Subwoofer - decisions decisions

H

homeaudionoob

Audiophyte
I'm currently looking for a budget sub to complete a 7.1, non-Atmos home theater and music listening setup (see below). I have 3 possible locations to place the subwoofer with different contingencies. The room is a 23'x12' living room with high (16'), sloped ceiling. My budget is below $300, I'm primarily looking for this sub to fill out the bottom below my RP280Fs during movies and am the type of music listener that often turns subs off for that purpose. However, I don't need it to hit earth-shaking low frequencies and space for each sub is limited but I would like it to blend in as well as possible for them money with my RP280Fs, especially if placed in the front stage.

I've considered front firing subs like the Bic F12, PL-200 and PL-200ii and the $90 Monoprice 12" for the front right corner. Because...
a) I've got RP280Fs with pretty good low end in the front
b) that corner is likely going to cause problems (boominess) and no room to breathe and
c) because I prefer quicker, tighter bass

I'm also considering sealed and/or 10" front firing options (PSW 10?), but don't know which budget ones are sufficient for this size room and with the MLP basically 20' away on the other side.

Which led me to options 2 and 2a: What if I could bring the sub to the other side of the room, behind the MLP (2) or one side of that couch (2a), respectively? - I've read some pretty positive posts on that from people who actually did it (as opposed to theoretical hearsay) but in that scenario, neither mentioned 12" option will work because they're too big. Also, I believe a down-firing sub would be a better fit in these locations and I am thinking about flipping the phase to avoid issue with with my 280s firing in the opposite direction.

The questions:

- Is one of the scenarios clearly superior over the other (given the restrictions and room size mentioned)? And if so why?
- If a front position has clear advantages, what sub would blend well with the Klipschs?
- For 2 & 2a, who has experience with smaller front firing subs behind a couch and wedged against a wall or on the side of the couch and perhaps even with down-firing alternatives in the same scenarios for comparison?
- What decent <=$300 down-firing sub options are out there? The Bic V1220 would fit but I've seen videos and reviews talking about how it actually only has 100W RMS (even thought it says 160W on the amp plate to the left)
- Lastly, how well would a front firing sub flipped to fire down, with feet to elevate it - work? Has anyone tried that?

For context, here's the rest of the setup:

Receiver: Denon AVRX3500H
FL/FR: Klipsch RP-280F
Center: Klipsch RP-440c
Side surrounds: RP-150M
Rear surrounds: Micca Covo-S

Thanks in advance for any insight!
 
William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Spartan
I'm currently looking for a budget sub to complete a 7.1, non-Atmos home theater and music listening setup (see below). I have 3 possible locations to place the subwoofer with different contingencies. The room is a 23'x12' living room with high (16'), sloped ceiling. My budget is below $300, I'm primarily looking for this sub to fill out the bottom below my RP280Fs during movies and am the type of music listener that often turns subs off for that purpose. However, I don't need it to hit earth-shaking low frequencies and space for each sub is limited but I would like it to blend in as well as possible for them money with my RP280Fs, especially if placed in the front stage.

I've considered front firing subs like the Bic F12, PL-200 and PL-200ii and the $90 Monoprice 12" for the front right corner. Because...
a) I've got RP280Fs with pretty good low end in the front
b) that corner is likely going to cause problems (boominess) and no room to breathe and
c) because I prefer quicker, tighter bass

I'm also considering sealed and/or 10" front firing options (PSW 10?), but don't know which budget ones are sufficient for this size room and with the MLP basically 20' away on the other side.

Which led me to options 2 and 2a: What if I could bring the sub to the other side of the room, behind the MLP (2) or one side of that couch (2a), respectively? - I've read some pretty positive posts on that from people who actually did it (as opposed to theoretical hearsay) but in that scenario, neither mentioned 12" option will work because they're too big. Also, I believe a down-firing sub would be a better fit in these locations and I am thinking about flipping the phase to avoid issue with with my 280s firing in the opposite direction.

