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QuinnInSydney

1 x Ported Box Subwoofer -vs- 2 x Sealed Box Subwoofers?

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Posted (edited)

Hello Everyone, and please go easy on me as this is my first ever topic started here :)

 

Which type of subwoofer would you recommend for my 2.1 (or 2.2) setup, given my priorities and listening space: one ported box, or two sealed boxes?

 

I'm looking to upgrade on my Velodyne SPL800, as it's sounding anemic in our new, larger place. Below you can see the setup.

image.thumb.png.76237213613a088765b3cb33233419e6.png

(Please excuse the photo, as we're still in the process of settling in and setting up the furniture. Soon those wires will be hidden, and the bookshelf speakers will actually be on the, erm... bookshelves!)

 

The new listening space has ~3m high ceilings, is ~5m x 4m, and opens to a kitchen that is ~3m x 3m. Some time in the near future it will also open to an office that will add ~4m x 3m. (Fingers crossed we can afford the renovation!) My priorities are, in order of, erm... priority:

1. Physically and visually fit in with the TV bench and shelves that we're customising for our living room. The main constraint is height: the subwoofer can stand no higher than 39.5cm

2. Ultra low bass extension (eg -3db point of 20Hz) at moderate listening levels (eg ~85db), primarily for movie watching

3. 'Fast' bass response and integration with my bookshelf satellites, primarily for listening to music (classical, jazz, pop country, and a bit of everything else) also at moderate listening levels (eg ~85db)

 

I figure I have room (and budget!) for either:

- One larger ported box sub, eg an SVS PB-1000, which will give me flatter bass response down to 20Hz. The PB-1000 is too high when standing, but I figure I can lay it down on its side. Or...

- Two smaller sealed box subs, eg two SVS SB-2000's, which will have bass roll-off at 20Hz, but will likely even out and 'fill' the listening space better. Two SB-2000's will be too wide for the bench, but I can narrow the drawer units underneath the TV to make room. (I have a power saw and I'm not afraid to use it!)

 

So what say you to my dilemma, dear best and brightest of these forums? One ported, or two sealed?

 

Thanks in advance for all your advice! -Quinn

 

 

Edited by QuinnInSydney
typos!

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I like sealed for music and ported for movies. 

I run 2 SVS SB-2000's in a large room (and it fills it nicely) and I have 2 SVS PC-2000 Pro's in the theatre.

I'd go with the SB-2000's :)

 

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30 minutes ago, DSD_Fan said:

I like sealed for music and ported for movies. 

I run 2 SVS SB-2000's in a large room (and it fills it nicely) and I have 2 SVS PC-2000 Pro's in the theatre.

I'd go with the SB-2000's :)

 

I agree, the SB-2000's are a very good choice when it comes to music.

 

AFAIK the new version, named SVS SB-2000 Pro, has some improvements and it allows you to EQ the sub to suit either music or movie so maybe it is not a compromise at all. I do not know how much bass you need but with 550W rms/1500W peak one sub may be even enough for your room. The EOFY sale is still on 😀

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+1 for two SB-2000s.  Two subs will provide the ability to even out the bass in the large room.  The key is to integrate the subs properly.

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no comparison.. 1 x pb1000 vs 2 x sb2000..

 

buying a sub based on a gap in a entertainment cabinet is not going to give you better bass

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3 minutes ago, hopefullguy said:

buying a sub based on a gap in a entertainment cabinet is ...

A common priority ....  aesthetics and practical considerations are usually very important for rooms that are shared with "normal people".

 

4 minutes ago, hopefullguy said:

.... is not going to give you better bass

Sure it will.   You can fit a 12" woofer in there... and that much displacement is going to wipe the floor with the existing speakers.

 

The only drawbacks are:

 

Size limit .... but you can fit a good sized woofer in there

Position ....  but any position for a single woofer is some sort of compromise  (hint: EQ is essential)

 

... but to say that, on balance, a well setup subwoofer in that position isn't going to provide "better bass" (than the two bookselves) is ridiculous.

