R/E/P Community

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

Pages: [1]   Go Down

Author Topic: Using a subwoofer with nearfield monitors?  (Read 15714 times)

Glenn Bucci

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 22
Using a subwoofer with nearfield monitors?
« on: June 29, 2011, 08:59:46 am »

I had the opportunity to try a Focal Sub 6 with my Focal Twins in my 15 x 13 x 7'8" room. Based on my observations on using the sub, I wanted to share my thought process on if using a sub with near fields is necessary. Thanks to Hugh Robjohns for his great article on subwoofers. http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/apr07/articles/subwoofers.htm

Everyone has different objectives for their studio, so your needs will be different than others. My studio is a serious hobby where I record my own music and have selected clients who will come to my home studio to record. Many don't want to spend the money on a mastering house for their music though I encourage it. My clients generally are recording for their own pleasure, though some send their music to some publishers. This means I usually end up mastering the music after giving my ears a long enough break from the music.

Sub placement is very important: I put the Focal Sub 6 in my listening position (where my seat is) and crawled on the floor to find the sweet spot. Basically the good position was between my monitors but not centered. I used the Pink test, and played several CD's that has a lot of low end. I then spent time adjusting the level of the sub with the monitors. With the A/B switch on the Sub 6, I had the sub provide about the same volume of bass as the Twins did on their own. Then I compared the 75 high pass and 100 high pass and decided I liked the 75 high pass better. Next I had to work with the phase control. I played 75 Hz noise (HP cut off on the monitors) in Cubase with the Tools plug in and adjusted the phase knob. When all said and done, I was able to get the sub volume pretty close to what the Twins offered on their own I then gave my ears some rest. If you donít do this work when placing a sub, the subwoofer could actually make the sound in your room worse. It is recommended to also take the time to use a software program that is available with an Omni mic and do more tests to get the absolute best position for the sub.

Then the tests began. You hear everything out of your monitors and then with a click of a button poof the sub is kicked in! Now you hear a slightly richer low end, and for some reason the depth seemed a little better in the midís. I have not yet concluded if the midís sound better because of the improved definition in the low end when using a sub, or if the midís not producing bass offer a slightly improved depth to the music. I boosted the bass on the Twins; to have them sound closer to the sound of the sub but there is still a difference. The subwoofer offers better definition than the Twins on their own.

I had spoken to a engineer who discussed about the dips we all have in our studios. In doing some tests, my studio has a -3db at 66 Hz. He told me the sub could help fill that hole where there is a - 3db. However if you have freq.ís below 40 Hz going on, my couple of bass traps and panels will not be enough to control them. In fact you could be adding more problems to your small room if there is a lot of low freq.ís are coming out of your sub in a room that is not designed for a studio and the room is not properly treated. Smaller studio rooms can also cause additional problems if using a subwoofer.

Near field monitors are designed for you to listen to your music on and to mix with them. Most studios have near field monitors on their desk or behind it and they don't use a sub with them. Granted if you have cheaper monitors like Yamaha $500 monitors, the Yamaha $300 subwoofer could help to get the low end youíre missing on your mains. But lower end subs will not offer the definition of the more costly subwoofers. The truth is many home studio owners cannot afford high end monitors in their studio so you have to work within your budget. But the fact remains if you have monitors such as the PMC TB2, Event Opals, Focal Twins, and Genelec 8050's....you don't need a sub to create good mixes. You can obtain great results with all of these monitors along with some acoustic treatment in your room. It's more of a preference of do you want a little mid forward monitors, the characteristic of the Gens', etc. They all get you to where you want to go at the end.....which is to help provide you with a good mix.

Benefit of a subwoofer on mid level near fields: With that being said, the subwoofer can be helpful when working with monitors like the PMC TB2's, or Twins in situations. Of course you want to have a sub that is on the same quality level as your monitors. One example is if you don't have mid field monitors in your studio and you want monitors for playback to impress clients with a larger sound. Having the sub in connection with your monitors can be very helpful to add that extra punch. It will provide a fuller punchier mix that you will feel as well as hear. Granted when I worked with the sub, I made sure the volume of it was balanced with the mid's and high's. It was basically the same volume as the low end was when my Twins worked by themselves. In my studio I never go past 90 db in my 15 x 13 room, nor is there a reason to.

