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One aerial SW-12 sub or four Vandy V2w's?

620 Views 23 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  TV
My room is around 4100 cubic feet and one sw12 thats not even next to a wall and only has its volume switch 1/4 of the way up can make me aware of the air in my lungs. Ive never listened to the vandys so I cant comment on comparisons, Im sure Steve will be albe to

- Jerry
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As all knows, I have five Vandersteen subs which basically serve as extensions of my four Aerial 10Ts and CC3 center speakers.

And I have two Aerial SW12s in one front room corner, which handle the LFE, and they as well as the Vandys handle the low pass filtered bass, as my Theta Casablanca is set at 50 Hz 6 dB high pass filter.

Ain't no contest. Now I do get about 6 dB more extension by having two Aerial subs as opposed to one. But the Aerial sub just moves more air than multiple Vandys, that's all there is to it. And you can both hear and feel the Aerial's bass extension mucho more than the Vandys. Its quite amazing.

I decided to add one more Aerial sub - its being placed in the front left room corner next to the other two Aerial subs. This means I'll really have unreal, totally uncompressed LFE and bass extension all the way down! Ha!

But for those of us who aren't absolutely crazy like me, one Aerial sub is plenty. Not cheap at all, but absolutely wonderful for what it will do for music and video in your system.
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sounds like youre ready to command the Aerial Force!

- Jerry
Wow Steve, three LFE subs! And you told me that you have limits on your equipment funds.

Well these three LFE subs should really shake your butt.
Crazy question, I know, but wondering since the retail price for 1 aerial SW-12 sub is close to 4 Vandersteen V2W subs which would give a better HT LFE reference result for a room about 4200 cubic feet? Thanks, Mark and hi Steve!!!!
Steve- You're out of your mind -- and I'm very jealous! :)

I've heard that in the near future, SGHT or HT mag.(I can't remember anymore) will have a review on the Aerial system using a SW-12...I heard that to say the review is favorable would be an understatement.


You directed me to this forum earlier today and I noticed this post.

The dealer and Mike Kelly are stressing to me the "concept" of stereo subs. That way we would wire them via interconnects to the processor. Then set an appropriate crossover so that the subs do the lower stuff and blend into the 10T's.

When you say 1 is plenty am I missing something?

I am not excited about buying two, but if I am going to do this I want to do it right.

Is the only difference one would hear, in your view, with two subs, more air?


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I am a little confused.

I understand the part about wiring two SW12's into your processor.

That would allow SW12 1oT combination to act as one speaekr per channel.

But, what happens with say one?

If I kept my Velodynes' and put them behind my couch and put one SW12 at the front of the room is there a way to wire one to augment the music?

I have not yet seen a SW12 so i am at a loss. But, can I take both channels into one SW12 and come out into the AMP for the left and right fronts?

If I wire the SW12 this way, what happens to the Velodynes?

If the Velodynes are behind the couch and the SW12 is at the front and the Velodynes are LFE will the forward firing Velodynes cancel any signal from the SW12?

Thanks in advance

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HI Chuck,

the sw12 has both RCA and balanced Right and Left "line inputs" "line outputs" and "HP outputs". What I think you would do is run your right and left interconnects from your processor to the line inputs. then you run the HP outputs to your amplifier. the line outs are for other subs, if you're doing a chain of them. I dont know about the cancellation, I think this has to do with your room and how you run the other subs. If you can have the other subs running only LFE I think youre probably ok- but that depends on your processor.

- Jerry
In my large room (25'L, 12'H, 18'W) two Aerial subs sound better than one, and three sound better than two (I put the third in very recently).

Having two Aerial subs in opposite corners does sound "smoother" even though I currently only have mono sub info coming from the one subwoofer output of my Theta Casablanca. But with two subs, I preferred them both in the front left output because there is increased LFE extension that way.

With three Aerial subs, I get the cake and eat it too, as I have two in the front left (increased LFE extension) and one in front right corner (smoothness and musicality of bass). One Aerial sub will do you wonders, two will really blow you away if in the same corner or better musicality if in the front corners, and three - something else altogether!

Keep in mind that I have five Vandersteen 2Wq subwoofers pre-existing in my system as well, one for each main speaker, each Vandy sub connected to the corresponding Bryston 7B amplfier, with the Vandy subs basically serving to extend the main speakers, using the Theta Casablanca digital high pass filter at 50 Hz 6 dB.

Re integrating the Aerial sub(s) with your Velodyne sub(s), tell us more about your system. Surround processor; how the subwoofer outputs of the processor work; number and model of Velodyne subs; shape and dimensions of your room; etc. Then we can discuss this better.

Also, if you haven't already, there are other posts at both the Audio and the Tweaks forum re subwoofers and Aerial subwoofers. I recommend doing a search since last October and reading all of those posts in case anything anyone said is of any interest.

