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A/V What sub to buy?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Buzzons, 19 Sep 2018.

  1. Buzzons

    Buzzons Active Member

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    Hey all,

    I've currently got the following set upt :

    AVR - Onkyo TX-NR809
    Fronts - KEF Q500
    Rears - KEF Q100
    Centre - KEF Q600c

    What sub should I get for the system? (The KEF Q400b sub doesn't seem to get very good reviews).

    If it matters, I'll probably be upgrading the AVR in the next year so that it can support 4K/HDCP 2.2/HDMI 2/Atmos (probably the KEF Q50 Atmos speakers).
     
  2. The_Crapman

    The_Crapman Don't phone it's just for fun.

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    Meatball Marinara with cheese and bacon on Italian herb&cheese. I'd also recommend doubling the meat for more balls in your mouth per bite.
     
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  3. Weekly_Estimate

    Weekly_Estimate Gives credit where its due

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    Personally I've always enjoyed the Steak & Cheese with Italian bread, covered in chiplotto south west source.
     
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  4. Mister_Tad

    Mister_Tad Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    It seems important to mention budget in such a query.

    Assuming you want something at the £500 mark though, you could do a hell of a lot worse than a BK XXLS400 - good depth, sensible package and solid performance with both movies and music.

    If you have space to accommodate them though, two subs is always better than one. If you don't see yourself stretching to another £500 sub down the line, worth considering two lesser subs - you may not get the same depth, but you'll have a much easier time getting a even bass response across the room.

    That's not to say that you can have belting LFE with a single sub of course, I use a solitary SVS SB-13 Ultra and I don't think anyone has ever come out of a screening thinking that the system was lacking low end oomph... It can just be a little harder to tame, especially if you're limited as to where you can put it.
     
    Last edited: 19 Sep 2018
  5. Buzzons

    Buzzons Active Member

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    Hey Tad - thanks for the detail..

    Budget I'd put in the 500-1000 range I guess (to match the speaker price point). There's only really one listening position so not too worried about bass response across the room - the sofa to the side already has a poor view of the TV so I'm sure they can suffer worse bass too :eyebrow:

    I'm semi-limited to positions of where the sub can go though - really down to either side of the TV stand due to room layout (it's an open plan downstairs with a Window and radiator one side, and the "dining area" the other)

    I was looking at the klipsch range .. mainly because the look stunning.. but not sure if they're worth the price // would work with the system that well?
     
  6. teacherboy

    teacherboy Part Carbon/Nylon/Bovine

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    I'd say the BK XXLS400 as well - reviews extremely well and comes in a range of colours to suit your existing speakers for better aesthetic integration (if you're hiding it in a corner then whatever is cheapest), you might also consider a subdude as well.
     
  7. Mister_Tad

    Mister_Tad Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    If the sub can go down either side of the TV stand, can it go down both sides of the TV stand? That would tend to be the perfect place for a pair of subs anyway, and a pair of XXLS400s would do a ridiculously good job for £900, and wouldn't even be out of place in a system many times more costly (plenty on AVF using just this setup). If you ask nicely you can spec the sub in a custom veneer too - I matched one to the lounge furniture and it blends right in as a side table in my 2ch setup, hiding in plain sight. It positively trounces the REL Habitat 1 which is what I first tried out when I was trying to hide a sub.

    Being open-plan, I'd say there's even more of a case for doubling up with a sealed sub like the XXLS400. A ported sub like the SVS PB-2000 is worth a look as well, as it will definitely help with filling the space compared to sealed.

    I do prefer sealed subs though. Ported ones will impress your mates more with SPL and depth (given the same size/power), but there's a tautness to sealed that I've not come across in ported subs, or at least ported subs for sensible money.

    BK is really tough to beat in the <£1k space though.

    Whilst I don't know the Klipsch range from in-depth personal experience, I assume you're talking about the shiny copper one. Up close and personal it's every bit as shiny as you would hope it to be. I'd make a general case for steering clear, however, of "system" subs. By that I mean where a given company makes a given range of speakers, including every component you need for a HT setup. I'm sure some of them are good bits of kit, but I don't think I'm being overly cynical suggesting that these parts can often be filler - i.e. they sell them because someone wants all of their bits from the same set. In reality what makes a good speaker and what makes a good sub are far from being on the same page. The rationale matching speakers in a surround setup doesn't hold true for subs.
     
