Why do some people insist on 2 channel listening with no sub? - Page 2 - AVS Forum
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post #31 of 53 Old 11-30-2013, 01:24 PM
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I have 3 subs in my listening room. When I choose to sit back and listen to some classical on vinyl or even flac off the HTPC the subs usually are turned off. I have a pair of nice 3 way towers with dual 8" woofers in each - they play well down to 36hz -3db. The balance of the music is perfect to my ears. The HK 990 does a great job of balancing it all out whether I chose to have the subs on or off.

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post #32 of 53 Old 11-30-2013, 01:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

The vast majority of music is mastered in 2.0, so it follows that it sounds best in 2.0. That's not to say that one doesn't want full bass reproduction, but the vast majority of music has no meaningful content below 35Hz, so there's nothing to be gained in having a sub that goes as much as an octave lower.

I find having the extra coverage from 35hz down to 25hz gives a more realistic feel for the room/space the music was recorded in. For example a choir singing in a church hall. You sometimes get to hear traffic noise passing outside the church and you can hear and feel the way the building reverberates at low frequencies from that outside traffic. I live in a quiet rural area but quite often when listening to such a track I actually think for a second that a truck or something is going past my place. It's however all part of the ambience from the recording space. I want to recreate that as well in my listening space.
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post #33 of 53 Old 11-30-2013, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by LowerFE View Post

I hear a lot of times where people with high end equipments would say they prefer to listen to music without subs or prefer XXX speakers because they can be used without subs.

WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD YOU WANT TO LISTEN TO MUSIC WITHOUT A SUB??

Although my experience with high end speakers is limited, I have heard of multiple speakers in the $5000 range, and none of them can produce bass close to what a good subwoofer can. Not just that, but the best location for bass is usually not the best place for imaging (and vice versa), so you end up compromising one aspect (or both).

Something not related to performance, but it is cheaper to buy a speaker + sub combo than a really bass capable speaker, AND it would deliver better performance. Also, by using a sub, it significantly reduces the amplifier load.

So can anyone enlighten me on any reasons why some people prefer listening to two channel music with no sub?

Thanks

My set of cornwalls have more bass output than my pb13 ultra from 30hz and up. It really depends on the speaker if a sub is needed for music. I personally love subs but just not for music. Really don't need much more for music than 30hz and up.

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post #34 of 53 Old 12-01-2013, 02:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

There ARE speakers, for example the KEF Q900, that have such extended bass response that a subwoofer is really superfluous in most systems (read the Stereophile test article where they were listened to with and without a sub).

I have been looking at that review and unless I am reading the graphs wrong - they don't appear to be anything spectacular. What they seem to be doing is giving a large peak at 50hz. To many people that will give the impression of bass. A bit like some small 2-way bookshelf speakers giving a large peak at 60hz to give the impression of a bass response.

The article did say that the bass response was improved with subs but would not necessarily be needed as people could be satisfied with the bass the speakers have by themselves...

"I called on my two Paradigm subwoofers (one Reference Servo-15, one Studio SUB 15) to assist below 40Hz, and thought it pretty close. Adding the EQ'd subs extended and amplified the shuddering, but not so much as would make them essential. Big bass-drum thwacks, such as in Pletnev's Tchaikovsky 5, had more palpable impact with the subs or through the big B&Ws, but the KEFs were no slouches. Basically, even though they worked well with them, the Q900s did not need help from subs."

www.stereophile.com/content/kef-q900-loudspeaker-page-2

Now I have found from my own experiences with setting up different rooms, is that a large peak somewhere in the bass response (say 6 to 12dB higher) makes you think you have lots of bass. It doesn't matter if there is a monstrous null on either side of that peak because you will hear and feel *a* bass note. (this is why many speakers can get away with just a large peak at 50 or 60hz as "bass") If anything you may want to start turning the bass level down because you will begin to notice that large peak overpowering and smearing other parts of the music. What you will be left with is only a small range of the lower octaves being reproduced by your system. Indeed it won't sound very musical. The trouble is though you won't know what you're missing until you've heard a good system that is set up properly or you take frequency response measurements of your room and you can see the bass you are getting is just a bunch of peaks and nulls.

Once you've experienced a smooth even frequency response from the low 20s and up and you get to hear all the lower octaves in proportion to each other and the rest of the music - you then realise the lower part of the frequency range is perhaps even more important to get right than any other part of the frequency range. Some say it is the foundation that you build the rest of the music upon.

..
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post #35 of 53 Old 12-01-2013, 06:40 AM
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The problem with using a subwoofer with music is that there are no standards for mixing. The results depend on the speakers or headphones the engineer uses and the engineer's personal preferences. You wind up with many recordings sounding super with a subwoofer and many sounding bass heavy. The way to resolve this is not to use a subwoofer so those frequencies are below flat. You wind up with some sounding super without the sub and some sounding bass light.