The questions:

- Is one of the scenarios clearly superior over the other (given the restrictions and room size mentioned)? And if so why?
- If a front position has clear advantages, what sub would blend well with the Klipschs?
- For 2 & 2a, who has experience with smaller front firing subs behind a couch and wedged against a wall or on the side of the couch and perhaps even with down-firing alternatives in the same scenarios for comparison?
- What decent - Lastly, how well would a front firing sub flipped to fire down, with feet to elevate it - work? Has anyone tried that?

For context, here's the rest of the setup:

Receiver: Denon AVRX3500H
FL/FR: Klipsch RP-280F
Center: Klipsch RP-440c
Side surrounds: RP-150M
Rear surrounds: Micca Covo-S

Thanks in advance for any insight!
Well. That’s a pretty decent sized space. I wouldn’t even consider a sealed sub, or a 10” in that room. If I’m concrete even less so. I think finding a sub in that price range that has the dynamic range of the 280’s will be pretty tough. Maybe the Dayton sub1500. It’s only 200 bucks so if you can bump the budget, I would absolutely get two. The sub1200 is only 150 and also gets pretty good marks for the price.
Also, flipping the phase won’t guarantee that phase issues will be taken care of. That’s a matter of placement in the room, and where the LP is collectively. Don’t worry about down/front firing either. Won’t matter.
No clear advantage in any placement options. The quick and dirty thing is to do the sub crawl.
 
vader540is

vader540is

Audioholic Intern
That's a huge room. IMHO opinion best budget sub would be from SVS, HSU or Rythmik from $500-$600 those subs will give you quality and actually output infrasonic frequencies....or you can go DIY.
 
H

homeaudionoob

Audiophyte
Thanks guys. The room is large, even more so if you consider that one of the long sides is open along 2/3 of its length to a hallway and staircase. The problem: it's our living room, we've got living room stuff in there and there's no way the wife is going to put up with a Dayton 15" or anything near that.

The problem with placing one or even two subs between the 280s and the TV is that pushing those out into the corners will have furniture getting in their firing path on each side of the room. I might be able to get away with two smaller subs in each corner on the outsides of the floor speakers but two boxes the size of an F12 and up? Probably not...

These limitations around the front stage have gotten me to scenarios 2 and 2a. I could probably figure out an end table solution for the rear right corner between the two couches and fit (hide) a bigger sub like the 1500 underneath.

Question though: I get the appeal of the SVS but if I don't really care about getting down past 25Hz and have the sub basically 1-2 feet away from 4 out of 6 listening positions, wouldn't that make a difference for how much size and power I need - basically sitting on top of it?

I know I might end up having to buy and try but before choosing one of the compromises I'm going to have to make, I'd love to hear from others who have been down this path or can speak to "subs in the rear" best practices, perhaps.

Thanks and cheers!
 
William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Spartan
Thanks guys. The room is large, even more so if you consider that one of the long sides is open along 2/3 of its length to a hallway and staircase. The problem: it's our living room, we've got living room stuff in there and there's no way the wife is going to put up with a Dayton 15" or anything near that.

The problem with placing one or even two subs between the 280s and the TV is that pushing those out into the corners will have furniture getting in their firing path on each side of the room. I might be able to get away with two smaller subs in each corner on the outsides of the floor speakers but two boxes the size of an F12 and up? Probably not...

These limitations around the front stage have gotten me to scenarios 2 and 2a. I could probably figure out an end table solution for the rear right corner between the two couches and fit (hide) a bigger sub like the 1500 underneath.

Question though: I get the appeal of the SVS but if I don't really care about getting down past 25Hz and have the sub basically 1-2 feet away from 4 out of 6 listening positions, wouldn't that make a difference for how much size and power I need - basically sitting on top of it?

I know I might end up having to buy and try but before choosing one of the compromises I'm going to have to make, I'd love to hear from others who have been down this path or can speak to "subs in the rear" best practices, perhaps.

