Subwoofers. Looking at pre Munich 2022 show announcements, I spotted a few exhibits that would use them. sound|kaos would mate their open-baffle Liber|8 to a 2×15" cardioid dipole sub. Unlike in years past with refrigerator-sized subs to augment their head-turning Elysium horns, this year Living Voice would mate their compact Avatar models to new OBX Cube subs. FM Acoustics have their TS-1 True Sub acting as plinth to add just the lowest octave beneath their elongated pyramidal speakers [below]. Thrax would have their motion-feedback Basso and new-for-the-show Hades subs. Grimm Audio updated their own motion-feedback upfiring sub which was always sized to fit between the legs of their active stand mounts. Avantgarde Acoustics have had active subs since the very beginning but recently overhauled their entire speaker line. Surely they would show off their new bass horns? Göbel were definitely planning to play two of their huge subs.
Magico and Wilson make their own big subwoofers and have outboard crossovers for them. YG too have big subs. Would any of them show stereo 2.1 or 2.2? If so, how would they approach subwoofer integration – running the mains wide open with the sub tacked on; or with both mains and sub filtered? If the latter, at what frequency and slope? Since I'm not attending, I won't find out. It simply has me no less curious how different manufacturers will integrate their subwoofers for a seamless music experience. It's Toys'r'us for adults. Will the audio press which hasn't yet fully embraced subs for music pay attention? Will those subwoofer exhibits which really pull a rabbit out of their hat get the kudos they deserve? Will show reports explain how they did it?
sound|kaos opted to run their new oval dipoles unfiltered to add their 2×15" sub at 40Hz on a 4th-order Linkwitz-Riley low-pass filter. They also tried lo/hi-pass filtering at 40Hz/75Hz but in this room, preferred the midbass and timbre consistency of not filtering their new open-baffle oval mains. Those were driven by a 25wpc Enleum AMP-23R off a passive-magnetic preamp, the sub by AGD Productions Vivace 200W GaNFet monos through an external analog filter after the preamp.
Jeff Fritz covered Göbel's exhibit for SoundStage Global but kept his comments to the Divin Sovereign sub's specs of 18" woofer, 2500W power, DSP and five-band EQ. Commenting on sound under temporary show conditions really isn't that useful. From Göbel's own FaceBook photo, we only see that unlike sound|kaos, they didn't bother with physical time alignment so perhaps delayed the mains digitally. Otherwise they didn't feel that the extra distance made any meaningful difference.
Grimm were demoing 5.1 surround. As my review of their motion-feedback SB1 subs covered, their 38µs digital latency is so minimal as to not cause the usual time delay. With these shallow upfiring sealed subs parked between the legs of the monitors, time-coincident arrival is assured so the subs follow the monitors around to end up where those image best: well removed from the front wall sharply toed in. That's how the pros do it.
Thrax of Bulgaria played it similarly by using their 10" sidefiring Hades subs as stands for the Lyra monitors. It's also what Cees Ruijtenberg of Acelec is working on for his Model One.
Reader and sound|kaos dealer Vincente Picone: "You’ll be interested to hear that once we switched speakers to the Vox3A or Libération, we ended up using the 75Hz hi/lo cutoff most of the time. Sound quality improved across the spectrum: bass because of the unique Ripol dispersion in the low frequencies, mid/highs because of the much easier load on both main amp and the drivers which translated to greater dynamics and transparency. Pál Nagy passed by yesterday evening and was very pleased about the contribution of his icOn4 Pro passive preamp and analog filters to this progressive setup. It will take time to shift customer habits but for those who have tasted it, the monitor + Ripol sub combination is the new king in town."
From Luke Milnes of Wilson Benesch, "we showed and demonstrated a pre-production IGx Infrasonic Generator X. This is not yet available but the tech is based around our push-pull motor design used in the previous generation of now discontinued Torus. In terms of integration, the IGx is extremely fast because our carbon-fibre/PET diaphragm is very light and stiff. We developed this material specifically to manufacture without path-work carbon layups as you see them from other manufacturers. Combined with a high-power motor that operates vertically, positioning and integration are versatile. We have adjustments for phase, low-pass frequency and gain on the integrated amplifier inside the enclosure. We forecast IGx being available for pre-order this summer, with first units shipping in September 2022."
Jern of Denmark debuted their flagship 6½" sealed 2-way monitors from cast graphite-loaded iron mated to this remote-controlled force-cancelling sub also in a cast-iron enclosure. Based on the monitors' compact size, this probably came closest to average sub/sat notions which regular listeners could feel tempted to duplicate at home. Being cast iron, this kit simply weighs a lot.
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