[This message has been edited by Steve Bruzonsky (edited May 11, 2000).]
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Another option would be to split your "main" outputs from your processor using a good quality Y-splitter and run your 10Ts full range with the two subs in stereo. This would give you the advantage of not placing any filters in front of the 10Ts and allow you to better blend the stereo subs with the 10Ts.

Having stereo subs is a much better option then blending the two main outputs to only one sub. Then you can use your Velodyne as a dedicated LFE sub.

I was at Theta today and saw the beta of the Casablanca upgrade. One of the 30 uprades that you will receive is 12 channels. Four of the channels will be for subs. So that means the Casablanca will have FL, FR, Center, RL, RR, RCenter, L&R side channels, plus 4 sub outs. You will be able to control the crossover points for each speaker individually to help with room eq. There are 29 more changes that are just as extensive. You will receive all new boards (except, I think, the video board stays the same). Completely new power supply, the ability to do software upgrades via your computer, and much much more.

If you recall, in the DVD forum someone said that Theta would be ripping off their customers with the high cost of upgrades. The new Casablanca appears to have everything that the newest, highest priced Meridian offers. Let's see now, if you had bought the earliest Meridian pre-pro and bought every new model upgrade up to the present, how much would it have cost? Somewhere around $40,000 or more.

Our upgrade will cost less than $1500! That is unbeleivable considering that we will be getting virtually a brand new unit. Even the display is different.
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Drats, the evil double post.

[This message has been edited by rjason (edited May 12, 2000).]
Yup, once I get the Casablanca upgrade, I can add two more balanced subwoofer outputs (So I will have three total), and I can specify one for front right, one for front left, and one for surround, with each sub also getting the LFE! NIFTY!

A few months ago, certain Meridian 861 owners (a great processor by the way and the best sounding currently on the market due to its high end jitter reduction, etc.) kept on saying sell the Casablanca, get the 861. I kept on telling them Theta was gonna really have a heckava Casablanca 2 and it wouldn't cost me much to upgrade into it, that I would be stupid to get rid of the Casablanca. And the Casablanca has much better bass adjustments already and the Casablanca 2 will be even better. 'Nuff Said!
Alternatively, you could build one of these:

Based on the SW12 specs,one of the dual-Shiva jobs like these would probably equal or exceed it in objective measurements. Group delay would probably be as low,also, as such it'd be nice n' "tight",subjectively. Wouldn't look so nice, but at 1/10 the price, I can deal...

More cool projects here:


[This message has been edited by Jack G (edited May 12, 2000).]
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Just a few thoughts on HT bass...

1) multiple subwoofers can be a huge pain to properly postion/calibrate

in a typical HT room. Unless you simply position the additional units as close as possible to the first(assuming THAT's optimally placed of course),

you stand a very good chance of ending with worse bass response at your key seats.

2)surround woofs are generally a bad idea

3)running your full range speakers as *large* is generally

a bad idea.

4) for HT, extension and headroom are the two top priorities for

bass reproduction.

none of this applies to Steve B. He's perhaps the only person in the

country who's spent more time than I...tweaking our respective HT bass reproduction



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But I agree with TV re the surround woofer, re my three Aerial subwoofers. I'm keeping two in the front left and one in the front right corner. I have plenty of bass throughout my room, everywhere! Moving one Aerial sub from the right front corner to the surround corner area will decrease extension and increase chances of nulls and cancellations - and really, my bass sounds its very best just like it is. I'm confident there's no need to strain my neck and back and keep lifting these darn things.

My friends luv it when I demo the DVD of "The Matrix". But thanks to the P600 feeding three P300s for front end components, and the third Aerial sub, we now find that the prior Aerial subwoofer level and general listening level was just too too much! The gunshots and explosions were getting too close to really being there - we started feeling like we were gonna lose our hearing (what did you say?). I have turned the Aerial subs down by 5 on the remote volume (about 3 dB) and I find myself setting general volume level down 2-5 dB from before. It all sounds even cleaner and easier to listen to, yet the bass is more dynamic than ever. If I want, I can turn it up and shake all the rafters out of my ears, and my guests ears, but I starting to get afraid of being sued for causing hearing loss

(do you really think that I'm joking???!!!!)!!!!.

Even with my five Vandersteen 2Wq subwoofers which serve as extensions of the main speakers without any LFE bass, I have put some of them close together to help minimize any extra nulls or cancellations that could perhaps result from spreading them out more. I also had to do this to fit in two Aerial subs in the front left corner and one Aerial sub in the front right corner. So I have the front left Vandy sub just to the right of the two Aerial subs in the left front corner; center and then front right Vandy subs just to left of the Aerial sub in front right corner; and the two surround Vandy subs in the rear right corner next to each other!
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Sorry for not responding sooner, was not able to get into the forum until today.

The SW12 (demo from the dealer) will be here tomorrow. Only one for a demo.

