Is Sub really needed?

TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
From what I heard ( and not very much) if you got some really good floor standing speakers a sub isn't going to add much if any. I tried one of the HSU subs I don't recall the model and my old L100T's sounded much better without the sub. Not saying the L100T's are great but they smoked that sub with ease.
For music you have a valid point. As I said the other day, subs are widely abused and so often lead to less accurate reproduction.

Since the advent of subs people have come to think of bass as 20 to 80 Hz when in fact most bass is in the 100 to 500 Hz range. 500 Hz is bass period and NOT midrange. The transition to midrange is on the 500 to 1000 Hz octave. The real bass power band is 80 to 500 Hz.

This is part of what I wrote the other day.

Whether a speaker rolls off at 40 Hz or 20 Hz is almost irrelevant. What really matters is a good power and response (not just frequency response) from 40 Hz to at least 400 Hz coupled with exemplary midrange and power response to at least 4 KHz. That is what is of primary importance.

This obsession with the last octave has led to the largest downgrade in most systems since the Hi-Fi era of the fifties. The content below 40 Hz of music is small. Most organs only have 16 ft principals and a speaker rolling off at 40 Hz can reproduce it perfectly. The 32 ft stops are infrequency engaged and almost always for transient effect.

So what is the modern curse. Speakers abounding with woefully inadequate power band response from 40 to around 800 Hz, coupled to a powerful sub turned up too high in a futile attempt to cover the above deficit. Currently there is a massive abuse of subs. I would bet that goes for the majority of member systems.

Now that goes for music. However the movie industry like sonic effects and even have a channel directed to subs called the LFE channel which goes up to 120 Hz and is directed to the sub along with content directed to the sub below crossover.

Certainly you are correct that it is easy to impair fidelity with the improper use of subs, which I believe to be common.

So if you are not into movies for you a sub is not essential. Not many speakers will handle the movie situation at required levels and unless the speakers are active you can't capture the LFE channel.

There are advantages to an integrated speaker I believe and that is what I use in my main AV room, but there is a little complexity to it in the home theater environment.

Integrated speaker or not, achieving really well balanced sound is still a challenge as you have found out. A loud booming sub is the antithesis of good balanced sound and a good speaker naturally rolling off is far preferable.
 
S

sterling shoote

Audioholic General
JBL's advertising promised its B380 Subwoofer supplementing my JBL L100's would get me a more satisfying experience with dance music and movies and it does. Case closed.
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Mikado463

Mikado463

Audioholic General
TLS, FWIW it's all in the interpretation ......250-500hz is widely known as 'lower midrange'. Regardless, I agree wholeheartedly with your post.
 
D

Danzilla31

Audioholic Samurai
For music you have a valid point. As I said the other day, subs are widely abused and so often lead to less accurate reproduction.

Since the advent of subs people have come to think of bass as 20 to 80 Hz when in fact most bass is in the 100 to 500 Hz range. 500 Hz is bass period and NOT midrange. The transition to midrange is on the 500 to 1000 Hz octave. The real bass power band is 80 to 500 Hz.

This is part of what I wrote the other day.

Whether a speaker rolls off at 40 Hz or 20 Hz is almost irrelevant. What really matters is a good power and response (not just frequency response) from 40 Hz to at least 400 Hz coupled with exemplary midrange and power response to at least 4 KHz. That is what is of primary importance.

This obsession with the last octave has led to the largest downgrade in most systems since the Hi-Fi era of the fifties. The content below 40 Hz of music is small. Most organs only have 16 ft principals and a speaker rolling off at 40 Hz can reproduce it perfectly. The 32 ft stops are infrequency engaged and almost always for transient effect.

So what is the modern curse. Speakers abounding with woefully inadequate power band response from 40 to around 800 Hz, coupled to a powerful sub turned up too high in a futile attempt to cover the above deficit. Currently there is a massive abuse of subs. I would bet that goes for the majority of member systems.

Now that goes for music. However the movie industry like sonic effects and even have a channel directed to subs called the LFE channel which goes up to 120 Hz and is directed to the sub along with content directed to the sub below crossover.

