Looking SVS or HSU Sub for my Paradigm room-- When is it too much subwoofer? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 31 Old 04-04-2012, 04:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey all,

Thanks for all the great and detailed discussions-- longtime lurker.

I'm in the market for a subwoofer after a Paradigm PS-1000 that I had on long-term loan (like, 5 years) went back to its original owner. I've been looking at replacing it with the same (from eBay) but the wife has given me permission to go a little more spendy.

I don't think SVS or HSU were so well-known back when I was putting this system together in 2004-05, but now I've seen many threads both here and other forums where people consistently recommend SVS subwoofers, or sometimes HSU, to people who are thinking Paradigm.

Here's my setup--
-------
Speakers: Paradigm Monitor 7 fronts, CC-370 center channel, Mini Monitor rears.
Pre-Amp: Anthem AVM 2 (yes, that's not a typo, it's a 5.1 rig and it's super old)
Amps: Anthem MCA 2 (2 x 200 watts) and a B&K three-channel amp (3 x 105 watts) for the rears.

Room size: 25 x 17, carpeted, with a sloped ceiling from 8'-13' and an open corner to another part of the house.

Listener profile: Probably 70-30, movies and music. I'd consider turning off the sub when music is in the background (like weekend mornings).
------

So I tried SVS's "Merlin" speaker-chooser and found that it recommended their least-expensive models:

PB12-NSD / $ 769; PC12-NSD / $ 749; SB12-NSD / $ 649

I have to give them kudos for not automatically recommending their most expensive gear-- I was mentally preparing for something like the midgrade PC12-PLUS or PB12-PLUS. So this raises a couple of questions:


(1) Is the SVS PC-12PLUS or PB-12PLUS really the best choice out of their lineup, given that I have separate amps which their Merlin site didn't consider?

(2) Is there a strong case to stay with the same brand of Subwoofer as my speakers (Paradigm) for its own sake and to have a matched-brand set?

(3) Between SVS, HSU, Velodyne and of course Paradigm, are each of those brands so strong that it really comes down to personal preference (dare I say it-- styling, ergonomics, shipping, and other factors)? Or is the recommendation for SVS really strong over the other brands mentioned?

Thanks all,
Timingchain
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post #2 of 31 Old 04-04-2012, 05:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timingchain View Post

PC-12PLUS or PB-12PLUS

PC12-Plus / PB12-Plus

The Plus-series subs are well-rated, and in a room the size of yours they should perform very well.

You would get even more performance out of the PB13-Ultra, but whether the increase in performance is worth the increase in price is something you would have to decide.

You don't need to brand-match subs to your speakers.

All the brands you listed rate well, but Internet-direct subs (SVS and HSU) tend to deliver better "bang for the buck" than traditionally-marketed subs. You can't go wrong with SVS or HSU, especially if you go for singles or duals of their more popular models:
- SVS PB12-NSD, PB12-Plus, PB13-Ultra
- HSU VTF-15H, VTF-3 MK4

Other subs you might want to consider are:
- Rythmik FV15/HP
- Outlaw LFM-1 EX
- ChaseHT VS-18.1 or dual SS-18.1

Higher-end (in terms of price & performance) options include:
- Seaton Submersive/HP
- JTR Captivator

Hope this helps.
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post #3 of 31 Old 04-04-2012, 05:47 AM
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I don't like the Merlin tool--it pretends to know which sub is the best for you, without asking you what your room dimensions are. Although it's important when choosing a sub to consider the low frequency extension of your mains and satellites--you have to make sure that the sub can be crossed over high enough to blend well with them--and the Merlin tool's programming may account for this, still it seems that it mostly looks at the price of your speakers and then matches approximately to the corresponding tier of SVSound subs.

I don't think that your amps are relevant to the subwoofer you choose.

You have a fairly large space, somewhere between 3400 and 5500 cubic feet. SVSound's PB12/PC12-NSD and Hsu's VTF3-MK4 are both terrific performers in spaces 3000 cubic feet and under. In larger spaces, especially open ones, some bass fanatics find their performance a bit lacking and opt for either two of them or a higher-output (higher-cost) model. On the other hand, coming from your PS-1000, either one will be a huge improvement in both output and extension, so you'll probably be perfectly fine and in fact thrilled.

It's tough deciding between these two popular contenders--fans of both companies' products are legion and devoted. I would drop Velodyne off the list. I've never heard one but all indications suggest that you don't get a really good Velodyne until you spend thousands of dollars.

I personally found the SVSound offerings too compelling to pass up (see their Bill of Rights). There are many things to consider, including size, weight, and warranty; extension, output, and other measurements; as well as the esoteric stuff like form factor (I love my PC12-NSD's cylindrical shape). In any event, the VTF3-MK4 and the PB/PC12 are both great choices that will improve your listening experience, especially when you are running your system for a home theater application that calls for deep, powerful bass.

