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How Many Separate Subs in Your System?

Most home-theater sound systems include one or more subwoofers that are separate from the main speakers. In fact, I generally recommend using separate subs at least for movie soundtracks, which often include lots of low frequencies, because the best placement for bass drivers in a room is often not the same as the best placement for the drivers that reproduce the rest of the audio range. And the judicious placement of more than one sub can significantly smooth out the bass response of most rooms so that everyone can enjoy the same great bass no matter where they sit. On the other hand, many audiophiles prefer to have full-range main speakers, claiming that the sound is more integrated than it can be with separate subs.

How many separate subs do you have in your system? Or do you use full-range main speakers without a sub? What led you to your decision in this regard?

Vote to see the results and leave a comment about your choice.

How Many Separate Subs in Your System?

Animal1984's picture

I only have one for now due to financial constraints, but am planning on going for 2 12's when I get the time and money to upgrade

theshape31's picture

I use studio monitors, regardless of the source, for the most transparent sound reproduction possible. I hear the soundtrack of a movie or the side of a vinyl record in its most true and pure form. I stand in the vast minority, but this is my preference. I expect almost no one to see things the same way.

mikerr's picture

I have a front firing and a down firing. The results are stunning

danne's picture

I use full range fronts for music listening and also have a sub for movies, it produces a little too much bass but I like to have the room shake a bit without cranking up the volume.

true audio's picture

I'm having the sub dilemma. Purchase the Definitive ST Mythos,BP 8080's or go with 2-Mythos 10's and 2-6000 sub's. The rest of my speakers consist of a CLR-3000 center,BPVX-surrounds,and PRO-1000's for rear.I keep hearing good things and read all the reviews about the towers, but will I be happier going seperate ? Any experienced input would help.

mblackm2's picture

I actually own the BP8040ST for my fronts along with the CS8060HD for my center. I'm currently in an condo and the 8040's provide more than enough bass. I watched a movie last night and for action scenes, I kept my Onkyo's volume in the 30's!! The 8080 (BP or Mythos ST) would be insane. With that said, I will probably get dual SVS subs once I get a dedicated home theater. But you're dilemma is one that I had. Built in subs or separate? I went with both. I will say that I love my DefTech towers. So I would ask how big is your room, are you more movies or music, etc. I talked with a DefTech rep and he recommended the BP for movies and Mythos for music. I hope some of this info helps. Good luck with your decision

mweston's picture

Frankly from my experience and research that Harmon has done one subwoofer is not enough for a room. Harmon's data suggests that 4 subwoofers are ideal for a room with 3 subs a good solution and 2 subs a big improvement over one. I think the one sub solution for multichannel sound is a bad one and was motivated by concerns over public acceptance and costs. I run my B&W 801 Nautilus speakers as large with a Velodyne ULD 15 for each speaker. Other than running some Velodyne bass management in the circuit as a fine tuning of the system, I don't feel an overwhelming need to do room correction. I like the way it sounds. I think Dolby and DTS should have specified at least 2 separate sub channels in the beginning. If you notice, the new pre/pros are offering 2 sub outputs, but not in stereo. At least things are improving slowly. I may add a sub in the ceiling as a rear channel one for a more immersive experience.

true audio's picture

Thanks guys for your comments.

mblackm2's picture

I'm jealous that you get a full basement for your HT. Although the French doors limit light control, I'm sure movies still look great at night. What TV or projector do you have?

I've heard the Mythos and I think they sound great and I'm sure they would do well with movies. I'm like you in getting the separate subs bc that will allow for more output on the lower frequencies and take some strain off the towers. I'm planning on using 2 Y splitters to accommodate my 4 subs. Although, I just read about a new Onkyo with 4 sub outputs.

And although I'm relatively new to this hobby, I can tell you from experience to build your HT piece by piece with EQ that you really want. I tried to buy my whole setup at once and since I've been upgrading basically everything piece by piece. And that mistake has been costly.

When are you looking to buy the Mythos STS and/or your dedicated subs? Do you know what kind of sub you want?

true audio's picture

Since my original question was directed at subs in towers,has anybody been able to listen to both speakers in the same room.Which was the favored? And did you see the need for additional subs.

Jarod's picture

In my home theater I have two HSU Research VTF-2 MK4's.

2orque's picture

I have 2 subs in my setup. Each of my subs has 2 10in subwoofers in them. They are Toby Cube 14, from a local speaker builder in my area. Here is a link I have a 20 by 20 room and you can fill your insides shake when the subs hit.

DS-21's picture

There is a collection of different published measurements of different "full range" systems here:

All of them are awful, with the possible exception of the "backloaded horn," which simply doesn't have any meaningful bass extension.

If you want high-fidelity reproduction of upper bass in a domestic setting, you need multiple subs, full stop. And they need to be in different spots from your mains speakers. (Or, arugably, they can be co-located with the mains, but should be dipoles or cardoids then.)

I currently use four subs, one in a front corner, two distributed in the listening area, and one above the room centerline. The end result is a subwoofer system that's within ±1.5dB of my target curve (following the Harman room correction preference research, I set my system to have declining sound power with frequency) at 1/6 octave smoothing from 16-150Hz.

true audio's picture

For those using 4 subs.How big is your space,how did you place them,how long did it take to get them dialed in?

aforms's picture

I use 4 subs in my home theater.

Two of my subs are Definitive Technology's floor-standing bipolar supertower loudspeaker with built-in powered subwoofer (front L & R), one center channel loudspeaker with built-in powered subwoofer & One supercube reference

yachtmandu's picture

Subwoofers Forever

We are the minority. The rest of the tech lemmings will faithfully step off the cliff into imaginary audio bliss, all the while, clinging to their sub-woofers like lead parachutes. You need a sub-woofer because your speakers don't have real woofers. The manufacturers have figured out a way to sell you extra speakers because they are too lazy or too incompetent to build real full range speakers. Next: sub-tweeters. You will need these along with a 90's, where audio goes to die, Honda. The new generation has taken over - a bunch of suckers.