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  8. Buzzons

    Buzzons Active Member

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    Wow thanks for the replies!

    Looking at the page for the XXL - is there much difference between a front facing and a down facing version -- or is it just personal preference?

    As for the one or two sub debate.. it would just mean more speakers... I guess I could always go with one and see what it's like and get a second at a later date if I feel the bass isn't great?

    Are there any specific things I'd need to do while setting one up on the AVR? or do I just plug it in and the AVR does the magic - if not, how would I know what cross over etc I'd need?
     
  9. Mister_Tad

    Mister_Tad Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    There's not a lot in it with front vs down firing - the placement is way more important than which way it's facing. Traditional wisdom says go front firing if you have a suspended floor, however I'm inclined to think that's more forum pseudo-science than anything else. The two most important considerations are going to be preference in looks, and whether or not anything is liable to damage a front-firing (pets, kids, stray feet etc)

    Starting out with one is still a solid choice, if you're finding even bass response problematic a second can often fix. You might even want to check out the room sim on REW to see what impact placement/qty has on bass response throughout the room. With the sub roughly in the middle, and the listening position roughly in the middle, I doubt you will have problems with the one. Just remember, more speakers is always better ;)

    Your Onkyo has Audyssey on board, so pop in the sub, set it to half-ish volume and turn off the contour and run Audyssey for a default config - you can tweak from there. Not sure on Onkyos, but based on my experience with other makes I'd expect them all to be largely similar - you can tweak the crossovers for the sub and the channel pairs individually, adjust the sub trim as desired. I'd start at 80hz all around with the sub set to LFE+Main and go from there tweaking by ear. Amp grunt will also be a consideration, so if you find yourself running out of headroom running the crossovers at 120hz can help.

    I run my fronts down to 40hz and surround/heights at 80hz, sub is LFE+Main running 3db hot, and Audyssey (XT32) with a house curve to 250hz, and no correction above - took a few passes and some trial and error getting it just right, and every system and room will be different. Dirac definitely has the edge for setup, but in the end I think you can get good results from just about any correction, some just need more effort.
     
    Last edited: 20 Sep 2018
  10. Buzzons

    Buzzons Active Member

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    Excellent - will probably get down firing then so there's no risk of damage.

    I've never actually run the Audyssey set up... even though I've owned the amp for a few years now. I've just left all the config at default, I wonder if there'll be a noticable difference if I run it?

    What's REW, LFE+Main, and "3db hot" by the way?
     
  11. Mister_Tad

    Mister_Tad Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    Audyssey - it will make a difference. Whether or not you like the difference is another matter. With XT you don't really have many options, it's take it or leave it. I found it difficult to get an Audyssey XT calibration on my former Denon 3313 that worked with music, so simply bypassed it for 2ch playback. I did prefer the results for multi-channel though. I've not had any such issues with XT32 on the X8500, but have used the editor app to tweak - without adjusting in the app it it's better, but not great.

    When you replace your AVR, IMO the calibration system should be a consideration. Dirac is pretty much perfect in every way. Anthem's ARC is meant to be quite excellent as well (IMO Anthem are way overpriced outside the US though), and D+M's latest models with XT32 and support for the Audyssey editor app can yield excellent results as well. I've heard less favourable things about the rest of them, and would steer clear of Audyssey without a way to set the calibration range.

    REW - https://www.roomeqwizard.com/
    You can use it to go right down the rabbit hole with measurements and all sorts, however there's also a simple room simulation, where you input your room sizes, speaker/sub positions, their frequency response, listening position and so on to get a view of where good placements would be, or where you're likely to have peaks or dead zones in bass response. Very handy.

    LFE+Main - there's likely to be a setting in your AVR named similarly. Basically it means in addition to the LFE channel being sent to the sub, anything below the crossover point on the rest of the speakers will be sent there as well. Properly mastered content shouldn't have anything <80hz on the mains in theory, but in practice theory may take a back seat. This becomes a lot more important if you set your crossovers to >80hz.

    3db hot - I.e. post-calibration, I've adjusted the level of by LFE channel by +3db

    If you want another ported option, the XTZ 12.17 has many fanboys to its name and is well reviewed at around the £600 mark, a fair bit less than the PB-2000. I can't comment personally, but AVF liked it - https://www.avforums.com/review/xtz-sub-12-17-subwoofer-review.12865
     

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