Another area that a sub can offer help is at the mastering stage to hear important information in the low end. In addition, if there is a dip in your room below 80 Hz, the subwoofer (if properly placed and balanced with your monitors) can help fill that dip so you can more accurately hear what is going down in the low end. It would be more difficult with just your main monitors to accomplish this unless you have high end full range monitors such as the new Adam S3X's, Barefoot or Focal SM9.

So my opinion is you don't need a sub to mix with monitors like Focal Twins, Gen 8050's or PMC TB2A's. However having the option to turn a quality sub on with it can provide some benefits you can't obtain with just the one pair of monitors. It may be a nice option to have a quality sub to be used as a second source with your monitors, espcially if you only have one pair of monitors in your studio. The Twins with the Sub 6 is almost like a poor man's Focal SM9. You have a the Twins on their own, and then when you want to hear how it would sound with a fuller range, you can turn on the Sub. Much improved defintion was found by using the Sub 6. The Gen 8040's, and Focal Solo's may benifit more due to their smaller size and not being able to generate as much low end.

Here ends the opinion of one man.  I welcome your opinion on this matter.
Logged

Glenn Bucci

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 22
Re: Using a subwoofer with nearfield monitors?
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2011, 11:53:08 am »

On setting up the subwoofer, it should be noted that the outs of my converters went directly to the sub. Then with the HP and LP filter set to 75 Hz, the outs of the Subwoofer went to the Focal Twins.
Logged

Jim Williams

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 575
Re: Using a subwoofer with nearfield monitors?
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2011, 11:07:11 am »

I use a 15" subwoofer with my modified JBL 4408A's. It does 25 hz. It's a floor firing design that is more imune to room placement than forward facing designs.

It's an all passive set up. The crossovers have been rebuilt using premium film caps, wirewound resistors and copper foil inductors.

Both speakers are 89 db/1 watt sensitivity so they match well.

I prefer a passive design over any active crossover, no semiconductors in the signal path. I use modified Adcom power amps to drive them. This system I've used since 1994.
Logged

KAyo

  • R/E/P Forums
  • Full Member
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 237
  • Real Full Name: KAyo
  • Business Videos 24/7
Re: Using a subwoofer with nearfield monitors?
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2011, 03:58:45 am »

On setting up the subwoofer, it should be noted that the outs of my converters went directly to the sub. Then with the HP and LP filter set to 75 Hz, the outs of the Subwoofer went to the Focal Twins.

Thanks mate. Nice explanation in the earlier part of the thread.

Glad you mentioned it.. I have been searching for all sorts of options to connect a sub to my B&W 602 s3 speakers, and have been scratching my head as to how best should I attach them.. Been talking about this in Brad' side of the forum in the WUMP's etc..

Although, I knew of your approach, I was a bit apprehensive in doing so, but, now that you’ve also done the same, I feel better for doing the same myself shortly. I did watch a few videos explaining the same.. so maybe it’s time for a purchase the. Eh!

Even though, I'd go this way.. is this the best way. Cause, I really dig the LFE output type amps, but, they are all semi pro and most professional amps (mine is Haffler), do not have this seperate sub output, and thus, I am or we are in this case, have to go through the series setup. I really wish, I had that one LFE output for the sub thingy.. it would solve all me problems. Also, I could change my amp to my Onkyo, but, that ain't a professional amp for the B&W's etc.. So, the only option left is your series connectivity.

Any other affordable ideas people?

Ciao’
KAyo
Logged
www.kantabiz.com
Business Video Directory

Glenn Bucci

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 22
Re: Using a subwoofer with nearfield monitors?
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2011, 03:48:50 pm »

Thanks mate. Nice explanation in the earlier part of the thread.

