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Thread: What's the best subwoofer? REL? JL AUDIO? Velodyne? Wilson? Something else?

  1. #1

    What's the best subwoofer? REL? JL AUDIO? Velodyne? Wilson? Something else?

    Has anyone actually auditioned various subs in their system and can meaningfully describe the sonic signature of say, REL vs JL vs Velodyne vs. anything else?

  2. #2
    Addicted to Best!
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    Great question...look forwrd to reading more about this.

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    [WBF Founding Member] audioguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caesar View Post
    Has anyone actually auditioned various subs in their system and can meaningfully describe the sonic signature of say, REL vs JL vs Velodyne vs. anything else?
    I had dual Velodyne DD-18's for a while. OK but not great and massively over-priced when compared to some of the ID Subwoofer companies. Virtually no output below 20hz and in my room with my current subs, I am 5 db down at 5Hz. I tried all of the larger SVS subs and with the exception of one, easily as good as the Velodynes at 1/2 the price (or way less). The Veldoyne SMS (EQ) is a great feature of the Velodyne subs but if you need it, it can be purchased separately.

    I've also compared the REL subs to the the Seaton SubMersive and for music the REL is OK but it is no better than the SubMersive for music and not even in the same league for movies.

    If you insist on buying a non Internet Direct product, JL is probably a great way to go. If you are open to an ID sub, there are a lot of options. If you have interest, there have been a number of sub "shootouts" that have been posted on AVS (I think mostly ID subs but I could be mistaken) and that should help as all of the subs were tested in the same room and all of the partiipants voted on them (at least one of the "shootouts" was done blind).

    After having owned and listened to virtually all of the better known subs (both ID and Brick and Mortar), I selected the Seaton SubMersives (atually 4 of them placed around the room).

    Just like every other audio product, YMMV
    "I’ve read the last page of the Bible, it’s all going to turn out all right." Billy Graham

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    Member Sponsor Addicted to Best! flez007's Avatar
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    I have never heard the Torus, but respect the opinion of many that have recommended it.i had a DD18 with great results to complement a pair of SF GHs.
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    Member Sponsor [WBF Founding Member] FrantzM's Avatar
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    Hi

    A subject of interest for me Subwoofers. I am one of those who believe that subwoofers are essential in music reproduction and this, regardless of the bass capabilities of the mains.
    This said there is of hype and misinformation about subwoofer. I hasten to say that all subwoofers are not good. There are bad subwoofers but ... subwoofers do not have to cost an arm and a leg to be good , nor do audiophiles branded or approved subwoofers are automatically superior. In my experience several of the subwoofers in favor with audiophile would not hold a candle to many unheralded ones.
    Some subwoofers brands are rarely discussed by we, audiophiles, yet they deserve our attention because they are superior products:

    Seaton Submersive
    SVS (several on their line-up) but in particular the SB13 Ultra.
    Rythmik, their sealed non Passive Radiator models, IN particular the one with 15 inch High Output. F15 HP?
    Paradigm Sub1 and Sub 2

    These subwoofers are almost never mentioned in audiophile discussions. I would venture that these subwofers surpass in output, linearity and low distortion, performance and SQ, most of the more celebrated subwoofers out there ... I will put safely put these against any subwoofer you want to think of and they would likely match and in many cases surpass them. The Paradigm Sub 2 stands its own against any sub you want to compare it to...

    At least JL Audio fame is justified, yes they are good, They are excellent .. The entire line.

    As for Velodyne, let's put it this way:"For the Price" one can do better, much better. What Audioguy says .. They don't reach that low at high output and distort like hell at high output ... That doesn't mean that in some particular situations with the right room and set-up they cannot sound good, in some cases they do but to repeat .. "For the money" there are far beter subs, see the list above ...
    The ultimate in subwoofing from my experience is DIY. In particular Infinite Baffle subwoofer. No commercial subwoofer can even close to a well executed Infinite baffle and they are not that expensive .. $5000 of IB will surpass anything commercial.. Let me repeat: anything commercial. Yet there seems to be just ONE person on this list with an IB ... I would have gone that route in a hurry ... but condo living is not IB friendly so ...

