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WishTree's picture
Last seen: 11 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 18/05/2010 - 22:51
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Music / HiFi - Subwoofer needed?

This is an extract from another thread.. Just starting a new thread, in case some one is interested


Long time back, when I just got into HiFi, I read some where that 'if something is recorded onto the song, then it needs to be reproduced to get the correct intended joy of that song'.

So when it comes to the low frequency, most of the respectable floor standers can not dig as low as +- 3db at 21Hz or +-6 db at 18Hz. That makes a subwoofer must (unlike movie watching where eyes & ears get engaged, music listening can pick up the additional low end weight).

As you might be aware that the biggest thing that works against a three way speaker in comparision to a two way speaker is the transition at the cut off frequency. With a three way there is a possibility of two dips and with two way just one.

When we translate this to a subwoofer which is mounted in a seperate enclosure, driven by a seperate amplifier, completely different most probably too different drivers from the main speakers and with much more plausible standing waves effected by the room acoustics etc etc - many people do not bother to integrate a sub into the music system and happy to invest much more on speakers which can dig few more hz below.

Let this not put off any one but only work as a guide to do the job right and that's where the PV1 comes in. It's pressure vessel construction makes bass very tight (extreme opposite of diffused) and also placement relatively easily. It can take the speaker level input as well which makes it easier for stereo set up (but I do with RCA). If the main speakers have bungs put them in and set the dial on sub 5-10hz more than the cut off frequency of the main speakers (mine is set at 60Hz). The tricky part is setting up the volume on the sub. Though initially I used to bring down the volume decrementally, I have figured out that bringing up the volume is better. Also I got carried away to set the volume on sub so that I can hear the sub but the trick is to set it in such a way that you set the maximum volume where you are unable to hear the sub seperately (I agree, it takes some trial and error). 

That is it. Once set up, you listen for a day with the sub on and the same tracks again with sub off and the sub goes never off! (In my case, I turn the sub off after 21.00 just to be nice to my neighbours though they never complained!)

WishTree's picture
Last seen: 11 months 2 weeks ago
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RE: Music / HiFi - Subwoofer needed?

DocG wrote:

WishTree wrote:

DocG wrote:

Hello WishTree,

A little sideway, maybe, but I noticed the PV1 in your signature. Is it always on when listening to music too? Do you consider this combination a valid alternative to a pair of large threeways (or maybe even better than that)? SpursGator also seems to use a sub, I saw in his signature. Could you (plural) comment on the virtues of this set-up?


Long time back, .....

Hey WishTree,

Thanks for the thorough answer! That's a lot of interesting info to swallow!

The way you set the volume of a sub is as the Dutch hifi-critic René Van Es describes he does. 

Your enthusiasm boosts my confidence that a standmounter-subwoofer set-up is the way to go!


And Batonwielder, sorry for taking advantage of your thread... Won't happen again :silenced:


Sorry for the overload.. and I am not aware of this Dutch critic but feels nice to know that elsewhere people do the same.

Regarding Sub + Standmount vs Sub+floorstander, I will choose the later and if the choice is really between Sub+Standmount vs floorstander (Without sub), I will still go for the later.

This I am saying because I lived with the best of standmounts (atleast under 2000 Pounds) and still prefer floorstanders. If you look at it, they occupy the same flooorspace but the floorstanders offer much grander sound which is more engrossing almost always. I see no benefit for standmount except that some one do not want the physical weight of the floorstanders (living on 5th floor without elevator etc etc)

DocG's picture
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RE: Music / HiFi - Subwoofer needed?

So the subwoofer is not that vital for the set-up, more like the icing on the cake, the first add-on in case of 'upgraditis'? Or is that somewhat oversimplified?

When combining standmounters with a sub, are you worried about a frequency-gap between both, or too high a cut-off frequency (too close to the 'direction-sensitive' frequencies)?

Or do you prefer floorstanders simply because they dig deeper themselves (so less work for the subwoofer), giving a more cohesive sound?

M50 - D120 - LS50

Coll's picture
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RE: Music / HiFi - Subwoofer needed?

I have read all this with interest, I have standmounts with bungs fitted and a subwoofer close to the RH speaker.

I agree integration is the most important part of the subwoofer otherwise you can detect where the sub is located.

In my opinion it doesnt matter if the main speakers are floor or standmounters but for the best bass sound they ideally should be of the sealed design which is almost impossible these days and the sub should also be sealed. Also to avoid overlap on male voice the main speakers should go down to approx 70 hz.

Using all of these parameters you will get a well balanced bass response.

One other thing for a music only system I feel that going down to 30 hz flat is all that you really need as there is very little bass below this on music CDs.

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