HT Newbie - Advice for Sub please

Discussion in 'Subwoofers' started by Djeayzonne, Dec 8, 2011.

  1. Djeayzonne Junior Audioholic

    Djeayzonne
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    Hello,

    I just bought my first house, and it has a dedicated media room, so setting this up is one of my first priorities.

    I have already bought the 5.0 speakers and receiver.
    5.0 speakers are Paradigm Monitor 11 for front left/right
    CC390 for center
    ADP 390 for surrounds.

    Receiver is Onkyo NX-TR809

    Room size is 17'6" by 12'2" and 10' ceiling. Sound deadening insulation in walls and floor.

    Music is more important than HT, but that's not to say that HT is not important. I want deep powerful bass but it also needs to be very fast and accurate. In addition to classical, I also love electronic music, mostly DnB and dubstep. Squarepusher/Venetian Squares are two of my favorites.

    Budget is 500 or so, but would go a few hundred more if there is really a great benefit to do so!

    Looking forward to learning a lot from this forum.
  2. timoteo Audioholic General

    timoteo
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    When i first saw the $500 budget i knew: Rythmik FV-12

    However!! Once you mentioned that you would be willing to go a "few" hundred more that made a big difference. Once you pass $500 you step into another level of subwoofer performance. So yes you really should consider a budget of $700-$900. This will give you excellent subwoofer options!!! Quite a bit better than $500.

    SVS pB-12 nsd: $749
    HSU vtf-3 mk-4: $699
    Outlaw LFM-1 Ex: $649
    These 3 are outstanding subs!! But of course a little more will get you...
    HSU vtf-15h: $879 (Love this sub!)

    You have some really great options in this range!
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2011
  3. Djeayzonne Junior Audioholic

    Djeayzonne
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    As that Outlaw you mentioned isn't much more than the FV 12, how does this sub compare to the Fv12 and that HSU 15 you mentioned last? Is the HSU 15 really worth almost twice the price of the FV12.? More detail please!
  4. BoredSysAdmin Audioholic Warlord

    BoredSysAdmin
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    This been talked over hundreds of times. Please use the search function. Look for post about subwoofers from member named FirstReflection.


    SVS pB-12 nsd is by far the best in this list, but if money is tight get the fv12
    Outlaw and HSU are both good subs are almost identical.
    All subs mentioned here are good both Musical and HT subs and would work fine in your room size.
    One more sub to throw to this list is Epic Legend or Empire if budget allows.
  5. shadyJ Audioholic Ninja

    shadyJ
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    The Hsu VTF15h will have quite a bit more output than any of the others mentioned, however it is very large and also more expensive, $1k shipped. That would be first on my list if you can afford it. You might also check out the Elemental Designs A5-350 in that vein, or the Epik Empire. Next to those I would go for the Hsu VTF3 or Outlaw LFM-1 EX and run it in max output mode, that will pound out some D'n'B. The SVS PB12 or PC12 would be excellent as well. As someone who also loves ***-kicking D'n'B and dubstep, I would go for the VTF15h if you can make that stretch, but they are all killer subs.
  6. Djeayzonne Junior Audioholic

    Djeayzonne
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    Thanks for the replies.

    Well after reading a bit more, I am actually now leaning toward the ULS or the SB13. What are the differences of the ULS over the VTF 15? Same for the SB13 over the 12?

    Also, when reading some of the SVS reviews it also seems their 5.0 speakers are very good. Does anyone think cancelling my deposit on the Paradigm set to go for SVS is a good idea?
  7. shadyJ Audioholic Ninja

    shadyJ
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    Given your tastes, I wouldn't go with the ULS or SB13, unless you get multiples of each. They might sound a bit sharper than a ported sub like the VTF15h, but not by much, and they won't have the dynamics or output of the VTF15h. If you can handle the size of the VTF15, there isn't much reason not to go that way.

