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Speakers - with built-in subwoofer or without?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hi:

I am looking for some great sounding multi-channel speakers for music only - not home theater speakers.

I am not looking for a 2 channel system - but a multi-channel system.

I have been told that speakers with built-in subwoofers are not as good as having the same speaker and the subwoofer seperate - is this true confused.gif
post #2 of 17
Not exactly true. multichannel systems use the subwoofer for LFE. there is also some low freq content sent to the mains that are sent to the sub as part of the crossover in the receiver as the speaker(s) cant adequately handle the frequencies. get some towers that have good mids and highs. and get a nice subwoofer from outlaw audio, HSU or SVS. all these companies are internet direct and make amazing subs for the money.
post #3 of 17
I own speakers with built in subwoofers. No regret but in my case I prefer stand alone subs. I have four and in my room they play louder and lower.
post #4 of 17
My separate sub outperforms the sub in my towers. But together they make magic.
post #5 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by HomeTheaterGuy74 View Post

I have been told that speakers with built-in subwoofers are not as good as having the same speaker and the subwoofer seperate - is this true confused.gif
For the most part, yes. That's because the ideal placement of subs and mains very seldom will occur with the subs directly below the mains. Separates allow you to place both the subs and mains where each works best, all-in-ones don't.
post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

For the most part, yes. That's because the ideal placement of subs and mains very seldom will occur with the subs directly below the mains. Separates allow you to place both the subs and mains where each works best, all-in-ones don't.

Agreed.

Sub performance is also keyed to room size. If you have a very large room, you might find that the subs in towers are not enough to produce adequate bass. So the the first thing to determine is how much sub you need.
post #7 of 17
I agree with both g_bartman and jpcamaro70 above. I too own speakers with built-in subs. Here are the keys for music...
1. It is pretty difficult to blend a separate sub/subs with your main speakers and get a perfect result - very possible and rewarding - but may be difficult
2. I would argue that music may sound more accurate if you truly have a "full range" speaker than using towers with a separate sub/subs. I don't know your price range, but there a full range speakers out there that are very capable.

Now to g_bartman's point, I much prefer the extra output my subs provide for music when blended with my towers. Even thought it may not be as "accurate" to have chest pounding bass the separate subs add, it's a lot more fun. Stand alone subs will almost always be able to provide more low-end OUTPUT than even very capable full-range speakers. I would also argue that since my speakers are truly full-range speakers, they are also much easier to blend with a sub as I can cross them very low. Another benefit of having full range speakers with separate sub/subs is that they are easier to blend successfully (IMHO).

So, my final opinion would be to do both. Again - don't know your budget but ideally full range speakers with one or more stand alone subs would give you the most flexibility to tinker and achieve the sound that you desire. Best of luck.
post #8 of 17
It is better to have a separate subwoofer, because the subwoofer needs to be placed in the location that works best to avoid
standing waves in the room.

Your main speakers are going to have a location where they sound best in the room; that will almost certainly NOT be the best location for the subwoofer, so keeping them separate is essential for best performance.





Quote:
Originally Posted by HomeTheaterGuy74 View Post

Hi:
I am looking for some great sounding multi-channel speakers for music only - not home theater speakers.
I am not looking for a 2 channel system - but a multi-channel system.
I have been told that speakers with built-in subwoofers are not as good as having the same speaker and the subwoofer seperate - is this true confused.gif
post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by HomeTheaterGuy74 View Post

I have been told that speakers with built-in subwoofers are not as good as having the same speaker and the subwoofer seperate - is this true confused.gif

A dedicated subwoofer will usually output more bass than a built-in sub. But it depends on the room size and the size of the built-in subs vs dedicated sub.

For example, the 14" built-in sub of the DefTech BP7000SC (2 speakers = 2 subs) will outperform most 10" subs or lower priced 12" subs, but it will probably not outperform a 12" sub from Rythmik or Epik or SVS or Funk Audio.

Don't even compare the built-in subs to the 15" & 18" subs from Funk Audio, Rythmik, SVS, Epik, HSU, etc. biggrin.gif

However, if your room size is only 12' x 12', it won't matter as much. Your room size will then be the bottleneck. Then the built-in sub may output just as much bass as you can handle.

For people who cannot or do not want another big bulky black box to worry about (limited space, wife acceptance,biggrin.gif), the built-in sub is an acceptable alternative.

For the rest of us, dedicated subs are definitely the way to go!biggrin.gif
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by yosh7 View Post

I agree with both g_bartman and jpcamaro70 above. I too own speakers with built-in subs. Here are the keys for music...
1. It is pretty difficult to blend a separate sub/subs with your main speakers and get a perfect result - very possible and rewarding - but may be difficult
2. I would argue that music may sound more accurate if you truly have a "full range" speaker than using towers with a separate sub/subs. I don't know your price range, but there a full range speakers out there that are very capable.
Now to g_bartman's point, I much prefer the extra output my subs provide for music when blended with my towers. Even thought it may not be as "accurate" to have chest pounding bass the separate subs add, it's a lot more fun. Stand alone subs will almost always be able to provide more low-end OUTPUT than even very capable full-range speakers. I would also argue that since my speakers are truly full-range speakers, they are also much easier to blend with a sub as I can cross them very low. Another benefit of having full range speakers with separate sub/subs is that they are easier to blend successfully (IMHO).
So, my final opinion would be to do both. Again - don't know your budget but ideally full range speakers with one or more stand alone subs would give you the most flexibility to tinker and achieve the sound that you desire. Best of luck.

