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Thread: Bass Stacks

  1. #1

    Bass Stacks

    Hi guys
    First a teeny tiny bit of background. ...
    We all come to this hobby from different starting points and with different frames of reference. My first system arrived after a school holiday spent working in a large canteen to earn the money, and a cancelled holiday with some drinkin buddies who never made it to the level of 'friends'.
    So as a result of the best decision I ever made, over that summer of 86 I assembled an original Rega3, AT95e cartridge, Arcam alpha plus integrated amp and a pair of Mordaunt Short ms10 bookshelf speakers on Sound organisation wall brackets.
    And it was good...Pink Floyd, the Doors and Peter Gabriel blew the minds of any poor soul I dragged up for a listen. I got really into the blues from Robert Johnson and Elmore James to Muddy Waters and Ry Cooder. A really tight, musical sound that just drew you in and made you cancel all your plans for the rest of the day.
    Spool on a few years and life had certainly been interesting. ..maybe a little too interesting as that beloved first system was stolen from the Brixton squat I was living in. By now my taste had expanded into reggae and dub and early dance music like Depthcharge and I had been exposed to proper bass courtesy of reggae sound systems like Jah Shaka, Joey Jay and Channel One. I then got a job working in a hifi shop owned by Malcolm Blockley, the originator of NAD and designer of the classic 3020 amp.
    We sold, among others Musical Fidelity amps and TDL transmission line speakers which then formed the nucleus of my system for the next decade, source was a Systemdek tt.
    Then as I grew tired of the slow, out of phase but extended bass from the TDL's I finally upgraded to my first true high end system, a pair of Alon iv's driven by a Krell ksa100, Musical Fidelity f25 pre and a Cranfield Rock tt. Wow. This was something special, open baffle mid and tops with a sealed 12 inch bass box this system was a keeper, and it kept me happy for another ten years as I joined the Exodus sound system and threw free parties and festivals in the Luton area.
    So why have I tested your patience with this long winded preamble? Well some of our esteemed forum members are musicians, some engineers and others producers and all have their own frames of reference. For me it is a tight and musical mid range, well controlled treble throwing a big soundstage and most importantly, masses of subterranean bass like you get from a 25k rig in a warehouse or a reggae sound system.
    Fast forward to today ☺
    After a decade or more in the inner city I'm back where I belong...the middle of bloody nowhere. With no neighbours for a mile in each direction and nowt but my beasties for company. To ordinary folk that might sound a bit tedious but for blokes like us that sounds like a version of heaven, completely off the lead anytime of day

    So I moved in a city lad but within a year or two I realised I had made a big mistake with my room orientation. I had done the city thing and set my system up in front of a solid wall firing out. But this meant I had my back to a lovely view out of my windows so I turned things around and positioned myself looking out, with speakers in front of big windows firing inwards
    And you guys can no doubt predict what happened; a noticeable drop off in bass from my Stella Utopias. Positioning them became a huge challenge involving much maths and trial and error and eventually having to accept that to thunder like it had before my system would need some help

    When I bought my home my plan had been to build a pair of infinitely baffled subwoofers into the structure and so had designed the building to withstand their output.
    But with IB subs not being an off-the-shelf item and my self confidence as a diy-er non existent I had to consider what was available on the market. Focal had just released a Sub Utopia, but this had two drawbacks to my way of seeing things; they had the same 15 inch electromagnetic bass drivers as my Stellas, impressive in their tone and output but to my ears not plumbing the depths like I wanted, and requiring off board amplification which, considering the size of the type of class a behemoth needed to do each one justice, was going to demand an awful lot of floor space.
    So active it was....
    First contender was a Paradigm Sub2.
    Not bad, very powerful but didn't really do a good job of integrating with my main speakers. Also I could hear that it wasn't really able to pressurise the whole of my room.
    (8m x 7m with a concrete floor and french windows behind speakers)
    The supplier (Nick Wearmouth @ HomeSound Edinburgh ) had suggested on first seeing my room and system that a pair of Velodyne DD18 + would be more musical, especially since the Velodyne room EQ system was more sophisticated.
    So I traded the Sub2 in for a pair of DD18 +, and now we were really starting to get somewhere.
    When we analysed the room we found that the whole of the far end, the end where my speakers are positioned, is essentially a suck out or null.
    So we put the subs about halfway down the room and either side in pair of measured sweet spots.
    And now we are really shaking some trousers, you probably couldn't ask for more bass. And yet....when pointed directly at the listening position there was too much energy so we had them on either side of the room and rotated so firing in towards each other. So basically squeezing from the sides, a sensation I found a little odd; you could feel that the pressure wave was moving from a different source and in a different direction to the signal from the main speakers. The effect was subtle but noticeable.
    So then I thought...if the subs are too much in the sweet spot, why not move back to the null alongside my main speakers but use another pair of overcome the null?
    And what about using a different sized pair from the same manufacturer? Could I achieve something like a choir or orchestral effect, with the same note being 'sung' by a different but complementary voice? Since this was how the Exodus rig functioned I thought it was worth a try, as did Nick my installer.
    So he brought round a pair of DD15 + on sale or return and we built stereo bass stacks either side of my main speakers, each stack comprising a DD15 + sitting on a DD18 , daisy chained together and eq'd as a group. And sold, no return.
    Ok now I was happy, the bass was tight, musical, truly extended but also properly integrated with my mains. It does not sound like there are subs in the room, it sounds as though my Stellas have grown a pair. And tbh they were already endowed like my male Ridgeback