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post #4 of 31 Old 04-04-2012, 06:25 AM
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All of the subs mentioned would probably be winners and I don't think you'll be unhappy with any of those. I also consider the Epik Empire since you do listen to music 30%ish of the time
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post #5 of 31 Old 04-04-2012, 07:08 AM
 
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You should say what your budget is. Also, I don't understand why you need to turn off the sub during music, that's a waste, select the right sub and set up it correctly and you won't need to turn it off during music.
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post #6 of 31 Old 04-04-2012, 07:25 AM
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Some of your questions are well settled matters of avs subwoofer forum doctrine that even I can answer.

Quote:


When is it too much subwoofer?

Never. (But to risk heresy, I'd say it's too much when you could have spent less and still been satisfied).

Quote:


Between SVS, HSU, Velodyne and of course Paradigm, are each of those brands so strong that it really comes down to personal preference (dare I say it-- styling, ergonomics, shipping, and other factors)?

No. It comes down to price first. Velodyne and Paradigm make some great subwoofers, but you will pay twice as much or more for the same performance from those brands as opposed to HSU, SVS, and a number of other similar internet direct companies. Of course, perhaps money is no object for you and other things matter more.
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post #7 of 31 Old 04-04-2012, 07:26 AM
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I am using the VTF-15H with Paradigm Studios 100,570,20 V3's and could not be happier with 50/50 HT/music. 4200cubic ft.
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post #8 of 31 Old 04-05-2012, 05:04 AM - Thread Starter
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eljaycanuck, saviormachine, ratm, auditor55, beetlesnack, oztech, Thanks for the helpful & thoughtful replies. (Hope I didn't miss anyone).

For budget, I'm looking around the $1K mark but definitely including the SVS PC12-PLUS--- I'll look at the HSU VTF's, Rythmik, Outlaw, ChaseHT as well.

SVS question -- Is there a known sound-quality difference between the PC12 and PB12? The cylinder is a cool form factor but it's incredibly tall (40")... if the PB is equal sound quality/volume/dispersion it might be more spouse- and room-friendly. PB vs. PC sounds like a hard choice otherwise (any thoughts?).

Raw volume (dB or SPL) is not really my goal, I'd like something musical that works well with movies but I don't really run the system (for HT or music) at high volume for its own sake.
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post #9 of 31 Old 04-05-2012, 06:28 AM
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you will virtually not be able to tell the differnce between the PB and PC other thajn form factor. the PB is quite a large box, while the PC has a small 16" diameter footprint, extends quite high (looks like ahot water heater)

If you arent going overly loud (and even if you are I CRANK mine and acheive awesome bass) You might consider the "small" 14" cube sb12. it has tons of output! and is a georgeous small box (available in piano black gloss)

I have one in my 13x17x8 living room that is in an open floorplan to a dining room and kitchen. This thing shakes the house!

I used to have a svs 20-39+ in a very small room. and this SB12 compares very closely to that sub (despite what others may say)

any other q's let me know! I LOVE talking about svs

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post #10 of 31 Old 04-05-2012, 08:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timingchain View Post

eljaycanuck, saviormachine, ratm, auditor55, beetlesnack, oztech, Thanks for the helpful & thoughtful replies. (Hope I didn't miss anyone).

For budget, I'm looking around the $1K mark but definitely including the SVS PC12-PLUS--- I'll look at the HSU VTF's, Rythmik, Outlaw, ChaseHT as well.

SVS question -- Is there a known sound-quality difference between the PC12 and PB12? The cylinder is a cool form factor but it's incredibly tall (40")... if the PB is equal sound quality/volume/dispersion it might be more spouse- and room-friendly. PB vs. PC sounds like a hard choice otherwise (any thoughts?).

Raw volume (dB or SPL) is not really my goal, I'd like something musical that works well with movies but I don't really run the system (for HT or music) at high volume for its own sake.

If I ever upgrade my HT sub--and I only ever feel the need to do so when I come to this site, whereas whenever I finish a movie or a gaming session, I ask myself what in hell I would upgrade for--it will be from a PC12-NSD to a PC12-Plus. The greatly increased output would be meaningless to me as I run my NSD far below its limits at all times; the benefits would be a change from powerful in-room response down to 16Hz, to powerful in-room response down to 12Hz, also the vain pride (or acoustic benefit?) of a much fancier, more robust driver. There are subs at about the same price that would do the same job or maybe even a better job, but a sub in the PC12-Plus' class that weighs 75 pounds and eats as little floor-space as it does, I mean I'm totally willing to pay the same amount for it as I would for hugely heavier box designs that deliver a few more decibels at a level I'll never reach anyway.

I'm also really turned on by the 5-year warranty that covers everything, including the amplifier. Unless you go berserk bottoming out the driver all the time, if something goes wrong with your subwoofer, it'll probably be the amplifier (browse the threads for complaints about dead subs, you'll see that this is true.) Most manufacturers only give you two years on the amplifier. That's the most compelling argument of all, for me.

