What subwoofers are suited 4 audiophiles

I am looking for an accurate sounding subwoofer that will blend gently into my system and not be so noticed. Just a little boost in the lower registers that will add to my already accurate system. I am looking for an approaching lifelike sound from my set up while listening to jazz and classical and other acoustical vinyl recordings. What brands should I look at?
After thoroughly researching all the subwoofers in the market about 2 years ago, I went with a pair of Martin Logan Depth subwoofers.

I decided on Depth rather than his bigger brother, Descent, because the smaller size was a must for me, living in a condo. Money was also a factor, Depth MSRP was $1750 at the time, vs. around $3000 for the Descent.

Anyhow, 2 years later I am throwing away the five Maggies comprising my HT setup - most likely will replace them with Merlins - and I am keeping the Depths. I have no plans to change them in the forseable future.

Hope this helps.
Entec Subs
M&K's dual driver units are very nice as is the Muse Model 18 (discontinued). If you are looking for fast rather than deep base, the M&K dual 8" units (MX-70, MX-700, and MX-7000) are awesome for the money in small to medium rooms. Larger rooms could benefit from the Muse, or maybe a Bag End 18". The Mirage BPSS-210 is a good one as well (also discontinued).
Check out the Rels.
TBI Magellan


Not a boom boom sub. It subtly delivers the missing bottom spectrum with fast and taught bass without drawing attention to itself. It can also go very low. The stand up bass in Jazz quartets sounds natural and full with good pace.

Probably not the best for bass freaks or for pressurizing a big room.
There's are lots that seem come to highly recommended by Agoners - Velodyne, REL, James, HSU, ACI - the list goes on. Room size/shape, current electronics and speakers + their in-room bass extension would be useful information to provide so people could give you a better opinion.
Perennial favourites are REL.
I recommend Essex Audio. They supply the drivers for REL among others. They now produce their own line of subs. I use them with Focal Diva Utopia Be's and love the results.
The UFW-10 from av123.com is considerd a top pick for musicians. Not particularly expensive.
REL Subs are the absolute best.
I second the Martin Logan, I own the Descent and it is very articulate, it really blended well with my B&W system.
Rel B3. TAS reviewed it in August 2006 and gave it subwoofer of the year. I have one and it completly disappears. They seldom come up here on A-gon. That is where I got mine.
revel concerta b12?
2 of them cost 2000$ brand new
I think the problem of getting natural-sounding bass in a small room is primarily a room acoustics issue.

Let me give an example. There is one path from the subwoofer to the listening position, and another path length from the subwoofer to the wall behind you then reflecting back to the listening position. At the frequency where the path length difference is equal to one-half wavelength the energy reflected off the back wall arrives 180 degrees out of phase with the direct energy, and a cancellation dip results. At the frequency where the path length difference is equal to one wavelength, the reflected energy arrives in-phase and you have a reinforcement peak. These peaks and dips will move around somewhat as you change the listening position and/or subwoofer location, but they're pretty much inevitable. And they are audible because they are far enough apart to be distinct. At higher frequencies we'll have path-length-difference peaks and dips, but they are bunched much closer together and the reflected energy arrives many wavelengths later than the first-arrival energy so it's part of the reverberant field rather than part of the initial sound.

Equalization can help a lot, but only for one area in the room at at time. Equalization will probably make the response even more lumpy for listeners well outside the "sweet spot".

In my opinion the intelligent solution is an acoustic one. Suppose you had three or four small subwoofers scattered around the room. Now the path-length-delay-generated peaks and dips from the scattered low frequency sources would never be peaking and dipping at the same frequency anywhere in the room. The result is much smoother bass throughout the room.

I don't have any relevant information up on my website yet, but at T.H.E. Show I demo'd with a patent-pending compact four-box subwoofer system (four scattered boxes driven by a single plate amp). The same basic thing can be accomplished with several small independently-powered subwoofers.

Anyone interested in details on the system I showed in Vegas, shoot me an e-mail. I'm out of town right now but will try to check e-mail every day or two.

Audiokinesis: In my opinion the intelligent solution is an acoustic one. Suppose you had three or four small subwoofers scattered around the room.

In that cae, while 3-4 subwoofers might well be better, it would also seem that two full range speakers would be better than one subwoofer?
Aktchi, I think you are correct.

I am looking for an accurate sounding subwoofer that will blend gently into my system and not be so noticed

Bear in mind that your ears are far more sensitive at 80Hz than at 20 Hz. 100 Decibels at 10 Hz is barely audible....a mere 30 decibels is audible at 80 Hz!!!

