To sub or not to sub?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by tony^v, Dec 27, 2004.

  1. tony^v

    tony^v Stunt Coordinator

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    I just hook up my new Onkyo 602 with my old speakers(tower JBL in front and book shelfs design acoustics for center and rears).
    The new receiver really pushes my towers. I hear bass that my old pioneer receiver could not produce. I played a few movies (star wars, T2, etc.)and it sounds real good.I also played music as well and it sounded good.
    My question is:
    1)Do I need a sub?
    2)How much of a difference will it make If I get a sub?

    Right now my setup is 2 fronts 2 rears and 1 center so its not 5.1 but still sounds pretty good.

    PS I might change the fronts to book shelfs next year so I'm sure I will need a sub then but what about now?
     
  2. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    If you purchase a quality sub that has flat frequency response down to 25Hz or below, it will make a HUGE difference. Much of the LFE in todays DVD's is below the capabilities of your main speakers. That is why "5.1 surround" includes the ".1" - for a dedicated sub. Unless you have mains that can handle frequencies below 40-50Hz with authority, you need a sub if you want maximum enjoyment out of your HT.
     
  3. tony^v

    tony^v Stunt Coordinator

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    Here are the spec. for my speakers





    – J1000MV
    10" 3-Way Shielded Floor Standing





    SPECIFICATIONS:



    General Section
    • Recommended Power Amplifier Range: 10 - 175 watts
    • Nominal Impedance: 8 ohms
    • Woofer: 10" nitrile polymer fiber cone
    • Midrange Driver: 6.5" nitrile polymer fiber cone
    • Tweeter: 14mm composite dome
    • Frequency Response: 40Hz - 20kHz
    • Crossover Frequency(ies): 400Hz, 3.5kHz
    • Sensitivity: 92dB (1 watt/1 meter)
    • MSRP U.S.: $350.00 each


    I guess I need a sub.
     
  4. eddieZEN

    eddieZEN Second Unit

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    Virtually *ANY* sub, even the cheaper ones under $200, makes a difference especially if you're in a relatively small room.

    And if you're a bass freak, you can set your towers on "large" so that you'll be getting bass from both the sub and the mains at the same time.

    BTW, what JBL towers do you have? I was looking at the e90s which retail for around $600 at Best Buy but I can get for $300 shipped, but have heard some people complain that JBLs are very harsh sounding.
     
  5. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Do not be fooled by FR specs such as these. Without output variables (i.e. -6dB @ 40Hz) you cannot tell what the FR actually is. What good is a speaker that supposedly has a FR of 40Hz - 20kHz if it is producing far less output at 40Hz than it is at 100 Hz? This is why you will always see reputable sub manufacturers listing their frequency response as something like "-3dB @ 25Hz". Still, even if the JBL's you have are completely flat down to 40Hz (doubtful), you are still missing a great deal of low level information below 40Hz. You would benefit greatly purchasing a quality sub with flat FR down to say 25Hz or below,
     
  6. tony^v

    tony^v Stunt Coordinator

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    The JBLs I have are:

    – J1000MV
    10" 3-Way Shielded Floor Standing

    I bought them about 10 years ago @ topps.
    They sound pretty good with the new receiver. Not sure why? I still would like to replace them with atoms but not until I pay off the receiver first.
     
  7. ScottHH

    ScottHH Stunt Coordinator

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    According to the manual the J100MV Frequency Response -6db 40Hz - 20kHz

    So at 40Hz, power is only 25% vs. flat. Your main speakers cannot handle bass like a subwoofer can.

    I'm not sure what happens when you set the subwoofer to off. Either the information is lost, or it is sent to the main speakers. Can someone chime in here? Is this potentially bad for the main speakers as they can't produce super-low freqencies?



    That's not how I understand large/small works.
    The LFE channel is always directed to the sub.
    When you set the speakers to large, nothing is re-directed.
    When you set the speakers to small, the bass in that channel is re-directed to the sub.

    So if your speakers can't produce low bass, and you set them to large, you'll be hearing less bass than if you set them to small and directed the bass to a speaker that can produce those frequencies.

