Sub and Stands or Floorstanding

 

Bronze Member
Username: Chriswild87

Holden, MA

Post Number: 65
Registered: Dec-08
I am sure that this topic been beaten to death, however what are the factors going into the decision besides your ear room size, acoustic treatment movie vs. music etc. Secondly are there any clear advantages or disadvantages for one over the other. My example would be the B&W 683 pair powered by a rotel amp to be purchased later (i enjoyed the combo) or the 685 and an REL T-2. I had mentioned something along these lines over in the amp section in regards to an amp question but I wanted to hit on the speaker side of things a little bit more. Finally any distinct advantages beside your ear as I have heard both from going from the 685 to the CM1's?

Factors are, my room size is not huge, probally 16x16x10 at the largest with 80 percent being stereo music listening with mostly rock and some heavier popier type music. I do tabble into the jazz and classical music from time to time and enjoy a good strong soundstage with a forward and wide presentation.

Thanks
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4094
Registered: May-05
I hate to sound cliche, but hear them and determine what sounds better. I'm not a fan of the 683 at all. It sounds very disconnected to me - the drives seem like individual speakers and there's no cohesion between them. People love them, so take it as you will.

REL makes great musical sounding subs IMO. As with any sub/sat combo, it's all in the placement and level matching. Not an easy thing to do at all.

I usually prefer towers over sub sats to keep things simple, and for easy integration. I just don't think very highly of the 683. There's far better towers out there IMO.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 818
Registered: Dec-06
I don't think there are any hard and fast rules. You can get great results both ways. It is all in selecting the right gear and the implementation. Assuming you can integrate a sub properly (like Stu said, not necessarily easy) then it should sound seamless, just like you'd hope for from a floorstander.

One advantage a system with a sub might have is that the amp doesn't have to work quite so hard in the lower frequencies. While powering a floorstander that likely goes lower than a set of bookshelf speakers, the amp may face a greater load than it would if it powering bookshelves that don't go quite as low, while the sub fills in those parts via it's own built in amp.
 

Gold Member
Username: Dmitchell

Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 4431
Registered: Feb-07
I used to be a diehard bass-head, I felt I needed a sub in my 2 channel rig to hit those last 15hz or so, but since I've started using better gear, and becoming a more critical listening I've found that my system sounds much better without a sub - more balanced, faster and just more natural sounding.

My Sttafs go down to around 39hz on paper, but seem to go much lower than that. So my recommendation would be to grab a half decent pair of floorstanders and be done with. BTW I've powered my Sttafs with several Rotel amps and the combination was pretty sweet.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 15545
Registered: May-04
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As has been stated there are no rules since what you prefer will determine which you choose. In favor of the sat/sub combo you'll find small speakers always do a better job of disappearing into the music than will larger speakers. There are quite a few reasons for this including the ability of the satellite to be more like the point source microphones used in the recording process and the stiffer cabinet walls due to smaller dimensions. Consider the fact smaller objects of similar density and materials will resonate at higher frequencies than larger objects - a small bell vs a large bell. The lower the resonant frequency, the more intrusive the resonance will be on the music signal. The higher the frequency, the less intrusive on the music due to the manner in which the human ear/brain perceives auditory clues. The larger panel will also have a greater mass which will hold onto those resonant frequencies for a longer period of time which means even further smearing of fine detail along with a sense of overhang which is difficult to get out of a large speaker until you're buying in the upper price ranges. Music tends to have more "immediacy" with small speakers while having more impact with deep bass present.

