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

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shadyJ

Speaker of the House
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?
Well, I don't want to spoil the review too much. I will say that the SB-3000 is a great sub for the size, but as with all small subs, real performance compromises must be made to achieve that small size. It will not get as loud or play as deep as the ported subs you are referring to. It squeezes a lot of performance out of that small size, but the larger enclosures of those other subs make them so much more efficient.
 
D

dan2crazy

Audioholic Intern
Interesting, SVS specs say sb3000 goes to 18hz, and Hsu the ported vtf-3.5 goes to 17hz, and 15h mk2 20hz. Based on your comment that svs sb3000 doesn't go as deep seems I may not understand the specs?
 
William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Ninja
Interesting, SVS specs say sb3000 goes to 18hz, and Hsu the ported vtf-3.5 goes to 17hz, and 15h mk2 20hz. Based on your comment that svs sb3000 doesn't go as deep seems I may not understand the specs?
The thing about the specs is they don’t include maximum output. IE: an sb2000 is rated to 17hz. It will play this, but only in a tiny sized closet of a room. Put it in a large space and it will inch worm across the floor trying to make sound that deep.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Slumlord
Interesting, SVS specs say sb3000 goes to 18hz, and Hsu the ported vtf-3.5 goes to 17hz, and 15h mk2 20hz. Based on your comment that svs sb3000 doesn't go as deep seems I may not understand the specs?
Difference between a frequency range spec (hopefully +/- 3dB for comparison purposes) and how loud it can play at that frequency. Many speaker companies just don't provide spl related spec either. The larger boxes/vented designs offer more efficiency especially for lower bass (and the sealed sub may already have a built in limitation via having been boosted via dsp down low for that flattish response to the f3 cited). Many speaker/sub companies don't provide detailed spl spec. Might try looking at the system tests at data-bass.com for illustration...
 
E

Ernie Schmuntz

Junior Audioholic
I have aleay
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!

I have loved my DefTech SuperCube III for small spaces. It does just what your looking for. No many better for small.
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Warlord
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!
I am largely a proponent of sealed subs, but your Hsu has the ability to approximate a sealed sub by plugging the ports. Assuming you don't have it in a location that presents a mode at your LP, it should give you a pretty good idea of what a sealed sub would offer.
If you were going with sealed, I would be inclined to go with 2-3 Hsu ULS-15mk2's.
They are not the smallest sealed subs, but I think the 15" driver is a good option for a sealed sub that does dual duty!
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Warlord
The thing about the specs is they don’t include maximum output. IE: an sb2000 is rated to 17hz. It will play this, but only in a tiny sized closet of a room. Put it in a large space and it will inch worm across the floor trying to make sound that deep.
Sorry, but I find this level of exaggeration to be offensive.
Much of what you say is has truth behind it, but according to James and the Audioholic "Bassaholic" rating system, the SB2000 is good for a medium room - good up to 3,000 cubic feet. If we assume 8' ceilings, that is about a 20' X 18' room. I consider that a pretty decent sized room. Not large, but definitely not belonging in the context of "a closet" or "tiny"!
Here is more on how the Bassaholic rating system:
https://www.audioholics.com/loudspeaker-design/subwoofer-room-size
 
William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Ninja
Sorry, but I find this level of exaggeration to be offensive.
Much of what you say is has truth behind it, but according to James and the Audioholic "Bassaholic" rating system, the SB2000 is good for a medium room - good up to 3,000 cubic feet. If we assume 8' ceilings, that is about a 20' X 18' room. I consider that a pretty decent sized room. Not large, but definitely not belonging in the context of "a closet" or "tiny"!
Here is more on how the Bassaholic rating system:
https://www.audioholics.com/loudspeaker-design/subwoofer-room-size
Hi Kurt. That’s fair. I can be guilty of hyperbole and I may go adjust my post. And of course I do respect your opinion, so I’ll explain a little. My listening space is 16x24, with 9’ ceiling on the left, and 12’ ceiling in the right. Further to the right is a kitchen and foyer etc(dims if you want). A fairly large space on a concrete slab. I added an sb2k in this space and used it with my pc12pluses. Just for fun, I tried it by itself. Well, it’s a great sounding subwoofer, and I have said that before, and will continue to in the future. I really liked it. The problem is it’s very output limited, and even combined with my mains, which have 12’s in them, and the pc12pluses it just couldn’t add much. I also ran a bunch of rew tests to see if and what it contributed.
As I said it is an excellent subwoofer! But it belongs in a den, or bedroom or a room with a suspended wood floor etc. Sonnie Parker who founded HTS had a pair of them that were flat to 10hz. But in his room, they tapped out at a db level that was just too low(sorry, can’t remember)
While I do respect James, i don’t believe that rating is correct, and I would never use that sub in 3000cuft. The bottom of the medium range? Yes. 1500-2000.
 
