Help beat the HSU VTF-15 Mk2! (but must have a satin or gloss black finish)

Landmonster

Landmonster

Audioholic
Hey guys. It's time for me to get serious about adding some authoritative BASS to my home theater system. I could use some advice.

I am looking to add 2 subs to compliment my system. It is for a room about 16x15, with the left wall open to a hallway and kitchen bar counter. The lowest level of bass that I'm willing to consider is the HSU VTF-15, since I can get 2 for around $2k, and they come with a nice finish.

What would be some subs that are a step-up in clarity or power from here? The caveat is this: My wife will not accept a sub with a black veneer finish like the Monolith sub, it would need to be a furniture grade satin or gloss black.

(**I'm trying to gauge what subs of similar size could even provide superior performance? If so, at what cost?)



I have probably added some equipment since I last posed here, so here is a current summary of my 5.0 system:

  • Main L/R: Polk LSim 707
  • Center: Polk LSim 706
  • Surround: Polk LSim 705
  • Pre-amp: Denon X4500h receiver (no amps utilized)
  • Amp: Emotiva XPA-7 gen3 (only 5 channels utilized)
  • Interconnect Cables: Bluejeans LC-1
  • Speaker wire: Belden 10awg
  • Media player: Xbox One X


Note:
For those people who are curious: I was previously driving all 5 speakers with the robust Denon X4500, but it became fearfully hot to the touch. When I changed to the the Emotiva XPA-7, however, it really woke up the speakers and added some noticeable bass. It wasn't a "night and day difference", but the Emotiva definitely added some power and authority, as well as a bit of clarity and "openness" (for lack of a better word) that was lacking before, especially at louder volumes. The main improvement that was noticeable was that bass was much stronger. Machine guns and explosions on Saving Private Ryan now hit the room with visceral authority... at least compared to what I was used to.
 
Landmonster

Landmonster

Audioholic
Granted, I know probably every JTR sub would kick the ass of the HSU.

Can you experts here chime in, and offer some next step upgrades beyond the HSUs?

I'm looking to understand what the next steps up in quality would cost.
 
Landmonster

Landmonster

Audioholic
No, the budget is flexible. I know alot of the "extreme" subs seem to have industrial or cheap finishes on them, for whatever reason. Probably because people don't put them in living rooms!

Mine is going to go in a family room. I want a really high amount of high quality base, with good quality built in amps... as long as it maintains a good furniture grade finish.
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Ninja
JTR and Seaton sound come to mind as some of the next level subs. I would say Deep Sea, but I don't think the finish will work by your description of acceptible finishes... perhaps even JTR might catch on that requirement.

Funk Audio would be the pinnacle, likely. :)

Depending on your budget, SVS PB4000 and PB 16 Ultras...
Some of Rythmik's offerings.
Of course you can have Jim Salk build you a matching pair of Rythmik Subs in his custom Cabinets!
I've been very happy with my Outlaw X-13s.

...
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Ninja
No, the budget is flexible. I know alot of the "extreme" subs seem to have industrial or cheap finishes on them, for whatever reason. Probably because people don't put them in living rooms!

Mine is going to go in a family room. I want a really high amount of high quality base, with good quality built in amps... as long as it maintains a good furniture grade finish.
 
vader540is

vader540is

Junior Audioholic
Nathan at Funk subwoofers can make some amazing cabinets ( Not cheap)

Definitely check out the Power Sound Audio S3012, I'll include the finish options.

IIRC contact Jim Salk for custom options with Rythmik Subwoofers.
View attachment 37396
 
Landmonster

Landmonster

Audioholic
I'm just trying to get an idea of budget ranges, if possible. My whole system upto this point was actually a fairly value-minded system.

Polk audio and Emotiva are good, but probably not ultra hi-fi in the grand scheme of audio. I got them on the close-out sales as well.
 
vader540is

vader540is

Junior Audioholic
I'm just trying to get an idea of budget ranges, if possible. My whole system upto this point was actually a fairly value-minded system.

Polk audio and Emotiva are good, but probably not ultra hi-fi in the grand scheme of audio. I got them on the close-out sales as well.
IMO I would pass on those Subs and save until you can get a Sub from Rythmik, PSA, JTR, or Funk.


Polk and Emotiva isn't known for their subs...
 
