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Subwoofer Advice Needed - ~$1500-$2000

Mehdiem

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I’m wondering if upgrading my sub from KEF Q400 to one of the below candidates would have a noticeable impact? In that case which sub (and size) would you go for?

- REL T7X
- KEF KC62
- I considered SVS Micro 3000 and loved the app, but I don’t like how it looks. So unless it’s significantly better than the above options, I prefer one of the first two options.
- Feel free to add you own suggestion to the list

My equipment are the following: amp= NAD 298, Preamp/DAC= RME ADI-2, speakers= KEF LS50, Streamer= Bluesound Node.

Note: I am planning to upgrade my speaker to either a floor-standing speaker (B&W 702 s2 or KEF Reference) or a better bookshelf (i.e, KEF R3) in the near future. Therefore, it would be great to get a sub that can integrate well with my future speakers too.

My room is irregular and acoustically untreated in the basements. Please see the flooring plan.
 

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jtwrace

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Personally, pic more subs rather than the typical "fast" blah blah blah talk. If you have 3-4 subs in your room properly setup, you will truly better off. Buy the best subs that you can afford within reason. My Rythmik's perform very well and the dollar per bang for the buck is great too. So many choices out there though! Buy quantity! :)
 

Tassin

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Consider the 1.000 W B&W DB4S. Comes with an excellent app.
 

dkinric

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Is this any better than REL TX7i? They are both in the same price range.
Yes. Primarily as the REL is an 8" driver, whereas the Rythmik is a 12". It's possible to get decent performance from smaller drivers, but generally it's much less expensive and easier with larger 10" or 12" drivers. REL looks nice and has good marketing, but as mentioned earlier, words like "musical" and "fast" are just made up marketing terms and have no real bearing on the performance.
You list dollars, but put the room dimensions in meters, so not clear if you are in the US or not. Companies like SVS and Hsu make great subs, but are more expensive outside the US. Rythmik are well respected as they use a servo technology to control the woofers, which gives a theoretical advantage, but has not been independently measured/verified as far as I know.
I would highly - HIGHLY - recommend getting two subs with either 10" or 12" drivers. This will give you more even bass throughout the room and give you plenty of headroom. Other considerations are built in DSP if you don't already have it. You might want to look at Paradigm and sister company Martin Logan for nice looking compact subs with DSP. You room is very similar in setup and size to mine. I have two Martin Logan Dynamo 800x to go with my Revel M105s and it's fantastic. Good luck!
 

HarmonicTHD

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Look at SVS usually better (less distortion than REL afir).

KC62 only for very small rooms and if Form factor is a major requirement. Otherwise better than REL
 
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Mehdiem

Mehdiem

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Yes. Primarily as the REL is an 8" driver, whereas the Rythmik is a 12". It's possible to get decent performance from smaller drivers, but generally it's much less expensive and easier with larger 10" or 12" drivers. REL looks nice and has good marketing, but as mentioned earlier, words like "musical" and "fast" are just made up marketing terms and have no real bearing on the performance.
You list dollars, but put the room dimensions in meters, so not clear if you are in the US or not. Companies like SVS and Hsu make great subs, but are more expensive outside the US. Rythmik are well respected as they use a servo technology to control the woofers, which gives a theoretical advantage, but has not been independently measured/verified as far as I know.
I would highly - HIGHLY - recommend getting two subs with either 10" or 12" drivers. This will give you more even bass throughout the room and give you plenty of headroom. Other considerations are built in DSP if you don't already have it. You might want to look at Paradigm and sister company Martin Logan for nice looking compact subs with DSP. You room is very similar in setup and size to mine. I have two Martin Logan Dynamo 800x to go with my Revel M105s and it's fantastic. Good luck!
Yes. Primarily as the REL is an 8" driver, whereas the Rythmik is a 12". It's possible to get decent performance from smaller drivers, but generally it's much less expensive and easier with larger 10" or 12" drivers. REL looks nice and has good marketing, but as mentioned earlier, words like "musical" and "fast" are just made up marketing terms and have no real bearing on the performance.
You list dollars, but put the room dimensions in meters, so not clear if you are in the US or not. Companies like SVS and Hsu make great subs, but are more expensive outside the US. Rythmik are well respected as they use a servo technology to control the woofers, which gives a theoretical advantage, but has not been independently measured/verified as far as I know.
I would highly - HIGHLY - recommend getting two subs with either 10" or 12" drivers. This will give you more even bass throughout the room and give you plenty of headroom. Other considerations are built in DSP if you don't already have it. You might want to look at Paradigm and sister company Martin Logan for nice looking compact subs with DSP. You room is very similar in setup and size to mine. I have two Martin Logan Dynamo 800x to go with my Revel M105s and it's fantastic. Good luck!
I read a few places that the larger sub isn’t necessarily better for a smaller room. Isn’t that correct? In particular, in this video, I hear that REL T7X sounds better than TX9.


