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Confusion About Best Subwoofer Option For My Audio System


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At the advice of another owner, and also a Sonus Faber expert, I have been considering adding a pair of subwoofers to my Sonus faber Olympica III's to maximize sound quality from my audio system. I love the speakers, but if the low end could be enhanced, things may well be perfect. Based on their reputation for integrating and working seamlessly in stereo systems, I was looking at the REL T/7i for this purpose. When researching at the REL website, I found they actually have a very useful calculator wherein you enter your specific speaker, and they tell you what subwoofer(s) would be optimum for you, and also take into account the size of your room. 

 

I was quite surprised to see them recommending one of their larger subwoofers ($2200.00) instead of a pair of smaller subs. Everything I've read in recent years talks about how a pair of subs is the only way to go. Now they did recommend a pair of these bigger subs for a room larger than mine, but I'm still confused as to what might be best way to go. Again, everything points to two smaller subs that I've seen points to the need to use two subwoofers. And honestly, my room could physically accommodate the two smaller subs more easily than the single, larger one. 

 

II plan to make a call to REL to discuss things further with them, but I would appreciate your expertise and thoughts on the matter.

 

JC

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What is the size of your room ? I have 1 x REL T/9i in 25m2 main listening area with ATC SCM40s. Works very well and intention is to get a second one in due course.  I would tend to go for 2 smaller subs as you can then move them around for optimum positioning, also 2 smaller subs together probably move more air than one larger one if you add up the total cone area. Also the physical accommodation as you say may be the deciding factor.

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Is there a way you can listen to them at a local dealer?  I would suggest the Series S/3Sho.  I have a pair of the older 328 and love em.  I wish I could afford the top of line stuff.  It's all about pressurizing the room, when there off it's like all the weight of the music is gone.  All subs should use Neutrik connectors from the sub to your amplifier of choice.

PC/NAS/JRiver/Roon - PS Audio P5 Regenerator - KEF LS50 Nocturne - Rel 328 subwoofer - PS Audio AC5 Power cables 

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5 hours ago, TubeLover said:

pair of subs is the only way to go

Anytime you hear absolutes in audio it's wrong :D

I'd tend to agree that two make more sense if you have the room. I don't know the assumptions their calculator uses. Their answer may have something to do with room size and the placement of the speakers. 

I think your idea of calling to discuss it with them is a good one.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Don’t rely on online tools, in most cases they recommend subs that are bigger than what you really need. Better to talk to them directly and give them the room dimensions. I had a similar situation before with SVS where the online recommended a much larger sub than I need. When I called their team, they recommended their smallest sub for my 3x4 meter room. 

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1 hour ago, Mordikai said:

I believe in distributed subs, I use 4 in my main system and love it!! Even bass response in all the listening positions, and it'll rattle the walls when I break out the edm. :)

Yes, it is a good way to do it and you can even use smaller subs when you do it this way. 

Not everyone  has the physical setup that allows for 4 subs, unfortunately.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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8 hours ago, firedog said:

Yes, it is a good way to do it and you can even use smaller subs when you do it this way. 

Not everyone  has the physical setup that allows for 4 subs, unfortunately.

The mains subs are 4 - Aura ns18's in 8 cu ft sealed enclosures. I understand that this is a lot of space and overkill for most music. In my bedroom I'm doing 4 very small .75 cu ft subs which should reach the upper 20's in room.

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1 hour ago, Mordikai said:

The mains subs are 4 - Aura ns18's in 8 cu ft sealed enclosures. I understand that this is a lot of space and overkill for most music. In my bedroom I'm doing 4 very small .75 cu ft subs which should reach the upper 20's in room.

I've wished in the past I could try it. Just couldn't be done in my environment. There's a company in the States that specialized in selling "swarm" setups of subs. Can't remember the name.

 

One of the reasons I went to the Kii Three system was that it gave me subwoofer  type bass without needing space and/or available corners.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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13 minutes ago, firedog said:

I've wished in the past I could try it. Just couldn't be done in my environment. There's a company in the States that specialized in selling "swarm" setups of subs. Can't remember the name.

 

One of the reasons I went to the Kii Three system was that it gave me subwoofer  type bass without needing space and/or available corners.

I have not heard the Kii's, but would love to! I think that's the way speakers are going.

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6 hours ago, Mordikai said:

The mains subs are 4 - Aura ns18's in 8 cu ft sealed enclosures. I understand that this is a lot of space and overkill for most music. In my bedroom I'm doing 4 very small .75 cu ft subs which should reach the upper 20's in room.

 

I've been quietly watching this thread with interest.  Four 18" subs goes way beyond prioritizing real world effect versus planning on paper.  Thank you for this sorely needed addition.

