When You Should Upgrade or Add a REL Acoustics Subwoofer to Your Audio System or Home Theater


The below test is a transcription of the video.

So today we’re gonna help sort out why do you need a new subwoofer.  When is the right time to do it? What are some of the thought processes? And it really boils down to three things. There’s either a change in your system it’s gotten better or you’ve had to make it smaller. There’s a change in your system.

There’s a change in the environment, or there’s a change in you, meaning your expectations of what’s going on in your system have expanded. And what you’ve been dealing with is no longer acceptable. So let’s start with the first one change in the system. It’s gonna be in both directions. I’ve helped talk guys through who are now 62 years old.

He and his wife have moved from their big four bedroom, three bath house into the city. They’re empty nesters now. They’re gonna be retiring in the next few years. They’re now in like an 800 square foot apartment. They had a REL 20 years ago that was, you know, half the size of this table and a big system that no longer suits their needs or their goals.

They’re gonna be a lot of travel. They want to go out and eat good food at night and be able to walk to it. So their life has compacted. I’ve heard exactly the opposite. You know, I had a little place when I was 30 in the city, got married. We’ve moved out to the burbs. Now I’m in long island, I’ve got four bedrooms, three baths.

So whatever that change is, systems get much more sophisticated, not necessarily more expensive or not necessarily bigger, but they get faster. Right. I spoke to a guy the other day.  He had a 25 year old pair of big Vandersteens. He had just sold those and moved to a pair of Dynaudios audios six and a half inch two ways that are fantastic.

They’re really, really good. They’re very fast and articulate. He needed to actually get bass back and he needed to get something that was really quick and tuneful and would blend with the system. So those are the system changes that you need to be aware of. And those are really good prompts. If any of those things are resonating for you, it’s time to talk really fast subwoofers with somebody.  The environment itself changing.

We sort of touched on it. If your physical space has changed, you may all of a sudden need a subwoofer and you were maybe even thinking about it beforehand, but then you move into a larger room and you start envisioning the things that can happen in this room. And all of the thought processes start to jumble together.

So always good, whenever you’re doing anything with the system, really, really important to understand, not just what gear you have. You really want to be considering a partnering sub for, for what you’re going to wind up with in the next year or two. You never want to spend, you know, anything, whatever it is, a thousand dollars, $5,000.

You never want to spend any significant money on a subwoofer shooting at the last war. Right, you don’t want to be solving last year’s problem. You want to be anticipatory, have a plan, go out, do some listening, read a lot, but really figure out where it is that you wanna wind up. Right? If it’s a pair of Wilson Sabrina, X’s at 20 grand and they’re not huge, but they sound fantastic.

Great. Know that we’ve got two or three, depending on how big the room is. We’ve got two or three different solutions for you on that score. So it’s really important to be solving the problem that you’re going to be living with over the next arc of your life. And then the last one, you know, what is going on with your expectations of a system?

And this one happens all the time for people who’ve fall in love with really high quality reproduction. It’s a journey. It’s not one quick, oh, I did this and it’s the perfect solution and I will cheerfully do this for the next 30 years. It’s just not the way it works. It’s a live sport. Your understanding of what matters evolves.

Your ears will get better. I don’t mean your hearing will improve when people talk about somebody with great ears, we’re talking about listening acuity, that is a developable skill. So as you understand what to listen for and what real instruments sound like in real spaces, how the reproduction of the space and the instrument is really critical to you as all of those things.

evolve RELs become much more interesting. Yeah, they’re great subwoofers. They, they make great bass. That’s about one  and a half percent of what we do. What we really do is transform systems from sort of static things that do the basics into things where music becomes alive, the venue that it’s played in the time that it was recorded in. I have a phenomenal recording live

at the village Vanguard by a jazz trombonist named JJ Johnson. It’s one of the best live recordings I’ve ever heard in my life. And it’s so raw. And one of the things that makes it so freaking good is you can hear the bass players’ amp it has a problem with the ground lift. And so it’s buzzing in the background.

It just tells you this is live stuff. It’s not perfect. It’s not, immaculate nobody cleaned up everything. It’s raw. It’s real. And then the waitress starts clearing glasses from the table next door. And you just, oh my God. You’re in the venue. And you take the REL out, and you’re just suddenly wondering why the hell is there a buzz in the middle of this recording?

You can’t tell that it’s really any of the live vibe that’s happening. Put the REL back in it’s. Does the guy next to me really need to light that cigarette. Oh, whatever it’s what happens. So those are some of the things that start to happen with your expectations of what a system is supposed to do as you evolve the need for RELs changes, modifies improves, and you’ll start to really begin to understand why we stress deep bass extension.

The bass is what creates space, right? Why we’re so big on speed, speed creates intimacy, speed creates suddenness speed creates slam all of the stuff that matters in dynamics, in music. The bass is that much of it in music is super critical. And as your experience of the hobby of listening to great music well recorded, being able to really connect with the artist’s intent, to be able to connect with the venue.

It’s all super critical. And those are the things that may have you moving up in your quality of RELs. You may have been perfectly happy 10 years ago, and it exceeded your expectations to have a T/5 our little baby beautiful thing from 10, 12 years ago. And as you move up and you start to listen to these things, the gentleman with the Dynaudios I alluded to before.

Had to have one. Once he started listening, gave him two choices, had to have an S five, 10. He heard it and went, oh my gosh, this is an entirely different experience. Even then, you know, the T/9 at the time that he was looking at not even close, huge difference in intonation speed, all of the things that mattered to him, he got it.

It blended perfectly with those Dynaudios, and he was happy. So those are some of the critical characteristics. Did your system change? Did you change or did your venue change? And we can help with all three of those basic primary questions and get you some answers and get you moving in the right direction.

Thanks very much.

July 19, 2022 - Posted in: Sound Insights