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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking at upgrading my current two channel system so I can enjoy the wonderful worlds of SACD and DVD-A. I like movies, but my main thing is audio. I don't get any great thrill from super-low bass, and would rather not lay out the extra bucks for a sub-woofer. I'm looking at a Denon AVR-3803 receiver and I am wondering is there some way I can get away without having a sub-woofer? I'd rather just channel that sub stuff down the drain instead of over-stressing speakers that are not designed for it. I am seeing this as being more and more of an issue with the DVD movies coming out these days - I've heard of people blowing speakers on movies like Saving Private Ryan.


Any advice for this multichannel newbie?
 

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Floor standing speakers put out more bass than bookshelf speakers. I don't own a subwoofer because I'm afraid of waking up my children. My basement is soundproof. I'm thinking of adding bass shaker's so I can feel the low frequencies.

Give us an idea of how much you want to spend?
 

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Yes, you really need a subwoofer :)


The thing about a sub is that it can really help to round out the sound of the rest of your system. While some tower speakers can reach low frequencies, they rarely play them as convincingly as a good sub.


Most people that think they don't need a sub are thinking of a sub in the wrong way. If you go into most shops, even many high end, you will hear WAY to much bass. this is because people really respond to a huge amount of bass. They think the soundtrack is supposed to vibrate them off of their recliner. Rarely is this true. What a sub should do is fill in the low frequencies, and be ready when there is a large explosion or something in a movie. If a system is set up properly you shouldn't really know that it is on. It should blend that nicely.


If you are serious enough about audio to get SACD and DVD-a then don't sell yourself short by leaving out the low stuff. Especially in today's music world there is a ton of information being played through the low frequencies. If you are going to go with the 3803 and SACD/DVD-a then go the one extra step and get a good sub.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
For speakers I already have a pair of ACI Sapphires so I'll be looking at about $1000 for an ACI Essence center and $900 for a pair of ACI Emeralds for the back sides (I LOVE these ACI's!). The Denon receiver's going for $999 at Crutchfield right now.
 

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Yes! No subs...no true Home Theater!


Nothing like 20 hz to get the adrenaline going!!
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by BaddaBob
The Denon receiver's going for $999 at Crutchfield right now.
That is too much unless you are talking Canadian Dollars.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by BaddaBob
For speakers I already have a pair of ACI Sapphires so I'll be looking at about $1000 for an ACI Essence center and $900 for a pair of ACI Emeralds for the back sides (I LOVE these ACI's!). The Denon receiver's going for $999 at Crutchfield right now.
I did a quick search and the ACI sapphires are bookshelf speakers right? You DEFINATELY need a sub then. You are just missing too much information.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
No I am talking US dollars. I'm looking at Crutchfield because they are authorized Denon dealers and they have a great rep. I'm not interested in saving a few bucks by buying on the grey market.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by ntode
I did a quick search and the ACI sapphires are bookshelf speakers right? You DEFINATELY need a sub then. You are just missing too much information.
Good point. Maybe I should go for a set of Panoramas for the front and use the Sapphires for the sides.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I any event, this is getting a bit off of the topic - I should have been more clear. I am interested in whether I can technically do without a sub-woofer and channel the .1 sub-bass channel down the drain so it doesn't go to the other speakers. In terms of sound quality, maybe I'll add a sub later, but right now I just want to get a system together that will work. This is already quite a bit of cash, at least for me.
 

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Baddabob:


I too have Sapphires, wonderful speakers! Like you, I am no bass freak. However, adding a pair of Force subs (I started out with one) opened the soundstage up tremendously. Once I got the subs dialed in, there was no comparison with the Sapphires by themselves. I'm talking about a music system. However, for an HT system, I believe you'd definitely want to transition to the sub at around 80Hz. A single Force will make a world of difference in your system. Just my nickle's worth:)
 

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I just heard a set of Panaramas.....excellent IMHO! The music that we were listening to did not require a sub. But I agree with Harry and ntode, the sub will be very nice to have and I think it's great for any system.


If you are looking into SACD and DVD-A, also research the bass management capabilities of the 3803's 5.1 analog input....unless you are planning on getting an external bass management device, or player with good bm capabilities.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by BaddaBob
I any event, this is getting a bit off of the topic - I should have been more clear. I am interested in whether I can technically do without a sub-woofer and channel the .1 sub-bass channel down the drain so it doesn't go to the other speakers. In terms of sound quality, maybe I'll add a sub later, but right now I just want to get a system together that will work. This is already quite a bit of cash, at least for me.
you're not hurting anything or anyone by not running a sub.


if all the posts by folks around here insisting you _need_ a sub make you curious about what you're missing, just go pick one up somewhere and try it out for a couple weeks. then you'll be able to answer your own question.
 