    So that's where we're up to now, but I would say there is still more to come. I like the idea of going three high either side to even out the response height- wise, and I could see another pair going in the previous sweet spots for a bit of added awesomeness, so Nick and I are in deep discussions about what sizes to go for. At first I was drawn towards a pair of DD12+ atop the bass stacks, but now I am leaning towards another pair of 18's as I feel the Stellas probably have 12's covered
    However it's remaining academic for the next few months as the weather has been fine, prompting me to switch my focus for the summer to finishing digging my amphitheatre and building outdoor enclosures for my outdoor speakers, while every now and then Nick drops by with different software versions to tweak the setup. He has just acquired and is learning his way around a Trinnov room eq system and from what he says, I strongly suspect that may be my next purchase.
    So to the residents of WBF forum I have to say thank you; I have learned an enormous amount from reading the experiences of guys on here with everything from Qsubs and Thor's-hammer to 'The Swarm', among which is the gem that multiple decent subs can often outperform one or two mega ones

    What I would like to know is....what do you guys think of Trinnov?

    (Ok once you've had a lie down after reading my missive)

    Luv gav ☺
    (Infinitely baffled )
    Last edited by infinitely baffled; 05-13-2017 at 08:01 AM.
    wavac prt1
    boulder 2060, 1008
    focal stella utopia em3
    four velodyne dd18+ in stereo bass stacks
    yba cd1 delta 3box
    artesania esoteric
    entreq atlantis interconnects
    entreq olympus tellus
    dedicated mains straps for all components

  2. #2
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    Fantastic story! So let me understand:
    - you have a DD15+ on top of a DD18+ for the left channel...and the same stack for the right channel
    - very similar but probably much more advanced than Velodyne's old 1812 Sub which was a 15" and 18" in one giant box (i have been told the DD18+ quality and output volume is better and greater than this dual-woofer beast)

    And now you are thinking that perhaps Gen 2 of your sub setup (set aside digital adjustments for a second), is perhaps 3-sub configuration for each channel. Each stack is now DD18+ on top of DD15+ on top of DD18+.

    What did you find happened (in more detail if you dont mind):

    1. When you went from Paradigm Sub 2 (whose output is apparently truly awesome) to DD18+s? Was it both output and clarity that increased?

    2. Did you listen to ONLY the DD18+s sitting next to each speaker? And if so, what happened when you then placed a DD15+ on top in that configuration (which is what you've got today)?

    Most curious!
    Speaker Wilson X-1/SLAMMS / Velodyne DD18+
    Source Zanden 4Box Digital
    Amp CJ GAT 2 / Gryphon Colosseum
    Cable SC/IC / PC TA Opus Gen5/MM2 / PAD25th/Sablon GCUber
    Isolation Sandwiches Under: HRS/Stillpoints/Auralex Top: HRS/Artesania/Entreq/EAT/90kg Mass
    Power/Ground/Shield 7 x 16A Furutech / Burmester948+NordostQX4 / Tripoint TroySig+Thor / Entreq Atlantis/Receivus/Everest/Wrap
    Room/Tube Stillpoints Apertures / Amperex Mullard
    Headphone Sennheiser HD650 / Arcam rHead/ApogeeGroove

  3. #3
    Addicted to Best! Rodney Gold's Avatar
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    Interesting story and background

    As you have read , the multisub arrangement actually smooths the whole room , but more than 4 is overkill.
    I did similar to what you have done , except I used 4 SVS SB13's

    I used a miniDSP 4x10 to integrate the subs .. bypassing their internal DSP

    I use no subs these days as my speakers are capable of insane bass and I found that simple parametrics in ROON and positioning of the speakers and listening chair gave me a better subjective result than the swarm. I


    I would try DIRAC or MiniDSP before trinnov , its about 1/10th the price...
    Roon/Tidal ..Squeezebox touch . DIRAC...Twin Devialet D Premier amps , Vivid Audio Giya G1 Spirits .. fully treated room

  4. #4
    Site Founder And Administrator Ron Resnick's Avatar
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    Thank you for reporting your interesting journey with subwoofers. When you had the Paradigm Sub2 did you use one or two of them? (I ask because it may not have been fair to compare one Sub2 against two DD18+s?).

