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Author Topic: How many subwoofers do you need?  (Read 11209 times)

Jason Henning

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How many subwoofers do you need?
« on: May 23, 2011, 06:07:08 pm »

Is there a formula to determine the ratio of subwoofers to mid and highs that are needed to provide an even mix? We are installing a system in a new building and I want to make sure we have the correct mixture of subs and other speakers.
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john sanders

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Re: How many subwoofers do you need?
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2011, 06:28:29 pm »

The best I can offer is 2 subs per mid/high and obviously this depends on the type of music being performed. For the majority of my work I place a QRX 212 on top of a QRX 218 and it works for me; 4 boxes each of these QRX's is presently enough to manage although I've considered adding more subs to my inventory.
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g'bye, Dick Rees

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Re: How many subwoofers do you need?
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2011, 07:01:48 pm »

Is there a formula to determine the ratio of subwoofers to mid and highs that are needed to provide an even mix? We are installing a system in a new building and I want to make sure we have the correct mixture of subs and other speakers.

The formula you use will be determined by factors such as type of music/audience and characteristics of the space itself. 
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Mac Kerr

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Re: How many subwoofers do you need?
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2011, 07:05:24 pm »

The formula you use will be determined by factors such as type of music/audience and characteristics of the space itself.

As well as what kind of full range system you have and what kind of subs you have, and how they are deployed.

No, there is no formula.

Mac
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Brad Weber

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Re: How many subwoofers do you need?
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2011, 10:11:31 pm »

Is there a formula to determine the ratio of subwoofers to mid and highs that are needed to provide an even mix? We are installing a system in a new building and I want to make sure we have the correct mixture of subs and other speakers.
Obtaining an 'even mix' would seem to relate to the relative relationship of the mains and subs not just at one location but throughout the audience area, so there are many considerations potentially involved beyond just how many speakers.
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Marsellus Fariss

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Re: How many subwoofers do you need?
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2011, 10:27:23 pm »

Is there a formula to determine the ratio of subwoofers to mid and highs that are needed to provide an even mix? We are installing a system in a new building and I want to make sure we have the correct mixture of subs and other speakers.

Also occasionally you may do shows that require no subs what so ever like a old-time or bluegrass show, comedy or other simple spoken word.
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Marsellus Fariss
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duane massey

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Re: How many subwoofers do you need?
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2011, 12:20:54 am »

No.
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Duane Massey
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RYAN LOUDMUSIC JENKINS

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Re: How many subwoofers do you need?
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2011, 01:01:39 am »

This friday I will do an event with zero subwoofers and I'll have six large 3-way boxes plus several fill boxes.  There will be about 4000 people in attendance.

Last week I did an event where I just brought in 8 2X18" subs to supplement the house rig that already had four 2X18" subs plus I brought a texas headphone rig that had two single 18" subs with two way tops for monitors.  They only have four tops in the house system so three subs per top. 

I just an event two weeks ago with 16 2X18" subs for FOH plus two more for side fills and a single 18" sub for the drummer.

So the simple answer is to have lots of 'em but only bring what you need.
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Brad Weber

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Re: How many subwoofers do you need?
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2011, 07:15:59 am »

Also occasionally you may do shows that require no subs what so ever like a old-time or bluegrass show, comedy or other simple spoken word.
So the simple answer is to have lots of 'em but only bring what you need.
The OP noted they were installing the system so varying the quantity or type of subs for individual events may not be that practical.  For an installed system you'd usually either select the composite 'worst case' and design for that or design for a typical event and incorporate some method to supplement the system when required.
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Hayden J. Nebus

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Re: How many subwoofers do you need?
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2011, 09:56:25 am »

The fun answer is: "How many do you have? I need that and 2 more."

Seriously, one sub per two top boxes deployed is fairly typical.

