Why are subwoofers so polarizing?

I will admit I have never been a proponent of subwoofers in a 2 channel system. Maybe i've not heard the proper set up or the level of sub was not equal to the speaker. The last great application was over 20 years ago when I heard a Pro-Ac Tablette with a forgotten subwoofer. I'm sure in the last 20+ years the technology has improved but why are subs still mainly limited to home theater systems? As always I appreciate your time and thoughts.
I am on the opposite camp. In my many years of audio I have always used subwoofers with small and large speakers, but I only like augmenting, speaker-level-connection subwoofers such as REL and MJ Acoustics. When well blended to come "from underneath the mains" as an old REL brochure read, they will improve any speaker in my experience. And the most improvement is not primarily on bass, but on ambiance and soundstaging.
It's because the subwoofer is the domain of the enemy, home theater. Home theater represents everything that 2 channel does not. It's quantity over quality. 2 channel audio is all about quality over quantity. Home theater is for the ignorant masses that think big explosions are just so freakin cool they can hardly stand it. Because of the cromagnon target audience of home theater, subwoofers need not have any kind of fidelity. They just have to be loud and vibrate a lot. So, subwoofers got a reputation among audiophiles for being total garbage (and the vast majority are). Are there good ones, yes. Can they work in a 2 channel system, yes, but its not easy. Low bass is by far the hardest part of the frequency range to get right. That's why you see a lot of audiophile speakers don't even try to deal with sub 50 hz.
Isn't everything about this business polarized?

I've come to think that a simple 2 or 2.5 way with midwoofers and a seperate sub or two is more practical and flexible than a 3-way with big woofers. That doesn't necessarily imply little satellites. It's just that some of these little midwoofers are damn good and the cabinet doesn't have to be huge and 300 lbs.
I understand you very well. I had many big speakers like the B&W 800S. For stereo use many subwoofers were all too slow. I would not even want it for free in my system. I sold a lot of Rel sub's to clients. For me it was too slow and I hated the quality it gave. But.....these days the world has become different. I do a lot of measurements with Audyssey and in particular Audyssey pro. With the PLW-15 from Monitor Audio and my way of Audyssey Pro I have the stealth low freq, I ever dreamed of how I would want it to be. In my system you do not hear the sub, it is fully inegrated in the system. I use it to 140hz. Instruments and voices become more musical and touchable. This subwoofer is superior in speed compared to the slow ( as hell) Rel and Velodyne sub's. All the tests I did with these sub's all failled.
I suspect that there are 3 main reasons:

1). High end audio was spawned ca. 1970 as a reaction to Japanese solid state electronics. The high end argument was "simpler is better". Skip the tech approach and banish unnecessary circuit embellishment. Bye bye tone controls. Subwoofers involve more devices in the chain, so they were contrary to the philosophy of the time

2) Subwoofers are hard to set up right and often suck when set up wrong. Many people form judgements after hearing bad set-ups

3) The easiest way IME to get a good set up is with a software bass management package like Audyssey. This, of course, requires a visit to the dark side - digital (or digitized analog) audio. You know how that plays with many in this community

Between those 3 factors, I believe you'll find most of the answer to your question

Bo, I'm interested in your testing with REL and Velodyne.

I had a chance to spend a few months with an expensive REL Studio III, JL Audio 113, and a Velodyne DD-18. The only measuring available to me was the Velodyne's built in Room Optimization system (using the REL line level input only).

I've heard you refer to this issue you have with what you call speed and wondering how you measured it? With the Velodyne system one is able to adjust arrive time and phase which can have a dramatic affect on what I perceive as speed.

I have found phase can change from track to track within an album recording. Surprisingly, there is little to no mention of this in subwoofer reviews I've read.

It's usually noticeable with the Bass drum being in or out of phase. With the Velodyne a simple push of a button on the remote you can hear the difference on the fly.

Or are you refereeing to the general characteristic of enclosure design such as the difference between sealed or vented, small or large driver, etc.?

