5 Best Powered Subwoofers Under $500 for 2020

XenoChron

XenoChron

Enthusiast
Room Dimensions and openings to other areas? Total volume?

But to answer your question yes I would rather do one of these than two smaller pb-1000

Dimensions are 14ft x 18ft with the long edge the side where LCR located but front right side has a 4.5 ft opening with no door (right of right speaker).

My gut was telling me the better option was one good sub with less compromise but wasn’t sure. Sounds like you’d agree.

Blew my amp but now using as excuse to do some upgrades. Borrowed my brothers Yamaha 3080 AVR and was pretty amazed at how good it sounded vs an older and smaller spare AVR I had so now have the itch. :)
 
mazersteven

mazersteven

Audioholic Warlord
Dimensions are 14ft x 18ft with the long edge the side where LCR located but front right side has a 4.5 ft opening with no door (right of right speaker).
For a few hundred more. This would handle that room

 
William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Spartan
Dimensions are 14ft x 18ft with the long edge the side where LCR located but front right side has a 4.5 ft opening with no door (right of right speaker).

My gut was telling me the better option was one good sub with less compromise but wasn’t sure. Sounds like you’d agree.

Blew my amp but now using as excuse to do some upgrades. Borrowed my brothers Yamaha 3080 AVR and was pretty amazed at how good it sounded vs an older and smaller spare AVR I had so now have the itch. :)
I’m also of the opinion that one badass sub is better than two NOT badass ones. But, my usual advice is to get the best one you can afford now, and immediately start saving for the second, as I do believe in multiple subs. That way in a year or whatever, you can still meet the goals for having multiple subs. AND have two badass ones. Something to consider though, is that if you’re concerned with multiple seats, multiple subs becomes more important. How much is up to you. If you NEED better coverage immediately, then you’ll need to consider lesser subs, but if you can play the long game, go big. And again...
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Apologies if answers elsewhere but didn’t see it in review here or on the $1000 sub list.
Seems like audioholics is big fan of two subs vs one. If $1000 is the budget better one $1000 sub or two $500’s? (Home theater application primarily)
Two $500 subs can get you better sound quality. One large $1k sub can get you more output and maybe more extension.
 
William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Spartan
Two $500 subs can get you better sound quality. One large $1k sub can get you more output and maybe more extension.
So respectfully I ask you which 500 dollar subs have the same linearity and control as a 1000 dollar sub? Surely the pb1000 is nowhere near as good as a pb2000 pro in those respects.
Not to mention output and extension.
So when you say “better sound quality”. What are you referring to?
Because Ime the pb1000 is ok, but it’s not as linear, or controlled and using two doesn’t seem to help. Just more of the same.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
So respectfully I ask you which 500 dollar subs have the same linearity and control as a 1000 dollar sub? Surely the pb1000 is nowhere near as good as a pb2000 pro in those respects.
Not to mention output and extension.
So when you say “better sound quality”. What are you referring to?
Because Ime the pb1000 is ok, but it’s not as linear, or controlled and using two doesn’t seem to help. Just more of the same.
I suspect the PB-1000 is very linear, probably just as much as the PB-2000 Pro. Keep in mind linearity means how neutral the frequency response is. I would guess that the PB-1000 has a fairly flat response. Another $500 sub which is very linear is the Monolith 10" THX Select.

By far the main determinant of sound quality in low frequencies is frequency response. A single sub just can not achieve a flat response in a normal room. Two subs with good placement can do way better.
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Spartan
Dimensions are 14ft x 18ft with the long edge the side where LCR located but front right side has a 4.5 ft opening with no door (right of right speaker).
As Maz asked originally, the key factor for subs is total open room volume, this includes neighboring areas/rooms not sealed off.
So do your best guesstimate for total volume that the Sub(s) will be in. This will begin to help you understand what level of output you need to begin to pressurize the space.
*Note, It is widely accepted that you do not necessarily need to pressurize all of, say, an 8000cu.ft room, if your listening area is in one corner (for example). However, a small sub with a 10" woofer will likely still be overwhelmed by that room volume... which will leave you underwhelmed. :)
 
XenoChron

XenoChron

Enthusiast
So I take it with the opening going into a hallway and across the hallway same size opening into a kitchen I need to take the those two spaces into account for volume also, correct? Makes sense. Sound doesn't know where the room ends. :)
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Spartan
So I take it with the opening going into a hallway and across the hallway same size opening into a kitchen I need to take the those two spaces into account for volume also, correct? Makes sense. Sound doesn't know where the room ends. :)
More or less, yes.
No hard fast rule, however.

