Whatta Ya Think About Hsu Research Subwoofers?


I’m in the market to add one or possibly two subwoofers to my stereo set-up.  I would like to spend $1,000 or less per unit, and that puts some of the higher-rated units out of reach.  I came across an ad for Hsu, which I had not heard of before.  I didn’t want a Chinese product and it turns out that Hsu Research is based in California and founded by Dr. Hsu, who has a Ph.D from MIT.  Audio reviewer Steve Gutenberg gave one Hsu product a positive review.  I was wondering if any of you have experience with Hsu and could share your impressions/recommendations with me.

My existing set—up is:  Parasound P5 pre-amp with Parasound A21 amp;  Martin Logan 60XT tower loudspeakers.  Thanks!
bob540
Love them. Have one I'm listening to right now. :)

GORGEOUS, big, powerful. Easy to set up.
Erik beat me to it. They make a great product and are not priced in the stratosphere. I had an original VTF-2 and it was great. Their Variable Tuning Frequency design gives you more flexibility to tune the sub to your room. 
They have as good a return policy as anyone, and Mr. Hsu has been at this a very long time. I would not hesitate to recommend someone give them a try. 

Oops, sorry, not listening to them right now, forgot they are only on the HT loop right now. 

Still, I stand by my comments. :) Hsu are seriously underrated.
Post removed 
You will get amazing bass from four of them.
HSU subs are the bomb! If I am in the market for a sub, I am buying HSU again. Especially for the money, I don’t think any sub can touch it. 
I owned a pair of Hsu ULS-15s for many years.
Excellent presentation across the entire band and extremely reliable. I left them powered up 24/7 and never had to touch them. 
I owned a pair of SVS 12" SB12S prior the HSU, and the Hsu's offered a lot more output. Granted, its not a fair fight, but the 15s are not of the one note variety. Excellent in a 2.2 music system. 

I'm a sealed sub guy so can only speak to the ULS-15, but their ported units are well regarded among the HT users. Definitely worth looking into. 
Hello bob540,

     I've never owned a HSU sub but wouldn't hesitate to purchase them based on their very good reviews, reasonable pricing and generous return terms. 
     However, I would advise buying a pair rather than just a single sub.  Based on my experience, a pair of subs will perform and sound about twice as good as a single sub.  Bass is cumulative and having 2 will provide a more accurate, realistic and natural presentation of the bass impact and dynamics recorded on the source content with neither sub operating anywhere near its limit.  
     Having 2 subs running in mono mode, properly positioned in your room and in relation to your listening seat, will also provide the normal multiple subs in a room benefits of the bass being smoother, faster, more detailed and better integrated with the main speakers than a single sub is capable of.  The soundstage normally sounds wider, deeper  as well as more realistic, open and natural.
     Besides choosing a pair of HSU subs that match your physical size and budget requirements, you need to make sure the subs have separate controls on each for volume, cutoff frequency and continuously variable phase, I believe most if not all HSU sub models have these. If your budget is tight, I recommend that utilizing 2 smaller and less expensive subs will perform better than a single larger and more expensive sub in virtually any room and system by a wide margin.
      Useful skills to learn are how to optimally position and configure 2 subs in a room.  I suggest googling the 'crawl method' for positioning and setting the volume and cutoff frequency controls on each sub as low as possible with the bass still sounding good to you (powerful, dynamic, detailed and natural).  Remember, the goal is not to constantly hear and feel the contributions of the bass from the subs but for them only to  supplement the deep bass when the content calls for it.

Best wishes,
     Tim
I own and use 3 HSU subs in my listening room. I purchased all 3 on the used market about 3 years ago. The work flawlessly,and sound great. Other than when we go away on vacation,they stay powered on 24/7. Not so much as a hiccup.
Oops! The models I have,2- STF1’s,1-VTF2 Mk3. My room is 9x13x8.
Hello rocray,

     Yes, 3-4 subs properly positioned and configured in a room qualifies as what's called a distributed bass array (DBA) system that's been scientifically proven to be one of the most effective sub-based bass solutions that can also be utilized in any room and with any pair of main speakers, even those very fast and detailed speakers considered very difficult to integrate subs with such as planar-magnetic and electrostatic type speakers.
     In my experience, a3-4 sub DBA system will perform and sound about twice as good as utilizing a pair of subs. Adding 1-2 subs to a pair of subs and positioning them in a distributed bass array configuration results in a further improvement in bass performance in terms of speed, smoothness, detail, power, impact and dynamics.  It will also extend this near state of the art bass performance  throughout the entire room, not just at a single listening position as is the case with using a pair of subs. 
     I utilize a 4-sub DBA complete kit system, an Audio Kinesis Debra system, with results I find very accurately described in this Absolute Sound review of the Audio Kinesis Swarm 4-sub DBA complete kit system (which is identical in price and performance to the AK Debra system but the relatively small subs are more rectangular than the Swarm's squarer shaped subs.):

https://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/audiokinesis-swarm-subwoofer-system/