The subwoofer fills in the bass providing the amount of impact you desire and can easily be changed out when you change rooms while the satellites probably will be sufficient until you inherit the mansion. The subwoofer can be placed for best sound as can be the satellites and the two positions are almost always exclusive one for the other. The amplifier is not taxed in the same manner when driving the satellites while the largest impedance/phase swings are to be found in the deep bass near the speaker system resonance of floorstanders. Bass extension and box size are trade offs for SPL (volume) potential, the bigger speaker has a better chance of playing slightly louder overall. If loud is important to you, then small speakers will be at a disadvantage though this is relative to several other factors and is not to be taken as a hard and fast rule. Bass extension is normally taken from about 30-40Hz and downward with a sub while the floorstander has a cut off for the woofer which is typically right in the middle of the vocal range with a roll in/roll out extending across maybe one octave. With one set up you have a small driver mating to a small driver to reproduce the vocal and midrange signals. With the other set up you will have a larger driver mating in the middle of the vocal range to meet a smaller driver which will not have the same tonal characteristics as the larger driver. A crossover placed higher in frequency will also have a roll in/out which affects a broader frequency range by several times that of the sat/sub crossover. It is more difficult to make the larger/smaller combination sound as one driver than it is the smaller/smaller especially when the overlap betwen drivers is larger. If the drivers are the same dimensions in both the small and large speaker, then simply buy the smaller cabinet and be done with it as large panels are not good for sound as described above. With the sat/sub combination there will be fewer phase peculiarities in the crossover region as there will be with the floorstander. All drivers can operate in phase with each other in a sat/sub while the drivers in a floor stander seldom do. If the floorstander is a three way, each component in the speaker will have cost the manufacturer less to produce a speaker at the same retail pricing of the smaller speaker. Buy the better components no matter the size of the cabinet. Overall the cost of larger speakers often goes to things unrelated to sound quality or, rather, often goes to things which do not benefit sound quality.

A very good subwoofer can extend the sense of room sound on a recording, those almost imperceptible clues as to the size and character of the recording venue. This can be accomplished at a reasonable cost when the sub is paired to satellites which have the ability to present the upper end of those details with clarity and precision. Such performance once again comes at a steep cost in most floor standers.

On the downside of satellites is the additional cost of excellent stands which can add a few hundred dollars to the cost of very good speakers.

On the up side of floorstanders, you only need to have a trunk big enough to haul them home and a back stong enough to lift them.



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Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 819
Registered: Dec-06
So Jan, which do you prefer, sub/sat or floorstander?

Just kidding, it's pretty clear that you prefer the sub/sat. It is curious, if the competition was so lopsided in favor of the sub/sat, why so many audiophiles do in fact prefer floorstanders.

How difficult do you believe it is to integrate a subwoofer into a system? This is the biggest roadblock as far as I can tell. I've had a tough time integrating my sub and it consequently has always been yanked out of the system in short order. But I have determined that my speakers do in fact produce a great sense of bass, and I simply do not miss the sub. I will try again though, just for the sake of doing it and maybe hitting on the right position/settings.

Your comment about floorstander drivers rarely being in phase is interesting. Does this mean the canceling out of certain frequencies? Is it because of the larger crossover region due to the bigger difference in driver size? That is, when two drivers are playing the same frequencies, they are out of phase? That's how I'm reading it. And is this turned on it's head when, for example, we look at the Monitor Audio RX2 bookshelf speaker that has an 8" woofer and 1" tweeter, while the RX6 floorstander employs a 6.5" woofer and 1" tweeter?

I don't have a ton of experience with floorstanders...the most recent pair I heard was the Audio Physic Yara and smearing of fine detail was certainly present, perhaps due to the larger panels as you illustrated. If this is common in floorstanders then it definitely not something I'd enjoy. However, my old Monitor Audio RS5 I thought it was exceptionally clear and detailed. It is relatively small floorstander. There are many other factors I'm sure than simply the height of the panels.
 

Gold Member
Username: Hawkbilly

Nova Scotia Canada

Post Number: 1096
Registered: Jul-07
"How difficult do you believe it is to integrate a subwoofer into a system?"

Sometimes this problem can be thought of a little differently. Rather than integrating a sub into your system, perhaps think of it as integrating bass into your room. You may have the same issues of "integration" if you purchased floorstanders that did deliver low bass, without the flexibility of placement and phase correction that a sub gives you. Either way, room treatment is sometimes necessary for bass to sound good in your room......however the bass is generated.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 820
Registered: Dec-06
Chris, I remember your suggestion of room treatments to help with subwoofer integration. It has been noted! I also stumbled recently upon a very inspirational thread at CAM about room treatments and the success one fellow had when he started going down that path. I don't want to say he suggested a dead room, moreso that you should go quite far down that path at least. A lot of the smearing of detail is due to reflections and room nodes. These things also ruin the small dynamic cues in a song that contribute to pace, rhythm, and timing. He probably put it better than I just did, but the argument seems very logical. I think he even mentioned that having a conversation with someone in such a room takes a bit of getting used to, but that the clarity, naturalness, and immediacy of the other person's voice is greatly enhanced.

