Do you need a subwoofer if your LCR are full-range? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 25 Old 10-21-2019, 08:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Do you need a subwoofer if your LCR are full-range?

I'm looking at the Goldenear Triton Reference stats and they seem fairly flat all the way down to 20 or 30hz, and they can reach as far down as 12hz. They also seem relatively powerful. Incredible speakers.

Imagine a home theatre, maybe 27'x20'x9' or the like, with three of these bad boys. Would this home theatre need/benefit noticeably from having a subwoofer(s) beyond the three Triton Reference speakers?
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post #2 of 25 Old 10-21-2019, 08:59 PM
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The answer is maybe. Chances are the position of your LCR are not ideal for low frequencies. Especially if you have more than one listening position. And how much output can they give at 20 Hz in your room? Lots of factors and you may not know for sure until you try. Maybe it will be enough for you or maybe not.
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post #3 of 25 Old 10-21-2019, 09:02 PM
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The age old question.

The answer is maybe.

I mean, define need. Everyone has different needs and expectations. There are no blanket statements in audio.


Leave it at 8 ohms and call it a day :)
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post #4 of 25 Old 10-21-2019, 09:16 PM
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Benefit?
Absolutely no question.
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post #5 of 25 Old 10-22-2019, 06:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Is this such a matter of opinion? I know some people are crazy bass heads, but isn’t there roughly speaking a metric of how loud bass should be relative to the rest of the sound (such as reference level?). I gave some dimensions for a room, we know how loud these speakers get and their frequency response. Shouldn’t this tell us if these speakers will rock the house sufficiently for a home theatre ?

If not, I’m certainly wanting to learn more !
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post #6 of 25 Old 10-22-2019, 06:51 AM
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Most movie soundtracks have an LFE track, which is a bass only track. Even with full range speakers you will benefit from being able to play the LFE track through a sub rather than having the receiver mix it in with your other speakers.

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post #7 of 25 Old 10-22-2019, 06:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Jawaburger View Post
Most movie soundtracks have an LFE track, which is a bass only track. Even with full range speakers you will benefit from being able to play the LFE track through a sub rather than having the receiver mix it in with your other speakers.
This is a great point! In this case the speakers I mentioned actually have an LFE input. I believe this solves the problem you mention?
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post #8 of 25 Old 10-22-2019, 07:04 AM
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One word, no. There are no "maybe" about it. While you don't NEED a subwoofer for any system, you WANT a subwoofer, even if you don't know it yet. There is a reason the drivers in the Triton is called a 'woofer' and then there is the 'sub-woofer'. WHile the Triton may play down to 30hz, with what authority? At lower volumes, a subwoofer is that piece of dynamics everyone wants. At higher volumes, a subwoofer is that piece of dynamics everyone wants.
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post #9 of 25 Old 10-22-2019, 07:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squirrel! View Post
One word, no. There are no "maybe" about it. While you don't NEED a subwoofer for any system, you WANT a subwoofer, even if you don't know it yet. There is a reason the drivers in the Triton is called a 'woofer' and then there is the 'sub-woofer'. WHile the Triton may play down to 30hz, with what authority? At lower volumes, a subwoofer is that piece of dynamics everyone wants. At higher volumes, a subwoofer is that piece of dynamics everyone wants.
The speaker has 3 built-in subwoofers, doesn't it?

Also, if the frequency response is flat down to 20 or 30, doesn't that mean it plays bass with the same "authority" as it plays other frequencies? Serious question from a dunce.
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post #10 of 25 Old 10-22-2019, 07:22 AM
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Having a sub, two, three, or four allows you to detach the low frequencies from the speakers to allow better placement within the room to compensate for room modes. Room placement options can be worth their weight in gold unless you have a unicorn room that has its best response where the L/R speakers are located.
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post #11 of 25 Old 10-22-2019, 07:23 AM
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In a very small room, you might be able to get by with some very capable towers and no sub, especially if it's more for music than movies. But in a large room, you would benefit from having one or more dedicated subwoofers if you want a proper HT setup. For myself, my towers sound good in 2 channel mode and put out very good bass, but they are no match for the LFE rumbling and punching I get from a dedicated subwoofer when I put a movie on. Also, having the LFE channel going to the sub allows me to cross my towers over at 80Hz and they play mids and highs much cleaner as a result.
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post #12 of 25 Old 10-22-2019, 07:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Molon_Labe View Post
Having a sub, two, three, or four allows you to detach the low frequencies from the speakers to allow better placement within the room to compensate for room modes. Room placement options can be worth the weight in gold unless you have a unicorn room that has its best response where the L/R speakers are located.
I see. So even if the speakers have incredible subwoofers in them, it might not be a good idea simply due to placement
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post #13 of 25 Old 10-22-2019, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Snoochers View Post
I see. So even if the speakers have incredible subwoofers in them, it might not be a good idea simply due to placement
Correct. Better room response combined with more output = win/win.
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post #14 of 25 Old 10-22-2019, 09:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snoochers View Post
The speaker has 3 built-in subwoofers, doesn't it?