This is not about measuring. Instruments and voices are in real very small and direct to point out. Wenn you already have a system what is capable of giving an exeptional sharp individual focus of instruments and voices with the right dimensions. Wenn you use a Velodyne sub even with there own Room Optimization system normally instruments are not that sharp focussed anymore. Often instruments become bigger. The only thing I like of the Velodyne sub's is that this roomcorrection system gets of the low freq. issues. But it is still not syngron with the music like the Rel subwoofers. The material Rel and Velodyne sub's use is heavier than the material Monitor Audio uses. The respons of the unit of my PLW-15 is a lot faster. Monitor Audio also uses a very big magnet. At the show were I used the PLW-15. Many people thought that I did not use the subwoofer. I asked why they thought I was not using it. Because they never heard a subwoofer what was this well integrated. It was new for them.
The best subwoofers in speed are all closed. 2nd the bassunit needs to be on the front side. They way I use Audyssey Pro this is a pre. With downfiring or side firing I do not get the sharp stealth integration I want. Wenn you heard the level in speed what I have every other way is too slow. All my clients understand it directly. It is that convincing. The material Velodyne uses is what them make slow. For movies it is ok, but for stealth speed is it too slow. I would not even want them for free. I could sell it to clients. Because I can get it for the best prices. But I Always give a negative advise. Why? Because I want my clients to get only the best. Good is never good enough for me, it is that simple!!
"Home theater represents everything that 2 channel does not. It's quantity over quality. 2 channel audio is all about quality over quantity. Home theater is for the ignorant masses that think big explosions are just so freakin cool they can hardly stand it. Because of the cromagnon target audience of home theater, subwoofers need not have any kind of fidelity. They just have to be loud and vibrate a lot."

Apparently you haven't heard a good multichannel system or recording. There's ignorant masses, and as you demonstrate, ignorant individuals.
Bo, how much time did you spend dialing in the (which) Velodyne and which program did you use?
It was with 2 DD18 sub's. With there own measurement. The material will Always be the problem of the speed. You cannot change this. For surround Velodyne is fine. For stereo I would not even want it for free. Or even wenn I get money on top to keep it at home. Respons is the keyfactor. How fast a unit can move wenn it is driven. Speed is were it is about, not how low it goes. A better speed will Always give you a better integration with the speakers. Weather you play stereo or even Multi channel. Soon I will get the new Watchdog pure silver sub interconnect from Audioquest. This will even improve it further in speed and accuracy.
Bo, Again, how much time did you spend dialing in the Velodyne's and which program did you use?
A few hours, the owner of the Velodyne had done the room acoustic settings. So I do not know which setting. Also at show's Velodyne did not convince me. I Always do 2 channel testing. The sub needs to be syngron with the frontspeakers. And instruments and voices need to stay small in proportion. Above 80 hz low freq. become touchable. I use my sub from 16hz till 140hz. This is possible because the sub is fast as a rocket. Wenn you have slow sub's like Rel above 80hz they become uncontrolable. Why? Because they are toooooooo slow. I sold many Monitor Audio sub's to clients who bought Rel sub's in the past. It is very simple to compare. The difference is so big you cannot go back anymore to the slow respons.
I'm no engineer here, but I'm having a hard time following this.

Bo, are you basing your ridicule of the performance of the Velodyne and REL subs based on what you heard, or based on some test readings that you got?

What you are claiming strikes me as a bit odd. First, if you are using the REL to cover a frequency range up to 140hz, I think that you are using the REL for a purpose for which it is was not intended. Even REL says that their subs are meant to be a sub bass system. That is, they are meant to cover the lower frequencies for full range speakers.

Second, considering that you are running the sub up to 140hz to get a fuller sound out of the equipment, it seems to me that the deficiencies lie in the speakers being used, rather than the sub. You are using the sub to fill or bloat a frequency range which a speaker should be able to reproduce without the aid of a sub woofer. I would imagine that running a sub up to a frequency that high would have to have an impact on imaging.

In my system, I run a pair of Silverline Minuets with a small REL sub, which I have set to crossover at 50hz, and it sounds pretty darned good to me.

