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Subwoofer under 5k - mostly music

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1 hour ago, :) al said:

indeed there are some awesome integrated amps out there. many will kick some pre powers out the door.

 

in my bedroom setup am using a $100s dollars 2ch integrated and a subwoofer from 10 years ago that was worth 1000s of dollars back then many multiples more than the integrated. and its "integrated" to perfection for a pretty smooth reponse 200-20hz back at main listening position.

 

many ways to cut and dice these things ... no hard fast rules :)

Agreed. As I said, it a spontaneous respond at the time.

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15 hours ago, Irek said:

You don't have to convince me to sub, I love it. I read many times people complaining about bass, running to shop for more expensive amplifier and never getting what they want. Subs are so versatile and they are solving many problems, it is very weird how unpopular they are in stereo systems. 

It's an old idea that subs are only beneficial for home theatre - ideas like this tend to be persistent and there are still many who think that way. However, people are coming around to the idea that subs can actually enhance the experience. The popularity of subs for music is growing quite fast. It isn't being driven by cave-man like urges but rather an evolving understanding. People are learning that you can not only get deeper and more bass but also more tight and articulate bass. It isn't automatic but the potential is there.

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22 minutes ago, Red Spade Audio said:

It's an old idea that subs are only beneficial for home theatre - ideas like this tend to be persistent and there are still many who think that way. However, people are coming around to the idea that subs can actually enhance the experience. The popularity of subs for music is growing quite fast. It isn't being driven by cave-man like urges but rather an evolving understanding. People are learning that you can not only get deeper and more bass but also more tight and articulate bass. It isn't automatic but the potential is there.

Well said.

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With products like this, it's fair to say subs for high end audio music reproduction are definitely being considered: http://magico.net/product/qsub.php

And this: http://wilsonaudio.com/products/thors-hammer

 

Listening to large scale symphonic works, these days I wouldn't dream of listening without a sub any more. They have come of age.

Edited by Ittaku

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1 hour ago, Ittaku said:

With products like this, it's fair to say subs for high end audio music reproduction are definitely being considered: http://magico.net/product/qsub.php

And this: http://wilsonaudio.com/products/thors-hammer

 

Listening to large scale symphonic works, these days I wouldn't dream of listening without a sub any more. They have come of age.

I still maintain that most all sub-woofers will most likely sound like **** (in room) unless you integrate them well to the point that what you actually buy is a very secondary consideration.

Edited by Satanica

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2 minutes ago, Satanica said:

I still maintain that most sub-woofers will most likely sound like **** (in room) unless you integrate them well to the point that what you actually buy is a very secondary consideration.

I wasn't arguing against that... I only use subwoofers with DSP correction and crossover.

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1 minute ago, Ittaku said:

I wasn't arguing against that... I only use subwoofers with DSP correction and crossover.

I know, but your post comes across that you need to be very specific on your choice to achieve greatness.

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8 minutes ago, Satanica said:

I know, but your post comes across that you need to be very specific on your choice to achieve greatness.

Huh? It was a pretty harmless comment, sorry if it sounded.. whatever it was.

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9 minutes ago, Ittaku said:

Huh? It was a pretty harmless comment, sorry if it sounded.. whatever it was.

I didn't say it wasn't harmless, I just don't agree with it. :fear: :lol:

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1 hour ago, Satanica said:

I know, but your post comes across that you need to be very specific on your choice to achieve greatness.

It really depends on what you mean by "specific." There are many subs you could buy that will not sound musical, even in an ideal room with exceptional acoustics and an appropriate calibration. If you happen to own one of these subs, your specific sub might be a source of great frustration.

 

The requirements for a musical sub are not necessarily as narrow as some believe. It's not necessarily a matter of a select few brands or even a high end price tag. There are certainly many musical subs below $5k.

 

However, in my experience, price, brand, reviews and reputation are not always reliable indicators of musicality in a sub.

I have built and tested sub drivers manufactured in the same factory, where one was musical in various alignments even prior to calibration and the other was not musical regardless of the alignment, room or calibration.

 

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9 minutes ago, Red Spade Audio said:

It really depends on what you mean by "specific."

When you say you do you mean me or Ittaku? My post was a minor disagreement that a sub-woofer seemingly has to be of uber status for great sound without any consideration of integration.

 

9 minutes ago, Red Spade Audio said:

There are many subs you could buy that will not sound musical, even in an ideal room with exceptional acoustics and an appropriate calibration. If you happen to own one of these subs, your specific sub might be a source of great frustration.