    Something else that might interest you is the sale Outlaw Audio is having right now, you can get a LFM-1 Plus for $499 shipped, that sale ends on the 20th. While two of those still probably won't quite equal the output of a single VTF15h, I think they would have a bit more deep bass extension, plus two would still have an enormous amount of output. An advantage of this system is you won't have to worry about "localization", that is when a sub draws attention to its location and unevenly weighs the sound of the room. Whats more is you could set those subs next to your left/right speakers and raise the crossover point to higher than the recommended 80 hz without localization penalty, so if you want stronger mid and upper bass than what your speakers are giving you, it is available.

    Also I would not trade the Paradigms for the SVS speakers, I assume you are talking about the MTS line. The MTS has been described as very laid-back, this is not a quality that is typically desired for drum'n'bass, dubstep, and classical. However, I am surprised that you spend so much on speakers while going so cheap on subs, especially given your tastes in music. Subwoofers do more than just go boom, they have to playback notes accurately in a very important frequency range. For a proper sub system to complement that speaker set, I think you should have allocated at least 2k to subs, especially given your music preferences. I don't mean to sound too critical, I am just letting you know what I honestly think as someone who also has similar tastes in music.
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  8. Djeayzonne Junior Audioholic

    Djeayzonne
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    Thanks again for the response. The reason for the budget is two things, one I just moved into a new house and have very little furniture, so I have much to buy. Two, I didn't think a sub alone should be 60-70% of the speakers. Is that a normal ratio?
  9. FirstReflection AV Rant Co-Host

    FirstReflection
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    You room size is small enough that you'll get some pretty strong room gain in there. However, is that room actually sealed and self-contained? Or does it have openings to any other rooms? A subwoofer doesn't "know" where your theater space ends and another "room" begins. It just tries to pressurize and fill the entire open volume of air. So it's very important to consider the entire amount of open space - not just an area that's been designated as the "media room".

    Given the dubstep and other heavy-bass and synthetic bass music that you mentioned, it's harder to recommend a sealed sub. Whether or not a sealed sub would satisfy you is all going to depend on your room and your relative positioning of listening seats and the subwoofer. If you get the sort of room gain that one would expect in your room size (assuming it is a sealed and self-contained room with no doors open and no openings), then a sealed sub ought to be fine. You'd get a fair bit of room gain in the lowest octave and below (everything below 40Hz). And with a 2nd order roll-off (a shallow and gradual roll-off of bass, rather than a steep, quick drop off below a certain frequency), a sealed sub might even sound deeper and lower than a ported sub in your room.

    But it all depends on that room of yours and how things are positioned within that room.

    If you go with a good ported sub, you can be certain that you'll get strong output all the way down to 20Hz or sometimes even a bit lower. If it turns out that things get too loud due to room gain, it's rather simple to decrease the output with EQ. But there is nothing you can do if your sub doesn't play loud enough. So, in that way, getting a sub that can play loud and low all on its own is the "safer" choice. You can always make it quieter - that's no problem :)

    IMO, over $500, everything becomes degrees of "better". The $500 Rythmik FV12 gets you "through the door", IMO. Below that price - and that one Rythmik model in particular - you're looking at very obvious compromises. To me, the $500 Rythmik FV12 is where good all around bass starts. But as you go up in price from there, there are certainly improvements to be had!

    Again, a lot is going to depend on your room. If you've got openings, you can quickly require A LOT more output than the FV12 can muster.

    Since you said that you want tight, articulate sound that can still hit low with slam, and you want to keep the price somewhere between $500 to a few hundred more, I can totally get behind the HSU, Outlaw and SVSound recommendations. Epik and Elemental Designs are both super impressive when it comes to hitting low and hitting loud, but IMO, they sacrifice a little in the way of tightness, transient response, and accuracy. That's a perfectly fine design choice. Some people just want to rock the deepest, hardest-hitting bass that they can. But when tight control is a priority, I favor Rythmik, HSU/Outlaw and SVSound.

    The great news is that you're not going to go "wrong" with any of those choices! They're far more similar than they are different. Even the Epik and eD subs are more similar overall than when you're comparing the various below-$500 subs. Like I said, it's all a matter of degrees.

