Sub shopper seeks feedback

Discussion in 'Subwoofers' started by fmw, Jul 17, 2013.

  1. fmw Audioholic Samurai

    fmw
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    I'm certainly no beginner to subwoofers but I have some preconceived notions and I'd like to get feedback from others about them. My current subwoofer is a 12" ported unit from B&W. I'm planning to move it upstairs to the bedroom in order to transform the bedroom system into a 3.1 system and to get a new sub for the family room home theater. Here are my preconceived notions:

    The bigger the box and the bigger the driver, the louder and deeper the result
    Ported subs are boomier and less musical than sealed ones
    Subs are high in distortion but rarely publish distortion figures

    The room is 3000 cubic feet. The sub I have does a perfectly good job with LFE and to me sounds a little loose, slow and boomy with music. In fact I normally don't use it for music listening because of that. I just rely on my mains which are pretty shy in the bass. I'd sure like get a more musical sub. The B&W sub is about 10 years old and I just don't know if they have improved a lot since then. Are the current ported subs tighter and faster than the older ones? Will sealed subs get low enough to do LFE effectively? Should I be concerned about this at all?

    My preconceived notions lead me to the solution that, perhaps, a sealed 15" is the way to go. That pretty much doubles the price of a sub and adds a much bigger box to what is a pretty normal sized room so I'd rather get a 12" if it will do the job. I would estimate use to be about 70% video and 30% music.

    Comments?
    fmw,
  2. theJman Audioholic Chief

    theJman
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    Your notions are mostly accurate, from a general sense, but exceptions do indeed exist. Has audio technology changed in the past 10 years? Absolutely, and subwoofers have gotten much better in that time frame as well. Your current sub might be boomy because it's worn out, improperly tuned or simply not sufficient for your needs. Either way, I suspect you'll be quite pleased with what you can get today.

    Without including a budget it's not really possible for anyone to give specific recommendations, but since precision appears to be one of your overriding needs you should definitely look at Rythmik. Given your room size the F15HP or FV15HP would be worth considering. Both will provide all the accuracy and depth you would probably ever need, especially in light of what you have now.
  3. lsiberian Audioholic Overlord

    lsiberian
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    Boominess is normally a sign of poor placement. Going to a sealed sub is not going to solve placement issues. Though I will say I'm unimpressed with B&W subs in general.

    Pick up an SVS Ultra and call it a day. You don't need another sub. SVS makes the best commercial subs on the market IMO.
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  4. Pyrrho Audioholic Ninja

    Pyrrho
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    No, not necessarily. Different woofers of the same size often have very different characteristics from each other, so it is entirely possible for a smaller woofer to play louder and deeper than a particular larger woofer.

    If you consider lsiberian's example of an SVS Ultra subwoofer, it can play louder and deeper than many larger subwoofers.



    No. If a port is implemented improperly, then it can screw things up (as anything improperly implemented can screw things up), but basically boominess (if inherent in the sub rather than in its placement) is a matter of distortion and/or not having a flat frequency response and/or improper setup/level. Whether a subwoofer is sealed or ported will not tell you the level of distortion or the flatness of the frequency response or whether one has adjusted it too high.



    Generally speaking, speakers of all types are high in distortion (compared with decent electronics), particularly when pushed to their limits of excursion.


    The first thing I would try is a different placement of the subwoofer. The reason being that that is free (though time consuming and a bother), and it may solve your problem.

    Otherwise, I would go with a subwoofer that is generally considered to be good. lsiberian's suggestion is a good one, though there are others that you may wish to consider instead.

    In the interests of full disclosure, I have an older version of that subwoofer, the CS-Ultra. I understand that the new ones are even better, but I am happy with my pair of CS-Ultras and never plan on upgrading. They are really good.
  5. fmw Audioholic Samurai

    fmw
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    What do you think of the Hsu subs with the port tuning feature?
    fmw,
  6. ImcLoud Audioholic Ninja

    ImcLoud
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    I think HSU gives you the best bang for your money, IMO dollar for dollar no other company gives you as much for your money... I and everyone that has heard my vtf has been very impressed, then when they hear the price they are amazed...

    The porting feature adds to the versatility of the sub and I prefer no plugs, and use mine just for movies and tv...
  7. theJman Audioholic Chief

    theJman
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    HSU subs are well regarded, and seem to be liked by the people who have purchased them. I wouldn't necessarily call them the best bang for the buck though - personally I think that distinction goes to PSA instead - but HSU is a really good value nonetheless.
  8. espanarules Audioholic Intern

    espanarules
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    All fine and dandy until someone asks for the budget...otherwise it's an alien surfing in a blue dream...What are you looking to spend?
  9. shadyJ Audioholic Ninja

    shadyJ
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    I wondered how PSA managed to keep such a low price on a 500 watt 15" with those specs, but then I saw a picture of the driver they are using in your review. That answered that question.
  10. jbrown15 Audioholic Intern

    jbrown15
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    You certainly never miss a chance to voice your displeasure with PSA do you shadyj?....lol
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  11. rnatalli Audioholic Ninja

    rnatalli
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    I personally don't feel PSA subs offer leaps and bounds over the other ID brands as their subwoofers like the others have pros and cons with regards to design decisions. That said, I still consider them a very strong player as other factors such as customer service and warranty exist.