     My advise is that multiple subs will provide significantly better bass response than a single sub is capable of providing, no matter its size, quality or price.  If your goal is to optimize the bass performance in your system, or prefer near state of the art bass performance throughout your entire room rather than just at your designated listening position, then I recommend using either an AK complete kit 4-sub DBA system or a custom 3-4 sub DBA  system utilizing your choice of subs.
     If you want to learn more about the effectiveness of the DBA concept, 3-4 sub distributed bass arrays and in-room bass response in general, you can google " distributed bass array concept" or "distributed bass array system".

Best wishes,
     Tim
I also have a pair of ULS-15's in my main system.  I think these sealed subs offer very high quality bottom octave coverage for music.  Some might think that with Tekton DI's you wouldn't need subs--but not me!  I am not about an excess of bass.  Rather, I demand tight, musical bass that plumbs the depths that my main speakers just don't do--especially pulled well out into the room.  I've said before that they complement the DI's beautifully--super high value, nicely finished, tremendous performance.  Buy a pair and be happy.
A HSU is a fine sub until you try a better one.  There are many many subs out there that are far far better for music.  
I’ve owned a ULS15 and a pair of VTF subs and have found several sub woofers since then which completely blow them away.  The funny thing is, when I owned the ULS for instance, I thought it was an amazing sub too. 

Cue the offended HSU owners... 
I found HSU to be a step along the path to finding good subs.  I started out with a couple of Klipsch subs, which were complete garbage.  I then had a couple of HSU subs including the VTF-1, a VTF-3 MK3, and a VTF-3 HO.  The VTF-1 was surprisingly good for the price (200 bucks at the time?).  The VTF-3 MK3 was a solid performer.  The VTF-3 HO sucked.  It bottomed out really easily.  I bought it second hand, so maybe it was damaged, but when I contacted HSU and asked about it, they acted like that was "normal".  

I moved on to SVS, Rythmik, and Power Sound Audio and never looked back.  They all seemed to be better built and to have more output and tighter bass than the HSU subs I had.  Maybe a little more expensive, but more value for the dollar. 

That was a couple of generations of HSU subs ago, so maybe they've stepped up their game with their latest offerings. 

My impression of them was that they are the Emotiva of the subwoofer world.  Affordable and sound OK, but for not much more money you can have better build and sound quality.
Of course there are "better" subs.  But the OP has a budget.  I would also take the above comments with a grain of salt.  The older series models do not perform at the same level as current models.  Also, I much prefer a sealed design for music at this price.  
If budget is an issue, SVS has some affordable sealed subs. I have one of their older SB-12 NSD subs in my computer room system. 
SVS are a good choice too.If you buy two they are discounted.Worth a look anyway!I'm very happy with mine.
Corelli: I had a ULS15 and then bought a mkII as a mate.  I tried both alone and both were similarly disappointing compared to what I’ve found since then.  In fact, the mkII is still sitting at my friends, who is saving up money to upgrade.

     I read that contuzzi and corelli wisely use a pair of subs in their systems.  But I'm just curious if other posters on this thread have experienced the many very significant bass performance quality improvements realized when multiple properly positioned and configured subs are deployed in their rooms.  
     If anyone is still utilizing just a single sub in their room/system, I can assure you that adding a 2nd sub will provide an obvious and highly significant improvement in bass performance quality. 
     Utilizing 3 or more subs will provide near state of the art bass performance quality that I'm fairly certain will stun and amaze you, as first experiencing  the bass performance quality of a 4-sub DBA system in my room and system stunned and amazed me about 4 years ago.  I honestly don't believe it's possible for me to overstate how effective the DBA concept actually works in virtually any room and with any pair of main speakers.
     The only precautions worth mentioning are that you'll need separate controls on each sub for volume, crossover frequency and continuously variable phase if you create your own custom 3-4 sub DBA system using traditional self-amplified subs of your own choice and you'll need to set these controls individually on each sub.  If an Audio Kinesis complete 4-sub Swarm or Debra DBA system is used, however, all 3 of these controls exist on the supplied Dayton SA-1000 class AB 1K watt amp/control unit and only need to be set for all 4 passive  subs this amp powers in mono mode.  Each sub is 12"wx 14.5"dx 28"h, weighs 44lbs, contains a 10" aluminum long-throw woofer and is rated at 4 ohms.
      Another option for those who are handy and so inclined, is to buy a Dayton SA1000 sub amp/control unit for $300-400 from Parts Express and build 3-4 passive subs of your choice as to size, design and driver.
This option also has the benefit of only needing to set the volume, crossover frequency and phase once for all passive subs this amp/control unit powers in mono mode.  All sub wiring connections are made in series/parallel.  Depending on the choices made on the DIY subs, however, the total cost could exceed the $3K price of either of the AK complete 4-sub DBA kits.

