Exploring Subs for Theater post-2020 in the $2k range

MalVeauX

MalVeauX

Full Audioholic
Hi all,

It's actually amazing how some things have changed since 2020 regarding availability and production. I'm thinking of exploring some subs in the next year for home theater purposes, less so much for music, so really it's more about the dynamics of peaking in a movie and being able to dig deep, and less about the musicality and recover of a faster smaller sub. So probably needs to be a ported version. Large cabinets are ok, but I would prefer not to go over 100~150lbs range so that I can move them with a hand-truck by myself if needed. The minimum I'm considering is dual (two) subs. I have used upwards of 4 subs in the past to fill the room for all listening positions. But they were not great subs, so I'm looking forward to a new room soon and would like to explore 2 better subs. I'm thinking 15's this time (I used lots of 12's in the past), ported probably. Room size will be that of a standard dual car garage that has been finished as a great room (or living room); sorry it's not built yet so I don't have a final measurement.

I'm more curious about internet direct options with good support (in the USA), or just going into a DIY build.

Targeting that $2k zone mostly, all in.

I was comparing some options in the following ranges (again, from a stand point of at least 2 subs with all the fixings as needed, shipping is considered if its extra):

Hsu Research

VTF-15H MK2 (15') x 2 ($2129 + $366 freight shipping; $2495 all in)

Initially I was going to get the VTF-15H MK2 dual system. It has rave reviews and highly recommended everywhere. That $2500 price is acceptable, but I'm curious what other options there are in this range that are also highly recommended.

Rythmik Audio

FVX15 (15") x 2 ($2498 shipped)
FV18 (18") x 1 ($1869 shipped) x 2 ($3738)

I want those FV18's of course, two of them, but I don't think I can swing two of them. I could swing for one of them. But I don't think a single FV18 is going to be superior to a two 15's in a moderate sized room for theater purposes in all listening positions. I could be completely incorrect, but that's what I'm thinking.

SVS

PB-2000 Pro (12") x 2 ($1798 shipped)
PB-4000 (13.5") x 1 ($1899 shipped)
PB16-Ultra (16") x 1 ($2499 shipped)

Of course everyone recommends SVS subs. I'm sure the 4000 and Ultras are quite good, everything indicates that. But I could only do two of the 2000 series, or a single of the 4000 or Ultra to keep close to that $2k mark. And again I'm weary that a single larger sub will do what two 15's could do in the space for the same purpose.

DIY: GSG Audio Design

18" Mini-Marty Flat Pack (Pack of 2) ($487)
Dayton UM18-22 Woofer x 2 ($639.80)
Behringer NX6000 Amp x 1 ($479.99)
Hardware, paint, clamps, glue, etc ($200 approximately)
Freight shipping ($400?)
$2200 all in maybe, on the high side?

Ultimately I think two Mini-Martys rule the day at nearly $2k price point. I'm not sure anything can come close in this price range. But, it requires assembly and unless you've done it, it can be a daunting task for one, let alone two. And they're huge and heavy. That said, its hard to argue with what you get for your cost.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Overall, I'd love to just build the dual Mini-Marty 18's and be done with it. It would take me a few days and I'd learn a lot. But, that is a lot of work, a daunting task, and a gamble for a novice to DIY building not screw something up.

I think for cost and peace of mind not having to do the building and assembly, it's hard not to come back to the two dual 15 options from both HSU Research and Rythmik. But I'm really unclear on which of these two are superior and even if they're very close, which company is a lot better for support if something goes wrong, warranty, etc (especially for the amp plates). I'd love to hear more from experienced users/owners that have used support from HSU or Rythmik. I have not seen anything negative about them either way. Just curious. And curious which gives you more sub for your money from a user stand point.

Thanks for any consideration!

Very best,
 
H

Hetfield

Audioholic Field Marshall
Some great, great subs on there for sure. All I can say is I recently bought the PB 2000 Pro and it's extremely impressive. 2 of them is my goal as well but I'm running it with a PB-1000 and it all sounds very, very good. The 2 Rythmik subs are really great as well though, much more pricey too. The PB-4000 is a great one as well.
You might want to check out PSA subs too. They are internet direct and excellent.

