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Questions for REL Subwoofer Owners

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by avanti1960, May 4, 2020.

  1. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    For example the REL Ti series have been praised for their bass quality- texture, detail, quickness.
    They are also praised for their ease of achieving seamless integration with the main speakers as well as enhancing the midrange, soundstage and overall imaging.

    The knock on them is that they lack competitive subwoofer low end extension and output.

    Do you agree with these comments from the review industry?
    If so, have you found the tradeoffs worthwhile?
     
  2. bever70

    bever70 It's all about the soundstage

    Location:
    Belgium
    Well you might allready know my answer :D.
    I use a hybrid pair of magnetostatic speakers, meaning they are fast, and my sub (T7i) needs to keep up. It has zero problems with keeping up!

    I am a big believer in speaker placement and sub placement. Don't just put a Rel sub anywhere because it looks good or you don't have the room to put it where it belongs. My speakers are placed in a spot where they belong, moving them back or forward with only 1 inch will make the soundstage and imaging of instruments worse. I can demonstrate this to anyone sitting in the sweet spot.
    The same goes for the placement of my Rel, sliding it back or forward with 1 inch ruins the soundstage, same with toe in : change the toe in of the Rel with only half an inch and it will sound off. Only to demonstrate that the impact of a Rel sub on the soundstage and imaging is huge! BUT only when in the right spot and with the right settings.

    Last week I swapped electrical outlets, putting my amp and subwoofer in different and new wall outlets vs. power conditioner before. Soundstage was off! I had to adjust xover and gain slightly on the sub to get the same (well actually better) soundstage than before. Again, only to point out how big it affects soundstage.
    In fact, when I adjust my sub, I have learned to adjust it, not by listening to bass, but just by listening to the soundstage and how voices and instruments seem to float in their own space ... When the soundstage is right, the bass is also right! (My room seems to be very forgiving on bass nodes)

    Tradeoffs? I listen most of the time at +90db (yes, only measured with a crap phone app), I never heard my Rel cough or sneeze. I have the gain of the Rel slightly over halfway! You can see the measurements of my room in my profile. I would like a 2nd Rel, not because I want or need more bass, but because I'm a soundstage freak ;). Imho it plays low enough and has good enough low extension to make you feel sick in the stomach with the 'right' material. So no, I don't agree with those so called 'tradeoffs'.

    In the last 2 years I tried and bought 5 cartridges, 4 phono preamps, 3 Dacs.... I have zero intent of looking for or buying another sub (except for buying a 2nd Rel T7i of course :shh:) .
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2020
    fish, Jim Walker, Doctor Fine and 5 others like this.
  3. The Dude Abides

    The Dude Abides Strikes and gutters, ups and downs.

    Location:
    England
    I have a Rel t -Zero in the lounge system and it integrates perfectly , I use the high level input as recommended by Rel. Gotta say great sub for music. just spend a little time getting the crossover and volume levels right. I would say the amount of bass increases with run in, but it doesn't take long.

    Big thumbs up from me .
     
    Soundsense and ben_wood like this.
  4. crn3371

    crn3371 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glendora, CA
    I have 2 T5’s paired up with Merlin TSM’s in my dedicated 2 channel room. For my purposes they integrate seamlessly, and give me all the bass I need. Would they be my first choice for home theater? No. Budget allowing, would I rather have T7/T7i’s? Yes. I think the REL T series are great for music. Their speed, and ease of integration far outweigh any negatives. Frankly, I think the error that many people make when introducing subwoofers to their music system is that they overdo the bass. The bass for music isn’t like that in movie special effects, you don’t want teeth rattling bass in your music system.
     
    AndyCC72, david1111, ben_wood and 3 others like this.
  5. Aura

    Aura Forum Resident

    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    Rel T9i & Harbeth owner. The Rel purchase is one of the best improvements I have made to my system in recent years. Integration is straightforward. Just follow Rel's instructions, including the Sneakers cd as a recommended setup disc. When you move the sub one or two inches and feel it, you will know why.

    If somehow low end extension and output is a complaint of the Rel series then it must be coming from those who want to rattle the windows of neighbors two streets over. Personally, I never would have guessed that would be a compliant about Rel. The idea here is to use the high-level outputs and to dial the sub until you have a seamless integration that rivals more expensive full-range systems.

