In past posts I have written much about bass and much of what I have written involves the use of subwoofers. As many of you know I believe you need subwoofers to make your system whole. I haven’t built a system I listen to without a sub in years.
If you get everything we’ve been discussing setup correctly and then put on a track that should have good, deep low bass – and find that it doesn’t – then you really only have a couple of choices. You can try moving your listening position around for best bass with the possibility of losing your imaging in the process, you can ignore the low end of the music if it’s not that important to you or you can add a subwoofer. There aren’t a lot of other options.
It is at this point where I bring my subs back into the system and integrate the pair for best performance with what I have. I have used many subs in the past but currently I have a pair of Martin Logan Descent servo subs that are great. There are a few really great subs around, like those from REL, the JL Audio Fathoms and mine if you can manage.
The trick with adding a sub is two fold: use a left and right pair if you can and if not, make sure the one sub goes on the right side of the loudspeaker pair in case you’re going to be listening to classical music. Secondly, the sub frequency should probably never go above 30 or 40 Hz and on most music you should almost never hear the sub except if there’s a really low fundamental.
A subwoofer is useful to fill in the lower octaves of bass most loudspeakers cannot produce and couple well into the room with. Even those loudspeaker pairs that can produce true low frequency bass (and there are only a rare few) are probably not being placed in the right area of the room for good bass – that’s the funny thing – the best place for everything but good bass is where we have the speakers. So it’s not worth sacrificing what we have achieved to better the bass response.
IMHO it’s much better to either leave the low bass off of the radar or add a subwoofer or two to achieve it.