If you have little to no design experience, I would reccomend you consult with a design professional. Failing that, the manufacturer of your loudspeaker system, given the size of your room and configuration of loudspeakers you are using, they should be able to assist you with selecting the right model and quantity of sub enclosures.   
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g'bye, Dick Rees

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Re: How many subwoofers do you need?
« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2011, 11:00:59 am »

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Ivan Beaver

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Re: How many subwoofers do you need?
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2011, 11:43:53 am »

Is there a formula to determine the ratio of subwoofers to mid and highs that are needed to provide an even mix? We are installing a system in a new building and I want to make sure we have the correct mixture of subs and other speakers.
An even mix would assume that the levels of the subs equals the mains

In many cases the sub level needs to be quite a bit higher for it to sound balanced

This could be between 10-20db
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Chris Hindle

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Re: How many subwoofers do you need?
« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2011, 12:17:56 pm »

Is there a formula to determine the ratio of subwoofers to mid and highs that are needed to provide an even mix? We are installing a system in a new building and I want to make sure we have the correct mixture of subs and other speakers.
You may only need 1. Ask Ivan if the Matterhorn is ready for public consumption....
Failing that, ask your suppliers if they have prediction software for the boxes you are interested in buying. That shuld get you in the right ballpark before asking for a demo rig.
- You are going to hire in a demo rig before you purchase, aren't you ??
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: How many subwoofers do you need?
« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2011, 12:22:05 pm »

You may only need 1. Ask Ivan if the Matterhorn is ready for public consumption....
Failing that, ask your suppliers if they have prediction software for the boxes you are interested in buying. That shuld get you in the right ballpark before asking for a demo rig.
- You are going to hire in a demo rig before you purchase, aren't you ??

DING DING DING.  We have a winner.

Seriously, if the OP is designing a system for his HoW, he's vastly under-qualified.  If he's checking up on a design that is pending, he's vastly under-qualified.  I'm glad that he came here for our review but our offerings are limited in both scope and accuracy because we're not intimately familiar with his facility, budget, program material, audience & user expectations, and/or future expansion plans.

Any reputable bidder or manufacturer will be able to provide some kind of demo system, and any potential purchaser that does not avail him/her self of such demos is asking for problems down the road.

Just my $0.02 worth, and you got it for free!

Have fun, good luck.

Tim Mc
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Uwe Riemer

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Re: How many subwoofers do you need?
« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2011, 04:56:39 pm »

Is there a formula to determine the ratio of subwoofers to mid and highs that are needed to provide an even mix? We are installing a system in a new building and I want to make sure we have the correct mixture of subs and other speakers.

The formula of needed subwoofers involves some complicated astronomic calculations and is top secret,
but I can give you the formula for needed spare light bulbs for free:

The number of spare light bulbs to bring is the actual number you brought to the job plus two  :)

Uwe
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John Neil

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Re: How many subwoofers do you need?
« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2011, 11:16:43 pm »

How many subwoofers do you need?

All of them.  I will need all of the subs.  But I can't, for the life of me, imagine having the evenness of my mix determined by the quantity of subs.  Isn't that what all those knobs do?

Some days it's simply for stacking height.

At the end of the show, you either had enough subbage, or you didn't.  During the first song, you can't go back to the truck. 
« Last Edit: May 24, 2011, 11:33:33 pm by John Neil »
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Brad Weber

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Re: How many subwoofers do you need?
« Reply #16 on: May 25, 2011, 06:28:07 am »

All of them.  I will need all of the subs.  But I can't, for the life of me, imagine having the evenness of my mix determined by the quantity of subs.  Isn't that what all those knobs do?
Coverage and potential output are a function of the speaker system and you'll probably need to do less with the knobs if you have the right system to start with.  Unfortunately, the 'fix it in the mix' approach may be what is being applied rather than starting with a well conceived system designed to fit the space and potential applications.
 
Some days it's simply for stacking height.

At the end of the show, you either had enough subbage, or you didn't.  During the first song, you can't go back to the truck.
Again, the OP noted "We are installing a system in a new building" so it's apparently not just for a show, stacking height is probably not relevant and the truck left long ago.
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: How many subwoofers do you need?
« Reply #16 on: May 25, 2011, 06:28:07 am »


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