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S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Sorry, but I find this level of exaggeration to be offensive.
Much of what you say is has truth behind it, but according to James and the Audioholic "Bassaholic" rating system, the SB2000 is good for a medium room - good up to 3,000 cubic feet. If we assume 8' ceilings, that is about a 20' X 18' room. I consider that a pretty decent sized room. Not large, but definitely not belonging in the context of "a closet" or "tiny"!
Here is more on how the Bassaholic rating system:
https://www.audioholics.com/loudspeaker-design/subwoofer-room-size
Hi Kurt. That’s fair. I can be guilty of hyperbole and I may go adjust my post. And of course I do respect your opinion, so I’ll explain a little. My listening space is 16x24, with 9’ ceiling on the left, and 12’ ceiling in the right. Further to the right is a kitchen and foyer etc(dims if you want). A fairly large space on a concrete slab. I added an sb2k in this space and used it with my pc12pluses. Just for fun, I tried it by itself. Well, it’s a great sounding subwoofer, and I have said that before, and will continue to in the future. I really liked it. The problem is it’s very output limited, and even combined with my mains, which have 12’s in them, and the pc12pluses it just couldn’t add much. I also ran a bunch of rew tests to see if and what it contributed.
As I said it is an excellent subwoofer! But it belongs in a den, or bedroom or a room with a suspended wood floor etc. Sonnie Parker who founded HTS had a pair of them that were flat to 10hz. But in his room, they tapped out at a db level that was just too low(sorry, can’t remember)
While I do respect James, i don’t believe that rating is correct, and I would never use that sub in 3000cuft. The bottom of the medium range? Yes. 1500-2000.
I haven't dealt with the SB-2000, so I didn't assign it any kind of room rating. The bassaholic room rating is an attempt to give an objective standard into seeing how much subwoofer is needed to adequately pressurize a room. Sometimes we find that a sub might technically achieve a certain room rating, but decide to give it another rating based on its overall performance and intended use, so you might allow a larger room rating when a sub just misses the requirements if the performance is otherwise excellent, or we might not give a sub a certain room rating that it might technically meet the criteria for if we feel that it pushed the sub too hard to achieve that room rating.

Something else to keep in mind is individual listening preference. There are plenty of people for whom an SB-2000 is more than adequate for a 3,000 cubic foot room. For me and for many forum-goers here, it wouldn't be enough for that kind of space, but many of the non-audio people that I know would be fine with it.
 
D

dan2crazy

Audioholic Intern
Keep in mind my HT is in a bedroom :)

I know the Hsu 3.5 can be plugged for sealed. I did that and ran REW, drop off is way before 20hz, compared to the specs I see on SB3000 or ULS which look flat to 20hz before drop. Also, I am trying to reduce sub size to get 2+ subs in my room vs having the 1 large.

At this point I may go ahead and free trial the SB3000 (or maybe wait for audioholics review?). If it is flat to 18hz then I have a hard time believing 2 won't work in my small bedroom, where I'm assuming I'd get lower frequency from room gain. I am super tempted by the ULS but don't want to deal with return shipping if I'm wrong.
 
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shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Keep in mind my HT is in a bedroom :)

I know the Hsu 3.5 can be plugged for sealed. I did that and ran REW, drop off is way before 20hz, compared to the specs I see on SB3000 or ULS which look flat to 20hz before drop. Also, I am trying to reduce sub size to get 2+ subs in my room vs having the 1 large.

