Question for gamers with subwoofers

ProtoflareX

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Hey TH, I recently bought a pair of mid-tier 2.0 speakers and was advised to add in a subwoofer. However, before I do so, I just want to be 100% aware of what exactly the subwoofer will add to the gaming experience and if it is truly worth it to drop the cash for one. So, for you gamers out there who own subwoofers, can you describe what exactly the subwoofer adds to the experience?
 

ssddx

Glorious
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okay. self powered speakers.

due to output you might want to keep the subwoofer on the smaller side as well, say 50-60w so that the sub doesnt overpower the speakers. your choice though as you could always turn the sub down a little if you thought you would eventually have need of a larger sub.

easiest way to connect would be to use a splitter with one side going to speakers and the other side to sub.

i'm using a 450w subwoofer with my 100w/150w (550w total speaker output) speakers in a 13x15 space. sub is pretty well matched if i keep volume low but a 350w would have been better sized (i got the 450 for the 350 price). for room size my output is a little more than needed but i like the flexibility to crank the volume.
 

Dunlop0078

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If I didn't wear headphones I would probably get one, it adds bass so if you play a game with a lot of gunfire and explosions you will feel it for lack of a better word if you dont know what bass is read this link below. I personally prefer a nice pair of headphones for gaming.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bass_(sound)
 

ProtoflareX

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I read about the feeling gunfire and explosions online, but what does the sub contribute in other types of games? Will I only notice increased immersion in shooters?

 

ssddx

Glorious
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subwoofers add low end frequency response.

put simply this means more sub-bass and mid-bass (depending on where you turn the knob changes the cutoff for what it responds to).

some speakers do down to mid-bass fairly well but might not have the quantity of mid bass a subwoofer can provide. no normal sized speakers really do sub-bass very well so that is always lacking on 2.0.

i've used everything from 2.0 pc speakers, 5.1 pc speakers, 2.0 hifi speakers to a 5.1 hifi system. whether or not you need a subwoofer depends on your preferences. the other room has a pair of tall bookshelf speakers which can reproduce bass quite nice down into mid-bass and a little below and that works fine. this room has a smaller satellite based speaker system and subwoofer. the sub covers the bass response that is missing with the smaller satellites nicely. i generally keep the sub fairly low and only on occasion do i turn it up high.

so, where can you really feel it? bassy scenes or bassy music. for instance the scene in event horizon the movie where they find the ship. that rumbling scene with a good subwoofer is really quite something but is quite average without much bass impact.

tldr: its all about preferences honestly and how much bass you want/need.
 

ssddx

Glorious
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bass can give you the feel of more immersion and more enjoyable listening experience, though at the same time can take away advantage as it can cover up footsteps and the like. again, preference. my own preference is to have something bassy but not too overwhelming - say a bit more than the neutral line.
 

ProtoflareX

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For some reason, I didn't realize until reading your post that a subwoofer would increase immersion in movies as well, which I watch fairly often. If it will provide a more immersive experience for both gaming and movies, then I think may actually pick one up. There are 2 on Amazon that caught my eye.

Sub #1: http://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-YST-SW012-8-Inch-Front-Firing-Subwoofer/dp/B000TQ4D8K/ref=zg_bs_172568_3

Sub #2: http://www.amazon.com/Polk-Audio-10-Inch-Powered-Subwoofer/dp/B0002KVQBA/ref=zg_bs_172568_1

As you can probably tell, I can't really determine which of those two is "better" / more suited to my needs, but they are both within the price range I'm looking at, and they are both in the top #5 most purchased subs on Amazon, which surely must count for something. Assuming that the sub will be placed in a "relatively small room" (smaller than a living room, but bigger than an office) and that I prioritize sound quality over anything, which of those two would you recommend? Also, for some reason, sub #2 is considerably more popular than sub #1. Do you have any idea as to why that may be?

 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
FIRST you may want to state what speakers you have and how they are set up (any amps, and what devices you have connected) as this would better let us pair something which is not too powerful with them. a link to the product data page would be nice.

the polk psw10 is an excellent smaller subwoofer for the money. if you want a little more bang for the buck look at dayton subwoofers as well. the sub-1000 for instance is a 100w model yet the same price as the polk. both are commonly recommended units as far as cheap subwoofers are concerned.
 

ProtoflareX

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The speakers I'm using currently are the Rosewill SP-7260's. They are hooked directly into my computer. I don't have any external amps or receivers or anything.

Product data for SP-7260: http://www.rosewill.com/catalog/product/view/id/1555/category/80/#product_tabs_Specifications
 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
okay. self powered speakers.

due to output you might want to keep the subwoofer on the smaller side as well, say 50-60w so that the sub doesnt overpower the speakers. your choice though as you could always turn the sub down a little if you thought you would eventually have need of a larger sub.

easiest way to connect would be to use a splitter with one side going to speakers and the other side to sub.

i'm using a 450w subwoofer with my 100w/150w (550w total speaker output) speakers in a 13x15 space. sub is pretty well matched if i keep volume low but a 350w would have been better sized (i got the 450 for the 350 price). for room size my output is a little more than needed but i like the flexibility to crank the volume.
 

