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Im thinking about adding a subwoofer to my setup in order to get better sound when i play organ an electric pianos vst, but I'm reading many words that i don't fully understand how do they relate to each other.

The words are: high pass filter, low pass filter, bypass, and crossover.

Some subwoofers have some of them, others have another ones, and depending on it, the added sound of subwoofer plus speaker has different result.

Can someone explain to me what those words mean and their function?

Also im open to advice about subwoofer that can get along with my 3" monitors.

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A low pass filter is a filter which select only low frequencies to feed the woofer.

A crossover has two outputs and is a combination of a low-pass filter and a high pass filter. The Idea is to divide the sound in two parts : the low frequencies go in the woofer and the high frequencies to the normal speakers. Then, if the volumes are set adequately, the sum of the signal of both types of speakers is what you should hear.

With only a lowpass filter on the subwoofer, you will nearly have some low frequency twice : once from the subwoofer and once with the normal speakers.

Last edited by Frédéric L; 05/15/21 06:37 PM.

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Originally Posted by Ubu
...
Also im open to advice about subwoofer that can get along with my 3" monitors.

If they are really 3", you will have a gap on low frequencies, the subs only work on the very low end. I would recommend going to at least 5" and better 7" monitors and then, if still needed, add the sub


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Originally Posted by Ubu
Also im open to advice about subwoofer that can get along with my 3" monitors.
Those may be irritating with a good subwoofer.

A good subwoofer will really only play below say 70Hz so as EB5AGV notes, you need bigger monitors to carry you down to those lower frequencies, then maybe consider a subwoofer.

I think good subwoofers are expensive and difficult to set up well.

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And crossover frquency is where speakers sound drops off and subs begins to work.
Think about it as cross point of two frequency response charts, one for sub, another for speakers.
The best approach is to use sub designed to work with your speakers.

Last edited by VladK; 05/15/21 06:55 PM.

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Both EB5AGV and newer player have it right: Monitors in the 3" size are too small. Go up to at least 5", or 7", or 8".
With those you might not even need a subwoofer ... because this is a piano, not a bass guitar. Nor a bassoon. Nor a church organ.

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You want to get 15" subwoofers, and a set of monitors with at least 4" dome + tweeters.

4" isn't a problem if they're really close to you, but, if you're gonna spend money, you might as well go bigger.

Subwoofer usually handles 25hz through 80hz, some extend it up to 150ish. Subs have alot of distortion, so depending on the sound, it may or may not sound right crossing it higher.

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Subwoofer is awesome with Hauptwerk organs, action movies, some synths, and some recorded music.

With acoustic piano VIs, the subwoofer effect is vanishingly small. I had the system set up for audio so no extra cost or effort.

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Thankyou all for your replies.

Yes, i know 3" is small and i was wondering maybe 5" is more adequate, but then reading subwoofers specs some of them go even to 200hz, so i thought if the sub takes frequencies up to 200hz, the 3" monitors will do a good job over 200. Actually my biggest problem right now is the octave beetween 60-120hz (and of course below that).

For just piano vst (pianoteq, arturia) my 3" pair works fine. The problem is when i play othet instruments with more low frequencies ( pipe organ, synth, eps), then below around 120hz they are useless.

Anyway i probably will end up buying larger monitors, but for now i don't want to go into much hustle, because my 3" work fine most of the time (and also i will probably have to move to another home in a few months, that's when i plan to get larger monitors).

I was looking at cheap swissonic 10" from Thomann and it seems fine but then my confusion began, because apparently it has not a real low pass filter, just a crossover, so low frequencies sound twice, both in the subwoofer and in the monitors. Then i looked for subs that have a real low pass filter. I found presonus t10, but if the speakers don't have a high pass filter, it doesn't matter how you adjust the sub, the crossover point gets fixed by default.

I saw a Yamaha sub that has both low pass and high pass filter, but apparently the high pass filter doesn't relate much to the monitors, it just cuts the lowest frequencies on the sub.

So you can see im totally lost. I guess the safest bet is go with a combination of sub and monitors from same brand. Then i probably should get Adam sub, because adam t5v or maybe t7v, are the monitors that i plan to get in the future.

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Hello,

@Ubu, Others have already said it and, from my own fussing and stressing around with speakers and subs and what not for the piano, I can second your need for good main speakers first, a decent subwoofer maybe later--if at all.

Testing both 2-way 5" monitors and 2-way 5" hifi speakers, I choose the latter, in combination with a good hifi amplifier. Actually, six speakers and three stereo amplifiers, but that's another conversation.

Good hifi speakers (or good monitors, like the ADAMs you mention) should easily and gently cover your problem octave with a decent response to 50Hz at -3dB or even have a nice extension below that.

As a result of the good performance of my 5" hifi speakers (down to around 39Hz at -6dB), even if I'd use only a stereo pair, my subwoofer now stands joblessly aside (the poor thing).

About subwoofers that go up to 200Hz: mine can, but I never use that filter setting. If you allow your subwoofer to operate that high in the spectrum, you'll get a muddy overall sound and it'll start to eat away at the crispness of your stereo image.

So yes, select the main speakers that you really, really like first, use them for some months, and then ask yourself if you still need the advantages--and burdens!--of adding a subwoofer.

Cheers and happy playing,

HZ

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Originally Posted by EB5AGV
Originally Posted by Ubu
...
Also im open to advice about subwoofer that can get along with my 3" monitors.

