Hard rock/heavy metal: Do I really need a sub? (building a system from scratch)


New member
Username: Lobo

Toronto, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 1
Registered: Jan-05
Due to circumstances out of my control, I am starting from scratch. I have no amp, no cd player, no speakers, I've got nothing.
I listen to a lot of hard rock/heavy metal.
I am probaly going to pick up an NADC352 for my amp along with the C542 cd player, but I'm not 100% sold on it just yet. If someone has a bette ridea in the same price range that would fit my musical tastes better, by all means suggest something.
As far as speakers go, the two stores that sell the NAD also sell these speakers: PSB, Kef, Acoustic Energy, ProAc, Totem, Energy, Mission.
I can afford to spend in the $1000 range.
My question is this: It seems like almost everyone has a sub these days, even if it's just for listening to music. My problem is that I live in an apartment, I can't crank the music too loud, but I like hard rock/metal. I will have to listen at moderate volume. I like my music to have some solid bass to it, but I can't listen at loud volumes due to my living situation.
Which of the above speaker brands matched with the NAD will give me a solid bottem end, nice thick sound even at lower volumes without using a sub? I figure if I can't really crank the music there is no point in getting a sub.

I personally enjoy the sound of KEF which definately has punchy bass. The Q5 is pretty flat down to 39Hz, which is (barely) lower than the lowest note of a bass guitar (~41Hz). I cant say Ive listened to all of the above brands, but just about any floorstanding speaker in the $1000 range ought to have pretty flat bass response down to 40Hz or less.

BTW sorry to hear about the divorce man.

Unregistered guest
take a look at floorstanders in the Paradigm monitor range. The monitor 7's have nice, solid bass with excellent mids and highs.

I beleive they are priced around 800


Silver Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 301
Registered: Sep-04

Introducing a sub is more likely to create more problems than it solves. Integration is always an issue with subs and also the less expensive subs tend to have flimsier cabinets which you can hear. Therefore a properly integrated two-speaker system is likely to be the better bet. Incidentally, hard rock and heavy metal doesn't actually contain very much really deep bass. What you're looking for is deepish but more importantly what's there needs to be tight and fast!

Of the makes above these are the ones I rate:

Acoustic Energy Aegis EVO 3. Musical, pacey with a good midrange and healthy bass. Need to be kept away from the walls as they're ported.

Totem Rainmaker or better. The Arro is also a lovely speaker worth a listen but its small size may not be enough for your requirements. The Rainmaker is a great standmount speaker with excellent balance, pace and resolution.

Of the others you mention, I find Kefs bright, not particularly well made and a bit harsh. The Proacs tend to be a bit clinical for my taste. I don't know the other makes.

The NAD kit is good value, and very musical for the money. The above recommendations will work well with them. Another make I would consider if in your area would be Dynaudio. Dynaudio Audience 42s or 52s are lovely speakers which will work well with the C352 too.


Stealth C
Unregistered guest
A suggestion no one seems to be making is perhaps investing in a set of high quality headphones. You can spend a little on a quality set of Grados which will let you play your music as loud as you want and then invest the rest in a good set of speakers. As far as quality goes, even at 60 bucks, a pair of Grados is as good or better than speakers costing 10 times as much.

Silver Member
Username: Timn8ter

Seattle, WA USA

Post Number: 135
Registered: Dec-03
I recently sold a pair of vintage SpeakerLab 7 speakers for $350 that were rebuilt to "better than new" condition. To me they were perfect for hard rock. You may want to look around the classifieds to see if anyone is selling theirs. DSOTM never sounded better. ;-)

Silver Member
Username: Petergalbraith

Rimouski, Quebec Canada

Post Number: 312
Registered: Feb-04
Or find a used pair of Klipsch Cornwalls on ebay. :-)

Silver Member
Username: Timn8ter

Seattle, WA USA

Post Number: 136
Registered: Dec-03
Exactly! Point being, there are many used speaker systems that would be ideal for your preferred music genre.

Silver Member
Username: Ca_convert


Post Number: 119
Registered: Jan-05

I have a C352 and C542 along with a pair of B&W 602 S3.
Like you my musical preferences lie in rock blues from Keb Mo' to an unhealthy obsession with AC DC. At ist price point, this system was the beest to my ears for this kind of music. The Dynaudio 42's are great speakers, but lack bottom end wallop that heavy rock really needs. At £300 you wont get a deeper tighter bass than the 602's and you really wont need a sub, just spend the money on a decent set of stands.

But, this is JUST my opinion, go listen to as many speakers as you can at a good dealer (you are not obligated to buy from them) and then decide. Just pick the stuff you like the sound of.
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