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Quote:
Yes! No subs...no true Home Theater
Wilson X-1(X-2), Linn Komri, Martin Logan E2 Statements all have one thing in common.Extension down to 20hz with adequate output.But I'll always use a "good" subwoofer nevertheless.Who needs 20hz, when you can achieve less than 12hz extension? Me of course.:D


To answer the original question, "Do I need a subwoofer?".Of course not, but its great to feel low bass waves.:) Keeping the drivers linear excursion in safe territory is always good.


Regards
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by BaddaBob
I any event, this is getting a bit off of the topic - I should have been more clear. I am interested in whether I can technically do without a sub-woofer and channel the .1 sub-bass channel down the drain so it doesn't go to the other speakers. In terms of sound quality, maybe I'll add a sub later, but right now I just want to get a system together that will work. This is already quite a bit of cash, at least for me.
With music, no problem. However, with HT, it is not just the .1 channel that has low bass, the mains also can contain extreme low frequencies. A ported speaker like the Sapphire can be overdriven by low frequency energy below the tuning (around 40Hz). There is a LOT of this energy in movies. Just about any crash, gun shot etc. I would think it would be pretty easy to damage just about any compact ported speaker with the right HT low frequency signal. By setting the speakers to small, crossover point at say 60-80Hz, you protect it from that kind of damage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by Harry P
By setting the speakers to small, crossover point at say 60-80Hz, you protect it from that kind of damage.
Thanks Harry. This is exactly the sort of info I am looking for. So if I set the crossover at 60-80Hz, do I have to have a sub-woofer to catch the low stuff, or does this just insure that the low stuff does not get sent to my Sapphires?


For the others who have responded, a sub-woofer might come eventually, but I just don't have the budget so I have to make choices. I do understand and appreciate your position.


Much obliged.
 

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there are plenty of Denon factory authorized dealers on the internet that sell cheaper than Crutchfield. i'm not talking about grey market either. take the time to look and you can save a ton of money!!!
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by BaddaBob
I'm looking at upgrading my current two channel system so I can enjoy the wonderful worlds of SACD and DVD-A. I like movies, but my main thing is audio. I don't get any great thrill from super-low bass, and would rather not lay out the extra bucks for a sub-woofer. I'm looking at a Denon AVR-3803 receiver and I am wondering is there some way I can get away without having a sub-woofer? I'd rather just channel that sub stuff down the drain instead of over-stressing speakers that are not designed for it. I am seeing this as being more and more of an issue with the DVD movies coming out these days - I've heard of people blowing speakers on movies like Saving Private Ryan.


Any advice for this multichannel newbie?
The two-channel rationale for going with a subwoofer applies to multichannel as well. Using a subwoofer relieves the speakers and the amplifier from having to handle the demanding low frequencies, which in turn noticeably improves the midrange coherency from your other speakers. A lot of home theatre buffs are drawn to subs by the explosions and sound effects, and that leads to a lot of derision on the part of people who are primarily music driven. But, that's disingenuous because there are plenty of arguments in favor of using a subwoofer with music-only systems as well. On my system, the biggest single improvement with a subwoofer was with acoustic music. Having the full range sound available gives an entirely different take on realism.


The simplest way to "drain" out the bass is to simply set all of your speakers to small, set the crossover point to about 60 Hz, direct the LFE output towards the subwoofer channel, and simply not plug a subwoofer to the receiver. Your speakers should easily handle that kind of playback.


However, keep in mind that with SACD and DVD-A, you rely entirely on the bass management functions with the DVD player itself, because those high res formats can only be output through the analog outputs. Your receiver directly feeds the 6-channel analog input directly into the amplifier section with no bass management. In general, the bass management with DVD players is nowhere near as flexible as what you get with a receiver like the 3803. Depending on the player that you use, you might not have any bass management options at all, or it forces you to crossover at 80 Hz, which can make the music sound almost anemic.


The other reason to go with a subwoofer is because the main speakers are not always positioned where you get the most even sounding bass. Having that placement flexibility allows you to find the spot in the room where the bass is tight and not boomy. An outboard self-powered subwoofer also gives you the option of using a parametric equalizer to correct for room-induced bass problems (and most rooms create problems in the low frequencies). An EQ allows you to adjust the bass response so that it's as even as possible, and this benefits music the most. So, it's not entirely about the loud effects and houseshaking sensations.
 

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You don't need a subwoofer in the sense that you don't need surround sound or a stereo system at all. But in the sense that you need some nice speakers, then yes, you need a sub. The only exception to that would beif your speakers put out enough bass that it becomes readily apparent that a sub is not necessary. These would have to be some pretty beefy speakers, though. Even with my old Kappa 9's, which put out a lot of bass compared to traditional speakers, needed a sub. It wasn't until I got mains with 8 12" woofers that I felt a sub was unneccesary. With your mains, I would certainly recommend a sub.
 
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