My stereo system has finally reached my level of excellence.
For years, I've only been able to enjoy my system briefly before I found issues, and wanted to upgrade, generally my speakers. I've had quite a few speakers, nothing super high end, but reasonably respected speakers like JBL L80t's, DCM Time Windows, and Time Window 3's (I still have the DCM's) Boston A150's (first series), Boston T830's, Infinity IL40's and IL10's, and a number of others, but I was never left satisfied for very long. I do have 2 pair of Pioneer BS22's, and those are excellent budget speakers, and in fact I used them as mains for a while, but the upgrade bug hung around, but they are still used in my computer setup, and bedroom system, and I remain impressed by them.
Fast forward to about a month ago, I decided to purchase JBL Studio 530's after the little Pioneers showed me I didn't need a floor stander to get enough volume in my room. In a nuthshell, the JBL's are the best speakers I've owned or still own without a doubt, excellent tonal balance, dynamics and imaging. They just flat out work in my room, which is primarily for 2 channel music, but also doubles as my home theater. I highly recommend the JBL Studio 5 series line, as they are an incredible bargain for the price, and even beyond.
Anyway, while the JBL's sounded excellent, I had some serious bass issues in my room, even after using 3 subs to try and tame it. It was a lot better than a single sub, but still, I found myself constantly fiddling with the subwoofer level control, almost from song to song, and the bass could be very low at the listening position on some songs, but super loud in another room. Other times the bass was overwhelming on other songs.
I knew something needed to be done. A few weeks ago I ordered a Minidsp 2x4, a Unimik-1, and downloaded REW. I've measured, and redid the subwoofers three times, each time thinking of a better way to measure, and I think I've got it the best yet so far. Light years ahead of prior to the Minidsp. I live in an old home with wood floors and very solid sheet rock walls, and all 3 subs had a ridiculous 32db peak at about 33hz, along with various other smaller peaks and dips. After using REW and the Minidsp, it has transformed my system to a whole new level. The bass is very accurate now, and it even cleaned up the JBL's to an even higher degree of focus even though the JBL's remained untouched by the EQ, because the peaks and dips from the subs aren't distracting from the vocals. Best $200 I've ever spent, with by far the largest overall improvement. I know many here know about the Minidsp and REW, but it really is magical.
Sorry for the overly long post.
For the record though, my system comprises of a Pioneer VSX-1121-K as a preamp and DAC for 2 channel (it powers the center channel and surrounds for HT), a B&K EX-442 Sonata power amplifier, a Little Bear P1 hybrid buffer, JBL Studio 530 mains, a Velodyne CT-10 sub, and two Polk Audio PSW10 subwoofers, the source is a laptop connected via HDMI playing mostly Flac or 320k mp3. The bass is so good now thanks to the Minidsp and REW, that even these fairly cheap subs sound excellent.