I integrate the sub in the following manner. I set the sub's crossover at around 50 hz. I play something with what I consider average bass content. I bring the sub's level up from zero until I can just barely begin to hear it. I end up with a little more extension and a barely audible uptick in low bass level. The mixes with heavy bass still have heavy bass but it isn't terrible. Now the problem with this is that it is a good approach for music and a bad approach for movies. Since my use is 90% music, I just accept that my movie LFE will be on the light side.

There is no magic bullet because there are no standards or consistency in the world of music recording, mixing and mastering.
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post #36 of 53 Old 12-01-2013, 06:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FMW View Post

The problem with using a subwoofer with music is that there are no standards for mixing. The results depend on the speakers or headphones the engineer uses and the engineer's personal preferences. You wind up with many recordings sounding super with a subwoofer and many sounding bass heavy. The way to resolve this is not to use a subwoofer so those frequencies are below flat. You wind up with some sounding super without the sub and some sounding bass light.
That's one way to look at it. The other is that if there's content down low it's supposed to be there, and if your gear can't reproduce it then you'll never hear what the producer/artist intended for you to hear. Whether or not the taste of the producer/artist meshes with your own is another matter.

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post #37 of 53 Old 12-01-2013, 06:57 AM
 
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Purity ring- shrines is a good album i use to set sub levels for music. Lots of definition and notes in the bass. (Synth bass not standup)

My receiver allows 2 sub level settings and automatically cuts the sub output by -4db when a stereo signal is detected. cool.gif This sould really be available in more avrs. So handy.
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post #38 of 53 Old 12-01-2013, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by jdcrox View Post

This. I am not a bass-head. I dont even like my HT too boomy on soundtracks, explosions, etc. I find it more distracting than realistic.

None of us want "boomy one-note" bass.

We all want tight musical crisp punchy high quality bass.

The only difference we seek is the quantity of the bass, not the quality of the bass.
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post #39 of 53 Old 12-01-2013, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by AcuDefTechGuy View Post

None of us want "boomy one-note" bass.
That includes engineers and producers. if your system has boomy bass it's a system defect.

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post #40 of 53 Old 12-01-2013, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

That includes engineers and producers. if your system has boomy bass it's a system defect.

Absolutely agree.

Perhaps that's ONE reason some people "insist" on not using subs - they get low quality boomy bass due to one reason or another.

Some of us insist on using multiple subs for 2CH music because we get high quality tight musical crisp punchy awesome bass satisfaction. wink.gif

So, bottom line is, it depends on the QUALITY of the bass you GET and the QUANTITY of the bass you WANT.
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post #41 of 53 Old 12-01-2013, 09:19 AM
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I prefer to listen to stereo music in Pure Audio analog most of the time so no ubwoofer. Besides, the powered subs in my LSi25's are probably better then my two little Dayton Audio 10" "mighty mites". I'd like to upgrade the subs (although, those original Dayton 10"ers aren't bad for what they are) but my living situation wouldn't allow me to take advantage of anything better. Surround music is digital with the Dayton subwoofers.
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post #42 of 53 Old 12-01-2013, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwi2 View Post

Now I have found from my own experiences with setting up different rooms, is that a large peak somewhere in the bass response (say 6 to 12dB higher) makes you think you have lots of bass. It doesn't matter if there is a monstrous null on either side of that peak because you will hear and feel *a* bass note.

I have made some measurements this morning (at 1/24 octave) to help illustrate the point. I had to turn off one sub and also reverse the remaining sub's phase just to deliberately make it look bad...



Now this could actually be typical for a lot of people - especially if they have used the sub crawl method to locate the sub. That 7dB hot 50hz peak will certainly call attention to itself and give the impression of a bass response. Unfortunately 90 to 60hz is rather low with a -8dB at 70hz and 30hz is the -3dB point. That is what one note boomy bass looks like.


After a while (days, weeks, months) the listener may notice the bass overpowering and smearing and thus distracting from other parts of the music. They may try turning the bass level down to try to remedy the problem.



Doing so has certainly fixed the 50hz +7dB hot problem but it has also now made the 70hz null worse as it is now -12dB and total coverage only extends down to around 45hz. This option though is probably what a lot of people would prefer for music when they don't want a lot of bass. It would be better for them than having a large overpowering peak in the response.


Me, I like to measure and make adjustments until I get a smooth even response free from large peaks and dips...



This way bass isn't overpowering yet at the same time I get to hear all of the octaves so cellos sound like cellos and big kettle drums sound like big kettle drums. The subs don't call attention to themselves and just blend in seamlessly with the speakers as they are all a part of the one system.

