Subwoofer improve Music SQ ?

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ame

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Dear Friends

I mainly play audio in my Sony DVp ,Onkyo 606 AVR and Diamond 9.2 two front speakers.

Will adding a subwoofer improve Sound quality in music in any way ?

Thanks in advance.

ame
 

krauss

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since you are using bookshelves and not floorstanders, providing a lower cut-off to the bookshelves through the crossover settings of your avr, you will be relieving your speakers of the low notes. i feel, they will thus be producing the rest of the spectrum better. so a subwoofer should add to better sound.
 
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marsilians

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Dear Friends

I mainly play audio in my Sony DVp ,Onkyo 606 AVR and Diamond 9.2 two front speakers.

Will adding a subwoofer improve Sound quality in music in any way ?

Thanks in advance.

ame

what kind of music you listen to? Sub improves for some music genres, not all.
 
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ame

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Dear krauss

Thanks for the info.

Hi marsilians

I mainly play instrumental,pop and vocal,film soundtracks etc.
No heavy metal/hard rock.

ame
 
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ame

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Dear Friends

Can anyone confirm that for the kind of music I play adding a WF150 sub will improve the SQ?

Thanks in advance.

ame
 
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marsilians

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Dear krauss

Thanks for the info.

Hi marsilians

I mainly play instrumental,pop and vocal,film soundtracks etc.
No heavy metal/hard rock.

ame

Sorry I have been catching up on posts as I was travelling a bit. I would suggest to add a decent 10 inch sub from Polk, Energy as you will be able to hear a difference. Pop & Film tracks will definitely benefit the most. If you listen to instrumental that have strong bass (certain tabla beats, organs, etc.) they will also benefit.

Get a decent sub, don't scrimp.
 
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arj

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a subwoofer will inclrease the bass extension and not really "improve sound".

to improve sound the optiopns are either to have a stereo amp followed by a better cd player..

But in the end it all depends on your definition of what better sound is ! BTW what is it that you want to improve ?
 
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ame

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Dear Friends

Went through Onkyo 606 manual and found that even for Stereo setting the 2 fronts and sub is active.

Well I have observed that in my DIamond 9.2 and when a bassy instrument is being played the clarity of other string instruments becomes" hazy ".

"I would suggest to add a decent 10 inch sub"-is the WF150 a 10 inch sub? I guess they formed a set with Diamond9.2. Thats why prefer them.

ame
 
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persiflage

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I think you should ask yourself what it is that you are missing in your current setup. As others have pointed out, more is not necessarily better.

There are plenty of standmounts that do full justice to a stereo application, this includes the reproduction of the right quantity of tuneful bass. This is especially true if you get the right stands and load/ damp them properly. See if that does it for you. Many people (myself included) find that you don't need to look even even at floorstanders, let alone a separate sub.

If you do feel the need to go for a sub (and you might, in view of what your receiver does, addressing lower frequencies to the .1 output), then you need to be really selective. I have a friend who runs fostex single driver speakers through a flea powered tube amp, and supplements it with a REL sub for the lower frequencies. This set up does a lot of things right.

In essence: a refined sub specifically designed for music (rather than movies) would be much more tuneful, rather than the generic sub that you would get bundled with a HTIB. It would also not 'cloud out' the rest of the frequency spectrum, as you say.

Else - audition a proper stereo amp with your existing speakers, the improvement may just surprise you.

Hope this helps.
 
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ame

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Hi persiflage

Thanks for the post.

"a refined sub specifically designed for music (rather than movies) would be much more tuneful "--any brand recommendation ?

"audition a proper stereo amp "-any suggestions and will any dealer agree for audition with my speakers at home? what price point are the better ones?

regards

ame
 
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marsilians

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Hi Ame

It seems like you have not tuned your system well. The 9.2 should not overwhelm at a particular frequency as you are stating.

Have you set any specific crossover for your fronts? If so what is it? This might be the issue if your connections are all fine.

Re: the SW150, it is indeed a 10inch sub. However it may not hold its ground compared to others in the price range. What it the price you are being quoted?

Also FYI, your sub need not match your speakers. For timbre matching, you could focus on the L/R/C. The surrounds and subs can be from a different manufacturer though the frequency responses should be compatible.



Dear Friends

Went through Onkyo 606 manual and found that even for Stereo setting the 2 fronts and sub is active.

Well I have observed that in my DIamond 9.2 and when a bassy instrument is being played the clarity of other string instruments becomes" hazy ".

