Subwoofer too big for room? Searching for the right "feel"

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dan2crazy

Audioholic Intern
Currently have a Hsu vtf 3 mk 5 hp subwoofer (behind the couch) in a 10x12x8 ft room, shared office/movie room. I'm not getting the feel I'm looking for, searching for that chest thump or mythical tactile response I keep reading about. The Hsu shakes my couch and half the house (wife complained about mirrors rattling on the other side of the house),but I don't get chest thumps or tactile feels. In movie theaters I feel it in the chest, at least would like that at home, if possible.

That leads me to here with questions:

1) Is it possible to get the feeling I'm looking for at all or am I chasing ghosts? Would like to stay in $2-3k budget.

2) Is shaking the house and couch required to get chest thumps or tactile feels? I find the couch shaking distracting after a while. Small movement is cool but I don't want to feel like I'm in an earthquake, if that makes sense.

3) Would switching to sealed subwoofers get me to my goals or ported the best option for what I seek?

4) Assuming equal size sealed vs ported, how many sealed subs equal 1 ported? Or should this not be a concern in my room? Note the gain on my Hsu is only at 10 o clock and Denon AVR sub level is -10 with Dynamic eq on with ref level 0, and dynamic volume set to light. Changing these setting adjusts the amount of AVR sub level needed (at most -6 with dynamic eq off),but give no difference in "feeling".

5) Would minidsp to control frequency allow me to reach my goals?

6) I have limited placement options in my small room. REW shows peaks and dips of fairly wide margin. I'm thinking of going dual to even out frequency response. I'm thinking svs sb2000 or sb3000 since they are small, easy to move, and I have placement options for sub crawls (Rythmik also had interesting small options). If I get another Hsu I'm restricted to putting it in one place or use them as speaker stands. With my above questions, which approach is better, smaller easier to place sealed or big ported with limited options? Note if I go small sealed I can add up to 4 in the room. With big ported likely max at 2.

Appreciate you time, thank you!
 
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shadyJ

Speaker of the House
'Chest thump' occurs mainly from the region of 70 Hz to 150 Hz. That is mostly beyond the sub's range. What is your speakers? Something else to consider is that you are not willing to play the system loud enough to induce that kind of feeling. Chest thump happens, but at high SPLs. Are you really listening at those volume levels?

One thing you can try is raising the crossover level for the sub to a higher frequency. Try 100 Hz and 120 Hz to see what that is like. Also turn off processing. Automated setup routines might be killing your sound. Turn off dynamic EQ and dynamic volume.

Switching to a sealed sub is not going to do the trick. You already have a sealed sub anyway: just use the VTF-3's port plugs, and you can run it in sealed mode. That turns it into a sealed subwoofer.

If size must remain equal, it is not so much a matter of sealed or ported outperforming each other, but at what frequency ranges. Ported generally has an advantage in deep bass, but not so much midbass.

Measure the response in both locations that is available for your sub. If they can shore up each other's nulls, I would go for another large sub.
 
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dan2crazy

Audioholic Intern
Ahhh interesting. Speakers are Elac Debut 6.2, I have an open thread in loudspeaker forum for upgrade advice.

I can certainly adjust crossover and test. What SPL levels do I need to listen at?

Yes, true the Hsu can be configured in sealed mode. I could do some REW testing on the diff. I guess to revise my questions, 2 smaller easier to place vs 1 large sub with limited options?

I do partly ask because the Hsu is hard to move by myself. If I can get what I seek from 2 smaller, lighter sealed subs then seems like a good option for me.
 
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shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Will 2 smaller subs give you more punch than a single large sub? Maybe, but it depends. Can you post the current frequency response from 20 Hz to about 200 Hz?

As for SPL levels to listen at, I don't know, but probably 90dB+ or so, maybe higher. In other words, loud. Here is an article about this subject, probably worth reading for you since you are aiming for this effect.

The VTF-3 is actually a relatively easy sub to move about considering its performance. You can just 'walk' it.
 
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shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Another thing, the Debut speakers from Elac are not going to be output monsters, so that might be the problem. The VTF-3 has waaaay more dynamic range than those speakers.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Spartan
Yeah, I don't get the chest thump until I get close to reference (-5 or so from reference). A good recording of bass kick drums gives me that. Danny Carey's "Chocolate Chip Trip" gives me that sensation at that volume. The kick comes in around 2:20.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Slumlord
Your movie theater is at reference volume, but I don't think your wife is gonna like that...
 
