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Alternative to surround and subwoofer? (1 Viewer)


May 17, 2004
Has anyone tried using floor standing speakers instead of a pair of surround speakers and a subwoofer? This idea just came up, and I thought I'd run it by some of the folks here.

I've been listening to various subwoofers and it may be just me, but I've not been impressed. They either sound too boomy, or have a slight lag in reponse. I must admit have not heard any SVS units and they seem like great subs judging from all the reviews I've seen (users as well as HT magazine editors).

If anyone has done this before or not, I'd appreciate any comments/suggestions. Some of the questions that came to mind: Should these rear floor standers complement my front ones? Looking for suggestions for speakers with slightly more bass than what I already have. Budget's around $800 for the pair.

Here's my current system:

Yamaha RX-V2400
B&W DM603 S3


Stunt Coordinator
Mar 4, 2004
We've run Mission 753F sub-40Hz floorstanders for years. Like you, we looked seriously at bigger floorstanders for that sub 30Hz impact. We listened to big B&Ws and Dalis without being really excited. We also listened to a range of commercial subwoofers. They all went loud. But they didn't say much about what was really happening in the bass. It was just louder. Not clearer. :b

Then we started reading about SV Subwoofers on the local AV/HT forum. Further browsing suggested these opinions were shared worldwide. So recently we added a 16-46 PCi SV Subwoofer. We set it to a flat frequency extension for music and tweaked a bit for films.

There is no way on earth IMO that our floorstanders come within a mile of the subwoofer's performance on music, satellite TV, video or DVD films. Simply no comparison whatsoever.

We even use the sub and Missions for normal satellite TV watching now. Because it adds so much to the clarity, reality and enjoyment. Even on documentaries there is so much hidden away in the bass that adds enormously to the sense of reality!

Most importantly: We find having the sub saves us winding up the volume just to enjoy the bass effects. We can relax to normal levels on dialogue and still get great bass. Instead of everything being much larger than life and exhausting to listen to after just a few minutes.

The secret to successfully using a sub with floorstanders is effortless depth and low distortion extending below the main speaker's roll-off point. The average box sub doesn't go much lower than your 603s. All they can do is add more bass to what you already have. Boom, boom, boom!

For $800 an SVS should be higher up the priority list than bigger floorstanders IMHO.

Bigger florstanders may well boom you out of the room without offering any increased extension. They are usually rather fixed in their ideal positioning and usually need lots of air round them. A decent sub is far more flexible in its positioning and adjustment.

If you don't believe any of this you should simply arrange a listening session with a local SVS owner. Then you'll know what the fuss is all about. Effortless, very low frequency extension with superb definition and unbelievable clarity. Down to 15Hz in my case. I've measured it!



Wayne Ernst

Senior HTF Member
Feb 24, 2002

Like you, I haven't been too impressed with subwoofers that are sold at audio stores. Granted, I haven't had a chance to hear $2K+ subs from Velodyne, so I can't comment on their capabilities. However, because of this fact, I've preferred the "D.I.Y." route because I like to pick trusted drivers to use within the subs.

But, this doesn't limit you in any way. There are lots of great members here who offer great subs that start out at $399 and perform quite well.

Acoustic Visions sells both unifinished and finished subs and you can pick from a good selection of driver to utilize. Brian Bunge has the capability to make some outstanding cabinets, also. Adire Audio has the $399 "Rava" which is finished in a nice veneer and features the Shiva driver.

Many of the options I've listed above will provide sound that if these subs were sold at the retail level, the price would have to be doubled. Then, moving up the chain, you have HSU and SVS which feature completed subs.

Lots of choices, but lots of great products out there. :)

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