However, I doubt I will treat my current room much. Whenever I move next I hope to have a better room for my system where I will have greater ability to play around with placement and room treatments. I do like the sound I'm getting now though, so it is not a big concern today...however, it will be nice when I can really experiment.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 15557
Registered: May-04
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It shouldn't be too difficult to integrate a subwoofer with most speakers. Having said that alot depends on the subwoofer and the speakers. I would ask first, if your speakers produce adequate "bass", what are you trying to achieve by adding the sub? Is it just that you think you need one or are you after something specific to what the sub has to offer? As I have said, a subwoofer that can extend down to the 20Hz range with useable output can provide a good sense of room sounds which would otherwise be lost with a 30Hz limit. These additional bits of very low level information can bring yet another degree of transparency to the system but only if the rest of the system is capable of supporting what is coming from the sub. If the system has yet to reach the point of displaying such ambient cues or, if the listener is not keenly aware of such effects, then the addition of a high quality sub won't do what you're asking of it. If you're only after more "attack" in the lower octaves, then that is quite different than expecting that degree of transparency lifting described above. For the most part musical information ends at about 35-40Hz for the vast majority of recordings. If you're using the sub in a music only system, what are you expecting when you buy a sub that extends down into the next two octaves? Subs can easily become big boy toys and the numbers are more impressive than the actual music reproduction.

Your comment about floorstander drivers rarely being in phase is interesting. Does this mean the canceling out of certain frequencies?"

In general yes, but how obvious this is depends on several factors. Where is the crosssover occurring? If you're talking about a typical low to upper range crossover, then you need to look first at the electrical phase of the two drivers. Quite often the high frequency driver will be connected in opposite phase of the low frequency driver. Remember, there is a difference between "electrical phase" and "acoustical phase". This reversal of polarity is typically performed to improve the "step response" of the system; fig 8 - http://stereophile.com/standloudspeakers/harbeth_p3esr_loudspeaker/index4.html
and; Fig 7 - http://stereophile.com/standloudspeakers/spendor_sa1_loudspeaker/index4.html

Which the designer selects, constant phase or reversed phase, is mostly determined by whether the end result is meant to be "transient", "time" or "frequency" perfect. If the crossover filters result in an electrical phase shift of higher than 90° (a single cap hung on the tweeter creating a first order crossover for instance), the designer must decide how they want to hear the result of phase. Each connection and each combined phase shift of the crossover will give a slightly different impession to individual listeners as their priorities abide. But remember the length of the wavefront being created by most woofer to mid/tweeter common signals. It's dimension is in the fractions of an inch and therefore will only be "in phase" or "out of phase" at the common frequencies for a very short distance away from the driver. As the listener moves further away from the drivers and reflected sounds mix in with the direct signal, the difference between in and out of phase connections becomes just another spec on paper. Finally, if the musical source was not recorded with absolute phase in mind - which would be most modern recordings, then what the speakers do to phase is more irrelevant.

"Is it because of the larger crossover region due to the bigger difference in driver size?"

Not due to the driver size but to the size of the wavefront created by the drivers. In a subwoofer/woofer crossover both drivers are closer to each other's diameter in a typical sat/sub system and even more so with the majority of floorstanders. But the wavefront created by the low frequencies of the sub will have longer dimensions than will those at the crossover between woofer to mid/tweeter.

"That is, when two drivers are playing the same frequencies, they are out of phase? That's how I'm reading it"

Your answer would depend on the crossover point and whether the sub - when we're talking about the woofer to sub cross - has any phase controls. In most set ups the sats will not perform to their best ability in the same location as the sub. And a sub can be located across the room from the sats and still integrate well as a system. As I answered in the thread about placing mics out of phase there will always be reflected signals which interfere with simple mathematic calculations of phase. A simple 0-180° switch for phase is really not enough, therefore, a continuously variable control can make for better integration between sat and sub.

"And is this turned on it's head when, for example, we look at the Monitor Audio RX2 bookshelf speaker that has an 8" woofer and 1" tweeter, while the RX6 floorstander employs a 6.5" woofer and 1" tweeter? "

No, again, size of the driver alone is not the issue.