Although I can't comment on the Velodyne subs, it does seem to me that you are ridiculing the RELs for not being able to do something that they were never meant to do.
Bo1972 is wrong again. Rel subs are fast, I have one mated to Maggies which are known to be fast transducers, and the match is very good.
In the past we Always did use the Rel sub's to about 5 hz max more than the freq. respons were of the speakers freq. respons begin's. 3 years ago wenn we started with Audyssey we did start with 80hz. Because Onkyo is a THX receiver they start at 80 hz. 1 year ago Audyssey start using subwoofers till 120 hz. I never went this high because we had always trouble with all the Rel sub's ( Also with the more expensive ones like the studio)wenn we wanted to go to a higher freq. The first tests to 120 hz I did with the Monitor Audio PLW-15 with very promissing. Later with Audyssey Pro I even went to 140hz. With Audyssey Pro you can get a much better integration with your sub than what is possible by hand settings. One of my client called it voodoo. What he heard he could not believe. I call it stealth inegration, because it is that good. Above 80 hz low freq. are placeable. To 140 hz the sub go's further and voices and instruments are even better focussed and touchable. The show were I was the absolute sound, shopkeepers came to me on Monday. They never heard such a 3-dimensional image what was this touchable. In stereo and in Multi channel I had the same stunning sound. I compare the Monitor Audio sub's to Rel sub's. Former clients with Rel now buy the Monitor Audio sub's. I want my clients to get the best quality for there money. Wenn Rel would be the best I would have sold this. But.....time go's on and they are not the best anymore. I only sell the best to my clients. A brand I really don't care. Wenn later another brand will be better, this will be the next. Rel is not bad, but there are better ones.
Noooooooooooooooooooo...a rel sub is fast in your perspective. Compare the respons of a Rel sub to the respons of a Monitor Audio sub. In this perspective it is slow. I use the Rel sub's to compare. They are slower, WE ARE TALKING ABOUT FACTS. This is not about a personal preference. Wenn the Rel would be better I would buy them myself. And I would sell them. I do consulting in sound and vision. I am Always looking for the best in every price tag and category. In Europe Rel has lost a big part of the market in the last 10 years. I do many tests to look for the best. Rel is not good enough anymore. We are 2013, time goes on and there are better ones. I do not say buy a Monitor Audio. I say to my clients; compare them and choose. You fould be a fool to go for less.
Bo1072, if I understand you correctly, your arguments are based on findings that you arrived at using an Onkyo A/V receiver. It is your further position that using a sub at up to 140hz does nothing to hurt the image of the music.

Sorry, but I'd have to experience this for myself. Personally, if I had a speaker/amp combo that needed reinforcing at 140hz by a sub, I'd change my combo.

What sort of mains are you running your tests with?

I mean, I don't own an Onkyo receiver or Monitor Audio sub, but assuming that the sub, when set at 140hz, has an upper roll off of 12db per octave, you're going to have a SUB carrying duties that extend just about into the mid range, which is where most of the sweetness of music resides.

Also, assuming that the lower roll off on the receiver is 12db per octave, we're going to have a bump in the bass from 70hz through 280hz, with both the receiver and the sub working to add to that frequency range. And, you're also saying that the Monitor Audio sub is able to do this musically, without bloat.

I don't know. I'd have to hear it to believe it. Of course, you could be right. Maybe my thinking is completely off.

As for answering the original question, I think that subs became popular because people wanted the room to shake when watching movies like Jurassic Park. I know I did. My first sub was a Paradigm PW15. It was a monster, but I found that when listening to music, it just made things sound bloated and the bass wasn't very tight. I think that many had the same experience that I did. I wound up just not using the sub, when I listened to music.