At this point I may go ahead and free trial the SB3000 (or maybe wait for audioholics review?). If it is flat to 18hz then I have a hard time believing 2 won't work in my small bedroom, where I'm assuming I'd get lower frequency from room gain. I am super tempted by the ULS but don't want to deal with return shipping if I'm wrong.
The SB-3000 wouldn't be flat to 18 Hz. 18 Hz will be its -6dB point, but as a sealed design, it will roll off the response at a higher frequency but keeping a more gradual slope.
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Warlord
The SB-3000 wouldn't be flat to 18 Hz. 18 Hz will be its -6dB point, but as a sealed design, it will roll off the response at a higher frequency but keeping a more gradual slope.
You're talking anechoic, correct?
But in room, and especially if in a smaller room and located near the wall, it is reasonable to expect 6 dB or better gain at such a low frequency. Maybe there is something unusual about your room and you get no room gain, but that is the beauty of SVS - you can find out for sure for free! I would rather not pay the extra cost (in money and size) of the ported if the sealed does all you want!
Call SVS and tell them your specifics, see what they say! They have a great customer support team.
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Warlord
I haven't dealt with the SB-2000, so I didn't assign it any kind of room rating.
My apologies, The review was done back in 2014 by Tom Andry. Brent Butterworth took the measurements.
I've gotten so used to you doing all of the sub reviews, I screwed up on that count.
However I do believe Tom Andry applied the same evaluation technique and reached the proper conclusion as that is the purpose of the Bassoholic rating system to provide a consistent standard.
SB-2000 CEA 2010 Results (2 meter RMS)

20Hz 92.1 dB

25Hz 97.1 dB

31.5Hz 102.8 dB

40Hz 108.3 dB

50Hz 108.9 dB

63Hz 109.2 dB

Bassaholic Roomsize Rating: Medium
https://www.audioholics.com/subwoofer-reviews/sv-sound-svs-sb-pb-2000
 
K

kini

Audioholic
Sorry, but I find this level of exaggeration to be offensive.
Much of what you say is has truth behind it, but according to James and the Audioholic "Bassaholic" rating system, the SB2000 is good for a medium room - good up to 3,000 cubic feet. If we assume 8' ceilings, that is about a 20' X 18' room. I consider that a pretty decent sized room. Not large, but definitely not belonging in the context of "a closet" or "tiny"!
Here is more on how the Bassaholic rating system:
https://www.audioholics.com/loudspeaker-design/subwoofer-room-size
It's not really that much of an exaggeration. The room would have to be tiny for the SB2000 to have usable output at 18hz. Kind of like Rythmik speccing their subs down to 14hz, even the small sealed 12" ones. Sure they produce some sound that low but not enough output for it to matter in all but the teeniest, tiny completely enclosed space, such as.................a closet. ;)
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Warlord
It's not really that much of an exaggeration. The room would have to be tiny for the SB2000 to have usable output at 18hz. Kind of like Rythmik speccing their subs down to 14hz, even the small sealed 12" ones. Sure they produce some sound that low but not enough output for it to matter in all but the teeniest, tiny completely enclosed space, such as.................a closet. ;)
Wow!
You must listen much louder than I do!
How many dB do you require before the output begins to matter?
Also curious what sub(s) you are using!

As I posted earlier, I think 15" is generally the sweet spot for subs, but I don't feel like a sealed 12" is lacking in the least in a room like my guest bedroom (about 12 X 15).
 
William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Ninja
Wow!
You must listen much louder than I do!
How many dB do you require before the output begins to matter?
Also curious what sub(s) you are using!

As I posted earlier, I think 15" is generally the sweet spot for subs, but I don't feel like a sealed 12" is lacking in the least in a room like my guest bedroom (about 12 X 15).
As I mentioned above, the SB2k would be ok, in the lower spectrum of the bassoholic scale. 1500-2000ft. Assuming an 8’ ceiling your guest bedroom is about 1440’. Imo, that’s a good range for the SB2k. It’s also a looooong way from 3000’. Also, if it’s a suspended floor, that makes an incredibly huge difference as the floor acts like a diaphragm(think drum head).
 
