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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I've got a nice pair of tower speakers that respond well down to 45Hz – every now and again I get the urge to acquire a subwoofer, but I'm worried that the listening experience won't be hugely different.

If I did get one, it seems logical to me that it would need to be able to hit the low 20 Hz range to get below where the speakers play at.

Can someone offer their opinion on the value of a sub in this situation? Is that bottom 20 Hz from 20 to 40Hz really significant to a relatively untrained ear?

Thanks for everyone's opinion

b
 

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Hi, is this mostly for music or movie listening?

For movies there is a HUGE difference having a sub that reaches down to below 20Hz. It will add not detract from the listening experience if you get a decent one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
At the moment, its just for music, but in future my system will do double duty for music and HT.

I know that this is a tough ask for a sub to get low and stay nice and dynamic... I'm a bit of a DIY person and was thinking of this from Creative Sound Solutions http://www.creativesound.ca/pdf/Quartet10_Subwoofer_Kit.pdf

But only if the sound improvement is "significant"
 

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As I am not well informed on DIY subs so I really cant comment. Im sure someone will chime in soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I guess its more of a general question re the significance of hitting that last 20-25 Hz.

Sure, I can see that if someone has bookshelf speakers, a sub would certainly make a difference - but for towers...?

How much music uses that sub 45 Hz range?
 

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DIY is a great way to get a great sub at a good price. You can also get a lot of help/info on DIY subs here.

A quality sub adds a lot to both music and movies. Having "full range" speakers can be an advantage when you add a sub. You can set the subwoofer's x-over lower so that it only does what it's designed to do-reproduce low frequencies.

FWIW-I had the same questions long ago and ended-up adding a sub (M&K MX-80) to my "full range" speakers (Kef Ref. 104.2 at the time); there was I big difference with music that was more than just "more" bass. It seemed to add depth to the soundstage, too. I've never had a system without a sub since.
 

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I can say for sure that adding a sub to music will give you depth like Gary mentions that you have not heard before. There is lots of information in music below 45Hz. down to around 30Hz
I have two systems that I use full range speakers and both sound better with a sub.
 

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An absolute must have in my opinion. A good sub must really be heard to truly understand what it is you're missing. For music the improvement is considerable but for movies it's paramount. Like Tony I can provide no help for the DIY route but there are plenty here with the knowledge to help you along. Good luck.
 

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Tony is correct. Just as an example, the low E on a bass guitar is ~41Hz. A 5 string bass' low B is ~31Hz. My point is that there's plenty of "sound" in the low frequencies when listening to music. A pipe organ can hit 18Hz!! That's REALLY low.

IMHO you have not heard a movie's soundtrack unless you've felt it with a good sub. Check-out some of these movies!

There's a link to DIY subs in my first post (and here) if you need it. Good luck!!
 

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Not only will a good sun get you lower bass but it is designed to reproduce those frequencies so it will sound much better. Your speakers may be rated down to 45hz but that is most likely 3dB quieter than the rest of the frequency range being played.

Then there is the ever so important fact that with your towers being run full range you are making your receiver power this lower range. The lower the frequency the more power needed. Bass EATS UP power QUICK!!! So by getting a sub you let the amplifier on the sub produce around 80hz & below. The amp is paired with the driver to do this very efficiently. This in turn frees up a lot of power in your receiver which makes the towers sound much better!!

You will have more & better bass because the sub is designed for that. Your towers will have better clarity & dynamics because they are doing what they are designed to do, play the mids/highs. All components will be playing what they are best at playing, everything will be running more efficiently!!! Ultimately.....BETTER SOUND ALL AROUND!!

Note: a speaker rated at -3dB at 45hz shouldn't be crossed over in the receiver any lower than 60-80hz. So once you get a sub (because you should) set all speakers to small & set the crossover to each speaker around 20hz above their rated -3dB otherwise known as F3. In your case the F3 on your towers is 45hz most likely. It might even be higher!!

Conclusion: Get a sub!!! :D
 

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For about $80 you can get a decent subwoofer from www.monoprice.com
This will give u a pretty good idea as to how much a sub will help you enjoy your listening experience.
If you dont think it adds much, they will accept a return.
My thinking is the cheaper the speakers the more you need a sub, the better your speakers the less u need a sub for music. always need a sub for movies and rumbling effects.
Ken
 

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If you DIY I'd look into a Rythmik kit. One of the best subwoofers there are for music.
http://www.rythmikaudio.com/diy.html
http://www.rythmikaudio.com/products2.html
I've heard A LOT of great things about Rythmic, too. If you are going the DIY route, a lot of people have had good results getting parts from Parts Express too.

A quality sub makes a huge difference with movies and music. Opinions vary about x-over settings though. You do relieve the amps in your AVR from using power to reproduce bass by setting the x-over higher (~60 to 80Hz for example), but if your mains will play low already, setting the sub's x-over lower (<60Hz for example) usually helps the sub sound cleaner. There are a lot of factors, opinions and pros/cons involved though. I suggest that you get/build the best sub that your budget allows and be prepared to spend a little time playing with the location and settings to get the best sound.

BTW-placement is another reason to buy a subwoofer. The best place to enhance bass (a corner) is NOT the best place for most speakers. With a sub, you can place the speakers in a location that gets the most out of them-usually away from wall/corners-and put the sub in a different location to get the most out of it-usually close to walls/corners.

Simply put, the best location for midrange/highs is the worst place for bass. This is a general statement and depends on many factors, but it is true ~90% of the time.
 

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The other advantage of a sub is it can be placed in the room for the best bass which is the worst place for your mains as far as imaging and soundstage as they like to be pulled out into the room a couple of feet. A sub will always handle frequencies 50Hz and down better than mains while freeing the mains up of that duty making them even tighter just my thoughts.
 
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