Best Subwoofer To Use With A Two Way Speaker System


I received my new Wilson-Benesch Vertex stand mounted loudspeakers in mid-January.  After about a 200 hour break-in period and a few position tweaks I am now in audio nirvana but without the final low octave or so.  I carefully chose my associated electronics and couldn't be more pleased.  My Sutherland N1 preamplifier has 2 outputs so I can use it to drive a crossover/subwoofer system.  
I am entirely certain that my spouse would never stand for me to add a W-B Torus Infrasonic Generator & the accompanying Torus Amplifier at about $12,000. I would like some assistance from those that have the experience to advise me of something very good to mate with my system at a much more reasonable cost.  Thanks



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Something you should consider when selecting a subwoofer to match your main speakers is Box Alignment .. by that I mean ... Ported .. Sealed .. Transmission Line and/or Open Baffle ... each one of these designs rolls off at a much different rate per octave and can cause difficulty in seeming the sub to the main speaker if mismatched  

A ported style speaker rolls off at 24db per octave .. a sealed (acoustic suspension) type speaker rolls off at 12db per octave .. a transmission line speaker rolls off at a shallow 6db per octave  

If your main speakers are transmission line like Salk's are they roll off at 6db per octave .. if you select a ported sub that rolls off at 24db per octave at the point of intersection of your main speaker's rolling off and your sub rolling in the transmission line Salk's main speaker will have much more output at the specific frequency of crossing over  

Your WBV's are plus or minus 2db at 44Hzs let me change the parameters for sake of example a bit and say you owned a Salk stand mount transmission line speaker that rolled off at the same 44Hzs point and added a ported sub that rolled in at 24db per octave  

You would want to set the crossover frequency on the sub at 1 octave above the main speakers -3db point  .. this is where I feel you should set any and all sub crossover points at for proper overlap and seem less blending ... 1 octave above your mains speakers -3db point regardless of type .. make or model   

Now your sub crossover should be set at 85 to 90Hzs for proper integration ... but at 50Hzs where both are operating .. the main speakers are rolling off at only 6db and have much more output at that frequency than the sub does as it's rolling in at the 50Hzs frequency ... a difficult match for blending as the mains have more output at that frequency ... 50Hzs ... than the sub 

Here's two  examples to help you better visualize ... Taylor Swift and Michel J Fox are walking the Red Carpet together ... she's tall talented and beautiful ... he's handsome ..very short and equally talented ... not a great photographic opportunity because of the gross height miss match even though each is very attractive and very talented  

One more example  ... 6'8" Yankee outfield Aaron Judge  hits a home run into the third deck ... upon returning to the dug out utility infielder 5'6" Ronald Torreyes tries to high five Judge but must be lifted by a team mate to reach Judge's hand ... both excellent players but a serious mismatch in height  

The same can be said for the mismatched box alignment on two great speakers .. both the sub and the main speakers are the best of the best but don't line up  

It's amuses me that in this hobby when the word synergy is used so often ...  that when it comes to selecting subs to match main speaker most only choose the best of the best without consider the Box Alignment synergy  

I suspect this is the major problem that audiophiles have  with their sub's matching and seeming with their mains and why  it is often said that subs don't work well in two channel systems  

Because your WBV's are ported I strongly suggest you only consider ported subs and not the best of the best or the I like these as recommended by members here and on other boards  

  

 

 

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Thanks to "donvito 101" for bringing the Rythmik subs to my attention!  Great post from "davehrib" on sub design/integration! Nicely done.



To "m-db"
Regarding the Sutherland N1 Preamplifier that I selected for my 2 channel system.  Prior system configuration was using a home theater setup with initially a Marantz 7701 Pre-Pro and later a Marantz 8003 Pre-Pro with a Sutherland Ph3D Phono Stage.  Not really ideal.  Next came a long distance move and my decision to go back to my "roots" so to speak and configure a new 2 channel system.
My long term friend/engineer/dealer & turntable designer George Merrill and I discussed preamplifiers.  He and Ron Sutherland have had a long relationship and collaborated on some engineering projects.  George uses Ron's N1 exclusively and Ron uses George's Merrill-Williams 101.2 Turntable exclusively.  Probably the 2 most under-rated components.  Neither actively pursues reviews so what exists is strictly gratis from the industry. George installed the Ortofon tonearm and cartridge on my VPI.
In George's opinion there is nothing better than the N1, only others that cost more and never really deliver anything that matches it.  Ron combines his finest phono stage and his excellent line stage in complete dual mono perfection.  It provides 2 outputs, 6 inputs with the last being a white noise generator for component/speaker break-in. It can drive reasonably long interconnects without problems if the interconnects are not unusual in resistance or capacitance.
The sound of the phono stage lacks any coloration. If you find a review of the N1 the reviewer's only comparison is with whatever else they are familiar with and draws conclusions from that bias. This is of course a single-ended device. Ron wouldn't have it any other way.  Less is more. Fewer parts and a shorter signal path.  I did a home audition of an Ayre Preamplifier. No slouch in it's own right but the N1 was clearly superior to me. It simply allows your cartridge to present itself without the preamplifier getting in the way. A lofty and rarely realized accomplishment.  Even though there are a lot of preamplifiers on the market, from my experience there are not many great sounding preamplifiers to choose from.  Add in the distinction of being a full-featured preamplifier and the list grows very small very rapidly.  Loosing a separate phono-stage is huge. It eliminates more interconnects and the potential for noise. Yes the N1 is quiet.
In the end it was a no-brainer as all my components are single-ended. I own a vintage Precision Fidelity C-4 Dual Cascode Preamplifier that had to have the power supply rebuilt and now that it is back I am having fun listening to it's line stage which is really really nice. The phono stage/line-stage just can't create the details/micro details/dynamics & micro dynamics of the N1.
My previous loudspeakers were the Dayton Wright XG 10 Mk II Electrostatics' and the B&W 804's.
Link to the N1 owners manual: http://www.sutherlandengineering.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Sutherland-N1-OwnersManual.pdf
Link to George Merrill: http://hifigem.com/
It is truly wonderful never to look back in regret when you know you made the right choice!
Best regards,