    PS: Your report on the Sub2 is interesting because I thought the whole concept of the Sub2 was to use a large number of small and, therefore presumably fast, drivers.
    Mono and Stereo - Senior Contributing Reviewer

    turntable: American Sound AS-2000 (ordered) tonearm: SME 3012R (to come); cartridge: ZYX Universe Premium X-SB2 or Koetsu Coralstone (TBD)
    tape: Studer A820 Mk II
    phono stage: Aesthetix Io Eclipse with 2 power supplies; line stage: Aesthetix Callisto Eclipse with 2 power supplies; amplifier: VTL MB-750s
    speakers: Gryphon Pendragons
    cables: MasterBuilt Ultra or Cardas Clear Beyond (TBD); power: Benjamin Electric subpanel; Torus AVR60BAL; JPS in-wall wire; Furutech NCF outlets; room: 20' wide X 25' long X 15' tall; treatment: ASC Tube Traps and Tower Slims; tweaks: Shakti Stones, Shun Mooks (Kedar to place)

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Resnick View Post
    Thank you for reporting your interesting journey with subwoofers. When you had the Paradigm Sub2 did you use one or two of them? (I ask because it may not have been fair to compare one Sub2 against two DD18+s?).

    PS: Your report on the Sub2 is interesting because I thought the whole concept of the Sub2 was to use a large number of small and, therefore presumably fast, drivers.
    I guess the oft-made advice that 2 subs set up well can often be better than one mega sub was true in this case. And its also been said that 2 lesser subs can be better than 1 mega sub as well...in this case 2 x DD18+s cost about 10% more than 1 Paradigm Sub 2.
    Last edited by LL21; 05-14-2017 at 03:02 AM.
    Speaker Wilson X-1/SLAMMS / Velodyne DD18+
    Source Zanden 4Box Digital
    Amp CJ GAT 2 / Gryphon Colosseum
    Cable SC/IC / PC TA Opus Gen5/MM2 / PAD25th/Sablon GCUber
    Isolation Sandwiches Under: HRS/Stillpoints/Auralex Top: HRS/Artesania/Entreq/EAT/90kg Mass
    Power/Ground/Shield 7 x 16A Furutech / Burmester948+NordostQX4 / Tripoint TroySig+Thor / Entreq Atlantis/Receivus/Everest/Wrap
    Room/Tube Stillpoints Apertures / Amperex Mullard
    Headphone Sennheiser HD650 / Arcam rHead/ApogeeGroove

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by LL21 View Post
    Fantastic story! So let me understand:
    - you have a DD15+ on top of a DD18+ for the left channel...and the same stack for the right channel
    - very similar but probably much more advanced than Velodyne's old 1812 Sub which was a 15" and 18" in one giant box (i have been told the DD18+ quality and output volume is better and greater than this dual-woofer beast)

    And now you are thinking that perhaps Gen 2 of your sub setup (set aside digital adjustments for a second), is perhaps 3-sub configuration for each channel. Each stack is now DD18+ on top of DD15+ on top of DD18+.

    What did you find happened (in more detail if you dont mind):

    1. When you went from Paradigm Sub 2 (whose output is apparently truly awesome) to DD18+s? Was it both output and clarity that increased?

    2. Did you listen to ONLY the DD18+s sitting next to each speaker? And if so, what happened when you then placed a DD15+ on top in that configuration (which is what you've got today)?

    Most curious!
    Heya Lloyd, how you doing?

    Yes you've got it, beside each main speaker is a stack of two subs, a DD18 + with a DD15 + on top, making four subs in total.
    If I were to add another pair of 18's, I would stack 18 at the bottom, 18 in the middle and 15 on top, each side.

    Was the 1812 and 18 plus a 15 in one cabinet, or an 18 plus a 12?
    I thought it was the latter, which is partly why I thought a pair of 12's might complement the 18's. But the more I thought about it and listened to how the subs interact with the mains the more I liked what the Stellas do as far down as they go, and wanted to avoid treading on their toes with smaller subs. In other words the Stellas needed no help (at least to my ears) within their frequency range but did need some reinforcement below, in the sub bass region.

