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Subwoofer Selection and Placement? - High End Whole Home Audio Install

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I am about to begin new construction and am in the midst of planning the automation and audio infrastructure with my installer. I will be using Crestron's Sonnex switcher/amplifiers for audio distribution and will be using Focal Electra IC 1002 in-ceiling speakers (which are the exact same as the old Profile IC908 speakers) in the main listening areas. My goal is to achieve "big sound" throughout the entire house and "super big sound" in an area surrounding the pool and in a covered poolside outdoor living area. My installer suggests pairing a subwoofer with the IC 1002s in the main listening areas and outside to fill in the deep stuff, but there seems to be some debate as to the optimal placement for in-wall or in-ceiling subwoofer installations.

Can anyone please recommend for me a good in-ceiling or in-wall subwoofer to pair with these speakers for a hi-end sound? I am most interested in unpowered versions because I can bridge two Crestron Sonnex channels to achieve 400 watts at 8 ohms to each of the subs.

Which is typically better, in-ceiling or in-wall subwoofers? Also, can you please suggest for me the optimal placement of the subwoofer relative to the in-ceiling speakers? For instance: low on wall, high on wall, between the speakers, center of the room, one on each side of the room, over the primary listening position, offset from the primary listening position, or in a corner? I can give you more details on the geometry of each of the primary listening zones if that will help.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
post #2 of 8
Props on choosing the Sonnex. As far as the subwoofers go, keep in mind they are highly omnidirectional. So in other words it just doesn't matter as long as they are in the same space.

One of the more important considerations is boundary effect. Corners will boost output by a great deal.
post #3 of 8
If the subwoofer is in a room, the placement will affect how it excites the room resonances. Here's a discussion of that and how to place the subwoofer.

Don't think it matters too much whether it's in the wall or ceiling. But where it's placed in the wall or ceiling will. The trick is determining the best location. As suggested, for bigger rooms more than one subwoofer may work better.

For outdoor areas you will need a powerful subwoofer so you may want to buy the biggest you can afford.
post #4 of 8
Most in-wall subs don't come with an enclosure. Don't use those. Use an in-wall sub with a stand alone enclosure. I have used the HTD Versa Sub in 2 applications and was very happy with the result.

As for placement, a corner (preferably lower corner) will provide the best result and will be harder to distinguish the placement of the sub.

This seems like a nice project, the Focals are the best sounding in-ceiling speakers I have ever listened to.

Good luck on your project and it would be nice if you could report on outcome!
post #5 of 8
I think I understand the situation - why pay $2K for a powered sub, when you have 48 powered channels with the Sonnex?

Most of the high end subs are powered, but if you dig I bet you can find a great passive/unpowered one.

I'll try to look for you.

+1, back box

+1, corners of the rooms
post #6 of 8
I'd call Focal NA directly, and ask them for suggestions.

Some other manufacturers to consider:
Wisdom Audio
Bay Audio - Custom Built
California Audio Technology - Custom built
Induction Dynamics
BG Radia

Seems like many companies offer in-wall subs (with back boxes)
Atlantic Technology
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for the suggestions. My whole home sub search continues, but I have taken your advice and will only be auditioning unpowered subs with back boxes. I will report back once a decision has been made and the audio system is installed.

As an aside, I am also considering the Crestron Procise pre/pro in a dedicated theater room. Does anyone have experience with this setup? I like the idea that the crestron pre/pro would be seamlessly automated but think I might get better performance out of the current Integra offering. Depending on what my final budget ends up being for the theater, I will be deciding between a 7.1 system of Focal Viva LCRs with Diablo surrounds or possibly Seaton Audio Catalysts with Spark surrounds. In either setup I will be using Seaton's Submersive HPs with the upgraded amp. I will be using an AT screen with all three LCR speakers set up vertically. Any comments or suggestions on which setup would sound better?
post #8 of 8
Wow, you are going to have an amazing setup. I think that for strict HT use, you could not go wrong with Seaton Catalysts. Built-in amplification and DSP, active crossovers, and the ability to get to ridiculous SPLs cleanly. If I had an unlimited budget, I would likely have chosen the Catalyst 12's and either Catalyst 8's or Sparks for surround. Make sure your room is designed with a good budget for soundproofing (keeps your noise floor low) and acoustic optimization to get the best out of your equipment.
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