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post #1 of 26 Old 06-25-2013, 10:51 AM - Thread Starter
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I am not an audiophile but maybe an audioholic. I'm looking for advice on 1. should I get a subwooker and 2. any recommendations.

Current setup is:
Receiver: Yamaha R-S700
Speakers: PSB Imagine T Tower
Room: 12 x 18 with seating at the opposite end. Fairly open concept design to the dining room, hallway and kitchen.
Turntable: Stanton T.92 with
MP3: ZuneHD

I love the sound of the current setup but always looking to make some improvements. Will a subwoofer add to the overall experience? What should I look for (brand/type).

Thanks a lot for your help
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post #2 of 26 Old 06-25-2013, 11:23 AM
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Is this primarily for music? If so what genres do you listen to?

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post #3 of 26 Old 06-25-2013, 12:34 PM - Thread Starter
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It's exclusively for music.
My wife and I have a pretty broad range from rock, classic rock, alternative, pop, rap, hip-hop, R&B, Jazz and a little classical. Pretty much anything other than country. I would say the majority is pop/rock plus a modest collection of classic rock on vinyl.
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post #4 of 26 Old 06-25-2013, 12:41 PM
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Well your current towers do play pretty low, a majority of music doesn't dip below 40Hz much. If you had bookshelves, you would see a much bigger improvement. I suppose you could try one and see if you like it versus your towers in stereo.

If you did want one, something sealed would be better for music, what is your budget?

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post #5 of 26 Old 06-25-2013, 12:53 PM - Thread Starter
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I don't have a set budget yet and haven't looked into brands. <$1,000 I guess.
Would something like this be a good option? http://baybloorradio.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=82_86&product_id=917

I'm not tied to PSB, it's just the first one I checked.
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post #6 of 26 Old 06-25-2013, 01:03 PM
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You can get a lot more value out of internet direct companies. Here are some options to look at:

Rythmik F12
SVS SB12-NSD
HSU VTF-15H
Power Sound Audio XS15

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post #7 of 26 Old 06-25-2013, 01:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks a lot, I'll check those out.
So just to confirm, you don't think that a sub will add much to my setup.
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post #8 of 26 Old 06-25-2013, 01:26 PM
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Well for music, your towers should do a good job of covering all the frequencies, a sub will make those low end frequencies louder, but it will be a bit redundant. I think a pair of towers are sufficient for stereo music listening, if you have bookshelves, then a sub would be very beneficial.

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post #9 of 26 Old 06-25-2013, 01:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks a lot.
I hope it's ok to adjust the topic. Do you have any suggestions that may improve the sound and/or acoustics?
I hope I'm not coming across like I'm not happy with the sound. I am very happy with it, Just wondering if some small to moderate investments will make it better.
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post #10 of 26 Old 06-26-2013, 06:01 AM
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Well, speakers and room treatments will make the most difference in sound quality. Though I would imagine you would need to spend a lot to get something markedly better than those PSBs. You could add a DAC between your Zune and amp, I am not sure what the Zune uses for a DAC.

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post #11 of 26 Old 06-26-2013, 08:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Will a DAC make much of an improvement?
Right now the ZuneHD is docked and connected directly to the Yamaha R-S700 through the analog ports on Input 3.

I'm not clear on how it works, isn't the signal already analog?
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post #12 of 26 Old 06-26-2013, 08:29 AM - Thread Starter
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I did find this online.
"For all you sound nerds out there, the Zune HD's DAC is the same Wolfson WM8352 one used on previous models"
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post #13 of 26 Old 06-26-2013, 09:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geokots View Post

Thanks a lot.
I hope it's ok to adjust the topic. Do you have any suggestions that may improve the sound and/or acoustics?
I hope I'm not coming across like I'm not happy with the sound. I am very happy with it, Just wondering if some small to moderate investments will make it better.

I can suggest a tweak that can make a significant difference in imaging, sound stage, clarity, and even frequency response, and it's completely free.

Experiment with speaker placement. Even changes of a couple of inches fore or aft, or to the right or left (keep your speaker symmetry with respect to the listening position and be mindful of symmetry within the room, to the extent possible), or differences in amount of toe-in, can yield very noticeable differences for critical listeners.