Sent from my Pixel 4 XL using Tapatalk
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
From Hsu I'd also consider the VTF-3 mk5s. I like your diy idea best, tho. Assembling a flatpack isn't nearly as much work as making your own box, too. As long as you can be satisfied with your finishing skills, think you'd be pretty happy with that route; I'd probably go with other than Behringer for amp, tho might depend on where the amp will be.
 
jinjuku

jinjuku

Moderator
You could do 8 Infinity Kappa 1200w at $140 per ($1120) across two cabinets dual opposed with each cabinet being 9Cu ft with four drivers per cabinet. This would result in ~ 22" x 22" x 44" x2 cabinets.

Wire each cabinet for 4ohm load and feed with the same Behringer NX amp. Build should be around $2K-$2200 but you would need to have someone or do it yourself to cut the cabinets. The dual opposed keeps the cabinet construction simple.

Here's my build thread.

I'm running the prior generation 120's and in my 17X13X9.5' room they shake the ever loving stuffing out of the room with an iNuke 3000DSP.
 
S

snakeeyes

Audioholic Ninja
HSU VTF3mk5 is 15in and performs close to the HSU VTF15mk2.

@Pogre has a pair.

I have a pair of the smaller HSU VTF2 mk5 (12in model) in my living room and I really like that model.
 
MalVeauX

MalVeauX

Full Audioholic
Hrm,

Reviewing HSU vs Rythmik for warranty purposes. I've had plate amps go bad in the past and warranty handled it. HSU does 7 years on the driver and only 2 years on the amp. You can buy extended electronic warranty for $70 to extend this to only 5 years warranty. Rythmik has a 5 year warranty on the driver and 3 year warranty on the amp/electronics. That alone, since the prices are quite similar and results quite similar, I'd rather have more warranty time on the amp. I can replace a driver, but replacing a plate amp is a real bear when you cannot get the same model and it's custom cut into the cabinet and all that. So I think based on that, I'd lean towards HSU if I were buying between these two. That made it a lot easier to split the difference, just seeing the warranty time coverage on the two things that matter most that will break the most frequent.

I must have missed the VTF-3 Mark 5 is also a 15". Not a big price difference. $200 basically. But, then again, I'm a fan of having more subs than less big subs, just from experience in how multiple subs have a better total listening position response in the room than one big awesome sub. So for theater purposes, I'd much rather have 2 or 3 15's than a single 18.

I think I can safely drop SVS from this due to cost for the size. Just can't get the sub count for the cost. HSU and Rythmik have that covered it seems. I couldn't find another I.D. sub manufacturer that had offerings like them for this price range with reviews and documentation out there. And from those two, I think I would lean towards HSU strictly because I can get more warranty time out of them. 2 years more warranty time is a big deal with the extension and $70 for that extension is more than fair ($35 a year).

I wonder if I can convince myself to just get two (or squeeze a 3rd) VTF-3 Mark 5's from HSU Research, or go with two Mini-Marty 18's. The amp driver the Martys would be housed in a cooling ventilated box to help calm the noise from the fans (I realize these are loud amps meant for outdoor use and not meant for quiet home theaters; often times these need to be simply in another room, like a control room or equipment room). I'm not sure how that will work out in the new room, I wanted to do a small closest that could have an "equipment" rack and put all that stuff in there and run the wires. But I'm not sure how realistic that is to get done yet since I don't have the house built yet. That and I'm not confident in my building kills for building two Mini-Martys. That said, if anything ever went wrong, I could easily replace and fix the issue with new parts without a total rebuild which is a huge bonus for the 10 or 20 year plan of just getting end-game subs and calling it good. I do like the idea of being able to replace the driver or amp at any point if I have to, without having to do any custom work on the cabinet or deal with things not being available (like plate amps).

Sheesh!

Very best,
 
S

snakeeyes

Audioholic Ninja
I was able to remove the plate amp on my Rythmik LVX12 in minutes to have it serviced. I reinstalled it in minutes as well.

You just unplug power and tip them so driver is facing carpet and remove the screws on plate and set to side on a towel. Then reach down and carefully detach the two wires.

