I know I'm opening Pandora's box, but . . . (looking for audio advice)

lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Slumlord
I feel validated. I was not super impressed by the SuperCube--especially for the price.

As I see it, I can either drop $1500 on one crazy big sub like a Rhythmik E15HP2 or I can get two smaller subs like Hsu ULS-15 MK2s (http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/uls-15mk2Dual.html). I mostly listen to music, but I want some serious bass when watching a movie.

For my living room space, what would you recomend? Did you see the pics I posted?
I prefer multiple subs myself, so two ULS15s sounds like a good way to go. Why sealed particularly? Size? Or is it back to that "for music" thing?
 
John Parks

John Parks

Senior Audioholic
I can also get Denons at 1/2 price, but the Marantz seemed better for my music listening.

I've already read a lot about some of the ones you mentioned (Hsu, Monolith, Rythmik), but I'm at the point that reading is doing me no good. They all have good specs and good reviews and are somewhat similarly priced. I wish I could just line them up and hear them and make my decision, but with the direct-to-consumer market that's hard to do without buying them all for an audition. Other than crappy little subs like you'd find at BestBuy, all I've heard so far was a SuperCube 8000 by DefTech and it didn't blow me away so I've kept up my search.
Yeah, you can drive yourself crazy w
I feel validated. I was not super impressed by the SuperCube--especially for the price.

As I see it, I can either drop $1500 on one crazy big sub like a Rhythmik E15HP2 or I can get two smaller subs like Hsu ULS-15 MK2s (http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/uls-15mk2Dual.html). I mostly listen to music, but I want some serious bass when watching a movie.

For my living room space, what would you recomend? Did you see the pics I posted?
If you want two, I would go with the Hsu ULS-15s. Great for music and will rock your room for movies. Plus, Hsu offers a discount for two (Dual Drive Package): http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/uls-15mk2Dual.html
 
Jonabrim

Jonabrim

Audioholic Intern
I prefer multiple subs myself, so two ULS15s sounds like a good way to go. Why sealed particularly? Size? Or is it back to that "for music" thing?
Yeah. You may disagree, but from what I've read a lot of people say that sealed is better for music because of a tighter bass response (i.e. that sealed subs are cleaner sounding). And they are going in my living room, so I do care about size/looks.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Slumlord
Yeah. You may disagree, but from what I've read a lot of people say that sealed is better for music because of a tighter bass response (i.e. that sealed subs are cleaner sounding). And they are going in my living room, so I do care about size/looks.
I do disagree, a well designed sub will be fine with any content. You can have "looser" response in a sealed sub, too.....

Sealed being smaller boxes can be nice, tho. Finish can be important to some, and higher grade finishes like from Funk or Salk would be really sweet but will take up a chunk of budget....fortunately I can tolerate my own finishing skills :)

Here's an AH article on it https://www.audioholics.com/loudspeaker-design/sealed-vs-ported-subwoofers
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
My living room is 22'(W)x16'(D)x9'(H).
That's a nice size room.

My take:
1. If you want to replace your bookshelf speakers with 2 tower speakers that can produce bass like subwoofers so that you don't have to buy additional subs, then get MODULAR towers or towers that allow ACTIVE bass control.

2. Most cost effective plan would be to simply add a subwoofer to your existing bookshelf speaker.

3. I don't mind ACTIVE speakers and subs, but I prefer that the amps be EXTERNAL. Why? If you have internal amps (speakers and subs), if they malfunction, it would be more difficult to repair/replace, especially if the parts are out of stock. Thus, I prefer to buy passive speakers and subs so that I can power them with external amps.

Like you said, everyone is different and not everything will work for everyone. Everyone has his own journey.