This isn't voodoo. It's well grounded in science. Do a search on speaker placement and read up on how each change affects what you hear. It's pretty eye opening if you aren't familiar with it.
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post #14 of 26 Old 06-26-2013, 09:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks I have been playing around with placement within the limitations of the room and furniture.
One idea that I've had is to actually raise them by around 12-18". The reason for this is I have a full sized sofa between the speakers and the seats facing them. I'm worried that the sofa is blocking/absorbing sound. I don't have a better place to put the speakers
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post #15 of 26 Old 06-26-2013, 11:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geokots View Post

Thanks I have been playing around with placement within the limitations of the room and furniture.
One idea that I've had is to actually raise them by around 12-18". The reason for this is I have a full sized sofa between the speakers and the seats facing them. I'm worried that the sofa is blocking/absorbing sound. I don't have a better place to put the speakers

There is no question that a large piece of furniture like a sofa between your speakers and the listening position can have very detrimental effects on the sound you hear. Rather than raising the speakers, have you thought about moving the sofa out of the way? That sounds like a much better and easier solution, if sound quality is your goal. I understand WAF (wife approval factor) and all that, so moving it may not be an option. It's all about priorities.

I'll repeat my suggestion that you do a search for speaker placement (and maybe throw in the word "psychoacoutics") and see the results. Read some of them. Experimenting with trial and error is fine, but until you understand what each change is likely to do, you are just fumbling around in the dark. Read about recommended space from walls, toe in, distance between the speakers and from the listening position, etc. There's more to it than it might appear at first glance.
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post #16 of 26 Old 06-26-2013, 12:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Unfortunately there's no other way to setup the furniture. I know it creates a sound impedance but the furniture oversized and the room is too narrow.
I will definitely do some research on speaker placement and psychoacoustics.

Thanks for the suggestion.
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post #17 of 26 Old 07-03-2013, 07:27 AM
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Anyone suggesting that you won't notice an obvious improvement by adding a decent sub to your pair of PSB Imagine T Tower's is insane, period. You'll notice a huge improvement by crossing over a good subwoofer ~80Hz. You really don't even need to spend a lot to get a lot either, as the Hsu VTF-2 at $596 shipped would easily impress in a room that size. If you REALLY want pounding bass, you could step up to the VTF-3 at $748 shipped. Personally, I added a single VTF-2 to the 9.1 setup in my 20' x 21' theater, and the difference was tremendous. If a single VTF-2 made a tremendous difference in a system that already had (10) 6.5" drivers and (12) 5.25" drivers, I think it's safe to say it would have an even more profound difference on your system in a smaller room. FYI: my usage breakdown is approximately 90% music / 10% movies. Just food for thought . . .
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post #18 of 26 Old 07-03-2013, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by SIGcollector View Post

Anyone suggesting that you won't notice an obvious improvement by adding a decent sub to your pair of PSB Imagine T Tower's is insane, period. You'll notice a huge improvement by crossing over a good subwoofer ~80Hz. You really don't even need to spend a lot to get a lot either, as the Hsu VTF-2 at $596 shipped would easily impress in a room that size. If you REALLY want pounding bass, you could step up to the VTF-3 at $748 shipped. Personally, I added a single VTF-2 to the 9.1 setup in my 20' x 21' theater, and the difference was tremendous. If a single VTF-2 made a tremendous difference in a system that already had (10) 6.5" drivers and (12) 5.25" drivers, I think it's safe to say it would have an even more profound difference on your system in a smaller room. FYI: my usage breakdown is approximately 90% music / 10% movies. Just food for thought . . .

I would say this is a very subjective addition. I myself prefer listening to music in stereo with my sub off. Sure a sub will make a difference, whether it's an improvement is up to the listener. If you like a lot of dub step or electronic music, a sub would help reinforce those low frequencies, but for the majority of music a good tower will does a great job for me. I don't like a lot of bass overpowering the rest of the speaker, but some people might prefer that.

Also, if you want a music sub, you should look for something sealed that is less boomy.

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post #19 of 26 Old 07-03-2013, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Transmaniacon View Post

I would say this is a very subjective addition. I myself prefer listening to music in stereo with my sub off. Sure a sub will make a difference, whether it's an improvement is up to the listener. If you like a lot of dub step or electronic music, a sub would help reinforce those low frequencies, but for the majority of music a good tower will does a great job for me. I don't like a lot of bass overpowering the rest of the speaker, but some people might prefer that.