Glad you mentioned it.. I have been searching for all sorts of options to connect a sub to my B&W 602 s3 speakers, and have been scratching my head as to how best should I attach them.. Been talking about this in Brad' side of the forum in the WUMP's etc..

Although, I knew of your approach, I was a bit apprehensive in doing so, but, now that youíve also done the same, I feel better for doing the same myself shortly. I did watch a few videos explaining the same.. so maybe itís time for a purchase the. Eh!

Even though, I'd go this way.. is this the best way. Cause, I really dig the LFE output type amps, but, they are all semi pro and most professional amps (mine is Haffler), do not have this seperate sub output, and thus, I am or we are in this case, have to go through the series setup. I really wish, I had that one LFE output for the sub thingy.. it would solve all me problems. Also, I could change my amp to my Onkyo, but, that ain't a professional amp for the B&W's etc.. So, the only option left is your series connectivity.

Any other affordable ideas people?

Ciaoí
KAyo

The Focal Sub 6 has a high pass and low pass filter on it which makes it more flexible. By going direct to the sub, I can use the sub for only the low freq's, and at a certain frequency, have my main monitors take over from there. Then with the A/B switch in the back, I can turn off the sub and the monitors will then handle all the freq's. This option is really important to me and this is what makes the Sub 6 a great besdies the clear sound it offers in the low end.
Logged

KAyo

  • R/E/P Forums
  • Full Member
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 237
  • Real Full Name: KAyo
  • Business Videos 24/7
Re: Using a subwoofer with nearfield monitors?
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2011, 05:16:51 pm »

Now, that's a great option to have! Convenient and expansive when required.
Like it a lot..

Thanks,
KAyo
Logged
www.kantabiz.com
Business Video Directory

deda

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4
  • Real Full Name: Tim E. Porter
  • To the R/E/P Community where civility truly exists
Re: Using a subwoofer with nearfield monitors?
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2011, 12:33:49 am »


 Jim I'm aware this is an old thread that had a positive lifespan with information shared BUT!

 Your explanation of your subwoofer/monitor setup and the fact that it's a floor firing design has given me an opportunity to ask someone as yourself with a wealth of knowledge to share a damn question I've asked a couple of times over the last 8 years over yonder at the other place but I've never had anyone answer the damn question, a simple yes or no.

 Simply put sometime 15 years or so ago I read a bit about a studio and in the interview he said "I mix barefooted to feel to sub" and then went on to say many engineers do the same.

 Jim, hell anybody every hear of this practice?

 Regards, ,,deda,,

 

 



I use a 15" subwoofer with my modified JBL 4408A's. It does 25 hz. It's a floor firing design that is more imune to room placement than forward facing designs.

It's an all passive set up. The crossovers have been rebuilt using premium film caps, wirewound resistors and copper foil inductors.

Both speakers are 89 db/1 watt sensitivity so they match well.

I prefer a passive design over any active crossover, no semiconductors in the signal path. I use modified Adcom power amps to drive them. This system I've used since 1994.
Logged
"Opinions are a birthright, validity is earned"  ,,deda,,

  "Beware of the man of one book."  Saint Thomas Aquinas

  "Practice does not make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect"  Vince Lombardi

  Regards, ,,deda,,

Tim Halligan

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 84
Re: Using a subwoofer with nearfield monitors?
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2011, 01:53:52 am »


 Jim, hell anybody every hear of this practice?


I've not heard of that.

The closest thing I have heard of concerns Scottish percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie who plays barefoot in order to feel the orchestra...because she's deaf.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evelyn_Glennie

Cheers,
Tim

PS. This talk Dame Evelyn gave in 2003 on listening is well worth watching.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IU3V6zNER4g
Logged
An analogue brain in a digital world.

deda

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4
  • Real Full Name: Tim E. Porter
  • To the R/E/P Community where civility truly exists
Re: Using a subwoofer with nearfield monitors?
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2011, 02:52:15 am »

 Thanks Tim from Tim for the links they were gold.

 Does it mean the Illuminati "Barefoot Engineer Society" myth I've been trying to crack into really have merit?