What I find more important than most of the values in melding a sub to a satellite of any size would be the crossover filter action and how you run the two drivers as a system. Steeper crossover filters - 4th (-24dB) order rather than 2nd (-12dB) - will typically make the integration of drivers more easily accomplished. The steeper filters allow less of a crossover per octave and so roll out each driver more quickly resulting in less common area between them. With fewer shared frequencies your ear will hear less of the discontinuities between drivers. Then you need to consider your sub placement vs your sat/main location. Once again they are typically not in the same spot in the room. Do you then run your main speakers full range or filtered? Are you asking the sub to run up too high and therefore creating integration problems? Remember, the difference between 20-40Hz is one octave and the difference between 80-160Hz is also one octave. If you set your sub's 2nd order (-12dB per octave) crossover filter to have a "knee" action at 80HZ, it will still be producing what would be considered usable response out to somewhere around 150-160Hz. That places the cross at the low end of the male voice which will likely then cause problems with both timbre and localization of the source signal. Even a solo guitar would have a range down to 80 HZ which would create a set of shared frequencies between drivers for what should be a very simple signal. Any bass instruments will extend down to about 35-40Hz which means unless you filter the main speakers, the two systems will be working with common signals for several ocatves.


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Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 1828
Registered: Oct-07
Good answer, and jives with what I've noted in trying to get my panels to play with a sub. Rumor is that it is tough. I didn't find it awful, but did experiment a bit. I think my room helps. But, I DO run my panels full range and cross the sub over at or below the mains advertised lower limit. The sub's x-over is 24db/octave so should be pretty much out of the picture well below the 1 octave point...of less than 80hz. I can't imagine much impact of the sub above 60hz.
Phase? I turned my panels around to listen to the pole piece side and much bass disappeared. I shut the sub off to 'tune' the speaker location and when I turned the sub back on, I had to flip the phase switch to restore bass. In other words, it worked as advertised. My tweeters are now 'in'. The speakers sweet spot opened up and imaging improved. This may be, at least partly, the result of the phase relationship between the 'woofer' and 'mid/tweet' section of the panel. They are wired Electrically out of phase and the crossover.....2nd order lo-pass for the woofer and 1st order hi-pass for the tweeter introduce electrical phase changes. I think the tweeter being 'inside' vs 'outside' may help this situation.
I'm leaving them 'backwards' for the foreseeable future.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nuck

Post Number: 15580
Registered: Dec-04
How do you know that the recording is 'in phase'?

Bad, eh?
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 825
Registered: Dec-06
Jan, I have to admit that much of the middle of your post went right over my head. To answer your questions, I bought a sub with the idea that I simply wanted my system to be full-range. I didn't have any other goals at the time I purchased it. I'm not sure I'd buy one now, as I said my speakers provide plenty of deep bass so I don't feel like I'm missing out on any of the music, but since I've got one I'll give it my best shot to get it to improve my system. As you said, it has the potential add more atmosphere by revealing ambient cues, although I'm not sure how much of those there are in many recordings. Live yes, studio maybe not. Of course, everything is recorded somewhere.

To answer the questions you posed in the last paragraph...I'm not even sure how to run my speakers filtered. At first I assumed that the sub's crossover took care of everything, including having the speakers play only above the crossover point, but of course I realized this made no sense because the speaker is receiving a full-range signal from the amp. I would assume the way to run speakers filtered would be with an external crossover of some sort, bypassing the sub's crossover.

Steeper crossover filters may aid in the integration of a sub, but I've read they also have their issues. Basically, a more complicated design detracts from the music.

I set my sub the way Martin Logan suggested...set the crossover for 70% of what my speakers are capable of on the low end. Which is about 45Hz, and therefore the sub's crossover is set at approx. 32Hz. I imagine Martin Logan suggests 70% due to roll off.

I always have set my subwoofer up to the side of the speakers. If you can picture a 13' wall with speakers in the middle, a couple feet out. The sub is to the side of one speaker and close to the corner. In my present set up I will be trying the sub right in between the speakers. You suggest that it's often better to move the sub further away from the speakers - I'll have a hard time doing that without buying a longer subwoofer cable...but I'll try what I can with the cables I have. Hopefully in the near future I will have a slightly larger and more open room than what I've got to work with now. Even if I had longer cables there aren't too many options where I currently am, due to the fact that this is a pretty small room with a couple of pieces of large furniture in it.

