Y Don’t my Stereo Serie HT MKIIs Play loud?

The Need for Y-Splitters when Running Stereo Pairs of HT MKII

The secret is out- REL’s HT MKII models make excellent-sounding musical subwoofers while delivering the goods in high-output theatre. Yet another rave review was published this week by Nemo Propaganda stating flatly, “The HT/1003 MKII is just on another level.” And Nemo exclusively listens to subwoofers in 2-channel.

Over the past 5 years, REL’s sales of stereo pairs have grown from a trickle to a deluge. All it takes is hearing what a stereo pair does for a system. Hint: it’s emphatically not just about playing louder—which stereo pairs can, of course, with ease. Nope, it’s about unlocking spatial cues, more precise focus, and solving room-severe asymmetries that cause those bumps and dips in the response that are somaddening. Add the stereo (2nd) sub and poof! They’re gone.

Now, there’s a trick to using these new Serie HT (1003MKII, 1205MKII, and 1510) models in stereo pairs. It starts with recognizing that the average music signal level supplied by one’s preamplifier or AV receiver’s line level (RCA-RCA cable) Right or Left channel outputs is significantly lower than a movie’s .1/LFE level. Makes sense, right? Music has to traverse the entire volume level gamut from almost no signal to very loud, whereas a .1/LFE channel is only called upon if the action in the movie has gone from normal (machine guns and hand grenades) to extreme (think: “implosion of the Death Star”). If LFE is triggering, it’s almost always VERY loud.

Be aware that when you plug in a pair of subs to your preamp/receiver’s interconnect cables, you’ll be driving it with 50% less volume capability. You formerly had 2 RCAs plugged in, now you only have one.

RelTip:  When using any Serie HT in stereo pairs, one must purchase 2 x Y-splitters of the 1-female to 2 x male RCA seen below. One Y-slitter for each REL sub in a pair. This particular splitter is made by AudioQuest and delivers noticeably better sound than the ultra-cheap no-name splitters widely available online. At $24.95 here in the States, please remember there’s a difference between being thrifty and being cheap.

First, turn your volume all the way down. Then unplug your Right (or Left) channel interconnect from your HT MKII subwoofer. Plug the Y-splitter’s 2 x male RCAs into the two bottom RCAs (1 Red and 1 White). Next, slowly dial in the correct volume on your sub. Be aware, you will have substantially more gain. Be sure to completely readjust the volume and crossover settings (check to make sure that thePhase on both is set to your original sub’s setting) The beauty of having stereo subs is you no longer have to make compromises. Be aware that both gain and crossover settings on each sub may be quite different since no room is sonically even or symmetrical. Now, enjoy the newly unlocked sound qualities made possible by stereo REL HTs and $50 worth of Y-splitters from AQ!

May 8, 2023 - Posted in: Deep Dive Setup