Tim
For the money,
Hsu subs are very good. I own a pair of VTF mk2 subs for my office.

I only add the caveat that due to owning a pair Vandy subs, as well.
The integration and bass provided by a Vandy subs (coupled with the high pass filter) offers a much better 'seaming' of the sub and loudspeaker.
@OP,
If you can up your budget, a pair of 2wq subs and fixed crossover would be close to $1.5K.
Bob
contuzzi363 posts02-22-2020 7:09amA HSU is a fine sub until you try a better one.  There are many many subs out there that are far far better for music.  
I’ve owned a ULS15 and a pair of VTF subs and have found several sub woofers since then which completely blow them away.  The funny thing is, when I owned the ULS for instance, I thought it was an amazing sub too.
+1
Almost any optimally setup sub is better than no sub at all. Experiencing a low frequency systems presentation attributes from actual in home comparison can give one another horizon. I can't help but remember a friends astonishment when he heard his old school sub fed an equalized signal for the first time.  
Mr. Contuzzi
You are missing the point.  I am sure your subwoofer is bigger than mine.  But the OP is looking for an affordable sub.  Not yours--whatever it may be.  Why would you even post on this thread?  Oh, guess I already answered that.
Thank you to all who have responded to my question — I’m a beginner at this and trying to learn (I sure don’t mind the study!), and I want to benefit from the experiences and informed opinions of the members here.

It looks like the consensus here is that a pair of subs (if not more) gives better results than a single sub.  Also, that I would be happy with the Hsu’s.  The model I am looking at is this one:

http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/uls-15mk2.html

I prefer the looks of the rosewood (would go with my Martin Logan’s) but for the price difference I could be satisfied with black.  The biggest challenge for me is space.  My listening room is 14x19 and a short ceiling (less than 8’), with my equipment along the shorter wall.  The foot traffic passes right in front of my set-up to the garage and a laundry room, so space is pretty tight.  My Martin Logan’s are ported and said to sound better away from the wall, but this would put them in the path of people walking through.  Adding two subs to the mix — I’d have to figure out how to do that and not have them blocking the path.  I have a large fireplace that takes up most of one wall, large windows taking another (and heating vents below them that I want to keep my equipment away from) and an overśized sectional that dominates the other wall.  So, gotta work within prescribed limits.  I could post a pic of what it looks like, if you could offer suggestions?  
@bob540    That would clearly be the best choice out of the Hsu line for both aesthetic and musical reasons.  Your room does sound a bit tight, so you clearly would have issues with placing larger cabinets.  It's hard to predict where your subs will sound best.  Two is better than one for reasons noted above.  I lugged my subs to all the different placement options I had in my room. (You can see a pic of my room under Virtual Systems). In the end, they worked the best corner loaded.  Every room has its different set of resonant modes and nulls.  You just have to try it and see where things sound best from your listening position to your ears/taste.  The test CD Hsu provides is helpful as well music with deep bass content that you are well familiar.  Would be happy to look at pics of your room if you would like.
@bob540, your room's volume is not that big, and it sounds like floor space is at a premium. While a pair of ULS-15s would provide all the  low end you could want, you might have better placement options with a pair of SVS 12" subs (something like the sb-2000 pro). Although they don't have the rosenut veneer of the ULS, which is really nice if aesthetics are important.