A year or so ago, I discovered the little REL and I started using a sub for music. I set it up as per instructions and man, it sounds good. It integrated very nicely. Now, I'm thinking that I might try a sealed sub (supposed to be better for music), but that's gonna have to wait until after a new amp.
"...a rel sub is fast in your perspective. Compare the respons of a Rel sub to the respons of a Monitor Audio sub."-Bo1972

I don't need to compare anything. The Rel is fast enough to mate with Magnepans. And that is fast, period.
I do tests just by hearing. The same as the roll of. I can choose between 12, 18, 24, 30 or 36 db per octave. But the speed has to do with the timing in respons. At the show were I was many could not and did not believe that I was using the subwoofer. It was that fast. I said what you hear is 16 hz. I use recordings like Kraftwerk, japanese drumm and Yellow to let people hear how low it goes. Sealed sub's are faster in respons. With Rel sub's we Always had recordings wenn the low freq. were not syngron anymore. I hated this and I did not want it for myself. To be honnest I never thought subwoofers would be fast enough for me to use it in my own system. Audyssey Pro and Monitor Audio made me think differently. In the past we sold most of the time Rel sub's. Also for stereo use, I was not satisfied about the quality it gave. Those times ( 1999-2007 I played with the Nautlilus 802 and Later the Nautilus 800S. In 2001 I bought the Nordost Valhalla loudspeakercables. At that time the best in timing. Always looking for the best sound and timing. The PLW-15 from Monitor Audio with the Audioquest Sub3 ( soon I will go for the new outcomming full silver watchdog also from Audioquest)and Purist Audio 20th Ann with Oyaide F1 connectors and Audyssey pro gives the stealth low freq. were I dreamed of. The possitive thing is; Stealth integration of a sub with speakers is possible these days.
Primarily due to the frequency overlaps between the subwoofer and the non-subwoofer speakers in the system which makes it very difficult to appropriately balance frequency volume. Subwoofers aren't meant for serious music reproduction, they're meant for "sound effects".
The overlap makes the overwhole sound even better. But this is because the timing is that good. Rel is slower in respons compared to Monitor Audio. Ofcourse for some it is fast enough, not for me.
From showrooms to rooms at shows to rooms in homes, I've yet to prefer the sound of any system with subs. That said, there is one exception. One being: my room. But I have two, worked at placement, dialed them in carefully for augmentation only, and have tweaked over time for perfection. They never stand out and IMO are seamlessly integrated with my mains. Subs are speakers too, and thus, require treatment as such.
Audyssey Pro gives me stunning results also at show's. Even wenn the room has bad acoustics. The difference will be even bigger with the other competitors. For subwoofers Audyssey Pro is a stunning tool to get the maximum out of your subwoofer.
Bo, I respect your passion for audio and being a dealer that seems to care about his customers. Your limited experience with Velodyne Subwoofers has left you with an understandable impression.

Currently Velodyne DD Plus subwoofers offer the user three methods of room optimization. Other than running a proprietary tone CD and a supplied microphone setup the first two programs are automatic in nature and require little input from the user. These two auto settings provided a somewhat boomy and not very well integrated result in my room with my system.

The Velodyne Manual Optimization requires the auto programs to be performed first as well as a software loaded computer linked to the sub.

The Manual Optimization is quite extensive and can initially be over the heads of many users but soon becomes easily useable. Velodyne offers very good support in this area. Manual offers a distinctive view of the total system frequencies between 1- 200Hz as seen in many periodical subwoofer reviews, as well as a full menu of EQ adjustments.

I spent the better part of a weekend of adjustment and listening sessions using the supplied tone generation CD, professional studio raw track file recordings of my Upright Double Basses, fretless Fender Jazz Bass, and a few very familiar recordings, to adjust my two Velodyne DD-12 Plus. This was simply to get the first and primary preset setup to MY taste. Long story short, the amount of time one spends with the Velodyne Manual Optimization can depend on many variables as well as one taste in low frequency reproduction.

I can't hear my subs unless some obvious ELF media is being played but turning them off is quite dramatic. Using sweep tone test material I cannot tell when my mains are running out and the subs takeover. It's seamless.

As you, I do not know which method your user used or just how much effort was spent on the users taste of integration. Judging by your description only the auto optimization was used which, in my experience, provides the presentation you've described. Unknowingly, this made enough of an impression on you to declare this as the sonic limits of Velodyne DD subs.

I can't help but respectfully yet strongly disagree with your assessment of Velodyne DD and DD Plus products. You're being a member of the audio industry I would suggest you consider your public negativity towards brands that you do not carry and especially brands that you admit to having limited first hand knowledge of. It may lower your credibility and is simply misleading.

