Audioholics 2010 Subwoofer Shootout Measurements Overview

Discussion in 'Subwoofers' started by admin, Dec 23, 2010.

  1. admin Audioholics Robot Staff Member

    admin
    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2004
    Messages:
    172
    Likes Received:
    1,615
    The goal of our most recent subwoofer shootout is to give us as consumers, a reliable and quantifiable way to purchase home theater subwoofers with some confidence that the products we hear and read about are in fact well designed and capable of sufficient output at low frequencies to reproduce both music and movies with the impact and realism that you expect from a well designed and executed product. The products in this comparison were chosen based on a box size of 6 cubic feet or less, and a maximum retail cost of $2000. This article discusses our testing methodology for measuring all of the subwoofers. It also defines what the new CEA2010 Subwoofer Measurement standard is all about and why we are using it for testing the subwoofers in this up and coming shootout.


    [​IMG]

    Discuss "Audioholics 2010 Subwoofer Shootout Measurements Overview" here. Read the article.
  2. GranteedEV Audioholic Ninja

    GranteedEV
    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2009
    Messages:
    4,933
    Likes Received:
    2,355
    Location:
    Calgary, Canada
    -The Funkywaves' veneer wipes the floor with the other three. Even if it's the worst performer in these CEA tests I don't care it's the prettiest!!!

    -AHAHAHAHA the not-so-subtle jab made me LOL.
    • Like Like x 2
  3. Sheep Audioholic Warlord

    Sheep
    Joined:
    May 19, 2005
    Messages:
    9,655
    Likes Received:
    1,115
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    TEASE!

    SheepStar
  4. GO-NAD! Audioholic Ninja

    GO-NAD!
    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2009
    Messages:
    4,017
    Likes Received:
    1,945
    Location:
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    Yes, I also noted the dig at an otherwise well-respected loudspeaker manufacturer. I hope they can take a joke.:D
  5. billy p Audioholic Ninja

    billy p
    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2006
    Messages:
    3,682
    Likes Received:
    1,214
    Probably..NOT...and those fellows who follow that forum are not easy...I should know....;):D
  6. MinusTheBear Audioholic Ninja

    MinusTheBear
    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2006
    Messages:
    3,559
    Likes Received:
    951
    That was a very informative article on the 2010 CEA standard and subwoofer measurements in general. I will have to read this a second time. Thanks for the education!

    Btw that is a beautiful sight of all 4 of those subwoofers lined up next to each other in that picture. :)
    • Like Like x 1
  7. BufordTJustice Junior Audioholic

    BufordTJustice
    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2009
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    28
    Awesome article! I, too, am gonna have to re-read to absorb all the concepts presented. Great stuff! Can't wait for the next article. :D
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2010
  8. FirstReflection AV Rant Co-Host

    FirstReflection
    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2008
    Messages:
    1,260
    Likes Received:
    887
    So these four subwoofers are "the best of the batch".

    I really, Really, REALLY (did I mention "really"?) want to know the other subwoofers that were "fair" or "mediocre".

    I have not been following this shoot out. I know that there has been a lot of discussion about it on the forums. Would someone be willing to post a list here of all the subwoofers that were initially going to take part?

    I am not the least bit surprised by the four subwoofers that remain. But I would REALLY (yes, "really") like to know which subwoofers withdrew and which were removed from the running!
  9. templemaners Senior Audioholic

    templemaners
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    Messages:
    549
    Likes Received:
    197
    Just read this thread - has several months of history in there:

    http://forums.audioholics.com/forums/showthread.php?t=67724
  10. FirstReflection AV Rant Co-Host

    FirstReflection
    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2008
    Messages:
    1,260
    Likes Received:
    887
    OK, so I dug around a bit, but I am sure I still don't know the full story.

    Axiom didn't take part - didn't agree with testing methodology and thought there might be some bias or something. No big loss. I can plainly HEAR the cabinet colouration in their EP600 and EP800 subs. Would it kill them to put some bracing in those giant cabinets?

    Elemental Designs didn't have any product ready to submit. Not surprising. Everything they sell has to come over in a big container from China, so even they don't know when stuff is going to be in stock.

