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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am in the preliminary stages of looking to research subwoofers for my stereo-only system. The sub parameters:


1. The sub must not be overly large as it will need to meet with spousal approval in the living room. (SVS or the large Velo's are out of the question).


2. A sub with a real-wood exterior or wood accents would be appreciated and an easier sell.


3. I would probabaly prefer an active subwoofer (amp within the sub cabinet).


4. The sub must integrate into the following system, which does not have a "sub-out".



Speakers: Dynaudio Contour 1.3SE's

Pre-Amp: Arcam 8R Integrated

Amp: Bryston 3B-ST


I would anticipate using a Y-adaptor to split the L/R pre-amp outputs, with one leg going to the sub and one to the amp, or using some other type of connection that would be appropriate.


5. The room is approximately 3,000 cuft and opens to other rooms that bring the total to 7,000 cuft.


6. Finally - budget - how about $1,500 +/- (preferably less). But please let me know if I would be shortchanging the bass response in this price range.


Thanks,

Mike
 

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The most musical sub out there, and a real bargain for the $$$, is the REL Storm III. You should be able to get one for close to your limit. It doesn't have the "boom" of most of the subs that are talked about on this forum but it sounds the best, is relatively easy to place, and has the best X-Over for easy integration. The RELs work best when run off of the speaker level input on the sub feeding the X-Over, especially in a music only system so connecting it into your system is not a big deal.
 

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No question: ACI Titan II LE. Bests the REL Storm III in direct comparison. Higher output levels, more transparent. It is an absolutely superb sub. I own a pair, but don't take my word. Search over at AA, read the reviews from Positive Feedback, Bound For Sound etc. One phenominal music making machine. The only thing that might be better would be a pair of their new Force!

www.audioc.com
 

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I'd put the Paradigm Servo-15 (w. X-30 or 20 crossover) up against the REL any day of the week. They are available in a variety of wood finishes. Driver extension, amp power, & enclosure size will always be related (decrease one and the other two must increase) for a given level of performance.


What sort of extension and output are you looking for? If you want reference levels you're going to spend more than $1500 (large room size).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I would classify my listening as definitely not at reference levels. I am more looking to fill in the bottom octaves below the extension of my Dynaudio's. (37Hz-27kHz +/- 3dB).


For monitors, the Dyn's can hold their own above 50 Hz.


I can relate more to reference levels with my HT system than my stereo-only system. For example, I calibrate my system (Denon Receiver, Paradigm Speakers, Velo HGS-18 Sub) using the Avia disc to be at reference at "0" on the volume readout. I rarely get above -15 to -10 when watching movies.


The ACI looked interesting, but I (and my wife) would really like to have a chance to visually see one to get a feel for the sub's visual impact in our living room setting. Maybe I can find out if they ever shipped any to the KC area and ask them to contact the owner to see if I could get a demo.....


Thanks for the suggestions, keep them coming.


Mike
 

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For music only, I would look at the Rels. They have both high and low level inputs (you can use both) and you just hook the supplied (3 conductor) cable (or upgrade if you wish) with Neutrik Speakon connector to the positive and negative of the right channel of the amp and the positive of the the left and then set the crossover at a point just below where your mains drop off (bass signals sum so you don't want it crossed over higher otherwise you will have a big bump. With the speakers you have, which are rated down to 37HZ at -3db, of course depending on your room, you would want a sub that can be crossed over in the mid (at best) to low 30HZ range and perhaps even in the upper 20s. You can invest in a Radio Shack SPL meter ($35) and a test disc such as on the Delos label - "Surround Sound Spectacular" ($18) which has a disc of 5.1 music and a disc of tests. If you are buying from a dealer, perhaps they will even lend you a Real Time Analyzer Otherwise on certain material you may not like what you hear. For example, while the Paradigm mentioned may offer more output, the control units let you vary the crossover from 35HZ to 150HZ. This could work very well with you speakers at the bottom end or they could produce a nasty bass bump in the mid 40 to 50HZ range. So I would try it if I could first. Depending on your listening habits and your room liveliness you may even be able to get a Rel Strata III which is a little less than you budget ($1,250 in black and relatively small). Below the Strata, most of the other cheaper Rels are better for HT vs. music. That is the main advantage of rels, the crossover flexibility and the ability to get a signal from your amp to mimic the characteristics of the signal better. I would hook any sub up in your situation to the outputs of the Bryston with one negative and two positivies going to the speaker level inputs of whatever sub you choose. I have several subs that I use and the Rel is the most flexible. Simlarly, if you want something really small for music, the Sunfire Jr. is not a horrible choice either, also note that the lower level of the crossover is also in that mid 30HZ range. Good isolation feet should be used with something like the Sunfire, but it is very small so if may meet stds. If is good, but again depending on your listening habits and room characteristics is not going to produce the ouput of a Paradigm or SVS.
 

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I'd go with a Rel Strata III. I'm using one with B&W Nautilus 804s and a Bryston 4B ST. I mention the amp because Rel subs take on some of the characteristics of the amp they're connected to.


The only "problem" with a properly set up Strata III is that you'll never "hear" it. It will just seem like your 1.3SE's have bass extension down to 20hz...
 

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Sealed subs are very musical and often preferred for stereo only systems. Adire Audio makes one called the Rava. Their site is here.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by CycloneMike


The ACI looked interesting, but I (and my wife) would really like to have a chance to visually see one to get a feel for the sub's visual impact in our living room setting. Maybe I can find out if they ever shipped any to the KC area and ask them to contact the owner to see if I could get a demo.....


Thanks for the suggestions, keep them coming.


Mike
As a fellow who has owned a lot of ACI gear over the years I will tell you that it always looks WAY better than their crummy web photography. Extremely high quality cabinetry. I'm a long ways from you or I'd invite you over:)
 

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Mirage BPS-400 :)


Two 12" woofers and 400 watt digital BASH amplifier. Sealed, tight and very musical :cool:
 

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The sound quality of subwoofers depends more on the listening room, placement of the subwoofer within that room, and placement of your ears

... than the brand / model of subwoofer you purchase.


A "review" of a subwoofer is really a review of the listening room and the subwoofer.


A "comparison" of two subwoofers that were not auditioned in the same listening room (using the same location for the subwoofer and your ears)

is not a useful comparison.


It's a rare listening room that will have a subwoofer frequency response better than +/- 10dB measured from the listening position using a slow sine wave frequency sweep.


That frequency response will include one or more frequency response peaks (+5 to +10dB is typical) and one or more frequency response troughs (-5 to -10dB is typical) heard/measured at the listening position.


Although these frequency response peaks and troughs are typically only

5 to 10Hz. wide, they prevent the reproduction of "musical bass"

no matter what subwoofer you use.


In most rooms (I'd estimate at least 90%) the use of parametric equalization and a few bass traps to reduce bass frequency response deviations by 50% or more, will provide better quality bass than an unequalized subwoofer.


How much better?


In most rooms the bass quality from an equalized subwoofer costing less than $1000, using a few bass traps in available room corners, will be better than any unequalized subwoofer AT ANY PRICE.

This is certainly true in my own listening room where a room boom from

40 to 55Hz. makes any subwoofer sound so bad that without parametric equalization there would be no subwoofer at all. My room is a typical

listening room, measuring +/- 9dB without equalization and +/- 4.5dB after one band of parametric equalization from my listening position using

1/6 octave sine wave tones.


If you want musical bass, the answer is bass traps and parametric equalization -- the brand and model of subwoofer is far less important

if you are interested in bass quality rather than bass quantity.
 
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