Thank you for your through reply. I’m from Canada.

You are right that REL has better marketing and looks much better than the others. And I cannot say that I'm not impacted by it’s look (and potentially better residual value).

I looked that Martin Logan. Looks promising. I never considered using DSP for the subwoofer. But I am open to it. I always thought using live room correction could cause some inconsistency in your listening from time to time. Is this true? How consistent is it in your experience?

If I decide to go with DSP? Does it make sense to get the REL (for its look and residual value) and add an standalone DSP? Do I lose anything else compared to Dynamo 800?

How all these choices are compared to my current sub (KEF Q400)? For example, moving from Q400 to Dynamo 800 (single) or T7X could bring a noticeable difference?
 

Chrispy

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Are you extremely limited as to size of sub? Can't imagine keeping to just these small subs....
 
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Mehdiem

Mehdiem

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Are you extremely limited as to size of sub? Can't imagine keeping to just these small subs....
No, I’m not limited to the size of the sub. I just want to get the right size. When I said “the right size” I mean if a bigger sub could create more complications in a particular room, I don’t want to get the bigger one. But if it won’t create any issue I don’t mind getting the bigger one.
 

Chrispy

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No, I’m not limited to the size of the sub. I just want to get the right size. When I said “the right size” I mean if a bigger sub could create more complications in a particular room, I don’t want to get the bigger one. But if it won’t create any issue I don’t mind getting the bigger one.
Not sure what you mean by complications....bigger is just generally better when it comes to sub performance and room capabilities....not much advantage to small subs except for the size of the footprint....and definitely not a performance advantage, but rather disadvantage.
 
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Mehdiem

Mehdiem

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Not sure what you mean by complications....bigger is just generally better when it comes to sub performance and room capabilities....not much advantage to small subs except for the size of the footprint....and definitely not a performance advantage, but rather disadvantage.
What I meant by complications is whether a larger sub would create unwanted echos, delays, reflections, hum, etc.
 

Chrispy

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What I meant by complications is whether a larger sub would create unwanted echos, delays, reflections, hum, etc.
Why would it compared to a smaller sub? Room modes are what they are. Box limitations are what they are. Fear of larger subs is a weird audiophilia thing IMO.
 

Tassin

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The quality of the sub is more important than the numbers. Room modes are related to specific frequencies, not sub size. Producing bass is about moving air, so the more surface and power you have, the lower and/or louder bass you can produce. But for music you want tight, controlled bass, not a rumbling, messy bass. Therefore you need bigger magnets to control the woofers, or dual opposed woofers like the KC62 ... and the KEF KF92 (which is slightly above your budget (for now ;))).

A sub with DSP built in will address room modes. And the volume dial will help you adjust the sound pressure to your desired level.

I would rather go for a smaller woofer with bigger magnets and DSP, than simply the largest possible woofer for the same money.
 
