Will a sub woofer mess up my tone and phase aligned speakers

Hi, I posted recently about my vandersteen 1ci 's. Someone suggested I add a sub woofer.  Well I've found a nice 2nd hand Martin logan grotto (not i) (comments welcome).

My question is: will the addition of a 3rd party sub work at cross purposes to the time & phase alignment of my 1ci 's?

I have heard Vandersteen 2wq subs with model 2s and they complement very well. Of course proper set up is essential for seamless crossing over, but Vandersteen subs were designed to work with their partnering speakers.

Having said that, integration of a sub is always many times more difficult than getting a full range pair of speakers situated correctly.

Plan to spend quite a bit of time and energy, or get professional help.

Properly integrated a sub is glorious for all kinds of music.


So the issue with the Grotto is it lacks fine equalization.

Having a parametric or digital EQ, especially one that self-equalizes well is a big deal. Without this a sub will be hit or miss.


The Reference 3A Decapo’s are phased aligned speakers and in answer to your question then as well as now no, a properly integrated sub can not only add the lower frequencies but flesh out the mid bass through the upper frequency range. One of my earliest experiencies with the benefits of a properly integrated subwoofer was with Vandeersteen 2C speakers in a properly set-up and treated room over 30 years ago, subs, there were 2 subs in that setup both Vandersteen as well. With my current setup there in absolutely no loss of anything least of all tone. The amp is working less, lower distortion, less noise/artifacts, thus greater clarity, detail, dynamics and tone. The room is treated and the subs were adjusted using a spectrum analyzer. One thing I would add two subs offer a significant improvement over one.

I would speak with John the of Audio Connection in New Jersey. I’m sure he could help you with any questions regarding your 1ci’s. Good Luck Jim!

Don't be afraid…you simply move the sub around until it sounds good to you. Not rocket surgery, not difficult unless you want it to be. Also, music is not a test tone, so adjust the damn thing from time to time.

a 60hz FREQ is 16 feet long. 1/4 wavelenght is 4 feet

As a rule, path length differences of less than 1/4 wavelength do not need to be corrected (time-aligned).

So, if the distance from listening position to main speakers and subwoofer are less than 1m different and the crossover point is below 80Hz, no correction needed.

I concur with audiogroover.
Call/email John Rutan at Audioconnection (that is his ID on Agon, too).
He can give you the best info regarding Vandy speakers.
You can also call and leave a message at Vandersteen. 
Mr. V. usually calls back the next morning- but, have all your questions ready, as he can be a bit brusque. (Well, he does have a company to run).
I used to have 1Cs, and I added a pair of 2Wq subs. They did not mess up the phase or tone, but the in-line filter was less than fully transparent. I later upgraded to the battery biased Vandersteen crossovers, and the transparency was restored. The Vandy 2Wq is specifically desigend not to introduce phase issues with the main speakers.
Agree that Vandy 2wq sub is the way to go.  Once you have the sub dialed in you won't want to listen without it anymore.  It's a game changer. 

I've never heard a well integrated sub that didn't use EQ. I've heard subs sound decent to good, but not perfect.

Fortunately this is something that can be done later.



I ran Vandersteen subs for years. The Vandersteen sub system with the crossover before the amplifier does integrate very well. The problem is the crossover is not transparent. As I upgraded my system I moved to the battery biased m5-hp crossover which is more transparent than the stock cossover but still smears precise sounds like higher frequency plucked strings and well recorded vocals. For a while I ran the subs with rock and roll and would remove them for jazz. I finally got tired of this and moved the Vandersteen subs into the home theater system
The Grotto has a three position phase switch and along with a pair of long interconnects would allow for an optimal placement which should be enough to obtain a good deal of sonic satisfaction. 

If your dissatisfied with its performance and decide on a more sophisticated DSP subwoofer keep the Grotto because you may be able to slave the equalized line level signal from the DSP sub. Together they may better load the room and decrease room nodes.  
bewoods1962:  Interesting observations.  I haven't listened to my rig without the 2Wqs since, well, since I changed speakers in 2009.  I don't notice the smearing you refer to with the M5-HP crossovers, but my system is not super-resolving.  I am curious:  What is your signal chain like, and what are your main speakers?  TIA.