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

caesar

Well-Known Member
May 31, 2010
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#61
Gentlemen,

Are you saying REL is drek? So what is it about the JL or the Seatons that make them better than the RELs?

I have heard a couple of REL Gibraltars in a system that not only improved the transparency, bass, and added spatial information, but also - to my surprise - increased the dynamics of the entire system. If a pair of JL Audio or Seatons were in the system, what would they have done better/ different?
 

sujay

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May 5, 2012
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#62
I am using a pair of REL G1's to complement my TAD CR1's (music only). The blend is as seamless as I have ever heard and the system is flat down to 15Hz (due partly to room gain). I am a big fan of 'high-level' sub inputs where the sub is connected to the power amp speaker terminals and so inherets more of the system sonic signature.

Not much familiar with the other options but I am a very happy REL user.
Hi,

I finally committed on a pair of REL G1 to supplement my Rockport Avior and am looking to connect them to my 911 monos through the 'high level' sub input. Did you face problems connecting them. I am told there could be complications with fully balanced amps in mono config, especially, when using a pair of G1?

Any help with personal experience would be welcome. I did call the guys at burmester who said they aren't, particularly, fans of connecting the subs directly to the power amps. But the guys at REL seemed pretty cool abt it - "join red and yellow wires and connect hem to the positive terminal and if this works, its fine! if not, joint the black to the negative speaker out". I am not a technical guy and I certainly don't want to bust my amps.

Thanks for some guidance on this.

Cheers.

Sujay
 
May 30, 2010
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#63
Hi,

I finally committed on a pair of REL G1 to supplement my Rockport Avior and am looking to connect them to my 911 monos through the 'high level' sub input. Did you face problems connecting them. I am told there could be complications with fully balanced amps in mono config, especially, when using a pair of G1?

Any help with personal experience would be welcome. I did call the guys at burmester who said they aren't, particularly, fans of connecting the subs directly to the power amps. But the guys at REL seemed pretty cool abt it - "join red and yellow wires and connect hem to the positive terminal and if this works, its fine! if not, joint the black to the negative speaker out". I am not a technical guy and I certainly don't want to bust my amps.

Thanks for some guidance on this.

Cheers.

Sujay
From the REL G1 manual:

High-level connection, using the enclosed cable with the Neutrik Speakon connector, is always the first
choice. This connection can be made without affecting the performance of the amplifier because the REL’s
amplifier input impedance is 150,000 ohms, in effect not producing any additional demand whatsoever on the
rest of your system. This scheme also avoids adding any detrimental effects by not interposing any additional
electronics into the amplification chain.
• The standard high-level hook up procedure is: attach the red wire to the amplifier’s right positive speaker
output terminal; attach the yellow wire to the amplifier’s left positive speaker output terminal; attach the
black wire to whichever of the amplifier’s ground output terminals is convenient; plug the Speakon connector
into the Sub-Bass System’s high-level input.
For differential (i.e. fully balanced) amplifiers using one REL, simply use the standard connecting scheme
with the exception of connecting the black wire to chassis ground (i.e. a metal bolt or screw, preferably not
painted or anodized, on the chassis of the power amp or receiver), not to a negative speaker terminal, and
then connecting into the HIGH LEVEL INPUT on the REL. Please contact your dealer should there be any
questions concerning this or any other hookup procedure



I have successfully used this mode with REL subs and the Audio Research tube amplifiers, that have balanced output - the ground is the 4 ohm tap!
 

sujay

Member Sponsor
May 5, 2012
452
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#64
From the REL G1 manual:

High-level connection, using the enclosed cable with the Neutrik Speakon connector, is always the first
choice. This connection can be made without affecting the performance of the amplifier because the REL’s
amplifier input impedance is 150,000 ohms, in effect not producing any additional demand whatsoever on the
rest of your system. This scheme also avoids adding any detrimental effects by not interposing any additional
electronics into the amplification chain.
• The standard high-level hook up procedure is: attach the red wire to the amplifier’s right positive speaker
output terminal; attach the yellow wire to the amplifier’s left positive speaker output terminal; attach the
black wire to whichever of the amplifier’s ground output terminals is convenient; plug the Speakon connector
into the Sub-Bass System’s high-level input.
For differential (i.e. fully balanced) amplifiers using one REL, simply use the standard connecting scheme
with the exception of connecting the black wire to chassis ground (i.e. a metal bolt or screw, preferably not
painted or anodized, on the chassis of the power amp or receiver), not to a negative speaker terminal, and
then connecting into the HIGH LEVEL INPUT on the REL. Please contact your dealer should there be any
questions concerning this or any other hookup procedure



I have successfully used this mode with REL subs and the Audio Research tube amplifiers, that have balanced output - the ground is the 4 ohm tap!
Thanks! Let me try this out. Will keep you updated

Brgds

Sujay
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
11,507
481
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#65
Hi,

I finally committed on a pair of REL G1 to supplement my Rockport Avior and am looking to connect them to my 911 monos through the 'high level' sub input...
Thanks for some guidance on this.

Cheers.

Sujay
Congrats...very exciting. Big fan of Rockport (like many others here), and also a big fan of subs when well setup. Good luck and look forward to reading about it when the setup is done.
 

sujay

Member Sponsor
May 5, 2012
452
141
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Singapore
#66
Congrats...very exciting. Big fan of Rockport (like many others here), and also a big fan of subs when well setup. Good luck and look forward to reading about it when the setup is done.
Thanks LL21, will do. They shud arrive in a week or so and then (hopefully not painful) set up time!

Cheers

Sujay
 

JonFo

Well-Known Member
Jun 11, 2010
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www.jonathanfoulkes.com
#67
Ah, how did I miss this thread back in 2012, I was even mentioned due to being one of the few with an Infinite Baffle sub. And I have to say, many year on, my IB is the lowest distortion, deepest reaching and highest output sub I've ever experienced. So if any of you have the option, please consider doing an IB.

For commercial subs, here's what I believe is currently 'Best':

The Paradigm Sub2 on a 240v source is a true beast.

Smaller and cheaper, the MartinLogan BalancedForce 212

Both of the above have the included "Perfect Bass Kit" for in-room corrected phase and EQ.

Any JL audio sub is a good choice as well.

If you are building a dedicated HT room and can't do an IB or two, I'd seriously consider a multiple (4)sub JBL Synthesis setup with the proprietary SFM process for uber-smooth in-room bass.

But more than any one 'best' sub, my take is that if you are after the 'best in-room high-quality bass' then you are better off with two or ideally four subs and integrate them with a speaker processor / room corrector. I promise you I can beat the in-room performance of a single $10K Sub2, with four other subs totalling the same $10K and managed by a Trinnov processor.
 

FrantzM

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
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#68
Ah, how did I miss this thread back in 2012, I was even mentioned due to being one of the few with an Infinite Baffle sub. And I have to say, many year on, my IB is the lowest distortion, deepest reaching and highest output sub I've ever experienced. So if any of you have the option, please consider doing an IB.

For commercial subs, here's what I believe is currently 'Best':

The Paradigm Sub2 on a 240v source is a true beast.

Smaller and cheaper, the MartinLogan BalancedForce 212

Both of the above have the included "Perfect Bass Kit" for in-room corrected phase and EQ.

Any JL audio sub is a good choice as well.

If you are building a dedicated HT room and can't do an IB or two, I'd seriously consider a multiple (4)sub JBL Synthesis setup with the proprietary SFM process for uber-smooth in-room bass.

But more than any one 'best' sub, my take is that if you are after the 'best in-room high-quality bass' then you are better off with two or ideally four subs and integrate them with a speaker processor / room corrector. I promise you I can beat the in-room performance of a single $10K Sub2, with four other subs totalling the same $10K and managed by a Trinnov processor.
Agree with you.