    Epik didn't have a product ready. Really not surprised. Epik never has anything ready for anybody, which is why there are no professional reviews of any of their products. It's also why they keep switching models - never want to keep anything around too long since they are all talk and boom with no refinement.

    Earthquake went nuts and wanted to sue Audioholics. Whatever. Are they gonna sue every customer who writes a user review too? Probably - unless it's a glowing, praise-fest.

    RBH had an amp problem. Weird. Audioholics is almost single-handedly responsible for anyone knowing their name at all so you'd think they could get a working amp over in time...

    Salk had some sort of design issue. I guess one guy building everything by hand in his garage can only do so much!

    Paradigm and Klipsch didn't bother to take part. Their top-line subs are too expensive and people are gonna buy them based on brand, not any sort of performance measurement anyway.

    I'll be honest, I've had nothing but headaches in dealing with subwoofers. Seems as though Audioholics had nothing but troubles too! What is it with subwoofer manufacturers? It's like they're all hiding some deep dark secret. Maybe the fact that they really don't know what the hell they are doing most of the time and just stick giant drivers into giant boxes with giant amps and set whatever price they think they can sell the damn thing at?

    All I know is, after everything is said and done, I just wind up coming back to HSU every time. Want to review an HSU sub? Done. No problem.

    Want to talk to Dr. Hsu about design and compromises and engineering and theory? Bam! He's right there and the man KNOWS his stuff.

    Or how about just listening and realizing that pretty much every other subwoofer lacks the delineation provided by HSU's subs.

    What can I knock about HSU? You have to go to their biggest and most expensive models if you want to truly troll the depths of 20Hz and below and do so at high output levels.

    Is that a big deal? Not when you notice that HSU's most expensive subwoofers are still WAY cheaper than a lot of competing models.

    SVS is fine, most of the time, too. I just hate the fact that you can pretty much never actually BUY one of their subs. They are constantly on back order. I've known people who've had to wait a full year for their SVS sub to arrive!

    I'm just sick of all the hype and games that subwoofer manufacturers play. It's a constant screw-job of diverting customers' attention so that they won't notice that they are paying and waiting for performance that will likely never actually arrive.

    Personally, I'm done with the schenanigans. I just deal with HSU and it's one less thing to worry about in my life ;)
    • Like Like x 3
  11. GranteedEV Audioholic Ninja

    GranteedEV
    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2009
    Messages:
    4,933
    Likes Received:
    2,355
    Location:
    Calgary, Canada
    HSU didn't even respond to the sub shootout for a long time so they're not exempt.

    If you want a great sub - build it yourself.
  12. Tdekany Junior Audioholic

    Tdekany
    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2005
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Portland OR
    The sub wasn't "ready". Not really their fault.
  13. shadyJ Audioholic Ninja

    shadyJ
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2006
    Messages:
    3,562
    Likes Received:
    1,082
    Hsu is a great company, but I don't think you can really slam Rythmik or Funkywaves, as I have heard nothing but good things about those businesses either. Same with Outlaw Audio's subs, which are really just more Hsu subs. Emotiva looks like it has a couple nice little subs too, but I suppose one criticism you could make against them is that the pricing hasn't really been stable since they were released.
  14. gajenn Audioholic Intern

    gajenn
    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2010
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Northern California
    So who won the " sub shootout"??

    I've been waiting for weeks to find out which subs scored well in the shootout, but where are the results? Is this really just a teaser and not goin to happen,its not April 1..Please for xmas give us the results already......
  15. billy p Audioholic Ninja

    billy p
    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2006
    Messages:
    3,682
    Likes Received:
    1,214
    Your likely not alone waiting for those results. Frankly...I'm disappointed myself that it has taken this long....:(.
  16. FirstReflection AV Rant Co-Host

    FirstReflection
    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2008
    Messages:
    1,260
    Likes Received:
    887
    Fair enough. I haven't been following this subwoofer shootout. I just skimmed through the shootout thread really quickly to get a basic idea of which companies were in and which ones were out (and why).

    That said, I think HSU's delay might have had something to do with the choice of model. The VTF-15H is their newest model and was only made available quite recently.