Ideally this requires a subwoofer with EXTREMELY low distortion figures or else you will hear added harmonics or noise in the 80Hz to 120Hz range! (although some will be very satisfied with their purchase when hearing all this overwhelming bass distortion, which confirms the presence of a new subwoofer)

Here is a guideline; distortion will not be audible if the second-order distortion is below 3%, the third-order around 1% and the higher harmonics are around 0.2%. These specs are gruelling and rarely, if ever, achieved in subwoofers! Your should be looking for THD+N of less than 1% at rated output!

With help from Telarc Corporation, Dolby labs tested 12 commercial subwoofers and published their results (no names were given). They concluded that none of the subwoofers tested was able to meet the distortion and noise criteria required over the frequency range from 12 to 100 Hz. (Psychoacoustic data was used to define audible distortion and noise levels) Here is the reference for the paper; JAES Volume 36 Number 6 pp. 443-456; June 1988 "Subwoofer Performance for Accurate Reproduction of Music".

If you seriouly expect similar audiophile quality as your main speakers than I would plan to spend at least as much as your main speakers on a subwoofer, spending a lot more won't hurt either!
The Revel Ultima Sub30 is far and away the cleanest and most controlled sub I have ever listened to (or owned). It has the features (adjustable crossover, 3-band eq, phase control, etc), speed and finesse to blend with the finest speakers out there. I'm currently running mine with a pair of JMlabs Micro Be's and results are pure magic. The integration is absolutely seamless without touching the wonderful tonal balance of the Micro's. The scale and power the Sub30 adds to the lower octaves is staggering. I strongly recommend an audition. Happy Listening!
Thank you for your inputs.
Was wondering, can I get away with a small cabinet sized subwoofer and still get that accurate smooth blending low frequency boost that I am looking for that disappears in the main speakers output?
I am hoping to get bass that sounds natural and life-like. At this point I am getting an incredible life-like sound with my merlins/apogee ribbons combo. I know it sounds crazy, I had the ribbons off for the longest time thinking it was wrong to use two tweeters, that was around the time of the upgrade of the tonearm with graham which was a TREMENDOUS upgrade, so I used the merlins only. Just the other day I decided to try the ribbons again and since they act as dipole I am getting that lifelike presence from my system that was even better than without the ribbons. It may be too early to say with certainty so I am not saying definitively that this is it, I am totally content with the merlins. They do a better job than speakers costing more, set up in show rooms. The merlins do get the listener engaged! And now I am hoping to add a subwoofer to blend in nicely. thanks
They all sound completely useless compared to a larger speaker.
Was wondering, can I get away with a small cabinet sized subwoofer and still get that accurate smooth blending low frequency boost that I am looking for that disappears in the main speakers output?

IMHO, No! If you want accuracy at realistic SPL levels then plan on something with at least a 12" woofer, large Xmax, a beefy sealed cabinet and high power amplification (500 watts)....remember the sub has to keep up with your Merlins and it has to do this over the most challenging frequency range for a loudspeaker. ( A tweeter is easy, mid range is tough, bass is harder again, but extreme LF is the hardest of all)
I laughed at one of the latter responses, that they are worthless if you have a good (large) set of speakers.

I am auditioning subs, and the latest one is an NHT SW3 with its amp. The guy might give it to me for cheap.

But with my Vandy 3's, the Sub was invisible, and did nothing to add to the sound, except when I turned the volume to max and increased the low pass to over 80. At that point you could hear it, and all it really did was muddy up the sound of the Vandys.

I knew my Vandys were good speakers, but little did I know that they made this sub useless.
Hard to beat REL in price/quality ratio.
I like the Velodyne DD-series, but read Absolute Sound March issue: the new JL Audio Fathom fl 13 is a tour de force and a fair bargain at $3200. And fare thee well REL fans, no speakon connections to boot...
Vandersteen 2WQ what else is there that compeats?
Sealed enclosure multi small drivers quality high pass
5 year warrenty....
doesnt get any better......
I'm building a DIY pair using ScanSpeak Revelator 23W4557T 9 inch drivers and Adire ADA-1200 plate amps. Need only 2.5 cu feet sealed enclosures for a 0.6 Q.

On paper s/b fine for music-only.

But, to quote the great philosopher Yogi Bera:

"In theory, there's no difference beween theory and practice. In practice, there is."

We'll see...