    In your situation, I'd kinda lean towards the SVSound PB12-NSD DSP or PC12-NSD DSP cylinder, and here's why:

    - The HSU VTF-3 MK4 and Outlaw LFM-1 EX are BIG boxes. Make sure you're well aware of their physical size. Your theater room isn't very big and it's entirely possible that you'd have trouble fitting those big boxes into your room. The PC12-NSD cylinder takes up very little floor space, thanks to being a tall tube rather than a big, squat box. When you're dealing with one, powerful sub in your room, it's going to be very important to find the absolute best place in your room - otherwise you'll potentially run into problems with standing waves and bass nodes at your seats. I'm a big fan of the cylinder subs because they take up so little floor space. And if you need to, you can even lay the cylinder on its side! There are just more placement options with a cylinder.

    The output capabilities and ability to hit flat right down to 20Hz are also very impressive with the PC or PB12-NSD DSP. Perhaps the best thing though is that the Sledge amp in SVSound's subwoofers is unbreakable. If you crank the volume past what the PC12-NSD DSP can safely play, the sub won't distort or bottom out. Thanks to the excellent design and engineering, it will simply play as loud as it possibly can while keeping distortion under control. It's great piece of mind and allows you to get maximum performance without ever worrying.

    Just my two cents :) Every situation is a bit different. And, like I said, you certainly can't go "wrong" with any of the subs that have been suggested. I think the SVSound NSD subs hold a couple of advantages in this particular situation. But I most certainly wouldn't turn my nose up at the others ;)

    Spending proportionally more on your subwoofer than your other speakers and components is a good move, IMO. I wish more people would do that! It's hard to reproduce strong, accurate bass. There's no magic. And the physics of it are just plain hard! You've got to have a great design, some great engineering and some fairly costly components to make it happen. To me, $500 and the Rythmik FV12 are where bass starts to genuinely get good, and it only goes up from there! So if you're going to spend proportionally more on any one piece of gear in your system, do it on your sub! It's really the thing that impresses the most and separates a real "theater" experience from just vanilla "surround sound" :D
  10. Djeayzonne Junior Audioholic

    Djeayzonne
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    Thanks for the great reply.

    Yes it's a dedicated room with no windows. It has the French door type of entrance, so there is a gap between doors, and under the doors. So it's not a perfectly sealed room. I was leaning towards the sealed subs because I thought sealed subs give better accuracy and fast response. If that is not necessarily the case, then the ported is fine also. For music it's not so important I think, but for movies I think below 20 hz is also important, so I want something that has some balls down there also. However accuracy and speed/tightness are top priorities.

    At the end of the day, I am the kind of guy that will spend what it takes until diminishing returns really starts to rear itself.

    Are there any disadvantages to the tubes?
    Thanks again for everybody taking the time!
  11. FirstReflection AV Rant Co-Host

    FirstReflection
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    Yeah, it's always a bit tough when it comes to the whole sealed vs. ported decision. The main reason is because the room plays such a large role in determining the final sound. If we're strictly going by a quasi-anechoic measurement - taken out in a wide open field where there are no walls or ceiling to reflect any sound - then it's more or less always the case that a sealed subwoofer with a similarly powerful amp and a similarly sized and capable driver will start to roll off higher and produce at least around 12dB less output at 20Hz than its ported sibling. It's just the physics of it. It's also why you'll often see physically small, sealed subs that have massively powerful amps and passive radiators in addition to the powered driver in order to increase the total output.

    But that higher roll off and lower output at 20Hz are not the full story. There's also the rate at which the volume drops off on the low end. If it's a standard sealed design, the roll-off will be a 2nd order 12dB per octave slope. So up at 40-50Hz a sealed and ported sub with similar amps and drivers might be about the same. But at 20Hz, the sealed sub is 12dB quieter (one octave below 40Hz). The ported sub, on the other hand, uses that port and the resulting resonance of the sub's box itself to boost the low bass output. If the box is tuned correctly, you can get nice, flat response all the way down to 20Hz or maybe even a touch lower. But with the ported box, once you go below the tuning frequency of the port, the response drops off much more quickly than the sealed sub - it'll be a 4th order 24dB/octave slope on a standard port design.

