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Subwoofer for Eris 5 monitors

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Subwoofer for Eris 5 monitors

Postby owengleeson » Sat Dec 21, 2019 11:14 am

I have a pair of Presonis Eris 5’s and want a subwoofer to match.. my room is 3mx3m. I’m tempted with the one of the Presonus Temblor range to suit but it appears the reliability, especially in the larger 10” one and more importantly customer service is iffy. Are there any other recommendations when it comes to a nice neutral sounding bass box or is it best to bite the bullet and get a Presonus unit presuming it will be ok and I’m just being paranoid?!

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Re: Subwoofer for Eris 5 monitors

Postby Wonks » Sat Dec 21, 2019 12:37 pm

In a small square room, I'd suggest a subwoofer would be more hassle than it's worth unless you have a lot of bass trapping, and that would make the room even smaller. I'd seriously suggest getting some decent open-backed headphones if you want to know what your bass end is really doing.
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Re: Subwoofer for Eris 5 monitors

Postby owengleeson » Sat Dec 21, 2019 1:58 pm

The room is fine and I have headphones so with respect that doesn’t really answer my question
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Re: Subwoofer for Eris 5 monitors

Postby Wonks » Sat Dec 21, 2019 2:40 pm

No I haven't, but if you haven't got any acoustic treatment in a near-cubic room, then you will have severe room mode issues - it's just basic physics. With the Eris E5 monitors, you won't have a huge bass extension, so you won't be hearing the worst of the room. But add in a lot more bass without significant bass trapping and broadband absorbers, and the results will almost certainly be a lot worse for your mixes than not having a sub.

Now if you want something to just use for pleasure that will add a big thud to kick and bass sounds, then go ahead and get a sub. But if you want one to extend the low-end for mixing, then you do need to be aware that the results will result in a very uneven frequency response.

Not trying to be funny or awkward here, just trying to point out that a smallish cube-like room and subs are not great bedfellows.
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Re: Subwoofer for Eris 5 monitors

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Dec 21, 2019 5:22 pm

owengleeson wrote:I have a pair of Presonis Eris 5’s and want a subwoofer to match.. my room is 3mx3m.

I realise it's not what you want to hear, but in all seriousness a cube room will inherently have a very lumpy bass response and a big region in the centre of the room where there will appear to be very little bass.

I have a room exactly like that myself.... and I can see why a gut reaction might be to think a sub would fill in the missing low end... but it really won't.

A subwoofer simply will not help in this kind of situation because the problem is not that the existing monitors aren't producing enough bass, but rather that the bass in the room is cancelling itself out through reflections.

Acoustic treatment in the form of serious bass traps are the only sensible solution... that or rely on good headphones to accurately assess the low end.

In my 3m cube room I ended up having to install three enormous bass traps, floor-to- ceiling in three of the corners (the fourth has a door), roughly a metre across the front... plus a hefty ceiling cloud and other very large broadband absorbers on the side and back walls. I now have a pretty reasonable low-end bass response from a pair of compact monitors (KH310s) and a sub really wouldn't be necessary now. ... the wonders of physics! ;-)

Are there any other recommendations when it comes to a nice neutral sounding bass box or is it best to bite the bullet and get a Presonus unit presuming it will be ok and I’m just being paranoid?!

The big advantage of the Presonus models is that they have built-in filtering specifically to suit the Eris monitors, so it's more or less a plug and play installation. Of course, there are other manufacturers of subwoofers, but it is a bit of a minefield because of the challenges of integrating satellite speaker with the sub.

Around the cost of the Temblor you could look at the Mackie MRS10, JBL LSR 310S, Brheinger K10, or ESI Aktiv10S...

Note that some subs will provide high-pass filtering for the satellite speakers but not all. High-pass filtering will bestow the satellites with more headroom, which can be a very useful thing with small speakers... but it also alters the phase response through that cross-over region, which can affect imaging amongst other things. The Presonus subs have a switchable 80Hz high-pass filter, although I couldn't see what the filter slope is from the website.

Whether you high-pass the satellites or not, you will definitely need to adjust a low-pass filter on the sub to ensure it blends properly into the low-end response of the satellite. Not all subs have an adjustable low-pass filter and, again, the filter slope here is as critical as the corner frequency.

Depending on where you place the sub, you usually also need to adjust the phase or polarity of the sub to ensure accurate time-of-arrival matching to the satellites through the crossover region. Without, there is a good chance that you'll end up with an uncorrectable dip or hump in the response through the crossover region.

And lastly... these are all 'cheap subs' with inherent compromises. In the same way that true monitor-quality speakers cost upwards of £1K, high-quality subs cost generally in the region of 2K up.

I say this because all speakers produce harmonic distortion, including subwoofers, and the cheaper the speaker, the more distortion... This is a very important consideration in the case of a subwoofer because that harmonic distortion will naturally overlay the midrange content of the satellite speakers, effectively adding a veil to obscure the critical midrange detail.

So -- and I realise this still isn't what you want to hear, but it an important message nevertheless -- it's entirely possible that not only will a subwoofer not improve the bass response in your room, it might well actually make the resolution and performance of your satellite speakers worse!

In our Studio SOS visits, we have turned off subs in more than a few studios and achieved noticeably better results... Some points to ponder, anyway...
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