Try a sub a third in the back

I’ll share something I stumbled upon in the off chance it transforms your listening experience as it did mine. I purchased a rel s/510 while they were on sale to replace a lesser sub. First, the sub is remarkable. I thought it would just add bass extension. I had no idea it would improve the sound stage so much. But now I had 3 subs with absolutely no space in the front of the room to place the third. I planned to sell it. If you like to tinker like me with your system, you probably would have had the same thought I finally did: connect the third sub for the hell of it. In part, the idea was inspired by the long and very good article someone on here linked to about subs: that talks about putting a sub at the back of the room for HT. The lower the frequency, the more non directional the sound. So, having a sub behind me should be okay in a two-speaker setup. The worst that might happen, I thought was that I might shake my house off it’s foundation. But what happened was absolutely unexpected. The sound in the room became amazingly three dimensional. This is not hyperbole. I have a good system and especially with the new Rel sub, there was good width, height, and depth to the sound. But the effect of adding the third sub was to double or triple the depth into the room. I didn’t believe it so I turned the rear sub on and off, repeating the songs. I’ve done this for a week because sometimes new experiences don’t hold up over time—a product of wishful thinking. This one has lasted. I will describe the change this way. Without the rear sub, the vocals were centered, other instruments were placed around the front of the room—some further away than others. Adding the rear sub stretched the centered voice in front of me from 2d to 3D, like someone was in the room, or better, I was in the vocalist’s room. Imagine taking a photo of the singer and stretching it into a 3-dimensional figure in front of you. It’s like that. Although my previous system had good depth before, with the third sub it sounded like I was swimming in the music. there was an exceptional separation of the instruments around and over me not just in front of me. I won’t go on because results will vary. But if you like to tinker and you have a third sub in the house, give it a go. I hope it turns out as holographically for you as it did for me. (Details: I connected the Rel using the line in from my power amp and two RCA outs on my Dac (it also has XLR outs that I use) to connect the other subs.)


I use a pair of Velodyne HGS-15s with bass management to augment KEF Reference 1s.  The subs sit close behind the mains.  A third HGS-15 is in the rear of the room, and receives LFE from a Bryston SP3 processor.  The SP3 has a provision that enables* the three subs for full range front LR plus rear LFE.  It gives new meaning to the sense of surround.  I have never before used LFE, and was surprised how often it is invoked for emphasis in TV programs and commercials.

*The preamp sends an output for the front subs through the bass manager; for surround, the SP3 sends full range front LR to the preamp by-pass and LFE to the rear sub. 

Post removed 

I have a REL R328 and bought two matching Rythmiks to put at the front. I figured I'd try the REL behind the listening chair and then go ahead and sell it. No way! I'm keeping it for exactly the effects you described, plus it helps smooth out the bass response. This is really just 3/4 or 3/5 of the way toward a distributed bass array, but it's working well and I'm not selling the REL.