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How much do I need a subwoofer

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How much do I need a subwoofer

Postby joeltrekell » Sun Mar 14, 2010 4:46 pm

Does having a subwoofer make a big difference? Right now I am using a stereo system.
Thanks!
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Re: How much do I need a subwoofer

Postby Gedakt » Sun Mar 14, 2010 5:15 pm

Hi Joel,

It mainly depends upon whether you enjoy hearing "the bottom octave" of pipe organs and VPO's. Unless you have a serious hi fi sub-woofer system - not the small type which is commonly supplied with a computer - you will be unable to do justice to the 32-foot pedal notes. If you are not interested in these very low frequencies and the 16' range is all you need, a good stereo speaker system using 10" or 12" bass drivers would probably satisfy you. Having said that I believe even the 16' range is noticeably enhanced by a good sub-woofer.

My own experience is that pipe organ reproduction takes on a far greater realism, with quite thrilling results, when the audio system includes a sub-woofer capable of worthwhile response down to 16 Hertz.

Regards,

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Re: How much do I need a subwoofer

Postby mpieter » Tue Apr 27, 2010 9:06 pm

Question for the audio experts here in this area, Would a Bose companion 5 Multimedia be any good for a basic set-up
ppp
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Re: How much do I need a subwoofer

Postby Andrew Grahame » Tue Apr 27, 2010 9:26 pm

Hello Joel,

I think a subwoofer is absolutely essential for organ music reproduction. Even a cheap one can make a huge difference. Although much of my playing is done through headphones (a high quality pair by Audio Technica) I have a small cheap subwoofer attached to a very ordinary hi-fi for when I am playing out loud. The sub makes a phenomenal difference. Get one!

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Andrew Grahame
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Re: How much do I need a subwoofer

Postby bcollins » Wed Apr 28, 2010 2:22 am

mpieter wrote:Question for the audio experts here in this area, Would a Bose companion 5 Multimedia be any good for a basic set-up


IMHO, absolutely not. I've never heard, used them, but I've read too many horror stories. Big risk. I have a pair of Bose 3 on my wife's laptop for mp3s, etc. and they're nice, but have the typical Bose mud.
I have however, tried Bose 203, 402, and 901s for organ use. Mud.

At a minimum invest in a Behringer Truth B2092A Powered Subwoofer ($229) and a pair of Behringer B2031A ($359). You will not be disappointed. If you shop around you can find the sub as low as $180 and the monitors around $300.
I have (2) B2092A Powered Subwoofers, (8) B2031 active monitors and (8) B2031P passive monitors.

signed, former Bose fan, now a Bose basher.
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Re: How much do I need a subwoofer

Postby mpieter » Wed Apr 28, 2010 10:27 am

Thanks.

Thank you Bob for the guidance,
What kind of amplifier set-up do you have for your active and passive monitors and woofers ?

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Re: How much do I need a subwoofer

Postby bcollins » Wed Apr 28, 2010 11:34 am

The active monitors need no amplifies, as they each have 150 watt / 75 watt amps built in with active crossovers for the LF/HF.

My B2031P passive monitors are wired in series, so a pair of speakers makes up one channel. When you wire them in series, they become 8 Ohm instead of 4 Ohms. I drive each 'pair' with a single Behringer A500 amplifier in 'Bridged Mono' mode - 500 watts at 8 Ohms.

As I have stated here before however, (1) B2031A outperforms (2) B2031P. I learned the hard way after investing $379 per channel for the passive speakers plus amplifiers. The only advantage being that you can situate the speakers in such a way as to create a bi-polar effect. I have one speaker on its back firing up toward the ceiling and one firing toward the back wall of the organ chamber.

Definition: A bipolar surround speaker has two or more speakers that output sound in mulitple directions. The purpose of a bipolar speaker is to make the surround sound field more diffuse so that the sound location cannot be pinpointed. In a bipolar speaker, both drivers are ‘in phase’, which means that both speakers are outputting sound at the same time.

If I were to do it all over again, I would go straight for the active monitors (B2031A).
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Re: How much do I need a subwoofer

Postby bcollins » Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:00 pm

One more thing I should mention as you weigh the cost of your speaker setup.
For a combination Behringer subwoofer /active monitor setup you will need to budget for some quality interconnect cables.
Most likely, a pair of 1/4" TRS male to XLR male cable to connect your sound card to the subwoofer. And then a pair of XLR female to XLR male cables to connect from the subwoofer to the active monitors.
The connections on the back of the Behringer sub are here:
Image
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Re: How much do I need a subwoofer

Postby Joris » Thu Aug 12, 2010 6:05 am

Although subwoofers exist that go down to 16 Hz (but they come at a price!), remember that the lowest pipe of a 32 foot stop has a wavelength of about 20 meters. In order to do justice to its fundamental, you need a roomsize of at least half that length(10 meters). As most Hauptwerk installations are in rooms that are considerably smaller, I dare to say: stop worrying about 32 ft fundamentals and live happily with 16 ft foundations.
I am still using the speakers of my Johannus organ and it is true that 16 ft sound is not reproduced to satisfaction. In my case this is because the aux-in of the organ is only connected to its midrange speakers and not to the woofer. For now, I just add the subbas-16 stop of the Johannus organ (which sounds through the woofer), and this gives a nice foundation.
I am considering though to route the 16 (and 32) foot stops of the lowest octave to the Johannus woofer as well. But I am not going to spend money to a sophisticated subwoofer as I am not convinced that it will make a big difference.