This is just my take. :D
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
I'd look at not just SVS but also the other usual culprits Hsu, Monolith, Rythmik, Power Sound Audio, Seaton, JTR...
I don't know about Monolith subs. Isn't there a thread about Monoprice requiring customers to ship back their big heavy subs to Monoprice for service because they won't ship people just the plate amps for their subs?
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
I'll get a good-quality DAC, amps, and tons of connectivity options without having to spend thousands on separate pieces of equipment. Your thoughts?
That's another Pandora's box. :D

Separates vs AVR. About 50% of members say AVR (especially higher-end models) will sound every bit as good as high-end separates.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Slumlord
I don't know about Monolith subs. Isn't there a thread about Monoprice requiring customers to ship back their big heavy subs to Monoprice for service because they won't ship people just the plate amps for their subs?
I wouldn't count them out just because they like to support the shipping company....but I usually keep boxes, too. Do they provide a box if you've thrown yours out? Definitely a consideration, tho. The subs perform well generally and haven't heard that they have particular reliability issues (yet?).
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Overlord
Here is ShadyJ's review of the Hsu ULS-15mk2.
On the last page, you will see that these are "Bassaholic" rated "Large" which means they reach their limit in a 3000 to 5000 cu. ft. room. Yours is around 3000, so you should be very comfortable capability-wise with dual ULS-15.
... and good call on the ULS, the Rythmik is not as valuable since you have Auddyssey with the app to handle any remaining tweaks once you determine which settings on the Hsu's work best.
I am in a time crunch right now, but hope to find time to get to all of your earlier comments later this evening. If not, tomorrow.
 
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S

snakeeyes

Audioholic Ninja
Just remember to also calculate shipping costs into the budget when you are comparing subs.

I’ve had good experiences with both HSU and Rythmik.
 
Jonabrim

Jonabrim

Audioholic Intern
I do disagree, a well designed sub will be fine with any content. You can have "looser" response in a sealed sub, too.....

Sealed being smaller boxes can be nice, tho. Finish can be important to some, and higher grade finishes like from Funk or Salk would be really sweet but will take up a chunk of budget....fortunately I can tolerate my own finishing skills :)

Here's an AH article on it https://www.audioholics.com/loudspeaker-design/sealed-vs-ported-subwoofers
I wish I had the DIY your DIY skill, but I don't have the time to develop it right now. What do you charge for your subs? :p

I looked up the Funks and wow, that's a whole new level of finish. The Salks are also very nice looking.

I read @shadyJ's review about the Hsu and even called Hsu and spoke with the owner today. Getting two ULS-15 mk2 seems like a great option for a few reasons: 1) They are quality built subs with excellent range and sound quality 2) They relatively small 3) They have a nice rosewood finish that would complement my Focals nicely 3) At $1799.00 they're a reasonable price for what you get. 4) None of the audiophiles on this post have had anything bad to say about them. :)
 
Jonabrim

Jonabrim

Audioholic Intern
That's a nice size room.

My take:
1. If you want to replace your bookshelf speakers with 2 tower speakers that can produce bass like subwoofers so that you don't have to buy additional subs, then get MODULAR towers or towers that allow ACTIVE bass control.

2. Most cost effective plan would be to simply add a subwoofer to your existing bookshelf speaker.

3. I don't mind ACTIVE speakers and subs, but I prefer that the amps be EXTERNAL. Why? If you have internal amps (speakers and subs), if they malfunction, it would be more difficult to repair/replace, especially if the parts are out of stock. Thus, I prefer to buy passive speakers and subs so that I can power them with external amps.

Like you said, everyone is different and not everything will work for everyone. Everyone has his own journey.

This is just my take. :D
Thanks for your thoughts. I didn't think of the modular design when it comes to bass. I don't believe the Buchardt A700s are modular, but they should have active bass control. Thanks to you, I know to check before making a purchase.

You make a great point about having an external amp. There's definitely a trade off.
 
Jonabrim

Jonabrim

Audioholic Intern
Just remember to also calculate shipping costs into the budget when you are comparing subs.

I’ve had good experiences with both HSU and Rythmik.
I forgot about that because I've mostly been looking at SVS, which has free shipping.
 
