• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are many reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Tower with good bass extension vs. stand-mount with a sub?

Rotor

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 13, 2024
Messages
21
Likes
20
Having only ever had stand-mount speakers, I'm looking for some general comments on the trade-off's between large tower speakers and stand-mount speakers combined with a sub.

Specifically, I am considering the following setups to replace my current B&W 706 S2 speakers:

- Polk R700 tower with no sub.
- A small sub (Kef KC62, or similar), with either Revel M16's, Kef R3 Meta, or LS50 Meta.

I know listening is key, but I will not be able to listen to all these, and certainly not all of these in the same room.

I'm looking more for information on which direction gives which advantages/disadvantages - small speaker and sub vs. large tower.
 

GaryY

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 25, 2023
Messages
358
Likes
347
With my recent experience, I would recommend to measure your room before decision. When there is severe room mode (like my case or as expected in most case), subwoofer may help for bass frequency response.
 

Sokel

Master Contributor
Joined
Sep 8, 2021
Messages
6,501
Likes
6,662
I would go for Polk but that's just me who wants actual midbass and good integration down low without the need to do 20Hz in my rig.

I guess depends on your room,music,desired SPL,etc.
 
OP
Rotor

Rotor

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 13, 2024
Messages
21
Likes
20
With my recent experience, I would recommend to measure your room before decision. When there is severe room mode (like my case or as expected in most case), subwoofer may help for bass frequency response.
You mean that the gain/crossover settings available via a sub give more tuning options?

I should also have mentioned, perhaps, that I intend to integrate Dirac room correction into the system (MiniDSP SHD, or similar)
 

GaryY

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 25, 2023
Messages
358
Likes
347
You mean that the gain/crossover settings available via a sub give more tuning options?

I should also have mentioned, perhaps, that I intend to integrate Dirac room correction into the system (MiniDSP SHD, or similar)
At least with my primitive room correction skill, I could't find better way to fill out null and extend bass near to 20Hz in bass range without subwoofer. I was not planning subwoofer in the beginning, but there was no other way around.
I also change pre part to miniDSP SHD.

P.S.) I'm just newbie.
 

Keith_W

Major Contributor
Joined
Jun 26, 2016
Messages
2,835
Likes
6,531
Location
Melbourne, Australia
You are really not going to like my answer.

For ultimate quality, nothing beats a sub. The main reason why is because the requirements for speaker position for best bass and best spatial qualities are different. For spatial qualities, you want an equilateral triangle with sufficient distance from room boundaries to delay reflections as much as possible. For best bass, you want the speakers near room boundaries for more reinforcement. Obviously, if you have a one speaker doing everything, it is difficult to position them where they will simultaneously deliver the best spatial response and the best bass response. Using a subwoofer gives you this flexibility.

However, as Amir points out, subwoofers are for advanced users. Having gone through subwoofer problems myself, I have to agree. Integrating a subwoofer is not easy, and I would say it is impossible to integrate a subwoofer properly without DSP. Even with DSP, it can be a bit of a headache.
 

GaryY

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 25, 2023
Messages
358
Likes
347
You are really not going to like my answer.

For ultimate quality, nothing beats a sub. The main reason why is because the requirements for speaker position for best bass and best spatial qualities are different. For spatial qualities, you want an equilateral triangle with sufficient distance from room boundaries to delay reflections as much as possible. For best bass, you want the speakers near room boundaries for more reinforcement. Obviously, if you have a one speaker doing everything, it is difficult to position them where they will simultaneously deliver the best spatial response and the best bass response. Using a subwoofer gives you this flexibility.

However, as Amir points out, subwoofers are for advanced users. Having gone through subwoofer problems myself, I have to agree. Integrating a subwoofer is not easy, and I would say it is impossible to integrate a subwoofer properly without DSP. Even with DSP, it can be a bit of a headache.
In my experience, subwoofer was a kind of 3rd variable or knob which gives more flexibility of positioning mains. Do you think it's right understanding? I have tried the placing of mains without sub which gives flat responseas much as possible and then added sub and optimized.
 

Keith_W

Major Contributor
Joined
Jun 26, 2016
Messages
2,835
Likes
6,531
Location
Melbourne, Australia
In my experience, subwoofer was a kind of 3rd variable or knob which gives more flexibility of positioning mains. Do you think it's right understanding? I have tried the placing of mains without sub which gives flat responseas much as possible and then added sub and optimized.

