To Doug Schneider,

Thank you for the review on the Paradigm Signature S1s you completed a while back. Since I am sure you receive e-mails like this frequently, I will keep it brief. I just picked up a pair of these secondhand for $750 and I am working on pairing them with a sub. You mentioned you were going to a do a follow-up test with a sub. Did that ever happen? What sub would you recommend with it for around $1000 or less? Thank you for your help.

United States

Great purchase, Ron! Having a sub-sat system has distinct advantages over full-range speakers -- you can place the main speakers for the best tonal balance and imaging, and you can situate the subwoofer for the best bass. You can’t do that with two big speakers. So what you’re attempting to do is a good idea. That said, I never got around to doing any follow-up review with those speakers and a subwoofer, but I can still give you quite a bit of advice about this.

Insofar as subwoofers go, two brands tend to get mentioned more often than most: Paradigm and JL Audio. The reason they get mentioned most often is because they make excellent subwoofers -- it’s as simple as that. The last time I looked, Paradigm had 18 subwoofers available, with half of them priced under $1000. I definitely recommend starting there. JL Audio’s new entry-level E-Sub series starts at about $1500, so quite a bit more than you’re planning to spend, but I still recommend looking at them as well, because the company is known for the quality of their subs. You might decide to spend more with them, but you must also find a good deal or get one used -- no harm in at least looking.

While picking the appropriate subwoofer is obviously important, the setup is crucial, because blending the speakers with the subwoofer is far trickier than just hooking wires up. There are also many ways to go about setting up, since there are at least a few ways to connect any subwoofer into a system. Which way you’ll choose, however, depends on how your system is configured and what options are available. For example, some people use the crossovers built into most subwoofers, while other people use the bass-management capabilities now built into some preamplifiers and all audio/video receivers. External crossovers are even an option. I don’t know what the rest of your system comprises, so I can’t give you any advice that way, but I will say that the key is to use the method that gives you a cohesive sonic blend between the subwoofer and main speakers so that the entire system’s sound is seamless from top to bottom. Getting that seamless sound isn’t always easy, but with some skill, effort, and time, it’s definitely attainable. . . . Doug Schneider