Opinions on Getting Mains with Good Bass for Music

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Doug_B, Aug 17, 2001.

  1. Doug_B

    Doug_B Screenwriter

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    I'm looking for some feedback from those who have purchased floorstanding mains as part of their HT system and who value good bass response for their 2 channel music (I guess that's just about everyone who likes music [​IMG] ). I have been doing the HT speaker hunt for a few months. I had been living with a 2 speaker system for my entire audio life (~ 25 years), including floorstanders with good bass for almost 20 years (but they died last year). Due to this heritage, I have up to this point been looking at floorstanders that have decent bass response. Even though I plan on getting an SVS sub with my system (can I ignore all the posts?), I feel the need for my mains to be able to handle my music needs down low, supporting mostly classic rock plus offshoots.
    I'd like to know what other folks have discovered that have gone down this path, relative to how their subs help the low end for 2 channel music. More recently, my auditions have included more listening to a sub working hand-in-hand with the mains for music, albeit the sound isn't quite as integrated as mains that have good punch down low (haven't heard an SVS yet). More specifically, I am quite impressed with the Paradigm Studio 100s (not just for bass) and have no doubt that all my 2 channel music needs can be accommodated by them. But I'm also auditioning other mains that don't have the same slam as the 100s and am not sure if a sub will sound quite as good as "hefty" mains such as the 100s do for my music. Basically, I'm just feeling insecure about not having good bass in my mains and am wondering if these feelings are ill-founded. Of course, only I can be the final judge, but I won't have the opportunity to demo mains with an SVS until I've narrowed down the selection to a few and hopefully be able to bring them home for a demo.
    Just to be clear, I am not referring at all to movie sound, where there is no doubt in my mind (and in my ears, chest, legs, etc) that a sub does wonders.
    Thanks.
    Doug
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    "Today is a good day to die." ...Old Lodge Skins
     
  2. Bob_A

    Bob_A Supporting Actor

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    I usually recommend buying the "best" mains that you can afford (that are priced within your budget)...the mains with "deeper" bass will let you cross over at a lower point if you are running an external sub. And of course there is always the appeal of a large floorstander for music, though sub/sat combinations can sound quite good.
     
  3. Martice

    Martice Screenwriter

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    Well I've owned the Paradigm 100v2's and I loved them. Although I eventually sold them for a pair of PSB Goldi's I consider both to be very fine performers for the blue collar HT NUT like myself. In regards to if you need a sub with your Paradigms or not, I can say NO & YES. I must ask what type of amp are you running? The reason I ask is because if you want that full bodied feeling from the P100's are know to have, you need to feed them good quality power. I didn't say expensive necessarily but good & powerful with a lot of headroom regardless that your speakers are very efficient, the less strain that is evident from you power source, the more information you will be able to take in at lower volume levels as well as higher. Secondly, your room size will play a big factor, especially since you like Rock Music and certain off shoots. If your room is very large and you like to play your music at semi-concert levels, then you migh want to use a sub with your mains. However, if you don't exceed high levels of volume regularly and your room isn't extremely large, then I would recommend that you use your P100's for music because they do perform well with 2-channel music from their detailed highs to those tight and strong lows. Then again, you have people who would use the sub regardless, especially if they listen to pipe organ music or Hip Hop etc. Since you're getting a sub anyway you can always experiment and see what you like best. Keep this in mind..More bass doesn't NECESSARILY mean that it sounds better.
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    What if it gets no better than this!?!
    [Edited last by Martice on August 17, 2001 at 06:23 AM]
     
