like above mentioned out there that can't even handle the most demanding bass info, let alone an inefficient set of full range speakers, running passively, full range!!
I've been hearing full range speakers bottom out on dd/dts material for years this way. So when someone say's their active powered subs are bottoming out on heavy bass tracks, I laugh to my self thinking about those that swear their full range audiophile speakers are just fine for doing a high end ht system on their own. Huh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sound like you need a more ample sub(s)???
Flrnlamb, I dont disagree with your opinion at all. I am just very surprised becuase if you know anything about the Vandy subs (2WQs or the V2W) they are quite highly touted. The V2W (meant for HT) handles things just fine.

What I found out though (and it doesnt make any sense to me) is that EVEN WITH my Bryston processor set to have a LFE sub, with my main speakers set to "large" due to using the 2WQs with the main speakers, and all others to "small" the sub level control on the Bryston controls the level of bass going to the large speakers!

That just doesnt seem right to me! I know that the sub level control is intended to control the LFE channel and redirect the "small" speaker info to it..but...?

I wish someone with a Bryston processor could tell me whether theirs does the same thing.

Swampwalker, my thought was that setting any of the speakers to "large" will send full range signals to them but NOT LFE and the bass below the cut off frequency of all of the "small" speakers.
My 1st HT was in 1993 with a Vandy 2W. IT DID NOT BOTTOM OUT. I am in my 2nd home theater now and have seperated HT from my 2 channel and the Vandy is with the 2 channel system I own. I have a Velodyne 10" sub in my ht and it works fine. For me boom is boom, and the Vandy is over qualified in HT.
Red- I was answering the ? based on the symptoms; you were basing your actions on logic. Your position was logically correct, but inconsistent with the facts! The 2w series is an awesome sub, but just not made for those subsonic effects that directors put into their soundtracks!
Well guys I am not crazy after all (not that anyone said I was...I was just starting to wonder myself as this problem didn't make sense).

After much playing around, I contacted James Tanner of Bryston and ultimately one of his "experts" Mike Picket. Well they were gracious enough to research into the problem at the factory.

After trying to replicate the problem Mike called me back saying "I can't believe that it took this long to find that there was a problem!" Apparantly no one else had ever complained of this. Bottom line is that it isnt my sub's problem at all. It is a software issue with the Bryston SP1.7 which they are going to fix.

You see when the SP1.7 has the main speakers set to "Large" and the surround set to "Small" the bass below the crossover point for the surround speakers is redirected to the main speakers. Here is the problem, the level control for the LFE sub also incorrectly controlled the level of bass that is redirected from the surrounds to the front speakers.

I had the sub level set at 6.5 (for the LFE sub). This was all fine and good until it incorrectly cranked up the redirected bass to the main speakers sub...boosting the level too high!

My temporary fix is of course is simply to reduce the SP1.7 LFE sub level to 0 and crank up my level control on the LFE sub to the appropriate level.

And, as I speak...guess SP2 has arrived!

Thanks for all of your insight.
I have 2 Vandy 2WQ subs in my system and I also hear the subs bottoming out in movies. I currently do not have a LFE sub. I hear the problem with my Rotel and the wonderful Lexicon MC12 I borrowed. I am looking for a LFE sub and I am considering the Vandy V2W but I am really concerned that it will bottom out just like the 2WQ's do. I love the 2WQ's for music though.
Agenttaylor- If you look at a couple of the responses above, they report that the V2W does not bottom out on .1 channel material.
I recommend (even one will do in a room 3000cu feet) a couple of Paradigm Servo 15's and you'll be fine. Pretty darn musical, and plenty of range for movies...excellent subs.
You could go with more expensive Revel's and M&K MX5000's and such, but you'll spend a great deal more for similar.
good luck. I also like the Earthquake subs, but don't know what you'll get for music with them.
I just went through a sub search and purchase. You need to cross over your 3A/V2Q system to enough HT sub. You can determine if another V2W will do it or if a beefier sub is needed.

I have 5As and one of the 5A "subs" has bottomed out once during a movie (Batman Begins - pretty loud playback) and a couple times during LP playback (one Smashing Pumpkins song causes this at levels not all that high). My room is good sized at 4,500sq ft.

Well I got the itch to get a sub or two for HT. After a lot of checking on the avsforum, I ended up finding a great deal on a Returned JL Audio Fathom 13. I started a thread on avs asking about set-up and after some responses I ended up running the Fathom as a mono sub from my Lexicon 12B. This way it gets some LF content and the .1 LFE as well. The 5As are run full range.

After a few movie tests I think this set up is taking enough LF content pressure off the 5As to play as loud as I want for HT. There is now a ton of punch on the low end.

If that did not work, I was going to cross over the 5As to a sub/subs.

Glad you found the problem. I am a Vandersteen dealer and have been running 2Wq subs for years in theater systems and they have proven indestructable-- even in cases where someone has forgotten to use the required high pass filters!

We have enough 2Wq subs lying around the store that I typically one under every channel of a surround system for the ultimate full-range experience. A system just sounds much bigger and more effortless when each speaker is supported by the 2Wq down to near 20hz and with the additional 300 watts supplied by the built in sub amplifier. It also takes a huge burden off of your loudspeakers and power amplifiers at the same time. Just make sure that any speaker you run with a 2Wq is capable down to 40hz or better for optimal blending.

Good luck.