    Now, sometimes manufacturers will put in an additional filter on the low end to make sure that you don't get bad noise due to the driver trying to work too hard on those super low frequencies or to limit port noise below the tuning. The Emotiva X-Ref subs, for example, are a sealed design, but they have a steeper roll off than 12dB/octave due to an additional filter on the low end. And a lot of ported subs will have a filter too, which makes their roll off below the tuning frequency of the port look like the side of a cliff!

    But if we're talking about standard designs, then a sort of weird thing happens. The sealed sub and the ported sub that were equal at 40Hz will have a 12dB difference at 20Hz - the sealed sub being 12dB quieter than the 20Hz tuned ported sub. Down at 10Hz, they will be equal. The sealed sub will have dropped another 12dB - making it a 24dB drop total from what it was producing up at 40Hz - and the ported sub will have dropped 24dB with its 4th order 24dB/octave roll off starting below its tuning frequency of 20Hz. But the ported sub is dropping at a steeper rate than the sealed sub. So at some point in between 20Hz and 10Hz - around 16Hz or so - the sealed sub is actually louder than the ported sub!

    Now, when you go and introduce room gain into all of this, it can create a situation where the sealed sub actually sounds and measures flat all the way down to 15Hz or perhaps even a bit lower! Meanwhile, the ported sub actually has a hump in the measured response that has to be tamed using EQ down between 40Hz and 20Hz where the port's output is kicking in. But below 20Hz, where the ported sub is dropping off quickly, you now get less output than the sealed sub!

    So that's why some people - if they have the right sort of room size and setup - will find that a sealed sub actually plays lower and louder and flatter without EQ than a ported sub that has a similarly powerful amp and driver! But the problem is that anything short of actually hearing the response and measuring it IN ROOM is just a guess. It can be an educated guess and a good guess. But it still can't be 100% certain.

    When it comes to the transient response and "tightness" and controlled sound of the bass, well that's simply all about being able to make the driver start and stop moving when the signal calls for it. A sealed sub has the advantage of a constrained volume of air being trapped in the box behind the driver. When the driver is being pushed out by the amp, the air behind it is lowering in pressure and "sucking" it back in. When the driver is being drawn in by the amp, the air in the box is pushing the driver back out. So you get a natural sort of "dampening" effect from the trapped volume of air. It acts as a sort of shock absorber, which is why many sealed subs will sound "tighter" than a ported sub. Naturally, the ported sub's driver is free to move without any "cushioning" effect from the air in the box.

    But it is not always the case that sealed subs sound tight while ported subs sound "loose" or "flabby". As I said, it's simply about controlling the driver. And if you have a well designed driver and a powerful amp, you don't need the added effect of the trapped air in a box to properly control the movement of the driver. And while a sealed sub has a natural mechanical advantage, if the driver and amp are of lower quality, the driver can still keep moving, even after the signal tells it to stop, with that trapped volume of air actually acting as something of a spring that keeps the driver in motion, like a cork bobbing up and down in water.

    So the bottom line is that a good sub that plays low, loud and has tight transient response and good accuracy is the result of good design, good engineering and good components. It's not sealed vs. ported. A good sub will kick the pants off of a poor sub, regardless of the type of design ;)

    My honest, educated guess, is that if you keep those french doors closed when you listen, you'll get enough room gain from a good sealed sub that the low 20Hz and even lower stuff won't be a problem in terms of output. Your room size is small and a good sealed sub should work very nicely in there. But if you open those doors, it's a whole other ball game!