Very good points. If I had to choose one or the other, I would go stand alone. Since I don't have to, I have the best of both worlds.
post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by g_bartman View Post

Very good points. If I had to choose one or the other, I would go stand alone. Since I don't have to, I have the best of both worlds.

+1
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by HomeTheaterGuy74 View Post

I am looking for some great sounding multi-channel speakers for music only...
I have been told that speakers with built-in subwoofers are not as good as having the same speaker and the subwoofer seperate - is this true confused.gif
No, as a generalization, it's false. There may be instances where it is true, but that is due to poor individual design, rather than the format itself.
There is growing evidence that we can localize LF lower than previously believed: http://www.acoustics.asn.au/conference_proceedings/AAS2008/papers/p47.pdf
So while for HT, with it's crash bang explosions, etc., it may be moot, for music it may not. Then there is the issue of being able to highpass frequencies from your mid (depending on speaker design) that would lower excursion and thus non-linearities (manifesting as distortions) produced.
By having the subwoofer spatially in the same location, you can run it higher (without spatially separated localization problems) and thus hi-pass the mid higher and reduce excursion.
Lastly, unless you are extremely lucky, 2 LF sources will be insufficient for very smooth bass, even for a single listener position (you, listening to MCH music), because whereas EQ can be used to remove all peaks in the response at that position, it cannot correct for nulls. That can be done with additional spatially distributed LF sources (as few as one). So by having built in subs, you already have 2 distributed sources in the room (L&R), making it easier to add one or more (subs) to smooth the response and fill any nulls.
And yes, I practice what I preach.smile.gif

cheers,

AJ
post #13 of 17
Expectations.
Maybe if you are an audiophile it's better to buy a separate sub woofer
However in my case I'm just a person which enjoys music and wants to hear that tune perfectly weather it's trance or classical.
I'm always amazed by the output of an old HI-FI system I bought on the 90's
It's a Sony DHC-MDX10, with 2 of these:

Much more recently I bought a soundbar with a separate sub woofer from philips to put in front of the TV. I have to say the bass from these 2 bookshelf speakers is better. However the mid high ranges from the soundbar manage to be more clear than the speakers...
Still amazes me how good were some sound systems in the past. the bass from these so called "quick edge woofer" is just amazing.
post #14 of 17
AJ has it right. For music listening I always prefer a full range tower and built-in subs are one way of doing that. When listening to music i can tell when bass is coming from a location other than the main speakers and its always been distracting for me. Also, adding an additional sub later if necessary for movie viewing becomes much easier if your main speakers can truly reproduce the full range of sound.
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by AJinFLA View Post

No, as a generalization, it's false. There may be instances where it is true, but that is due to poor individual design, rather than the format itself.
There is growing evidence that we can localize LF lower than previously believed: http://www.acoustics.asn.au/conference_proceedings/AAS2008/papers/p47.pdf
So while for HT, with it's crash bang explosions, etc., it may be moot, for music it may not. Then there is the issue of being able to highpass frequencies from your mid (depending on speaker design) that would lower excursion and thus non-linearities (manifesting as distortions) produced.
By having the subwoofer spatially in the same location, you can run it higher (without spatially separated localization problems) and thus hi-pass the mid higher and reduce excursion.
Lastly, unless you are extremely lucky, 2 LF sources will be insufficient for very smooth bass, even for a single listener position (you, listening to MCH music), because whereas EQ can be used to remove all peaks in the response at that position, it cannot correct for nulls. That can be done with additional spatially distributed LF sources (as few as one). So by having built in subs, you already have 2 distributed sources in the room (L&R), making it easier to add one or more (subs) to smooth the response and fill any nulls.
And yes, I practice what I preach.smile.gif

cheers,

AJ
I would be hesitant in citing that paper in support of localization of LF signals insofar as laterealization. The tests used headphones which the listeners wore in an anechoic chamber. As the authors pointed out, this was done because ambient noise is detrimental in discerning LF lateral localization. With the stimulus being music through a set of speakers, I suspect there's enough ambient noise as well as additional spectral content such that there would be no positive results such as were cited in the paper.

I still see merit in speakers that have extended FR but more importantly, it's good to see you around cranking out product.
post #16 of 17
I have two powered towers (Infinity IL-60s) and a separate sub (DefDech PF1500). The low bass in my 14x19 AV room is remarkable. But I would hesitate to get speakers like the 60s again. Why? Because if the internal amp goes south and the speakers are old like mine then you are screwed. Does anyone besides DefTech and GoldenEar make them anymore (TY Sandy Gross)? I have a pair of powered Infinity Overture 3s as well. I was fortunate that Infinity had a spare amp on hand when one died several years ago. My fingers are still crossed.
post #17 of 17
I too agree with AJ, low frequencies are hard to localized but depends how low they can be a source of licolization.
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