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  • Why build towers?

    I keep reading that the ideal place for subwoofers is rarely beneath mains due to how low frequencies behave in rooms. It got me wondering, if the issue is about frequencies where the room is acoustically small, what are the advantages of building towers and larger speakers that produce those low frequencies if those frequencies are better suited to be played by multiple distributed (sub)woofers? Instead of building a three- or four-way tower, should the default decision instead be bookshelves and multiple subwoofers crossed at 80Hz to get an even in-room response?

  • #2
    Well that is what certain posters on here preach over and over again. They certainly could be hearing challenged after so many years of live performances or just set in their ways. Having designed my own 3 way towers and having heard a multitude of other properly designed towers at DIY events I call BS. Great studio recorded music and live recorded music sounds awesome with big woofer 3 ways. Nothing wrong with subs if you want Jurassic Park dinosaurs stomping around your house at 110 dB.
    Craig

    I drive way too fast to worry about cholesterol.

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    • Blenton
      Blenton commented
      Editing a comment
      "Nothing wrong with subs if you want Jurassic Park dinosaurs stomping around your house at 110 dB"

      Yes, please But what if I want to use those mini-fridge subs as stands for my mains? I agree with your comments above - I feel like everybody pooh-pooh's that idea because, according to the "experts", big woofers in the main's location is a bad idea. But I'm not sure why, only that it isn't as flexible when it comes to multi-sub room placement. I had a set of monkey coffin's once, and they pounded the room the pieces! Still, I'm on the fence about changing up my mains to a solid three way or even stereo sub two ways with a built-in amp for the woofers. Yet, I see many posts stating that is just a bad idea. Arggh...

  • #3
    The late Siegfried Linkwitz designed dipole subs for his LXmini speakers. They cross at 60HZ. He mentions flexibility of placement but they are pictured next to the LXminis at the Burning amp festival 2016. This is a stereo music system primarily. So there's that.

    My LXminis use a single Dayton 250DSP 8" sub by the couch. I couldn't spring for the Seas sub drivers, further dsp and two more amp channels. Sounds OK to me.

    https://www.linkwitzlab.com/LXmini/LXmini+2.htm

    https://www.linkwitzlab.com/LXmini/BAF2016.htm

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    • #4
      Originally posted by JonathanPenner View Post
      should the default decision instead be bookshelves and multiple subwoofers crossed at 80Hz to get an even in-room response?
      It should, but between listening/buying with their eyes and the average person having about the same level of knowledge about audio as they do about quantum mechanics towers still have a following.

      www.billfitzmaurice.com
      www.billfitzmaurice.info/forum

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      • #5
        There is no right or wrong speaker cabinet format.

        The only thing constraining your choices are the space you have to fit them into and what you and your wife are willing to tolerate concerning their aesthetics.

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        • #6
          I think that sometimes a simpler system is more practical. I have a sat / sub setup in my HT room. I sometimes want a second system in my living room.

          I've done sat / sub in the living room, and also full range speakers without a sub. I think both are pretty much equal in bass quality, not identical, but both equally enjoyable. I like a quick setup, or take down of the system. The sat / sub system has more stuff to deal with, so a pair of full range speakers would be my preference.

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          • #7
            I have what amounts to towers, with 15s at the base of the towers crossed LR2 to the MTM above. That arrangement allows me to use shallow crossover slopes @ 150Hz, and I get some vertical directivity from the 15s interacting with the MTM. The bass is exemplary, although my room has extensive acoustic treatment since I hate live sounding rooms. In my experience the LR2 slopes are much more natural sounding than higher order in that frequency range.
            Francis

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            • #8
              A system with stand mount speakers and multiple subs positioned and integrated just right, may be better than quality towers.

              However, I think, poorly setup subwoofer(s) can easily make a system sound much worse. Given that a lot of us listen to music in rooms that also have other purposes; our equipment has to fit into that room, so subs can't always go where it would be ideal anyways. Without DSP, bass management or at the very least an amp with a sub out and built in crossover, it can be tricky blending a sub or subs to speakers, especially if there are multiple seating areas in a room. If someone isn't willing to spend the extra for the DSP and/or alter their current system to incorporate it, then correctly manually setting up a sub can be difficult and time consuming.

