Post by yves on Aug 5, 2016 14:23:27 GMT -5
Granted I don't know what you mean by "affordable" as to me this means $2k or so... There are some nice DIY options in the $2-3k range that will blow away almost all other options. If you saying adding two off the shelf $200-400 subs will not be better and isn't worth the expense of buying a processor, I agree with you.
However, from a technical perspective there is a lot that says otherwise if one wants a no compromise system...
1. Google "intermodulation subwoofer;" turns out this is very audible at low frequencies to the human ear. This is no audiophile BS as there are measurements on google. You can both hear and measure this difference.
2. Having dual subs (wired in mono config) in ideal placement may be at different locations than your main speakers. This is more than likely true, but depends on the room.
3. Subs can be properly time aligned using free software like Room EQ Wizard (REW), and will disappear into the stereo image when crossed over properly. Almost no one takes the time to do this unfortunately. Heck, I have an MS in Electrical Engineering and still spent 100's of hours studying this subject and trying to fully understand the REW manual that is hundreds of pages! I'm not sure what the average Joe should do other than hire a professional audio engineer to set up their subs... I find that most "experts" at the high end audio stores just want to sell snake oil and don't know anything either which probably doesn't help things.
4. You absolutely need more than a single sub to get better bass than a pair of nice speakers; this is almost always the case. I have also found it is also good to elevate the dual subs off the floor or choose subs with stacked drivers. Both these have to do with room modes/how the subs couple to the room. Again measurable, but stacked drivers is going to double the cost which proves your cost standpoint even more as will having two subs instead of one.
5. My speakers retail in the $20k range (didn't pay anywhere near that and bought used). My room is very well treated too. I still use dual subs and promise you can measure distortion with REW and see along with hear a difference.
I get that 99% of audiophiles are not as crazy as me. Some just like that "full" bass sound (e.g. bass with distortion). From a technical standpoint, my personal goal is to recreate what I listen to in as true of a fashion. Once you train your ear to listen to bass with very low distortion (for example, my system is below 1% THD down to ~18 Hz at 90dBA in room as measured from the MLP), it will be very hard to go back to hearing bass with distortion. Also room acoustics plays a big part as I strive for waterfall decay times below 100Hz that most have never heard (e.g. decays less than 180ms at 60dB down from the peak between 20-100Hz). I love the tactile feel from a drum solo and want my system to be transparent to the source material, some may not though.
Personally, I, fancy listening to stereo music a lot more than watching movies in the best possible multichannel sound quality. That's why, for me, it didn't really matter that most of those USB DACs are expensive. The music simply matters more, and I tend to completely disagree with anyone who keeps insisting that, for listening to stereo music, adding affordable subs to a fairly high end stereo playback system is always easily worth the time, effort, and expense. In fact, I find that making it justifyable as an upgrade for stereo music playback would cost me something more in the vicinity of, say, 8 times the price of a strong DAC. But then, obviously that's just me.
I have no real interest in DIY subs, but I feel confident that spending much less than $8,000 (retail price) on a pair of subs will not be an upgrade for my current setup for stereo music.