Subwoofer advice

So looking to add a new component (or 2) to my system (Snell Type D, McCormack .5 or Jolida 502b, Schiit Saga pre, Rega Planet, Dual 1219 TT) and contemplating a sub.  Basement room is 14'w x 30'l x 7.5'h and treated with first reflection points and base traps on front wall.  Interested in the REL T series, either the T7i or T9i.  The Snells have 8" woofers so not sure the T7i at 8" will make a significant difference.  The room might be too big as well.  So it might have to be the T9i at 10".  Looking to supplement clean low end not anything bloated or overbearing.  

Any thoughts greatly appreciated!
Rel or Sumiko is a good choice!  The T9i is great!  I would also take a look at the Sumiko S10 at TMR for $750...

2 are definitely better than 1 so keep that in mind as well
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Hello pkatsuleas,

     I notice you seem to have 2 amp setups, a tube setup with a Jolida tube integrated amp and a solid-state separates setup with a ss Schiit preamp and a ss McCormak .5 amp.  
     All good stuff but I need a bit more info before I can offer meaningful advice:
1. Do you alternate use between both of these systems?

2. Are they used for music only or do you also use for some form of home theater audio?

3. What's your budget range minimum to maximum?

4. REL are nice subs but there are other high quality subs at more reasonable prices.  Are you willing to use other brands of subs?

5. Are your speakers set up along the long 30' wall or the shorter 14' wall?

My two cents. You aren’t getting much by going to the Rel T9i, their -6db point is 28hz and they are expensive for what you get. If it were me, assuming at $2,200 budget (the cost of 2 T9i on sale) I would do the following:

1) Purchase a HSU High Pass filter for $100.00 to run between your preamp and amp for the Snells. Roll the Snells off below 80hz to relieve them of the deep bass duties.

2) Purchase two subwoofers, either 1) a pair of Rythmik F12 ($1960 a pair), or 2) a pair of SVS SB3000 ($1999 a pair).

The Rythmiks offer a bit of a tighter, drier sound, with one band of parametric eq. The SVS have a three band parametric. With the Rythmik, you can use the parametric to treat your primary mode peak at 37 hz, with the SVS, you can treat that and the second at 56hz. Fortunately because your room is pretty large, you will have less mode issues than most, the primary being driven by your ceiling height.

Either pair of subs will give you far more adjustability than the RELs (which offers no parametric), far greater output, and true flat response down to 20hz. Relieving the Snell’s of deep bass will allow them to play cleaner and sound more open.

Enjoy, the Snell D speakers are one of my all time favorite speakers.
Should have known to provide more info!  Noble, the rig I am using right now is the Schiit Saga (tube/passive) with the McCormack.  Sounds great but I know the tubes will be calling me back eventually.  2 channel only.  Budget really is $1k but could stretch just a bit.  Been looking at used but nothing good yet.  Missed a local HSU that seemed promising.  Not stuck on REL, just seems a safe bet from the research I've done so far.  And recommendations from a few dealers, one who doesn't even sell REL.  Speakers on the short wall pulled out about 4'.

Mcreyn, I have been researching the high pass filter and one day I might go that route.  Does seem like the most logical way to maximize potential.  For now I would just like to get a sub in my system to experiment.  I will look deeper into the SVS.  Thanks for the knowledge! 

And yes, love the Type D.  Spent $700 on them 10yrs ago and they've been great.  Auditioned many more in the sub $2k range and for me they were the favorite.  The McCormack tightened everything up and makes them shine even more.  The Saga pre at close-out B stock pricing was a big surprise!  Sounds great


The Audiokinesis Swarm is one of the better sub systems made and its not expensive. What's better is that it works best if placed against the walls, and the most important bit is that unlike single or dual woofer systems you don't have standing waves in the room that can cause the bass to be missing at the listening chair- its evenly distributed throughout the room.

Hello pkatsuleas,

    Atmasphere's suggestion of the 4-sub Audio Kinesis Swarm bass system would definitely provide near state of the art bass performance throughout your entire room and integrate seamlessly with your Snells but you'd need to stretch your budget to about $3,000. 
     I own this system and can attest to it being a great performer, likely the last sub bass system you'll ever need to buy since it will work extremely well with virtually any pair of speakers and in any room.  This is your ideal solution.
     If you can't currently afford this and you mainly just want good bass response at your listening seat, however, a pair of good quality subs will also provide good bass performance that has good integration with your main speakers if positioned and configured optimally.  This requires optimally positioning each sub utilizing the crawl method and optimally setting the volume, crossover frequency and phase control settings on each sub.  The advantage of the Swarm system is that the 3 configuration settings only need to be set once collectively for all 4 subs on the supplied 1,000 watt class AB sub amp/control unit.
     To give you an overall summary of your options, here's a list of 3 possible sub options listed from least expensive and lowest bass performance quality to most expensive and highest bass performance quality:

1.  Good Bargain system- a pair of SVS SB-1000 (sealed subs) or PB-1000 (ported subs) for about $1,000/pair.  These are bargain priced but very good quality subs that have the 3 crucially important configuration controls of volume, crossover frequency and phase; any subs you decide to purchase absolutely must have at least these 3 controls.