Jonabrim

Jonabrim

Audioholic Intern
That's another Pandora's box. :D

Separates vs AVR. About 50% of members say AVR (especially higher-end models) will sound every bit as good as high-end separates.
I know there can be argument made against AVRs vs separates, but Gene himself has a video where he says that a really high quality AVR (Marantz SR8012 or Denon X8500H) does have the componentry needed to provide quality sound. And since I can get either of them at half price, this seems like a no-brainer. Now I just have to decide between Marantz and Denon (and the plot thickens!).
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Slumlord
I wish I had the DIY your DIY skill, but I don't have the time to develop it right now. What do you charge for your subs? :p

I looked up the Funks and wow, that's a whole new level of finish. The Salks are also very nice looking.

I read @shadyJ's review about the Hsu and even called Hsu and spoke with the owner today. Getting two ULS-15 mk2 seems like a great option for a few reasons: 1) They are quality built subs with excellent range and sound quality 2) They relatively small 3) They have a nice rosewood finish that would complement my Focals nicely 3) At $1799.00 they're a reasonable price for what you get. 4) None of the audiophiles on this post have had anything bad to say about them. :)
The ULS15s are very good subs no doubt. Dr Hsu has been doing this for a while :) Personally I'd lean towards their VTF-3 mk5 or VTF-15H if I were to buy from them.

My dream subs would be Funk or maybe Deep Sea Sound if not something from JTR or Seaton :)

LOL I don't know about "skill", I just wanted to do my own and I'm retired so time wasn't a factor. I wanted to utilize a workshop space in my house and always wanted some wood working tools.....but a diy sub can also be something that is pretty much made for you and all you have to do is glue it together and do some minor work for installation of driver/speaker terminals (like the driver/flatpack bundles available at Parts-Express.com). Finish is where it really counts if you want something that will please the wife, not sure mine qualify but I have no WAF to deal with. Shipping a built sub is a pain, tho.....
 
Jonabrim

Jonabrim

Audioholic Intern
I forgot about that because I've mostly been looking at SVS, which has free shipping.
@snakeeyes - It just so happens that I'll be in California in two weeks and I just arranged to drop by Hsu Research to hear their sus. If I decide to buy a pair, I can save the shipping cost. :)
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Keep in mind that Hsu's ported subs also support sealed operating modes, as does SVS and Monolith subs. You could just get those, and switch between sealed and ported operation, and just keep whichever you prefer.
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Overlord
Thanks a ton for your thoughtful reponse! Reply in green.
I'm feeling very validated on my choice of speakers right now. :) Thanks for helping debunk the idea that near-field can't be used for a bigger application. I have them set up in my living room and think they sound amazing. Also, I rarely get close to challenging their SPL levels so I don't need anything bigger like the Twin6's
I'm feeling very confident that I should just keep my Solo's and invest in some bass.

Yeah, I think you'll be very happy with how the subs will complement your Focals! Understand that subs take an investment of time to setup properly and your first step (unless you intend to start taking measurements) is to do the sub crawl:

I have considered getting a single SB-3000 from SVS because I can pick one up for $999, but my concern is that having a single sub won't allow for a smooth response. Can you check out my living room pictures below and tell me what you would do with that room?

Dual Hsu ULS-15's should do a great job in there! I would experiment with moving the speakers a little farther from the TV - the theoretical optimal setup has the distance between each speaker and you and between the speakers all form an equilateral triangle. This is by no means critical, but looking at the photo (which can be deceiving), it looks like moving both speakers about a foot outward from the TV would get it closer.
Last, play with moving the speakers into the room and away from the back wall. You might even try putting 3 feet between them and the wall. I know this is probably not practicable, but see how much difference you hear then figure out how much you can "cheat" the speakers into the room. It helps that the port fires forward, but the theory as I understand it is that if the reflective surface is to close to the speaker, the reflection blurs the resolution of the sound. so if you are a foot off the wall the delay between the reflection and the signal is the time it take a sound wave to travel two feet. At three feet off of the wall it has to travel 6 feet. My understanding is that our brains do a pretty good job of recognizing and isolating the signal from the reflection if the delay is long enough! Depending on you experience with this, you might actually want to move them out for those occasional special situations where you want the best sound possible!