Certainly you are correct that it is easy to impair fidelity with the improper use of subs, which I believe to be common.

So if you are not into movies for you a sub is not essential. Not many speakers will handle the movie situation at required levels and unless the speakers are active you can't capture the LFE channel.

There are advantages to an integrated speaker I believe and that is what I use in my main AV room, but there is a little complexity to it in the home theater environment.

Integrated speaker or not, achieving really well balanced sound is still a challenge as you have found out. A loud booming sub is the antithesis of good balanced sound and a good speaker naturally rolling off is far preferable.
Hey in your opinion what manufactured brands do sell speakers that have a lot of power in this area? Just curious about your observations on this

One of these days I plan on going DIY but it will be a long time and a lot to learn before I'm ready

Just like to know what speakers that are sold retail do a good job anymore on this
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Hey in your opinion what manufactured brands do sell speakers that have a lot of power in this area? Just curious about your observations on this

One of these days I plan on going DIY but it will be a long time and a lot to learn before I'm ready

Just like to know what speakers that are sold retail do a good job anymore on this
I really don't know, as I don't listen to a awful lot of speakers. You can infer though. If a speaker crossover to a pretty small midrange below 400 Hz it won't cut it. I suspect the motor systems of a lot of these two ways with small drivers don't cut it either. If you build a two way speaker to perform accurately at concert levels then the small drivers must have robust motor systems even if the cones are fairly small. Morel drivers for instance, are good examples of smaller drivers that have big motor systems and also many offerings from SEAS.

If you take a 100 piece orchestra and add a choir and may be a huge organ, you have a lot of fundamental tones below 500 Hz. Fundamentals carry more power than the harmonics. So you can quickly see where your power resources need to be. A study of the frequency and power spectrum of instruments and human voices is something all speaker designers need to be very familiar with.

The FR curve by itself is just one important parameter by itself. It tells you nothing of maximum output against frequency which I don;t think is ever shown.

For those that don't believe that frequencies below 500 Hz are bass, then just try listening to speech with a sharp low pass at 500 Hz. I can assure you won;t understand a word if it! From a medical standpoint the speech discrimination band does not start until above 500 Hz. Yet the voice fundamentals are below 500 Hz and so that is were the power is.

We have had several post lately from people increasing the power to the fundamental frequency range of the human voice to increase speech intelligibility of human speech. Of course there efforts were worse than useless.

I think everyone needs to familiarize themselves better with the spectrum of the sounds around us in terms of power and spectrum and power of the parts of the spectrum. I don't think you can plan a system without understanding that. You certainly can not design a decent speaker without understanding it, but I bet there are many trying to and wondering why they fall short after a good FR.
 
Mikado463

Mikado463

Audioholic General
Hey in your opinion what manufactured brands do sell speakers that have a lot of power in this area? Just curious about your observations on this
I'll throw one out there ........ this past week while I was in to my local 'brick & mortar' to pick up my new CDP I got a chance to sit down for a bit and listen to these ..........


Never once did I feel there was anything lacking in the lower octaves. But then again there shouldn't be given their price !
 
D

Danzilla31

Audioholic Samurai
I'll throw one out there ........ this past week while I was in to my local 'brick & mortar' to pick up my new CDP I got a chance to sit down for a bit and listen to these ..........


Never once did I feel there was anything lacking in the lower octaves. But then again there shouldn't be given their price !
Damn those look nice I bet you most speakers that can do what @TLS Guy is speaking about ate not going to be cheap these days

I may be laughed off this site but I used to own these speakers Cerwin Vega MX250's I think they were called they weren't your standard Vega they were designed for the military

Those things weren't just loud they were very dynamic with no distortion at high levels but they were the big beast speakers from back in the day cast aluminum 12 inch drivers with a 6 inch midrange and a waveguide soft dome tweeter in a big big box but tuned to like 32hz.