    To your questions:
    Going from a Sub2 to DD18+, there was no doubt more output from a single Sub2 than a single DD18. Two DD18 gave a much more even coverage throughout the room than the single Sub2, but more importantly the DD18 sounded a lot more musical and less heavy handed than the Sub2. I was initially leaning towards multiple Sub2 's but Nick felt that for music the Velodynes were the way to go. I was dubious but when he brought round the pair of 18's there was no looking back.
    Academically it would have been more useful to compare 2 x Sub2 with 2 x DD18, but I was prepared to take Nick's advice so went down the Velodyne road.
    BTW Nick supplied the Sub2 and the Velodynes, so in theory he stood to make more if I went with multiple sub2's; indeed he did a home cinema installation the same week in that configuration but was fairly adamant that for my needs the Velodynes were more musical. And when I heard the two 18's there was clearly sufficient heft and they just sounded tighter and more articulate to me.
    So you could say I haven't looked back...

    2 when we first installed the Sub2 we moved it all around the room while playing the test sweeps. We started on axis with the main speakers but in the centre, and the tone sounded like it began in the mid range and swept up into the treble- there was no bass element audible from that position. It was the same with any position down the far end of the room, including beside the main speakers. It wasn't until we moved it to the aforementioned sweet spot further down the room and to one side that you could hear the test tone actually began in the sub bass region
    So as a result we initially ruled out positioning a single sub either side of the main speakers as we were having to work them far too hard to get the desired output...so we put them in the 'squeezing from the sides' location. I would say that two in the sweet spots deffo rivals four in the nulls for total output and tone,but I find it a little disconnected from the music and sounding a bit like a powerful car stereo. Also we had to point the subs slightly away from the listening position as otherwise there was too much output from there.
    When we added the 15's it was basically in order to site the stacks where I wanted them, in the null alongside the main speakers and firing in the same direction, so by providing more subs we could work each one individually less hard
    wavac prt1
    boulder 2060, 1008
    focal stella utopia em3
    four velodyne dd18+ in stereo bass stacks
    yba cd1 delta 3box
    artesania esoteric
    entreq atlantis interconnects
    entreq olympus tellus
    dedicated mains straps for all components

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Rodney Gold View Post
    Interesting story and background

    As you have read , the multisub arrangement actually smooths the whole room , but more than 4 is overkill.
    I did similar to what you have done , except I used 4 SVS SB13's

    I used a miniDSP 4x10 to integrate the subs .. bypassing their internal DSP

    I use no subs these days as my speakers are capable of insane bass and I found that simple parametrics in ROON and positioning of the speakers and listening chair gave me a better subjective result than the swarm. I


    I would try DIRAC or MiniDSP before trinnov , its about 1/10th the price...
    Hiya Rodney

    Thanks for your comments....I couldn't remember who had 'the swarm' I guess it was you?

    Yes the initial eq'ing was done with the Velodyne software, then Nick came back and did it again with DIRAC for incremental improvements, the bass becoming tighter each time.
    He currently feels as you do, that more subs may be unecessary once we install Trinnov. I guess I'm in a good position in that everything Nick has suggested so far has worked spectacularly so I am happy to continue trying his recommendations ☺
    wavac prt1
    boulder 2060, 1008
    focal stella utopia em3
    four velodyne dd18+ in stereo bass stacks
    yba cd1 delta 3box
    artesania esoteric
    entreq atlantis interconnects
    entreq olympus tellus
    dedicated mains straps for all components

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Resnick View Post
    Thank you for reporting your interesting journey with subwoofers. When you had the Paradigm Sub2 did you use one or two of them? (I ask because it may not have been fair to compare one Sub2 against two DD18+s?).

    PS: Your report on the Sub2 is interesting because I thought the whole concept of the Sub2 was to use a large number of small and, therefore presumably fast, drivers.
    Hello Ron, how are you?

    Yes you are 100% correct, I only tried a single Sub2 so perhaps not a fair comparison. I can confirm that a single Sub2 had more output than a single DD18, but to my ears was more heavy handed and less articulate than the Velodyne.
    wavac prt1
    boulder 2060, 1008
    focal stella utopia em3
    four velodyne dd18+ in stereo bass stacks
    yba cd1 delta 3box
    artesania esoteric
    entreq atlantis interconnects
    entreq olympus tellus
    dedicated mains straps for all components

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by LL21 View Post
    I guess the oft-made advice that 2 subs set up well can often be better than one mega sub was true in this case. And its also been said that 2 lesser subs can be better than 1 mega sub as well...in this case 2 x DD18+s cost about 10% more than 1 Paradigm Sub 2.
    Agreed ☺