Also, if the frequency response is flat down to 20 or 30, doesn't that mean it plays bass with the same "authority" as it plays other frequencies? Serious question from a dunce.
In theory, yes. Real life you want the subs separate from the main speakers. As has been said, placement is HUGE for proper sound. The Triton are no slouch by any means, but I'm not a fan of AIO speaker systems. Authority is more than playing the frequency, it's how powerful it can be. Small oval subwoofers can't compete with the mass of larger round drivers. And since bass is the movement of air, like all other sounds, a larger surface area can play with more authority.

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post #15 of 25 Old 10-22-2019, 10:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Molon_Labe View Post
Correct. Better room response combined with more output = win/win.
+1

I'm honestly shocked at how often this gets overlooked.
Placement is typically optimized for soundstage/imaging.
Bass response can be great but it will never be as good as a perfectly placed subwoofer.

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post #16 of 25 Old 10-22-2019, 11:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snoochers View Post
Imagine a home theatre, maybe 27'x20'x9' or the like, with three of these bad boys. Would this home theatre need/benefit noticeably from having a subwoofer(s) beyond the three Triton Reference speakers?
Like they say in real estate: location, location, location. A 20' wide home theatre is going to have peaks & nulls across the width of the room at 28Hz, 57Hz, 85Hz, 113Hz, 141Hz, etc. Each listener will hear different bass. You can minimize the first 3 of those just by proper location of a pair of subs (above which you're out of the typical subwoofer range). All listeners across the width of the room will now hear similar bass. That frees you up to place your L/R speakers for best soundstage & imaging, without worrying what effect their placement will have on the low frequencies. Can't do that with full range speakers (unless you're handy with a saw).

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post #17 of 25 Old 10-22-2019, 12:03 PM
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One line of thinking is to buy main speakers with flat response down to 80Hz and use two (or four) subs for 80 Hz and below. As others have said, using well placed subs in your room yields smoother LF response to more seats.

And, there are advantages to using main speakers without built in subs. They aren't as big, don't require as much power, are an easier load to drive, and don't cost as much. That said, I use Revel F208's because I like having at least a three way tower speaker (the additional midrange driver helps that critical band and allows more power handling/higher SPLs). I considered F206's for mains but prefer the LF extension of the F208s because I want extended LF response, but don't always want to turn on my subs, especially for casual listening or background music. My system is on all day because I work from home. I only turn on the subs, center and surrounds for TV/movies and serious listening to music.

I listen to background music in stereo and turn on the center channel to watch basic TV (news etc). I only turn on the subs and surrounds when there is enough material to warrant having them on (movies, TV shows with good LF and surround content). FYI, I use a Revel C208 for the center channel and Revel F206's for rear surrounds. I had F208's for rear channels but decided F206's are big enough because the subs are on when they are in use.

Hope that helps.
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post #18 of 25 Old 10-22-2019, 03:13 PM
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One line of thinking is to buy main speakers with flat response down to 80Hz and use two (or four) subs for 80 Hz and below. As others have said, using well placed subs in your room yields smoother LF response to more seats.

*snip*
Only thing I'd say is that flat down (only) to 80hz may not be ideal unless you're using steep crossover slopes. If you use the typical 12dB/octave slopes found on most receivers, then your mains will still be asked to produce a decent amount of 40hz content. If they can't, then the x-over response will not be ideal. How that impacts your in-room response is unknown without measuring, of course.

Thus, I prefer my mains play flat down to at least an octave below the chosen crossover point. IMO, this helps blend the mains to the sub. Since I tend to land on a 60hz x-over point, I tend to always buy full-range mains that can play with authority down to 30hz.