Thanks and cheers!
Well I ran my two pc12pluses behind me for a long time. They were however 9’ away stuffed in the corners with a 3rd sub up front. My deep bass response improved though by moving the pc’s up front and putting the 3rd sub at the rear. I did try near field which is what I think your asking about. In MY case, I didn’t like how they integrated with the rest of the system so I went back to normal.
While I absolutely disagree about getting below 25hz I understand that we have different goals so..... Since we all have to deal with our own WAF’s differently, I’ll say, since yours won’t do a 15’ the sub1200 or two might be better for you. AFAIK they’re in the same league as the 1500 surprisingly, but since they’re smaller, would be potentially easier to place. There are a couple near field advocates here who might chime in. It is viable, I just didn’t like it.
 
vader540is

vader540is

Audioholic Intern
I don't really care about getting down past 25Hz and have the sub basically 1-2 feet away from 4 out of 6 listening positions, wouldn't that make a difference for how much size and power I need - basically sitting on top of it?
Doesn't matter how close you are to your sub... If your sub can't produce infrasonic frequencies. I needed a Slim smallest Sub for WAF and got a
Yamaha yst-fsw050 ( over 10 years ago) then later on I upgraded to a Dayton 1200 and it was a good improvement...but I was still missing something...so I got a 2nd Sub1200 and instill felt like something was missing....until I heard felt my buddies PB1000. I sold both Daytons and got a PB12-NSD and my wife and I rewatched most of our favorite movies and couldn't believe all the LFE content we have been missing out all these years.
 
William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Spartan
Doesn't matter how close you are to your sub... If your sub can't produce infrasonic frequencies. I needed a Slim smallest Sub for WAF and got a
Yamaha yst-fsw050 ( over 10 years ago) then later on I upgraded to a Dayton 1200 and it was a good improvement...but I was still missing something...so I got a 2nd Sub1200 and instill felt like something was missing....until I heard felt my buddies PB1000. I sold both Daytons and got a PB12-NSD and my wife and I rewatched most of our favorite movies and couldn't believe all the LFE content we have been missing out all these years.
I hear that! Many people put too much importance on deep bass, but I’m lucky enough to have extension to about 14hz and man, does it make a difference. Truth be told, the soundtrack has to have the deep bass information so not all movies will benefit. I also am a believer that the SVS’s that you mentioned will be more linear and better controlled adding even more to the experience. However, there’s a budget here and that is something we can’t help! Although, for 200 more the pb12nsd is still on sale. I think...
 
H

homeaudionoob

Audiophyte
OK, so the PB12 does seem like a good option, I hadn't even looked at those. $500 is out of budget but maybe I can find one used for like $350 or $400 to get closer to budget. I get the flat response and clean bass argument but truth be told though, I'd love to hear one of these SVS back to back with a budget sub like the F12 to see if it's worth the extra $300 to us.

As of right now, I''m not really sold on having to have <25Hz mostly because I never walk out of a movie theater thinking how awesome it was that the place was shaking during low frequency scenes. Maybe an SVS will make me a believer but as mentioned, a clear 35Hz to 20Khz envelope around me is more important to me than shaking stuff in our shelves and cabinets.

So here's the battle plan. I have a lead on a $90 F12 that I could probably resell without losing much. If I can find a used PB12 somewhere for a reasonable price locally, as well, I can pick it up, as well and then keep whichever one I like best for the money.
 
William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Spartan
Seems like a good plan.
Something to keep in mind is most theaters roll off the bottom end at around 30hz. So if that’s your current yardstick,
You might be surprised!
 
vader540is

vader540is

Audioholic Intern
OK, so the PB12 does seem like a good option, I hadn't even looked at those. $500 is out of budget but maybe I can find one used for like $350 or $400 to get closer to budget. I get the flat response and clean bass argument but truth be told though, I'd love to hear one of these SVS back to back with a budget sub like the F12 to see if it's worth the extra $300 to us.