I wonder what percentage of people commenting in this thread actually take measurements of their own system for themselves? It would be interesting to compare people's frequency response measurements against the comments they have made. If anybody has any measurements to share, please do.
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post #43 of 53 Old 12-01-2013, 12:56 PM
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Very good point! Had to give you a thumbs-up on that! biggrin.gif

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post #44 of 53 Old 12-01-2013, 02:04 PM
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kiwi2 you make great points and are right 100%. If one has the tools to even out the response and get everything dialed in the results should be very good. I use a sms-1in my home theater and i know it only measures like 1/4 so its nothing close to 1/24. But it does really help to see how the 3 subs are working as one with the room.

For basic two channel music that has no .1 info it becomes a ton of work to dial it all in for this and ht to work together. I think for most people its way more than they would ever want to do for basic two channel. If someone runs a small tube amp or ss and basic stereo pre amp that has no sub outs it becomes even harder. Im sure what your doing would net better results smile.gif

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post #45 of 53 Old 12-02-2013, 11:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by LowerFE View Post

So can anyone enlighten me on any reasons why some people prefer listening to two channel music with no sub?
The vast majority of music is mastered in 2.0, so it follows that it sounds best in 2.0. That's not to say that one doesn't want full bass reproduction, but the vast majority of music has no meaningful content below 35Hz, so there's nothing to be gained in having a sub that goes as much as an octave lower. Of course, you wouldn't want to use a bookshelf that won't go to 35-40Hz. I use 2.0 in my workshop, where I only listen and never watch. When I do play music in my HT I defeat the signal processor and listen in 2.1.
Quote:
They are rated to 33 Hz.
The woofer is a K33 model. The KHorn corner frequency is 40Hz.

Amen, Bill!

".... the vast majority of music has no meaningful content below 35Hz, so there's nothing to be gained in having a sub that goes as much as an octave lower."

There's no reason to habitually recommend subs (even multiple subs) for music listening. Just think of the poor slob who loves solo piccolo music following the advice and tripping over multiple, monster subs in his tiny 8x8x8 room!

Could a well-integrated sub(s) & bookshelf speaker combo do as well as floorstanders for music? Sure - I suppose, why not?

But it's not like everyone who voices a preference for floorstanders for music listening is some kind of deluded flat-earther.

Cheers,
JD
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post #46 of 53 Old 12-02-2013, 11:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwi2 View Post

I have made some measurements this morning (at 1/24 octave) to help illustrate the point. I had to turn off one sub and also reverse the remaining sub's phase just to deliberately make it look bad...



Now this could actually be typical for a lot of people - especially if they have used the sub crawl method to locate the sub. That 7dB hot 50hz peak will certainly call attention to itself and give the impression of a bass response. Unfortunately 90 to 60hz is rather low with a -8dB at 70hz and 30hz is the -3dB point. That is what one note boomy bass looks like.


After a while (days, weeks, months) the listener may notice the bass overpowering and smearing and thus distracting from other parts of the music. They may try turning the bass level down to try to remedy the problem.



Doing so has certainly fixed the 50hz +7dB hot problem but it has also now made the 70hz null worse as it is now -12dB and total coverage only extends down to around 45hz. This option though is probably what a lot of people would prefer for music when they don't want a lot of bass. It would be better for them than having a large overpowering peak in the response.


Me, I like to measure and make adjustments until I get a smooth even response free from large peaks and dips...



This way bass isn't overpowering yet at the same time I get to hear all of the octaves so cellos sound like cellos and big kettle drums sound like big kettle drums. The subs don't call attention to themselves and just blend in seamlessly with the speakers as they are all a part of the one system.

I wonder what percentage of people commenting in this thread actually take measurements of their own system for themselves? It would be interesting to compare people's frequency response measurements against the comments they have made. If anybody has any measurements to share, please do.

You're right. The purpose of subs is for even smooth bass response, not overpowering bass. I find that towers alone just don't produce an even smooth bass response. It's all about quality, not quantity. You are right. Without the multiple subs + Sub EQ, I find it more difficult to achieve the best smooth even bass response.
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post #47 of 53 Old 12-02-2013, 12:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_alpha View Post

Could a well-integrated sub(s) & bookshelf speaker combo do as well as floorstanders for music? Sure - I suppose, why not?
But it's not like everyone who voices a preference for floorstanders for music listening is some kind of deluded flat-earther.
You're addressing two different questions. The OPs was why one would prefer to listen to music in stereo rather than x.1. That's not the same as floorstanders versus bookshelf/sub, because bookshelf/sub with the surround processing defeated is stereo. And it's not exactly a new concept as opposed to floorstanders. I was doing it in 1971, long before HT was even a blip on the radar.

