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Revelation
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The problem with using a sub with a hifi stereo

I started using my Focal sub with my Focal Aria speakers. However after the speakers broke in I didn't need the sub.

However I found a interesting things about using a sub.

First off we all know the hassel of sub placement and the time it takes to get it right. Then to figure out what is the best crossover frequency to choose from.
Then to get the right volume for the sub and the blend with your main speakers. I was willing to do all that but the next issue I didn't think about much before.

So let's say you buy a real nice amp for your stereo. The low end on your speakers uses the amp the most. Now if you remove the bass frequencies to a sub, not your not getting your wonderful amps quality and sound coming out of your speakers anymore. the class D amp in your sub is now handling the sub power. Granted if you have bookshelf speakers and you want a sub 8 understand. But if you have larger speakers and you buy a wonderful amp/preamp, who does not want that amp to provide the sound to your music which you chose out of several amps.

In the end it all depends on the quality of the sub bass vs the quality of the amp/speaker combo. I've heard it go both ways - where the sub addition made for better bass, and where the quality of the bass in the speaker was superior.

With that being said if you buy a Macintosh, Krell, Conrad Johnson or other high quality amp that is known for certain characteristics that you want to hear and it's matched properly with your speakers then my point is more valid.

Now if your playing dance music that has a thumping bass where you want it to sound like a night club a sub would definitely be the right choice for that situation or if your amp cannot produce low bass in the room it's in. I typically don't play music over 95db due to my tinnitus

Kal Rubinson
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If you trivialize the details

If you trivialize the details of integrating a subwoofer into a quality stereo system (e.g., eschewing EQ for the sub), you are most likely to have poorer results than without the sub.

BluesDog
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Subwoofers are a helpful adjunct when set up fully.

It may vary on the type of music how much you need a subwoofer but there is no question that it takes up some key slack on a less then full range speaker.

Awhile back I listened to the Focal 926. It had a bit forward sound that I still liked but it DID need help for anything below 39-38hz or so. I would suggest as Kal recommends, some equalization and more time integrating it in your system. It is not surprising that subs can take awhile to do this but when dialed in right were well worth it. In my case (your mileage may vary) a good sub loosened up and sounded better after some breakin

Kal Rubinson
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BluesDog wrote:
BluesDog wrote:

It may vary on the type of music how much you need a subwoofer but there is no question that it takes up some key slack on a less then full range speaker.

Almost any speaker can benefit and with almost all music but it is not plug-and-play. With B&W 802D3s and Revel Studio2s, good integration with extended and clean bass can be accomplished in many ways. I reported on such using JL subs and the JL CR-1 (https://www.stereophile.com/content/jl-audio-fathom-f110v2-powered-subwoofer) and recently with SVS subs and DiracLive (under review).

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In my case (your mileage may vary) a good sub loosened up and sounded better after some breakin

If you say so. :-)

BluesDog
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Which SVS Sub(s) Would That Be?

I read your JL Audio 3 Musketeers article with much interest, I couldn’t help but feel (even with equalization) it must have felt like reconciling a 4 wheel alignment within 3 dimensional chess. Would you be reviewing the SB-4000 or (gulp) the SB 16 Ultra in quantity?

Taking an informal stab at your 4 speakers contest at a friend’s apartment. I’m hazarding the following as contestants

Revel Performa3 F208
B & W 802 3D
Focal Kanta No 2
Sonus Faber Olympica Nova

Whatever these fantastic 4 were, I would have loved to sign a nondisclosure agreement and listen in.

Kal Rubinson
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BluesDog wrote:
BluesDog wrote:

I read your JL Audio 3 Musketeers article with much interest, I couldn’t help but feel (even with equalization) it must have felt like reconciling a 4 wheel alignment within 3 dimensional chess. Would you be reviewing the SB-4000 or (gulp) the SB 16 Ultra in quantity?

Probably not because I cannot (or will not) put multiples of those in my room because it is also our living room and multiple monsters are simply inappropriate and obtrusive. I did use a pair of JL F113s for a long time. However, since the system is used only for music (no movies) and my interests hew towards classical, there's no need for stygian responses at explosive levels. Multiples of smaller subs provide smoother and equally extended performance than fewer behemoths.

BluesDog wrote:

Taking an informal stab at your 4 speakers contest at a friend’s apartment. I’m hazarding the following as contestants
Revel Performa3 F208
B & W 802 3D
Focal Kanta No 2
Sonus Faber Olympica Nova

Yes to the F208. Close on another and nope on the remaining two. :-)

Quote:

Whatever these fantastic 4 were, I would have loved to sign a nondisclosure agreement and listen in.

It was a great experience but it was driven by my friend's need to choose his speakers in the most rational way available. It's not likely to happen again, unfortunately.

BluesDog
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SVS Subwoofer Ponderables

Thanks Kal for your always thoughtful and detailed efforts at (well) everything. I have a better idea of where you may be going and why with an upcoming SVS sub review. I will wait to kick back and enjoy that when the review comes out. I have an SVS SB 2000 (since replaced by the SVS SB 2000 Pro) that I’ve been happy with in a 14 x 19 room. I’m wondering if they will come out with an SVS SB 3000 Pro? I also wish they would come out with a new SVS Ultra floorstander.

There are a number of capable subwoofer makers out there such as JL Audio (for sure!) What helps distinguish SVS is their ability to package very good performance in space efficient dimensions.

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