I'm solidly in the camp of multiple Subs, as well. I wholeheartedly agree that planning for two is more beneficial. If you can only spend on one, now, get the best Sub you can allow yourself to afford, and begin saving for the second.

Using the SVS Subs as an example, while I like the idea of going all the way for 2 PB3000s in your space, the PB2000 Pros would likely do very well. Especially if you take the time to set them up properly for the best acoustic performance. (Room measurements become key, here.)

:D
 
mazersteven

mazersteven

Audioholic Warlord
So I take it with the opening going into a hallway and across the hallway same size opening into a kitchen I need to take the those two spaces into account for volume also, correct? Makes sense. Sound doesn't know where the room ends. :)
If it's a regular door opening I wouldn't be that concerned but if it's a 8 - 10 foot arched span leading down to other areas of the house that's a concern
 
William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Spartan
I suspect the PB-1000 is very linear, probably just as much as the PB-2000 Pro. Keep in mind linearity means how neutral the frequency response is. I would guess that the PB-1000 has a fairly flat response. Another $500 sub which is very linear is the Monolith 10" THX Select.

By far the main determinant of sound quality in low frequencies is frequency response. A single sub just can not achieve a flat response in a normal room. Two subs with good placement can do way better.
Ok I follow you. When I say linear, I mean how faithful it is to the signal, so maybe similar in our meanings.
But, subs can have a decent FR but still prone to bloatiness, and boominess from high-er Q design which is what I think of the pb1k compared to the 2000pro.(but much better compared to many other entry subs)
Ime a single sub can achieve a good response as long as you can place it to do so. Of course that only works for one seat really. Unless you get lucky...
So do I understand you to say, that theoretically speaking(removing budget) four pb1k’s in the same room as four pb3k’seould have the same sound? I’d have to disagree as I’ve heard the pb1000 and my experience echos many others that say, for lack of words, it sounds dirtier and not as controlled. Even when used under levels where it would be distressed.
 
mazersteven

mazersteven

Audioholic Warlord
Here's what we forget sometimes or maybe we don't forget. The new guy that comes on to the Audioholics forum looking for advice, and we go telling them they need multiple Subs. Ya get 2-3-4 subwoofers. Well that may be true, but is it really good advice for the new guy just getting into the world of Home Theater? It might be, but it also might scare the sh_t out of them, and make them run. Are we really doing the new guy a favor by telling him he needs multiple Subs around his room when they can barely get approval with bookshelves or floorstanders these days. I don't know if we do the new Forum member justice sometimes. Maybe we are, just my thoughts as crazy as they might be.
 
S

snakeeyes

Audioholic Ninja
Dimensions are 14ft x 18ft with the long edge the side where LCR located but front right side has a 4.5 ft opening with no door (right of right speaker).

My gut was telling me the better option was one good sub with less compromise but wasn’t sure. Sounds like you’d agree.

Blew my amp but now using as excuse to do some upgrades. Borrowed my brothers Yamaha 3080 AVR and was pretty amazed at how good it sounded vs an older and smaller spare AVR I had so now have the itch. :)
Thinking dual HSU VTF2 mk5 is another option if you can stretch to $1200. These are 12in subs that perform well.
 
XenoChron

XenoChron

Enthusiast
Thinking dual HSU VTF2 mk5 is another option if you can stretch to $1200. These are 12in subs that perform well.
Are the HSU's available outside of their website? Their website shows them as unavailable.

Did these just not make the $500 cutoff on their subwoofer review on the lower end here and lost out to the VTF3 on the $1000 reviews? If so I'd be curious going to back to my original question about 2 lower end vs 1 high end relative to the HSU VTF2. What makes the VTF2 better than say the Monolith or SVS on the $500 list here or say better than one of the more expensive ones as a single such as one VTF3 for instance if talking HSU.
 