P.S. It also helps to have subs that can play cleanly at least a half-octave above the chosen x-over point. Since most AVRs have 24dB/octave slopes on the low-pass, the subs still get (with 80hz x-over) up to 120hz at 12dB down, and if they muddy that then they ruin the blend to the mains, too. 120hz is also directional, so if your subs are boosted (house curve) you may find them calling attention to themselves with an 80hz x-over point.

edit: I just thought of something else -- there is a little...nit...that the receivers tend to use 12dB slopes on the HP and 24dB slopes on the LP, which to "sum correctly" would want the mains to roll-off another 12dB. I suppose this is one argument for using speakers with an 80hz knee...but, I'm still not a fan, lol. I suppose this is because I prefer a naturally tilted response and having some extra energy down low from the mains makes me happier, lol.
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post #19 of 25 Old 10-22-2019, 05:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you everyone! This has been extremely elucidating.
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post #20 of 25 Old 10-22-2019, 05:44 PM
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Depending on the AVR that you are using it will be a hit and miss situation.
Since you won’t be able move around your sub to an ideal location, you’ll need to calibrate them carefully to get a smooth response, which will be kind of difficult, because of their fixed position.
I would get towers without LFE input and let that task be taken over by a pair of dedicated sub.



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post #21 of 25 Old 10-22-2019, 06:18 PM
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I say yes. Both music and video.

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post #22 of 25 Old 10-22-2019, 07:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DreamWarrior View Post
Only thing I'd say is that flat down (only) to 80hz may not be ideal unless you're using steep crossover slopes. If you use the typical 12dB/octave slopes found on most receivers, then your mains will still be asked to produce a decent amount of 40hz content. If they can't, then the x-over response will not be ideal. How that impacts your in-room response is unknown without measuring, of course.

Thus, I prefer my mains play flat down to at least an octave below the chosen crossover point. IMO, this helps blend the mains to the sub. Since I tend to land on a 60hz x-over point, I tend to always buy full-range mains that can play with authority down to 30hz.

P.S. It also helps to have subs that can play cleanly at least a half-octave above the chosen x-over point. Since most AVRs have 24dB/octave slopes on the low-pass, the subs still get (with 80hz x-over) up to 120hz at 12dB down, and if they muddy that then they ruin the blend to the mains, too. 120hz is also directional, so if your subs are boosted (house curve) you may find them calling attention to themselves with an 80hz x-over point.

edit: I just thought of something else -- there is a little...nit...that the receivers tend to use 12dB slopes on the HP and 24dB slopes on the LP, which to "sum correctly" would want the mains to roll-off another 12dB. I suppose this is one argument for using speakers with an 80hz knee...but, I'm still not a fan, lol. I suppose this is because I prefer a naturally tilted response and having some extra energy down low from the mains makes me happier, lol.
All of this was discussed a while back. Dr. Toole had this to say: https://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-sp...l#post58625710

There was a bit of discussion on the issue in several posts before Dr. Toole's.
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post #23 of 25 Old 10-23-2019, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Snoochers View Post
I see. So even if the speakers have incredible subwoofers in them, it might not be a good idea simply due to placement
The problem that I've had with powerd towers running "full-range" is that you tend to hear a lot of unwanted audible bass dumps from time to time. Also it'll muddy up the mid bass.
With your large room.. I'd start with a good sub and if you can run double bass on your reciever/processor and go from there.

I'm willing to bet that in the end you'll find yourself with at least two matching subs and your mains cross' over at 60 or 70hz's....

Have fun.

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post #24 of 25 Old 10-23-2019, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Anderson View Post
All of this was discussed a while back. Dr. Toole had this to say: https://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-sp...l#post58625710

There was a bit of discussion on the issue in several posts before Dr. Toole's.
Sounds like Toole's post agrees with my sentiment that the room matters more (alluded to above, but maybe not obvious).

That said, given the room matters more and the selection of x-over and slopes on both the mains and subs will impact the overall response, I'd still like mains to go down low enough to allow me the flexibility to configure these parameters "any" way I need to get an...optimal...pre-EQ room response. May as well let the "necessary evils" (crossovers) do their thing as best as possible before adding anything else (EQ) to the picture. Just my opinion, of course.
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post #25 of 25 Old 10-23-2019, 01:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DreamWarrior View Post
Sounds like Toole's post agrees with my sentiment that the room matters more (alluded to above, but maybe not obvious).

That said, given the room matters more and the selection of x-over and slopes on both the mains and subs will impact the overall response, I'd still like mains to go down low enough to allow me the flexibility to configure these parameters "any" way I need to get an...optimal...pre-EQ room response. May as well let the "necessary evils" (crossovers) do their thing as best as possible before adding anything else (EQ) to the picture. Just my opinion, of course.

And I agree wholeheartedly. I should not have over generalized the "flat to 80 Hz" statement. I already went through that whole scenario, lol.
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