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Why do some people insist on 2 channel listening with no sub?

post #1 of 53
Thread Starter 
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
post #2 of 53
I think because it can be very difficult to get the sub and speakers blended together perfectly. Often it becomes noticable where the sub quits and the speakers begin. Only the highest levels of Equalization systems (Audyssey, YPAO, MCCAC) EQ the sub.
And like many, I HATE boomy, one-note bass. If it thump-thumps, I just turn it off.
post #3 of 53
I listen to Revel Salon2, B&W 802D2, Linkwitz Orion3, Philharmonic 3 with multiple subs when listening to 2Ch music.

I also know other people who own Salon2 and other full range speakers who use subs when listening to 2Ch music.

I would never listen to ANY speakers without subs. That is just CRAZY. biggrin.gif

But everyone likes different things.

If they can't get it to sound right, then they can't get it to sound right.

And if you can get your subs + speakers to sound great, then enjoy. biggrin.gif
Edited by AcuDefTechGuy - 11/30/13 at 8:10am
post #4 of 53
I'm on your side. I think a sub does wonders for virtually any stereo speaker pair. Integrating a sub with a stereo pair is quite simple and effective. Nevertheless some high end audiophiles consider it inappropriate to change the sound designed into the speaker system. These are the same folks who buy expensive cables and tweaks.
post #5 of 53
Well, some people don't like a lot of bass. biggrin.gif
post #6 of 53
Because some people think audio reproduction in the home environment is done by magic....and subs would be full of the bad kind of magic.tongue.gif
post #7 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by 67jason View Post

Because some people think audio reproduction in the home environment is done by magic....and subs would be full of the bad kind of magic.tongue.gif

It is on the Dark Side for sure. eek.gif
post #8 of 53
I find that with my system that my 4-ways towers sound better with music than when I use them with a subwoofer. I don't insist on listening without my subwoofer but it sounds better to me that way cool.gif
post #9 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdcrox View Post

I think because it can be very difficult to get the sub and speakers blended together perfectly. Often it becomes noticable where the sub quits and the speakers begin.
^^^^^This.

And poorly blended subs are more noticable on music than movies.
post #10 of 53
Add to those reasons the fact that some people use vinyl or DACs or analog outputs from their fancy CD player and want to keep the chain analog (thus would need speaker-level inputs on the sub).
post #11 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by AcuDefTechGuy View Post

Well, some people don't like a lot of bass. biggrin.gif
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.
post #12 of 53
Bottom line, there is no right or wrong.

Whatever sounds best to you is the correct decision.

We can't expect everyone to have the same experience.
post #13 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by AcuDefTechGuy View Post

Bottom line, there is no right or wrong.

Whatever sounds best to you is the correct decision.

We can't expect everyone to have the same experience.

This is the absolute correct answer right here!!!

I'm a 2ch guy without subs, but I love my dual Empires for H.T.
post #14 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by psgcdn View Post

Add to those reasons the fact that some people use vinyl or DACs or analog outputs from their fancy CD player and want to keep the chain analog (thus would need speaker-level inputs on the sub).

This made me laugh a little.

Along with not using subs, I don't get the point of DACs (when not using a PC), or the classic "no amplifier sounds different vs. my $xxxx Amplifier sounds much better" argument. There's a wide range of subjectivity in Hi-Fi.

It really is to each his own. I listen to hip-hop among many other genres and there's no way I can listen without a subwoofer.
post #15 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by skidawgz View Post

This made me laugh a little.

Along with not using subs, I don't get the point of DACs (when not using a PC), or the classic "no amplifier sounds different vs. my $xxxx Amplifier sounds much better" argument. There's a wide range of subjectivity in Hi-Fi.

It really is to each his own. I listen to hip-hop among many other genres and there's no way I can listen without a subwoofer.

I don't get the point of DAC even when using a PC because the DAC in AVRs sound as good as any outboard DAC. Just bitstream from the PC to AVR.

And of course all amps sound differently.

Some sound like American, some like Swiss, some like Monterey Jack, some like Mozzarella, some like Colby, and some like cottage.
Some sound like red wine, some like white wine, some like Martini, some like champagne, etc.
post #16 of 53
My 2 channel room is optimized for speaker placement and listening position. My speakers, in this environment, extend nicely into the low 40s, further enhancement is not necessary.

Edit:

the room where I have the theater has 3 subs.
Edited by citizen arcane - 11/30/13 at 10:27am
post #17 of 53
Quote:
I think because it can be very difficult to get the sub and speakers blended together perfectly.

Quote:
Add to those reasons the fact that some people use vinyl or DACs or analog outputs from their fancy CD player and want to keep the chain analog (thus would need speaker-level inputs on the sub).


Yes, I think because a lot of people use analog for their music playback, it becomes a lot harder for them to implement sub *properly*. They have probably tried subs at some time with predictably less than stellar integration and concluded subs are only for special effects while watching movies.

Very few people actually go to the trouble of measuring the frequency response in their room to see what is actually going on.
post #18 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by citizen arcane View Post

My 2 channel room is optimized for speaker placement and listening position. My speakers, in this environment, extend nicely into the low 40s, further enhancement is not necessary.

I like my music system to extend at least down to 25hz. I once had a slightly different setup that only gave me down to 35hz and I very quickly began to miss that last 10hz. And this was on a wide range of music including classical and folk.