XenoChron

XenoChron

Enthusiast
Here's what we forget sometimes or maybe we don't forget. The new guy that comes on to the Audioholics forum looking for advice, and we go telling them they need multiple Subs. Ya get 2-3-4 subwoofers. Well that may be true, but is it really good advice for the new guy just getting into the world of Home Theater? It might be, but it also might scare the sh_t out of them, and make them run. Are we really doing the new guy a favor by telling him he needs multiple Subs around his room when they can barely get approval with bookshelves or floorstanders these days. I don't know if we do the new Forum member justice sometimes. Maybe we are, just my thoughts as crazy as they might be.
FYI - No one has scared me away yet but I'm definitely on the low end of the audio market. I'm not dropping $10K or possibly even $5K on a setup if I can help it but I appreciate a good sounding setup. I've been out of the market for any upgrades for a very long time so trying to re-educate myself and make the best long term decisions. I have what I think are decent speakers from front left and right but I'm taking some measurements to make sure some damage my kids did to the domes on the speakers are severely impacting the audio quality. With COVID and my being away from a major city there aren't a lot of options for me to do listening comparisons. When I bought my speakers back in the 90's I spent, looking back, a fortune on them in 90's dollars and have never regretted it. But at the time I could do a lot of A/B/C comparison listening at a real audio shop. It seems those days are gone.
 
mazersteven

mazersteven

Audioholic Warlord
Did these just not make the $500 cutoff on their subwoofer review on the lower end here and lost out to the VTF3 on the $1000 reviews? If so I'd be curious going to back to my original question about 2 lower end vs 1 high end relative to the HSU VTF2. What makes the VTF2 better than say the Monolith or SVS on the $500 list here or say better than one of the more expensive ones as a single such as one VTF3 for instance if talking HSU.
Read post #4
 
XenoChron

XenoChron

Enthusiast
Read post #4
Thanks. Missed that today but after reading it I remember it now. :)

I guess that is the downside to these arbitrary cutoffs for $$$ to spend. It sort of misses the in-between products.

I do recall now looking at the list and making a mental note that the HSU's on the $1000 list were the only ones with a Class A/B amp vs Class D. Any comments on that?

I suppose if the performance is appropriate one might not care but I don't need another heater in the room in the summer either. I'd expect the Class D to run significantly cooler but I'm no expert. This is purely reading @ this that I get this from with the exception that I didn't pay attention to my last amp and it was incredibly hot. I don't think that ultimately is what did it in and started me down this path I'm on now (somehow when my grandson was here I think somehow he shorted out one of my speaker wires) but I it was a very hot running AVR.
 
S

snakeeyes

Audioholic Ninja
Are the HSU's available outside of their website? Their website shows them as unavailable.

Did these just not make the $500 cutoff on their subwoofer review on the lower end here and lost out to the VTF3 on the $1000 reviews? If so I'd be curious going to back to my original question about 2 lower end vs 1 high end relative to the HSU VTF2. What makes the VTF2 better than say the Monolith or SVS on the $500 list here or say better than one of the more expensive ones as a single such as one VTF3 for instance if talking HSU.
HSU is online and ships from Southern California. It’s the shipping that brings the price up

I think in the size room you are describing that two of the VTF2 is enough. It can be tuned with one port plugged to go a bit lower or with both ports open to push a bit more mid bass or even sealed with both ports plugged if you like that better. These don’t run hot for me at all.

In a much bigger space is where two of the VTF3 make sense. This might be overkill in your small space but necessary in a 6000 cu ft space. The VTF15 is the premium version of the VTF3 and can go a bit deeper

It’s also true that you might even be ok with a single sub but it will perform well only in one seat in the room. This might be fine if it’s your own seat that matters. You could buy one now and one later like was mentioned.
 
XenoChron

XenoChron

Enthusiast
The HSU is intriguing given some of the features and the ability to block the ports, etc. and make adjustments from what I'm reading I just wish the return policy was as liberal as the SVS which would have been my first and easiest choice up until the HSU was mentioned. Have to do some serious contemplation on which route to go here.

Once again I do appreciate everyone's input. The community here seems to be great!

My mic for REW just arrived so looking forward to some experimentation in the meantime tonight! I'll probably just get myself into more trouble now... :D
 

newsletter
  • RBHsound.com
  • BlueJeansCable.com
  • SVS Sound Subwoofers
  • Experience the Martin Logan Montis
Top