I suspect I will keep this unit based on talking to people I know and respect. Too many people that are into this rave about this unit. Yes, one could build one but less that equaled the performance I doubt I coud.

To date I have never been disappointed with an Aerial product that I own.

Mike Kelly has never blown smoke up my shirt so i place value in what he says.

I do have a couple of questions based on these generous responses:

1: Sounds like TV knows his stuff. In my room, (14W, 28L slopes from 28' at the front to 8' at the rear on the 28 foot dimension), I have some physical limitations. So, the thought was to put the two Velodynes behind the couch and put (if I end up with two) the Sw12's to the outside of my 10T's at the front. After reading Steve and TV responses I am now wondering if this will work. Mike Kelly seemed to think I might need to change the phase on the S12's since they would be facing the Velodyne's but the couch would be in between. The two SW12's would be near the front side walls on each side and about 3 feet off the back wall.

2: We were thinking of using the LFE for the Velodynes. Accoring to lexicon (we have the MC1) if all the speakers you have in your system are run full range then the only data that goes out the sub channel is lfe info. TV, why would you not run full range?

3: We would take the front left and front right out of the MC1 directly into the Sw12's and out of the Sw12's into the AMP for the front left and right. We would use the cross over in the Sw12's set at say 70 or so.

4: Since I have only one SW12 for demo does anyone have any thoughts about how I can test this in my setup to properly evalute the SW12?

5: Are there tools that I can use to help me with my room modes other than playing test tones and walking around the room?

6: Is it worth getting some outside help (consultant or dealer type person) to help calibrate one's room?

7: I have been told we have a very "live" room. Wood floors, wood on the front wall up to a height of 22 feet, lots of windows, two doors.

Any help would be appreciated.

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CHuck, re your questions: First, I am no "expert". I'm just a crazy guy who has spent some bucks and done a lot of experimentation in regard to my own room and system. To the extent this gives you some ideas to try with your own system and room, great!!!

I am concerned about putting Velodyne's behind couch, as it may give you a bit "closer" bass, but not more accurate bass coupling well with the room. Try some different positions with the two Velodyne subs next to each other, listen to how it sounds, and also use a Sound Level Meter to appreciate which positions are louder, on a favorite track, for example, I like to use the spinning gold disc DTS logo and also Chapter 32 of "The Matrix".

Also, maybe the two Velodynes in one front corner, and the Aerial in the other front corner, may sound great. This is similar to what I have done, two Aerials in the front left corner and one Aerial in the front right corner, except you are using Velodyne instead in the front left corner.

(or you can reverse the corners sub arrangement)

Re the phase: In each location, try different phase combos for the subs, always keeping any subs very close to each other the same phase. It turned out that all subs at my front wall (left corner two Aerial and one Vandy; right corner one Aerial and two Vandy) sound best and loudest same normal phase), and the two Vandy subs at right rear corner reversed phase is louder and sounds better.

Re LFE and high pass filtered bass, definitely run both to the Aerial sub.

With the Velodyne subs, try it LFE only, and LFE plus high pass filtered bass. See how it sounds on both music and movies. Although I feel that the Aerial alone will be more musical on music, than the Velodyne - perhaps having the two Velodyne in the same location will add musicality; and then having the two Velodyne and the Aerial about in opposite front room corners will also add some balance and musicality.

You can also try the two Velodyne and one Aerial sub in one room corner. That will give you the very best and loud and deep extension for LFE -

but by having the two Velodyne in one corner and the Aerial in the other, this may smooth out the bass and generally sound better to your ears.

Good luck and eat a lot of spinach so you can move those subs around!

Re your Aerial purchase decision, you don't have to do all of this before you decide to purchase the Aerial sub. The Aerial sub will clearly be fantatic in your system and give you added dynamic range, not just LFE extension. Why don't you compare the one Aerial sub to the two Velodyne subs, in a few room locations? If you find the Aerial sub better on music

(you will) and I suspect better and more musical on explosions and movies, then there's your answer. And please let us know your findings.
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One more thing peculiar to the Aerial subwoofers. My Casablanca does have a subwoofer level in the menu. The Aerial sub has a remote volume level, from -10 to +10, and also a manual volume control on the back of the sub. I have set the Casablanca sub level at 0, Aerial manual sub level at 1/4, and the Aerial remote sub level I first set using AVIA DVD, to match main speakers, and then I turn up the remote Aerial volume listening by ear to what sounds good to me, depending on movie DVD, music, CD, etc.

I find that by having the Aerial manual volume at 1/4, the I avoid getting

a sort of shaking in the sound of the sub on very high peaks, like in "The Haunting", which indicates amp clipping. Now this is based on the signal coming from my Theta Casablanca subwoofer output, balanced cabling, to the Aerial sub. Check it out in your system to determine the correct manual volume for the Aerial sub, which may vary based on your MC-1 and connecting cable.
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