 If she can preform at that level with the ability to feel the music as she plays barefoot I'm guessing someone could feel a subwoofer for sure.

 Thanks again for the links.

Regards, ,,deda,,


I've not heard of that.

The closest thing I have heard of concerns Scottish percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie who plays barefoot in order to feel the orchestra...because she's deaf.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evelyn_Glennie

Cheers,
Tim

PS. This talk Dame Evelyn gave in 2003 on listening is well worth watching.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IU3V6zNER4g
Logged
"Opinions are a birthright, validity is earned"  ,,deda,,

  "Beware of the man of one book."  Saint Thomas Aquinas

  "Practice does not make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect"  Vince Lombardi

  Regards, ,,deda,,

rileynance

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1
  • Real Full Name: Riley Nance
Re: Using a subwoofer with nearfield monitors?
« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2014, 06:17:46 pm »

I've not heard of that.

The closest thing I have heard of concerns Scottish percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie who plays barefoot in order to feel the orchestra...because she's deaf.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evelyn_Glennie

Cheers,
Tim

PS. This talk Dame Evelyn gave in 2003 on listening is well worth watching.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IU3V6zNER4g
 

Hello, my name is Riley Nance I am a new member to your site. I stumbled across your thread while looking around online! I am relatively new to the mixing, engineering world (6 years) but I have been using this technique (barefoot listening) for making adjustments while setting up studios and monitoring my own system barefoot since I purchased my own subwoofer a few years back.

Originally I was the only artist that I knew that used this technique. After I started setting up studios for a few friends in the recording world that were having mix issues they started to ask what my explanation for this was, and after explaining the reasoning as to why I do it several artists started trying to mimic this technique when re-setting up their own studios.

Why: In the studio, often times I hear that a perfectly even frequency response is optimal. This is true but when mixing bass heavy music such as but not limited to: rap, various electronic styles, blues, pop, ect. it is EXTREMLY important to hear AND feel the accuracy of your mix in the sub frequency range. What I mean by this in layman's terms is this, if you are in a live situation where the music is to be played direct off the recording such as a dj would or a backing track for a live vocalist in a club where the sub range is over amplified, or even in a car with aftermarket subwoofers, where the accuracy of the sub range will also be felt, when felt it needs to translate accurately. Mixing on studio monitors with a perfectly even response can make this challenging because the bass will often be to low in comparison to the recording to hear detail, HOWEVER it should not be actually louder in your mix. You  will need to accommodate for the extra bass you will be feeling in your studio by having a switch or eq that will return the bass to the appropriate volume after critical listening at a higher volume.

Take what you will from my words and find what works for you. This is my own way of working. ~ Riley Nance
Logged

Fletcher

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 590
Re: Using a subwoofer with nearfield monitors?
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2014, 09:11:04 am »

Interesting thought -- and if its working for you -- GREAT!

Over the years I have found [at least with my work] that whatever I'm hearing from the speakers the inverse appears in the mix... like say if I have a LOT of bass in the control room I find my product goes out the door light on bass and requires more work from the mastering engineer... if my speakers have too much treble then my mixes go out the door dull... and require more work from the mastering engineer [who will almost to a man tell you its kind of a bitch to add treble as you're bringing up noise -- or at least audible noise at the same time you're making the product brighter].

FWIW -- in rooms I design I generally try to have the monitor speakers de-coupled from the walls / floor so I can minimize "feeling" the bass in my feet... but like I said at the beginning of this response -- if its a good working program for you then its a good working program for you!!!

Peace
Logged
CN Fletcher

mwagener wrote on Sat, 11 September 2004 14:33
We are selling emotions, there are no emotions in a grid


"Recording engineers are an arrogant bunch
If you've spent most of your life with a few thousand dollars worth of musicians in the studio, making a decision every second and a half... and you and  they are going to have to live with it for the rest of your lives, you'll get pretty arrogant too.  It takes a certain amount of balls to do that... something around three"
Malcolm Chisholm
Pages: [1]   Go Up