Music is most important because I listen to music more than I watch movies, but it would be nice to get the full thump-in-the-chest movie experience from time to time. To do that, do I have to get a ported sub? Or would 2 sealed subs or even one big sealed sup like the Rhythmik do the trick? If I went Hsu, maybe something like this? http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/vtf-15hmk2Dual.html.

I'm not sure the Rythmik will put out much more than the Hsu. Compared to how Audyssey sets up my system, I tend to run HT 6 dB hot, and music, -2dB lighter. If you have the experience typical of most people(don't have friends with kick-ass subs), a good set of Dual 15" sealed subs will blow you away in a room your size. It is relative to your expectations/experience. You will get the chest thump, but the ported can shake your sofa harder than the sealed (which will still shake the sofa). But if size and cost are okay with 15" ported subs, go for it! The Hsu's are good because of the adjustments and they also allow you to plug the ports to vary the sound. Just check the size.

I am planning on buying a Marantz SR8012 AV Receiver. Would that work well to integrate the sub(s) with my Focals?
Perfect, IMHO, that is the optimum system (once you add the $20 Audyssey app to your tablet/phone) for integrating your subs - but don't discount the need to do the sub crawl first (think of the sub crawl as helping Audyssey help you).

2) Martin Logan Vista (electrostatic) -
https://www.bestbuy.com/site/martinlogan-electromotion-esl-8-floor-speaker-each-black/2074269.p?skuId=2074269&ref=212&loc=1&extStoreId=527&ref=212&loc=BM01&gclid=CjwKCAiA4Y7yBRB8EiwADV1haYSh077_NammBAJtv7sczHa5BwnXKtLBqcTLN7UcNM0BlDigRImQzBoCvaoQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds


Any ML electrostat will present the basic character of e'stats, as long as it has the see through panels it is the right stuff. I'd say since you are checking them out for the fun of it (at least now) listen to the most expensive e'stat your store has set up!

3) Canton Vento speakers with ceramic tweeter -
I have heard great things about these, but yeah, it would be a deal breaker if they aren't great for choral music. What music do you find them to be really good at?

For the price, I think they are really good at everything, but compared to the Focals or BMR, my current belief (and this is subjective evaluation) is that an aggressive wave guide better presents a sound such as a trumpet that is directed more forward with less reflections and not so good with a violin which radiates sound in all directions. Rock/electric music doesn't have such a specific sound signature (to me) as acoustic instruments, so I would not credit either design as being better with most guitar, etc., but they are different!

4) Philharmonic Audio BMR
I just looked these up and it looks like @shadyJ gave them a very favorable review. I do like ribbon tweeters because of their detail. These speakers may have to go on my wishlist for next year. :)
If you want, but my thought is that if you were to swap these speakers, you would not realize a clear enough difference as to notice an improvement! If you set them up side by side, then you would notice the difference, but I find switching between speakers like this you will detect differences but have a difficult time declaring one better than the other. The waveguide (Canton) and electrostatics (Martin Logan) have unique aspects that dominate the experience, but there is no such different "philosophy" between the Focal and BMR, and both have high quality drivers with great detail!
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
I know there can be argument made against AVRs vs separates, but Gene himself has a video where he says that a really high quality AVR (Marantz SR8012 or Denon X8500H) does have the componentry needed to provide quality sound. And since I can get either of them at half price, this seems like a no-brainer. Now I just have to decide between Marantz and Denon (and the plot thickens!).
If you could get these AVRs at huge discounts, could you also get a flagship separate pre-pro at a huge discount?

I don't know for sure which separates Gene owns now - maybe the Yamaha CX-A5200 and MX-A5200. But he is selling his CX-A5100 and MX-A5000, which I also own.
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
I wouldn't count them out just because they like to support the shipping company....but I usually keep boxes, too. Do they provide a box if you've thrown yours out? Definitely a consideration, tho. The subs perform well generally and haven't heard that they have particular reliability issues (yet?).
Just imagine owning a 216LBS Monolith sub. If the internal amp malfunctions under warranty, you would have to ship this 216LBS monster back to Monolith.

And unlike with Yamaha, Monoprice (like most companies) don't pay for your shipping either.
 

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