Monday, January 3, 2011

A Multiple Subwoofer System

Audiophiles tended to shudder whenever there's a
mention of "multiple subwoofer system"! Why is it so?
Could it be a mindset of sort, or the idea that it is next
to impossible to come up with such a system? Or it's
plain 'blasphemy' to even talk about this subject,
where the audiophiles would rather 'religiously'
hang on to ideas that are strictly 'hifi related'?!
Thought this was years ago, read 'ancient' that
subwoofers are best used in home theatre(HT)
only! That the mention of subwoofer(s) for 2 channel
stereos was a 'no no'!!!! Alright, then you may
say that was then, this is now! So did you still
hang on to that idea or you have started to
venture into the use of subwoofer(s)?

Uncle Vic has always go against the grain, so
to speak and 'dare to go where no man has been
before!' So that may make him a hifi renegade,
in fact many audiophiles found him to be despicable
at times because of his known involvements into
multiple subwoofer systems and his incessant
mention of the said subject. Doesn't in history
innovators face the same sort of resistants
and even persecuted for their beliefs?

For the start of the year 2011, Uncle Vic
decided to 'unveiled' his unorthodox and
out of the ordinary system. And just the
hardwares and any upgrades, though there
are many audiophiles who are already
quite familiar with the said setup. How does
it sound? Your guess is as good as anybody
who has never listen to a "multi sub system"
(short for multiple subwoofer system) before!

Anyone would have expected ground shaking
low frequencies, objects in the room rattling,
ceiling boards vibrating, your very chair you
are sitting on shaking violently and finally
maybe, just maybe if you have a heart ailment,
or any other body disorder(s) to feel like throwing
out and run the risk of a heart failure or even
sudden death! Yes, no?!

Do you(still do for ever more) or did you (used to
think these are all possible)really think for a
minute these will happen? However, there is
no substitute for just reading, you have got to
sit in front of one such setup and find out for
yourself. And there are already several such
setups of variously different configurations.

The hardwares(subwoofers) included the following,

2 x 12" down firing with servo & a down firing port

2 x 10" front firing with servo closed box design

2 x 10" down firing with servo and front firing port

1 x 8" front firing with servo closed box design

1unit with two 16cm driver in band pass confirguration,
no servo(quite similar to a Rogers AB-1 bass extender)
1unit with one 16cm driver in band pass, passive.
2 unit with one 6.5" driver each, in bookshelf enclosure,
used as passive radiators.


  1. Thanks uncle Vic for inviting me to experience such a unique setup. It's 1st in my life time to hear so many subwoofers work at the same system.

    I'm a fans of rock music, when i said rock it means hard rock, metal, pop rock etc. So my taste is kinda differs from lots of audiophiles.

    I don't want to judge the system as I think I don't have the right to do so. I'm just a newbie in hifi world though i have spents some years in playing instrument.

    Uncle Vic was kind enough to reveal the secret recipe of his multiple subs system. The logic behind is pretty simple and make sense to me.

    So I guess thats what i want to say for time being. Last word: You won't regret to hear it.

    At the end of day, nothing to lose right? I even gain a cup of coffee from Uncle Vic :)

  2. I thought Unker Chew also got multi sub system right? When are you going to cover that?


  3. In 2 months time. Room renovation in the pipe line. Configuring the sub system. Nowadays me very kiasu, got to go the extra mile leh to help put Uncle Chew's multi sub system on the 'Must visit' list! ;-p

  4. UV, why the kiasu syndrome? Music is for you to enjoy and hifi is to enhance that enjoyment. You must enjoy what you do but if it comes to that situation where this so called kiasu effect kicks in, then, I would suggest that you just drop the hobby that gives you so much stress!

  5. If someone is worth my time helping out, I will go all the way to do it! Which means going the extra miles if necessary. Other than that is when I can't help because of insufficient information, or probably I have never done it before, and it's a case of why do something that is dome to failure! Hah, hah!!! Sure it's a hint of kiasu here!!!

  6. Wow, I wonder how and what will only qualify to be "worth your time"? Uncle Chew must be a very extraordinary or amazing person to have got that privilege or is it something else that is very sensitive and private in nature, heh heh?

  7. Hah, hah, hah!!!! More of like mindedness. So easier to do work and to implement systems. So what I sourced, tested, implemented, do a dry run, etc., Uncle Chew already knows where I am going and what results to expect! Yet another person would have plenty of questions for me to answer even before work can commence; lots of convincing to do, lots of explanations to have, at the end of the day, no work can be done! Project will come to a stand still!!!!! At the end it's just next to impossible to head anyway!