    Last but least it is very difficult to assess the sound of a sub in a system, Set-up makes all the difference and some subs controls are too coarse (or absent) to allow optimum set-up for a given room and mains... People expect subwoofer integration to be plug and play. That's rarely the case, I should say "never"; It is not easy to blend subs with mains, any mains .. It takes a while, requires MEASUREMENTS. emphasis on the plural, patience, research, a good level of understanding of the issues of bass reproduction in small rooms (most rooms in most houses is from an Acoustic standpoint a small, that includes ALL the room here on WBF), tinkering ...more measurements and in spite of all this, in most case requires some sort of EQ, which the SMS does provide I believe there are better (albeit more expensive or difficult solutions)
    Frantz
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    Addicted to Best! DaveyF's Avatar
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    I happen to think that a subwoofer is fairly crucial IF you happen to use smaller speakers, whether they be stand mount or floor standing. However, I also think that the size of the sub is also crucial, and needs to be appropriate for the size of your room. I am VERY pleased with the smaller REL, it's a great music sub and appropriate size wise for my room size. One of my pet peeves, is to listen to a system that utilizes large subs in a too small room. Result: boomy and overpowering bass; which drives me from the room quickly.
    IMHO, IF you can hear the subwoofer in the system, then something is wrong. BTW, the REL offers one main advantage that the others under discussion do not... that is their hook-up system. Direct to the amp outputs via a speakon cable, resulting in an exact signal to the sub that the amp to main speaker sees. I am unaware of any other make that employs this system and IMO, it's what gives the REL's a leg up.

  7. #7
    I have no interest in freight trains, car crashes or the reproduction of earthquakes, only music. With that said, for music, I'd concur that the Velodynes are good but expensive and the RELs are pretty fabulous. Most impressive to my ears is the ease with which they integrate with mains to make a standup bass sound like a standup bass and a kick drum kick hard, then stop when it's supposed to stop. And this goes all the way down to the humblest, least expensive RELs. What you lose going down their range is extension and SPLs. If you're just looking for music reproduction in a moderate-sized room, don't be afraid to look at the more affordable RELs, they might do everything you need done. A couple of them can be even better, and still come in for less than many high-end subs.

    Tim
    In high-end audio, you can't even fight an opinion with the facts.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by DaveyF View Post
    I happen to think that a subwoofer is fairly crucial IF you happen to use smaller speakers, whether they be stand mount or floor standing. However, I also think that the size of the sub is also crucial, and needs to be appropriate for the size of your room. I am VERY pleased with the smaller REL, it's a great music sub and appropriate size wise for my room size. One of my pet peeves, is to listen to a system that utilizes large subs in a too small room. Result: boomy and overpowering bass; which drives me from the room quickly.
    IMHO, IF you can hear the subwoofer in the system, then something is wrong. BTW, the REL offers one main advantage that the others under discussion do not... that is their hook-up system. Direct to the amp outputs via a speakon cable, resulting in an exact signal to the sub that the amp to main speaker sees. I am unaware of any other make that employs this system and IMO, it's what gives the REL's a leg up.
    Which RELs do you have, Davey?

    Tim
    In high-end audio, you can't even fight an opinion with the facts.

  9. #9
    Addicted to Best! audioarcher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveyF View Post
    I happen to think that a subwoofer is fairly crucial IF you happen to use smaller speakers, whether they be stand mount or floor standing. However, I also think that the size of the sub is also crucial, and needs to be appropriate for the size of your room. I am VERY pleased with the smaller REL, it's a great music sub and appropriate size wise for my room size. One of my pet peeves, is to listen to a system that utilizes large subs in a too small room. Result: boomy and overpowering bass; which drives me from the room quickly.
    IMHO, IF you can hear the subwoofer in the system, then something is wrong. BTW, the REL offers one main advantage that the others under discussion do not... that is their hook-up system. Direct to the amp outputs via a speakon cable, resulting in an exact signal to the sub that the amp to main speaker sees. I am unaware of any other make that employs this system and IMO, it's what gives the REL's a leg up.
    One reason that larger or multiple subs could be more boomy and overpowering is because their level is set too high. It's most likely a matter of setup. Another reason could be that they are of inferior quality to the sub you are using. Larger and or multiple subs of the same quality will have more headroom and therefore will play more cleanly. Multiple subs also have the advantage of smoothing out the frequency response.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by audioarcher View Post
    One reason that larger or multiple subs could be more boomy and overpowering is because their level is set too high. It's most likely a matter of setup. Another reason could be that they are of inferior quality to the sub you are using. Larger and or multiple subs of the same quality will have more headroom and therefore will play more cleanly. Multiple subs also have the advantage of smoothing out the frequency response.
    While I'm sure all of that is true, sometimes I think they just plain put out too much, too deep. I know to the HT guys that's like saying "too much sex," but if you want good, musical, controlled bass performance and your subs are putting out high volume waves that can't even complete before they hit a wall, isn't that going to be a problem?

    Tim
    In high-end audio, you can't even fight an opinion with the facts.

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