So here's the deal. A few years ago I bought the Paradigm Studio 20's (V.3), which I really like. I picked up a Paradigm PS-1000 (V.3?) because my roomate at the time had one and the thing slammed. A cheap Pioneer A/V receiver did the trick for a while. Recently I noticed that there was no life in my system (which I have and always will use for 2 channel stereo - 90% music, 10% HT). I started looking for ways to bring life back to my speakers, which at least at one point, had glowing reviews across the board.
I've been looking at new subs, because the bandpass design on the PS-1000 can be pretty muddy, slow and inaccurate, yet deep and loud. I've been looking all over online and decided that, since I use my system mostly for music, a nice, sealed sub in the $750-$1200 would be accurate enough to round out the 20's. I didn't really want to buy a sub without auditioning (SVS, HSU, eD, Epik, etc.) so I looked around and narrowed it down to a Paradigm Monitor SUB 12 and a Velodyne Optimum 12 - both $1000. Today, while looking around for subs, I stumbled upon a used Rotel RX-1052 stereo receiver, and on a whim picked up the Paradigm SUB 12 to end my indecision.
Wow, the Rotel made a HUGE difference in the Studio 20's. Only problem is that there are no pre-outs for a sub. That leaves me with choosing a sub with speaker level inputs, which, of course, the Paradigm Monitor SUB 12 doesn't have. The Velo does, but I wasn't thrilled with it all around. After screwing around, I managed to get the SUB 12 hooked up via the zone preouts on the Rotel (different volume control) and decided that it majorly sucks in my room, which is about 20x 15. SUB 12 is going back. I set up the PS-1000 again via speaker level inputs and noticed that I actually kind of like the sound - decent midbass and occaisional deep beastly growl, but I have to turn it down so it won't crapify the music. It's still too inaccurate to do my new system justice.
So, where do I go from here? I want a musical sub in the 20-100Hz range, with speaker level inputs (which knocks out a lot), that can both slam deep and not look like a giant coffee table box hybrid. Does such thing exist? Can I somehow convert my Rotel speaker outputs to RCA? I'm no longer sold on sealed. A smaller, nice looking cabinet would be nice, but I've realized that physics may not allow the big enough sound I want without some extra size, ports or even a radiator. $1300 is my absolute max.
Sorry for the long winded explanation. Anything helps.