William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Spartan
Maybe just another pair of “shoes”? Four of those would be badass!
I agree with the other guys about funk, JTR, seaton etc. I would do a pair of Rythmik fv25’s (or at least fv18’s) personally, but I feel like your lady wants a nicer look. That’s gonna be the toughest thing I think.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
If you want something that performs well and looks nice, it ain't gonna be cheap. Some other subs that fit your criteria are the gloss black SVS and Rythmik subs. Hsu and Outlaw's satin black finish is nice but I am not sure it would be up to snuff for your wife. Your aesthetic requirements pretty much rule out JTR subs in their stock finish, but I know that they used to be able to get you an automotive gloss finish for a surcharge. You would have to contact JTR about that to see if they can still do that. It ain't gonna be cheap though. Deep Sea Sound and Seaton Sound can give you some powerful subs in a nice finish. Funk Audio and Salk Sound can do that also, but that is going to be quite expensive.

Something to think about with these multi-kilowatt amp subs is what kind of power delivery do you have with your wall outlets? If these subs are going to be sharing a 15 amp circuit along with other devices, you will be squeezing a lot of their performance potential, or else you will be tripping the circuit breaker every time you want the subs to stretch their legs a little. That makes a good case for the Hsu VTF15h or Rythmik FV15HP.
 
Landmonster

Landmonster

Audioholic
If you want something that performs well and looks nice, it ain't gonna be cheap. Some other subs that fit your criteria are the gloss black SVS and Rythmik subs. Hsu and Outlaw's satin black finish is nice but I am not sure it would be up to snuff for your wife. Your aesthetic requirements pretty much rule out JTR subs in their stock finish, but I know that they used to be able to get you an automotive gloss finish for a surcharge. You would have to contact JTR about that to see if they can still do that. It ain't gonna be cheap though. Deep Sea Sound and Seaton Sound can give you some powerful subs in a nice finish. Funk Audio and Salk Sound can do that also, but that is going to be quite expensive.

Something to think about with these multi-kilowatt amp subs is what kind of power delivery do you have with your wall outlets? If these subs are going to be sharing a 15 amp circuit along with other devices, you will be squeezing a lot of their performance potential, or else you will be tripping the circuit breaker every time you want the subs to stretch their legs a little. That makes a good case for the Hsu VTF15h or Rythmik FV15HP.

Thanks.

To answer a few questions:

  • I did not want to spend a fortune on any single sub, since I need at least 2 of them. My upper limit at this time per sub would probably be $2,000, but that would have to include everything (sub, shipping, finish, tax, etc). Ideally, $1500 or less per sub.
  • Satin black WOULD probably satisfy our aesthetic requirements, as long as it was done nicely, and not poorly/cheaply. I don't want a streaky or low-grade finish on a giant wooden box, that looks like it came from a garage sale.
  • I'm not totally certain the whole room is on one circuit, I guess I need to verify that. There are 3 plugs in this living room total; 2 on back wall, 1 on the front wall. Sadly, the subs on the front wall would share the same plug as Emotiva XPA7, 65" TV, and Denon receiver! The 2 plugs on the back wall are currently not used, but might be wired to share the same circuit.

My questions:
  1. Would you say the Rythmik is a superior sub to the HSU VTF15h? Do you have any data to clarify that?
  2. How does the HSU finish look in person? How does the Rythmik look in person?
  3. Is there anything else besides HSU, Rhytmik, or SVS in that price range?
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Thanks.

To answer a few questions:

  • I did not want to spend a fortune on any single sub, since I need at least 2 of them. My upper limit at this time per sub would probably be $2,000, but that would have to include everything (sub, shipping, finish, tax, etc). Ideally, $1500 or less per sub.
  • Satin black WOULD probably satisfy our aesthetic requirements, as long as it was done nicely, and not poorly/cheaply. I don't want a streaky or low-grade finish on a giant wooden box, that looks like it came from a garage sale.
  • I'm not totally certain the whole room is on one circuit, I guess I need to verify that. There are 3 plugs in this living room total; 2 on back wall, 1 on the front wall. Sadly, the subs on the front wall would share the same plug as Emotiva XPA7, 65" TV, and Denon receiver! The 2 plugs on the back wall are currently not used, but might be wired to share the same circuit.

