How Much Sub Do I Need?

Only I can answer this question. Because the question is “How much sub do I need?”

I’m a music lover. I listen to music in 2.1, stereo with a subwoofer. I don’t want the sub to intrude into the rest of the music and muddy it up. My system is in the second floor loft of my house, which is a wooden floor covered in carpet. Hence the bass is pretty robust to begin with.

Being spoiled, I change speakers a lot. Being nuts about the hobby, I’ll often bring home multiple speakers for the weekend. I test out numerous new speakers at home. Cheap ones & expensive ones. I also test out trade ins so I’ll know what those other guys are doing. I love to learn the personalities of many different speakers. It puts me in a well informed position to TELL YOU what to expect from virtually everything we sell- and a lot of speakers we don’t sell as well. Having heard them in my own room with familiar equipment, it takes out the variables. I get to know these speakers very well.

I’ve learned that in my room, with my musical taste, I like a sub that adds just a bit of weight, from the bottom on up. I don’t want to throw barbells around the room or shake the fixtures. OK, I do like to feel the floor do seismic gymnastics sometimes! I want the impact of kettle drums, organ, or a kick arse rock band on occasion. Since I enjoy Magnepan speakers above all others, augmenting what they do well with a sub is paramount for me. And thus far this piece is all about ME.

With the above in mind, which product makes sense for this application?

Brand new is the GoldenEar SuperSub X, $1250. The new GE Dual Plane subs are my favorites! They’re fast, tight and not boomadelic. You bring them up from the floor, starting at inaudible. As you ramp them up you can FEEL the music as much as hear it. You can set the crossover point to meld with your wing (right and left) speakers. Dialing this in to MY taste is easy. You don’t have to obsess for hours. I suppose you COULD, and some audiophiles do. I’m not that kind of guy.

I’ve identified MY needs. I just want the sub to add foundation. I don’t want it to overwhelm. All told, the GE SuperSub X is the best sub for ME. $1250 is a reasonable price.

How much sub do YOU need? Where is your system? If it’s in the basement, that means a cement slab with a carpet. Whether surround for movies or two channel audio, that means you need a ton more sub than I do. It’s hard to get a basement to feel warm and cozy with music, but having a GoldenEar SuperSub XXL ($2000) is the way to go. The XXL can absolutely pulverize at 30 paces. It’s a big time sub and the price is downright cheap for what it does!

If your system is on the main floor of the house that implies you have some sort of wood base with carpet or a rug. The bass will be much stronger here than in the basement. You certainly COULD run the GE XXL on your main floor. If you want the sub to hit hard and loud, by all means, get the XXL. But if you want the sub to mate with the rest of your system as opposed to over power, you would be better off with the SuperSub X for $1250.

GoldenEar makes the ForceField series of subs. FF-5 ($1000), FF-4 ($700) and FF-3 ($500), are unqualified bargains for heavy duty performance for home theater use. They all have humongo power amps in them and hold strong- while all similarly priced competitors fail under fury.

GoldenEar Force Field Trio

FF3 ——- FF5 ——- FF4

Hence if you’re running a home theater on the main floor, I’d prefer to run a ForceField sub if you are budgeting $500-1k. The FF subs have larger cabinets and amplifiers than anyone else in this range. They have designed them so you CAN drive them hard for theater and end up giggling like a little kid. The only limitation to the FF subs is, you cannot adjust the crossover point at line level. That’s no problem if you have a surround receiver or pre-pro. It’s also no problem if you have a smart preamp like the EMO XSP-1, which has crossover controls built it. The SuperSub X and SuperSub XXL DO have crossover controls at line level. Hence if you’re running a stereo preamp without sub crossover, or integrated amp, you need a SuperSub, not a ForceField.

To make a long story short, my favorite choices are $1250- 2k. These two GE models feature Dual Plane technology, which is rocking the sub world these days. SuperSub XXL has two opposing 12” woofers, with two opposing infrasonic radiators, with a 1600w amp on board! SuperSub X has two opposing 8” woofers, with two opposing infrasonic radiators, with a 1400w amp on board!

If you look north of $2k I would double up on subs. There are a lot of reasons to consider running a pair of subs instead of a single. But I would recommend… running SuperSub X or XXL. And only consider getting a second sub if it was ANOTHER X or XXL. They have to match.
“Link” to GoldenEar SuperSub Series


GoldenEar SuperSub-XXL

XXL Cut-away