Building a new house and there is that spot for the IB in the listening room (Architect considers this a waste of space..but who is listenign? :)). There will be at least two more box subs ... Will use Acourate most likely...
 

caesar

Well-Known Member
May 31, 2010
3,493
234
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#69
Gentlemen, does anyone know how much the pretty furniture/ subwoofer cabinet of REL and other audio brands add to the price of the sub?
 

Blazar

New Member
Oct 28, 2014
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#70
just in case nobody has said it:

over 95% of the time, your best subwoofers will be DIY. Mass market subs including JL audio rarely come close.

4x12" drivers or 3x15" dayton audio ultimax's in a sealed or ported enclosure powered by around 2000-2500 watts ...

I have owned a pair of JL audio Fathom 212 and they were ok... (worth around $7k off audiogon).

But then I built four enclosures, each with two Dayton 15" Ultimax drivers, powered by Lab Gruppen's PLM 10000Q. This provides 10000 watts (divided into 4 channels). This was both a cheaper option and VASTLY more capable. This setup in my 7500cuft room will put some goosebumps on you. The LG I got on Ebay for around $3500 and the speakers were built for about $2k worth of drivers and supplies.

I have finally reached subwoofer nirvana. Subs that produce reference level SPL, clean, powerful, with impressive in-room linearity, and extension cleanly measured down to 15hz. This is in a 7500 cubic foot room which is bigger than average.

They do require some serious space due to their sheer size (I have 2 foot of space inside my walls so I was able to mount this within the wall).
 

egidius

Member Sponsor
Feb 13, 2011
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#71
Stella Novus
worth checking out, only to be found second hand . A pair of them brings you far. I have one and consider myself very lucky!! They were made in Switzerland by Acustik lab (sic!), found a lot of followers in Japan and Germany, then the producer changed interests (probably not economically viable. At the time they were around 7K$, nowadays add a zero just for fun ;-) )
 

Duke LeJeune

[Industry Expert]/Member Sponsor
Jul 22, 2013
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#72
Let's look at what matters most in subwoofing, what stands in the way, and what we can do about it. That might help in a quest for the "best subwoofer". After all, there is little point in solving problems that only matter a little bit, while leaving the biggest ones untouched.

What matters most is the in-room frequency response. The ears are pretty good at hearing frequency response down low, while in contrast, the ear's time-domain resolution is quite poor, evidenced by the fact that we cannot even detect the presence of bass energy from less than one wavelength, nor determine pitch from less than several wavelengths. But we can hear large, widely-spaced peaks and dips in the frequency response in the bass region quite readily, and the peaks sound especially bad - "boomy" and "muddy" and "sluggish" and "slow". So even what sounds like a time domain issue is really happening in the frequency domain. (Actually, it's happening in both... in-room peaks tend to correspond to slow decay times, but in general when we fix the frequency response, we also fix the decay time.)

By far the primary cause of peaks and dips in the in-room frequency response is the room itself. Compared with the native response anomalies of a decent subwoofer, room-induced peaks and dips are at least an order of magnitude worse. We can move the subwoofer (or listener) around in the room and change the peak-and-dip pattern, but we cannot make it go away. Our best hope would be to find the least-bad compromise location.

There are three things we can do to smooth the in-room bass response. The first is, to add low-frequency damping. This is not trivial; doing so effectively involves constrained-layer damping or other energy-dissipating wall construction and/or aggressive use of Helmholtz absorbers and/or quite large bass traps. Small foam or membrane absorbers are unlikely to be effective enough, and foam is particularly problematic because it will be much more effective at short wavelengths than long ones, tending to result in a "dead" room.

The second thing we can do is equalize. But we have to be careful - because the in-room frequency response will vary so much from one location to another within the room, fixing the response in one location will inevitably make it worse elsewhere. Still we can usually make a worthwhile improvement by judicious application of EQ.