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1 hour ago, QuinnInSydney said:

1. Physically and visually fit in with the TV bench and shelves that we're customising for our living room. The main constraint is height: the subwoofer can stand no higher than 39.5cm

Do-able.

 

1 hour ago, QuinnInSydney said:

2. Ultra low bass extension (eg -3db point of 20Hz) at moderate listening levels (eg ~85db), primarily for movie watching

A stretch.

 

One immediate issue is that at 85dB... 20Hz is barely above the threshold of audibility.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal-loudness_contour

 

If you have EQ, then you can dial in the bass extension of a subwoofer to be however low you want it to be.... at the expense of limiting the SPL that is reached before distortion is too high (or power available is exceeded).

 

A 12" high escursion subwoofer will be enough to do what you want  ie. solid SPL in the octave below 40Hz.... (ie. 20 to 40Hz)

 

1 hour ago, QuinnInSydney said:

3. 'Fast' bass response and integration with my bookshelf satellites

Forget "fast" .... it's marketing nonsense.

 

As for integration.   You will need something which can EQ the subwoofer.... and provid a low pass filter to the subwoofer, and a high pass filter to the main speakers.

 

This might be an "AVR" .... an amplifier that has "subwoofer output" ..... or it might be a subwoofer, which has speaker output terminals (ie. you can connect you main speaker to the sub, and the sub provides the high pass filter).

 

1 hour ago, QuinnInSydney said:

One ported, or two sealed?

I would go for two, if that's in budget.    Especially as your stated SPL requirements are low.

You will also get the nice bonus of visual symmetry.

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@DSD_Fan Thanks for the thoughts. I'm jealous that you have separate spaces for music and movies :) I unfortunately don't have that luxury, and feel I may have to prioritise one over the other. I spend more time listening to music, but I don't pay much attention to low bass because the bulk of what I listen to doesn't have much content below ~40Hz. However, when I'm watching movies I pay a lot of attention to the thuds, implosions, and sine waves when Sauron loses his finger. Therefore for low bass content I want to buy whatever works best for movies. I appreciate what you say about how your two SB-2000's fill your music room, but if you were forced to choose between two SB-2000's or _one_ PC-2000 for your movie room, which would you choose?

 

Having said that, maybe I don't have to compromise. Thanks @spottie for reminding me about the SB-2000 Pro's built in EQ which should have the low bass extension I'm seeking for movies, but the ability to level things down for music. Given your guys' advice I'm leaning more and more towards taking the plunge and buying two SB-2000 Pro's. Cheapest price listed online I've found is $1799 each. If you're aware of some lower EOFY prices lower, please let me know! :)

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5 minutes ago, QuinnInSydney said:

@DSD_Fan Thanks for the thoughts. I'm jealous that you have separate spaces for music and movies :) I unfortunately don't have that luxury, and feel I may have to prioritise one over the other. I spend more time listening to music, but I don't pay much attention to low bass because the bulk of what I listen to doesn't have much content below ~40Hz. However, when I'm watching movies I pay a lot of attention to the thuds, implosions, and sine waves when Sauron loses his finger. Therefore for low bass content I want to buy whatever works best for movies. I appreciate what you say about how your two SB-2000's fill your music room, but if you were forced to choose between two SB-2000's or _one_ PC-2000 for your movie room, which would you choose?

 

 

 

Good question. My PC's are pro's and my SB's are not. I am looking at upgrading my SB's to JL's soon. 

When I ordered my 2 PC pro's only one was in stock and I had to wait almost 3 months for the next Oz shipment. But one was great. I was thinking I didn't need the 2nd. Until I got it and now I am over the moon lol

$1799 for SB pro's is a good price. 