Hello bob540,

     Each of your ML 60XT speakers have rated bass output from their dual 8" woofers of 35 Hz +/- 3 dBs. Humans are capable of hearing bass frequencies down to 20 Hz. Virtually all commercially available recorded music (CDs, LPs and digital music files) have all of the left and right channel bass picked up by the recording mics, that are below about 100 Hz, summed to mono during the recording’s mixing process. This is done because humans generally cannot localize (determine exactly where bass sound tones are coming from) on bass frequencies below about 80 Hz.
     In practical terms, the above means there’s no such thing as true stereo deep bass because we can’t determine where bass frequency sounds below 80 Hz are coming from and, even if we could, virtually all of the recorded music we play on our systems is summed to mono below 100 Hz anyways. So, it makes no difference whether we setup our playback systems for true stereo deep bass or mono deep bass reproduction since we’re going to perceive deep bass as mono either way. It’s also important to know that we get progressively better at determining exactly where sounds are coming from as the sound frequency gets higher, from about 80 Hz all the way to our audible high frequency sound limit of about 20,000 Hz.
     But it gets more complicated than this and all hope is not lost due to our remarkable brains and the fact that that all deep bass fundamental tones have overtones or harmonics that are at frequencies that reach frequencies well above 100 Hz, are recorded in true stereo, are played back through our main L+R main speakers and that we are able to localize (determine exactly where these bass overtones/harmonics are coming from).
Fortunately, our brains are able to associate these bass overtones/harmonics that are at frequencies that reach well above 100 Hz, we are able to localize, that are played through the main stereo speakers, with the deep bass fundamental frequency tones that are below 80 Hz, that we are not able to localize, that are played through the subs and, therefore due to our brains sound processing power, we are effectively able to determine specifically where deep bass tones below 80 Hz are coming from.
     This cerebral association process is very relevant to audio because it allows us to perceive exactly where in the stereo sound stage illusion that deep fundamental bass frequency tones are coming from. For example, the upright bass can be properly perceived as being located at the front left of the sound stage and the deep bass drums can be properly perceived as being located at the center rear of the sound stage. I’m sorry for all the detail but I think this information is essential in understanding how to attain improvements in bass performance quality in our domestic sized rooms and systems.
     As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, your ML 60XT main speakers are rated to have bass extension down to 35 Hz, which means you’re currently not hearing or feeling any of the deep bass content on any of the music you play from 20 Hz to about 35 Hz.
     This is basically the entire bottom 2 octaves of the musical spectrum, that forms the solid foundation of most musical genres and that I’m not even sure you realize has been completely absent from every track you have ever played or will play on your current system.  But I believe your interest in adding a pair of subs is likely based on your sense that a large and critical portion of the audible frequency spectrum has been missing in action from your system and musical enjoyment. So we’re in absolute agreement that your system needs a pair of good quality subs like Trump needs a brain and a soul.
     My opinion that a pair of HSU uls-15 MK2 subs you linked to are a very good choice. They have high quality deep bass extension down to the audible limit of 20 Hz, have the 3 required controls (volume, crossover frequency and continuously variable phase.) and each has the proper line level rca ’Sub In’ input for connection to your P5’s line level rca ’Sub 1’ and ’Sub 2’ outputs, respectively.
     I also think your P5 is an ideal preamp to use when adding a pair of subs to one’s system since it has dual line level rca mono sub outputs with a built-in adjustable low pass cutoff frequency that controls the range of bass frequencies sent to both connected subs. The P5 also has line level rca L+R main speaker outputs with a built-in adjustable high pass cutoff frequency that controls the range of bass frequencies sent to your
A21 amp first and then on to your main speakers. These are both very useful controls that we can discuss how to best utilize and set on future posts.
     Just one more opinion, I think you might want to consider paying the extra $150 per sub for the rosewood finish. You’re going to be seeing these subs in your room on a daily basis for probably at least a few years. I think the fact that you didn’t pay the relatively small extra money to have them better match your ML main speakers may nag at you long after you’ll remember or care about saving a bit of money in the short term. Just something to think about since it’s your money and decision.
     The last thing I want to mention is you’ll need 2 single mono male-to-male line level cords to connect each sub to your P5 preamp. If you use the crawl method to optimally position each sub in your room in relation to your designated listening seat, and begin your search at the right front corner of your room and proceed counter-clockwise around the perimeter of your room as recommended, I strongly suspect you’ll discover that the bass sounds best at your listening seat with both subs positioned along your front short 14’ wall. It could be with one in each corner but my experience makes me think they’re most likely to sound best with both subs along the front wall with one about 1-2’ away from the right front corner and the other 1-2’ away from the left front corner.
     I still suggest you just faithfully follow the crawl method and position them precisely where they sound best to you. But this means it’s best to buy one 8-12’ mono rca cable for Sub#1 and the one for Sub#2 much longer, at least to start with. If I’m correct about sub positioning, you could probably just exchange the extra long cable for another 8-12 footer or just buy another. But if I’m wrong, you’ll probably need it because the optimum position may be along your left long wall with the windows and you’ll need to avoid positioning Sub#2 directly over an hvac vent.

