Do you use a sub-woofer ? Is it best to use 1 or 2 ?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Soundlabs, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. Soundlabs

    Soundlabs Reference Townshend Audio Dealer. Thread Starter

    Welling kent
    I am use to big speakers my last loudspeakers were the Nola Grand Reference which are 4 x 7ft towers. My current speakers are Soundlab Dynastats which are an Electrostatic hybrid they go low but not as low as i am used too. My budget for a sub woofer is approx 700 GBP. I have decided to buy either 1 x Rel Stentor or 2 x Rel Stadiums, can anyone advise me on whether its best to buy the 1 Rel Stentor or 2 Rel Stadiums, i really appreciate your advise. I can easily fit the 1 sub but can make the room for 2 i am thinking that 2 will be better.
    CrazyCatz likes this.
  2. anorak2

    anorak2 Forum Resident

    Berlin, Germany
    Philosophically you want a subwoofer if your stereo speakers don't have enough bass, otherwhise not really. Personally I use a pair of 1970s speakers that are linear down to 25 Hz (according to spec anyway), and I eq the bass up to my liking, so no subwoofer needed. In any case you only need one. The wavelengths of bass notes is so long that you can't really localise their position, so stereo bass is pointless.
    The Pinhead and tmsorosk like this.
  3. cyclistsb

    cyclistsb Forum Resident

    I disagree, unless your subs have a very steep crossover than a stereo sub will offer better imaging and depth. I went that route and really enjoy it. Placement is everything.
  4. Ezd

    Ezd Forum Resident

    I do not have experience using a subwoofer, but when I was researching buying some I noticed manufactures websites usually suggested two for stereo listening... Whether this is because they want to sell more or there is a noticeable improvement, I can not say.
  5. Linger63

    Linger63 Forum Resident

    ONE decent one will always beat TWO crappy ones............BUT........

    TWO decent ones will DEFINITELY work best!!!!!!:agree::righton:

    Go sealed if possible/affordable........cleaner and tighter
  6. CoolJazz

    CoolJazz Forum Resident

    Eastern Tennessee
    My experience is that two load a room differently.

    I ran one for a number of years. When eBay got bigger and I saw a matching second, I grabbed it. Surprisingly, it seemed to make the bass much smoother through the room.

    displayname, SteelyNJ and jmrife like this.
  7. BrilliantBob

    BrilliantBob Use The VTF, Luke...

    Subwoofers output omnidirectional mono sounds. You only need 2 subwoofers if one is for spare parts.

    For a 50 cubic meter room the minimal requirements are a 6.5" subwoofer with Bass reflex and 45W RMS.
    layman and The Pinhead like this.
  8. Thomas_A

    Thomas_A Forum Resident

    Uppsala, Sweden
    I would recommend minimum 2 subwoofers. You would also adjust size and number to what lowest frequency and SPL you need. Below example is a bit extreme with 4 x 15 inch woofer subs and top speakers above 80 Hz containing 4 x 9 inch woofers per channel. But this is just the scale of things depending on the SPL and low frequency you need. In general it is easier to combat the room with 2-4 subs than with one.

    sushimaster, Linger63 and CrazyCatz like this.
  9. Whoopycat

    Whoopycat Forum Resident

    Des Moines
    2 subs > 1 sub center placement > 1 sub corner placement general
  10. Itamar.K

    Itamar.K Member

    +1 for too subwoofers!
  11. Peterr

    Peterr Forum Resident

    Just 1 Rel connected on the speaker outputs left and right.
    Works like magic for me.
    drobo, George Blair and John like this.
  12. CrazyCatz

    CrazyCatz Great shot kid. Don't get cocky!

    I ditched my Sub(well whole System) years ago, but since joining here and getting back into Music I managed to find both Bookshelf(Monitor) Speakers and Subwoofer that I owned years My System is a Budget one (JPW) but the Sub makes all the difference, and I'm always on the lookout for a 2nd! I now have a full 5.1 JPW System..still to be setup.

    Imho I'd Go for 2 good ones, then can always keep one as a spare if you feel you don't need both running at same time.
  13. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    That's not necessarily true.

    The common ideal that "bass is omidirectional" or that humans can't locate low frequency signals isn't true. When you go see an orchestra play and the basses are bowing away on stage right, they don't sound omnidirectional, you don't have any problem with your eyes close pointing out where they are on stage.

    But bass waves are large -- a 40 Hz wave is more than 28 feet long, a 30 Hz wave is around 37 feet long. In a small, home-size room, bass just tends to instantly pressurized the whole room along all it's dimensions and start bouncing back on itself causing substantial cancellations and reinforcements. The common analogy is that high and mid frequencies bounce off surfaces in a home-sized room like billiard balls, but bass pressurizes the closed spaces like a person blowing across the top of a beer bottle. Basically, in a home environment below a certain frequency, you're listening to the room response to the bass pressure wave, and room resonance and room cancellations and peaks, as much or more than you're listening to the speakers' direct output. So summing the bass signal below say 120 Hz and using one subwoofer tends to work. However, that doesn't have to happen -- plenty of recordings don't have summed mono bass and you can certainly set up a system with full stereo subwoofers if you use stereo electronics, not subs with management systems or crossover electronics that do stereo to mono summing.