The Monitor products you sell seem to be of high quality and well thought out. Your setup method is unusual but you seem to have found a presentation that satisfies you and more importantly your customers. Well done.

If the Velodyne would be better and faster I would have bought these. I do not say they are bad. I am a perfectionist. I want to test as much as possible, Always looking for the best. For myself I Always only interested in the best. For my clients I have the same policy. I like to send my clients to other shops to listen to competitors. Because I already know they things I demonstrated are superior. Looking for the best gives me a big advantage to compete. It makes me a lot easier to get a higher level for my clients. I want my clients to know they get the best for there money. I use Velodyne sub's to let my clients understand why the Monitor Audio sub's are faster. I love comparing in audio. It gives a lot of fun and information about the properties/talents of the tool I test.
I asked you twice about your experience with Velodyne subwoofers and you replied.
["A few hours, the owner of the Velodyne had done the room acoustic settings. So I do not know which setting."]
Clearly, you don't have a clue as to the potential of Velodyne Room Optimization or would simply rather not let on about the equalization potential of these adjustments.

Now your saying.
["I use Velodyne sub's to let my clients understand why the Monitor Audio sub's are faster. I love comparing in audio."]

So your using uncalibrated Velodyne subwoofers in comparison to demonstrate the so called superiority of the brand you sell as the "best."? Hardly a comparison.

All of a sudden I feel sorry for your customers.
What I do is I send clients to shops were they sell Velodyne. It is not my responsibility how they do there demo. This is a very easy way to convince. I never heard a demo of a Velodyne at a show that I was thrilled. I Always have my own cd's with me. I give you one clear example; Jacintha Her name is, number 6, I am in the mood for love( I use it Always to test speed, and imaging)Contrabass is on the left side of this recording. And it needs to be very direct and small in proportion. At a show with Velodyne and at home of a client with A DD18 I had the same experience with the same number. Instruments become bigger and the image is getting less focussed. I am still waiting for a demo with Velodyne to get a big smile on my face. The only part I liked is they solve the acoustic problems in the low freq. even in a small room. But I never heard a stereo demo of Velodyne ( every year you find some Velodyne demo's at shows) that the sub was full integrated with the speakers and the image had an extreme direct to point out and touchable image. Or you think the people who gave these demo's are all that stuppid!!
I do not think there is a simple answer to the original question. IMO there are
many reasons. First, my feeling is that initially many speaker manufactures
had very little understanding (if any) about the interaction between a sub,
room and main speakers, so they simple did not know how to built a proper
subwoofer. Combining this with the purist approach mentioned above by
Martykl, it is easy to understand how the myth about subwoofers being
detrimental to the sound has started. Second, my feeling is that a significant
percent of the audiophiles have never heard a properly set up subwoofer. This
is because most dealers are unable to properly set up a sub, viz. they have no
idea about interference phenomena (i.e. the way waves interact) and do not
understand how a sub interacts with the room and main speakers. In the
other camp, we have the audiophiles who have aheard a properly integrated
subwoofer, and, of course, bass freaks who want a lot of bass no matter

The fact is, however, that eventually people (i.e. scientists) have taken the
time to study and understand subwoofers properly. Proof of this is not only
the fact that new subs are much better than the old ones (e.g. REL Stentor 3 &
Studio 3 are simply no match for the new Velodine and SVS subs), but also the
wealth of softwares available these days which do wonders when it comes to
integrating a sub into a system. I believe Bo 100% when he says that he gets
marvelous results with the help of such softwares. I get marvelous results too.

Finally, regarding Bo, I should say that, I have cross paths with him here on
audiogon quite a few times, and my experience is that trying to have an
intelligent dialog with him is like trying to communicate with an untrained
chimp or a parrot. He will keep on repeating the same things over and over
again irrespectively of what the other are saying/asking. Take 5 minutes and
glance at his answers, he has hijacked so many threads by writing over and
over again the same things he has also written in this thread.

Bo, it is commendable that a dealer recommends not very expensive (given
hi-end standards) electronics and speakers (e.g. Monitor Audio Platinum
speakers and subwoofers, Pass Labs amps and the Onkyo receivers with
audissey pro software) over much more expensive ones, but the way you do it
is unprofessional and tiring.

