Adding a subwoofer to a HiFi system in a complex space

L

levb

Audiophyte
We have a pretty good HiFi system purchased in 2004 that I haven’t done anything to besides getting some decent interconnects & speaker wires. It’s a purely audio system with Unison Research’s Unico Secondo integrated hybrid amplifier (newly acquired after the original Unico SE’s right channel got fried accidentally), Unison Research’s Unico CD and a pair of Triangle Celius ES flood standing 3-way speakers.

A couple of years ago, we moved into a house with a much larger living room and a semi-open layout. The salesperson at the audio shop where I got my new amplifier said that my space would really benefit from a subwoofer; even a pair of subwoofers if I could pull it off. Based on my room description, he recommended a JL E-112 or E110, or a REL S/510 or T/9x. Out of those, even the T/9X is more than I would like to spend ($700 - $1,000).

My other limitation is that the entire wall where my audio, wifi & tv are located runs on a single 20-amp circuit. That said, when listening to the hifi, the only other components that are always on are a couple of Panamax power conditioners, the wifi router, and the wifi extender. So when we’re listening to music, we have to stay under 20-amps with the amplifier, CD player, subwoofers & the always on components are running simulatenously.

The living room is approximately 18-ft wide by 25-ft long by 19-ft tall, but is bisected lengthwise by a mezzanine with a solid guardrail height wall, so the double height space is ~ 11-ft wide by 25-ft long, while another 9-ft of the entire length is 9-ft tall. Above the mezzanine is our open office that’s 11-ft wide by the full 25-ft length, and the continuous ceiling is 8-ft high over the mezzanine.

The two short walls along the 11-ft double height portion are mostly glass, the long wall along the double height space is ¾” thick wood planks on furring strips while the long wall under the mezzanine is sheetrock with a couple of large steel-clad sliding doors. The guardrail height wall of the mezzanine which faces the double height wall is also clad with wood planks on furring strips. One end of the lower space is open to the dining room, and the kitchen beyond, so it’s far from being a simple enclosed rectangle.

The ceilings at both the lower portion & double height space are wood slats (2x2’s) with an equal solid / void ratio, so sound can penetrate the 12” high joist area above.

The left half of the living room is our relaxing area (couch, coffee table, audio & tv) while the right half is for my wife’s grand piano. The audio system is located along the wood clad double height wall and the couch is right under the edge of the mezzanine, some 10 – 11 feet away. The speakers are spaced 9 – 10 feet apart. This puts the left speaker about 3-ft from the glass wall, with a larger cactus between it and the glass, and the right speaker very close to the center of the room.

We either listen to the music from the couch or turn the system up some when working in the kitchen … and the sound from afar (~ 25ft) is surprisingly good. I’m guessing that the best location for a subwoofer would be next to, or just behind, the right speaker; away from the glass wall and centered on the room, albeit not centered on the optimum listening position.

My question to all the subwoofer experts is can I get ONE subwoofer that isn’t any bigger than say 15” – 16” square that will give us a good enough improvement to what we already have, and do it for $1000, or less? The SVS SB-2000 Pro, SB-3000Pro or their 3000 Micro? Would the JL Dominion d110 bring anything extra to the equation to be worth going over my budget?
 

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lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
In general I find Rel and JL both overpriced for what you get, but both make pretty and small subs. I'd lean to subs from SVS, Hsu, Rythmik, Power Sound Audio, Seaton and several others in front of Rel or JL myself. If you need small, that is where sealed boxes have somewhat an advantage due the generally smaller box, but a ported sub, albeit a generally larger box, generally offers more performance; smaller drivers are further disadvantages to accommodate small boxes. Then there's the matter of what gear you have to best integrate subs into your system with, but not familiar with your electronics or plans on integration methods, but....maybe start with some of these
 
L

levb

Audiophyte
In general I find Rel and JL both overpriced for what you get, but both make pretty and small subs. I'd lean to subs from SVS, Hsu, Rythmik, Power Sound Audio, Seaton and several others in front of Rel or JL myself.
Thank you for the recommendations, as I wasn't familiar with Rythmik, PSA or Seaton, although I've read about the HSU. I will certainly read up on them.

As far as integrating the sub into my system, it's super simple. My only option is plugging into the unbalanced RCA SUB OUT on the integrated amp. And since this is strictly for music listening, we're not after mega deep bass or booming movie sound effects, just to expand the soundstage & add some depth without losing musical detail. I don't need our concrete floor to vibrate.

Space is the ultimate constraint. If we have to leave a 6" gap all around the sub, we're really limited to a maximum 16" x 16" footprint. Going up to an 18" cube would require too much shifting of furniture and big house plants to really be practical; although I could squeeze in the PSA S2410 if I had to & upped by budget a bit. The Rythmik L12, L22 & F12 should also fit.

Without further digging into the new options, the SVS SB-3000 is currently at the top of my list, although it would be great if the SVS 3000 Micro could do the job of expanding the soundstage adequately, being so compact.
 
Eppie

Eppie

Audioholic Field Marshall
The Micro does not go nearly as deep as the SB-3000 and really is better suited to a small room like a den. I would not recommend the micro for a room that large. I have the SB-2000Pro in a 12x16 space and it does a great job. I went sealed due to space limitations but ported will generally perform better than sealed if you have the space. Whether you need the extra extension that ported subs offer depends on your musical taste. Classic rock would not gain much, but pipe organ, classical and electronic music can go down to 16Hz and that's where the ported unit will beat out the sealed. If you're set on sealed due to space requirements, the SB-3000 is a good choice, as well as offerings from Hsu and Rythmik.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Thank you for the recommendations, as I wasn't familiar with Rythmik, PSA or Seaton, although I've read about the HSU. I will certainly read up on them.

As far as integrating the sub into my system, it's super simple. My only option is plugging into the unbalanced RCA SUB OUT on the integrated amp. And since this is strictly for music listening, we're not after mega deep bass or booming movie sound effects, just to expand the soundstage & add some depth without losing musical detail. I don't need our concrete floor to vibrate.

Space is the ultimate constraint. If we have to leave a 6" gap all around the sub, we're really limited to a maximum 16" x 16" footprint. Going up to an 18" cube would require too much shifting of furniture and big house plants to really be practical; although I could squeeze in the PSA S2410 if I had to & upped by budget a bit. The Rythmik L12, L22 & F12 should also fit.

Without further digging into the new options, the SVS SB-3000 is currently at the top of my list, although it would be great if the SVS 3000 Micro could do the job of expanding the soundstage adequately, being so compact.
Well you could perhaps add external dsp to provide a crossover between speakers and sub and manage delays, if your integrated amp has a pre-out/main-in or processing loop feature.

Getting a concrete floor to vibrate would take a lot I'd think :)

Subs also have a way of needing to go where they need to go for best performance rather than where you want to place them out of aesthetics/convenience. Sometimes you need multiple subs to handle smoothing response for multiple listening positions in a room, too. I would skip the SVS Micro in a room your size as mentioned....that's more a sub for a small room, under desk sort of application. Might also consider the SVS PC subs for footprint size but still get a ported sub....
 

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