@Nick Batzdorf said: The Blue Sky System One I'm using *needs* a sub to go with the portless 6" sats, and it works really well. If you calibrate it properly (and trap bass as needed in your room) it isn't an exaggerated sound at all - it's very natural. Knowing what's happening at the low end is as important with orchestral music as it is with beat music, in my opinion. But it's also useful to turn off the sub as a reference sometimes.
First and all: I agree upon your mentioning the importance of low end in various type of music. There is of course no distinction.
As for *needing* a sub: true in your case, because your sats have a frequency responce of 80 hz-20Khz.
So they do indeed need "extra bottom".
I'm referring to full range monitor speakers like the Adams P-11 (48 Hz-35 Khz), the Mackies HR 824 (39Hz-20kHz) and other alike.
They do not need a subwoofer, whatever kind of sounds or music you mix on them.
Which doens't mean that you absolutely can't, it's a free world after all.
But it is not needed, and by adding the sub, you add a liability to the neutral character of you referencing, no?
Not in your case of course, Your System One is especially created as a matched trio.
But Mackies and Adam's can make the very air tremble, I assure you-[:)]
Although I have to admit that the 9 Hz in difference between the Adams and Mackies is noticeable, in favour of the Mackies.
When I use my Adam sub for 5.1 monitoring, the main difference I don't hear, but mostly feel. And only with very low frequency sounds, like explosions, earthquakes, Vienna's Taiko drum, the Concert Bass Drum and so on.
And that's also the purpose for which the sub was initially created: for this extra deep rumble in movie theaters.
Later on, with the coming of small satelite speakers (for pc or hifi), the sub became necessary in home systems as well.
I have an old pair of 70's speakers (Pioneer HPM-100) that can (probably)go as low as my Adam Sub 10, which is 20 Hz. One day I was playing them very loud on the 2nd floor, the soundtrack of "Dracula", track 1... When I went down to get a drink, I noticed to my surprise that all the glasses on my shelf in the living room where slowly, one by one, dancing towards the edge and tumbling down towards a shattering end...Very lemming. Maybe that's why they don't make such speakers anymore, shame though...
In the end I'd like to add that the main thing is to know your speakers.
I've known people who delivered great mixes, using a very colored, not too great sounding hifi set. But they knew the shortcomings of their speakers, and adjusted that automatically in their mix.
While others did a very weak, sloppy mix; although they had the top of the bill-monitors at their disposal...but no experience.
You can hook up 10 subs if you like, as long as you know how your resulting mix will sound on other speakers, in other rooms, with often loudness constantly on, or bass "pumped up"...
By using full range reference speakers, you know that (in theory) your mix is always safe. And that's their main purpose.