    I would highly recommend that you give a phone call to several or all of these subwoofer companies that we've mentioned. You will get some very good service and advice from all of them - plus it might actually help your decision if you find a company that gives particularly good advice and service ;) Certainly call SVSound and HSU. In my own experience, I've highly enjoyed talking with their service folks :)

    As for the cylinder or "tube" subs - the only disadvantage - for some people - are the looks. Some folks just can't tolerate a black tube that looks like a small water heater :p To other people, the small footprint and black velour covering makes the cylinder subs disappear more easily into a corner or along a wall. And laying a cylinder down on its side can make it disappear beneath your display or behind your couch. In terms of the actual sound and performance, there is no down side at all to a cylinder design. In fact, a cylinder is a much better geometric shape for a subwoofer than a box. With a box, you have to make it as stiff as possible and use lots of bracing to prevent it from making noise that you do not want! With a cylinder, the shape prevents most of the shaking or rattling that a box might make. If you stand it upright, you get the benefit of a very low center of gravity with the downward firing driver at the base of the cylinder sub. And at all times, you get a sub that is not as heavy, making it easier to move and position, plus the shipping cost is often lower. So there are a lot of advantages with a cylinder sub and no real downsides. It's just the unusual look that keeps boxes far more popular. But get past the looks and a cylinder is a great choice!
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  12. homwerk Audioholic Intern

    homwerk
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    Well said FR. I learn something new every time I read one of your posts!

    What we need now is someone who is as good at explaining to our significant others why we need a PB13-Ultra in each corner of the room as you are explaining this technical stuff to us dummies!
  13. Djeayzonne Junior Audioholic

    Djeayzonne
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    Thanks again!! I'm not only surprised by your knowledge, but your willingness to write such long posts.

    I guess I have narrowed it down to either one of the SVS tubes or the HSU VTF-15, so just a couple more questions?

    Are you recommending the SVS strictly due to size? Yes the room is not big, but there really isn't going to be anything in there either besides the media chairs. The pre wired spot for the sub is the rear left corner, rear of the TV wall, not the entrance.

    Why is the SVS the better choice despite the smaller driver?

    Among the tubes, why is the plus so much more? Seems for just a bit more, you can just get the ultra. I am having a very difficult time differentiating between them, and I kinda feel like either the NSD or the ultra. The plus kinda seems like a pointless product just from looking at the site.
  14. shadyJ Audioholic Ninja

    shadyJ
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    The Plus is significantly more powerful than the NSD. What you are missing is the size increase, more powerful amp, and greater driver excursion which simply give it more output at every frequency, more than twice as much (see a SPL comparison here). I would also guess that there is a much larger performance delta between the NSD and Plus than between the Ultra and Plus. The PC12 Plus also has variable tuning, so you can trade output for extension, if you wanted, whereas the NSD is stuck at 20 hz tuning. The Plus is simply a much better sub, and the price does reflect that.

    The VTF15h also has all these advantages over the NSD (except for the more powerful amp), but it has a bit higher tuning point, so its not as strong at 20 hz as it is at 30 and above, but at the great majority of the audible bass range we are talking twice the output or more.

    The thing is, how hard are you going to push the subs? If you don't intend to rock the house, that there is no need for the greater output of the Plus or the VTF. The NSD is still a loud sub. And if that is the case, why not consider the Outlaw LFM-1 Plus? It will be on sale for only a couple more days for $500 shipped, and will match the NSD's output at almost every frequency except 20 hz, but it will still have decent 20 hz output, and it also has variable tuning. The way I see it, with the Outlaw sale, there isn't much reason to go with the NSD, unless you really need that extra 3 db at 20 hz.

    If you can only get one sub, and can spend the money, I would get the PC12-Plus. If that is too far over-budget, or you listen to more music than watch movies and still like it loud, go for the VTF15h. If you don't see yourself pushing the limits of your system or if money is a factor, go for the Outlaw LFM-1 Plus. With the NSD, you are paying 50% more than the Outlaw for a bit more output at 20 hz alone, if you ask me its just not worth the extra cost for such a negligible gain. Remember though, the Outlaw's sale ends on the 20th, after which the price goes up to roughly $635 shipped, and it loses is current extraordinary $/SPL value.
  15. homwerk Audioholic Intern

    homwerk
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    Shady - Are the measurements from the LFM-1 Plus the same or similar to the LFM-1 EX? It seems you are basing your recommendation on the measurements from the EX, which I would guess are 2-3 db better than the LFM-1 Plus in the lower frequencies. The LFM-1 Plus might still be too good of a deal and too close in performance to the NSD to warrant the extra money of the NSD, but I felt it should be pointed out that the measurements in the link are for the EX which is supposed to be Outlaw's flagship sub where the Plus (from Outlaw) might be a 1/2 a step down from the EX's performance.
  16. FirstReflection AV Rant Co-Host

    FirstReflection
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    Yeah, for my recommendation, I'm trying to take everything that is unique about this room, setup, budget and listening material and filter that down to what I think it the best choice of sub overall.