"I would suggest to add a decent 10 inch sub"-is the WF150 a 10 inch sub? I guess they formed a set with Diamond9.2. Thats why prefer them.

ame
 
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pnredkar

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Hi,

I have a different viewpoint from what has been discussed so far. I will try to explain technically. Sonically, I myself have felt the difference. But, since I have not done any serious A/B comparison I will leave commenting more on the sonic differences.

When you are driving a 2.0 speaker set, the amplification load of the entire frequency range falls on the amplifier (whether stereo or AVR). Now, the power requirement to amplify a 60Hz signal to a certain dB level is different from the power required to amplify a 2KHz signal to the same level. It has been proven (I don't have the reference right now) that sub-80Hz takes much more power for amplification that the high frequency signals (some multiples, not very sure but something like 4 times). So if you are putting in 10W of power, majority of it goes into the amplification of low frequency signals.

The result of this difference in power distribution results in the mids and the highs getting muddier with some amps. This is more noticeable in low-end AVRs which are actually designed to rely on sub-woofer power for amplification of LF signals. In such cases, adding a "powered" sub-woofer takes off the load of amplifying the sub-80Hz signal from the amplifier and you hear a cleaner mid and high range signal. However, this may not be true with stereo amps which are designed to work without sub-woofers.

This technical reasoning is sound enough (pun intended :p) for me to explain the differences that I hear with AVRs.

However, feel free to differ from my opinion.

Regards,
Prasad Redkar.
 
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marsilians

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I am suspecting his transient response (damping/sys Q) is causing issues here.

Hi,

I have a different viewpoint from what has been discussed so far. I will try to explain technically. Sonically, I myself have felt the difference. But, since I have not done any serious A/B comparison I will leave commenting more on the sonic differences.

When you are driving a 2.0 speaker set, the amplification load of the entire frequency range falls on the amplifier (whether stereo or AVR). Now, the power requirement to amplify a 60Hz signal to a certain dB level is different from the power required to amplify a 2KHz signal to the same level. It has been proven (I don't have the reference right now) that sub-80Hz takes much more power for amplification that the high frequency signals (some multiples, not very sure but something like 4 times). So if you are putting in 10W of power, majority of it goes into the amplification of low frequency signals.

The result of this difference in power distribution results in the mids and the highs getting muddier with some amps. This is more noticeable in low-end AVRs which are actually designed to rely on sub-woofer power for amplification of LF signals. In such cases, adding a "powered" sub-woofer takes off the load of amplifying the sub-80Hz signal from the amplifier and you hear a cleaner mid and high range signal. However, this may not be true with stereo amps which are designed to work without sub-woofers.

This technical reasoning is sound enough (pun intended :p) for me to explain the differences that I hear with AVRs.

However, feel free to differ from my opinion.

Regards,
Prasad Redkar.
 
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krauss

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as far as i know, ther is no reference db level to which an amp has to amplify the entire frequency range. but the reference is power. amplification is always as per the frequency response curve of an amp. the lower and higher frequencies are always amplified lesser compared to the midrange. the frqueny response curve below shows the db levels with reference to the frequency.
 

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pnredkar

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Hi,

I think everyone here has misunderstood what I am trying to say. I will try to explain it once more.

Cranky: What you are saying is true. However, you are referring to the efficiency of speakers, 100dB (or whatever the units) for tweeters while 90dB at best for woofers. Most speakers are made of at least two drivers. The tweeter works at about 5 to 10dB higher efficiency than the woofer.

Now, how does this affect your amplifier. A 10db difference in efficiency means about 2 (?) times more power required. If you take the freq vs power graph (the power ACTUALLY supplied by the amplifier), you will find it skewed towards low-frequency.

Now, your amplifier may be supplying X watts of power. But 90% of these watts are going to the woofer of your two-way speaker. So how effective is the amplification of your HF signals? This has to do with how much "headroom" your amp has. And most low-end AVRs don't have much "headroom". Hence the effect which I am trying to describe.

In many sub-woofer reviews from known audiophiles (reputed magazines from US/UK, forums from US/UK), you will hear them describe the mid-range (specifically) getting clearer when the LF load was taken off the amplifier using a subwoofer. I am talking about this phenomenon.

So coming back to the original question: I am not saying that a sub-woofer will necessarily improve SQ. But I would not dismiss the possibility. Best way is to try for yourself and find out. Its another matter that the "musical" subwoofers generally cost a bomb.

Regards,
Prasad Redkar.
 
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reignofchaos

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My guess is pnredkar is trying to imply is that an amplifier works significantly better when working in a narrow frequency band rather than 20Hz-20kHz. With my limited electronics knowledge, I think this is true to a certain extent and is followed in most speaker systems that have active/electronic crossovers such as the Orion or the CS2. I believe Linkwitz recommends a puny 6 channel with only 60W per channel ATI amp to drive the Orions and mentions that anything more is really not needed.