Later,
Tim
I think that if you need to use a sub then you bought the wrong speakers. Using subs defeats the whole idea of stereophonic 2 channel reproduction and is sacrilegious (lol). Buy speakers that produce prodigious amounts of bass if that is your thing. Otherwise, keep the sub where it belongs, on a home theater set up. Maybe it’s just me, I don’t get it. Only an opinion, be nice...
Speakers that can produce deep bass often run in to the problem of real world rooms that have peaks and nulls. Multiple subs are a way around this... and once you experience the ambience created by deep bass, even at low volumes, you won’t want to give it up.
audioguy85:"Otherwise, keep the sub where it belongs, on a home theater set up. Maybe it’s just me, I don’t get it. Only an opinion, be nice..."

Hello audioguy85,
     Well, you're right about one thing, you really don't get it. 
     I think snapsc gets it and it's probably because he didn't let old and tired misconceptions and biases against using subs in one's music audio system stand in his way.  None of those things mattered to him or me.
     What matters to us is keeping an open mind about improving our systems and getting closer to the music.
     You state you don't get it and I believe you.  I've come to the conclusion that nobody, with myself and a surprisingly small group of others included, really gets or truly understands how amazingly well multiple subs in a distributed bass array actually perform until they  experience it. 
     I now believe it's simply that there are 2 groups of individuals: those who have experienced a 3-4 sub DBA system and those who have not.  The first group have all bought or created their own custom 3-4 sub DBA system and enjoy near sota bass performance on a daily basis for music, HT or both.  The second group, having never experienced a 3-4 sub DBA system, have no idea what they've been missing and remain blissfully ignorant. 
     So ultimately you're correct, you don't get it and you just don't get to enjoy near sota bass performance on your system and music on a daily basis.  Congratulations, but at least you still have blissful ignorance going for you.  

I was nice, right?
     Tim
Nicely dismissive, Tim!  Lol

I just posted a grainy photo in my profile showing the space I am working with.  Sorry it is so dark and fuzzy.  The doors to the right are to my garage and laundry room, so cannot block those.  The table that holds my electronics is centered under the TV — Martin Logan towers are to each side of that, but hard to make out.  There is space to the left, as I can move the tower that holds my CDs and the record albums.  I wish I had Bluetooth capability for the subwoofers, as I could place one further to the right out of the line of foot traffic, and then I have space for one on the left.  I could cover the cable with a small throw rug I suppose.   
If "prodigious amounts of bass is your thing", what difference does it make how you get it, whether it’s speakers or complementing speakers with a subwoofer (or multiple subs)? Even if you just want a "realistic" amount of bass, again, why does it matter how you achieve that?  A purpose driven device (the subwoofer) just might be better than one that’s trying to be a jack of all trades (the speaker).

And it doesn’t have to be 4 subs. I have 4. Having 4 is awesome and a great option, but might not be the best solution for everyone. It’s certainly not an option in my 12’ X 12’ room where I have my Harbeth P3ESR’s set up. A single entry level 12" sub works great in that system.

The best subwoofer integration I’ve heard to date was done with two subs. Compared to that system, I feel like my 4 subwoofer system is more of a band-aid than a best of class solution. Not that mine sounds bad, it’s very good, but there’s always more than one way to skin a cat.
I use a pair of HSU's with my Maggie's.  I recently added two more subs, generic 8" in the back corners of my room. So .7" fed by a Parasound A-21.

The HSU subs I run with both ports sealed and crossed over about 90. The back subs have cleaned the bass up spectacularly. Best I have ever had.
OP, I’ve got the smaller Motion 40s and a HSU ULS 15 MK2 in a room not too different from yours.  It’s a great subwoofer for the price.  Volume knob is less than half way. Crossover I have tried at 60 and it is great.  I bought my sub in black.
You can give Syzygy a look, wireless, great support, almost bullet proof, auto e.q. and won’t break the bank. Good recent reviews.  
You can give Syzygy a look, wireless, great support, almost bullet proof, auto e.q. and won’t break the bank. Good recent reviews.  
I use two of the SVS SB-12 NSD subwoofers mentioned above in my main system. They are a discontinued model and can still be had for $400 each. Never a glitch.

https://www.amazon.com/SVS-SB12-NSD-400-watt-Controlled-Subwoofer/dp/B009F8Y7SO
I have a HSU VTF15 in my HT. Love it. 
big_greg: " If "prodigious amounts of bass is your thing", what difference does it make how you get it, whether it’s speakers or complementing speakers with a subwoofer (or multiple subs)? Even if you just want a "realistic" amount of bass, again, why does it matter how you achieve that? A purpose driven device (the subwoofer) just might be better than one that’s trying to be a jack of all trades (the speaker)."