2. Better Middle-Range system- as mcreyn suggested, a pair of either Rythmil F12 subs for $1,960/pair or SVS PB3000 subs for $1,999/pair. Utilizing higher quality and priced pairs of subs will provide noticeably deeper bass extension as well as bass that is faster, smoother, more accurate, more detailed, more dynamic and more natural.

3. Best Performance system- Audio Kinesis 4-sub Swarm for $3,000. This option will clearly outperform the other options since it will provide deep, fast, smooth, accurate, highly detailed and dynamic bass that will be perceived as the most effortless, the most natural and the best integrated with your main speakers. It will also be the most convenient option to configure since all settings are made once on the amp/control unit for the 4 subs collectively rather than separately on each individual sub. 

Good luck,


At that price, I would considering follow Tim's suggestion of a pair of PB-1000s.  Personally, at that price, I would do either 1) a pair of Hsu VTF-2 MK5 (but you give up the variable phase control), or if I could stretch to $1,200 a pair of Rythmik LV12F.  

Another alternative if you are willing to DIY, is a Dayton Audio SA1000 subwoofer amplifier ($400) and a pair of Dayton Audio 15 Ultimax Subwoofer Kits ($640 for the pair).   

You have a relatively large room that to get decent levels of deep bass will need pretty good sized subs.  You will not get room gain from the size of the room until 18hz, so that is out (not to be confused with reinforcement from being near a wall or corner) With the Hsus, Rythmik's and Dayton, you will be able to get 105 db of clean output at 20hz, the PB-1000s will have less capability. 

I really do suggest in high passing your mains, it makes integration easier and will allow you to focus the placement of the subs for the best bass and your mains for the best imaging.  
Budget suggestion:
I’m not sure if/how many they still have, but I just picked up an SVS-SB12-NSD (close-out prior model) from ListenUp in Denver for $399 shipped to Texas. It is kind of between their current SB1000 and SB2000.
It is not a beast or able to plumb the depths like my 2 SB13 Ultras in my main system, but it is a nice little add to my 2nd system. May just get another one or two for distributed bass-see above. Been breaking it in overnight(s) with a 30 hz sine wave (youtube) at medium volume for 10 hours at a time; quite the driver workout. Good luck.
Hello pkatsuleas,

     I just wanted to give you a few tips I've learned about getting good in-room bass response over many years of personal research and, probably most useful, personal experience.
    In general, 2 subs will perform about twice as well as 1 sub and 4 subs, configured in what's called a distributed bass array (DBA) system, will perform about twice as well as 2 subs.  It's been scientifically proven, by acoustic experts such as Dr. Earl Geddes and Dr. Frank Toole among others, that any subs added beyond 4 will provide only smaller marginal increases in performance.  This is the reason all in one DBA kits like the Audio Kinesis Swarm utilize 4 subs.
     Atmasphere obviously understands this since he provided this
 link to the AK Swarm system:

     Here's a link to an Absolute Sound review of the Swarm which I found very accurate to my experiences using this product in my room and system:
     This will give you a good idea of what to expect if you decide to invest in a multiple award winning bass system.
     Positioning of subs is critical to obtain optimum performance no matter how many subs utilized. I usually use and suggest using the crawl method (google it for a good description) since it works extremely well, requires no expensive and complicated equipment and it's free.  
     It's also very important to have variable volume, crossover frequency and phase controls on whatever subs or complete bass system you choose.  For best integration of the bass with your main speakers, I've found it best to set the volume and crossover frequency controls as low as possible with the bass still sounding good to you (smooth, detailed and natural with realistic impact and dynamics that you can feel as well as hear.) The phase control should be 180 degree adjustable and set at the position that the bass sounds subjectively best to you.  
     Once you decide which sub or subs you want to buy, I can offer more detailed advice.



Respectful of your budget, a great value and excellent sub is the Golden Ear Forcefield 3 ( 1000w  18-250hz ) ($549) . I have 2 that worked very well with my B&W802's before I bought my Golden Ear Triton 1R's with built in subs. 
They now are in use in my home theatre greatly enhancing that listening experience. 

Happy listening ! 
Your room is quite large.  I recommend two REL S3 SHO's to play in stereo and to fill space without having to push too much.  I did this in a room 13.5" x 18.5'.

Look also at Rythmik.
Dear @pkatsuleas : Inside your budget and with good quality performance the @instlouis advise is with out doubt the best one.

