Psilonaught

Are two subwoofers better than one in a 2 channel setup?

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Posted (edited)

I'm currently using a single REL Strata III with my magnepans. In general with 2 channel systems is it recommended that two are used??

I have the opportunity to purchase a second so wanted to ask.

I have a large listening room if that info is important.

Edited by Psilonaught

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Super Wammer

Yes, multiple subs are usually recommended rather than one. I'm sure you will find many articles that say this, but here's one example 

https://www.soundonsound.com/sound-advice/q-there-any-advantage-using-two-subwoofers

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Super Dealer

I would have two, but even more important is to properly integrate them, a MiniDSP processor is inexpensive and straightforward, you will have seamlessly integrated subs and you can use the MiniDSP software to fix any room mode issues the new low bass may have caused.

Keith

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2 hours ago, Psilonaught said:

I'm currently using a single REL Strata III with my magnepans. In general with 2 channel systems is it recommended that two are used??

It makes no difference that you are using a sub in a 2 channel vs home theatre system, but for both there is greater scope to achieve a more uniform bass response with multiple subs. Provided you have some freedom over where they are placed in the room.

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FWIW. My view would be:

- If you have a difficult room, 2 subs are better

- All things being equal, 2 subs are better...but...

- Spending the budget of 2 Subs, on a single better sub, can often be preferable.

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Posted (edited)

You can get a more even in-room response across the whole room area with multiple subs from my understanding but then again, if you are sitting in a specific area rather than moving around (e.g. in a specific seat in a dedicated listening room/man cave :P) then one sub will suffice if set up correctly for that specific sitting area.

EDIT: For example, as I currently have a dedicated room with a dedicated seat, one sub is fine for me and I have set it up to sound best from my listening position.
If this ever changes and the HiFi moves into the living room (where I will tend to wander around doing things) then I will probably add another sub at least so that I can set it up to sound better over a larger area.

Edited by Gaffer

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14 minutes ago, Gaffer said:

You can get a more even in-room response across the whole room area with multiple subs from my understanding but then again, if you are sitting in a specific area rather than moving around (e.g. in a specific seat in a dedicated listening room/man cave :P) then one sub will suffice if set up correctly for that specific sitting area.

EDIT: For example, as I currently have a dedicated room with a dedicated seat, one sub is fine for me and I have set it up to sound best from my listening position.
If this ever changes and the HiFi moves into the living room (where I will tend to wander around doing things) then I will probably add another sub at least so that I can set it up to sound better over a larger area.

I don't think it's quite that simple, with there still being potential advantages for a single listening position in terms of being able to get a more even response across the frequency range using two subs. It's to do with how different placement affects how different room modes are excited.

Room EQ Wizard's 'Room Sim' is one way to play around with seeing the difference of one vs two subs (or 3 or 4).

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Super Wammer

I've always run with two subs 

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My one Velodyne DD12 is better than the pair of Rel Strata 5's I had,  as always its never a simple choice.  I'd get another DD if it came along,  but a newer DD12Plus would be better still.

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You can also run in to phase issues with two subs placed apart.  In the professional world it is usual to cluster subs together to avoid this and also gaining an increase in volume that is greater than two individual subs.

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Posted (edited)

Two subs vs one will allow to have lower distortion bass for the same SPL and more even room response, provided you position them carefully.

Edited by AlmaAtaKZ

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Not sure why you would need one sub much less two in a traditional 2-channel set-up. Subs IMHO are for watching films in a multi-channel set-up, so you get that cinema effect.

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Super Wammer
1 hour ago, plasticpenguin said:

Not sure why you would need one sub much less two in a traditional 2-channel set-up. Subs IMHO are for watching films in a multi-channel set-up, so you get that cinema effect.

Er no. My CELEF LS8’s were wonderful speakers across genres but like other LS3/5’s and derivatives they didn’t go deep. A single REL Strata II, set up manually to blend rather than impress, did a great job on all but some “hifi test” tracks. My Arcam amp offered two selectable speaker pairs so I could switch the sub in and out according to taste/need.

I also watch movies with the sound via my stereo amp and speakers and it hugely enhances the experience. I’ve never felt the need of a 5.1 system and the mess and compromises it brings, but maybe that’s because my listening and viewing room is what my wife sometimes refers to as “the lounge”.

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1 hour ago, plasticpenguin said:

Not sure why you would need one sub much less two in a traditional 2-channel set-up. Subs IMHO are for watching films in a multi-channel set-up, so you get that cinema effect.

:^

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28 minutes ago, TheFlash said:

Er no. My CELEF LS8’s were wonderful speakers across genres but like other LS3/5’s and derivatives they didn’t go deep. A single REL Strata II, set up manually to blend rather than impress, did a great job on all but some “hifi test” tracks. My Arcam amp offered two selectable speaker pairs so I could switch the sub in and out according to taste/need.

I also watch movies with the sound via my stereo amp and speakers and it hugely enhances the experience. I’ve never felt the need of a 5.1 system and the mess and compromises it brings, but maybe that’s because my listening and viewing room is what my wife sometimes refers to as “the lounge”.

Apologies for being a bit dumb: Where's the compromise and mess of a well set-up 5.1 system? One of the best set-ups I've heard was a Arcam AVR 600 receiver with Mordaunt-Short Performance 6 speakers and a sub. By far the best piece of kit I've heard for realism. IMHO it would blow away any 10k system. 

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