Hello big_greg,

     The main reason I utilize a 4-sub DBA system in my room is not to have prodigious amounts of bass but to attain the highest quality bass that is sufficiently smooth, fast and detailed to blend in seamlessly with my smooth, fast and detailed Magnepan 3.7i main speakers.
     My pair of 3.7i are 6’x2’x2" dipole 3-way panel speakers produce very high quality smooth, fast and detailed almost full range frequency performance all by themselves in my 23’x16’x8’ room. However, they only have a rated bass extension down to 35 Hz which most people, including myself, would accurately describe as deep bass limited.
     I believe the bass the 3.7is do produce is sufficiently smooth, fast, detailed and, of course, seamlessly integrated with the midrange and treble planar-magnetic drivers that many would not discern a need for external dynamic subs that are notoriously difficult to integrate with planar-magnetic and electrostatic main speakers.
     But I added the Audio Kinesis Debra 4-sub distributed bass array (DBA) system, which is almost identical to the AK Swarm DBA system reviewed on the link attached below, to extend the bass range of the 3.7is down to the audible limit of 20 Hz and improve the deep bass impact, dynamics and realism of music in my room. The AK Debra 4-sub DBA system very successfully achieved this for me while also integrating seamlessly with my main speakers.

https://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/audiokinesis-swarm-subwoofer-system/

     You asked: " Even if you just want a "realistic" amount of bass, again, why does it matter how you achieve that? A purpose driven device (the subwoofer) just might be better than one that’s trying to be a jack of all trades (the speaker)."

     You answered your own question. Typical tower or panel speakers are trying to be jack of all trades. Subs and sub systems, however, are purpose built devices that have the dual benefits of being capable of reproducing bass down to its audible limit of 20 Hz and, more importantly, being capable of being independently positioned in the room to avoid the pitfalls of bass peaks, dips and nulls at the designated listening position in your room.
     Tower and panel speakers are typically positioned in a room and in relation to the designated listening seat to achieve the optimum midrange and treble performance along with maxinizing the imaging and the 3D sound stage illusion effect made possible by 2 channel stereo recordings and the playback through 2 precisely placed stereo speakers.
     This main speakers positioning is very important and enjoyable when done properly but the biggest loser in this normal process is bass performance at the listening seat. The precise positioning of the bass drivers (woofers) in the room and in relation to the listening seat is also very important for good bass performance. But they’ve been totally ignored during the normal process of optimizing the position of the main speakers for midrange, treble and imaging performance at the listening seat.
     Proper positioning of the woofers in the room and in relation to the listening seat has been totally neglected and their positions are usually relegated to positions directly below, and physically attached to in the same cabinet, the midrange and treble drivers. It is highly unlikely that the optimum position of the bass drivers in a room and in relation to the listening seat will be directly below the optimum position of the midrange and treble drivers in a room and in relation to the listening seat.
     What could possibly be the solution to this dilemma since the drivers are all permanently attached to each other in the same cabinet or panel and lack the capacity to be independently positioned for optimum performance?
You guessed it, the most basic solution is adding a single good quality sub that can be independently positioned in the room to supplement the bass already arriving at the listening seat from the main speakers and thereby optimize bass performance at the listening seat.
     Progressive improvements in bass performance quality at the listening seat will be achieved by adding good quality, properly positioned subs to the room. The very obvious and progressive bass quality improvements resulting from adding more properly positioned subs to a room are increases in bass smoothness, speed, detail, impact, dynamics, sense of ease, sound stage openness, size and naturalness along with a seamless quality to the integration to the main speakers.
     There are more details I’d like to describe about why it matters where bass performance quantity and quality improvements come from along with the benefits of multiple subs but I’ll stop here for the sake of brevity.