 

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20 minutes ago, QuinnInSydney said:

 I'm jealous that you have separate spaces for music and movies :) I unfortunately don't have that luxury, and feel I may have to prioritise one over the other. I spend more time listening to music, but I don't pay much attention to low bass because the bulk of what I listen to doesn't have much content below ~40Hz. However, when I'm watching movies I pay a lot of attention to the thuds, implosions, and sine waves when Sauron loses his finger. Therefore for low bass content I want to buy whatever works best for movies. I appreciate what you say about how your two SB-2000's fill your music room, but if you were forced to choose between two SB-2000's or _one_ PC-2000 for your movie room, which would you choose?

 

Having said that, maybe I don't have to compromise. 

No, you do not have to compromise if you set up this way. 

 

image.png.4c67b3a3ac51ba0b84dedc05d2433d45.png

For music,  use DAC and Integrated amp to mains, as well to the subs via DSP.  For movies, feed the L&R preout to the Integrated (which acts as the amp for movies).  It does take some setting up, but it works well.  The mains and subs are shared for music and movies.  You will get the best of both worlds.

 

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@davewantsmoore Thank you for your understanding the importance I place on practicality and aesthetics. I wish I had the luxury of sound quality above all else but I don't (sigh) and I have to keep my living space, you know... livable. Visual symmetry then becomes a big bonus!

 

And also thank you for linking me to the article on the equal loudness contour! Super interesting, even though it's a bit over my head and I only understood 25% of what I read :P The upshot is that I now feel less 'guilty' having occasionally boosted lower octaves when listening, especially at low overall volume levels. It's not because I'm getting old and losing my hearing - it's because we're all born this way! :)

 

As mentioned above I feel like I'm heading towards two SVS SB-2000 Pro's. I assume their inbuilt EQ will let me compensate for their natural roll of below 40Hz? And because I'm only listening at moderate levels there should be enough headroom for the subs' high excursion drivers and 550W RMS / 1500W peak power to make up the difference?

 

And finally thank you for your reminder about integration. The SB-2000 Pro's have an inbuilt, adjustable LPF and EQ. For bookshelves I have a pair of KEF LSX's incoming which have an inbuilt, adjustable HPF and EQ. Having said that I'm prepared for all that being not enough, so fair warning as I'll likely soon start a topic asking for beginner's advice on room correction and more 'advanced' equalisation!

 

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dave.. relax, take things out of context. i should have said it wont give better bass vs the correct room placement even with eq.

 

find the best place in the room and forget how it looks or get 2 subs. if not accept a compromise which is most ht rooms anyway.

 

but thats just me and if others do different thats their choice.

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50 minutes ago, QuinnInSydney said:

And also thank you for linking me to the article on the equal loudness contour! Super interesting, even though it's a bit over my head and I only understood 25% of what I read

No need to understand deeply except two big things.

 

1.   LF needs to be loud to be audible.   20hz at 85dB is almost too faint to he heard.

 

2.   As the frequency gets lower, our ear becomes more sensitive to changes in level.    You will often see people (who don't understand) saying things which boil down to the opposite of this.     The reality is that having a flat response at LF, is even more importan than at higher frequencies, but it's exponentially harder to achieve as the frequency goes down  (you get big peaks and dips in the response due to the room dimensions, and position within the room).    This is why EQ can make or break a setup.

 

50 minutes ago, QuinnInSydney said:

As mentioned above I feel like I'm heading towards two SVS SB-2000 Pro's. I assume their inbuilt EQ will let me compensate for their natural roll of below 40Hz? And because I'm only listening at moderate levels there should be enough headroom for the subs' high excursion drivers and 550W RMS / 1500W peak power to make up the difference?

Yes.

50 minutes ago, QuinnInSydney said:

And finally thank you for your reminder about integration. The SB-2000 Pro's have an inbuilt, adjustable LPF and EQ. For bookshelves I have a pair of KEF LSX's incoming which have an inbuilt, adjustable HPF and EQ.

