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Subwoofer Newbie - Looking for Some Tips


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I’ve had a sub in my system for the first time today, a very generous member has left it with me on trial. Looking for a few tips on set up, I’ve got it blended fairly well in that I can’t hear the sub itself and my speakers have a little more weight, though it’s fairly subtle. I’ve been watching Paul McGowans videos on YouTube recently, and he talks regularly about subs revealing hidden octaves, I would not say I’ve achieved that. 

 

The sub is a Rel T3, and I am running it with a Weston Time Machine 300b amp, and a pair of WLM Diva monitors. The room is long but fairly narrow, with a timber floor. 
 

I followed the Rel manual for set up, and have it in the corner a few inches out. The crossover is set at about 11.00 on the dial and gain about 9.00, both set fairly low. 
 

I listen to a lot of jazz, and while it’s nit bass heavy music, the sub journey was inspired by a goal to reveal more of the double bass. 
 

 

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Hi Geoff

WLM Diva - very nice speakers. I believe they can get rather complex with the modules. Very interesting piece of engineering this WLM kit.

 

I added one T9/i to my setup and then another T9/i. The journey with tuning the sub-woofer to my 2 channel setup has been about 12 months now. Below are my tips from my journey - but I'm sure it won't apply to every setup so absorb and test what you think works for you - or hopefully it will give you some path to take on your journey.

 

Give the sub what it needs to be able to perform its best. Biggest improvements listed first.

  1. Power upgrade - upgrade the fuse and power cable. I used the SR Black fuse - it gave stronger bass and more texture. I changed the power cable to a Shunyata Venom V10 and powered from the wall. It felt like I was being hit by bricks when the bass was pumping. These improved the sub woofer a great deal.
  2. Sub-woofer cable - some gains to be had here - I DIY'd with Kimber 8tc and Neutrik connector and used bananas to connect at the amp side.
  3. Isolation - some gains to be had here - I used the SubDude II. Bass was more focused and clearer.

 

Measure the room and optimize your seating position to the bass in your room and also the sub-woofer location in the room.

  1. I used REW and a umik1 calibrated mic. I wanted to measure what I was really getting in the room and not conclude that everything was good because it sounded good to my ears. It was a case of "you don't know what you don't know" and measurements and the REW simulator where invaluable tools. This I would rank as the most important thing to do. Using this tool I was able to eliminate some low frequency room modes and also optimize what was possible in the room. Too hard to do with your ear in my opinion. It only costs a couple hundred bucks for the mic and the software is free. You learn a lot in the process. Bass has different rules compared to medium and high frequencies.
  2. If you room is rectangular then the REW room simulator is so useful. Very handy to find locations for the sub that might give the better frequency curves.
  3. From doing the above I avoided bass nulls - moved my seating position and speakers 50cm to the right - off center point in the room.
  4. I could see that with the first sub-woofer I was getting a boosted bass. The house curve its called - sounded great but it was exaggerated and after tuning it out I could see what even bass was. Even bass is what you want.
  5. To even the bass out I had to add a 2nd sub woofer. The room sim pointed me in this direction and the real life results where very similar to the simulated curve.
  6. The sim also suggested that the best curve with the 2nd sub was to raise the sub around 40 cm off the floor. While the 1st sub could be sitting on the isolation pad on the floor.

 

After I did all this - bass was good but it wasn't till I did the last few things that gave me a very textured and palpable bass that was powerful, clear, and very detailed. In short I feel that your entire system and every component and tweak plays a role in the final sound you can achieve. Not just one change or upgrade. So this is where is gets system specific and where 1+1 does not always equal 2.

 

Eliminating noise, Grounding, and Clean power.

These last few changes gave me amazing bass. Telos GNR grounding and Etherregen network switch with a linear power supply. And I also limited my speaker woofer units to 40hz.

 

I did a ton of other things as well to my system that probably assisted in the end result. But I feel the above where key things that lead me to the end result for great bass.

 

I admit - it wasn't a simple path and probably not for everyone. But its an interesting experience that gave amazing results. Good luck with your journey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Many thanks for your thoughtful and detailed response, I suspect I’ll come back to this as a resource throughout the implementation. 
 

I’m starting with a single sub, but may add another down the track. This does seem to be the way to get the best out of them. 
 

I have really enjoyed my WLM speakers, this little sub does need to do some work to make them sound bigger. There is a WLM bass module that would be interesting in this scenario, but I do not have it. I run them conventionally, like any other speaker. I would pick up a module if one came up for sale separately, but they always seem to be packaged with the speakers. 

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Agreed with @haygeebaby on points 2 and 3.  Tweaks on fuses and power cables are imo, the icing on the cake scenario, but if it worked, then more power to you.  

 

  

@GeoffRoberts,

Its a worthwhile exercise to get an idea how the Divas work in your room.  IMO its worth doing a series of measurements to determine the peaks, dips and nulls where present in the room.  The T-3 is a relatively good performer, but in all honestly, the newer Rels are worth a look, esp the T-7s and T-9's.  Placement of the sub is key, based on the outcome of your room sweep using REW and a Mic.   And it takes a lot of time and effort to get it right,..ie: change settings, do freq sweeps, check the graphs, and optimise again. 

Edited by MrBurns84
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All good advice here. The journey continues. Most rooms and systems are 'less than ideal'.

 

I experimented with 2x REL Storm 5 subs over years (isolation feet; cables; power cords)

 

My revelation/epiphany regarding subwoofers occurred after buying and using this:

 

http://www.dspeaker.com/en/products/anti-mode-8033.shtml

 

You can't beat science for smoothing out nodes and nulls. Not expensive and very effective indeed.

 

Just my 2c worth.

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45 minutes ago, doogie44 said:

All good advice here. The journey continues. Most rooms and systems are 'less than ideal'.

 

I experimented with 2x REL Storm 5 subs over years (isolation feet; cables; power cords)

 

My revelation/epiphany regarding subwoofers occurred after buying and using this:

 

http://www.dspeaker.com/en/products/anti-mode-8033.shtml

 

You can't beat science for smoothing out nodes and nulls. Not expensive and very effective indeed.

 

Just my 2c worth.

Agreed.  Its easier to integrate 1 sub into the listening space.  But even when doing it by ear, ie: sub crawl, placement, etc.. i thought the bass was good, but not until i did some measurements via REW did i truly understand 'that' location wasn't optimal (in fact it was far from optimal) for getting a good flat response with my SGR's in room.  IMO, ppl do say that a sealed sub is preferred for music, but when the sub is placed optimally, time-aligned,  and room corrected, the differences between a ported and sealed are so small its hardly noticeable.. 

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 REW and umik1 are very handy. A little bit fiddly at the beginning but plenty of fun as well. There are instructions on YouTube.

2 subs T7i or T9i would be better suited for your speakers me think.

Some recordings just have low quality bass and nothing you can do about it except switching off the sub.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/02/2021 at 5:18 PM, Irek said:

 

 REW and umik1 are very handy. A little bit fiddly at the beginning but plenty of fun as well. There are instructions on YouTube.

2 subs T7i or T9i would be better suited for your speakers me think.

Some recordings just have low quality bass and nothing you can do about it except switching off the sub.

If you're planning to do dual subs, the T-7i pairs should be sufficient.  T-9is if you dont mind splurging a bit.  But the T-7is arent bass shy.. :)

 

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