Tim
Tim, they were rhetorical questions.  As I mentioned, I use 4 subs in my main system.  My point was that there are a few people that make pronouncements that may be "true" for them, but they may not be truisms for everyone - "you have to have four subs", "subs are for home theater", etc.  What's "best" for one system, one's listening tastes, and their room may not be for someone else.
For smaller subs , that have great tight bass , have you considered JL Audio ?
big_greg:" Tim, they were rhetorical questions. As I mentioned, I use 4 subs in my main system. My point was that there are a few people that make pronouncements that may be "true" for them, but they may not be truisms for everyone - "you have to have four subs", "subs are for home theater", etc. What's "best" for one system, one's listening tastes, and their room may not be for someone else."

Hello big_greg,

     Okay, but I just reread your prior post and you sure did a poor job of making it clear your questions were rhetorical and what your point was. Odd, because you were able to clearly make your point in one sentence,  "  My point was that there are a few people that make pronouncements that may be "true" for them, but they may not be truisms for everyone", in your last post quoted above but failed to clearly do so in your entire prior post.
     Good, that clears up the issue of your point from your prior post that wasn't initially clear to me and I agree with your recently understood point.  Thank you.  
     But I'm hoping you could clear up another section of your prior post that I didn't fully understand or had questions about.  You stated:
" The best subwoofer integration I’ve heard to date was done with two subs. Compared to that system, I feel like my 4 subwoofer system is more of a band-aid than a best of class solution. Not that mine sounds bad, it’s very good, but there’s always more than one way to skin a cat."

     I have 2 questions/comments:

1.  Can you elaborate on the this best subwoofer integration you've heard to date that only consisted of 2 subs?  It's not that I don't believe you, it's more a matter of curiosity.

2,  I generally agree with you that there's always more than one way to skin a cat.  Apparently just like you. I'm also very interested and familiar with the various methods available for this hobby.  For example, I typically utilize very different methods depending on whether the cat is dead or alive.  Is this what you were referring to? Can you elaborate? 

Thanks,
  Tim
bob540:
" I just posted a grainy photo in my profile showing the space I am working with.  Sorry it is so dark and fuzzy.  The doors to the right are to my garage and laundry room, so cannot block those.  The table that holds my electronics is centered under the TV — Martin Logan towers are to each side of that, but hard to make out.  There is space to the left, as I can move the tower that holds my CDs and the record albums.  I wish I had Bluetooth capability for the subwoofers, as I could place one further to the right out of the line of foot traffic, and then I have space for one on the left.  I could cover the cable with a small throw rug I suppose."

Hello Bob,

     Sorry, I got sidetracked having a bit of fun.
     I looked at the picture of your room and system.  It's clear enough that I understand your issues with space and traffic patterns.  I can't see the rest of the room, but I believe you mentioned earlier that there's a large sectional couch along the opposite 14' short wall in your 14'x19'x8' room.  Please correct me if I'm incorrect.
     The first solution that comes to my mind is to switch ends for your tv/equipment and your couch.  The back of your couch would be positioned about 3' away from the door to your laundry room/garage door to allow for traffic.  Your tv and equipment would be positioned along the 14' short wall where your couch was.  This format would allow for your main speakers to be moved out a bit from the wall with the pair of subs along this wall behind them.
     I understand there may be obstacles with this solution so I'll wait for your response before offering another possible solution.

Tim
Tim,

I'm a fairly good writer, but understand that sometimes things like sarcasm, jokes, and also rhetoric aren't always easy to pick up on in a medium like this forum.  

The system I mentioned with two subwoofers belongs to a member of our local music club.  I don't recall all of the equipment in his system, or the exact models of his subs, but he had Harbeth Super HL5 Plus speakers (which I purchased for my system after hearing his) and one JL Audio and one Rel sub. 

I'm not sure I have the vocabulary to describe it, but the bass in his system was immediate, articulate, and powerful when bass notes were present, but not overwhelming.  He had a lot of room treatment (bass traps, diffusers, absorption panels, maybe more) and if I recall, his subs were placed in opposite corners of the room.  He mentioned that he had endlessly tweaked his system to achieve the bass performance we heard. 

There were about six or seven of us there and we all took turns sitting in different seats during our listening.  There was of course a "sweet spot" for the best imaging from the speakers, but the bass had no noticeable peaks or nulls in any of the spots where I sat.  It was a relatively small room (maybe 16 X 20 feet?), but it opened into another room on one side.  To my ears, it was one of the best, maybe even the best system that I've heard.  The clarity of the speakers, the soundstage, the imaging, the integration between the subs and the speakers were all sublime.  That's not to say it might not have even been better with another sub or two, but it was a really involving and dynamic listening experience with no apparent flaws that jumped out at me.