If they are really 3", you will have a gap on low frequencies, the subs only work on the very low end. I would recommend going to at least 5" and better 7" monitors and then, if still needed, add the sub
An 8" subwoofer might be fine. Need to get the frequency response curves of the monitors to see if they go low enough.


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Originally Posted by EinLudov
You want to get 15" subwoofers, and a set of monitors with at least 4" dome + tweeters.

4" isn't a problem if they're really close to you, but, if you're gonna spend money, you might as well go bigger.

Subwoofer usually handles 25hz through 80hz, some extend it up to 150ish. Subs have alot of distortion, so depending on the sound, it may or may not sound right crossing it higher.

You don't generally need a 15" subwoofer for instrument monitors. Organs go down to 32 Hz with a 16' pedal stop. A bass synthesizer with 88-jey action would go down to 27.5Hz in A440, though I doubt there would be much use for it.

10" and 12" studio subwoofers are generally fine for musical instruments. If getting powered studio monitors, a studio subwoofer will better integrate with them than a consumer subwoofer. Getting a subwoofer from the manufacturer of the monitors often is the most ideal combination.


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Originally Posted by Ubu
Im thinking about adding a subwoofer to my setup in order to get better sound when i play organ an electric pianos vst, but I'm reading many words that i don't fully understand how do they relate to each other.

The words are: high pass filter, low pass filter, bypass, and crossover.

Some subwoofers have some of them, others have another ones, and depending on it, the added sound of subwoofer plus speaker has different result.

Can someone explain to me what those words mean and their function?

Also im open to advice about subwoofer that can get along with my 3" monitors.


In my Hauptwerk system I have a Dynaudio 9S subwoofer, three pairs of Neumann KH120A and a pair of Genelec 8010A (small 3' studio monitors).
Sometimes I use only the 8010A with the 9S sub. It can work well also with small speakers 'cause its range goes from 22hz to 175 hz and you can adjust gain, speakers' highpass (60Hz or 80Hz; the 8010A go from 74Hz to 20kHz) and sub's lowpass (from 50Hz to 150Hz) + phase.


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Quote
I saw a Yamaha sub that has both low pass and high pass filter, but apparently the high pass filter doesn't relate much to the monitors, it just cuts the lowest frequencies on the sub.
The high pass filter on the subwoofer is limiting the frequencies sent to the monitors from the subwoofer.

Getting a subwoofer for your 3" monitors and then upgrading the monitors is not a good idea. If the subwoofer integrates well with the existing monitors, you almost surely will want to upgrade it when you upgrade the monitors.


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Originally Posted by Ubu
I was looking at cheap swissonic 10" from Thomann and it seems fine but then my confusion began, because apparently it has not a real low pass filter, just a crossover, so low frequencies sound twice, both in the subwoofer and in the monitors.

It is the opposite.

A crossover is a real low pass filter which is associated with a (real) high pass filter.

With a crossover, the sum of the output signals sent to the subwoofer and to the speakers is what you want to hear.

With only a low pass filter, the subwoofer has what it should render, but the other speakers have the whole spectrum, then some frequencies while be augmented. Since they are rendered by both type of speakers.

Last edited by Frédéric L; 05/16/21 06:04 AM.

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@Ubu: You're overthinking it. Buying speakers doesn't require science. It only requires ears.

Listen to speakers. That's what matters most. Buy what sounds good (to replace the 3" speakers).

You need not care about crossovers or filters. And you don't need a sub for piano. Not with a decent pair of speakers.

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@MacMacMzc, the OP talked about « organ an electric pianos vst », then the sub may be useful, more than with a piano.


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Originally Posted by Ubu
but then reading subwoofers specs some of them go even to 200hz, so i thought if the sub takes frequencies up to 200hz, the 3" monitors will do a good job over 200. Actually my biggest problem right now is the octave beetween 60-120hz (and of course below that).
One of the reasons you don't want a subwoofer that plays much above say 70Hz is that very low frequency sound is difficult to locate. If your ears can't locate the sub, then I think the loudspeakers will sound better as noted above.

Also, room placement of a good sub is critical for best performance to avoid dips and peaks (there are easy tricks for good sub placement such as the crawl around method). If your ears can locate the sub, then the optimal position is probably irritating.

Very low frequencies require a lot of power. So cheap speakers and subs might blow.

All that said, I "found" an old Altec-Lansing computer monitor that was sold with a matching small sub. It was free and just needed a few caps in the power supply. I really enjoy it even thought the sub is small (I put the sub on the floor between the speakers so the stereo effect is not so destroyed). This is a good alternative to the big system but obviously has less power for organs.

Finally, if you live in an apartment, have nearby neighbours, or family in the house, running a big sub can be problematic as very low, powerful bass frequencies drive people mad.

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Okay, I missed that ...
Originally Posted by Frédéric L
@MacMacMzc, the OP talked about « organ an electric pianos vst », then the sub may be useful, more than with a piano.
For organ you indeed need something for that deep low end.

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Suggestions as a starting point for evaluating options.

Monitors:

KRK Rokit 5 G4
JBL 305P

Subwoofers:

KRK 10s (discontinued but still available)
KRK S10.4 (replacement for 10s)
JBL LSR310S

The KRK monitors have room correction DSP, and the included software for that should include a subwoofer integration feature. The JBL monitors are less expensive, and lack the room correction feature.

The KRK subwoofers have an optional footswitch pedal to bypass the subwoofer and high pass filter and route sound directly to the monitors, which I would find somewhat useful, but not hugely so.


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