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Thread: Subwoofer 101

  1. #1
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    Subwoofer 101

    I've never owned a subwoofer. I primarily listen to acoustic music such as classical, jazz, and film scores. I realize that a subwoofer is probably important for genres that feature heavy electric bass and kick drum. But how useful is a subwoofer with natural room recordings of acoustic instruments?

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    Re: Subwoofer 101

    Depending on your main speakers and where you would end up setting the subwoofer crossover, you may be surprised at how much musical data will end up going to your subwoofer. It can easily include vocals and many instruments.

    A subwoofer can give you additional low frequency extension that many speakers, even floorstanding towers, cannot reproduce. Or allow you play louder with less low frequency distortion. Or smooth out the in-room frequency response to give you a more balanced and accurate sound. And typically adding a subwoofer (or more) does all three.

    However integrating a subwoofer(s) into a 2-channel system very well / optimally can be difficult, especially when trying to use specific electronics that you like, so in most cases one focuses on optimizing their 2-channel system without any subwoofers.
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    Re: Subwoofer 101

    Quote Originally Posted by NekoAudio View Post
    Depending on your main speakers and where you would end up setting the subwoofer crossover, you may be surprised at how much musical data will end up going to your subwoofer. It can easily include vocals and many instruments.

    A subwoofer can give you additional low frequency extension that many speakers, even floorstanding towers, cannot reproduce. Or allow you play louder with less low frequency distortion. Or smooth out the in-room frequency response to give you a more balanced and accurate sound. And typically adding a subwoofer (or more) does all three.

    However integrating a subwoofer(s) into a 2-channel system very well / optimally can be difficult, especially when trying to use specific electronics that you like, so in most cases one focuses on optimizing their 2-channel system without any subwoofers.
    Thanks. I have two sets of speakers in two rooms, using the A/B speaker function on an ancient Pioneer amp that weighs a ton. I use an equalizer for one set of speakers, via the tape monitor function, and the EQ unit includes an output specifically designed for introducing a subwoofer into the chain. I'm guessing I would want a self-powered sub-woofer, based on what I've read, that can connect via RCA cables.

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    Re: Subwoofer 101

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    Re: Subwoofer 101

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Smith View Post
    That was way over my head, but thank you!

    I see that Amazon has come Klipsch subwoofers on sale. They appear to connect with standard RCA jacks, and appear to be self-powered. I wonder if they would work with my aforementioned setup (tape monitor loop using EQ unit with subwoofer outs).

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    Re: Subwoofer 101

    I took advantage of a 50% off sale and got a nice Klipsch 10" subwoofer. I have it more or less against the wall between the two speakers, beside a credenza. It sounds really good. I listen primarily to acoustic genres such as jazz, classical, and film scores, and it works perfectly for my musical interests.

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    Re: Subwoofer 101

    For me, for music:

    The main reason for using Subs is not for more bass it's to add "dare I say it" a presence to your room. As you set it up, on 95% of music, if you can hear the sub, then it's too loud, turn it down -- either the crossover frequency or volume, maybe both. I know, its counter intuitive.

    Also, I find that 2 subs is the way to go in a system. Again, a common thought is bass is non directional and it's mono yada yada yada. All I know is, 2 sound much much better than one.

    If a sub is for home theater then - yes you will hear it and one is fine, but that's a totally different set up and use.

    Enjoy and it takes some time listening to get it set up right.
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    Re: Subwoofer 101

    Quote Originally Posted by the professor View Post
    For me, for music:

    The main reason for using Subs is not for more bass it's to add "dare I say it" a presence to your room. As you set it up, on 95% of music, if you can hear the sub, then it's too loud, turn it down -- either the crossover frequency or volume, maybe both. I know, its counter intuitive.

    Also, I find that 2 subs is the way to go in a system. Again, a common thought is bass is non directional and it's mono yada yada yada. All I know is, 2 sound much much better than one.

    If a sub is for home theater then - yes you will hear it and one is fine, but that's a totally different set up and use.

    Enjoy and it takes some time listening to get it set up right.
    I agree with everything you wrote except for the two subwoofers part. The aesthetics of the room will not allow for two subwoofers, and my enjoyment of music is influenced by the visuals.

    I don't have a home theatre system, and even if I did, I do not watch action/adventure movies, so I don't need assistance with explosions.

    I have the crossover set moderately, as should be the case with the styles of music that I listen to. And I agree, the work of the bass is primarily carried by the speakers. The subwoofer adds low-end ambience which creates a more realistic sound.

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Subwoofer 101

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