    It's really important to realize that we're talking relatively small differences between the various subs that are being talked about here. The honest truth is that you can't really go "wrong" with these choices. They're all very capable subs that really demonstrate what you can get when you spend more than $500, but keep it under $1000 ;)

    I'll start with the SVSound Plus vs. the Ultra sine both of those are well over the original $500 budget and well over the "few hundred dollars more" point as well. The PB/PC12-Plus DSP really is very much like the PB/PC13-Ultra DSP except that the 13-Ultra models can play a good 3dB louder across the entire frequency range. 3dB might not sound like a whole lot, but it is literally twice the power. It doesn't sound twice as loud - things start to sound "twice as loud" to our ears when they are 6-10dB louder. But it requires twice as much power to make 3dB more output, so it's nothing to sneeze at! The relative cost to go from the Plus to the Ultra models reflects this difference rather well, IMO. It's like, with the Plus subs, "here's an absolutely excellent subwoofer." And with the Ultra subs, it's like, "and here's that excellent subwoofer plus a solid push more!"

    The PB/PC12-NSD DSP subs by comparison are a full step below the Plus. They have half the amplifier power, a driver that doesn't travel as far as the Plus driver, and less port area. The result is still a very, very good and capable subwoofer, but it's a good 3-6dB quieter across the entire frequency range. The thing is, for a small room, that's no problem! It's still plenty loud for a small room. And where the ported NSD subs rise above other $750-ish subs - and over what I consider to be the best $500 sub in the Rythmik FV12 - is that it truly plays flat down to 20Hz. It's like taking a Plus or Ultra SVSound sub, stripping out all of the options for tuning frequencies and additional EQ, making it smaller and quieter, but retaining what is arguably the most important characteristic, which is flat, linear response right down to 20Hz. That was the obvious design goal over at SVSound with the ported NSD models. And below 20Hz, it sort of drops off like a cliff :p

    I'm more or less in agreement that if you want more than what the ported NSD models can offer, you might as well go "whole hog" and jump straight to an SVSound Ultra sub. I remain EXTREMELY impressed by the SVSound Ultra subs. I really haven't heard anything else that I would choose over an SVSound Ultra - at least in terms of being at a price point that "normal" people might be able to afford. If I required more output than an Ultra could provide, I'd choose to simply add more Ultra subs, rather than try to find a single sub that could play even louder on its own.

    But the Plus models remain a great choice for many, many people because the price point IS lower, and really all that it gives up, for the most part, is an extra 3dB of output across the board, which most people don't need in a normal-sized home and theater room. I would say that the Ultra's incredible driver gives it just a very slight edge over the Plus in transient response as well, but it's spliiting hairs, really.

    But back down to the under $1000 price point. Subs like the HSU VTF-3 MK4 and Outlaw LFM-1 EX can give the SVSound ported NSD subs a decent run for its money. I'm a pretty darn big fan of the HSU VTF-3 MK4 especially. HSU actually uses a driver that is a bit lighter in weight than the SVSound NSD driver. It's by no means a large difference, but every now and then, I can pick out just a tiny bit of overhang with the SVSound NSD subs. We're talking nit-picking here. But if you're looking for the nth degree of delineation and separation of notes, I do have to say that the NSD subs could be improved upon just a little bit.

