Seamless subwoofer integration requires the sub to be placed in the location which minimizes room modes and also produces the fewest cancellations with the main speakers.
As always, get the physical issues optimized and the electronics will have a lot less processing to do.
Listed below are some of the high end subwoofers which almost guarantee excellent bottom end performance.
Older design subs take a little more work. Many include lossy passive crossovers which roll off the main speakers but rob a good deal of transparency. Use these with extreme reluctance!
Many receivers have bass management which forces a high 80Hz crossover. You should aim for as low a crossover point as your main speakers can safely handle.
In the end, any of these systems will produce superb results with Newform Ribbon loudspeakers, especially the new LineSource models as crossovers can be very low and in many cases, the main speakers can be run full bandwidth.
Different room correction and integration systems from different subwoofer manufacturers may produce different results depending on room size and the problems the systems are called upon to fix. This has to do with how the systems handle long time delays in larger or open rooms. However, in “good” rooms, it is unlikely that the results will be anything less than excellent with any of the systems listed below.
Velodyne is a famous subwoofer maker for good reason. We have used their subs at a number of shows and now they come with very sophisticated integration and self-equalization systems. Their approach is unlikely to be significantly improved upon in a decent room.
Paradigm is a speaker manufacturer with an excellent name for great subwoofers at great prices. Their Anthem division produces quite sophisticated processors and amplifiers and their expertise has been applied to their subwoofers.
Our perennial favourite product for biggest bang for the buck, the Behringer DCX2496 is a sound reinforcement digital crossover with an incredible array of capabilities. If your subwoofer does not have room correction or a sophisticated crossover built in, then the DCX2496 will offer the next best thing. It is an extremely sophisticated crossover with some basic room correction capability via parametric EQ. It has a steep learning curve but being able to modify settings in the most minute detail on the run is a huge plus. Nothing comes close for the money.
Maybe the most elegant solution of all, the Tact gear has digital crossovers built into their digital amplifiers. As well, probably the worlds most sophisticated room correction is built into their preamp processors. They don’t come cheap but by audiophile standards, the price for this capability is very reasonable when you boil it all out.
A sophisticated digital crossover with room correction system, the DEQX hails from Australia is very well regarded. It does as much as the Behringer in the crossover department and adds full room correction. It is also reputed to sound a bit better than the Behringer due to its higher grade DACs. It is also over 5 times the price.
Major mass consumer electronics brands are now offering room correction and more sophisticated bass management in their receivers. In the past, these have been less than ideally implemented but keep an open mind because these companies have plenty of resources and they are now in the realm of digital where everything gets better and cheaper at the same time. Mostly.
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