  4. Steve_Ma

    Steve_Ma Second Unit

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    I am not really at the "audiophile" stage just yet, but if I read your posty correctly, I do not believe you have much to worry about re: solid mans and the inclusion of a sub. I also believe that good clean power will be your friend here.
    My priority is Audio with HT being a secondary (though significant) consideration. I also bought the best mains I could afford at the time. I found that the inclusion of a sub yielded a VERY big improvement of the sound quality coming from the mains. I believe thaat taking the bass load off the mains freed them up for much better clarity from the midrangge on up. That being said....I spent forever tweaking and calibrating my setup. The integration of the sub, initially left some holes in the bass response. I needed to experiment ad nauseum with sub placement and the SPL meter. I finally have it dialed in and when I think back, it was worth the headaches. My setup today sounds much better than it did 10 months ago.
    Good Luck.
    --Steve
     
  5. Martice

    Martice Screenwriter

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    Steve what full range floorstanders do you own and what room size do you have? Just curious.
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    What if it gets no better than this!?!
     
  6. ken thompson

    ken thompson Second Unit

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    Definitely audition the Boston Acoustics VR 975's. Mucho bass in these things (10" 150 watt powered sub in each). the 975's were Bostons flagship floorstander for a while but I think they've come out with some higher end models now. I paid $1400 for my pair you can probably find them for much cheaper now. The VR 12 center is a beast too and matches the mains perfectly.
     
  7. James Edward

    James Edward Supporting Actor

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    PSB Status Gold/ Gold i
    They do quite nicely on music and have a 'quick', detailed bottom end. No flabby bass, with an excellent midrange, and for the loud crowd- they do loud.
     
  8. Steve_Ma

    Steve_Ma Second Unit

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    Hi Martice,
    I have a set of B&W 603-S2s for mains. I do not believe that they should be considered real "full-range" speakers, so I might have been commenting out of turn (maybe out of my league). But the inclusion of the sub, while difficult, yielded a significant improvement in my audio performance. I did neglect to mention, that once this was set up, the low end punch was also significantly improved. You can feel the kick of the bass drum nicely, as well as very low bass guitar notes. The sub is a B&W ASW1000. It's great for HT, but only OK for music, and there are better units out there for the $. The room is an acoustic abomination, which further complicated calibration. It is approx 12x30x12 with all hardwood (old colonial in NE). Lots of sound dampening material helped a great deal, but the speakers are not the most aproppriate, given my room dimensions. I would have been better off with strong bookshelves and a more musical sub. I do hope to build an addition in the next couple of years, and expect those room dimesions will better accomodate my setup as well as future upgrades.
    --Steve
    [Edited last by Steve_Ma on August 17, 2001 at 07:44 AM]
     
  9. Chad Isaacs

    Chad Isaacs Supporting Actor

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    Check out some Klipsch floorstanders.I own a pair of sf-2 for the mains.Alot of times I turn the svs off during music just to get my moneys worth...I am never disappointed.They msrp for $650 for the pair.If you want to spend more,the higher lines are very nice also.
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  10. Doug_B

    Doug_B Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the feedback thus far.
    As far as room size is concerned, I'm working with 13x20x8, with the mains on the 13' wall. The room is fully enclosed, as I have recently closed up the 2 room openings with bifold doors.
    As far as electronics go, they are on my purchase list as well; it's going to be an all new system. Makes the selection process more complicated, but lotsa fun [​IMG] I am currently planning on separates and am eagerly awaiting Outlaw's 950. As I narrow down the speaker candidates, I'll be getting more serious about amp selection. I figure I'll end up with a 150-200 wpc amp.
    My motivation for this thread is based on the fact that I may end up choosing mains that have less bass slam than preferable to me but better sound in the mids and highs. Taking the Studio 100s as a baseline (which I perceive as having sufficient bass for music), if I found a speaker that sounded better to me in the mids and highs but didn't quite reach the bass output of the 100s for music, would the sub be able to (seamlessly) fill in the so-called gap?
    Case in point: Listened to Monitor Audio Gold Reference 20s recently. Not as much slam as the Studio 100s for sure, but to me a perceivable (but not large) difference in the mids and highs that I may prefer to the 100s. Although different sounds at these freqs, I do perceive the overall quality of these two, sans bass, to be close. Now, whether the higher price of the 20s is worth it is another question entirely; I continue to be impressed with the value of the Studio 100s for the sound they produce!
    In terms of HT and crossovers, I would minimally want mains that can be crossed over at 60Hz (let's say with a 12 db slope). This provides additional flexibility to achieve the best sound possible. If an 80Hz crossover sounds better, so be it, but at least I'd have the flexibility. I expect that any pair of mains I get to satisfy my music desires should have no problems supporting a 60Hz/12db crossover for HT anyway.
    Doug
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    "Today is a good day to die." ...Old Lodge Skins
     