The third thing we can do is, use multiple subwoofers distributed around the room, each of which will generate a different peak-and-dip pattern, and the sum of these multiple dissimilar peak-and-dip patterns will be significantly smoother than any one alone. And this improved smoothness will hold true throughout the room, rather than being confined to a small sweet spot.

So we can achieve what matters most (smooth in-room bass) by solving the biggest problem (room-induced peaks and dips) through using multiple dissimilar peak-and-dip patterns against one another. Quite elegant, and conceived by minds much sharper than my own (Earl Geddes and Todd Welti, independent of one another).

One of the benefits is, as the in-room response becomes smoother, we are effectively taking our room's signature out of the signal path, and so we can hear more of the room or hall or electronic soundscape on the recording. And because smooth bass = fast bass, impact and clarity and pitch definition are audibly improved, and we have taken a significant step closer to approximating the live event.

How many subs? Well the in-room response smoothness increases approximately in proportion to the number of independent low-frequency sources distributed around the room. So in theory two subs will be twice as smooth as one, four subs will be twice as smooth as two, and eight subs will be twice as smooth as four. In practice the actual acoustic benefits are a bit less than that because the subs start getting too close to one another to be effectively independent, BUT there is also a psychoacoustic mechanism that comes into play and works in our favor (more about this if anyone is interested).

Distributed multisubs + EQ is even better, because now the EQ is more likely to make a room-wide improvement, rather than making it better in one location at the expense of making it worse elsewhere. And distributed multisubs + EQ + low-frequency damping is better still.

Unfortunately a distributed multisub system doesn't have the nearly the macho appeal of taking the brute force approach to subwoofing and using the single biggest baddest longest-excursion highest-BL mostest bestest loudest fastest deepest ubersub your floor can hold without cracking. in contrast, multisubbing might be called the path of the geek.

So my nomination for best subwoofer is, take the same amount of money you were going to spend on that magnificent ubersub, and spend it on four small subs, or maybe four small subs + DSP, or maybe four small subs + DSP + low-frequency damping.

Imo, ime, ymmv, etc.
 
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LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
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#73
Great post once again Duke! Clear, thorough and understandable for non-techies like me. I always learn from your posts. Thank you.
 

Duke LeJeune

[Industry Expert]/Member Sponsor
Jul 22, 2013
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#74
Great post once again Duke! Clear, thorough and understandable for non-techies like me. I always learn from your posts. Thank you.
Thank you very much. I'm never quite sure whether my long-winded posts are going to make sense to anyone besides me.

Feel free to question any of this, or anything related... there's more wind where that came from!
 

Blazar

New Member
Oct 28, 2014
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#75
Duke's post is absolutely right. But lets assume you have decided on 4 subs... Then which 4 subs?

Unfortunately 4 tiny subs won't sum to equal one big sub. Even your 4 subs will all benefit from having the best characteristics possible. Large drivers with high excursion will typically be best.

Jl audio (i owned a pair of F212) are decent and compact but they would be blown away by seaton submersives or something along those lines. JL are pricey due to finish and being compact (small drivers but long excursion). JL's work if you really need the least floor surface area possible to be used.

The BEST subs will always be those you build yourself however.

I built 4 sealed boxes using two Dayton audio 15" drivers each. These were the biggest drivers I could fit unfortunately due to size constraints for in-wall placement. I did very tall in-wall boxes (my wall cavities were built to be about 2 feet deep specifically for speakers). These are currently being powered by a Lab Gruppen PLM 10000Q amp. It has built in PEQ, crossover capability, and runs around 2500 watts per channel into 2ohms (which is how I have my boxes wired - 2ohms/box).

The bass from this setup is straight up crazy. It solved my anemic bass and poor in-room curves. I actually have to EQ down some big peaks caused by room boudary effects but otherwise now my bass sounds phenomenal. No more "one note bass".