    To be clear though, I'm not trying to defend HSU's delay in response. If Audioholics asked them early on, HSU could have easily responded and sent a ULS-15 or something.

    I don't know all the ins-and-outs and what all went on with when Audioholics sent out requests and when various companies got back to them. As this article pointed out though, no subwoofer was "perfect", nor are any of the companies!

    I made my previous comments based upon my own experience. Every manufacturer promised me the moon, but extremely few were able to actually come through. I've gone through 4 separate subwoofer-buying experiences now. Each time with more comparisons and in-home auditions, and from a greater number of companies each time. HSU has simply been the most consistent in my experience. I've never had a problem with them being unable to provide the subwoofer I wanted due to some backorder or waiting-for-a-boat-from-China issue. I've never had to wait weeks just to hear back some sort of reply to one of my e-mails. Dr. Hsu has been, by far, the most available and open-to-discussion founder I have ever had the pleasure of dealing with. And - the most important thing - HSU's subs have always performed either the best, or extremely close to the best out of all the comparisons I have made. Combine the purchasing experience with the performance AND the consistently low prices and I've simply come to trust HSU more than the other subwoofer companies that I have tried.

    HSU is not perfect. Their subwoofers are not perfect. But they are darn good and they are the ONLY subwoofer manufacturer that has never been a source of a severe headache for me. So that's why I said what I did. I've got enough problems of other sorts to deal with. So when it comes to subwoofers, I've just stopped torturing myself is all :p

    I didn't mention Rythmik or Funkywaves by name because I agree with you :)

    I haven't tried Funkywaves - I very likely will when my next subwoofer purchase comes along.

    Rythmik, I've tried. I just really don't agree with the whole "direct-servo" design. Due to the feedback signal of the servo, distortion increases exponentially as you increase the amplitude (loudness) of the signal. It's the reason why Rythmik subwoofers are generally considered to be excellent at low or normal volumes, but are not revered for sheer output. Crank them up loud and they just can't deliver. The servo is one way of keeping the low-to-normal volume output very clean, but it becomes a detriment at high output levels.


    Like I said in my first reply to this thread - I'm not the least bit surprised by which companies actually made it all the way through this shootout and that they are the 4 companies that came out as "the best of the batch". I can't speak personally, from experience, about Funkywaves, but the other three line up perfectly with my personal experience. I've just come to trust HSU the most because I listen at reference (115db peaks for the subwoofers!) and the Rythmik subs couldn't keep up at those volume levels. And SVS is more expensive and is ALWAYS on backorder.

    So, when I want a new subwoofer, I just find it easiest to go with HSU - after all of my trials and tribulations. They perform extremely well, their prices are extremely competitive (often the lowest) and they've never had a problem getting a subwoofer to me as soon as I order it. But I can totally respect the other subwoofer brands in this shootout - especially based only on performance. I can also totally understand why all of the other brands either backed out or were cut from the competition.

    The REAL subwoofer companies survive these sorts of trials and it's simply my own experience that HSU has been the most consistent.
  17. GranteedEV Audioholic Ninja

    GranteedEV
    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2009
    Messages:
    4,933
    Likes Received:
    2,355
    Location:
    Calgary, Canada
    Sure, but you somehow used that same reasoning to knock Epik :rolleyes:

    Anyone who really wants clean in room bass and high output levels should look into multiple subs, which is why Rythmik is a good option. And we don't really know if the rythmik has poor output/distortion. It apparently did well enough to hang with these big boys. Remember, a ported 15 and a sealed 1 are two very different subs. You can't generalize. Even HSU's ULS-15s require multiple subs if output is the goal - and that's their highest priced sub!

    Servo itself is fine. The Danley DTS-20 IIRC uses servo. You just have to understand any speaker's limits.
  18. FirstReflection AV Rant Co-Host

    FirstReflection
    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2008
    Messages:
    1,260
    Likes Received:
    887
    ^^^Dude, what's your beef?

    You're going to pull a single sentence from my explanation and miss the context and point of what I was saying? As I went on to say - if Audioholics made a request to HSU early on and HSU delayed in responding to Audioholics, then there's no excuse for HSU! They had other models they could send. And if they really wanted their newest sub to be the one in the shootout, they still could have responded and simply said as much.

