Which subwoofer would you choose?

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Which subwoofer would you choose?

Postposted on Sun Oct 16, 2011 10:44 pm

I've been using my Klipsch RF82s in "Large Speaker" mode for a while now, and they actually do a decent job of handling bass. However, I'll be moving out of my apartment and into a house, so I'll finally be able to add a subwoofer to my system.

Along with the RF82 towers, I have an RC62 center channel and RB61 shelf tops. The receiver is a Pioneer VSX-1120K, receiving 6-channel 24/96 LPCM from my HTPC.

Which subwoofer would sound best with the system above? Mostly for music, but I'd like the bass to hit really hard when I do find the time to watch a movie.
SVS "new" PB12-NSD DSP - $749 at Sonic Boom Audio
SVS "new" PC12-NCD DSP - $729 at SBA - this is a really cool looking cylinder that would probably be the easiest to manage, but how's performance?
HSU VTF-3 MK4 - $699, but shipping it to Canada would probably cost a small fortune.

There's also the $1199 SVS SB13-Plus, which is a small sealed sub with a 13" driver and 1000w amp. Something (the price?) tells me this sub would outperform the others, at least when it comes to music playback.

Is the 13-Plus worth it? And If not, which of the other three would you pick? Thanks.
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Re: Which subwoofer would you choose?

Postposted on Mon Oct 17, 2011 1:48 am

You must have rock concerts at your house:) Sorry i wont be much help you sound like you know more then me.
Just a Q though when is the point of too much Bass,if your other speakers handled it pretty good i would probably get a mid priced sub that looks good and has the wattage you need.
Never liked so much bass you can hear stuff in the china cabinet rattling.wonder if your house will make your cars trunklid rattle like some high school kids car.
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Re: Which subwoofer would you choose?

Postposted on Mon Oct 17, 2011 6:38 am

I'm not sure about a sub that goes all the way up to 270Hz. Most receivers are going to cut the subwoofer channel at the 100-150Hz range max. I have mine set at 120Hz with the main channels crossing at 80Hz.

I went a slightly different route. Rather than one big sub, I have a pair of dual 8" ported boxes, one on each side of the room. Each has a 300W BASH amp in it. While low frequencies are less directional than the higher ones, with a single sub, I still had issues with certain areas in the room. It also happened to be a bit more wife friendly as I didn't have a giant sub box in the living room.

Assuming size isn't an issue, I'd go with the PB12. The speakers you have as your mains already go pretty low and while taking some of the load off of them and transferring it to a sub will help keep faithful reproduction, if you are really after the gut punch bass in a movie, lower is better. :) If your receiver supports per-channel equalization, invest in a sound meter.

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Re: Which subwoofer would you choose?

Postposted on Mon Oct 17, 2011 6:52 am

I have always liked the "SunFire" series of subs. Most impressive...
Anything over 120Hz becomes to your ear "directional" and you start to realize sub location in your setup which can be distracting. Keep you low-pass set to 120Hz and under and the sub blends well with the rest of the system. Any distortion in the sub comes across as harmonics which again makes the sub "visible" to your ears, so low distortion is also a huge plus with a well balanced system. I believe the Sunfire subs have an accelerometer on the cone to aid in feedback to reduce distortion caused by the physical properties of the speaker cone. That is why they blend so well and yet move furniture.

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Re: Which subwoofer would you choose?

Postposted on Tue Oct 18, 2011 5:22 pm

SecretSquirrel wrote:I went a slightly different route. Rather than one big sub, I have a pair of dual 8" ported boxes, one on each side of the room.

I was toying with the idea of two subs. If I go that route, I'd probably have to settle with the sealed SB12s. Two SB12s would probably be great for music, but would they have the output of a single PB12?

While low frequencies are less directional than the higher ones, with a single sub, I still had issues with certain areas in the room.

If I set my main channels to cross at 60-70Hz, would that allow a single sub to fill the room more evenly? I'm hoping that I can take advantage of the large main speakers by having the sub play just the really deep notes, making it less directional.

Assuming size isn't an issue, I'd go with the PB12. The speakers you have as your mains already go pretty low and while taking some of the load off of them and transferring it to a sub will help keep faithful reproduction, if you are really after the gut punch bass in a movie, lower is better. :)

The HSU sub can hit 16Hz with a 350w BASH. The PC12/PB12 can "only" manage 18Hz with a 400w Sledge. Am I right in thinking that both SVS models will sound cleaner at high volumes?
Last edited by setaG_lliB on Tue Oct 18, 2011 7:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Which subwoofer would you choose?

Postposted on Tue Oct 18, 2011 6:16 pm

My Velodyne sub has worked well for a decade and a half. For me, it's not about the loudness of the bass, but the accuracy and control. Some bass-reflex designs are too boomy around their resonant frequency.
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Re: Which subwoofer would you choose?

Postposted on Wed Oct 19, 2011 10:41 am

setaG_lliB wrote:If I set my main channels to cross at 60-70Hz, would that allow a single sub to fill the room more evenly? I'm hoping that I can take advantage of the large main speakers by having the sub play just the really deep notes, making it less directional.