    My main speakers are -3db at 33Hz. And I get much more bass when my subwoofer is on. Since you seem to like the extra bass you're getting now vs. your previous setup, you'll likely enjoy the additional bass from a subwoofer.
     
  8. tony^v

    tony^v Stunt Coordinator

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    Scott what kind of main speakers do you have?
     
  9. ScottHH

    ScottHH Stunt Coordinator

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    They're NHT VT1.2's. I got them on close-out 5 years ago.
     
  10. ScottCHI

    ScottCHI Screenwriter

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    with an "LFE+Main"-type (or similar) subwoofer setting in the receiver (and many receivers have this sort of setting), redundant low bass information IS sent to the subwoofer. this is generally not desirable, but probably works for many people because their mains are not truly full-range speakers, and are rolling-off through the low bass region, therefore diminishing the redundancy. many people like the "thump" this setting can add to their music versus running their mains as SMALL. but an "LFE+Main"-type setting with mains that can truly go down to, say 30Hz or lower, would sound very bassy in almost all but the hairiest of situations.

    and there are other, "less conventional" ways to get the low frequency bass and/or LFE into BOTH the sub AND mains, too. such as connecting a sub to a receiver's front pre-outs instead of the sub-out, running the receiver set up with no sub, and utilizing the sub's low-pass filter, for example.

    (ok, sheesh, time to quit editing this post.)
     
  11. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    If your mains are incapable of low bass output (not many are) you are much better off setting your speakers to "small" and having the sub handle the frequencies it was designed for. Otherwise, your receiver/amp is trying to amplify frequencies that the speaker is incapable of reproducing (the amp does not know the speaker's limitations, so it is trying to send power for the bass), thus wasting power that could be better utilized in the frequencies the speakers can reproduce. You are actually limiting your output, not increasing it.
     
  12. ScottCHI

    ScottCHI Screenwriter

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    exactly.

    and along the same lines, this gives your main speakers' woofers a break, as well. the result (and it may take more than a brief listen to realize it) is usually improved upper-bass and low-midrange clarity.

    i know there are many people who DO want to run their mains "full-range" AND have a sub track for 2-channel music, though.
     
  13. tony^v

    tony^v Stunt Coordinator

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    So if I add a sub and set my main to small is the 10 woofers on my main being wasted?
    Will the over all sound in my system be louder because my rx is not working as hard?
     
  14. ScottCHI

    ScottCHI Screenwriter

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    well, not necessarily. but the overall sound level you are able to reach CLEANLY may be increased. is loudness your goal?
     
  15. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Quite right. Loudness means nothing if it is riddled with speaker killing distortion. Clean output is what we want and letting the receiver/amp concentrate on the less power hungry frequencies above 40Hz or so is one way to ensure more clean power.
     
  16. Nathan W.

    Nathan W. Stunt Coordinator

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    Why not 3 sub?
     
  17. ScottCHI

    ScottCHI Screenwriter

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    [​IMG]
     
  18. frank manrique

    frank manrique Supporting Actor

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    Every sound set up must have a subbass system...and the larger and numerous the size and number of subwoofers used the better...plain and simple!

    I know all of this sounds crazy...I know is a costly venture...I know it takes up a lot of room...I know, I know, I know...etc., etc., etc., but in the final analysis there just is no replacement for displacement... [​IMG]

    -THTS

    "...hi, my name is Frank...and am an SVS bassaholic..."
     
  19. tony^v

    tony^v Stunt Coordinator

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    Ok I agree you need a sub for movies but what about music?
    Are there any good sounding sub thats good with music and that won't break the bank?
    And that not a girlie sub [​IMG]
     
  20. eddieZEN

    eddieZEN Second Unit

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    Subs are awesome for music, esp. if you don't have mammoth tower speakers.

    The JBL Northridge subs are quite good for their price range, you can get the e150 or e250 for $160-240 on eBay new.

    Otherwise the really good subs start at $400 and up for Velodyne, SVS, Hsu, etc.
     

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