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Mehdiem

Mehdiem

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The quality of the sub is more important than the numbers. Room modes are related to specific frequencies, not sub size. Producing bass is about moving air, so the more surface and power you have, the lower and/or louder bass you can produce. But for music you want tight, controlled bass, not a rumbling, messy bass. Therefore you need bigger magnets to control the woofers, or dual opposed woofers like the KC62 ... and the KEF KF92 (which is slightly above your budget (for now ;))).

A sub with DSP built in will address room modes. And the volume dial will help you adjust the sound pressure to your desired level.

I would rather go for a smaller woofer with bigger magnets and DSP, than simply the largest possible woofer for the same money.
Thanks! So what sub would you recommend in this case with your specified criteria (bigger magnet +DSP)? You mentioned the importance of a built-in DSP. So I guess KEF subwoofers (which don’t offer built-in DSP) are out of the question? Can you list your top 3 choices?
 

Spkrdctr

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I'm going to upset many people with this one. NO matter what, I would NOT get a REL. Period. They are way, way overpriced for what you get. They also engage in some snake oil marketing to sell their way over priced subs. You can do better at half the cost or less. If you just dodge the REL bullet, you will have done yourself a favor. We have had numerous sub threads and REL threads and they would be good resources to read. DSP is the way to go if you can. If not then don't worry about it. Good luck and buy the largest single sub you can or multiple smaller subs. A big sub with DSP will sound very good. Millions of people have great sounding subs using only one sub. But two is better for evening out the sub sounds across the different seating positions. Good Luck and let us know what you end up with!
 
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Mehdiem

Mehdiem

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I'm going to upset many people with this one. NO matter what, I would NOT get a REL. Period. They are way, way overpriced for what you get. They also engage in some snake oil marketing to sell their way over priced subs. You can do better at half the cost or less. If you just dodge the REL bullet, you will have done yourself a favor. We have had numerous sub threads and REL threads and they would be good resources to read. DSP is the way to go if you can. If not then don't worry about it. Good luck and buy the largest single sub you can or multiple smaller subs. A big sub with DSP will sound very good. Millions of people have great sounding subs using only one sub. But two is better for evening out the sub sounds across the different seating positions. Good Luck and let us know what you end up with!
Thanks. Reviewing a few threads in this forum demonstrates to me that REL doesn’t have too many fans here. I would be comfortable crossing it out in this case. Can you name a few brands and models (with DSP) that are your favorite? Also, you mentioned “two smaller subs would be better for evening out across seating positions” Can I conclude that given I’m the only listener always sitting in the center position, one sub would be just as fine?
 

Spkrdctr

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Yes, if you are the only listener, in many cases one is plenty. I have not done a deep dive into subs lately, but I can give you a few pointers. One is that I believe a remote (or phone) volume control is important. Many times movies and or music plays at different levels. For example, one movie has massive amounts of bass and another is very lacking in bass. You want to be able to adjust up or down without having to leave your seat. DSP is great if you can get it, it will add some cost though. I would stick with brands that have great customer service as subs sometimes need warranty work. So, volume control from your seat, DSP if possible, great customer service and even a good return policy just in case (rarely happens) that you just do not like it and want to return it. Now look at the size of your room. You will need to buy your sub based on the size of your room. If it is a small to medium room, you can probably get by with a 12 inch sub. If you have a large room will have to move up to a 15 inch sub. But as in everything, all this costs money. So, look around and see what is available in your area. If you want you can get a list of what you are interested in or are able to get in your area and private message me and I can give you some help. I'm here to be used! :)
 

Tassin

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If you go for 1 sub, I recommend placing it between your speakers, if possible. If you go for 2 subs, I would place them in both front corners which will give you an additional 6 dB for each sub.

My suggestions In alphabetical order:

a. BK XXLS400 (no DSP - 400 W - 12" - check shipment cost from UK, maybe get 2)
b. B&W DB4S (DSP - 1.000 W - 10" - in the middle of your budget)
c. Kef KF92 (no DSP - 1.000 W - dual 9" - slightly over budget)
d. 2x Lyngdorf BW-3 (no DSP - 400 W - 8" - crossover up to 200 Hz - very shallow - max budget, but you can start with one)
 
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