I'm wondering if those older speakers back in the day just had better dynamics due to there size I mean some of this boils down to physics

I'm wondering if the new slender towers with all these multiple smaller drivers that try to dig deep affects there ability to really deliver the goods where it matters the most
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Damn those look nice I bet you most speakers that can do what @TLS Guy is speaking about ate not going to be cheap these days

I may be laughed off this site but I used to own these speakers Cerwin Vega MX250's I think they were called they weren't your standard Vega they were designed for the military

Those things weren't just loud they were very dynamic with no distortion at high levels but they were the big beast speakers from back in the day cast aluminum 12 inch drivers with a 6 inch midrange and a waveguide soft dome tweeter in a big big box but tuned to like 32hz.

I'm wondering if those older speakers back in the day just had better dynamics due to there size I mean some of this boils down to physics

I'm wondering if the new slender towers with all these multiple smaller drivers that try to dig deep affects there ability to really deliver the goods where it matters the most
Your observations are valid on all counts. Yes, in some aspects of design a lot of offerings from the last 20 plus years have gone backwards, but progressed in others. There is a reason a lot of the better older speakers get snapped up quickly on eBay.

The problem with a speaker like that Magico in the AV arena is how to properly capture and make use of the LFE channel. This is a problem I have solved and also the issue of precisely setting BSC to room and above all position in the room from boundaries. So I have a few tricks up my sleeve they don't.
 
Truthslayer

Truthslayer

Full Audioholic
I'll throw one out there ........ this past week while I was in to my local 'brick & mortar' to pick up my new CDP I got a chance to sit down for a bit and listen to these ..........


Never once did I feel there was anything lacking in the lower octaves. But then again there shouldn't be given their price !
Here you go. Talk about a full range speaker. I watched Steve Guttenberg speak about these speakers. He was so gob smacked with their sound quality he could hardly speak right.

 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Spartan
Your observations are valid on all counts. Yes, in some aspects of design a lot of offerings from the last 20 plus years have gone backwards, but progressed in others. There is a reason a lot of the better older speakers get snapped up quickly on eBay.

The problem with a speaker like that Magico in the AV arena is how to properly capture and make use of the LFE channel. This is a problem I have solved and also the issue of precisely setting BSC to room and above all position in the room from boundaries. So I have a few tricks up my sleeve they don't.
I think I recall you commenting favorably on the B&W 802 D3s I had an opportunity to listen to. They were one of the only speakers I've heard that I don't think I'd miss a subwoofer. I'm not a big fan of B&W's sound with most of their speakers but these are still the best sounding ones I've heard.

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Irvrobinson

Irvrobinson

Audioholic Spartan
I'll throw one out there ........ this past week while I was in to my local 'brick & mortar' to pick up my new CDP I got a chance to sit down for a bit and listen to these ..........


Never once did I feel there was anything lacking in the lower octaves. But then again there shouldn't be given their price !
I've never heard the S7, but I've heard three other Magico speakers and they all sounded very good. They do strike me as more fine sounding metal artwork than audio product. The difference is that pure artwork never becomes obsolete, but eventually all technology products, especially AV products, do become obsolete.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Spartan
I've never heard the S7, but I've heard three other Magico speakers and they all sounded very good. They do strike me as more fine sounding metal artwork than audio product. The difference is that pure artwork never becomes obsolete, but eventually all technology products, especially AV products, do become obsolete.
They're a lot prettier than those B&Ws I posted above, that's for sure.

I didn't see the price for those Majicos, but I'm guessing their out of my range, lol.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
I'm just really glad I design and build my speakers in house. That price is an eye watering "King's ransom!"
The C8 is the Corvette, not the speakers, although Magico has plenty more expensive speakers than a trifling $60k. Reportedly Tom Cruise is a huge fan of Magico speakers and gets his friends to buy them. Many of them measure very well, but the cost is still not justified, unless you just want a speaker that weighs 500 lbs.
 
Irvrobinson

Irvrobinson

Audioholic Spartan
I'm just really glad I design and build my speakers in house. That price is an eye watering "King's ransom!"
Yeah, but you don't make your cabinets out of 1/2" thick aluminum and give them automotive-class finishes. Not that I'm arguing aluminum cabinets sound better, but if you want metal sculpture this is what it costs.
 

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