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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My theater room is based on B&W Nautilus 805/HTM2/SCM1 speakers. I’ve decided that I want to use a REL subwoofer for this setup. I’m looking for help picking the right size REL for my room.


Here is a picture of the room layout.

LAYOUT


The room is mostly 12.5 feet wide and a maximum of 29 feet long (but there is a half-wall serving bar at 22 feet back from the front wall. The ceiling is soffeted, 7’ 9†at the low points and 8’ 3†at the high points. (Basically the room is about 2900 cubic feet). This is a basement theater, so the floor is carpet over concrete.


I’ve wired the room for a sub at either of the locations represented by the pink boxes. I could also place the sub anywhere around the equipment rack since I have complete access behind that wall.


I’m looking for more musical, refined bass. I’m not looking to knock pictures off of the neighbor’s walls.


What are any recommendations anyone might have? One REL Strata III? One REL Storm III? Two REL Strata III’s? Bigger REL’s?


Thanks in advance for any assistance!
 

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I've owned the Strata II, demoed the Storm II and now own the Strata III, so you can see I really like the musicality of these subs. My room is about 13' x 20', with an archway opening on the side, so some similarity.


I'd recommend going with at least the Storm III. The Storm II I tried had a much easier time loading the room, even compared to the Strata III (whose specs are similar). I've never tried the 2 sub layout. I 'settled' on the Strata III because of its great flexibility and cost; if I had it to do over, I'd probably stretch and get the Storm III. Hope this is some help,
 

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I have a Storm III mated to B&W Silver Signature 30s and it integrates very nicely but is in a smaller room than yours. I would actually suggest getting two Stratas if two Storms is out of the question. Two subs loads the room better than one and one day I will purchase a 2nd Storm.
 

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Alternative you should seriously consider: We've done a direct comparison with the ACI Titan II vs. The Storm III. The Titan II won hands down. Better definition, more power down low, perfect integration. The Titan II is one of the finest musical subs you can purchase at any price. The only sub I've heard to date that I like better is the 4 times more expensive Aerial. How can this be? ACI sells direct, they've been doing it for 25 years. Vs. the REL which has to be imported from England. Do some web searches at places like AA, AR, read reviews in Positive Feedback etc. ACI builds great subs.

www.audioc.com
 

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I was unfamiliar with the ACI and it sounds like a real winner as well... and I really like the cabinetry (much more than the REL)... my only problem with it is the X-over crosses over at a minimum of 35 Hz and that is too high for my needs... otherwise I would seriously audition a pair but for HT should be an excellent buy based upon what I am reading...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the advice so far! Any other REL owner's please feel free to add your 2 cents as well.


For those advocating 2 subs, how would you position them? Side by side or at the 2 different room locations I have designated (in pink)?

LAYOUT
 

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Based on my listening, Revel and Aerial subs are capable of significantly more output vs. REL (even the Studio II). Both had a pleasing (yet different) sound during music reproduction. If low extension or higher output levels are not a concern for you, then REL makes a decent product (pretty box, good crossover, etc.).


With subwoofers, I feel that room placement and EQ are as critical (especially in this price range). Low frequencies interact with the room boundaries which results in room modes (peaks and valleys) in the perceived sound. Careful placement of the sub/s will help minimize these deviations from a flat response. You'll notice that the Aerial and Revel subs come with parametric EQs to tame the peaks & dips (which cause that "boomy" sound). Regardless of your sub choice, I would make sure that you have some form of parametric EQ (which you will adjust with a test tone CD and SPL meter). If you just plop the sub down somewhere you are likely to get a boomy mess rather than a pleasing sound. We can't tell you exactly where to place the sub in your room (you'll need to experiment). I'd place it where you get the flattest response and use the parametric EQ to make it perfect...
 