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dan2crazy

Audioholic Intern
Disclaimer: I'm a REW/measurements newbie, so can't claim how accurate these are. Still reading up on best way to measure things. Used UMIK-1 minidsp microphone.

Took some REW measurements to help with the discussion. I tried multiple variations with the Hsu including 1 port open, 2 ports open, and no ports open (sealed). Also tried phase 0 and 180, and of course various cross-over settings (80 to 200hz).

1 port open was always the best, measurements were the same for all 3 except drop off was more rapid towards 20hz with other 2 settings. I thought sealed was supposed to be more flat and longer roll off at 20hz? *shrug* 150hz crossover and 180 phase measured the best, got rid of a significant dip around 85hz and increased db by about 10 from 100 to 140ish hz, so good call out on increasing crossover. But 40-50hz still has a big dip...

Follow-up questions:
  1. Would having tower speakers help or does it not matter vs. bookshelves for mid bass?
  2. Would buying a minidsp help get the curve I'm looking for? Not very flat, and I believe it should be slightly raised towards 20hz for best results, so I've read...
  3. Would buying a second sub help? Basically same as question #1.
I attached 3 of the measurements that I thought would best represent my testing, showing variations.
  1. Green = 1 port open, 180 phase, 150hz crossover, audyssey on
  2. Purple = 1 port open, 180 phase, 80hz crossover, audyssey on
  3. Orange = 1 port open, 0 phase, 80hz crossover, audyssey off
elac-hsu-xover-measurements.png
 
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shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Disclaimer: I'm a REW/measurements newbie, so can't claim how accurate these are. Still reading up on best way to measure things. Used UMIK-1 minidsp microphone.

Took some REW measurements to help with the discussion. I tried multiple variations with the Hsu including 1 port open, 2 ports open, and no ports open (sealed). Also tried phase 0 and 180, and of course various cross-over settings (80 to 200hz).

1 port open was always the best, measurements were the same for all 3 except drop off was more rapid towards 20hz with other 2 settings. I thought sealed was supposed to be more flat and longer roll off at 20hz? *shrug* 150hz crossover and 180 phase measured the best, got rid of a significant dip around 85hz and increased db by about 10 from 100 to 140ish hz, so good call out on increasing crossover. But 40-50hz still has a big dip...

Follow-up questions:
  1. Would having tower speakers help or does it not matter vs. bookshelves for mid bass?
  2. Would buying a minidsp help get the curve I'm looking for? Not very flat, and I believe it should be slightly raised towards 20hz for best results, so I've read...
  3. Would buying a second sub help? Basically same as question #1.
I attached 3 of the measurements that I thought would best represent my testing, showing variations.
  1. Green = 1 port open, 180 phase, 150hz crossover, audyssey on
  2. Purple = 1 port open, 180 phase, 80hz crossover, audyssey on
  3. Orange = 1 port open, 0 phase, 80hz crossover, audyssey off
View attachment 31614
Those responses aren't terrible for in-room responses. I have seen worse. Your most significant problems are the dip at 45 Hz and wider Q dip at 20 Hz. The thing is, those are not 'chest punch' frequency ranges, so addressing those are not going to get you what you are looking for.

To answer your questions:
Tower speakers will have significantly more powerful mid-bass than your bookshelf speakers. Way more displacement in the mid-bass frequency band.

MiniDSP might help if you have multiple subs, but it won't be able to do much with your existing response. That is because your problems is nulls rather than peaks. Always use EQ to trim peaks rather than shore up nulls. The best way to address nulls is adding another sub which does shore up the null region.

As far as adding a second sub, I know this is a pain the in the a**, but can you measure the sub in the other available placement for it? If that placement response fills in 45 Hz and 20 Hz, then yes, add another big sub.

Another thing, if you are looking for what SPLs are needed for chest thump, in the REW tone generator, select 'CEA-2010 Burst' and run tones at different frequencies and also different levels. Work through through the frequencies using the 'Previous 1/3rd octave frequency' and 'Next 1/3rd octave frequency' button, so 20Hz, 25Hz, 31.5Hz, 40Hz, 50Hz, 63Hz, 80Hz, 100Hz, 125Hz, and 160Hz. 160 is the highest that will be useful here. Use lower and higher crossover frequencies for the sub to see how the sub compares to your speakers here, so use an 80Hz crossover frequency and also the highest crossover frequency that your AVR allows. You can raise the sub to maximum volume for this exercise since you are just looking for what constitutes 'chest thump.'
 