I have the Rythmik LVX12 in my den/theater room. I have a Rythmik L12 in the master bedroom. My HSU VTF2 mk5 pair are in my living room.
 
I

i_max

Junior Audioholic
Have you considered 2x Monolith 15” ported? They recently went on sale, at ~$2400+tax and a 5yr warranty, for two, I don’t think any of the other combos will get this performance at this price point, except the DYI I think.

edit: If you happen to have any credit cards that extended warranty, you could 1-2 yrs out from that. I used my Costco Citi to have a 7yr overall warranty on my monolith.
Adding a comparison I had done, looking for subs to buy couple months ago

 
Last edited:
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Then again there's something to be said for avoiding plate amps in the first place. I wouldn't even consider such for my diy subs (use Crown rack amps). OTOH most of my sub plate amps have been reliable, tho (5 total).....the only failure I had was within the original warranty on my Epik (which was 2 years on electronics IIRC) and happened about 16 months in....but plate amp failures on their other model particularly eventually caused Epik to close their doors, too.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
I think for cost and peace of mind not having to do the building and assembly, it's hard not to come back to the two dual 15 options from both HSU Research and Rythmik. But I'm really unclear on which of these two are superior and even if they're very close, which company is a lot better for support if something goes wrong, warranty, etc (especially for the amp plates). I'd love to hear more from experienced users/owners that have used support from HSU or Rythmik. I have not seen anything negative about them either way. Just curious. And curious which gives you more sub for your money from a user stand point.
The drivers and amp on the Hsu are very likely to outperform the Rythmiks until you move up to the FV series that uses the DS1510 driver and HP600 amp. The Rythmik equivalent to the Hsu 15"s the FV15HP, not the FVX15.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Something else to consider is the Martysubs are the best bang for the buck in terms of performance, but they ain't gonna be as pretty as any of these other subs. Unless you are experienced at woodwork, they are bound to be ugly. Furthermore, you will not have an easy time selling them if you have to let them go for some reason. However, a sub from SVS, Hsu, or Rythmik will likely sell pretty quickly if you don't overprice it.
 
MalVeauX

MalVeauX

Full Audioholic
Have you considered 2x Monolith 15” ported?
I did; I looked at them. I just don't know how the warranty is actually utilized. Such as, do you have to ship something to China or somewhere else, or is there a service center here in the USA and everything goes there? Mean while, I know with HSU that I'm dealing with them in California for example. I know for some this doesn't mean much, but for me, it means a lot to not have to fool with shipping international or dealing with stuff that is complex or a hassle to get serviced or even jsut good communication. So this is why I sorted things to include service/warranty as part of what I'm exploring. I realize with a DIY option, a lot of those warranties are a hassle likely, but then again, the DIY options (Marty sub) is in several leagues higher than these commercial subs being compared, but for the same price, plus I can service/replace all parts.

Know anything about claiming warranty with Monolith?

Very best,
 
I

i_max

Junior Audioholic
I did; I looked at them. I just don't know how the warranty is actually utilized. Such as, do you have to ship something to China or somewhere else, or is there a service center here in the USA and everything goes there? Mean while, I know with HSU that I'm dealing with them in California for example. I know for some this doesn't mean much, but for me, it means a lot to not have to fool with shipping international or dealing with stuff that is complex or a hassle to get serviced or even jsut good communication. So this is why I sorted things to include service/warranty as part of what I'm exploring. I realize with a DIY option, a lot of those warranties are a hassle likely, but then again, the DIY options (Marty sub) is in several leagues higher than these commercial subs being compared, but for the same price, plus I can service/replace all parts.

Know anything about claiming warranty with Monolith?

Very best,
You have to pack and send the sub back, that’s the biggest downside, they send you a replacement, I wish they did amp replacement but they don’t. They do give you shipping labels and I believe they arrange a pick up. They have a center in Kentucky and one in California, my first sub came from Kentucky in like 2 days (I’m in Atlanta), 2nd one took a week. There is no international shipping or any of that.

However I felt it was worth a bet trying them, I haven’t had any issues with mine, albeit only a couple months and they perform like a monster.