👍

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2 hours ago, QuinnInSydney said:

@DSD_Fan Thanks for the thoughts. I'm jealous that you have separate spaces for music and movies :) I unfortunately don't have that luxury, and feel I may have to prioritise one over the other. I spend more time listening to music, but I don't pay much attention to low bass because the bulk of what I listen to doesn't have much content below ~40Hz. However, when I'm watching movies I pay a lot of attention to the thuds, implosions, and sine waves when Sauron loses his finger. Therefore for low bass content I want to buy whatever works best for movies. I appreciate what you say about how your two SB-2000's fill your music room, but if you were forced to choose between two SB-2000's or _one_ PC-2000 for your movie room, which would you choose?

 

Having said that, maybe I don't have to compromise. Thanks @spottie for reminding me about the SB-2000 Pro's built in EQ which should have the low bass extension I'm seeking for movies, but the ability to level things down for music. Given your guys' advice I'm leaning more and more towards taking the plunge and buying two SB-2000 Pro's. Cheapest price listed online I've found is $1799 each. If you're aware of some lower EOFY prices lower, please let me know! :)

WestCoast Hifi over here in Perth can do it for $1599. I've just ordered mine (SB-2000 Pro in gloss black). I can't wait to see how dual subs go 😀

 

https://www.westcoasthifi.com.au/?post_type=location&p=2364

 

Either you can order through them (because mine needs to be shipped from Melbourne anyway - Sydney might be even cheaper for them to ship), or mention the price to the local hifi store maybe they can price match. If you order two, I'm sure you can negotiate even a better deal.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I find this thread confusing.  You've said that you mostly listen to music at moderate levels above, if that's the case why would you target a purchase decision for subs around ultra low bass extension for occasional movie watching?  Surely it makes most sense to set up your system for the way you use it most!?

 

Also, why are you limiting yourself to SVS?  There are other excellent options for music centric systems.  I personally use a KEF Kube 8b with my LSX in my office.  I previously had the LSX in a pretty large bedroom and ran with a KEF Kube 12b and found this to be really excellent match.  I use LS50W in my second system at home and have trialled KEF, SVS, and REL subs with the LS50W in my system and room and have settled on the REL T7i.    Folks do realise that SVS have not unlocked some kind of magic formula with sub production right?

Edited by POV
missed a vital word!

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9 minutes ago, POV said:

 Folks do realise that SVS have unlocked some kind of magic formula with sub production right?

I find this statement confusing.

What does it mean?

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4 minutes ago, pwstereo said:

I find this statement confusing.

What does it mean?

 

Apologies I missed the 'not' from that, have edited it in.  Should have read:

 

14 minutes ago, POV said:

   Folks do realise that SVS have not unlocked some kind of magic formula with sub production right?

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Posted (edited)
30 minutes ago, POV said:

Folks do realise that SVS have not unlocked some kind of magic formula with sub production right?

 

Having owned a LOT of subs over time, Velodyne, Energy, B&W, Klipsch, Earthquake, M&K, SVS, and some custom made subs. I do find value for money, SVS can keep up with the more expensive subs. I had 2 other Velodyne F1500 subs. But the SVS's PC range perform better in my room. 
While I am looking at replacing the SB-2000's in my music system with JL Audio (pure preference) I can't see much (other than DIY) doing better for the money and mainly the size. 

 See for me, I don't like Rel (I only 'heard' them when they were in the UK and now they're US I believe?) and Kef Kube 12b, doesn't go as low as the SB-2000. But see, it's personal preference. But value for money and performance, you can't really beat SVS (I'm not a fan of the 1000 series though) 

Just my 2 cents..... Now, where is Rythmik and JTR ;)

Edited by DSD_Fan

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Posted (edited)
48 minutes ago, POV said:

I find this thread confusing.  You've said that you mostly listen to music at moderate levels above, if that's the case why would you target a purchase decision for subs around ultra low bass extension for occasional movie watching?  Surely it makes most sense to set up your system for the way you use it most!?