Wenn it would be unprofessional I would never been the absolute sound of a show. At the end it is the quality of a demo what makes it better compared to the others. It is all about timing and speed. If the timing is better the realism in sound gets better. For subwoofers the level in integration is depending of the speed. If the speed is lower it is more difficult to integrate. The main thing I do not like about the Velodyne is that the stage is less sharp. Maybe Audyssey Pro can create a better integration with the Velodyne sub. I don't know because I did not listen to a Velodyne with this measurment. But with there own measurment I did not hear the accuracy I would want wenn I play in stereo. Nothing more, nothing less. Only for one year I have got a level in integration that satisfied me about subwoofers. Without this measurment I would still not used a subwoofer for stereo use. I understand that the integration of a subwoofer is not easy. But it is possible now.
Why are continuing to berate a product that you have no personal contact with?
You take your golden ear measurements at shows and other unfamiliar environments and come to some arbitrary conclusions.

You have admitted to having no experience with Velodyne Manual Room Optimization witch can be used in many different ways not simply for attaining a flat response. Getting a flat response can simply be a starting point towards multiple settings that reflect ones personal tastes and stored in its presets to be called up by the remote on the fly.

Don't you think you would be better served in describing your method of integrating the products you actually sell. I've heard some pedestrian EQ lacking subwoofers dialed in amazingly well with Audyssey products. Maybe you could take a more positive track here and discuss your experience with Audyssey.
I never heard ANY sub blend well with the main speakers...Until I heard a REL B2. Which I now own.I use the Signal Cable Spkon connector right from the main amps taps. My main speakers seem to be much more engaging than before.And of course I can hear much more low level information that was not there before.I am totally thrilled with the results from the REL.
Audyssey also is interested in the way I measure. But this I will keep for myself. Audyssey is not an easy system. Because you need to work very precise. Many of my clients and friends hate it. I understand why, when you do not work precise the measurement will work against you. The first test I did with Audyssey is almost 3 years ago. The only experience I had was with Tact roomcorrection, later Lyngdorf. I never liked this system to be honnest. I was amazed by the balance of the overwhole sound at the first measurment I did with Audyssey. I still was playing stereo and without a subwoofer. Because as you know I sold it but I did not like it for stereo use. I Always had very expensive stuff private. This time I wanted to do it differently. So I didn't buy very expensive stuff. I thought I will buy a surround system just as a second set and just for pleasure. At the end it changed my way about sub's and about Multi channel. I Always owned expensive 2 channel sets without a sub. I just had sold my XP-20 and XA100.5 mono's. Wenn you are in this business and you are addicted to music you want the best as possible. I always did spent most of my money to audio in my life. I do this since I was 6. I started with the Onkyo TX-NR808 and BD-SP808 in 2010. At that moment I still had the Meridian 800 DAXv4 of 25000 dollar. I was surprised that this cheap Onkyo even had depth. I Always test everything in how big a stage is. Because a deep and wide stage makes highend audio the most thrilling. The first measurment I did with Audyssey I already was aware of the lost in dynamics. So I thought mmmmmmm this need to improve soon. I started to test at different hights and places. After some time I found a way to loose less dynamics. I have a photograhpic memory in sound. I can remember exactly the way it sounds and how the stage is build at the first option. Wenn I change a part I can easilly compare it with the first option. I can Judge all the parts in audio in a few seconds. I know wenn it is better or wenn it is worse and why. This makes it more easy to get a higher level. Now after almost 3 years I can even change the depth and wide of the stage. Audyssey is a lot more than only roomcorrection. It also gives you more drive, speed and resolution. I can let people hear a lot more details of the music they thought they knew. It is also the control in the low freq. what gives you the possibility to play loud without any problem in the low freq. Wenn I play Kraftwerk or japanese drumm at extreme volumes there is no problems in the low freq anymore. This is a way of freedom I never thought it would be possible. Without my Audyssey pro measurment even my PLW-15 does not sound that great. Also with XT-32 I had very good results with the PLW-15. Audyssey Pro went even a lot further. These days I can even go further with Audyssey pro. I can change the whole freq. respons. I ask my clients what they want to change. I never had a tool what gave me this quality in sound and this freedom. But I use it at a totally different way compared to how Audyssey uses it.I was surprised that a brand like Onkyo could even make a wide and deep stage. Because normally you needed to go to more expensive brands. Time and technique goes on and this changes the world of audio all the time. For me it Always will be a search to those new tools which can lift audio to a higher level. A brand does not say anything, for me it always will be those who are the best at this moment.
I use a total of 3 Subs, two front and 1 rear. All three for theater with an LFE input to the crossover for the front and a separate output from the processor for the rear. The 2 fronts are double duty and used for two channel also. The fronts are Mono Theater and stereo for 2 channel. I crossover the fronts for two channel at about 30hz so the music has to be load for them to turn on. If i play jazz they really never turn on. I sometimes play classical but usually not at load volume so on sometimes but mostly off. Now when it comes to rock like Pink Floyd, Ozzy or Deep Purple they come to life in spades as I play load. It does take lots of work to get them setup correctly but is worth the time. I feel subs load the room and fill in where the main speaker cannot ever with the 11" woofers in my main speakers. I used a graphic sound analyzer with and without the subs and the graph looked better with the subs on much less dips.
Many of my clients did not use there sub with stereo music. Now with Audyssey Pro they cannot imagine not to use it anymore even for stereo use. Now they use it till 120hz. In the past a lot lower.
Bo1972 is utterly full of crap in his ridiculously overstated comments regarding the myth of sub "speed" and should be ignored. Otherwise he's fine.
In a few weeks we will have a new website. These days I use Sony Professional video and photo at all my clients. And in many cases it is with Audyssey Pro. They are made in dutch. I will see if we can subtitle them in english. I also collect of all the clients there findings with Audussey Pro. And what they used before. In will show you that there is no myth and it is exactly as I wrote.
Everything what I do is very open und honnest. I will show you that it is not nonesence. The reason why I do it is because of the average quality many brands deliver. It is only about giving every one a very good level in sound for a normal price.