 

The requirements for a musical sub are not necessarily as narrow as some believe. It's not necessarily a matter of a select few brands or even a high end price tag. There are certainly many musical subs below $5k.

 

However, in my experience, price, brand, reviews and reputation are not always reliable indicators of musicality in a sub.

I have built and tested sub drivers manufactured in the same factory, where one was musical in various alignments even prior to calibration and the other was not musical regardless of the alignment, room or calibration.

I'm really not sure what "musical" means in any HIFI context including sub-woofers. If you think it means low group delay and/or a lack of phase issues then those attributes are simply favourable for any HIFI device. So what attributes make a subwoofer "musical" and what is that important?

Edited by Satanica

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4 minutes ago, Satanica said:

When you say you do you mean me or Ittaku? My post was a minor disagreement that a sub-woofer seemingly has to be of uber status for great sound without any consideration of integration.

 

I'm really not sure what "musical" means in any HIFI context including sub-woofers. If you think it means low group delay and/or a lack of phase issues then those attributes are simply favourable for any HIFI device. So what attributes make a subwoofer "musical" and what is that important?

Before discussing any other technical details, a musical Sub needs to be fast but accurate, besides the very basic requirement of going all the way down to 20Hz with no issue at all. That's what is missing with most of the subs used in HT, they rumble like thunder but very floppy, no speed thus no accuracy.

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1 hour ago, Satanica said:

When you say you do you mean me or Ittaku? My post was a minor disagreement that a sub-woofer seemingly has to be of uber status for great sound without any consideration of integration.

That was addressed to you, because you used the word "specific." Even though it was addressed to Ittaku, I still think it's a point worth talking about.

 

Of course, we agree on the importance of integration. In general, I see the choice of sub and the calibration and the room acoustics as extremely important. However, in both my own journey in addition to working with clients in many different rooms with many different subwoofers, there have been instances where the choice of subwoofer was a greater obstacle than the room or the calibration. This is not something that I would have expected.

Quote

I'm really not sure what "musical" means in any HIFI context including sub-woofers. If you think it means low group delay and/or a lack of phase issues then those attributes are simply favourable for any HIFI device. So what attributes make a subwoofer "musical" and what is that important?

Musical is a subjective term. When you experience it, you certainly know it. In reality, it's a poorly defined objective. In my experience, it varies from person to person. Given that this is a subjective term, it's not so easy to define in terms of objective metrics.

 

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28 minutes ago, ufo said:

Before discussing any other technical details, a musical Sub needs to be fast but accurate, besides the very basic requirement of going all the way down to 20Hz with no issue at all. That's what is missing with most of the subs used in HT, they rumble like thunder but very floppy, no speed thus no accuracy.

Some thoughts, many people want and use a sub-woofer for both music and HT and expect it perform at the level they require for both. Rather than discussing in terms of what is good for music and what is good for HT, we should be discussing in terms of frequency response, output, distortion etc. What you do with it after that is up to the individual.

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9 minutes ago, Red Spade Audio said:

That was addressed to you, because you used the word "specific." Even though it was addressed to Ittaku, I still think it's a point worth talking about.

 

Of course, we agree on the importance of integration. In general, I see the choice of sub and the calibration and the room acoustics as extremely important. However, in both my own journey in addition to working with clients in many different rooms with many different subwoofers, there have been instances where the choice of subwoofer was a greater obstacle than the room or the calibration. This is not something that I would have expected.

Musical is a subjective term. When you experience it, you certainly know it. In reality, it's a poorly defined objective. In my experience, it varies from person to person. Given that this is a subjective term, it's not so easy to define in terms of objective metrics.

 

I totally appreciate subs are of differing "quality". And when I say "quality" I mean every single objective measure of one we can think of. But I can't do "musical", sorry. :(

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In the end it's about picking the device that has the overall qualities you require. It's size vs output vs distortion. When you improve one you most likely degrade at least one other.

 

I can imagine this example of two people both wanting a sub-woofer for music only. But one requires more output than the other and is willing to sacrifice other advantages attributes (size, distortion and let's not forget money!) to achieve it.