    But what the NSD can do that the VTF-3 MK4 can't is get pushed literally past its output limits without distorting. The amp in the SVSound NSD is an order of magnitude better than the BASH amp in the HSU VTF-3 MK4. It's better at providing sustained output. And if you push the volume past where the NSD's Sledge amp can go, it's won't distort or risk damage of the NSD sub, it'll simply play literally as loud as it safely can, and won't play any louder.

    So that - in addition to the smaller footprint that the cylinder PC12-NSD DSP provides - pushes the SVSound over the competition IN THIS CASE. With dubstep, there are some crazy computer generated bass notes that are an honest risk for subs. It's sometimes ridiculous 20Hz and below 20Hz stuff at insane output levels. If you want to reproduce that stuff as well as it can possibly be reproduced for under $1000, then the SVSound PB/PC12-NSD DSP is your sub - it's as simple as that. I don't mean to take ANYTHING away from the other subs, which I think are great subs! It's just a case where this very specific taste in music makes the SVSound NSD the very best choice out of the lot of them, IMO. BUT, like I said, you really cannot go "wrong" with those other subs! You'll still get excellent performance. But I just wanted to share my reasoning for why I personally think the SVSound PC12-NSD DSP is the sub I would pick to spend my money on IN THIS CASE.

    As to the HSU VTF-15H, a really hate to step on any toes, and I know how much several VTF-15H owners really love that sub! I can only go on what I heard with the VTF-15H with my own ears. And when I heard it on the same dubbing stage where I was so impressed by the SVSound PB13-Ultra DSP, I just wasn't so impressed with the VTF-15H. I actually preferred the VTF-3 MK3 (at the time, the MK4 version wasn't out yet).

    Like I say, I really don't want to start any sort of "flame war" here. I'm strictly going by what I heard. And what I heard doesn't even totally match up with the Audioholics measurements, so something might have been off in terms of settings or positioning or something when I heard the VTF-15H. What I heard was a pretty decent "hump" in the 40-50Hz area and a pretty drastic decline below 25-30Hz. That decline in the deepest bass matches up with what Audioholics measured, but the "hump" does not, so, like I said, I'm only going strictly on what I heard. What makes it a bit weird is that other subs were in the same position on that same dubbing stage, and they didn't have the 40-50Hz "hump" that I heard, so it seems unlikely that it was a room acoustics issue.

    But a dubbing stage is NOT your typical home theater room! It's a large, heavily damped space where you can really push any sub to its limits! It's the reason I was SO impressed with the SVSound PB13-Ultra DSP. The normal sub compliment in that dubbing stage is a pair of JBL Pro 18" subs. So for a single 13" consumer sub to come in and literally be able to play louder than I could stand was just WAY beyond expectations. Seeing the Audioholics measurements and seeing that the PB13-Ultra DSP will hit 20Hz CLEAN with 110dB output from 2 meters in a wide open field and will hit 117dB in the same setting up at 40-50Hz is a great indication of why that was possible! Even a large, damped dubbing stage has some room gain - it's not a wide open field - so this was very, very close to true reference SPL levels coming from a single 13" sub! Just incredible.

    But the VTF-15H wasn't my favorite. Like I say, I just thought the VTF-3 MK3 played more linearly, just as low if not lower, and overall just sounded more "in control" and even throughout. I was surprised actually because I've always been a big fan of HSU's subs. The VTF-15H was my least favorite HSU sub - but again, you've got to consider the setting and the fact that in a much smaller room, things might have played out A LOT differently. That said, for the money, I just like the VTF-3 better - and there's no real downside to that since it's a bit less expensive ;)

    I just think it's a case where HSU Research took a bigger, heavier 15" driver, put it in a new box design with a new port design, but gave it a bit of an underpowered amp and the results weren't quite up to what I would have hoped for. It's my opinion that the VTF-15H just needs a considerably more powerful and capable amp to take advantage of the bigger, heavier 15" driver that's in use. I think the box and port desing could also use some adjustment to give it better tuning and, again, a better match to the driver. My hunch is that when HSU came out with their 15" sealed ULS-15 sub, a lot of folks asked for a ported 15 incher, thinking they would surely get even more output and 20Hz extension. As I talked about before, ported vs. sealed isn't the whole story! I think it's just a case where some adjustment needs to be made to take advantage of the larger driver. By NO MEANS am I calling the VTF-15H a "bad" sub or a poor decision for those who have bought one and love it! I'm just saying that I think it could have been even better. It might be a little more expensive to take it there. But I just don't think that 15" driver is being used to the best of its abilities, and because of that, the VTF-15H isn't my favorite is all :)
  17. FirstReflection AV Rant Co-Host