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dan2crazy

Audioholic Intern
Thank you for suggestions. Good idea to try moving the sub around and verify I can cancel the dips before buying a second.

Wasn't aware of the CEA 2010 burst. I will look for it and try it.
 
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liquid360

Junior Audioholic
I also was seeking that sensation, feeling the low end while even at relatively low volume. I get that it’s profane to say it, but I bought a pair of JL Fathom 13.5in subs. I found what I sought and then some. My neighbor, however? Not a fan. Important to note that I got them at a steep discount. My point is that what you seek is absolutely realistic.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 
j_garcia

j_garcia

Audioholic Jedi
Sub is not too big, room is too small. Cancellation is much more likely in a smaller room, so you either have to treat the room, possibly go with dual subs, or new room.
 
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dan2crazy

Audioholic Intern
Sub is not too big, room is too small. Cancellation is much more likely in a smaller room, so you either have to treat the room, possibly go with dual subs, or new room.
So are you saying having an 18" ported vs 13" sealed in my small room makes no difference in helping even out measurements?
 
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shadyJ

Speaker of the House
So are you saying having an 18" ported vs 13" sealed in my small room makes no difference in helping even out measurements?
Bingo. Smaller rooms mean more severe room modes that also extend higher in frequency. They will see any sub as pretty much a single point of output, so it doesn't really matter what size the sub is when you look at the frequency response.
 
j_garcia

j_garcia

Audioholic Jedi
Not just size, but shape of room affect the room modes. The more regular the dimensions (closer to square),the more modes you will have. For rectangular rooms, where the nulls are and which frequencies are most affected will vary. So seating position within the room and location of the sub are very important. I say duals might help because you can get better coverage, but cancellation is still an issue.
 
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dan2crazy

Audioholic Intern
Okay, I see. So trying to put advice together, seems like:
  1. Get 2 smaller subs with more placement options so I have better chance of creating a level measurement 80hz and below, as my room size doesn't need a large sub to fill it. I'm still thinking svs sb3000 here.
  2. Get floorstanding speakers to get better chance of level 80 to 200 hz. This is also where the chest thump feeling I want is at, floorstanders should help with more mid. Still thinking svs pinnacle here (other floorstanders are too big).
  3. Play with crossover to find best integration between sub and speakers
  4. Get a minidsp to help further
Am I processing feedback correctly?
 
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shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Okay, I see. So trying to put advice together, seems like:
  1. Get 2 smaller subs with more placement options so I have better chance of creating a level measurement 80hz and below, as my room size doesn't need a large sub to fill it. I'm still thinking svs sb3000 here.
  2. Get floorstanding speakers to get better chance of level 80 to 200 hz. This is also where the chest thump feeling I want is at, floorstanders should help with more mid. Still thinking svs pinnacle here (other floorstanders are too big).
  3. Play with crossover to find best integration between sub and speakers
  4. Get a minidsp to help further
Am I processing feedback correctly?
Seems sensible. You should still keep in mind that 'chest thump' SPLs just might not be at all practical in your situation. That might require volume levels that are too loud to listen with any regularity. So you could go through all this trouble to get the capability to do that but then only rarely ever be able to use it.
 
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snakeeyes

Audioholic Samurai
I like the idea of the VTF3 as a speaker stand to try more placement options. I agree it would be good to try 90hz.or 100hz crossover (low pass).

Trying other placements is free.

Good luck! :)
 
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shadyJ

Speaker of the House
I like the idea of the VTF3 as a speaker stand to try more placement options. I agree it would be good to try 90hz.or 100hz crossover (low pass).

Trying other placements is free.

Good luck! :)
It's not a bad idea to use subs as speaker stands if possible. It might not be optimal for the best low-frequency response, but it still might net you a good response- no one knows until you try and measure. And using the subs as speaker stands means that you can raise the crossover very high with no localization penalty- and the subs will be considerably more capable in the mid-bass region than the speakers.
 
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dan2crazy

Audioholic Intern
shadyJ, heard you were almost done reviewing sb3000. Any thoughts on it for my small room vs HSU 15H-MK2 or ported counterparts such as vtf-3 mk5?
 

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