 

Also, why are you limiting yourself to SVS?  There are other excellent options for music centric systems.  I personally use a KEF Kube 8b with my LSX in my office.  I previously had the LSX in a pretty large bedroom and ran with a KEF Kube 12b and found this to be really excellent match.  I use LS50W in my second system at home and have trialled KEF, SVS, and REL subs with the LS50W in my system and room and have settled on the REL T7i.    Folks do realise that SVS have not unlocked some kind of magic formula with sub production right?

I hope you've realised that the question being asked is a sub for both music and movie. We are talking about a large room at 5m x 4m x 3m so we need a quality sub to fill the space.

 

Small subs like REL T7i with only 200W rms and 30Hz at -6dB cannot compare with 550W rms and 19Hz at +/- 3dB. They are not qualified for movies. I do not think small subs will work in the room. I have learnt hard lessons with smaller subs like this from B&W and Focal. I ended up throwing them away.

 

In Australia, AFAIK no other brands offer better value for money than SVS. I would  challenge anyone to find a better price for the same specs/quality/resale value in Australia.  I've owned an early version of the SB-2000 for more than 10 years now and it is still good like day 1.

 

In my opinion, investing in a good sub will be actually more economical in the long term when it comes to upgrading your main speakers in the future - another convenient truth.

 

 

 

Edited by spottie

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Posted (edited)
32 minutes ago, spottie said:

I hope you've realised that the question being asked is a sub for both music and movie. We are talking about a large room at 5m x 4m x 3m so we need a quality sub to fill the space.

 

Small subs like REL T7i with only 200W rms and 30Hz at -6dB cannot compare with 550W rms and 19Hz at +/- 3dB. They are not qualified for movies. I do not think small subs will work in the room. I have learnt hard lessons with smaller subs like this from B&W and Focal. I ended up throwing them away.

 

In Australia, AFAIK no other brands offer better value for money than SVS. I would  challenge anyone to find a better price for the same specs/quality/resale value in Australia.  I've owned an early version of the SB-2000 for more than 10 years now and it is still good like day 1.

 

In my opinion, investing in a good sub will be actually more economical in the long term when it comes to upgrading your main speakers in the future - another convenient truth.

 

 

 


Yes I realise but in a subsequent post OP notes that system is used primarily for music at moderate listening levels, and that would utilise two smaller subs (so therefore use of 2 T7i subs was my assumption)

 

So I have an SVS SB-2000 and a REL T7i here right now and have actually compared them extensively in my second room.     This room is 4.2m wide by 6.7m long with standard ceiling height.  Yes the SVS digs deeper and louder, but the REL integrates more easily and evenly with my main speakers and generally sounds cleaner and more linear across the majority of the frequency range.  On balance, music sounds better and more enjoyable with the REL in my system and room.  2 of them even better and I’ll almost certainly add a second one once I sell the SVS.

 

Obviously it’s room, system, and use dependant but I just don’t agree that SVS subs are somehow a vastly superior value proposition than options from other quality manufacturers is all.

 

Anyhow, am not looking for a flame war with SVS fans, just advocating that the OP keeps options open and doesn’t limited choice to one brand.

Edited by POV
splelling

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, QuinnInSydney said:

Therefore for low bass content I want to buy whatever works best for movies.

 

44 minutes ago, POV said:

Yes I realise but in a subsequent post OP notes that system is used primarily for music at moderate listening levels

For movies I would look for bass extension, and 'stereo' subs. I don't think a 30Hz sub is going to cut it for movie priority.
 

Op, does your AVR or stereo amp support dual subwoofer EQ? Does it have room correction?