    That one sentence you pulled was just me saying that there might have been some actual reason for HSU delaying their response. But I went on to say that I didn't think it was a good reason and certainly no excuse. HSU ain't perfect. I said that too.

    And yes, I knock Epik because their "out of stock" problems are ridiculous and chronic. They will ALWAYS give an excuse that they don't have a product ready to ship (for free) to a reviewer or shootout. HSU is not the same way. So I knock them too for delaying their response.

    As for Rythmik, you're absolutely right that multiple subs are the way to go. Not just for sheer output, but also for flat and even room response. I just also want to see something as close to linear power response as possible.

    The Rythmik "direct-servo" is not a regular servo. Rythmik actually goes to pretty great lengths to point that out. It's more akin to an inverse feedback loop than a traditional servo. As a result, the problems that I pointed out previously crop up - greater and greater distortion as the volume increases.

    In general though, I respect Rythmik and I'm not at all surprised to see them make it through this shootout. We will indeed see exactly how they stacked up when the reviews come out. I expect to see what I always see from Rythmik - which is excellent performance at 90-or-so dB output and lower and then increasing distortion as the volume goes higher than that. Maybe I'll be surprised - I don't know yet! Hopefully so! I'll never regret seeing another great subwoofer out in the world :)

    All of my praise for HSU is exactly for the reasons that I detailed. I don't know if you just don't like my conclusions or agree with them or what. But I'm just saying how it is for me and why I feel that way. HSU's not perfect - they haven't even always been the best (strictly in terms of performance) in all of the many comparisons that I have made. But they have always been good or very near the best. Like I said, I combine that level of consistent performance along with their prices and their service and I just find them to be the subwoofer company that I trust the most based on my experience. It also just so happens that whenever I see some truly in-depth comparisons being made (not just people spouting off the hype that they've read, but never actually experienced for themselves) the results line up with my own experience. I take that observation to mean that I am not crazy and that my experience is not unique. HSU, SVS, Rythmik and (it would seem) Funkywaves make good-performing products and are generally pretty good companies to deal with. I knock SVS because they hype their own products so much and seem to be on constant backorder. And I personally haven't found Rythmik's subs to be up to my standards for one particular metric - though I'd be perfectly willing to recommend them to other people who are looking for a slightly different use case where Rythmik's subs would excel.
  19. emorphien Audioholic General

    emorphien
    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Messages:
    1,252
    Likes Received:
    122
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    You keep saying these things about SVS and Rythmik but what and when did you try buying from them?

    It's pretty easy for one guy on the internet to make a lot of noise about one experience that doesn't necessarily amount to much. You're making a lot of noise (in multiple threads) but I'd like to know more about why you're making it. Otherwise it just starts coming off sensationalist.

    I agree that SVS seems quite prone to hyping products too early. Their sealed subs were announced months and months ago and only a couple are readily available so far and if I recall others got delayed for various reasons. A delay to make sure a product is up to snuff is always fine but they'll lose points for having that delay after a big official product announcement (even if it's better than releasing a faulty product).

    Don't know much about Rythmik myself but I'd love to try one of their subs to be honest, especially in my music system where peak output over 100db is not a concern to me. I've been trying an SB12-NSD (that arrived within a week) myself and have experienced HSU products in the past. The only thing about HSU that has disappointed me is the lack of variety in their offerings, but there's no question in my mind that they're good at what they do.
  20. randyb Full Audioholic

    randyb
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2002
    Messages:
    367
    Likes Received:
    171
    I have visited Jim Salk's manufacturing facility and it is hardly him in his garage. He has a factory in the industrial section of Detroit and employs several people. So you might want to check your facts before you post or people might not take you very seriously (or think your slam is very humorous). I did have one Jim's subs that initially had a problem but he corrected it and was just fine.
    • Like Like x 3

Share This Page

  • EMPTek.com
  • BlueJeansCable.com
  • SVS Sound Subwoofers
  • Experience the Martin Logan Montis
  • CEDIA