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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have had a nice HT for awhile now.. but have yet to purchase my subs (yes, I know... how could it be nice without subs... I am primarily a 2 channel person... running classic Maggie MG IIIa's as my primary speaker).


From what I can tell, conventional wisdom is:

o buy a REL sub if you want a good 2 channel complement.

o buy a pair of SVS subs if you want a rockin home theater.


The dilemma is... I want it all! There seems to be so much lore about subs and I am ignorant about the science. From what I can tell, terms like "musical" are often confused with flexibility or "repressed" performance.


For the price of a nice REL sub, I can get a pair of SVS unpowered subs, a behringer active xover, *and* a pair of quicksilver monoblocks to drive the ribbons on my maggies (well, maybe a couple of hundred more... but when you have this sickness 200 = 0, you know what I am talkin about!)


My question all boils down to.. wiill the active crossover essentially give me all the control I want to make the SVS subs as musical as anything else? The main advantage of the REL seems to be their xover, with a path for music and for home theater. Am I deluding myself? Can I really have it all?


Thanks...

med.
 

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I've never been impressed with REL's bass performance given their cost. It's been my experience that people who like the RELs like listening at low volumes (where the REL's response is still flat) to music which doesn't have a lot of bass content. SVS offers a nice return policy... it would be worthwhile to A/B the two options in your home and decide for yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes.. I agree. I spoke of "repressed" performance and your statement on the REL falls in line with this (the Bag End appears to be a case of this as well). I am hoping that what passes for musicality I can achieve through added control.


med.
 

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Med,


SVS takes no back seat to REL in terms of refined bass performance for two channel or music bass! REL has some nifty input/output features, but if you have a modern pre/pro with bass management, most are superflous.


Read some of the reviews on our site and I think you might be conviced to give them a try. There simply is NO contest when it comes to bass that delivers for both music and home theater.


Go here, order a pair, and tell me I'm wrong in 45 days.



It's a challenge SVS takes, and wins hundreds of times a month.

http://www.svsubwoofers.com/reviews.htm


Ron
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Ron... I have talked to Tom a bit as well and your straight up "let the music do the talking" approach works for me. The number of audio salons I walk into where they dis the competition and put down something they were praising a year ago has become a bad joke.


I have read of only one person trying the SVS subs with the maggies... and he indicated he returned them. The source is not reliable.. but it has made me cautious (hence my question of the primary difference with the REL being control).


I have read Tom writing about Q factor and how it relates to musicality... I think I will go reread it


Thanks.. as always.

med.
 

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Med,


I think you are right, we did have a guy with Maggies that didn't think the SVS he chose blended well. If I recall right, he sold the SVS to his son who LOVED it.


Then again, I believe he had NO sub prior to the SVS, with the Maggies alone (shudder), so it's hard to say if personal taste wasn't hard to overcome in that instance.


I know there have been still others with Maggies that were thrilled too. As with most equipment, when you can, it's best to try it in your home. You risk only shipping cost with SVS. Given our return rate is something like .01% (probably LESS than a tenth of a percent, so low we don't even keep track!) I think it's a low risk proposition indeed.


Ron Stimpson
www.svsubwoofers.com
 

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Med,


In my opinion, you shouldn't settle for anything less than "having it all." That is, a good sub should deliver for both music and movies. An "audiophile" sub that delivers nice, unobtrusive bass for music just isn't worth a premium price if it can't deliver slam and impact when you pop in a DVD like The Phantom Menace. I mean, if you spend several thousand dollars on a speaker specifically designed to do bass, shouldn't it be able to handle anything you throw at it, music or movies?


I've never personally auditioned a REL or an SVS, so I can't really answer your question. I guess it all comes down to what level of performance you expect out of a sub for both music and movies?


Jim
 

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Having set up a couple of RELS, I am completley unimpressed with there ability to extend down to 20hz and subsonic. I would expect more from a sub between 1200-2000 dollars. They blend very well at the crossover point because of there flexibility, but if you use a test disc and measure dbSPL vs. frequency with a goldline SPL meter (measures SPL without weighting curves) you will find that they are rolled off aggressively below 35hz. It has been awhile, but my recollection (in 1 enclosed room of 3500 cuft with corner loading) the sub (storm 3 low passed at 42hz) was about -5dbSPL at 31hz, -9 db at 25hz, and a dismal -15db at 20hz (meter 2feet from sub). Maybe the unit I measured was bad, but that is my recollection (imprinted because of disappointment).