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The Rel is a great choice, especially for music with the use of both the high and low level crossovers, where you can turn off the DSP and get 2-channel with a crossover optimized for your speaker. Many of the other subs mentioned will of course produce more output but unless the crossover included with them or an outboard crossover used to specifically adjust the bass crossover point in relation to your speakers and room, they are of very limited value in producing a musical match. Bass frequencies sum so the Rel allows one to set the crossover at just below where your mains drop off to minimize boosts at certain frequencies. Many subs (I have several in various systems) will only allow the crossover to be set at 35 HZ at a minimum which may not be right for your speakers and room. Also if one is looking for the maximum bass gain, 2 subs in one corner produce that, but if one is looking for more accurate refined bass sometimes a sub in opposite corners works best. I would recommend the Rel if you listen to 2-channel and can turn the DSP off (sub crossover in the receiver or preamp and use the other crossover in the Rel) placed near your left and right and I would recommend the Storm III. I am just putting back together my main system where I have 2 Storm IIIs (so I have stereo subs with music) and have gotten the Q150 for my center and have moved the Strata III out of the bedroom system for the rears. Without the ability to bypass the DSP, the Rel is an excellent sub but with lesser output than some others available. With the Storm III on a concrete floor you can get great results and if you want to make the Storm sound more like the Strata, which is a sealed box, you can use the spikes. So I would recommend Rels to those who are music fans who want a good HT sub and those who want a sub that will not be used for music or cannot be properly set up in a particular manner due to hardware limitations in defining a sub in the system have choices that are can produce that HT quality bass.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Actually, this brings up another question. While I am excited about the way that the REL allows for 2 channel integration via the amp/Neutrik connection, I'm a little confused about how best to use a REL (or two) with SACD. With 6 channel music (SACD or DVD-A) am I now relegated to just relying on the LFE connection for bass?
 

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My .02 :

I have a REL Stadium II, and a Pioneer VSA-AX10 amplifier.

The sub is calibrated to be a SUB-woofer to my speakers.

On the amp, the sub crossover is set to 50 HZ (lowest posible setting), using the PLUS option - meaning it is allways on, and will reproduce any additional LFE signals below 50 HZ.

This gives me excellent musical fidelity, and it serves as a good HT sub.

François
 

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Gregg, with regard to your question - if the SACD player has adequate bass management that would at least solve some of the issues. The Outlaw ICBM is another option. It also is dependent on whether your receiver has bass management on the 5.1 channel input. Now understand there may be bad things in the way an SACD player does bass management. Bass management in the receiver in the digital domain after it takes an analog signal is another problem and the ICBM solution also is with problems. In the perfect world, I guess one would have all full range speakers and get a pure analog signal from the SACD player. I am putting my main system back together after wiring for a Sharp 9000 projector and that is one of the reasons I bought the Q150 and am moving the Strata from the bedroom so I go take out my RTA and as best I can within the limits of the room and my bass treatments, produce as best I can all full range speakers. I probably will end up with an SACD without bass management. My front speakers are full range (Thiel 7.2s) and the 2 Storm IIIs on the front will produce the sub output. So you will have to consider these issues for multi-channel SACD.
 

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"For those advocating 2 subs, how would you position them? Side by side or at the 2 different room locations I have designated (in pink)? "


My recommendation would be to position 2 Strata IIIs in the corners, about behind 6-12" behind your N805s. My (single for now) Strata III is 13" (in both directions) out from the right corner, with its front left corner about 3" from my right Nautilus 804.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Many thanks for the continued input. It is much appreciated. (And don't worry John, my looking is confined to the ST series REL's ;) )


Another question. Can a particular sub be "too much" for a room? A while ago I was chatting with a REL owner about his decision. He said he chose the Strata over the Storm because he felt, in his experience, the Storm had a tendency to "excite" the room too much. But, we never really talked room sizes at the time.


Would it be a safer bet to go with a single Strata and add a 2nd Strata should I desire more oomph rather than go with a single Storm and risk having too much bass? (Or is there no way that a Storm would be too much for a 2900 cubic foot room?)
 

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"Would it be a safer bet to go with a single Strata and add a 2nd Strata should I desire more oomph rather than go with a single Storm and risk having too much bass? (Or is there no way that a Storm would be too much for a 2900 cubic foot room?)"


Gregg, I think starting with one Strata III, then going with another if you think you need more oomph, is a very good idea. In fact, that's what I'm doing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks Lynn, I've still got your advice from our last discussion on this tacked to my bulletin board. My other hobby besides my home theater is fretting about what I'm going to buy for my home theater. ;)
 

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"My other hobby besides my home theater is fretting about what I'm going to buy for my home theater."


You've just mentioned my two favorite hobbies. I bought my Nautilus 804s after taking almost six months to figure out which center speaker I wanted. That was May 2, 2000.


I finally bought that center, the Nautilus HTM1, April 3 of this year. If I can stay on plan, I should have the audio side of my HT finished in 2004. I might have the video side of my HT finished by 2006. As you put it, I really enjoy "fretting" about what I'm going to buy for my home theater...
 
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