Joris
Last edited by Joris on Tue Aug 04, 2015 2:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How much do I need a subwoofer

Postby gingercat » Thu Aug 12, 2010 6:17 am

One thing to bear in mind is of course your budget. It is very easy to be dazzled by reference quality speakers and subs, but if you're on a limited budget, don't worry about going for cheaper models, the difference won't be night and day. For the sub, you may well be more than happy with a standard home-cinema type sub which can be picked up quite cheaply. I'd suggest asking any home-cinema friends if you can borrow their sub to try out.
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Re: How much do I need a subwoofer

Postby toplayer2 » Thu Aug 12, 2010 12:35 pm

Opinion:

- speakers are the weakest link in the audio chain
- quality trumps quantity, it is better to have two very good
speakers than four of even slightly lesser quality
- for dry sampled organs, more speakers of a given quality
is better than fewer of the same quality
- a good subwoofer is an essential component
- needing a room larger than some fracation of a wavelength
at frequency X is IMO a myth. Our ears respond to pressure.
Otherwise earphones would not produce acceptable bass.
- Room nodes/eigentones/standing waves can be troublesome.
The best rooms are well damped and with non-parallel walls and
Irregular dimensions. The worst room would be a cube.
Sometimes EQ and multple subs can help.
- VERY few subs can adequately reproduce 32' stops.
- what I use and recommend are Mackie HR824 active monitors and
a Deftec Trinity sub.

Joe
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Re: How much do I need a subwoofer

Postby organtechnology » Thu Aug 12, 2010 9:20 pm

Then convert your listening room to an anechoic chamber that is flat from DC to light. 8)

Sorry I couldn't resist the jibe. But really the most economical way to feel like you are playing a pipe organ is to set up the speakers to create a sonic field around you that has the frequencies of a pipe organ at pipe organ sound levels. That requires a good sub-woofer which is capable of at least 25 Hz and that can be pushed to produce some amount of lower notes without rattling.

Has anyone used K-701 headphones with a good sub-woofer. I think it would produce a very realistic experience for the player but each listener would need a pair too to get the full effect.

Pax,

Thomas
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Re: How much do I need a subwoofer

Postby Joris » Fri Aug 13, 2010 9:33 am

Joris wrote:I am considering though to route the 16 (and 32) foot stops of the lowest octave to the Johannus woofer as well. But I am not going to spend money to a sophisticated subwoofer as I am not convinced that it will make a big difference.


I did it today. The 16 foot stops now shake the building! The 16 and 32 ft reeds are still routed to the main speakers as I want to hear their higher harmonics (rattling sound of the Metz reeds). Cost : nothing!
Last edited by Joris on Sat Jan 15, 2011 6:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How much do I need a subwoofer

Postby Joris » Fri Aug 13, 2010 9:45 am

toplayer2 wrote:- needing a room larger than some fracation of a wavelength
at frequency X is IMO a myth. Our ears respond to pressure.
Otherwise earphones would not produce acceptable bass.


Hmm…as a physicist I can tell you there are a few myths in physics, but this is not one of them. Small rooms with high symmetry (as opposed to gothic vaulted cathedrals) will mostly result in reflected sound waves that interfere destructively with the direct sound, no matter how high the sound pressure level produced. Headphones are indeed capable of producing a nice bass because there is only direct sound and no reflections.

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Re: How much do I need a subwoofer

Postby toplayer2 » Fri Aug 13, 2010 8:42 pm

Joris wrote:
toplayer2 wrote:- needing a room larger than some fracation of a wavelength
at frequency X is IMO a myth. Our ears respond to pressure.
Otherwise earphones would not produce acceptable bass.


Hmm…as a physicist I can tell you there are a few myths in physics, but this is not one of them. Small rooms with high symmetry (as opposed to gothic vaulted cathedrals) will mostly result in reflected sound waves that interfere destructively with the direct sound, no matter how high the sound pressure level produced. Headphones are indeed capable of producing a nice bass because there is only direct sound and no reflections.

Joris


Yes and no. The myth (IMO) is that some people believe that it takes a large room to allow very low frequencies "develop". As we both seem to agree, smooth and even bass has a lot to do with room geometry and damping.

... Room nodes/eigentones/standing waves can be troublesome.
The best rooms are well damped and with non-parallel walls and
Irregular dimensions. The worst room would be a cube.
Sometimes EQ and multple subs can help....


By designing my not huge listening room with angled walls, irregular dimensions, bass traps, "voicing" of bass pipes, and experimenting with placement, the Trinity and Velodyne subs deliver deep, powerful, and even bass.

Chris mentions this interesting room compensator device in another thread:

http://www.tweekgeek.com/_e/DSpeaker/product/Anti-Mode-8033/Anti_Mode_8033.htm

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