I crossover this setup at 150hz due to my specific speakers (avantgarde trio omegas). The speakers are entirely non-localizable and the guests aren't distracted by visible subwoofers. Being able to see subwoofer boxes is a visual distraction for me, similar to a visible center channel speaker.

If I could do it all over again and build another room, I would do this:

3x18" drivers of LMS drivers per box. 4 boxes minimum. Couple those with Lab's FP7000 series 2 channel amps. What I like about a really TALL subwoofer box is that it places drivers along the entire height of your wall which increases the odds that you are filling in room nulls. I would cover any exposed surface of the box itself with acoustic materials (figure out how to let part of the box surface function as bass trap surface area.

This is WAY more cost effective while being better than anything offered to consumers. You may be able to beat this setup with "pro" subwoofers but those aren't ofteb built for going to 20hz and below.

Subs are the easist to build with simple wiring and woodwork. You can even buy flatpacks of boxes from dayton which you simply glue together.
 

Duke LeJeune

[Industry Expert]/Member Sponsor
Jul 22, 2013
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#77
Unfortunately 4 tiny subs won't sum to equal one big sub. Even your 4 subs will all benefit from having the best characteristics possible. Large drivers with high excursion will typically be best...
I would like to pursue something you said, which is quite solid, but maybe looking at it from a somewhat different angle.

What if one of those "best characteristics possible" that as sub might have was, significantly smoother in-room bass than any of its competitors? That might well be the sub we'd choose, even if we had to trade off a little bit of headroom and/or bandwidth to get there. It depends on our priorities.

If our priority is loudest deepest bass, then yes one big sub will almost always outperform its dollar equivalent in four smaller subs.

If our priority is natural-sounding bass, then four small subs of good quality, intelligently positioned, will start out with a major advantage over a same-price ubersub, particularly if extending that natural-sounding bass over a wide listening area is desired.

It is indeed counter-intuitive that four lesser subs would sound better than one awesome ubersub, but let me walk through a simple thought experiment that illustrates the benefit of multiple subs, which will be something that a single sub physically cannot emulate no matter how fantastic its excursion capabilities (there will be some simplifying assumptions made, but the principles illustrated will be valid):

Suppose we have a single subwoofer whose in-room response is dominated by a 6 dB peak and a 6 dB dip at our listening position (this is actually an optimistic assumption). Now let's move that subwoofer to a very different second location (we could move our listening position and get the same effect, but for now, let's don't). The frequency response will change; the big peak and dip, assuming there is still only one of each, will have moved to different frequencies. This change in a subwoofer's frequency response when its position in the room is significantly changed is the first key to why a distributed multisub system works.

Now rather than moving our sub, suppose we left it where it was, and instead added a second sub in that second location. Again to keep things simple, let's assume a single 6 dB peak and a single 6 dB dip from each sub, but now (because of their different locations) those peaks and dips are at different frequencies. The sum of their combined outputs at our listening position will be smoother than either one alone, because where the one sub had its 6 dB peak, that peak is not being fully reinforced by the other sub. And likewise where there was a dip, that dip is being partially filled in by the other sub. The ONLY WAY the net response could be as bad as just one sub alone, would be if their in-room frequency responses were identical, and that's not the case. This net smoothing of the summed in-room response is the second key.

So instead of one big peak and one big dip, we have two smaller peaks and two smaller dips. Add two more subs, and we could theoretically have as many as four smaller-still peaks and four smaller-still dips. Now here comes the really cool part, from psychoacoustics: This sort of pattern sounds better than it looks! You see, the ear/brain system will average out peaks and dips that are fairly close to one another. The exact width (in octaves) of these "critical bands" seems to change a bit from one study to the next, but the studies all indicate that a bunch of closely-spaced peaks and dips are perceived as an average, unlike the single big peak and dip that we started with two paragraphs ago, which would perceptually stick out like sore thumbs. So this is the third key: This more dense peak-and-dip pattern that we get with a distributed multisub system allows the ear/brain's averaging mechanism to come into play, such that the perceived response will be smoother than casually eyeballing the curve would predict.