Edited by Satanica

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Some thoughts, many people want and use a sub-woofer for both music and HT and expect it perform at the level they require for both. Rather than discussing in terms of what is good for music and what is good for HT, we should be discussing in terms of frequency response, output, distortion etc. What you do with it after that is up to the individual.
I agree with you on this. What sounds good to me might not sound good to you. Room acoustics plays a massive role too and bass is not so easy to integrate. But when you get it correct it sounds awesome.
I dont always listen to Ac/dc or led zeppelin but when i do the neighborhood listens too

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It really depends on what you mean by "specific." There are many subs you could buy that will not sound musical, even in an ideal room with exceptional acoustics and an appropriate calibration. If you happen to own one of these subs, your specific sub might be a source of great frustration.
 
The requirements for a musical sub are not necessarily as narrow as some believe. It's not necessarily a matter of a select few brands or even a high end price tag. There are certainly many musical subs below $5k.
 
However, in my experience, price, brand, reviews and reputation are not always reliable indicators of musicality in a sub.

I have built and tested sub drivers manufactured in the same factory, where one was musical in various alignments even prior to calibration and the other was not musical regardless of the alignment, room or calibration.

 

Paul

Are you able to draw general conclusions from the various builds and client work as to what subs / alignments deliver great results in different typical situations? (Taking as given that room placement and integration are critical, and ignoring WAF.)

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17 hours ago, Satanica said:

In the end it's about picking the device that has the overall qualities you require. It's size vs output vs distortion. When you improve one you most likely degrade at least one other.

 

I can imagine this example of two people both wanting a sub-woofer for music only. But one requires more output than the other and is willing to sacrifice other advantages attributes (size, distortion and let's not forget money!) to achieve it.

The challenge with choosing a subwoofer is that there are two types of requirements. The basic parameters like size, extension and output that you mention are the easy part. The difficult part is determining quality. It's not a trivial problem.

17 hours ago, martin64 said:

I agree with you on this. What sounds good to me might not sound good to you. Room acoustics plays a massive role too and bass is not so easy to integrate. But when you get it correct it sounds awesome.
I dont always listen to Ac/dc or led zeppelin but when i do the neighborhood listens tooemoji3.png

That's an interesting point. Some aspects of the performance of a sub are universal and some are a matter of preference. When bass is done well, most audiophiles will recognise it, even though people can differ in how much bass they prefer.

3 hours ago, zydeco said:


Paul

Are you able to draw general conclusions from the various builds and client work as to what subs / alignments deliver great results in different typical situations? (Taking as given that room placement and integration are critical, and ignoring WAF.)

Hi Andrew,

 

That's a great question but I hesitate to take this thread down a tangent. My short answer is an emphatic YES. As a rule, I would tend to stick to drivers and brands that I have had positive prior experience with. In terms of alignment, most people have requirements that lead logically to a few often equally viable options.

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18 minutes ago, Red Spade Audio said:

The challenge with choosing a subwoofer is that there are two types of requirements. The basic parameters like size, extension and output that you mention are the easy part.

I don't see how it's entirely the easy part, size yes, extension yes but how many sub woofer manufactures publish maximum out? Not very many in my experience.

 

20 minutes ago, Red Spade Audio said:

The difficult part is determining quality. It's not a trivial problem.

I agree. But what are the metrics? Distortion and group delay come to my mind which are seemingly even hard to come by from manufacturers. Independent measurements are something to look out for.

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1 hour ago, Satanica said:

I don't see how it's entirely the easy part, size yes, extension yes but how many sub woofer manufactures publish maximum out? Not very many in my experience.

Let me put it another way. It's a simple problem to find out your bank balance, even if no one else has access to that information. It's a complex problem to understand women, even if you're married to one of them for your entire life!

1 hour ago, Satanica said:

I agree. But what are the metrics? Distortion and group delay come to my mind which are seemingly even hard to come by from manufacturers. Independent measurements are something to look out for.

Geddes developed a distortion metric, which he called the Gedlee metric. As far as I'm aware, it's never been used to evaluate subwoofers. It has a strong correlation with perception.

 

The challenge with these kinds of measurements is actually making them meaningful. I believe there is a lot of research that could be done to advance our understanding but in general I don't see a push for this kind of work. Manufacturers don't typically like to publish measurements of their subs and consumers don't demand it. The greatest push for data comes from DIYers.

Quote

But what are the metrics?

It's an interesting question for sure but I don't have a short answer that won't derail the thread. But I will say one thing. The increased accessibility of affordable linear phase DSP devices now means it's more easy for people to start to investigate things like the audibility of group delay.

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Crossover in my sub is set to 150 Hz and I like it. 

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