The HSU sub can hit 16Hz with a 350w BASH. The PC12/PB12 can "only" manage 18Hz with a 400w Sledge. Am I right in thinking that both SVS models will sound cleaner at high volumes?

AFAIK the best philosophy for subs is to let the mains roll of naturally and the sub should then be crossed to pick up below that. In other words, let the Klipsch units roll off naturally and experiment by initially crossing the sub a little above the 33Hz lower end of the mains, say around 40-45Hz.

I wouldn't sweat the difference between 16Hz and 18Hz -- almost nobody can actually hear below about 20-25Hz, and unless you're trying to accurately reproduce the chest-liquifying sensation of a pipe organ's bottom end, most power expended in that range is wasted. In fact, many sources will apply a fairly steep subsonic/rumble filter with a roll-off starting around 20Hz just to avoid accidental damage to higher-end equipment that might otherwise try to follow, say, a 0.5Hz warp in the vinyl.
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Re: Which subwoofer would you choose?

Postposted on Thu Oct 20, 2011 9:05 pm

Late to the party, a possibility: a JTR captivator. A bit expensive, but probably louder than the 12-inchers you've been looking at. If you want power and low-end, you need a big box, no way around it. There are ways of getting crazy output out of a relatively small box, but the meaning "relatively small" is itself relative.
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Re: Which subwoofer would you choose?

Postposted on Sat Oct 22, 2011 1:56 am

ludi wrote:AFAIK the best philosophy for subs is to let the mains roll of naturally and the sub should then be crossed to pick up below that. In other words, let the Klipsch units roll off naturally and experiment by initially crossing the sub a little above the 33Hz lower end of the mains, say around 40-45Hz.

I wouldn't sweat the difference between 16Hz and 18Hz -- almost nobody can actually hear below about 20-25Hz, and unless you're trying to accurately reproduce the chest-liquifying sensation of a pipe organ's bottom end, most power expended in that range is wasted. In fact, many sources will apply a fairly steep subsonic/rumble filter with a roll-off starting around 20Hz just to avoid accidental damage to higher-end equipment that might otherwise try to follow, say, a 0.5Hz warp in the vinyl.

Thanks for the reply. My center speaker only goes down to 57Hz, which is why I wanted to cross the sub at around 70Hz. But should I even be worrying about the center and rear channels? I remember reading somewhere that studios limit bass in the center and rear channels of a home theater audio mix.

UltimateImperative wrote:Late to the party, a possibility: a JTR captivator. A bit expensive, but probably louder than the 12-inchers you've been looking at. If you want power and low-end, you need a big box, no way around it. There are ways of getting crazy output out of a relatively small box, but the meaning "relatively small" is itself relative.

Looks like a beast of a sub, but it's just too expensive. I don't even want to know how much it would cost to ship that up to Canada...lol
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Re: Which subwoofer would you choose?

Postposted on Sat Oct 22, 2011 11:58 pm

setaG_lliB wrote:Thanks for the reply. My center speaker only goes down to 57Hz, which is why I wanted to cross the sub at around 70Hz. But should I even be worrying about the center and rear channels? I remember reading somewhere that studios limit bass in the center and rear channels of a home theater audio mix.

I've heard from a few hardcore audiophiles (one of them is a coworker with two systems worth about $15-20k combined) who are adamantly opposed to center channel speakers as being unnecessary, and likely to distort the soundfield with a box that is unavoidably small and inferior compared to the mains. These guys will only use Phantom Center mode. Even with middle-end equipment I've tried it both ways and tend to agree. Cheap HTIB systems cannot produce enough sound-stage to avoid a center channel speaker, but anyone with equipment in your price range should try it both ways before making a final decision. Provided the mains are correctly spaced and aimed (your room layout may or may not permit it), a correctly-perceived mono signal will automatically be "centered" by the human ears, which is what Phantom Center does.
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Re: Which subwoofer would you choose?

Postposted on Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:25 pm

ludi wrote:I've heard from a few hardcore audiophiles (one of them is a coworker with two systems worth about $15-20k combined) who are adamantly opposed to center channel speakers as being unnecessary, and likely to distort the soundfield with a box that is unavoidably small and inferior compared to the mains. These guys will only use Phantom Center mode. Even with middle-end equipment I've tried it both ways and tend to agree. Cheap HTIB systems cannot produce enough sound-stage to avoid a center channel speaker, but anyone with equipment in your price range should try it both ways before making a final decision. Provided the mains are correctly spaced and aimed (your room layout may or may not permit it), a correctly-perceived mono signal will automatically be "centered" by the human ears, which is what Phantom Center does.

Can't thank you enough for the suggestion. I chose a few scenes from Tron: Legacy to do some A/B listening. At its best, Phantom Center sounded smoother (more balanced/natural?) than True Center. And at its worst, I couldn't really hear a difference between the two.

I think I can safely sell my RC62 center channel and either save the money (yeah right), or buy an even better subwoofer. :D
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Re: Which subwoofer would you choose?

Postposted on Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:54 pm

Tuba HT. Google it. Build it. Way better than anything out there for the cost. ITS INSANE.
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