In this situations, the customer used a Servo15 for HT, while leaving the rels running off the voltage for L&R stereo audio.


Comparably the servo 15 measured closely to measurements taken in an earlier review by D.B Keele of Audio Mag (now defunct), with room reinforcement the 20hz measurement was 108db SPL, 50hz 113db SPL (he got 110 db SPL at 20-I can assume his equipment might be more accurate or the room was smaller)


The REL is a beautifully made product that is very flexible with regard to installation, but it will not allow you the low frequency extension and performance of SVS products (based on numerous reviews and reports).


BTW, get ready for the flowery language and non-objective double-speak if you ever try to confront a sales person with hard data.
 

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I guess I am going against the grain here, but I have REL Storm IIs with Maggies and they sound and blend great. Auditioned M&K and Paradigm at the time.


That doesn't make SVS or any other option good bad or indifferent. Just my experience.
 

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The one issue with planers...they have a dispersion pattern unlike a conventional speaker. If you could see the pattern for a planer...it would look like two tennsi balls stuck together(a 3-D figure eight). To match a non dipole subwoofer to this...you need to pay very close attention to the placement/distance of the subwoofer compared to the mains/seating position. Calibration might be more accurate by *ear* than SPL meter too...although that's certainly a point of debate. And if you're worried about a variety of seats in the room...matching a conventional subwoofer to planers could take quite a while....even using a RTA. Having more crossover flexibility sure can't hurt in this regard either.


If you're comparing SVS to Rel, I'd like to think of SVS as *seperates* compared to a high quality receiver. The receiver can be a little easier to use and take up less overall space with everything built in. However, if you don't mind using more space...matching something like a dual CS_U/S1000 package with a high quality XO and/or high quality parametric EQ will give you(imo) the best of both world: clean output at high levels(down to the 16-18hz range in most rooms)...and more than enough crossover/EQ options to optimize the subs to any system/room you might have. Remember...all the features in the world won't mean much if the subwoofer isn't capable of clean output at the levels you desire,down to the freqs commonly found on the source material.


TV
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks Tom... this is precisely what I was getting at with my question. I was going to get a Behringer CX 3400 for my crossover. Any recommendation for a parametric eq?


Thanks.
 

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I've used the 3400s and thought they worked fine for subwoofers. There's also the paradigm X-10,20,30s and on the more expensive side...the marchand stuff looks very sweet.


Parametric EQing...the two main players in my book are the Rane PE17 and the Sysmetrix 551. Nearly identical in features,control layout and quality.


I believe the 3400 only has XLR inputs and outputs. So you'll want to plan for the needed adaption both ways in the stream(back to the receiver, forward to the amp).

www.fullcompass.com


has the behringer 3400(for about $200 i think) AND they have cabling with XLR on one end and your choice of 1/4" or RCA on the other end. (so you might as well order the cables you need at the same time) I think the inputs on the 3400 need male cable termination and the outputs will need female.


I'm not sure who sells the parametric EQs. SVS sells the 551(and we include a custom made bettercables *silverserpent* with it)for $399. But you might be able to find it less expensive too.



TV
 

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I'm with WScott on this one. I haven't heard the SVS, so I'm not going to get into a comparison. It is also probably true that incredibly high SPL bass is not something I'm looking for.


My REL Strata does wonderfully with both film and music. It provides as much bass as my room can handle, and could presumably provide more. It is never woofy, and it suits me just fine. And, FWIW, I don't use its flexible input/output configurations, and let my Casanova handle all the bass xover.


As I said, nothing against the SVS; perhaps its a good match for you. Having heard Maggies and (obviously) REL subwoofers, I am convinced that those are a good match.


Claude
 

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A few thing with successful integration of planars with subs.


Cross over from the sub to mains as low as possible. 40-50hz would be desired. It is basically a tradeoff between headroom and planar bass. If you cross at 40 hz, the bottoming out of the bass panal would likely occur. Anything above 50hz should be avoided. For this reason, bass augmentation is not the way to go if you want to increase your main speaker's headroom.


