Is a subwoofer a good idea?

I’m considering getting some new monitors to replace my KRK Rokit 5’s. The monitors I got my eye on are the Digidesign RM1 that have with 5.5" woofer. I basically got a great offer on them :smiley: I will be using them for mixing bass heavy electronic music and I am a bit concerned that they might not cover to low end so well. Maybe I could supplement them with a subwoofer, but I’m not sure if mixing electronic music with a subwoofer is a good idea? Please share your experience with subwoofers… I’m also interested to hear if you have experience with Digidesigns RM1 as I havn’t had a chance to demo them yet.

Unless your room is treated you’ll likely have a bit of a struggle if you bring in a subwoofer. In my experience decent sized monitors in a treated room will give you plenty of low bass.

Dom’s hit the nail on the head really with this question.

Also I’m pretty sure your neighbours would ‘looove’ your new subwoofer ! lol

How about upgrading to the KRK Rokit 6’s instead?

Thanks for the feedback. I will go down and test out the Digidesign RM1 and RM2 and see how they are. Thanks for the advice on the subwoofer. I already have trouble with my room and the small KRK’s, so adding a subwoofer will likely be a pretty bad idea.

My next door neighbors HATE my subwoofer… and for that I think they hate me…

I use a sub for my home theater setup only, not for music production… I usually just produce with headphones as my 3yr old daughter and wife are not as in to House music as I am… hahahhaa

I’ll echo the above. I spent alot of time thinking about this and opted for the sub. However, I treated my room and did my own room analysis before adding the sub. I strongly recommend you check out the absorbers tutorial if you haven’t and do some analysis on your room. After analysis, go for at least some bass traps in the corners before going for a sub. If your low frequencies are under control then go for the sub.

I have a footswitch that clicks on/off my sub and electronic music sounds much more full will a sub. If you are serious about electronic music, get some bass traps and get a sub.

Also, I’ve spent countless hours doing analysis, moving things and remeasuring, etc. It is well worth the money to get some measurement tools and do your homework on how to do the analysis properly. It’s a bummer to take that creative time away from music but it’s such a necessary step. By the wall my room is only 3x4 meters if that. Subs can work in small rooms.

Good luck!

Also think about it this way: 20-40 Hz is one whole octave; 40 Hz-80 Hz is another whole octave (doubling frequency is an octave). So beefing up 20-80 Hz with a good sub (in a treated room) will give you nearly two whole octaves of beefy sub bass.

Here’s an example showing how I improved my bass within this range. The listening impact is much more apparent than the chart though:

Yeah, I guess there is no way around acoustic treatment :slight_smile: I have already done some measurements using Room EQ Wizard. Here you see the result of my KRK’s RPG5’s + my room. I used the EMC8000 but I did not use a SPL-meter.

There is a 20 dB difference from the high treble to 80 Hz. I think that is quite a bit? I appears that the KRK’s are rolling off somewhere between 80 and 100 Hz which came as a surprise to me. I’m not exactly an expert when it comes to reading this graph, so if anyone has any input on it I would be very interested in hearing what you have to say.

I think 80 Hz is actually in check and you are getting a peak around 100 Hz. Your unbiased level appears to be around 70 dB. Reading up on your monitors they should respond above 53 Hz. Your low roll off looks like about 60 Hz so that makes sense. In theory, without room bias I think there should be a straighter line below 50 Hz which may mean your room is resonating between 30-50 Hz. With a sub you can probably expect that to be more dramatic. Also, I expect with a sub your dip at 65 Hz may be more dramatic.

I was getting results of a lack of bass when my desk was up against the wall with monitors on the desk. One thing I ended up doing is moving my desk/listening position back while keep the monitors forward. Maybe just try moving the mic back a few feet and see if you get better bass response. For anaylsis, don’t bother moving the desk or anything else, just the mic.

If you can, before considering a sub I’d start by dialing in the optimal placement of speakers / listening position that works for you. You just have to try different things and see if they improve.

BTW, what are the dimensions of your room?

Thanks for the insight Cosmic Artistry. After looking at the graph I totally agree with your analysis. My room is about 30 m[sup]2[/sup] (344 ft[sup]2[/sup]). I have a picture of my desk here that might give you some idea of my setup: See picture no. 2. I have a loft apartment with slanted walls, and the shape is also irregular because of an adjacent room that cuts part of my flat in half (not visible in the picture). My mixing desk and speakers are not placed directly up against any walls. The closest is about 10 feet away. I would have to make a drawing to really explain my room properly, but I’m not sure that would help much… I think I just have to experiment and see if I can make things better. I will try to follow your advice and do measurements different places.

My conclusion so far is that I might very well end up doing more damage than good if I add a subwoofer to the mix (or speakers with a lot of deep bass). So I will leave the subwoofer for now and focus on new monitors and acoustic improvements. The monitors I am considering (Digidesign RM1) might work better with a massive KRK VXT 6/8 or Mackie HR824 type monitor. The shop will let me take them home and try them out.

I wouldnt recommend anything other than the yamaha hs80m monitors if you are looking for something affordable. No need for a sub, beat the hell out of the KRK Rokit 8s and about $450 a pair. I have never had a surprise when I check my mix in the car or through my laptop speakers.

IMO the Digidesign monitors are the best sounding monitors I have heard. I have tested them with Mackie HR624 MK2, Yamaha HSM80M, KRK Rokit 6 and 8, and Focal CMS65. I rate them like this:

  1. Digidesign RM1/RM2 (made by PMC)
  2. Focal CMS65
  3. KRK Rokit VXT 6/8
  4. Mackie HR624 MK2
  5. Yamaha HSM80M

    The Focals were very good and have very nicely balanced hi, mid, low end. But I didn’t feel they were perfect for critical listening (flawed mixes sounded a little too great). I were a bit disappointed with the treble on the Mackies. A bit to piercing for my taste. The KRKs are quite pleasant to listen to, but I feel they are too hyped in the low end and have too little mid-range. The Yamahas might be good for mixing but they don’t sound great. For longer session I think they will be very fatiguing.

Isn’t the point of the yamaha’s to sound as flat as possible?

Yes, I think they are supposed to be quite flat:

quote Yamaha’s new HS80M active model, however, has been designed with the intention of offering a flat and true reference with a realistic degree of bass extension. (…) In total there’s 120W of amplifier power (75W bass, 45W treble) on board, delivering a 42Hz-20kHz response from the eight-inch bass/mid driver and one-inch domed tweeter. However, the frequency response is measured at -10dB, not -3dB, which is a bit naughty.

  • From Sound on Sound[/quote]

    … so I’m not 100% sure they will be flat in the entire spectrum from 42 Hz to 20 kHz :slight_smile: I think the Mackies also have a reputation for being very flat (at least the Mk1s where super flat).