As of right now, I''m not really sold on having to have
So here's the battle plan. I have a lead on a $90 F12 that I could probably resell without losing much. If I can find a used PB12 somewhere for a reasonable price locally, as well, I can pick it up, as well and then keep whichever one I like best for the money.
You should check this out.


 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Warlord
Right now, while on sale for $500/ea, the Outlaw Ultra-X12 is probably the best deal on a well designed "serious" sub!

However, for what you are describing, the RSL Speedwoofer might work, but runs $400 each.
The Energy ESW-C10 is a pretty impressive 10" sub - especially if you consider how small the package is!
For a ported, it is compact, yet still pretty effective.
This is no longer produced - Klipsch bought Energy and discontinued their subs (except the sub in the Energy Take System), but here is one being sold on Ebay. If you bide your time and keep your eyes open, I am sure you will find another:

Here is another good candidate (no longer in production) as I understand your objectives:
 
H

homeaudionoob

Audiophyte
H

homeaudionoob

Audiophyte
Right now, while on sale for $500/ea, the Outlaw Ultra-X12 is probably the best deal on a well designed "serious" sub!

However, for what you are describing, the RSL Speedwoofer might work, but runs $400 each.
The Energy ESW-C10 is a pretty impressive 10" sub - especially if you consider how small the package is!
For a ported, it is compact, yet still pretty effective.
This is no longer produced - Klipsch bought Energy and discontinued their subs (except the sub in the Energy Take System), but here is one being sold on Ebay. If you bide your time and keep your eyes open, I am sure you will find another:

Here is another good candidate (no longer in production) as I understand your objectives:
I need to look at these more closely. Meanwhile, someone an hour away from me is selling an older SVS PB12 Plus (1, not the /2) down firing sub. This thing looks like a beast with 525W RMS (and FR all the way down to13HZ?) but it's huge, probably much more than I need and at probably 13, 14 years old, it's hard not to worry about age, rubber drying out etc. Any thoughts?
 
William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Spartan
I need to look at these more closely. Meanwhile, someone an hour away from me is selling an older SVS PB12 Plus (1, not the /2) down firing sub. This thing looks like a beast with 525W RMS (and FR all the way down to13HZ?) but it's huge, probably much more than I need and at probably 13, 14 years old, it's hard not to worry about age, rubber drying out etc. Any thoughts?
Rubber should be fine. Foam is what I’d worry about. Ask for a demo. That’ll give you an idea and should highlight any issues. I don’t know the outlaws bench numbers but that older Plus will destroy anything else covered in this thread so far. They were deep bass monsters, but you might find it lacking in mid bass and maybe articulation for some music. A demo should answer those questions.
 
H

homeaudionoob

Audiophyte
So, I couldn't get that ~14y ear old beast of a down firing PB12 Plus for within my budget. I do see the point of buying quality subs used but with replacement amps and drivers for that thing basically unavailable now, that's too much of a risk. I doubt he'll be able to sell it at his asking price for the same reason.

Then, after some more deliberation and testing my existing setup (no sub) with The Last Jedi in 5.1, I decided that for my personal taste, I really don't want or need that much deep bottom end, anyway. I simply don't care about my house shaking, inaudible bass waves punching me in the chest and I don't like boomy, home theater bass in my music, which is why I ultimately decided against one of the ported, peaky budget subs that also have a larger footprint and therefore limit my placement options.

Instead, I decided to go smaller with my center (Micca RB42-C and crank that up more) and pull the trigger on a brand new SVS SB12 for tight, punchy bass and music.I'll do crawl and try the rear stage near the MLP first to see if I can thereby get more from the sub as it relates to the large room volume. I'll report back here in a couple of weeks once the sub is dialed and broken in, in case others are in the same camp as me in terms of what they want from a sub.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Spartan
Everyone who wants bass prefers tight bass. This whole sealed is more musical thing is a myth. The only plus to a sealed design is size. Everything else is a compromise. That SB12 is going to really struggle in that large room.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Spartan
I simply don't care about my house shaking, inaudible bass waves punching me in the chest and I don't like boomy, home theater bass in my music, which is why I ultimately decided against one of the ported, peaky budget subs that also have a larger footprint and therefore limit my placement options.
If the bass is boomy then it's not set up properly or its a poorly made sub. I'm a music first guy myself and my whole system is set up with that in mind, and home theater is a secondary consideration. I went with ported subs as I have a large room and they're as musical, fast and tight as any other sub I've heard, sealed or otherwise.