If you want to run your sub in-line with your main instead of using LFE out, you should go with a high quality crossover. Pro audio crossovers like the Behringer seems to be not of audiophile quality, Do not get a crossover with knob adjustable crossover freq, since they usually do not utilize multi-gang pot required for precise adjustment. Instead, they use VCAs, which are dreaded for its non-linearities. A high quality crossover with discrete xover freq is desired. Don't use the std 80hz crossover in many processors, it'll make the system sound dreadful.



For dipole speaker, a dipole subwoofer like what Celestion had would integrate better with the dipole planars. As for specific subs, a Muse Model 18 sub has been highly touted to integrate very well with Quads and other planar type speakers.



As far as placement, don't go for the typical corner placement since that is for the purpose of getting maximum boom out of their Costo HT-in-a-sack's sub which would ordinarily destroy itself if not re-enforced by nearby boundaries.


As for levels, adjust with both SPL meter and ear, preferably matching level @ crossover point instead of the wide band pink noise that is commonly used in the HT world. Also, during playing of music, if you could hear the sub (if somebody says "Yeah, I could really hear the sub" or "Those sub sounds good,") then it is set at a too high a level.

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In my opinion, you shouldn't settle for anything less than "having it all." That is, a good sub should deliver for both music and movies. An "audiophile" sub that delivers nice, unobtrusive bass for music just isn't worth a premium price if it can't deliver slam and impact when you pop in a DVD like The Phantom Menace.
I don't agree with this statement, there will always be compromises, and it is up to you to determine what you want more. If you want HT reference level everything, then you shouldn't even use the maggies because your midrange, tweeter, amp fuse and breaker will probably blow if you insist on getting 115dB @ seating position when the speakers are rated at 86dB/1m/2w.


Or do what my Meridian manual says. Hook up 2 subs, use your good sub for music mode, and the inferior sub for cinema mode.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by lwang
A few thing with successful integration of planars with subs.


Cross over from the sub to mains as low as possible. 40-50hz would be desired. It is basically a tradeoff between headroom and planar bass. If you cross at 40 hz, the bottoming out of the bass panal would likely occur. Anything above 50hz should be avoided. For this reason, bass augmentation is not the way to go if you want to increase your main speaker's headroom.
Well, we've been through this here on the forum many times before, but probably not specifically to planars. I will still stand by the fact that your in-room response will dominate the sound you are going to get. Lowering the crossover to below 50Hz allows you to err on the side of a dip or lack of certain frequencies rather than chancing to excite a room mode which will require a little effort and head scratching to reduce.


Rather than just playing with the crossover settings, take some closely spaced test tones and see what sort of bumps and dips you are getting in the response from your mains, and then from your sub, prefferably a few different locations for your sub. The idea is to use each speaker where it works best. In general, by 50-80Hz, your mains will have some significant peaks and dips. With a little work in placing a good quality subwoofer without huge amounts of limiting, you should be able to get much smoother response from the sub below the frequency where the mains begin to have trouble. You have not mentioned dimensions of the room, possible placement locations, or even pre-processor to indicate what crossover flexibility you have. With this info, we can get a lot further in what might offer a better solution. The REL subs I have listened to all have sounded decent, and good for low to moderate level music, but I haven't heard one provide the clean bottom end power which a more capable subwoofer can. Especially in the music system, I would bet money you could greatly improve the sound and integration of the subwoofer you choose with proper application of a parametric EQ. With some very simple placement changes, you can often get down to 2-3 main peaks in the response of the sub, and unless you have played with a parametric EQ in this way before, you will be greatly suprised how a bump in the 50-80Hz destroys the bass "integration" of a system.


My vote is for a single or pair of SVS CS_Ultra subs. The Ultras will have lower distortion and greater headroom than the standard series, and lend to easier matching with the planars to higher frequencies.

Quote:
As far as placement, don't go for the typical corner placement since that is for the purpose of getting maximum boom out of their Costo HT-in-a-sack's sub which would ordinarily destroy itself if not re-enforced by nearby boundaries.
I've been doing some digging on the placement issue more recently, and there's little question that corner placement is NOT the best location for all rooms. That said, the larger the room, the better the result will be as the modes of the room move closer and closer as the room dimensions get longer (translation: those with large great rooms w/vaulted ceilings should probably stick to the corners). Furthermore, corner placement can also result in a curve which may not be as flat, but is much easier to EQ. It looks like 2 subs placed in specific asymetrical locations could be the best option for best bass performance, with EQ and processing being the key to maximize this solution.