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snakeeyes

Audioholic Samurai
As I mentioned above, the SB2k would be ok, in the lower spectrum of the bassoholic scale. 1500-2000ft. Assuming an 8’ ceiling your guest bedroom is about 1440’. Imo, that’s a good range for the SB2k. It’s also a looooong way from 3000’. Also, if it’s a suspended floor, that makes an incredibly huge difference as the floor acts like a diaphragm(think drum head).
Probably better with dual SB1000 rather than single SB2000.
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Warlord
Keep in mind my HT is in a bedroom :)

I know the Hsu 3.5 can be plugged for sealed. I did that and ran REW, drop off is way before 20hz, compared to the specs I see on SB3000 or ULS which look flat to 20hz before drop. Also, I am trying to reduce sub size to get 2+ subs in my room vs having the 1 large.

At this point I may go ahead and free trial the SB3000 (or maybe wait for audioholics review?). If it is flat to 18hz then I have a hard time believing 2 won't work in my small bedroom, where I'm assuming I'd get lower frequency from room gain. I am super tempted by the ULS but don't want to deal with return shipping if I'm wrong.
Sorry about how things have gone off topic!
Getting back to your question!
I do think the above is a reasonable approach and also believe that a pair of SB3000 is more than enough sub unless your idea of a small bedroom is dramatically different from mine!

However, what is bugging me is that with the Hsu's tuning options (which are quite substantial),you are not finding the sound you want, and I am feeling low confidence in understanding what you are looking for sound-wise.
What are the settings you like best for you Hsu?
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Spartan
Yeah, I'm a little confused too. I'm flat to 16 hz with my Hsus.
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Warlord
As I mentioned above, the SB2k would be ok, in the lower spectrum of the bassoholic scale. 1500-2000ft. Assuming an 8’ ceiling your guest bedroom is about 1440’. Imo, that’s a good range for the SB2k. It’s also a looooong way from 3000’. Also, if it’s a suspended floor, that makes an incredibly huge difference as the floor acts like a diaphragm(think drum head).
I consider your post here entirely reasonable for someone who simply likes a different character of bass than I do.
But I think we are in agreement, that tiny room and closet are exaggerations. Kini's post is reinforcing that mischaracterization.
It's not really that much of an exaggeration. The room would have to be tiny for the SB2000 to have usable output at 18hz. Kind of like Rythmik speccing their subs down to 14hz, even the small sealed 12" ones. Sure they produce some sound that low but not enough output for it to matter in all but the teeniest, tiny completely enclosed space, such as.................a closet. ;)
2000 cu ft with a standard 8' ceiling is 14 X 17.5 that is neither tiny nor a closet by most people's standards.
I doubt Kini is aware that per CEA 2010 measurement, the Rythmik F12 provides 92dB at 16Hz which, after typical room gain can reasonably be expected to be around 100dB.
I also doubt that he is aware that Josh Ricci measured the $675/ea (what they cost when I bought duals, $800/ea was original MSRP) PSA XS15se at the listening position in his own room and got 101.5dB at 10Hz! I really don't know what to make of response at 10Hz, but since we are talking performance at 14Hz, why not 10! I remember finding his room dimensions once before, but came up empty this time, but I doubt anyone believes Josh has his gear crammed in a tiny room. I would have remembered if it was a uniquely small room which would have substantially increased room gain from what might normally be expected. Josh did these measurements to establish how a sealed subwoofer response might be influenced by room gain. This is his comment:
The basic frequency response shape with the low pass filter bypassed shows a response that is cleanly extended up to 200Hz and beyond, with a gently sloping low end that corners at 30Hz and appears to enter a sealed systems natural 12dB/octave roll off below that point. It should be a good match with the boost often seen in the low bass once placed in room.
Change of topic - leaving the debate of "tiny" and "closet"!
To my ear, the simple XS15se is exactly/all I would ask of a sub for music. The Hsu ULS-15mk2 is the current sub that I would equate to the discontinued XS15se for the best combination of performance/value.
That said, I do enjoy my Outllaw X13 Ultra extra SPL immensely for HT and they can be tuned to equal the PSA's performance (to my ear) for music as well. But for me, for music only, the added cost of a ported and adjustable sub like the X13 over the ULS15 is money wasted!
 
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