Edit: I have read in some threads for sub issues the goto person is Hobie, and gets the resolution quickly.

hobie.sechrest@monoprice.com
 
Last edited:
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
I've read of people having to return the entire sub rather than swap out an amp with Monolith/Monoprice. Seems they don't have any service options in their US facility from what I've read (or know if they're working with someone particularly....haven't seen mention of that at least).

As to finishing the mdf on the Marty I think you can do a fairly nice duratex in basic black finish easily enough....I did on a couple of mine (I just stained the ply on the others, haven't actually built with mdf) and just read up on how to thin/brush technique and did it. I've got no WAF to deal with and rarely sell any gear, so diy works well for me.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Overlord
HSU VTF3mk5 is 15in and performs close to the HSU VTF15mk2.

@Pogre has a pair.

I have a pair of the smaller HSU VTF2 mk5 (12in model) in my living room and I really like that model.
Yup. I think HSU is gonna be hard to beat, bang for buck unless you go diy and build multiples, sharing the same amp. I've had mine for going on 5 years now with no hint of a problem with either one. I went big with a pair VTF-3 MK5s and most of the time they loaf, so I'm sure that helps with longevity. I've never felt the amps get hot, even after some deep bass at spirited levels. They barely even get warm.
 
MalVeauX

MalVeauX

Full Audioholic
Then again there's something to be said for avoiding plate amps in the first place. I wouldn't even consider such for my diy subs (use Crown rack amps). OTOH most of my sub plate amps have been reliable, tho (5 total).....the only failure I had was within the original warranty on my Epik (which was 2 years on electronics IIRC) and happened about 16 months in....but plate amp failures on their other model particularly eventually caused Epik to close their doors, too.
This is a big thing I'm considering. I tried to replace a plate amp on a 10 year old sub and couldn't get one that fit without doing some wood work. I kind of don't want to do that.

Very best,
 
S

snakeeyes

Audioholic Ninja
I definitely wouldn’t want to store subwoofer boxes so I could ship them for repair to Monoprice. That’s a hassle.

At least with Rythmik and HSU and SVS even if you are past warranty, they can always sell you a new plate amp and you can swap it yourself. Just figure out if one is $250 or whatever and make a decision on whether getting the warranty is cheaper or not.
 
MalVeauX

MalVeauX

Full Audioholic
The drivers and amp on the Hsu are very likely to outperform the Rythmiks until you move up to the FV series that uses the DS1510 driver and HP600 amp. The Rythmik equivalent to the Hsu 15"s the FV15HP, not the FVX15.
Thanks, that's reassuring. And good point about re-sell; though I don't expect to re-sell any of these, just move to another room that lacks a sub if that's the case!

Very best,
 
MalVeauX

MalVeauX

Full Audioholic
I've read of people having to return the entire sub rather than swap out an amp with Monolith/Monoprice. Seems they don't have any service options in their US facility from what I've read (or know if they're working with someone particularly....haven't seen mention of that at least).

As to finishing the mdf on the Marty I think you can do a fairly nice duratex in basic black finish easily enough....I did on a couple of mine (I just stained the ply on the others, haven't actually built with mdf) and just read up on how to thin/brush technique and did it. I've got no WAF to deal with and rarely sell any gear, so diy works well for me.
Yea Monolith sounds like a no-go which is why I left them off the list. Dealing with issues with an item this big and heavy and expensive is not fun when it's a hassle to get service. So I'd rather stay with a group that I can deal with here on USA soil to avoid over-the-pond shipping stuff and communications with massive lag times (if any).

I'm ok with plain jane black or duratex. Heck I can sand and repaint if it looks janky. I'm much more worried about actually assembling it well, than finishing it.

Very best,
 
MalVeauX

MalVeauX

Full Audioholic
Yup. I think HSU is gonna be hard to beat, bang for buck unless you go diy and build multiples, sharing the same amp. I've had mine for going on 5 years now with no hint of a problem with either one. I went big with a pair VTF-3 MK5s and most of the time they loaf, so I'm sure that helps with longevity. I've never felt the amps get hot, even after some deep bass at spirited levels. They barely even get warm.
That sounds great, thanks!

Very best,
 

Latest posts


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