    I'm sure installers must get used to hearing some whacky ideas from clients and one of my questions is whether there's any case for using the Velodynes as a 'chorus' and then having one centrally located mega sub like a QSub18 or Krell MRS or Thor’s Hammer as a 'soloist'?
    Last edited by infinitely baffled; 05-14-2017 at 07:11 AM. Reason: turns out I had a bit more to say
    wavac prt1
    boulder 2060, 1008
    focal stella utopia em3
    four velodyne dd18+ in stereo bass stacks
    yba cd1 delta 3box
    artesania esoteric
    entreq atlantis interconnects
    entreq olympus tellus
    dedicated mains straps for all components

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by infinitely baffled View Post
    Heya Lloyd, how you doing?

    Yes you've got it, beside each main speaker is a stack of two subs, a DD18 + with a DD15 + on top, making four subs in total.
    If I were to add another pair of 18's, I would stack 18 at the bottom, 18 in the middle and 15 on top, each side.

    Was the 1812 and 18 plus a 15 in one cabinet, or an 18 plus a 12?
    I thought it was the latter, which is partly why I thought a pair of 12's might complement the 18's. But the more I thought about it and listened to how the subs interact with the mains the more I liked what the Stellas do as far down as they go, and wanted to avoid treading on their toes with smaller subs. In other words the Stellas needed no help (at least to my ears) within their frequency range but did need some reinforcement below, in the sub bass region.

    To your questions:
    Going from a Sub2 to DD18+, there was no doubt more output from a single Sub2 than a single DD18. Two DD18 gave a much more even coverage throughout the room than the single Sub2, but more importantly the DD18 sounded a lot more musical and less heavy handed than the Sub2. I was initially leaning towards multiple Sub2 's but Nick felt that for music the Velodynes were the way to go. I was dubious but when he brought round the pair of 18's there was no looking back.
    Academically it would have been more useful to compare 2 x Sub2 with 2 x DD18, but I was prepared to take Nick's advice so went down the Velodyne road.
    BTW Nick supplied the Sub2 and the Velodynes, so in theory he stood to make more if I went with multiple sub2's; indeed he did a home cinema installation the same week in that configuration but was fairly adamant that for my needs the Velodynes were more musical. And when I heard the two 18's there was clearly sufficient heft and they just sounded tighter and more articulate to me.
    So you could say I haven't looked back...

    2 when we first installed the Sub2 we moved it all around the room while playing the test sweeps. We started on axis with the main speakers but in the centre, and the tone sounded like it began in the mid range and swept up into the treble- there was no bass element audible from that position. It was the same with any position down the far end of the room, including beside the main speakers. It wasn't until we moved it to the aforementioned sweet spot further down the room and to one side that you could hear the test tone actually began in the sub bass region
    So as a result we initially ruled out positioning a single sub either side of the main speakers as we were having to work them far too hard to get the desired output...so we put them in the 'squeezing from the sides' location. I would say that two in the sweet spots deffo rivals four in the nulls for total output and tone,but I find it a little disconnected from the music and sounding a bit like a powerful car stereo. Also we had to point the subs slightly away from the listening position as otherwise there was too much output from there.
    When we added the 15's it was basically in order to site the stacks where I wanted them, in the null alongside the main speakers and firing in the same direction, so by providing more subs we could work each one individually less hard
    Thank you! Great stuff...and yes, you're absolutely right...i know remember [DUH!] the Velodyne 1812 was comprised of an 18" and a 12", not a 15". Man, i have 'barely' enough space to put a DD18+ next to my Wilsons firing alongside them...(instead of across the room from the wilsons in the corner facing the Wilsons). So i suppose i could put 2 DD18+s...one next to each Wilson firing alongside them.

    And i have already got audio, dedicated line outs in the floor for such a use. its all about money...and space. thanks for your input...certainly gives me something to think about.
    Speaker Wilson X-1/SLAMMS / Velodyne DD18+
    Source Zanden 4Box Digital
    Amp CJ GAT 2 / Gryphon Colosseum
    Cable SC/IC / PC TA Opus Gen5/MM2 / PAD25th/Sablon GCUber
    Isolation Sandwiches Under: HRS/Stillpoints/Auralex Top: HRS/Artesania/Entreq/EAT/90kg Mass
    Power/Ground/Shield 7 x 16A Furutech / Burmester948+NordostQX4 / Tripoint TroySig+Thor / Entreq Atlantis/Receivus/Everest/Wrap
    Room/Tube Stillpoints Apertures / Amperex Mullard
    Headphone Sennheiser HD650 / Arcam rHead/ApogeeGroove

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