Having heard a 4 channel 100W/ch ATI amp at ARN, all I can say is that they are not the best choice for music if using as a conventional power amplifier. The amp has lots of muscle but little else. So there is definitely something more to it if Linkwitz recommends such a cheapo amp for the job.

However I'm not so certain if this idea can be extended to a subwoofer and speaker with a home theater amp.
 
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pnredkar

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Hi,

My hurriedly written (earlier) reply did not come out as intended.

Cranky: I understand your points are technically correct. However, you have to realize that I am not completely ignorant about the facts that you mention. I did not have a ready reference and hence was not able to correctly corroborate.

Any speaker design takes care of this difference in sensitivity in the crossover by attenuating the tweeter.

Attempting to take care of the difference and actually succeeding completely are two different things. Without going into further explanation, I am attaching two images of my attempts with DIY subwoofer (driver Eminance Lab 12) from WinISD software. The "Amplifier apparent load power" curves are shown:

Vq30-PvLdEDuSyBo9V_xkA


cZz_jNg3DLwbKARWk5URVg


(Edit: The pictures linked above are not showing. Please see them from the album link)

From album Picasa Web Albums - Prasad - Hobbies

Just compare the power at 20Hz vs the power at 40Hz. I believe that this relationship is valid across the frequency spectrum.

This is my final comment on this matter.

Regards,
Prasad Redkar.
 
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thevortex

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Very interesting thread. Lots of things to learn from here.

But for the OP, my thoughts are that as time goes on if you are into critical music listening or even long term listening, the subwoofer may not be preferable. Pure 2 channel is bliss. It gets to you in a way that the sub - despite all its chest thumping (pun intended) - does not.

By the way I have what I consider to be one of the most musical subs at around the 30K price range - the EPOS ELS Sub. I still find that after the initial rush wore off I prefer listening to music (all kinds) without the sub than with it. Especially if I want to listen long term.
 
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marsilians

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Excellent point. A sub in a 2.1 system is very hard thing to fit for the frequencies to roll off seamlessly. Thats why there is a large body of study around the placement, frequency responses, tuning, etc. that range from esoteric to scientific.

A 5.1 is brutal to tune appropriately. Sometimes it takes days to get this done.

OTOH, a 2.0 system despite being the simplest configuration is the best to listen to for music (and I would argue for most movies) if you have good gear. These dont work well for cheapo systems.



Very interesting thread. Lots of things to learn from here.

But for the OP, my thoughts are that as time goes on if you are into critical music listening or even long term listening, the subwoofer may not be preferable. Pure 2 channel is bliss. It gets to you in a way that the sub - despite all its chest thumping (pun intended) - does not.

By the way I have what I consider to be one of the most musical subs at around the 30K price range - the EPOS ELS Sub. I still find that after the initial rush wore off I prefer listening to music (all kinds) without the sub than with it. Especially if I want to listen long term.
 
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pnredkar

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1. I never said or implied you were ignorant, so I'd be grateful if you retract that statement.

No offense meant or taken. If any one has felt offended, I apologise.

2. I'm still waiting for sources for your statements on

After a day of googling, I could not find the exact reference that I had read. I have to concede that my explanation has left a lot to be desired.

(Source: Stereophile)

Besides the f113s' deep-bass response, what made the biggest impression on me was how two f113s deepened and widened the soundstage, greatly enhancing the Quads' imaging and portrayal of space. The Fathoms enabled the Quads to reveal instruments I hadn't heard before, such as the acoustic guitar that Emmylou Harris softly plays on the last track of Spyboy

Here the reviewer is talking about Quad ESLs with JL Fathom 113, both very high end components.

There was a similar effect when I was hearing album "Taal" on an Onkyo 505 AVR with Jamo floorstanders (don't remember the model). I vaguely remember the difference it made to the male vocals (in "Nahin Saamne" track).

This observation made me search for the theory which I tried to present. It was not the other way around (that I had read the theory and "had to" hear the difference).

Other useful reference: Stereophile: The Question of Bass / Bass Instruments & Frequencies (Male voice can go as low as 72Hz).

One other error in my previous discussion: 10dB difference - We hear it as twice as loud but it requires 10 times the power.(Reference: Lenard Audio Institute - Education - Db. Frequency. Ohm Law.)

Summarizing:
I am not suggesting that a subwoofer will improve SQ. I am saying subwoofer MAY improve SQ. To put everything in the right perspective, I listen to my music using CA 540R V3 AVR mated to a Quad 11L in 2.0 stereo configuration.

Regards,
Prasad Redkar.
 
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