    FirstReflection
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    The LFM-1 Plus is almost identical to the HSU VTF-2 MK3/4. Actually, the LFM-1 Plus is just the old VTF-3 MK2 with a different port position.

    The VTF-3 MK2/LFM-1 Plus is a very good sub, but, to put it bluntly, it just doesn't hit 20Hz. It's a 25Hz sub. Sure, you can plug a port and put it into "max extension" mode for supposed 20Hz performance. But it's just severely limited in SPL down there. You'll hit about 80dB, maybe squeak out 85dB with some high distortion. But the tuning of the VTF-3 MK2/LFM-1 Plus is simply higher given the box size and port length.

    Absolutely nothing wrong with that! It's a very good sub from 25Hz on up! But I keep coming back to that dubstep. The inability to troll the 20Hz stuff was the reason I upgraded my own VTF-3 MK2. The thing is, I still use the VTF-3 MK2 in my bedroom because it's a clean, articulate sub with good delineation and transient response! It just doesn't hit 20Hz is all :)
  18. timoteo Audioholic General

    timoteo
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    I can vouch for the VTF-15h having a hump in the 30-40hz range. I cant say for sure if its my room or causing this mode or just enhancing an already there peak. When i first got the sub i had to have the volume down on it a bit because that peak was "peaking it head up" & i noticed it. Once i let it break-in i did some measurements & found this out it was just a matter of EQing down 31.5hz. That really flattened out the response. Along with figuring out which tuning did best in my room ive been able to get amazing results with the VTF-15h.

    If someone has $2000 to spend on a sub then by all means the PC/PB-13U is one of the best choices. But for someone like me who at the time was limited to roughly $1000, i truly believe the VTF-15h is the best option. Specially in a large room. You will be able to get great results with the 15h without any EQ. But if you place it perfect & apply some EQ to it you can really get excellent, powerful, clean bass!

    I opened up my VTF-15h & took a look around at the enclosure & driver. The driver & amp seem to be well matched. The magnet is modest in size therefore making it more sensative. Along with the large enclosure/ports the design really squeezes every drop of performance for the <$900 price!!! Truly well engineered!!

    Could it be better!?....of course but not for the price IMHO!!

    Ive heard the VTF3-MK3 next to the 15H. The 15H was, again, IMO notably better. It would only be the price that would make me choose the 3/3 or 3/4 over the 15H, if i couldnt scrape up the extra couple hundred $.

    At least the OP is on track to a great sub no matter the choice he makes because each of the subs hes considering are very good in their own right!!!
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2011
  19. homwerk Audioholic Intern

    homwerk
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    Thanks for this post! This makes me feel better about having the gut reaction to pass on the LFM-1 Plus right now.
  20. Djeayzonne Junior Audioholic

    Djeayzonne
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    Holy crap!! What awesome posts!

    Ok, I got the main differences about the ability to play down to 20 and the output levels. Let me ask a few more questions from a different angle. The fact that I'm asking such questions what show my ignorance, but that's OK.

    Forget total output levels as the key comparison criteria for a moment. Which sub is going to give me clear definition and separation of the bass line and bass drum when played simultaneously? Which sub is going to keep in time with the wobble bass in dubstep? Which sub can keep up Squarepusher's inhumanly fast bass guitar skills? Not to forget movies-which sub is going make explosions feel like they are actually happening? Which sub is going to make the cool sound effects in Transformer movies a new experience?
    Which sun will actually make a recorded Taiko drum sound authentic?

    By the way, as I not only listen to dubstep but produce it as a hobby, the DSP protection of the SVS is very appealing.

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