    However, people who advocate for multiple subs will say that the advantages of using them -- placed at different locations throughout the room -- are there even if you're summing to mono, because you more easily combat placement related peaks and nulls so you'll have much more even bass response throughout the room, and, you can deliver more bass energy with lower distortion, etc. Actually you might to best with 4 subs. Interesting read on the subject from Harman --

    I use a single sub myself, because that's what I have the space and money for.
  14. Apesbrain

    Apesbrain Forum Resident

    East Coast, USA
    I have two speaker systems: one with sub, one without. They both cost about the same. The sub system (plus two bookshelf speakers) goes lower than the full-range. I like them both, but I'd probably keep the 2.1 system if I had to make a choice. Took some time to dial it in (level, crossover, phase) and it helped that my amp for that system has a dedicated "Sub" output. One modification I made to the sub was to get some quality rubber footers to stop it moving on hardwood and mute vibrations traveling to neighbors. I'm sure if I added a second identical sub it would sound good, but one is enough and I wouldn't have the space anyway. Two subs would likely mitigate any room response deficiencies in placement of the one sub; I have to admit that I put it in place in the room according to where it looked best and made it work as best possible from there. I've measured that room (25' x 15' x 8') down to a strong and clear 26 Hz tone.
  15. Jim0830

    Jim0830 Forum Resident

    My regular speakers go down quite low. You could certainly get by without subs and get most of the experience. I've found that after carefully tuning the output of my subs to balance them with my towers, they do add a final last bit of low level punch that makes the experience seem closer to reality. It took a while to get things balanced so that I wasn't getting accentuated bass and too much of a good thing. The subs really shine on movies where sometimes there are explosions that you feel more than you hear.

    As for two vs. one sub: I have found that two subs definitely smooth out the response throughout the room. I have good natural bass response at my typical listening position with one or two speakers. But when I move around the room there are spots with too little bass or too much bass. Switching on the second sub smooths out the sound throughout the room. I can't find the exact words to this describe/explain this...with both subs on, the upper bass frequencies of two subs vs one seem the same. With two subs on, the lowest of the lows have more impact, a bigger gut punch effect compared to one. I am guessing this is back to evening out the response in the room. Maybe those frequencies are suppressed due to my room geometry with one and they are distributed more evenly with two.

    Bottom line: Yes there is a noticeable improvement in my room, on my system, with my towers and subs.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
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  16. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Chicago metro, USA
    Depends on room size. The notion of "stereo" subwoofers that implies two discreet channels of music is not really the main intent for using (2) subs. A single sub would be fed the sum of each channel regardless and at subwoofer frequencies there would be no directional cues that allow you to tell left from right.
    The main reason for (2) subwoofers is to balance the bass throughout the room.
    It is possible and probable that you would find a spot for a single subwoofer that sounds balanced and centered at your listening spot (make sure you get the required features for best integration- not all subs are created equal).
    This is what I have done with a single sub- yet as I walk around the room there are spots where the bass is stronger and more intense and also where it sounds weaker- another sub would balance this out.
    I am planning on some upgrades- either new speakers that can eliminate the subwoofer or another sub.
    I am convinced that two would sound much better overall- it is not just a sales tactic- although it does work that way :)
  17. Szeppelin75

    Szeppelin75 Forum Resident

    Two would almost all of the time sound better but it depends on the room size and money of course. Im happy with my SVS sub.
    bru87tr likes this.
  18. John

    John Forum Resident

    Same here.

    SKATTERBRANE Forum Resident

    Tucson, AZ
  20. FLEMKE

    FLEMKE Forum Resident

    I used one sub(DD-15) for years. I then purchased a pair of Velodyne DD-15's. The second sub was a great addition to my system. They are very carefully dialed in and do not overload the room. I am 100% in the dual sub camp due to my own experience.
    Sneaky Pete and Linger63 like this.
  21. hbucker

    hbucker Well-Known Member

    I use a sub in my family room that has vaulted ceilings. It is paired with small bookshelf speakers. I roll off the low end for the bookshelf speakers around 100 hz and send the rest to the sub. IMO, the key to using a sub is to blend it with the mains so that you don't really know it's there. Many folks seem to just want tons of bass and might even be afraid that visitors might not be aware that they have a sub woofer. ...This is only my speculation though. And present company is excluded, of course.

    If you're happy, I'm happy. But this approach doesn't sound natural to me and is actually fatiguing to listen to.

    With this, I would say one decent sub is all you need. But be warned, you may be the only one who knows you have a subwoofer. ;):D
  22. pdxway

    pdxway Forum Resident

    Oregon, USA
    Are you sure you are looking for lower bass instead of more bass impact?

    Your current speakers already rated down to 27 Hz.

    Trying to blends subwoofer(s) with speakers that goes down to 27 Hz likely not going to be easy, if you don't have a way to crossover the speakers, and looking for more bass impact. Lkely will cause muddiness.

    However, if your plan is to simply add to bass below 30 Hz, then a single large, quality, well placed sub with good crossover capabilities down to ~30 Hz should do just fine.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
    bru87tr likes this.
  23. classicrocker

    classicrocker Life is good!

    Worcester, MA, USA
    I have 2 subs in my 9.2 HT system and they fill the family room with nice tight bass.
  24. Josquin des Prez

    Josquin des Prez Forum Resident

    Midwest USA
    My speakers are +-3 db at 28Hz but I still use two subs for better bass response and imaging, and I don't even have a large room. I originally had one sub, but two is better. The bass is more refined and the soundstage is improved. Any time I have turned the subs off to see if I really need them I am quickly disappointed and they go again pretty quickly.

    The trick is *not* cross them over too high. I have my subs at nearly the lowest xover setting.

  25. cyclistsb

    cyclistsb Forum Resident

    Also make sure you have everything in the proper phase. Had mine out of phase for a long time and figured it out few months back when considering new speakers...long story short ended up keeping my vandersteen setup, hard to beat these speakers for the money.
    Josquin des Prez likes this.

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