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What Subwoofer to use with KLH 6;s?

Fred Karl

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I bought my beloved KLH 6 speakers in 1968 but this year decided to bite the bullet and upgrade my system. After looking around at what I could afford, both monetarily and spousetarily (no studio tower speakers in my little house!), I decided to keep the KLH 6's and their musical sound. Now I'm shopping for a subwoofer that I hope will add to the base and free up the 6's to attend to the midrange and treble.

Where I live, stereo stores are going the way of the 8-track tape. So I've not been able to audition many subwoofers other than at Best Buy (B&W, Klipsch, Polk, Energy, Def. Tech., and MartinLogan). I've read about, without hearing, things ranging from BIC America's F12 (@ about $200) to Paradigm's Monitor Sub 10 (@ about $1,000). (Best Buy recommended the B&W 608's, which sounded OK when I heard them, but this was in a closed, carpeted room.)

My house has an open floor plan, with hardwood floors and walls, windows, etc. without heavy curtains or other non-reflective materials. The living room, kitchen, and dining room have no doors between them, and the living room spills over to a two-story entry foyer that includes a staircase and overlooking open hallway on the second floor. The house was designed according to "Not So Big House Principles," so spaces serve multiple purposes. This means the living room is also my listening room (with only two of us living here, I don't have to worry about kids or usually even someone being home while I'm listening).

I'm therefore concerned that although the living room itself is not huge, the large open space would present a problem to a smaller or low-end subwoofer. (The thing that attracts me the most about the Paradigm is auxiliary software that tunes the speaker to the room and location.)

Given all this, what subwoofer would you recommend?


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According to the KLH lit, the Six has a 12" woofer and goes down to 32 cps (Hz). That's pretty good. So between that and your room, I'd say think BIG: Big driver, big box, big amp.

For my home theater system, I use modest AR4x's up front, helped by an unobtrusive Cambridge Soundworks Newton sub. But for my vintage stereo, with AR3a's, I use a big ol' VMPS sub: 12" woofer, 15" passive radiator in a box the size of a bar fridge. I added a plate amp and cross it over at about 50 Hz. I would not use anything less for the 3a's and probably not for the Sixes.


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