Because we are on this topic, this is from Jim Smith's book...in his view "mini-monitors" image better, and that's about it. He states that the downsides are subwoofer integration, dynamics are compromised, and they rarely sound as effortless and open as larger full-range speakers do.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Chriswild87

Holden, MA

Post Number: 68
Registered: Dec-08
Dan,

In my limited knowledge, more than likely you would filter, if I got the post correct would be the filter the signal into a low and a high frequency signal. The high would go to the monitors, the low to the sub, essentially through an active crossover from which you could bi-amp but that is a completely different story. In the pro audio world it is very useful with passive speakers otherwise muddyness would occur.

In the home however, I would say in 90 percent of the systems in existance use a receiver to do most of the filtering as they send certain frequencies above a set point to the monitors and below that to the sub out line (to an active sub). With an intregrated without this interal filter you are correct, without an external crossover, use the feature on the sub itself.

In you situtation however, the point seems to be tremdenously low. What are you powering your mains with?

I too bought one to acheive the full range, but find that I now am looking for one to expand the sound stage and the attack of my system in an attempt to really dial in the force that exists in the sub 40Hz domain.

Jan if this is not what you are getting at, I am sorry.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 1830
Registered: Oct-07
Nuck,
If I understand your comment correctly, by flipping the switch, I addressed relative phase of the 2 bass drivers...my panels and the sub.

Not absolute phase. That, with few exceptions, I would agree is pretty moot.

Look at that link I posted somewhere. There is an absolute phase test to see if you are or are not sensitive to this issue. They give you ten (10) trials and you can mark your answer for each trial. 50% correct is 'pure guess' territory. I was using Apple earbuds for the test and did indeed get 50%. I would like to repeat the test on my LR stereo. Maybe repeating the test would give me the opportunity to identify the phase 'Q'. Maybe I can learn to hear it?
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 827
Registered: Dec-06
Chris, I am using an integrated, an Exposure 2010s2. What I think I'm going to do is dig out my Stereophile test disc and run some bass tones to see how low my speakers actually generate a decent bass signal, then run a signal to the sub and set that where it can best blend in with my speakers.

My sub is a Martin Logan Dynamo...70% of the lowest frequency the speakers can reach is where ML recommends the crossover be set. It seemed low to me too, in fact, 30Hz is the lowest setting, so I am just the very slightest turn on the dial above that.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 15562
Registered: May-04
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" ... jives with what I've noted in trying to get my panels to play with a sub. Rumor is that it is tough."

A lot depends on the subwoofer chosen. IMO and the opinion of others the largest single problem is the perceived "speed" of the two drivers. Speed in the bass response is a somewhat confusing issue and some people hear things others do not in this regard. Generally, people who prefer panels detect a sense of speed which is often nothing more than a preceived lack of overhang - of driver generated harmonics which are not properly damped - in the sound. People who don't "get" panels don't tend to hear such things, their priorities are focussed on something else. For some people it is the discontinuities of driver materials which acount for the problems associated with integrating a panel of mylar with any other material. Whatever low frequency driver material you pair with a 3'x6' panel of mylar will not have the same resonant characteristics which will make any shared signals stand apart as not well integrated. Since we perceive most of what a sub is contributing by our perception of the upper harmonics of the musical note, a subwoofer which sounds the bass note with a charcateristic resonance and overhang of that material will sound distinctly different to the sound of the upper harmonics which are being portrayed by the mylar sheets. Improvements in servo systems and better materials along with the computer modelling of driver response being used in low frequency systems has made the issues less troublesome over the last decades. However, the problem most people have had with Martin Logan is still the integration of their panels with their dynamic driver bass. Some people are not as bothered by this as others and they focus on the other virtues of the panels. To each their own.


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Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 15563
Registered: May-04
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"As you said, it has the potential add more atmosphere by revealing ambient cues, although I'm not sure how much of those there are in many recordings. Live yes, studio maybe not. Of course, everything is recorded somewhere."

True, but you can record any electronic instrument by way of "direct injection" which takes the signal straight from the instrument's output's and into the mixing board. In a recording like that, "space" is totally artificially created in the studio during post production and a Les Paul Custom recorded in a Mumbai isolation booth will sound d@mn near the same as a Les Paul Custom recorded in the very best concert hall in any other part of the world. In most rock/pop recordings if the electronic instruments are not directly injected into the board, the mic(s) position is within approximately 6-12" away from the speakers used by that instrument. And again the "hall sound" is artificially enhanced. So, yes, understand the source and realize you can't get out what hasn't been put in the recording in the first place.


