To Subs or not 2 Subs?

I need to replace my 20+ year old Mirage sub-woofer. I have heard many of the North American Youtube reviewers promote 2 small subs instead of one single sub for better all around room low end bass.

I am hearing good reviews on the REL T5i /7i has anyone gone down this path. If so how did it work out for you?

What’s it like without the sub at all, first question!

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Well without the sub the music sounds good but I find the lower end a little lean in the bass. The subwoofer seems to round out the sound it sounds fuller…
I am hoping to add better low end extension and the fuller sound I get with the sub. The mirage provides great bass when tuned properly. I would keep it in my music system but the internal amp is now humming whether in standby mode or in use. Quite annoying.

Having space enough, always better 2 (or 3, or 4 …) than one: easier to integrate and to reduce null spots.

I don’t have enough space without starting to interfere with steps and overload the house with electronics, so I have only one in each system, but quality ones and large. In our shoes, I decided on SVS and JL Audio, in each system according to the room, the system and the needs.

There are many people who think that the subs break that ‘magical purism’, but the reality is that when you integrate them properly and tune them well, not only do they expand the last octaves at a cost difficult to overcome by quality floorstanders, but they also greatly expand the soundstage and focus.

Even in the main system, with high-quality electronics and the sensational ProAc K6, the sub brings that extra soundstage magnification, focus and clarity across the entire frequency range.

The only two recommendations I would offer a friend would be:

  • Always the best sub that can be achieved, and better one of quality than two of lower quality.

  • Integration is optimal when the sub, or subs, are not heard or perceived.

Finally, REl has a very good reputation and reviews, but, instead, I would not rule out the SVS range (if the budget is more compromised) or the JL Audio range (if not have large budgetary restrictions). If you are in the USA, any of them would be much more on account than Rel.

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Thanks for passing on your experience. I was thinking of two smaller subs to enhance the soundstage…and it keeps the room wife approved as she is not a fan of the big boxes. I have also heard positive reviews of the SVS subs and of course it seems everyone is raving about the Kef KC 62.

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Try, if you can, JL Audio, probably the best in subs, and two smaller may be can be affordable.

If this is due to a fault in the sub I imagine it would be easy enough to fix, maybe just a faulty component that needs changing.

I would also suspect an external problem with grounding or interference, or even just a faulty cable. Perhaps worth investigating even if you change the sub as the problem may persist.

In this case, highly recommend to consider a sub(or two). If it sounds lean and not as impactful as you wished it to be, the sub will definitely help improve things to a more satisfactory level.

You may contact REL support for their recommendation. Initially I was looking at the T9x but they advised to get the S/510 instead.

I second what @ryder says. Using REL’s speaker pairing app on their website, they recommend the T9x for your Aria 926s regardless of room size. You could start with one and get a second one later if you feel something is lacking. John Hunter has some good videos on YouTube and articles on the REL website re: 1 vs. 2 subs. I have the Focal Chora 826D in my smallish listening room / theater paired with a single T5x. The difference between no sub and the T5x is substantial. FWIW, I highly recommend the REL brand, though I have no experience with SVS and I have only used JL subs in a car environment. Good luck.

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There is a huge advantage to having 2 subs with regards to placement and dispersion. With one sub you have the following problems to solve:

  • Positioning. Often involving crawling around on the floor while a 40Hz tone plays looking for the sweet spot where it sounds best and placing the sub there. But of course there might be a really inconvenient location.
  • Dispersion, room interactions from a single source generally mean that you can get the sub positioned and may get it sounding great for your listening position. But you may find that for other spots in the room there is a black hole, or that Thor’s hammer is pounding away under grandma’s chair.

Two smaller subs, greatly simplifies things. They can site next or behind your main speakers and the dispersion will be quite even throughout giving a more consistent experience for others in the room.

There are a few good articles online where two versus one is tested and was found that while quality beats quantity in almost everything, this is often not true with subs, where the benefit of two smaller subs over one was so significant that two low cost subs consistently outperformed a single expensive sub.

That’s not to say a single sub cannot be fantastic, but it takes a lot of care and may not be good for domestic harmony or shared rooms with more than one listener.

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This is exactly a thought I’m having. I run Focal Chora 816 with my Nova. They sound really good. I have a Powerline and Isoacoustics under the Nova and speakers. The idea of Kanta or Sopra sounds tempting but I really think if I add a sub I’d get in the neighborhood for waaaay less money. But actually, it’s sounds pretty darn good now which is why I haven’t yet.

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Absolutely agree. The “subwoofer crawl” setup method highlights why one sub is not going to work optimally. There are huge holes in the sound dispersion. This is mostly remedied by two subs in my experience. Also left and right channels can be supported individually.

I’m not aware of any AV processor that does that. AFAIK, the dual sub outs are both from the combined .1 subbass track on the mix.

You can of course just take a pre-out to each sub from L & R and let the sub’s crossover do the work.

A pair of REL T/7x . I use a single REL S/510

You may have guessed from others comments but the T series has now been upgraded from ‘i’ to ‘x’ and it wasn’t just a cosmetic makeover either if you get my drift.

As you can see from my profile I’ve got two T7/x subs and a small room, and they work brilliantly. It took some considerable time to find the right placement and to tune them in, but it was absolutely worth the effort! They really make a massive difference to the overall performance, not just the low end.

I’d suggest you engage with your nearest REL dealer and just start with a conversation, but try to get a demonstration and if you do decide to take the plunge, do not underestimate the importance of placement and tuning (oh and they take an age to run in too. Mine took a few months before their performance stopped improving).

I should probably say I was a dealer for over 10 years and in that time sold many brands of sub, but always had RELs in my system. I did countless training sessions with REL too, so I had a headstart…which is why I suggest you engage with a dealer. Too many times I read of people on forums who buy a sub, clearly have no idea how to set it up properly and then moan it doesn’t sound right/good etc.

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Yeah ok, sorry I thought we were talking about hifi use. I feel a high level connection from speaker terminals is best as your sub will take on the sound signature of the power amp feeding your speakers… That’s what’s always worked best for me and it’s how my semi active speakers are setup. I have a downward firing 12” woofer in each cab with a plate amp. That way, when a big kick drum or double bass etc is playing from one side, it’s only playing from one speaker. :smiley:

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If you have some hesitation, introducing a good quality sub is a no go back journey at a fraction the cost of a pair of quality floorstanders; and even with high end floorstanders it continues to be a no go back journey, IMHO.

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When DSPs class D power amplifiers begin to fail, there is usually no repair possible; I passed by with the great SVS SB 16 ULTRA and the complete sub was replaced, thanks to the guarantee and excellent after-sales service of SVS from the USA.

Not Wison Benesch Torus? (For music that is.) But far from cheap.

Answering the thread question, I think 2 subs would be better than one, as room interactions can be more balanced - but setup of course is double the work, and no less critical.

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Almost never. With one sub, the unique problems associated with a single point source mean that problematic places that don’t work can be many. The sweet spot for a single sub might be somewhere really difficult like next to the sofa, in front of the door, in the middle of the room etc. 2 subs generally present only problems similar to stereo loudspeakers and therefore can pretty much be plonked on the front wall near the main speakers. Of course direction, distance from rear wall need experimentation but that’s minor next to “find the sweet spot that could be anywhere in the whole room” problem found with 1 sub.

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