You suggest, I really messed "than" up loud not load.
My Dyslexia is a pain but I will stay with how I stated it.
Because they are often problematic to get set up well and essentially an optional accessory and not necessarily always a core part of a good sounding system.

There are three scenarios one can follow regarding subwoofers:

1) pass on the lowest octave of sound and get the rest working really well, which is typically the easiest approach to getting good sound.

2) buy a more "full range" design that can cover the lowest octave alone (essentially subwoofer is already integrated by the designer)

3) buy a separate sub and set it up/integrate it yourself.

Options 2) and 3) both of which address the lowest octave by design can be a challenge to get set up really well in any particular room.

So really its all that is involved to get the lowest octave of sound working right along with all the rest that is a challenge in general. SUbs just provide a separate device, but the problem is still often the same and may or may not be any easier to solve case by case.

There is no simple one size fits all solution. Does that make it "polarizing" maybe?
Mapman, well said.

While some manufactures are offering more and better subwoofer equalization to aid in subwoofer installation and improve integration with the main system there is still an amount of effort involved.

On the other hand taking the time and making the effort can reward the user not only with a seamless integration but a much better understanding of the relationship between their room and extra low frequency.

So the answer to sub integration is making adjustments by listening. Who knew? Also, note that bass information differs infinitely relative to the recording, so I suggest continued listening and finding a way for easy adjusting. I have an easily accessable Chicken Head knob on my REL's level pot (no need to mess with the range pot...so the chicken head is free of range...get it?) and it is needed for the aforementioned differences. Not much, not aleays, but needed. If you don't think you need to adjust a sub, it's either run at very low level or you don't mind Peter Washington's hotly mixed double bass knocking the paintings off the wall and prompting the neighbor to come over to shoot you (this may even be legal in Florida). A friend just bought a digital room correction gizmo and likes it but noticed he has to turn his sub up when using the gizmo, but then he's not a very mixing intuitive...this (clinically known as Knob Turner Syndrome) issue could be common among many and goes far to explain why some people can't adjust audio parameters easily, and explains why I'm overpaid to mix live music.