              I can see that with a tower the bass might not be ideal for the room but it should integrated pretty well with the overall sound, doesn't require rearranging other furniture, doesn't require more cables, doesn't have the infinite ability to adjust so there is no risk of nonstop 'I wonder if it could be better'.

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              • #9
                Systems should be nice to look at. Or at least not be a detraction from the room. Additional cables are a detraction unless they can be properly hidden, and all the better if it can be done without bumps under the rug. Also, when you get down to it most subs aren't much to look at.

                Just think, many, many years from now, when you've gone almost completely deaf due to your ridiculous little audio hobby, at least you will still be able to look at your towers and see those sweet 10" cones made of some exotic material pumping air like a race horse's chest.

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                • #10
                  Thanks all for the responses. The impression I get is that while a well set up sub/sat system is sonically better, there are other considerations like simplicity and aesthetics that depending on the situation can be more important than the acoustic ideal. Also that a thrown together sub/sat system may sound worse than decent full ranger speakers.

                  The crux of it seems to be that to speakers are often in our living spaces and need to fit in them. If a space allows for distributed subwoofers then great, but otherwise the next best thing are some nice full rangers.

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                  • #11
                    This is Zaph's BAMTM cab design with an integrated sub driver in the bottom. Not a three way, but a 2.2 setup. More adjustability and possible "bass authority" than a three way.

                    The design page. Attached pdf is the cabinet plan.

                    http://zaphaudio.com/BAMTM.html

                    Attached Files

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                    • #12
                      Wolf's Zinger design. A full range 2 way with an 8" DVC subwoofer driver. I made mine as a large stand mount. Others have done towers. Wolf's original was somewhere in between.

                      Click image for larger version

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                      • #13
                        I disagree with the sub / sat being sonically better. I find the mid-bass region to be extremely lacking on most if not all sub / sat combinations I have heard. This might also very on your preferred SPL levels and the size of the rooms the speakers are in. My current listening area is an open L-shaped basement and having a sub / sat combination in that room would not provide me with adequate SPL levels for my listening preferences without overwhelming the midrange driver and driving it into distortion.

                        I will say this though, having the basement dedicated to my man cave certainly does help the situation as far as size and aesthetics go.

                        Comment


                        • djg
                          djg commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Tiny little Bose type satellites were born without any mid bass ability. My HT now has L/C/R of MTMs with Dayton RS150 woofers. No lack of midbass.

                      • #14
                        Originally posted by thejash View Post
                        … having the basement dedicated to my man cave certainly does help the situation as far as size and aesthetics go.
                        That certainly opens up more options!

                        Originally posted by thejash View Post
                        I find the mid-bass region to be extremely lacking on most if not all sub / sat combinations I have heard.
                        Interesting. Might that be related to the sub/sat crossover being in that region? Or to your point of distortion, maybe three-way sats with the woofer/mid cross above the mid-bass region and then crossed to subs would help?

                        Edit: spelling

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                        • #15
                          Originally posted by JonathanPenner View Post

                          That certainly opens up more options!



                          Interesting. Might that be related to the sub/sat crossover being in that region? Or to your point of distortion, maybe three-way sats with the woofer/mid cross above the mid-bass region and then crossed to subs would help?

                          Edit: spelling
                          Well I technically have 3 way "sats" I guess, since I also make use of subwoofers as well. I built these: https://www.divine-audio.com/canaiolo/ several years ago and also have 4 - CSS SDX 10's for subs. Crossover point is low 40-50ish hertz done via a minidsp (these things are great btw). But on to the point, I think some of it might simply have to do with the dynamic headroom available for a larger driver to reproduce those frequencies without having to strain. Having made some higher end bookshelves using various Seas drivers, I just don't enjoy them as much as the larger floor standers.

                          Growing up my dad always had large speakers (Heil amt 1-b, JBL 240ti) and liked to take full advantage of that displacement!



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