    Harbeth excels at a natural presentation, with spacial cues and mids better than any speakers I have ever heard, with all the micro detail still present and enjoyable. As much as I love Harbeth, the achilles heel of the BBC design is lack of palpable bass impact, whether felt or implied. I prefer that a sub in 2-channel music should barely be noticed when on, but sorely missed when turned off. Rel will deliver that, and if you just want to rattle the windows it can do that too.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2020
  6. 5-String

    5-String μηδὲν ἄγαν

    Location:
    Sunshine State
    Rel's models are music oriented subwoofers and are not designed to shake floors with movie explosions, thus the complains about extension, etc. The fact that Rels are designed for music is a big plus.
    That being said, there are speakers that are designed to be used without subwoofers. Using a subwoofer with these speakers is more challenging and it might have more negative than positive effects but again it can be done.
    Also there is no magic dust that can be used to instantly integrate a Rel or any other subwoofer easily. It takes time, expertise and some luck.
    If it is done correctly, however, it can be a very beneficial addition to most systems.
     
    Ro-Go likes this.
  7. bloodlemons

    bloodlemons Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tacoma, WA, USA
    I use two REL T-Zero models in stereo with Graham/Chartwell LS3/5As. I think they sound great together. I have each sub only turned up about five notches from silent. There is plenty more power there if I ever feel like I need it.
     
    ben_wood likes this.
  8. drobo

    drobo Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denver, CO
    I run an older Strata II in my music system but would not hesitate to put in either of my home theater systems where I have Hsu’s. REL’s will not let you down. My REL was made in the U.K. I wish REL would bring back manufacturing to the US or U.K.
     
    ben_wood and Dave Decadent like this.
  9. DaveyF

    DaveyF Forum Resident

    Location:
    La Jolla, Calif
    I use two REL T5i's in a very small room. The benefit of the T5i is its speed and ability to seamlessly blend with the mains. The high level connection is also a big plus, IME. As crn3371 states, the REL's are designed for music, BUT I also own a REL T5 that I use for HT, this gives plenty of bass and impact, but the positioning in the room has to be corner loaded for max extension, which I don't find totally necessary for purely audio usage.
     
    Oliver Meyer, david1111 and ben_wood like this.
  10. chipcalzada

    chipcalzada Forum Resident

    I use one REL T5i in a 12 x 15 room paired with Dynaudio Contour 20's and there's more than enough bass. I too have it 5-7 notches from silent, it definitely improves the soundstage and makes my Dyn's sound like they are full-range speakers. My REL is kinda hidden from plain sight by a shelf so when I occasionally have friends over for the first time, I get a kick when they say my bookshelf speakers dig really deep bass-wise, the REL integrates so well that it doesn't seem like it's even there. High praise indeed, go get one!
     
    Oliver Meyer, david1111 and ben_wood like this.
  11. LivLif

    LivLif Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington DC
    ‘Harbeth 30.2 user here with two Rel T9is. I couldn’t agree more with what’s written above. Exactly my experience.
     
    AndyCC72 and Ro-Go like this.
  12. Tone?

    Tone? Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco

    Dude get one. 60 days trial. I have one hooked up to my Proac DT8s.
    When cellos or violas play you can still hear the bow scraping on the strings. No bloat. It’s fast as sh$t too.
    Try one only way you will know.

    For me personally I don’t want low end that screws with anything else. And ,y REL TI7 does that
    For me the best test is a stand up bass and classical. It can’t mess with the subtleties of the strings. That’s a no no. And it doesn’t
     
    Bananas&blow and jon9091 like this.
  13. bever70

    bever70 It's all about the soundstage

    Location:
    Belgium
    I find it strange that some people have their Rel's at only 5 or 7 notches of volume gain. Yes it will give you a bit more bass at that kind of volume but imho it's not where it should be.

    Rel advises 15 +/-3 notches for gain (same for crossover) and they are right. I could hardly believe this when I got mine and I had it also at 7 or 10 notches (both gain and crossover) the first six months and thought I was good.

    After reading up and experimenting a lot more with placement and settings it was definitely not good. When I go back to those settings now I just can't believe what I hear, or rather DON'T hear. IME it will almost do nothing for soundstage and imaging at such a low settings.
    When I change my gain or crossover now with only 1 notch up or down I hear it's not right. The correct position of those settings is very sensitive, when they are where they need to be. When I had my settings too low I could easily change a few notches up or down without anything sounding very off.

    All I want to say is that it pays off to follow the Rel instructions (start at 15 notches when setting up) and then start to fine tune and integrate, listening for differences in soundstage and imaging (voices) which will have you landing at +/-3 notches of the initial starting point most of the times.
    Also, the interaction between Gain setting and Crossover is very sensitive, meaning 1 notch up or down with one setting can be balanced out with 1 or 2 notches of the other.