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post #48 of 53 Old 12-02-2013, 01:19 PM
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Just because music is recorded in 2.0 doesn't mean there isn't meaningful content down low. See for example, this link at Gearslutx which does a cursory examination of a number of songs.
http://www.gearslutz.com/board/mastering-forum/629542-low-frequency-response-rap-pop-rock-music.html
If one considers how listeners consume music which often entails headphones and the like stored on their iPods or phones, that means of listening certainly has the ability to reproduce low frequencies. If you then want to also reproduce those frequencies at home, a sub may prove beneficial.

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post #49 of 53 Old 12-03-2013, 01:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chu Gai View Post

Just because music is recorded in 2.0 doesn't mean there isn't meaningful content down low.

Exactly. A recording exists as its own entity regardless of what the guy at the mastering desk may or may not have heard.
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post #50 of 53 Old 12-03-2013, 03:05 AM
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I also never use my subs for music anymore, not even the thumpy thumpy stuff, and this mainly since my floorstanders actually performs almost as low as my subs go, only much much more precisely and with more 'definition'.

I have actually taken this a few steps further and have put my two towers and center speaker as full range for any content (my center is as wide as my tv and has 2 6.5" woofers, same as my speakers)
And my subs now only take over from the surrounds and the LFE channel itself, this allows me to also be a naughty boy and inflate the LFE channel with about 6db withouth drowning out the other emphasis and bass in a movies soundtrack is as precise and matching as I want it, and the effects gets this little extra oomph that I like.
(I now watch movies in pure direct\Stream direct as well)

Yes of course there is a lot of good bass in music, anyone who has heard a yello album or a double-bass (or upright bass etc) in a jazz or classical composition should know these go way below 30, if not under 20hz.
So why don't I use my subs with music?
Two simple reasons really.
This works, and I like it.

Now if I where to get better subs this could change dramatically, but as of now this is the settings that I have experimented myself towards slowly and methodically and sounds the best as far as I'm concerned, I didn't spend all this money on a home theater system to cater to various standards, but my own personal tastes and preferences, if I prefer the sound of one setting even though another measures better, then I say **ck it and pick the one I prefer.

Now If I had a different room, or different equipment I most likely would be using different settings.
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post #51 of 53 Old 12-03-2013, 05:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_alpha View Post

".... the vast majority of music has no meaningful content below 35Hz, so there's nothing to be gained in having a sub that goes as much as an octave lower."
So I was at an audio GTG a year or two ago, and Jim Salk was there with some speakers (the SCST and SS8). And we had level-matched the output (he has this cool speaker-switch with level adjustments), and I spent like 6 hours in there just listening to music and switching back and forth between the speakers.

Now: the SCST goes down to 34Hz (+/- 3db), and the SS8 goes down to 25Hz (+/- 3db) and the thing is: I could clearly hear the difference in bass when switching between them.

Don't get me wrong. I bought the SCST (it was <1/2 the price of the SS8) and have often enjoyed music on them sans-sub (there is a sub now) because heaven knows 34Hz was no slouch in the bass department... but there was definitely audible content below there on the vast bulk of what I listened to.

http://www.independentrecording.net/irn/resources/freqchart/main_display.htm
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post #52 of 53 Old 12-03-2013, 06:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JerryLove View Post

So I was at an audio GTG a year or two ago, and Jim Salk was there with some speakers (the SCST and SS8). And we had level-matched the output (he has this cool speaker-switch with level adjustments), and I spent like 6 hours in there just listening to music and switching back and forth between the speakers.

Now: the SCST goes down to 34Hz (+/- 3db), and the SS8 goes down to 25Hz (+/- 3db) and the thing is: I could clearly hear the difference in bass when switching between them.

Don't get me wrong. I bought the SCST (it was <1/2 the price of the SS8) and have often enjoyed music on them sans-sub (there is a sub now) because heaven knows 34Hz was no slouch in the bass department... but there was definitely audible content below there on the vast bulk of what I listened to.

http://www.independentrecording.net/irn/resources/freqchart/main_display.htm

I am listening to "Yo-Yo Ma Plays Ennio Morricone" classical music and I can unequivocally tell the difference between subs ON and subs OFF.

But I am not sure if it is because the bass from multiple subs + Sub EQ/Dynamic EQ is just significantly better than the bass without the subs or if the music content is actually that low. biggrin.gif

So having the ability of speakers to play down to 20-25Hz may be like playing music with dual subs vs no subs.
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post #53 of 53 Old 12-03-2013, 07:02 PM
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I have 7 subs in my HT room.

Whether I play music from Mozart, Beethoven, or pop, rock, dance music or watch Pacific Rim and other bass-heavy movies, all seven subs are playing.

It's not about SPL or boom-boom.

It's about smooth even bass response. It's about tight crisp musical accurate bass.

But if you can't get smooth, even, tight, crisp, musical, accurate bass from your subs, then definitely turn them off. biggrin.gif

Not all subs and systems are created equal. biggrin.gif
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