This greater peak-and-dip pattern density is an approximation of what happens at low frequencies in very large rooms, and (somewhat less so) of what happens at shorter wavelengths in our small rooms, where the greater modal density effectively presents a continuum, or close to it.

I've had customers tell me that they are getting +/- 3 dB across the bass region without EQ (the amp I supply has a single band of paremetric EQ so that, if there is still a significant problem, it can be addressed).

I (parenthetically) mentioned that changing our listening position would change the peak-and-dip pattern from our single sub, and likewise it changes for each of our multiple subs, but the net effect is a strong trend towards smoother response everywhere in the room. So that +/- 3 dB I've had people report holds up over a large listening area (it's "global"), not just in the "sweet spot" (which would only be "local"). This reduced spatial variance invites further optimization via EQ, because we would not be trading off improved response in one location against degraded response elsewhere.

Note that "smooth bass" = "fast bass" because it is peaks that stick out like a sore thumb and sound slow. And since room-induced bass peaks correspond with slow decay time, as we smooth out those peaks, we are improving the decay time.

So to sum up, a distributed multisub system actually works with the room's acoustics to give a response curve characterized by a significantly more dense pattern of smaller peaks and dips, which in turn allows the ear/brain system's averaging mechanism to perceptually smooth the response even further, and this improvement is global rather than local.

No single ubersub has these characteristics inherently. Smoothness can be EQ'd in, but it would be local rather than global. One reviewer went on record with this:

"It will no doubt be somewhat disconcerting to the makers of large monolithic subwoofers to report the truth here: The [four-piece distributed multisub system], in fact, worked better than one or two subwoofers, even when those were DSP-adjusted." (Robert E. Greene, April 2015 TAS, page 88)

Excellent post Duke.
zz.
Thank you sir!!
 
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bonzo75

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Feb 26, 2014
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#78
Hi Duke, since you have lived with Soundlabs, which subs work best for planars, if any? JLs, SVS...? Or would you recommend dipole woofers like Gradient or BG Radia?
 
Jul 25, 2012
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#79
. . . .If our priority is natural-sounding bass, then four small subs of good quality, intelligently positioned, will start out with a major advantage over a same-price ubersub, particularly if extending that natural-sounding bass over a wide listening area is desired.

It is indeed counter-intuitive that four lesser subs would sound better than one awesome ubersub, but let me walk through a simple thought experiment that illustrates the benefit of multiple subs, which will be something that a single sub physically cannot emulate no matter how fantastic its excursion capabilities . . . .
This is definitely true.
 

Duke LeJeune

[Industry Expert]/Member Sponsor
Jul 22, 2013
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#80
Hi Duke, since you have lived with Soundlabs, which subs work best for planars, if any? JLs, SVS...? Or would you recommend dipole woofers like Gradient or BG Radia?
Excellent question!

First, by way of background, dipole speakers really do have demonstrably smoother in-room bass! A researcher by the name of James M. Kates published a paper on the subject a number of years ago, and the room-interaction superiority of a dipole vs a monopole was evident.

Likewise, distributed multiple subs really do have smoother in-room bass! So you can probably guess where I'm headed.

We can see some anecdotal evidence of this in the internet posts made by people with Maggies. Many Maggie owners have tried subwoofers. If you peruse the experiences they've posted, if they only tried one sub, they often were initially impressed but eventually went back to just the Maggies all by themselves because the discontinuity was distracting. But if the Maggie owner tried two subs, most of the time he kept them in his system. I think this is because there was less discrepancy between the in-room response in the region covered by the Maggies, and the region covered by the subs. I believe that four good subwoofers, intelligently distributed, will approximate the in-room bass smoothness of two dipoles, and that is why my multisub system has four subs.