One word answer: Yes :)

There are other benefits to adding a sub:

- removes low frequencies from the woofer, so less woofer excursion and therefore less distortion
- increases apparent amplifier power by removing low impedance regions of the frequency response from the mains
- if your mains are ported, you can probably seal up that port. I hate ports.
- subwoofers and proper bass seem to improve the spatiality of the sound.

The difficulties of subwoofer integration should again not be understated. Unless the OP is prepared to DSP and do measurements, he should forget the idea of adding a subwoofer.
 

GaryY

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 25, 2023
Messages
358
Likes
347
- if your mains are ported, you can probably seal up that port. I hate ports.

[/QUOTE]
!!! Oh...I haven't tried this one.
In these days I'm feeling I'm stupid because I couldn't manage to lower down the crossover lower than 120Hz. So I'm using only 120Hz~260Hz of f226BE :).

But happy that above 200Hz is quite flat without big effort.
 
Last edited:
OP
Rotor

Rotor

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 13, 2024
Messages
21
Likes
20
You are really not going to like my answer.

For ultimate quality, nothing beats a sub. The main reason why is because the requirements for speaker position for best bass and best spatial qualities are different. For spatial qualities, you want an equilateral triangle with sufficient distance from room boundaries to delay reflections as much as possible. For best bass, you want the speakers near room boundaries for more reinforcement. Obviously, if you have a one speaker doing everything, it is difficult to position them where they will simultaneously deliver the best spatial response and the best bass response. Using a subwoofer gives you this flexibility.

However, as Amir points out, subwoofers are for advanced users. Having gone through subwoofer problems myself, I have to agree. Integrating a subwoofer is not easy, and I would say it is impossible to integrate a subwoofer properly without DSP. Even with DSP, it can be a bit of a headache.
"You are really not going to like my answer."
I just 'liked' your answer ;) Thanks for all the information. I'm fine with doing measurements and it taking some time to get right.
 

GaryY

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 25, 2023
Messages
358
Likes
347
It is interesting that the port peak of my speaker is exactly 39Hz which is 1-0-0 of my room.
Revel F226Be On-Axis & Nearfield Drivers Response-1.png
 

Yorkshire Mouth

Major Contributor
Joined
Apr 22, 2020
Messages
1,447
Likes
1,406
Location
God's County - Yorkshire
One word answer: Yes :)

There are other benefits to adding a sub:

- removes low frequencies from the woofer, so less woofer excursion and therefore less distortion
- increases apparent amplifier power by removing low impedance regions of the frequency response from the mains
- if your mains are ported, you can probably seal up that port. I hate ports.
- subwoofers and proper bass seem to improve the spatiality of the sound.

The difficulties of subwoofer integration should again not be understated. Unless the OP is prepared to DSP and do measurements, he should forget the idea of adding a subwoofer.

I dunno. The advantages of a sub remain, without DSP. Many of the advantages of DSP would be ‘necessary’ for towers, too.

Don’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good.
 

Cbdb2

Major Contributor
Joined
Sep 8, 2019
Messages
1,635
Likes
1,610
Location
Vancouver
It is interesting that the port peak of my speaker is exactly 39Hz which is 1-0-0 of my room.
View attachment 354793
Dosn't plugging the port change the woofer response, as in adding a peak or dip above the cut off? Arnt you changing the loading of the woofers? I have some f226's and a sub and am thinking about try that.
 

GaryY

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 25, 2023
Messages
358
Likes
347
Dosn't plugging the port change the woofer response, as in adding a peak or dip above the cut off? Arnt you changing the loading of the woofers? I have some f226's and a sub and am thinking about try that.
my crossover way higher, so it would not affect with current setup. However I would like to see the response of main with blocked port. My current issue is null at 90Hz as well as at 100~130Hz.
 

Cbdb2

Major Contributor
Joined
Sep 8, 2019
Messages
1,635
Likes
1,610
Location
Vancouver
I would also like to see measurements while blocking the ports. Revel provides them with the speakers so it cant be that bad. Anyone have more info?
 

mj30250

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2021
Messages
473
Likes
1,201
I agree with Keith in that I always prefer a subwoofer (if not multiple) regardless of the capabilities of the speakers themselves. Integrating can take work, but with a preamp/AVR/etc armed with Audyssey XT32, Dirac, or similar, it can be made a lot easier. Even if you do utilize any of these correction systems, having a way to properly position and then validate the performance of your speakers/subs still requires measurements. A UMIK-1 and REW are very accessible and will provide those tools.

With that said, I'd prefer the speaker that provides the best tonality, off-axis response, directivity, and power handling for my needs and budget. With subs involved this makes bass extension capabilities less important, but the speakers I end up with tend to have good bass extension, too.
 
Top Bottom