At your room/system seant position you need only two subs  You can try the Golden Ear units for you can have first hand experiences in your room/system. One advantage in the GE subs is that comes with high-pass filter for the Snell stays focus in all frequencies but the low bass and in this way the Snell IMD ( intermodulation distortion. )  will goes down and this permits that the overall system ( speakers/subs/roo. ) shines as never before. I think you will be satisfied with.

Then in the future and after your learning self experiences with subs you can up-grade it with better quality subwoofers because not all subs sounds the same, exist quality grades in between.

Regards and enojoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
+1 @rauliruegas  

OP - My room is 14.4x24 and the GE Forcefield 3's at 50% provide respectful and tight bass . 
Don't know where you're located, but my GE dealer is Speaker & Stereo Store here in St Louis. Wylie Williams has taken care of me for many years and I highly recommend him
.  http//   

Thanks very much to all of the bassheads!  Great info pretty much in sync with what I've been researching.  A bunch of good suggestions.  Seems like the consensus is 2 subs for my size room - makes sense.  Always wanted to hear Audiokinesis' stuff.  Unfortunately way out of my budget at this time.  Basically, I have around $1500 to blow.  Was thinking a sub and DAC (see other thread in digital).  Really need to get up to speed with digital.  So, its a balancing act.  I started out thinking better sub and an inexpensive DAC like a Dragonfly. Now I'm leaning towards spending a bit more on a good dac/streamer.  

As far as the subs go, there are two local on CL that seem promising - a HSU vtf-3 mk-4 and a SVS pc-2000.  Any opinions there?  Really just want to experiment and start with one before jumping into 2 subs and a high pass filter (pretty sure I will get there eventually!).  I have had good luck with used in the past and it has given me good bang for my buck.

Thanks again
Whatever subwoofer you choose and however subwoofers you decide on, if you don’t want to turn you room into a giant shaker table experiment, isolate the subwoofer(s) from the front end electronics by placing them on springs. Problem solved! 🤗
I've had good results with Auralex SubDudes under the subs for isolation.

My experience with high-pass filters may be Ayre-specific, but I tried a Bryston 10B active filter and a Marchand fixed passive filter (4th order 80 Hz), both claimed to be balanced.  The Bryston really changed the sound, the Marchand removed a bit of the sense of air.  Both are gone.  I let the KEF Ref 1s run full range and supplement them below 40 Hz with pairs of Velodyne HGS-15s and HGS-10s and SMS-1 bass managers that provide acoustic room correction.
3. Best Performance system- Audio Kinesis 4-sub Swarm for $3,000. This option will clearly outperform the other options since it will provide deep, fast, smooth, accurate, highly detailed and dynamic bass that will be perceived as the most effortless, the most natural and the best integrated with your main speakers. It will also be the most convenient option to configure since all settings are made once on the amp/control unit for the 4 subs collectively rather than separately on each individual sub. 

Good luck,
   I've respected your detailed and informative suggestions helping people new to subwoofers by sharing your basic knowledge and your enthusiasm with this system. I'm saddened to read your declarations of, "Best, most, and outperform the other options."    
Sorry m-db, don't get your post.  "saddened"?  Nothing wrong with having an opinion.  I welcome all information, and all opinions, as long as your not a d-bag.
@pkatsuleas --

... Looking to supplement clean low end not anything bloated or overbearing.

If you don’t mind going the DIY-route and being you have a fair amount of space allotted, I’d recommend you build 2 horn subs. My experience with them is this: horn bass doesn’t come any smoother, more articulate, enveloping and effortless, period. You get quality AND quantity in abundance, and the latter is equally important because it leaves you with tons of headroom, which means lower distortion from less cone excursion and in return cleaner bass. The better, and gradual coupling to the air via the horn loading equates into higher efficiency, but not least it has the cone movement excite the air more effectively (compared to a cone that loads the air directly) in a way that has the bass become more palpable/present, enveloping and nuanced - also at lower SPL’s. The only drawback: the physical size of the horns, but if you’re really into the best quality and can manage them, get over it.

Design recommendation: Lilmike’s Cinema F20 with the 15" Dayton RSS390HF-4 driver (currently $190 pr. unit at Parts Express). Make the cabs yourself or have someone do it. MDF will do just fine (certainly as a stationary solution), but plywood is better though more expensive. Get the high-pass filter poster @mcreyn recommends (or a miniDSP), and buy a cheap (but fully sufficient) pro amp like a Crown XLS 1502 (~$425 at All this should come in at approx. $1500 total. Google named horn sub design for more info (where build plans can be had for free), and remember to make two of them, in case.