Edited by gwurb

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1 hour ago, POV said:


Yes I realise but in a subsequent post OP notes that system is used primarily for music at moderate listening levels, and that would utilise two smaller subs (so therefore use of 2 T7i subs was my assumption)

 

So I have an SVS SB-2000 and a REL T7i here right now and have actually compared them extensively in my second room.     This room is 4.2m wide by 6.7m long with standard ceiling height.  Yes the SVS digs deeper and louder, but the REL integrates more easily and evenly with my main speakers and generally sounds cleaner and more linear across the majority of the frequency range.  On balance, music sounds better and more enjoyable with the REL in my system and room.  2 of them even better and I’ll almost certainly add a second one once I sell the SVS.

 

Obviously it’s room, system, and use dependant but I just don’t agree that SVS subs are somehow a vastly superior value proposition than options from other quality manufacturers is all.

 

Anyhow, am not looking for a flame war with SVS fans, just advocating that the OP keeps options open and doesn’t limited choice to one brand.

We are all here to share and to learn so no "war" at all. I've looked at subs from REL, Velodyne, etc. but I am unable to find anything better than SVS purely in terms of specs. I'm more than happy to learn if indeed there is something that offers better value for money.

 

I totally agree with you that integrating sub is not an easy task, and especially integrating a big sub with small main speakers due to high cross-over point.

 

I do not own a REL to say about its "linearity" but the frequency response curve from SVS says everything needed about the SB-2000's linearity.

 

From your description and the specs of the REL T7i, I would say that you prefer a target curve with an early roll-off for music (by target curve I refer to Fig. 1 of this guide https://www.hifizine.com/2011/06/bass-integration-guide-part-1/)

 

With the early version of SB-2000, this can be achieved by EQ your sub. If you have access to an external 31-band digital graphic equalizer (such as Behringer DEQ2496) that can be done with a bit of learning and measurement. If you were in Perth, I would be more than happy to show you in person.

 

However, the newer version SB-2000 Pro comes with an on-board EQ, so the target curve can be achieved in a fairly similar manner. You can switch between movie and music modes quite easily and you can fine tune the roll-off to your taste (and, probably, your room).

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I have a minidsp with Dirac Live and have measured and tweaked EQ extensively with both units.  End of the day specs and measurements only take you so far...

 

The proof is in the listening and musical engagement.

 

Anyhow, doubt any of this is helping the OP.

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Active speakers and powered subs. Sounds perfect for minidsp/dirac! Or more upmarket with deqx. There is a premate in thd classifieds. 

Use your existing sub, then add another sub if needed (any brand - see what comes up cheap in the classifieds).

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, Snoopy8 said:

For music,  use DAC and Integrated amp to mains, as well to the subs via DSP.  For movies, feed the L&R preout to the Integrated (which acts as the amp for movies). 

One of the main features for which I'm looking in an upgrade is DSP and adjustable EQ built into the powered bookshelf speakers, and the same built into the subs. Hopefully my system will look like this... (In fact, the KEF LSX bookshelves I have coming in supposedly have a high quality, onboard DAC. I'll do the requisite listening comparison, but that means I may even get rid of the separate DAC in the below diagram)...

image.thumb.png.a1abb4be05a4007e2c149f977350145e.png

 

But am I missing something here? @Snoopy8 Is there some advantage to be gained by having a separate DSP unit feeding the subwoofer(s) that I'm not getting with my plan above?

 

I'm mentally preparing myself to spend many hours listening, measuring, and adjusting once I have the hardware in. Thus far I envisioned doing this with the aid of a calibrated mic and software on my PC (which also happens to be the source of all my audio) and/or the EQ software built into the mains and subwoofers themselves. (I'm also mentally prepared to come back to these forums to ask for help in how to best do this!) @POV @AudioGeek @gwurb Will I suffer a significant loss of quality or adjustability by relying on the speakers' onboard DSP's and EQ's instead of introducing a separate DSP / EQ unit into the audio path?

 

Apologies to everyone if my questions here seem naive. I've only ever had a 'dabblers' level of experience in this stuff thus far, and my pace of learning can rightly be classified as 'turtle' 🙃 And thanks in advance for your continuing education of Quinn!

Edited by QuinnInSydney
clarity!

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