"I'm not even sure how to run my speakers filtered."

Sometimes it's not worth the effort and the better path would be to simply pick the most correct subwoofer for your system instead of trying to force a round peg into a square hole. People tend to expect one connection to a system to sound very much like any other and that certainly isn't how most systems operate once you get beyond the very hairshirt systems with, say, one volume control and an input selector switch. Typically, if you run the high level connections to your subwoofer's crossover and then from the crossover to the main speakers, you will have filtered the main speaker feed. Not always and what sort of filter is used for the main speakers isn't always the same as the filter for the subwoofer itself. So you need to find some information and then do some experimentation. Most powered subs have some pretty crappy circuits and connectors for the high level inputs and filters. I'd say choose a subwoofer that is in concordance with the quality of the rest of the system and you should have a better chance of coming out on top. Of course, as a fan of old Westerns, the guy on top can still be the guy who ends up with a bullet in his gut so act accordingly.


"Steeper crossover filters may aid in the integration of a sub, but I've read they also have their issues. Basically, a more complicated design detracts from the music."


I wouldn't put such simple rules in place for anything in audio. Simple is fine and typically you'll have more success with simple than you will complicated. However, "simple" has never replaced "elegant" or "sophisticated" as the most effective solution. It's not simply about how many parts are in use but far more about how those parts that exist are used and to what effect. A fourth order filter in a crossover, while needing more parts, will mean fewer shared frequencies between drivers due to the steeper filter action. Say a designer wants to run their tweeter (in a two way system) down to lower frequencies which means more of the sound you hear from a speaker system is now coming from a single driver rather than placing the sensitive midrange frequencies in both drivers. A fourth order filter used as the high pass section of the crossover will sharply cut off the lower frequencies which might otherwise damage the tweeter while also providing an electrical phase shift of 180°. At that point a simple reversal of "acoustic phase" between the two drivers will result in a near perfect pairing of both phase and time correction. Using a simple first order crossover would only place the electrical phase 90° out of phase between the two sections of the crossover and no matter what the designer did, the acoustic phase of the system would be incongruous between the two drivers. That incongruity would, due to the very shallow filters in a first order, cover a much broader frequency range possibly making the sonic character of each of the two drivers even more obvious. Yet the first order cross can be accomplished with as few as one part. Once again it becomes a trade off of what is more important to the designer and what has higher priority to the listener.


"Because we are on this topic, this is from Jim Smith's book...in his view "mini-monitors" image better, and that's about it. He states that the downsides are subwoofer integration, dynamics are compromised, and they rarely sound as effortless and open as larger full-range speakers do."

I don't think anyone who expects concert hall levels in their living room will be happy with mini-monitors. However, mini-monitors are not always the same thing as "satellites". When I was using the LS3/5a's with their 4 1/2" woofer (in a sealed system with its -12dB rollout) I was constantly amazed by their ability to present dynamics. But sooner or later I recognized I had to constrain the ultimate peak volume of those dynamics. As I had no expectation of concert hall volume levels and only desired consistently accurate dynamic contrasts, I had no problems with that particular trade off when I gained all of the benefits of the near point source mini-monitors. Now that I've moved to a single driver system, even the discontinuties of most two way systems are distracting to my ears.


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Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 15564
Registered: May-04
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"What I think I'm going to do is dig out my Stereophile test disc and run some bass tones to see how low my speakers actually generate a decent bass signal, then run a signal to the sub and set that where it can best blend in with my speakers."


That's a starting point though successfully setting up a sub with your main speakers takes more than just test tones. You've got to, independent of each other, determine where the two speaker systems "sound best" before you can start making decisions about crossover points. And often the crossover is just a compromise for what sounds good over the broadest range if recordings and with your chair in a given position. Change one and you can expect to change the others.