This is what the response of my room looks like at the moment with 2-way floorstanders and subs...
post #19 of 53
I added a passive Radio Shack sub years ago that fed through the speaker cables then back out to the speakers. Got it dirt cheap and luckily it blended perfectly with my speakers and just added that nice lowest octave. Later I added a nice stand alone heathkit amp to drive it like the newer powered subs and just adjust the output gain on it till it again matched up with my mains, again very nice for cheap.
I now have a Dayton 120 powered sub and again once I got placement and crossover and level right very happy with it for not a lot of cash. My lil sisters hubby had a very nice set of HUGE Infinity towers that sorely needed a good sub even though they had dual 12" drivers. He finally got tired of the rather old setup and got Ariel 6 and 7b speakers and their matching sub, now he can't live without it and he IS a dedicated analog only, 2 channel guy. It does sound fantastic as long as he actually gets a well record record, otherwise I hear all the faults that typical vinyl had back in the day.
Some folks just don't know what they're missing with a properly tuned and placed sub, and some are just afraid to try anything new, especially the real fanatics.
I have heard speakers that have great bass on their own and if yours do it's just one less thing to buy and spend time getting right. The Ariel speakers he had sounded great bass wise and used much smaller dual drivers then his monsters did, but I guess he remembered me telling him he should try a sub with his old setup and the shop he uses gave him a deal on the matching sub so he bought it. They sounded even better with the sub and he's a happy camper and was even considering running two cool.gif
If your on the fence find a place that will let you have a in home trial or find something cheap or a friend with a loaner and see what you think, maybe you'll like it, maybe your happy with what you have but always worth a gamble.
post #20 of 53
I have a treated, dedicated basement ht. subs + 2ch music = bliss

My living room 2 ch system with tt and nice mini monitors + subs = standing waves around the main floor. Result--"Honey, can you turn it down?" eek.gif even at lower volumes. lol. smile.gif

I prefer the downstairs setup with fuller bass, but the living room setup has its good points too. Preference i guess.
post #21 of 53
My speakers were designed with the powered subs built in.
The designer knew what was going to be used, and integrated them properly.
The x-over was made with the sub in mind, it crosses high.
I think thats why a lot of speakers dont mate well with subs, they add their
own flavour and it doesnt always make a good match.

For those of you that dont like the one note bass.....try open baffle subs wiith your music.
The thump of a cabinet in no way sounds as natural as OB.....for movies keep the coffins.
post #22 of 53
Coffin subs are best with dracula movies. tongue.gif
post #23 of 53
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).

This used to be more common back in the 1960s and 1970s, when good speaker systems mostly had 12-inch or larger drivers and had very good low bass, and the term subwoofer was almost unknown.

Things have changed a lot, but you can still buy a Klipschorn corner horn speaker system that will go lower than most subwoofers! It just takes a huge room to use them...lol.

It is certainly more space-efficient to use a pair of "bookshelf" speakers or narrow "tower" speakers and a subwoofer than to use two really big wide speakers with very low bass capability.

This is important to many people who want a large video screen and don't have the space for those big doggies.

I have the Vandersteen Treo speakers, and they have low enough bass response that I only use my subwoofer for maybe 30% of my music listening, where VERY low bass is in the mix.

Of course they cost $6000, also, so it is a lot cheaper to use small speakers and a subwoofer in most cases.

It's all a matter of economics and personal preferences; we go with what suits us.
Edited by commsysman - 11/30/13 at 12:02pm
post #24 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hell Commute View Post

Coffin subs are best with dracula movies. tongue.gif

Very true.

But I prefer Lycans over vampires. So I prefer Lycan subs.
post #25 of 53
post #26 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hell Commute View Post


I was going to Photoshop a Lycan head atop my subs, but decided not to. biggrin.gif
post #27 of 53
Ha! A werewolf in a captain morgan pose on a sub would be the ultimate! Not gifted at photoshop unfortunately. wink.gif
post #28 of 53
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).
Except that optimal placement for mains is almost never optimal placement for subs. A full-range speaker suffers from room interaction problems at LF.
Quote:
This used to be more common back in the 1960s and 1970s, when good speaker systems mostly had 12-inch or larger drivers and had very good low bass, and the term subwoofer was almost unknown.
Having played with some of those speakers in a modern context: I disagree.
Quote:
I have the Vandersteen Treo speakers, and they have low enough bass response that I only use my subwoofer for maybe 30% of my music listening, where VERY low bass is in the mix.
Read about "standing waves" smile.gif

I run without subs in several rooms; and I have N801s (15" drivers) as well as custom builds with JL W7 subwoofers in them, as well as TL-loaded 8" speakers. Subs (done correctly, and assuming the sub is not crud relative to the speaker it's paired with) offer improvements.

The caveat has to do with potential problems summing stereo frequencies into mono for running non-stereo subs. There *can* be (though I suspect rarely actually are) issues there.
post #29 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post


Things have changed a lot, but you can still buy a Klipschorn corner horn speaker system that will go lower than most subwoofers! It just takes a huge room to use them...lol.

They are rated to 33 Hz. I set mine to small crossed-over at 40 Hz. It won't go lower than most subwoofers, but it will go louder than most!
post #30 of 53
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.
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