My room is bigger and has a few nooks and crannies and opens into my kitchen/dining room.  I have four subs - two Rythmik F25 subs and two SVS SB13 Ultra subs in my system.  It sounds great, and I don't notice any peaks or null spots and when I listen from my kitchen, there's no "boominess" or "one note bass", but it's not as dynamic as his system was.  My guess is that has more to do with the quality/power of his subs and the sound treatment in his listening space.  I've been adding room treatments and continue to experiment with placement of both the speakers and subs, sub settings, and other variables. 

I enjoy my system, but that system set a benchmark for me of what's possible.  That includes comparisons to a $100K system in a dealer showroom, and a number of other systems, both in treated showrooms at dealers and other friends who have high-end systems.  I appreciate and enjoy my system and have put it together on a relatively modest budget.  Employing four subs definitely took it to another level, using equipment I already had, but had only used for home theater in the past.


Hi Tim. The layout of my room is a bit different than you are thinking.  The other short wall is the one with the windows — my sectional is beneath those windows and then around the corner and takes up the wall that is to the left of my stereo (when facing the stereo.  The other long wall, to the right of the stereo (where you see the two doors) is taken up by the fireplace.  So, the only walls I could mount the TV on are where it is or on the long wall where the sectional is — but that latter placement would have my seating backed up to the fireplace.  I put my TV on the only wall that made sense to me, and then I put my stereo equipment where the TV is (and can play TV sound through the stereo equipment.  

While trying to decide how many subs I will get, I will also look into some of the other sub brands others mentioned here . . JL Audio, Rythmik, Rel, Audio Kenisis?   Never hurts to explore options.  
I currently own a pair of uls 15 mk2 paired to goldenear 5 channel system...the subs have fantastic sound quality. Tight and Digs deep for a sealed sub. For music, It can reach the lower midbass to give that kick drum some power too if wanted. You can tune the sub to your taste with the built in eq.  I'm a constant tweeker, but that's the one part of the system I dont feel the need to upgrade.
Hello big_greg,

I definitely agree with you that it’s sometimes hard to pick up on rhetoric in posts since it just happened to me. I’m usually fairly good at picking up on satire, sarcasm and jokes but admit I may need some work on my rhetoric detection skills.
I think we resolved this little misunderstanding between us reasonably and amicably and really don’t think either one of us consider this a big deal or worth further attention. Thank you.
I noticed you wisely avoided answering my questions about our shared hobby of skinning cats. I was fairly sure you’d understand I was just having a bit of fun and have never skinned a live cat, at least as far as you know.
But thanks for elaborating on the very good 2-sub system your fellow music club member has.as well as your own systems. I really don’t consider myself someone who believes that what I use and like is what others should use and like. But I do realize I do get very enthusiastic about things that work very well in my system, such as the 4-sub DBA system, and I probably run the risk of being perceived that way on some of my posts.
I feel like I’m walking a really fine line with the 3-4 sub DBA system concept because it not only works so well for me even without any room treatments, EQ or DSP, it's also claimed to work well in virtually any room and with any pair of main speakers. This seems like the perfect exception to this axiom, a situation in which something that I use and like really is what others will likely use and like. It’s especially difficult not to get enthusiastic about a bass solution that apparently will work for everyone, regardless of their room and main speakers. Heck, not spreading the word seems to be the bigger crime with the 3-4 sub DBA concept.
As you and I know through personal experience, however, excellent bass performance can also be attained in a system and room by using as few as 1 or 2 subs. I think my best solution, when giving advice on this subject on future thread posts, is just to be honest and relate what I stated above on this post.
Thanks for spurring me to more fully explore and evolve my thinking on the subject of sub usage and effectiveness.

Tim
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I have been checking out some of the other recommended subs, and SVS and Hsu seem to offer the most bang for the buck (being a bang-for-buck guy myself).  The 12” SVS do have a discount for buying two, but the wood grain ones just do not appeal to me, and the gloss piano black cabinets costs $100 more each.  I can get the Hsu with 15” drivers for a good price — I just need to decide if it’s worth paying $300 more for the pair with rosewood finish to match my towers.  Thanks to everyone that responded to my question.
@bob540,

The main issue has been overlooked. You’re room. I took a look at your system page. I’d try experimenting with room treatments. The big (tallish) center cabinet is nice but not optimal. Too much stuff crammed into that entire space. Then there is the big screen in the center wall. If you get a sub/s, you have no good choices for optimal set-up.