Seriously, no pair of commercially available pre-build sub solution below $5,000 (or even more) will beat a pair of F20 horn subs in the areas overall bass quality and SPL capabilities down to 20Hz. Some may go lower, but would lack in other, more vital areas. Importantly: substantial SPL capabilities isn’t so much about max. SPL per se, but rather headroom. Headroom is your friend, and a surplus of it will give you totally effortless bass that I’d wager only horns subs can provide (and if you high-pass your mains, as recommend already, it’s all win-win).

Just my $0.02..
Hello pkatsuleas,

     You are correct, all of my posts are just my opinions based on my knowledge and experience unless specifically stated otherwise.
     I don’t consider myself an expert on subs or attaining the best in-room bass response. I would more accurately describe myself as a music and movie lover with a strong interest in high quality equipment that’s capable of playing back both in high fidelity.
     I’ve been enjoying various models of Magnepan speakers for many years and have been attempting, for about the same span of years, to supplement what I perceive as their poor quality of bass power, impact and dynamics (excluding their top models) with various levels of success until I employed the 4-sub distributed bass array (DBA) concept in my room. The Audio Kinesis Debra 4-sub DBA system I now use in my system is by far the best bass system, or combination of subs, that I’ve ever experienced in any of my systems.
     The bass is smooth, fast, powerful, dynamic, detailed, natural, seamlessly integrated with my main speakers and overall what I consider near state of the art bass performance in my room for both music and HT. As I understand the DBA concept, the sota results I achieved through this system can be obtained in virtually any room, with any main speakers and without the need for room treatments or room correction.
     All of the above are the reasons I’m such a 4-sub DBA system fan and highly recommend it on so many posts here ad nauseum. This is the best solution I’m aware of for your situation.
     As I’ve stated, however, I believe you’ll also be able to get very good bass performance in your room using just a pair of properly positioned subs if you only require this at a single listening position in your room and not throughout the entire room.
     You’ve already received many good suggestions on this thread for high quality pairs of subs you could use. I thought phusis’s suggestion of DIY horn subs was the most interesting. I’ve read good reviews on these but have never personally heard a pair.

Best of luck,
Thanks again Tim for your detailed responses.  Would love to check out the Swarm someday.  If anyone in the Chicago area has it I'd be happy for an invite.  ;-)

Phusis, I am exploring DIY speakers and will probably be doing a standmount design of some type soon.  A sub kit is possible in the future.  Thanks for the good info!

So, went ahead and picked up the local Hsu vtf-3 mk4 today.  This thing is certainly a beast!  Actually pulled my back getting it home (no joke!).  Very good condition, about 3 years old.  Messed around with it a little bit but it will take a lot more to get it dialed in.  Lots of different tuning options, hours of fun.  I already know that it will have to be set at low volume.  It can rattle the drywall on high!  Have the crossover around 35 Hz right now.   My Snells supposedly hit 36.

The poor guy I got it from obviously didn't do his research before buying.  Had it in a 12 x 12 room.  It was borderline painful  when he turned it up!  He was happy to see it go. 

Thanks again!  
Hello pkatsuleas,

     Yes, that is a beast at 90 lbs and it's rated down to 16 Hz but I think it's a good choice.  
    Using a single high quality sub should provide good bass at your listening position if it's positioned in your room and configured properly. 
     I'd suggest positioning the sub optimally by using the crawl method:
1. Hookup the sub, set the volume at about 50%(12:00), the crossover freq. to 35 Hz, the phase control to in-phase ("0") and place the sub at your listening position.

2. Play some music with good and repetitive bass with the volume set at about 40%(11:00).

3. Starting at the front right corner of your room, slowly begin walking or crawling on your hands and knees in a counter-clockwise direction until you find an exact spot around the perimeter of your room where the bass sounds best to you (solid, dynamic, smooth, accurate, detailed and natural).  Take your time, and do it multiple times if necessary, to make sure you identify the optimum exact spot.

4.  Once you find the exact spot the bass sounds best to you, move the sub to this exact spot without changing the direction the 12" driver is facing.

5.  Replay the music, sit at your listening seat position and verify the bass sounds very good to you.

6. Adjust the sub Volume, Crossover Freq, and Phase control settings to your preferences and to further optimize performance.

     I believe your results will be very good.  You also have the option to add a 2nd sub in the future which would likely result in the bass being even better in all qualities including even better integrated with your main speakers.  An identical Hsu vtf-3 MK4 would work well but even a different brand or smaller sized 2nd sub would provide the about the same benefits.
    However, I still believe an Audio Kinesis Swarm or Debra 4-sub DBA system would provide the best quality bass in your room.  
     I'm located in Noblesville, Indiana, which is just north of Indy and about a 3 hour drive from Chicago.  If it's not too far a drive for you, you're more than welcome to visit and listen to my AK Debra 4-sub DBA system on music and HT.  I'm retired so just pick a date and time that's good for you and send me a pm if you're interested.