Having good subwoofage isn't about boom and inaudible waves. When set up properly your subs shouldn't call attention to themselves and only be noticeable when you turn them off. A good sub properly implemented can elevate an entire system where a mediocre sub or improper setup can drag the whole system down. Again, it's not about the thump and boom. Clean bass plays more of a supporting role, adding weight to the other frequencies.

SVS make great subs so I know that SB12 is going to sound nice, but it is far and away undersized for that room.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Slumlord
Using The Last Jedi as a reference for sub bass? I don't remembering it being all that good for that....like many recent Disney releases. Just sayin'....
 
H

homeaudionoob

Audiophyte
"SVS make great subs so I know that SB12 is going to sound nice, but it is far and away undersized for that room."

If it ends up sounding good, doesn't its size relative to the room volume become a theoretical problem?

After reading a lot of threads on sealed vs ported, where ported is generally favored, your statement is right in line with what seems to be the most commonly overlooked factor in so many reviews dismissing sealed subs: real world playback levels for most people.

For example, one review pro SB stated: the preference for ported subs for mixed use often seems to be voiced by owners who like to play at loud volumes, where ported designs deliver better. I don't listen at loud volumes. Do most people? Not according to reviews for subwoofers that are much less capable than the SB12, in which basically every 2nd happy owner states "wow, I never even turn up gain past 50%".

So the question then becomes: am I - and are others - really not going to get enough performance from the SB for a room this large or can I get there with the right positioning for the volume levels I play? - For $100 less and already stretching my budget I'm willing to find out.

I will, however, circle back here once I've had time to get placement etc. dialed in. If I end up coming away underwhelmed, I have no problem sharing that here. I don't know what I don't know but pre-purchase, I do think that sealed subs might be getting a worse rep than they deserve if playback levels would be taken into consideration more, in between placement, calibration and usage.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Slumlord
"SVS make great subs so I know that SB12 is going to sound nice, but it is far and away undersized for that room."

If it ends up sounding good, doesn't its size relative to the room volume become a theoretical problem?

After reading a lot of threads on sealed vs ported, where ported is generally favored, your statement is right in line with what seems to be the most commonly overlooked factor in so many reviews dismissing sealed subs: real world playback levels for most people.

For example, one review pro SB stated: the preference for ported subs for mixed use often seems to be voiced by owners who like to play at loud volumes, where ported designs deliver better. I don't listen at loud volumes. Do most people? Not according to reviews for subwoofers that are much less capable than the SB12, in which basically every 2nd happy owner states "wow, I never even turn up gain past 50%".

So the question then becomes: am I - and are others - really not going to get enough performance from the SB for a room this large or can I get there with the right positioning for the volume levels I play? - For $100 less and already stretching my budget I'm willing to find out.

I will, however, circle back here once I've had time to get placement etc. dialed in. If I end up coming away underwhelmed, I have no problem sharing that here. I don't know what I don't know but pre-purchase, I do think that sealed subs might be getting a worse rep than they deserve if playback levels would be taken into consideration more, in between placement, calibration and usage.
Well to start it is somewhat useless information as to where someone needed to set their gain to. Do many not use subs at reference volume? Sure. One way to find out if it's sufficient for your size room at your preferred listening levels is to experience it.....and you could always add another (well maybe not the SB12 or are we talking about an SB2000?). I use multiple large sealed in a space of about 6500 cuft.

ps But if I had built ported cabinets I wouldn't likely have needed as many sealed subs :)
 

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