As bass response is the most difficult to achieve in any room, you need to be aware that setting your sub in one loaction might not be best when your chair is in a certain location. For instance, due to the pecularities of my room my sub needs to be behind me while, obviously, the main speakers need to be in front. If I place my sub in line or anywhere close to my main speakers, my acceptable chair location is within a large standing wave in the room and I hear greatly diminished bass response in the lowest octaves. This presents a good news/bad news situation. The bass from my main speakers is actually being more steeply filtered by the room action when I'm sitting in my chair which means I've provided a low frequency filter of sorts to the mains. I'm then hearing fewer shared frequencies between speakers and sub. At the particular location of my chair I can also lean forward a bit and move my head into the leading edge of that standing wave or lean back and affect the amount of bass in any one recording. But, because of that standing wave's action, no matter where I place my sub other than in either extreme of the room, I hear lower quality bass response. And the chair is largely fixed by how the mains sound their best.

It's quite possible you have a similar situation of sorts, Dan. You might want to experiment with your chair position and not place your integration issues completely on the sub. To make a sub work, and especially in a small room, you'll always have to take your listening position into account too.


Do you not have a copy of the "Emma Demonstration disc"? I sent this out a few years ago when Tim was asking for reviews of his speakers.


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Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 1833
Registered: Oct-07
Jan, your reply kind of opens the door to one of the other big panel debates.
Sealed VS Ported. The panel folks tend to get all excited about that argument and point to 'group delay' and other factors. 'Speed' may be the wrong word for what is heard. After all, the measure was 'CPS' until Hz came along. So, if something is vibrating at 20 'cycles per second' than it is automatically fast enough.

Personally? I believe in very low crossover points so the sub and panel don't play much 'at the same time'. When my crossover was set too high, the lower bass was bloomy and thick. Bloated, even. During the process of adjusting the sub, at one point I simply turned the crossover control all the way...to what is an indicated 30hz. Such an immediate difference that I sat and listened for a while...than turned it back up.....just a little. Than, I listened to several songs of various bass capability, including some pipe organ to adjust level and confirm the crossover setting and have left it alone ever since.

Some people also argue that panels have some of the characteristics of a single driver. After all, in panels below the '3 series', you have but a single sheet of driver. That is one of the BIG sources of discussion among panel folks, the single sheet of mylar in an MDF frame and how the 2 interact. They may be silent, but I've never heard a dissenting opinion about mounting Magnepan drivers in a real wood frame. I suppose I'll find out!
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 15566
Registered: May-04
.

http://www.politifact.com/
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 828
Registered: Dec-06
Thanks Jan, it's clear I've got a bit of work to do. I'll try making small adjustments to my seating position, though I can't move too much given the position of my mains. But ultimately, I think placement of the sub in the room is going to be the key...and perhaps Chris' suggestion of room treatments.

And no, I do not have a copy of the Emma demo disc. Though I'd certainly be interested if you don't mind sending me a copy (I'd of course pay for shipping).
 

Silver Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 317
Registered: Oct-10
Chris, regarding the 1st paragraph in Jan's first post in this thread, I used to have Yamaha floor speakers with 12" woofers. They were $1000 each. I am currently using Mirage omnis, $250 each that sound better than the Yamahas!

Leo, my take on ported (bass reflex) vs sealed (acoustic suspension) speakers is that if you use a sub (assuming a ported sub), sealed main speakers are best. Otherwise, the bass could be overwelhming.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 15571
Registered: May-04
.

Dan, I sent you an email. Did you receive it?
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 830
Registered: Dec-06
Got it, Jan. I'll send a reply now.
 

Silver Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 424
Registered: Oct-10
So Chris, did you buy speakers yet?
 

New member
Username: Klang

Greystones, County Wicklow Ireland

Post Number: 3
Registered: Dec-10
Sub/sats or floorstanders ?
Well I have heard a pr that are very good on both hi fi and home cinema and come in a beautiful Piano black finish.
The Audio Pro Image blue diamonds . these are tall but have a reasonable footprint. passive mid and treble with powered 10'' subs in each speaker ( 150w rms per side ). The sub design is Their own ACE BASS technology which basically allows the sub to operate in an enclosure about 1/3rd of whats normally required.
The detail , soundstage, and punch needs to be felt to be appreciated. Audio Pro patented this technology about 30 odd years ago and have sold licenses to various companies inc Yamaha. Not sure what these cost in the USA but if you check :www.audiopro.com you should get distributor and dealer info there + specs previous models of this speaker have gotten great reviews over the years. they also make some awesome standalone subs like the Ace Bass 3 which would loosen the mortar in the brick work and is quite small .
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