Quote:
I don't agree with this statement, there will always be compromises, and it is up to you to determine what you want more. If you want HT reference level everything, then you shouldn't even use the maggies because your midrange, tweeter, amp fuse and breaker will probably blow if you insist on getting 115dB @ seating position when the speakers are rated at 86dB/1m/2w.


Or do what my Meridian manual says. Hook up 2 subs, use your good sub for music mode, and the inferior sub for cinema mode.
115dB is beyond the THX spec, which is pretty loud to begin with, but 105dB @ 1M from an 86dB/1W/1M speaker is well within reach although it does require 100W to achieve. Of course continuous levels at 105dB requires headroom well above that. We've had no indication from med that he is not satisfied with the levels his Magnapans can produce, just that he wants to extend their bottom end performance. While I whole heartedly agree that compromises are a part of any system, realize that the majority of those compromises are made in the design of the subwoofer and it's final placement in a room. Balancing these two the decision of these problems with your final goals and a few creative treatments to the problems they incur can definitely result in a system which can handle both music and movies to great satisfaction.


On the suggestion of two subs, I have a real problem with settling for an "inferior" subwoofer for music as it just sounds like a poor design and waste of money to me if a great music sub can't hold it's own for HT. Note that Meridian still has their subs integrated into their mains which forces them to work within their own set of limitations. I would agree that it may be preferred to have slightly elevated output at the bottom end for movies, but I would also argue that this comes from the modal peaks in a room being less offensive during movie program material as opposed to music only. Get deep, flat, and clean response which can reach the levels you desire and you will have a system which can perform beautifully for both music and HT.


Regards,
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for all your responses... they are more or less confirming the direction I have decided to go.


I will be buying a single CS Ultra... and will add on the external crossover and parametric eq as I see fit over time. I do not see the need for a second CS Ultra yet, but who knows.


As for the rest of my system, I have sold off my old Parasound processor and will be getting the new Outlaw processor and adding in a dedicated two channel setup (the Anthem Pre2l and Amp1, as well as an external crossover to biamp the maggies).


I like to buy things and play with them.. homebrewing as much as possible. From what I can tell, the CS Ultra gives me the best basis to do that.


Once it is all set up (it is a couple of months in the making I think), I will post my results here. Thanks again... and you SVS guys are in a league of your own when it comes to presenting/discussing your product.


med.
 

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Quote:
Get deep, flat, and clean response which can reach the levels you desire and you will have a system which can perform beautifully for both music and HT.
Yup, the notion that movies and music have different sub requirements has always struck me as odd. The sub is just a transducer and it should cleanly reproduce anything you throw at it. Plenty of musical instruments are low and loud (pipe organ) and have that slam associated with HT (kick drum.) Conversely, movie soundtracks contain lots of music.


Bottom line, if your sub sucks for music, your sub sucks; if your sub sucks for movies, your sub sucks. Having separate sucky subs for movies and music is just silly - BOTH your subs still suck. Get one or, preferably, several subs that are good for both, meaning they play low and loud with very low distortion. Position them carefully, do some bass traps, do some eq., fiddle with the crossovers, measure the whole thing with RTA and/or MLS software to make sure it's right -- and enjoy wonderful sound no matter what source you throw at your system.
 

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I can report favorably on the use of a Marchand XM9-L electronic crossover and BFD 1100P Parametric EQ with an M&K MX700 sub to augment the bass of my L&R mains (Dynaudio Contour 2.8 towers w/32Hz capability, a passive radiator design).


The Marchand is hard wired (with removable dual resistor ICs) for the crossover frequency. I bought about six different resistor crossover packs, tested, and settled on 60Hz (one octave above 32Hz).


This unit also has symmetrical -24dB slope Linkwitz-Riley crossovers, which have desirable zero degree phase effects.


This unit is very transparent in the main signal path, but also provides a bass SUM switch (L+R).


The parametric EQ is only on the low-pass bass only signal path to the sub. By the way, this can be controlled from a PC through MIDI cables.


This combo really works well for me in both HT and 2-channel, but I did buy the M&K before SVS even existed. The SVS would be better as I am somewhat SPL limited with the M&K.


BruceD
 
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