  11. Len Cheong

    Len Cheong Second Unit

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    Chad, if your still there, have you heard the Klipsch sp1s? They look like the sf-2s but instead have a 5.25 inch woofer and an 8 inch powered woofer. The bass on these speakers were unbelievable. I had to check if the 15 inch sub in the store was on. I was thinking of picking them us since they were also $650 for the pair.
     
  12. Stan T

    Stan T Stunt Coordinator

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    I have the Pioneer Elite TZ-700 system. The front mains have 300W subs in both speakers. They have great bass punch. They're great for music & home theater. A lot of people don't take these speakers seriously but you should definitely demo them at a dealer. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
     
  13. BruceD

    BruceD Screenwriter

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    Doug,
    I'm doing (music/HT - 80%/20%) but my music preference is female vocals (Sarah Mclacklin), jazz(fourplay), eric clapton-unplugged, etc.
    My mains are Dynaudio Contour 2.8 towers with a -3dB at 31Hz. To use a sub on music and HT, I use a Marchand XM9L electronic xover just before the main amp inputs. The xover slopes are symmetrical 24dB Linkwitz-Riley (better phase response than 12dB).
    I cross over at 60Hz (about 1 octave above my -3dB of 31Hz) with the bass sum switch enabled on the xover to an M&K MX700 powered sub.
    This gives me even more clarity in the mid-range of my mains plus I can hear all the individual notes from bass guitar, stand-up bass, piano, etc. very clearly and with punch.
    BruceD
    [Edited last by BruceD on August 17, 2001 at 11:27 AM]
    [Edited last by BruceD on August 17, 2001 at 11:30 AM]
     
  14. Martice

    Martice Screenwriter

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    As far as getting a sub goes, for music a sub for some is a neccesity. For others it's not and that comes regardless of speaker size. Owning the PSB Goldi's I can say that I've never made them cough when fed a low level signal at high volumes. As far as the mids & highs's, that's on you and what you like with the recordings that you listen too. I can say that right now for movies if I didn/t have a sub I could still be happy watching movies with the Goldi's. Do they have the overall impact that a sub would have? No!! But if setup properly, they will distribute very good and even 35-60hz bass even at loud levels without breaking a sweat. This is why I have chosen the SVS 20-39 to compliment my movie watching experience because all of that 40hz and below information can be handled by the 2039 and all the above information, the PSB's can handle easily. For movies a sub? I can see the argument but for music, unless you have a very large room no sub is neccesary when using the PSB goldi's for an envolving, warm and impactful music experience.
    [Edited last by Martice on August 17, 2001 at 11:39 AM]
     
  15. Doug_B

    Doug_B Screenwriter

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    Bruce,
     
  16. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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    Stratus goldi and paradigm studio 100v2 have comparable bass to the slim NHT 2.9 towers (retail $2500/pair, my NJ dealer discounts 35-40%). Or you can go up to the NHT 3.3 music series flagship with very good bass to the mid20hz (retail $4300)....like me, you can probably find a used pair under $2k.
    http://www.nhthifi.com/nht/listening/model33.html
     
  17. Greg_Bedard

    Greg_Bedard Agent

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    I would check out the Home Theater Direct towers at hometheaterdirect.com.
    They put out such great bass that I haven't even hooked up my subwoofer yet (plus, I live in an apartment).
    There's a review on them at cheaphometheater.com.
    This is, of course, if you're on a budget. I love them.
     

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