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Adding subs to horn speakers that already have active subs

933 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  RayGuy
I am running a 2.0 system with a pair of Avantgarde Acoustic horn speakers that have 12” active subs integrated with the horns. They act as an integrated package, meaning that I only have speaker wire going to the speakers and there is some internal trickery to feed signal to the integrated active subs.

I would like to experiment with some external subs in addition to what I already have. My question is that should I consider this a 4 sub setup or a 2 sub one? The horn speakers have a frequency response down to 18hz (according to manual), should I be looking at putting the two extra subs at the corners next to the sofa (this is a mostly square room) or next to the speakers as I think is the typical setup with dual subs?

I am not looking for more bass volume, rather I would like more control over the bass frequency range.
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Since there is no user accessible bass management as part of the speakers, my opinion would be to consider them just full range speakers and not as separate subs and therefore, they would not be counted as subs if you are adding new subs to the system.

However, there is not quite enough information to answer this question fully. What else is in your signal chain? How do you plan on hooking the additional subs up to your system?
The horns actually do have bass management on them, there is even an option to drive the subs with a separatw signal and there is a programmable eq on each speaker. I haven’t messed around with it, but it does provide the ability to do quite a bit. One interesting feature is that the mid range horn starts dropping off at a fairly high frequency, so the range the sub is covering goes up to somewhere over 200hz.

Other than the speakers I am running a Lyngdorf integrated amp with their in-house rool correction and the amp does have outputs for stereo subwoofers.
Optimal subwoofer placement is trial and error. It may be very difficult integrating two new subwoofers with the two you already have. Be ready for a lot of moving and tweaking.
Adding subwoofers to Avantgarde Acoustic Horn speakers could be a challenge if it's not done right. I have a customer with a pair of UNO XDs and it wasn't easy to properly add a pair of Rythmik Audio F12Gs into his system. Fortunately after taking some measurements with REW, he was able to properly integrate them with success placing the subwoofers in the optimal spots, which BTW were not next to each speaker.
Is it possible to completely disable the built in subs and just use external ones? That seemed much easier.
I would not approach the speakers as if they were two separate units in one box. Instead, allow the internal crossover to control the integration of the horn and the sub, as I am sure the speaker designers did it in the best way possible. That then brings up the next point, which is adding a pair of free-standing subwoofers to the mix.

First, it is clear from you're wanting to improve the bass region that the speakers are not placed well for that task. This is not uncommon, as it is almost always true that the best position for imaging and soundstage is not the best place for good bass response. Consequently, I would use an external crossover from the mains to the subs and experiment with the best frequency to achieve both good soundstage and good bass response. This gives you the freedom to move the subs anywhere in the room to get the bass response you want, something you could not do with the bass chained to the main speakers. In addition, relieving the mains of some of their bass responsibilities will improve clarity (less distortion) and give you greater headroom.

This approach has worked often for other main speakers with powered bass modules (Golden Ear, Def Tech, for example). Invariably, the internal crossover of these type of speakers tends to be in the upper bass / lower mids region, where typical subwoofers dare not venture. Trying to integrate these internal "subs" with external subs is a PITA, at best, and an absolute disaster at worst (the tales of woe are numerous on this site). So, the best approach is to treat the mains as you would any full range mains and cross them over to your subs where they sound best.
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