Call it subjective if you want, but frequency response graphs don't lie. It's simply science. If he was running true full range main speakers like a pair of Legacy Audio Focus SE's, I would agree that the addition of a subwoofer would have minimal effect. But with his speakers, the difference will be profound. Personally, I don't run a sub because I, " like a lot of dub step or electronic music," I run one to flatten my frequency response. The 5.25" drivers in the PSB Imagine T Tower's simply aren't capable of keeping a flat curve down to the lowest string bass, piano, or particularly organ notes, leaving them sounding anemic. I listen almost exclusively to jazz and classic rock, and the addition of a properly tuned subwoofer and crossover has made the music much better balanced and more fulfilling. The only time you'll experience a subwoofer "overpowering" the rest of the speakers is when your system is improperly tuned.
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Also, if you want a music sub, you should look for something sealed that is less boomy.

. . . or a successful hybrid like the Hsu designs.
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post #20 of 26 Old 07-03-2013, 11:58 AM
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I'm not arguing that it won't enhance the low end, I am just saying for me, my preference is to keep the sub off for music listening. There is no right or wrong option here, I am just offering my experience on the subject.

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post #21 of 26 Old 07-03-2013, 12:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the input. I will investigate the sub option but I need to source a good sub with a solid return policy.
If it would definitely help then I have no issue with getting one but from what I've read above it doesn't seem to be a must have. Especially when I read that in some cases even with a Sub it's turned off.
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post #22 of 26 Old 07-03-2013, 12:54 PM
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Just remember its personal preference. Only way to know if a sub will be worth it to you is to try. HSU, SVS, and Rythmik have good return policies and you can demo them easily.

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post #23 of 26 Old 07-03-2013, 12:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Quick question and it's not worth a dedicated thread.
My speakers have 2 open ports on the back with a rubber plug to close them. What do these do? I assume it adjusts the sound but in what way? I saw nothing about this in the manual.
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post #24 of 26 Old 07-03-2013, 01:37 PM
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The port plug is a way to alleviate low frequency room gain if you're having an issue in your room. I've read that installing the plug will reduce output 2-3db between 80 and 100 Hz.

As far as whether or not to go with a sub, I'd find a local friend you can borrow one from or a local Hi-Fi shop with a good return policy. Return shipping on an 80+lb subwoofer will NOT be cheap.

Also, I don't know whether Transmaniacon's thoughts are based solely on his experience with his Bic F-12, but if so, that would certainly explain why our opinions differ so greatly. Sealed vs unsealed makes a HUGE difference with music playback.
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post #25 of 26 Old 07-04-2013, 02:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geokots View Post

Quick question and it's not worth a dedicated thread.
My speakers have 2 open ports on the back with a rubber plug to close them. What do these do? I assume it adjusts the sound but in what way? I saw nothing about this in the manual.

I found this in a review of your speakers:
Quote:
As the only floorstander in the Imagine line, the T has dual rear ports and is supplied with a port plug to aid in optimizing in-room bass response. This is not window dressing. Barton and his team understand that very few rooms accept a near-full range speaker without imposing some of their own character in the form of low-frequency “room gain.” If repositioning the speakers doesn’t sufficiently reduce the problem (even tiny shifts of a few inches can make large changes), then the port plug is a raw but effective means of ameliorating the issue. According to the PSB owner’s manual the plug will result in a modest output reduction in the roughly 100Hz range. I confirmed this myself with before-and-after test tones and an SPL meter. In my room there was a reduction of approximately 2–3dB in the 80–100Hz range—enough to reduce bass thickness without putting the squeeze on dynamic excitement.

We listen to the same genres that you and your wife do, although I get my hip-hop from traditional African and reggae wink.gif It really depends on my mood whether I listen with subwoofer on or not, sometimes this is tied to the genre. My main listening room speakers are rated at 30Hz, which helps. IMO a subwoofer is always worth it, regardless of genre. In your size room I'd probably go with a good ported sub, the better ID brands are musical whether ported or sealed. You might want to go to an audio showroom and request to listen to each, you may have a preference for the characteristics of one over the other (bring your own music).

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post #26 of 26 Old 07-04-2013, 07:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks a lot for your input. I'm new to this and new to the forum and I hope to eventually be a positive contributor to this group.
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