You see, before SoundLabs, I had Quad 63's with Gradient subs. Very nice pairing, except that they were lacking in impact. Being a long-time hardcore amateur speaker builder, I set out on a quest to build subs that were "fast enough" to keep up with the Quads, but would have the impact that the dipole Gradients lacked. This was years before I'd ever heard of multisubs. I tried sealed, extended bass shelf vented, aperiodic, isobaric, transmission line, high-displacement equalized dipoles, and maybe others that I can't think of right now. I finally gave up.

Then one day, I think it was at CES 2006, I was taking Earl Geddes to the airport in Las Vegas. We were stopped at a stoplight. Out of the blue he said to me something like this: "Duke, I've figured out how to get good bass in small rooms. Use a bunch of small subs scattered around the room. Each will have a different response, but the sum will be smooth." That was it! That was the answer! I replied, "That's brilliant! Can I license that idea from you?" He said, "You can just use it." And then the light changed. It was that fast, and I had a completely new paradigm.

Going back to your question, I think that the improvements from going to a multisub system significantly outweigh the differences between JL vs SVS vs REL vs Seaton Sound vs whatever. I had arguably covered a pretty wide range of subwoofer characteristics in my aforementioned DIY quest, and going multisub was by far better than any of them.

Once I had embraced the multisub paradigm, the question of what specifically those subs should be naturally arose - which is right back to the question you asked. I had a lot of tricks up my sleeve, but by now I was a manufacturer, so this had to be commercially viable, which in world means that cost-effectiveness is critical. I was sold on the idea of not looking at subs independent of their room, but rather of seeing subs + room as an inseparable system, so I wanted to take the room into account from the beginning. In the course of my investigations, I came across the idea that typical room gain is roughly 3 dB per octave across the bass region, this from several sources. So my target response became the inverse of room gain, which would be a gentle 3 dB per octave rolloff across the bass region. The most cost-effective way to achieve this was with a vented box, using a woofer with a particular range of parameters in the right sized box with the right tuning frequency. The same thing can be accomplished with an equalized sealed box, but it's not as cost-effective.

Now intuitively we all know that sealed boxes are "faster" than vented boxes, and this is demonstrably true, but the implications of the ear's poor time domain resolution at low frequencies brings into question whether or not we are actually hearing this "speed" difference (which arises from the vented box's worse group delay characteristics). In fact, I read an Audio Engineering Society paper that showed group delay of the same magnitude as we'd typically get from a vented box to be statistically undetectable on music and barely detectable on test tones. So if it's not group delay that makes vented boxes sound slow, what is it??

I think it's the room! Most vented boxes start out "flat" to a considerably lower frequency than a comparable sealed box, but then we bring in room gain, and our sealed box is now closer to "flat" but our vented box will have a hump down low, and that is what makes it sound slow! We can take that same vented box and put it outside, where we get no room gain, and it sounds tight and fast, maybe even erring on the "lean" side. Its speed hasn't changed, but its effective frequency response has.

So out of the well-respected high-end subwoofers on the market, I would look for the ones that take room gain into account, or that can be equalized to do so (which I think they all can via outboard DSP).

Just for the record, I am NOT claiming that my room-gain-compensation tuning is superior to a high-quality equalized sealed box (and the ports on my subs can be plugged to transform them into sealed boxes, which can then be equalized). I am only claiming that it's a bit more cost-effective way to get there... my target market is probably not well-represented on this forum!

If I didn't have to worry about cost-effectiveness, nor crating and shipping, I'd probably go with equalized sealed isobarics. And frankly those big "dual opposed" configuration Seatons look pretty sweet to me.

Imo, ime, ymmv, etc.
 
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Site Founder | Site Owner | Administrator
Ron Resnick
Site Co-Owner | Administrator
Julian (The Fixer)
Website Build | Marketing Managersing