    YMMV and all IME but I found out it really pays off to keep experimenting and listening and not be pleased too soon because you get a taste of better bass. Your Rel can give you a lot more than just 'a taste of better bass' !
     
  14. MC Rag

    MC Rag Forum Resident

    Does anyone here use the REL Arrow wireless system with their t5i, t7i, or t9i? Does it work well?
     
  15. crn3371

    crn3371 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glendora, CA
    I’m using a Rocketfish wireless subwoofer kit in my TV setup and it works just fine, so I’d imagine the REL option would too.
     
    MC Rag likes this.
  16. dreamingtree1855

    dreamingtree1855 Filthy vinyl spinning hipster millennial

    Location:
    New Jersey
    Mine's set to maybe 6-7 notches from the min, any higher and the bass overwhelms the sound.
     
    bever70 and bloodlemons like this.
  17. Tone?

    Tone? Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco

    I just volume matched it to my speakers. Doesn’t sound right to my ears just putting it at some random volume that doesn’t match the speakers. If you put it to high it bleeds into the rest of the sound too much and you lose detail.
     
    bloodlemons likes this.
  18. bloodlemons

    bloodlemons Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tacoma, WA, USA
    Keep in mind that I am using stereo subs. I had my gain much higher when I was just running one sub.
     
    AndyCC72, bever70 and DaveyF like this.
  19. bever70

    bever70 It's all about the soundstage

    Location:
    Belgium
    That's true, and is confirmed by their instructions !
     
  20. bever70

    bever70 It's all about the soundstage

    Location:
    Belgium
    Room issues ? Bass nodes ? How big is your room ?
    And your crossover setting ?
     
  21. DaveyF

    DaveyF Forum Resident

    Location:
    La Jolla, Calif
    This is an excellent point. Two subs ( or more) means that you will need to ride the gain control VERY carefully, IME. Plus, I think it is wise to remember that with two subs, the placement of the two will NOT be exactly the same in the room. What I realized after a lot of experimentation with mine, is that the two subs should NOT be set at the same levels...except for maybe the x-over. The reason is that each bass wave will arrive at a slightly different time to the listener, given the different positioning of each sub with respect to the room and therefore the listener.
     
    LivLif and bever70 like this.
  22. 5-String

    5-String μηδὲν ἄγαν

    Location:
    Sunshine State
    With my Stirling LS3/6 I have the crossover at 5 and the vol. at 4 and I get plenty of bass with a 6W SET tube amp while the amazing midrange of the Stirling comes through beautifully.
     
  23. Ontheone

    Ontheone Poorly Understood Member

    Location:
    Indianapolis
    A quick REL question. When I go to the REL speaker matching tool on their website it recommends the S/510 for me and no other options, regardless of room size choices. Is this really the only model that works effectively with fast/sensitive hifi speakers or is there a sense that they are simply trying to upsell us? The S/510 is $2,500.
     
  24. dreamingtree1855

    dreamingtree1855 Filthy vinyl spinning hipster millennial

    Location:
    New Jersey
    The room is far from ideal, it's a rented apartment with hardwood floors, high ceiling, and the listening space open to the kitchen area. The crossover is set to 80hz.
     
    bever70 likes this.
  25. Jeremy Bunting

    Jeremy Bunting Forum Resident

    Location:
    NYC
    I've had a pair of Rel T7i's for about two weeks--love them. I moved into a bigger space and my Focal Electra 1008's were just sounding too lean. I considered getting new speakers entirely but was encouraged by the folks at Upscale to go this route over much more expensive options (was considering the Focal 1038's or even the Focal Sopra 2). They said even the upgrade from my bookshelf Electra's to the Sopra 2 would be subtle compared to adding subs. I'm glad I listened. I spent a fifth of what the Sopra's would have cost me and have no complaints now.

    They're not overpowering, and you can fine tune to your taste. Since I'm running two (and I'm in an apartment) I have the level a little lower, at 12 clicks. Crossover is set to 15. They really round out the sound. They don't add anything to a recording that isn't there; they just show you what you've been missing. For that reason, these really do sound great with any genre, classical, hip hop, anything.

    Re: not having enough power, I think that's garbage. That probably means you picked the wrong sub for your speakers. They've got a matching tool on the website I'd suggest using. It was spot-on for me. I'm not a huge home theater enthusiast, but for music, I can't imagine needing more power. I've got the level set somewhere between 9 and 10 o'clock on each sub and it's just right.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2020

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