    FMV, what's your budget?
  12. ImcLoud Audioholic Ninja

    ImcLoud
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    I have to disagree Jman, I think you get what you pay for with PSA, Now I know a couple guys on here like them and swear by their value, I have recently heard an XS15 and a XV30, neither impressed me, and although Shady is known for stirring the pile a little (sorry) I have to agree the picture of that sub with the tiny magnet doesn't do them any favors in the "get what you pay for" argument, I know a few guys on here recommend them to people and I cringe when I see it, there is a reason HSU owners swear by their subs and others swear at their subs after they hear the HSU and see the price...
    Dave bought an XV30 and I dont remember how much it was but I was NOT impressed with it, and neither was he, he had heard my vtf2 a bunch of times and thought the 30 was going to smash his expectations, after we moved it around and played with the settings, I called the rep from HSU I have dealt with and he {while being respectful and not bashing the competition} told Dave {on speaker phone so I heard the entire conversation for myself}, "I will send you a VTF3 dual drive, if you don't like it Ill pay for return shipping and buy you dinner". The price was basically the same and although I wasn't there when they were delivered, his wife said after plugging them in, the first thing he did was box up that coffee table sub and push it to the garage... I have since watched movies at his house and can say for the money, that is one heck of a setup, if you need more than that you must have a 900sq ft theater because his room is huge, and he has them sub amps gain set below the half way point...

    I have recommended HSU to a lot of people, and I have gotten countless thank you PMs and emails after the product arrives. I have heard almost all of their products, ULS15, VTF15, VTF3 {own one} VTF2 {own one}, STF1 and 2 {own one}, and I own other subs too, and have owned others and have demoed SVS and a couple other companies, its a hobby, and IMO HSU is the way to go, their CS is top notch, their products are awesome well designed, well put together fit and finish it top grade, tune ability ect is all thought of a head of time, their lineup covers 90% of the bases, nice musical subs, big theater subs, small budget subs, ect.. Its all there... In my living room the sub I use most is the vtf2, I have toyed with building some of my own, but that sub over powers my good sized living room with ease, they jerk in me wants to get something bigger and two of them, but then the other side of me says, don't be a jerk the 12" is too much for you as it is....

    So anyway thats enough from me, Budget is the most important factor, if money was no object, JL audio, Funk, Ect would be awesome to own, but when you are building a theater and want good sound for half price we have to search around and ask others what they think, just make sure you get a sub that you can demo and return, if you have the time and interest get a couple, but as for companies I would be looking into it would be HSU and SVS, and in my experience the HSU will be the permanent fixture in your home...
  13. fmw Audioholic Samurai

    fmw
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    I hadn't gotten that far but I think anywhere under $1000 would be appropriate for my system.
    fmw,
  14. fmw Audioholic Samurai

    fmw
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    I've spent some time looking at the recommended web sites and products. The marketing for the Rhythmik is nicely done. It appeals to me. They have a sealed 15" unit called the F15 at $900. It has better specs than the some of the others and seems like a bargain for what it is. Available with either aluminum or paper cone. Thoughts? I realize a 12" wouldn't move as much air but would their F12 unit handle my room?
    fmw,
  15. theJman Audioholic Chief

    theJman
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    Their value position is actually due to their business model; low unit margin offset by high sales volume. Realistically, everything about the PSA subs is first rate. I'm not arguing for or against them, just stating what I've experienced based upon having had one for several months.
  16. theJman Audioholic Chief

    theJman
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    You should always choose the best subwoofer you can afford; that's not a good place to save a few pennies. Having sufficient dynamic headroom available for large transient swings, like most soundtracks seem to have now, is a critical factor. Getting "just enough" will generally yield an experience of "not enough" sooner than later.
  17. fmw Audioholic Samurai

    fmw
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    I don't handle money that way. I can afford any subwoofer if that's what I want to do with my money. That doesn't mean I should buy the most expensive one. To me it makes more sense to buy what works and satisfies and nothing more. A perfect example to me would be high end receivers. My system is 5.1 and I don't use multiple zones. I have two other complete systems - one in a bedroom and one in my exercise room. No point in having anything more than a fairly entry level receiver because I wouldn't use the added features of a higher end one. I could afford one but I wouldn't buy one. Same thing with a subwoofer. I don't need to impress anybody with a subwoofer. I just want to buy what will work satisfactorily and nothing more. The smaller and more discreet the better. If a larger one is necessary then I'll get a larger one.
    fmw,
  18. its phillip Audioholic Ninja

    its phillip
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    Well, you need to define your needs then. How much extension do you need, and at what SPL? Are you wanting a flat response, or do you not care about peaks or nulls? That has more to do with placement and EQ, but there are some really peaky subs out there.
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  19. STRONGBADF1 Audioholic Spartan

    STRONGBADF1
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    Then call the sub companies you like and get their recommendations. SVS, Hsu and Ascend Acoustics are known for not over selling...at least in my research.
  20. STRONGBADF1 Audioholic Spartan

    STRONGBADF1
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    I generally agree with this...I do like to go one step up in capability from what I need though.

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