My questions:
  1. Would you say the Rythmik is a superior sub to the HSU VTF15h? Do you have any data to clarify that?
  2. How does the HSU finish look in person? How does the Rythmik look in person?
  3. Is there anything else besides HSU, Rhytmik, or SVS in that price range?
I am not so sure that the Rythmik FV15HP is superior. Both subs measure well and are similar. I do have data on the VTF15h having tested it myself, and there is good data on the FV15HP here, but I don't have time to do an in-depth comparison at the moment and I doubt anyone would have the patience to go through all those data points if I did. Probably the most notable difference would be the port tuning points, or the sub's extension. The FV15HP is tuned to a deeper frequency, but I think its single port tuning frequency of 12.5 Hz is a little absurd. Since the cabinet isn't that much larger and the driver is probably not much better (although it may be a bit better), that involves a trade-off. To go for such a deep tuning frequency sacrifices performance above that point. I think each sub will do better than each other at their respective tuning points, and keep in mind there are multiple tuning points on each sub that can be used. But I don't think anyone would ever notice the difference unless they drove these subs to very high levels. How hard do you intend to push these things?

As for the finishes, I think the stock satin black finish on the Hsu is pretty nice, but the Rosenut is nicer. Many companies offer audio products in what they call 'satin black' but is really just a plasticky textured matte black. It's a durable finish but I don't think it looks amazing. Hsu uses that finish for the VTF-2 mk5, but the VTF-3 and VTF15h get a smooth true satin black finish. As for the Rythmik, the black oak veneer is the same used on many speakers, including SVS and the Monoprice Monolith subs. I think it looks fine. The pics you can find online are pretty clear about what it looks like. I haven't seen any Rythmiks in the matte black in person but I think that is what your wife wants to steer clear of.

The only other sub in that price/performance range with a nice finish that I can think of are the subs from Outlaw Audio. Their finish is on par with the satin black from Hsu, and they have a very reflective plexiglass top. Here is an image of the top:
 
Landmonster

Landmonster

Audioholic
The Outlaw looks pretty nice. I like the glass top.

One consideration I just realized, is that one of my cats is likely going to be jumping on top of these all the time, since these would be a wide flat surface pretty low to the ground. It's going to be hard to make him never do it, especially if I am not around. I don't want a finish that is going to be easily smudged by cat prints, or scarred by a potential claw.

I have a glass TV stand next to where the subs would sit, and he sits on there periodically for no reason.


The HSU VTF sub claims to come in a nice satin black finish.
**Edit: The HSU is Rosenut is probably a better overall look. It depends on how dark the wood is.
The Rythmik offers a piano black finish right on their website, for a little more money. It's several hundred more dollars, and I'm questioning whether the price is justified.

Monolith 15 might be an option, except I fear the wood veneer is going to look bad. I mainly dislike the fake black wood veneer, that is common on low priced speakers and subs.


  1. What about Power Sound Audio? It has some kind of black sand textured finish, which might pass the standards, as well as be super durable.
  2. Do they look good?
  3. Aside from looks... how would performance compare to the HSU, or Rythmik?
  4. Do you have a link to measurements on these?
 
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ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Ninja
FWIW, my cats have spent some occasional time on top of my Outlaw X-13s. I have seen no sign of damage. I had been planning on having a glass or plexi topper made to put on top and protect them. *shrugs Not much of a big deal with my 4 beasts.
 
vader540is

vader540is

Junior Audioholic
Would you say the Rythmik is a superior sub to the HSU VTF15h? /QUOTE]

IMO yes, the FV15HP would blow away the VTF15H-MK2 you can check the HSU owner's thread for real in room measurements and check out the Rythmik onwers page for real in room measurements
 
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ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Ninja
This is neither a pro or con in my book... just a statement of fact:

Both Rythmik and PSA have not, as best I can tell, participated in having any Third Party Testing done for their products recently. At least with Rythmik, there has been some in the past courtesy of JR/Data-Bass, IIRC.

That said, I find it of great interest that two of the ID Speaker designers I respect most highly in Jim Salk and Dave Fabrikant do partner with Rythmik in one way or another.

If I were to give either of these companies my money, it would be Rythmik.
 
S

snakeeyes

Audioholic Ninja
The HSU VTF15 mk2 has a Rosenut veneer option but it increases the price.

I know you said black but just wanted to mention I like the look of the Rosenut. :)
 

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