ProtoflareX

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Hmm, based on your comment about the wattage, it seems as though the polk might be the best choice for me. I'll look into it. Thank you for your assistance.

 

ProtoflareX

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Will do, thanks for the advice.
 

ProtoflareX

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Actually, I do have three more questions.

1. Since a subwoofer's role is to play low frequency sounds, should I be looking for the subwoofer with the lowest frequency response? The polk sub's frequency response is the highest out of all the subs I've looked at, which I found odd.

2. What is the significance of the size of a sub's driver?

3. Does a "down firing" subwoofer project bass downward as implied by the name? Is that kind of subwoofer supposed to be placed in a high location?
 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
1. i would not trouble yourself too much over this. yes, the lower it goes the more sub-bass notes it will play down to and yes the higher it goes the more mid bass notes it will play. a subwoofer just rounds out the bottom end - think of it like how a tweeter rounds out the top end.

2. generally the bigger the sub driver the deeper bass it is able to do well while the smaller the better mid bass it is able to create. keep in mind that sub design can transcend this a bit so its just a generality.

3. yes, a down firing projects down while a front projects to the front. no, all can be placed on the floor. both have a few slight pro/con but as for acoustics, in most cases will sound about the same. some say down firing sounds bassier while front firing sounds more articulate while others say they can not tell. chalk it up to opinion. one nice thing about down firing is that the driver is somewhat protected being on the bottom so kids, pets can not easily damage it.
 

ProtoflareX

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The more I look into subwoofers, the more I learn and the more questions I have. I'm sorry to trouble you with even more questions, but I just want to be certain that I am purchasing the best possible sub for my needs.

1. You mentioned in your last post that the bigger a sub's driver is, the deeper bass it is able to do well, while subs with smaller drivers are able to do mid bass better. Let's say there are 2 subs of the same brand with the exact same frequency response, but one has an 8 inch driver and the other has a 10 inch driver. Would a loud explosion in a game sound "better" on the 10 inch driver due to its larger size? Also, let's assume that a gunshot is fired in this same game. Gunshots in games produce some bass, but the sound isn't as "loud and deep" as that of an explosion, so I am guessing that gunshots produce "mid-bass"? If that is the case, would the gunshot sound "better" on the 8 inch driver due to its smaller size?

2. While comparing the Dayton SUB-1000 to the Polk PSW10, I noticed that the Dayton is able to hit slightly lower frequencies than the Polk, but is not able to hit as high frequencies as the Polk either (frequency response of the Dayton is: 30 - 140Hz and the Polk is: 35 - 200Hz). I'm not really concerned about the 5Hz difference towards the bottom end of the frequency spectrum, but I am assuming that the number on the right side of the dash represents how well the sub can produce mid-bass and if that is something I should take into consideration when choosing a sub (you mentioned earlier that I shouldn't trouble myself with this, but I can't help but wonder about the possible differences).

 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
i think you are overthinking things a bit. remember you're not buying a subwoofer to take over for your speakers but fill in where they leave off. your speakers go down to about 60hz so any of these subwoofers would work to fill in what they are not capable of. a sub which is capable of higher notes (if low pass is set high) will give everything a warmer (bassier) overtone to things although if you have it set lower, is going to just hit low notes and fill in where your bookshelves lack.

also, generally there is a knob on the woofer for low-pass adjustment on most subs (what frequency below which the sub fires. anthing above is ignored). this allows you to fine tune the sub to fire when you want it to (up to its specs of course). then there is generally a bass adjustment knob (how loud it fires). check the manuals/spec pages/pictures for the ones listed above however most subs should have them.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_hwnCNuE0Gqk/TUs7ODXE9lI/AAAAAAAAAKA/hvdGzxRHlIc/s1600/Interactive-Frequency-Chart.png
http://howtomakeelectronicmusic.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/FM_clubmix_dsktp.jpg

an example above of different tones. gunshots are 1000hz and above so are not handled by subwoofers generally the low end rumble part of explosions would be but the bang part would not be.

tldr: just buy a dayton sub. cheaper, and some people claim they are a bit better. as for sizing, thats up to you but you could certainly buy one a bit bigger than you need and keep the gain lower. in this way you could always increase its output when needed or if you get more powerful speakers but you cant make a smaller sub bigger or more powerful. think about your future upgrades before making a purchase.

the best deals have to be the sub-1000 and sub1200 when it goes on sale closer to 100.
 

ProtoflareX

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Alright then, I think I'll pick up the Dayton SUB-1000. However, I do have one final question (this literally is the last one). Can you explain what "gain" is? While researching, I learned about what the crossover knob does, but I couldn't really grasp what gain is.

 

ProtoflareX

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Oh, I didn't realize it was just another name for volume. Alright then, that's all the questions I have about subwoofers. Once again, thank you for all of your help.

 
If you're considering headphones, try Skullcandy Crushers, they literally shake your ears, and if you don't like the extreme bass (which by the way is incredible for movies, dialogue is still clear), then you can turn down the amplifier which makes them sound like any normal headphones in that price range to be honest. As far as sub is concerned, 1 is probably not enough, if I understood you correctly. Bass traps/acoustic treatment and room dimension play a bigger part than speaker and sub!
 

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