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5 hours ago, rando said:

 

I've been quietly watching this thread with interest.  Four 18" subs goes way beyond prioritizing real world effect versus planning on paper.  Thank you for this sorely needed addition.

My living room is large ( 25'x28') but I really don't need the 18's, I just think they're cool.  For music 4- 10's would be fine. I used to want flat response from 20hz-20khz, but I've come to the conclusion that response down to 30-35hz is just fine.  The nice thing about the 18's is that they are working so little the don't move or vibrate at all.

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I'm sure those 8" are more musical. You reminded me of the Lampizator P17 build sheet where Lukasz said something to the effect of spend your money on the tweeter and fit as large and cheap of a bass cannon as matches the build.  

 

endorphin%20XO.jpg

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Thanks to everyone for their input and information. I'll be talking to REL tomorrow to get their specific thoughts. My biggest concern is that the room in question has some severe limitations for placement of subs. There is, for example, no room in any corner for them to be placed. About the only options would be to place two smaller subs roughly a foot directly behind, or a foot behind to the left or right of the placement of the Olympica III's. The only other possibility is out in front of the O3's but outside of their path of projection, or across the room near the listening area. I know this could be problematic and less than well placed subwoofers create more issues than benefits, from what I've read on the subject. 

 

JC

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2 subs next to the 2 monitors usually works pretty well if that's all that's practical for you. I'd also suggest buying subs that have a built in Room Correction  function. They cost more, but the RC helps a lot when your setup isn't perfect. 

 

You might want to send REL a simple diagram of your room with room dimensions and placement of furniture and spearkers and listening point. 

Then they  can probably tell you what would work best for that setup.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Tubelover, I received two SVS SB16 Ultras for xmas.  Upgraded from one REL B1.  Huge improvement as the 16's are amazingly fast and have integrated well with my Tidal Piano's.  I know way too big for your situation, just food for thought ;)

Ryzen 7 2700 PC Server, NUC7CJYH w. 4G Apacer RAM as Renderer/LPS 1.2 - IsoRegen/LPS-1/.2 - Singxer SU-1/LPS1.2 - Holo Spring Level 3 DAC - LTA MicroZOTL MZ2 - Modwright KWA 150 Signature Amp - Tidal Audio Piano's.  

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  • 1 month later...

@TubeLover , Sorry if this is  a bit late,, but you may want to consider the addition of a DSPeaker Antimode Dual Core, particularly if you go the single sub route. In my experience this is a most effective way of taming standing wave modes short of installing multiple large tube traps and multiple subs which are generally impractical in ‘real’ rooms and with most budgets.

For my system details, please see my profile. Thank you.

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My Rels sound great when they work.  The first one repeatedly failed, and eventually I managed to get them to honor their warranty. The warranty-replacement lasted several years before it set fire to itself.  Fortunately I was home when it started the auto-combustion process.  I should add that the sound was significantly degraded when it was emitting carcinogenic smoke into my living room.  For some silly reason I had another one in my garage, so I brought it in and unboxed it.  So far, so good, but it has only been a few months.  I got it for half price because it was white.  In retrospect, that was also a mistake.

 

I wanted a down-firing sub that could simultaneously use the LFE and speaker-level inputs because I share it between my stand-alone 2.0 stereo system and my 5.1 TV system. But I am not at all impressed with their quality control or customer service. I've never had such issues with any other audio component.

 

I started this thread a few years ago.  I learned a lot, especially from Jim Smith, who advocates stereo subs (advice that I believe to be sound and one day will follow).

 

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1 hour ago, wgscott said:

My Rels sound great when they work.  The first one repeatedly failed, and eventually I managed to get them to honor their warranty. The warranty-replacement lasted several years before it set fire to itself.  Fortunately I was home when it started the auto-combustion process.  I should add that the sound was significantly degraded when it was emitting carcinogenic smoke into my living room.  For some silly reason I had another one in my garage, so I brought it in and unboxed it.  So far, so good, but it has only been a few months.  I got it for half price because it was white.  In retrospect, that was also a mistake.

 

I wanted a down-firing sub that could simultaneously use the LFE and speaker-level inputs because I share it between my stand-alone 2.0 stereo system and my 5.1 TV system. But I am not at all impressed with their quality control or customer service. I've never had such issues with any other audio component.

 

I started this thread a few years ago.  I learned a lot, especially from Jim Smith, who advocates stereo subs (advice that I believe to be sound and one day will follow).

 

 I also had a REL failure (but not self combustion) after about five years. The one that replaced it has about one year on it. Fingers crossed! By comparison, my main speakers (Martin Logan SL3s) have been working flawlessly for 18 years. 

For my system details, please see my profile. Thank you.

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