  8. Hey Unc Vic,

    Just wondering at what number will your subwoofers configuration stop or when you will consider it the optimum sound? Can I know what's the margin of of sound improvement with every additional sub added after two subs, in relation to money ratio?

  9. No limit to the number, but the limiting factor is how to hook up the power supply configuration for the subs, in practice what the inmates @audio asylum think is 12! And some have even come up with mathematical connotations for that configurations. So I will incline to agree with them too!

    The margin of sound improvement will be the pressure on the left and right ear, the sound is the same when a mono sub becomes a 2 channel (stereo) sub configuration, just 3db louder at the most. The cost wise doesn't equate to performances, but how does one quantify 'comfort' as against unequal pressure to each ears?! The cost of an extra sub?!

    If one have to buy each and every piece of subs brand new then it's definitely not a economically viable project. But if one considers it being a very important 'science project' (;-p) then one really place a 'price' on it, if it's about 'pushing boundaries' and 'blazing new trails'!!!!!

    The bottom line is I know how to get it done! And finally, 1 fine day I will have the ultimate sub 'sound' for that listening room! Mind u another listening room may require yet another set of sub configurations, that about makes this 'hifi path' so very challenging, that many will not even want to think of giving it a try. It's more like, "Why do something that is domed to failure"!

  10. No limit to the number of subs? Another listening room may require yet another set of sub configurations? Sounds more like you are on a trial and error project. There will be no end on this lah!

  11. Work on another multi sub system? It's a hit or miss! Usually missed! Then do some after thought corrections! Then owner will stare at me speechless!!!!! Pretty sure he will want to throttle me already if he could! So it's a pretty risky preoccupation trying to set up for others! ;-p

  12. Multi sub system could sound optimum if only the same brand, identical design, power and driver diameter subs are used provided with correct setting, correct subs placement in a acoustically treated room and accurately tuned using some accurate bass software.
    Different brand, design, power and driver diameter multi subs system could result in :
    1) the better quality/bigger driver diameter sub outperforming the low quality/smaller driver diameter sub respectively thus these outperformed subs are actually in idle operation.
    2) the poor controlled lower quality sub with the biggest driver diameter would be "muddying" the overall sound
    3) less coherent basses due to different speed of basses
    4) relatively poor imaging and pin-pointing

    5) overall sound emphasizing certain bass frequency
    6) some subs are cancelling each other

    7) better quality with smaller driver diameter sub outperforming lower quality bigger driver diameter sub causing lack of low bass frequency

    8) bass depth and weight overlooked

    9) wastage of power due to the above mentioned ilding subs and cancelling-each-others subs.

    Systems with only a good quality/controlled sub or "no-sub" floorstanders system overall sound could effortlessly outperform this different brand/design/power/driver diameter multi subs system.
    Unless it is a hobby, otherwise this different brand/design/power/driver diameter multi subs applications should be avoided to prevent wastage of money (sub purchases) and time.

  13. Dear Mr. Wise One,
    After reading over and over your very well positioned comment, I can not resist...even though you have posted it since on 12-1-2011.
    Your system already so higher-end. UV sure have no chance to meddle ler. You can not get jealous over the connectivity we have.
    You have to first tuned yourself to what multi-subs can do. This is the real connectivity issue.

    Thanks from Bakuteh Fan

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  15. Dear Mr. Tan,
    I quite like your well elaborated comment on the Multi-Sub all the "don'ts"
    I wish you would further explain in simpler English on:
    "8) .......... and weight overlooked"

    Thanks from Bakuteh Fan

  16. Hi Mr Chew,

    Above were just my opinions based on my experiences. No offending intention.
    Depth and weight are quite similar, from a simple drum hitting sound, weight represents the feeling of "power of sound traveling and hitting the bottom of the drum" ; depth represents the feeling of "how deep the sound traveling to the bottom of drum".
    Limited by my English, those are the best definition in words that I could describe. However, I can clearly explain to you if we are listening to a system together by using my familiar soundtracks.
    One can feel the "controlled thumps" on the floor if listening to a good depth and weight sounding system and there is not necessary one has to play the music very loud to get the thumps, low volume level will produce it too. These thumps are different from the rumbling of matter caused by low bass.


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  18. Hi Mr Chew,

    One more thing, system with good low bass quality sound is not necessary will have weight and depth, and the "floor thumps" caused by good weight and depth are not the same thumps produced by tight mid bass. cheers.