Once again, I am sorry to take a sledgehammer to so small and fragile a nut. -- Richard Dawkins, The Greatest Show On Earth
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post #11 of 31 Old 04-05-2012, 11:49 AM
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I have paradigm studio 100s,690,20s and 10s and use two vtf15s in a 3500 sq ft with 50/50 ht and music. You won't be disappointed. I crank the **** out of my system and have had the police show up several times already.
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post #12 of 31 Old 04-05-2012, 12:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timingchain View Post

eljaycanuck, saviormachine, ratm, auditor55, beetlesnack, oztech, Thanks for the helpful & thoughtful replies. (Hope I didn't miss anyone).

For budget, I'm looking around the $1K mark but definitely including the SVS PC12-PLUS--- I'll look at the HSU VTF's, Rythmik, Outlaw, ChaseHT as well.

SVS question -- Is there a known sound-quality difference between the PC12 and PB12? The cylinder is a cool form factor but it's incredibly tall (40")... if the PB is equal sound quality/volume/dispersion it might be more spouse- and room-friendly. PB vs. PC sounds like a hard choice otherwise (any thoughts?).

Raw volume (dB or SPL) is not really my goal, I'd like something musical that works well with movies but I don't really run the system (for HT or music) at high volume for its own sake.

I cannot speak comparatively to the SVS options, because I've not heard them. However, based on my interpretation of what you've said, and the performance of my VTF-3 MK4... I think it'll be plenty of sub for you.

SVS was on my short list last fall when I purchased. Ultimately, unless you have the cash to audition them all and pay all the shipping, you have to fire blind eventually. I picked the Hsu because of price, specs, and my perception of the opinions on this forum. I've been giggling like a fool ever since.

But I think anything you've listed will prolly rock your socks.
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post #13 of 31 Old 04-05-2012, 02:06 PM
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"When is it too much subwoofer?"

When the wife tells you it's either her or the sub, and you decide to keep the wife

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post #14 of 31 Old 04-06-2012, 06:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the suggestions and feedback guys. I'll let you know what I decide and how it goes with the install!
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post #15 of 31 Old 04-06-2012, 07:24 PM
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You can never have to much sub. Most people have to little. Going to friends houses makes me cringe when I see their little pos 8" rattling and distorting. To them, it sounds good and there's no distortion.
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post #16 of 31 Old 04-07-2012, 03:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Venomous View Post

You can never have to much sub. Most people have to little. Going to friends houses makes me cringe when I see their little pos 8" rattling and distorting. To them, it sounds good and there's no distortion.

I agree that most have too little sub. However, if one is setting volume st -20dB, that's only 95dB peaks at listening position, and even the cheaper subs can do that.

Although one ideally would then use multiple cheaper subs to smooth response.
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post #17 of 31 Old 04-07-2012, 09:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eyleron View Post

I agree that most have too little sub. However, if one is setting volume st -20dB, that's only 95dB peaks at listening position, and even the cheaper subs can do that.

Although one ideally would then use multiple cheaper subs to smooth response.

Except, there is a significant difference in SQ and low frequency extension down to the low 20hz range between budget subs and the lower end 12" ID subs. Try to find a sub <$500 that can beat out the Rythmik FV12 or HSU VTF-2 MK4 (for example). You can't. Cheaper subs will be a compromise in one or the other of those areas. So even though a room might not need that much SPL, for HT use, most recommendations here on AVS start with the 12" ID subs.

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post #18 of 31 Old 04-07-2012, 09:50 AM
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^^ +1
If I could have shaved off the top layer of my HT sub's output--which I just don't use--so that I could shave off some of its price, then I would gladly have done so. I was chasing <20Hz extension, though, and lots of the characteristics that enable deep extension are also characteristics that enable high output.

After the experience I've had, I can never go back to one of the "cheaper" subs, at least not for my HT setup.

I do agree with the gist of Eyleron's post, though, at least as I understand it: sometimes we get carried away around here and recommend quad Orbit Shifters to teenagers who live in their parents' basements and deliver newspapers for discretionary cash. I bet every one of us has been guilty of this at one time or another

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post #19 of 31 Old 04-07-2012, 10:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaviorMachine View Post

I do agree with the gist of Eyleron's post, though, at least as I understand it: sometimes we get carried away around here and recommend quad Orbit Shifters to teenagers who live in their parents' basements and deliver newspapers for discretionary cash. I bet every one of us has been guilty of this at one time or another

It's not even just that. The first time HT buyer is likely to be more than happy with HSU's room loudness ratings as a determinant of how much sub they would need. And yet, somehow we go from a room that would probably be fine with a VTF-2 MK4 or Rythmik FV12, up to an Epik Empire or HSU VTF-15H, just because someone can be talked into spending the money because that's how much bass the person recommending the subs would want.

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post #20 of 31 Old 04-07-2012, 10:35 AM
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I have Paradigm Monitor 9's and have the 12+ yr old Paradigm PS1200. I'm looking at the Rythmik FV15 to replace the 1200.

Jeff
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post #21 of 31 Old 04-07-2012, 11:54 AM
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The FV15 is a monster. Personally, I would get two!
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post #22 of 31 Old 04-07-2012, 01:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Fineberg View Post

...If you arent going overly loud (and even if you are I CRANK mine and acheive awesome bass) You might consider the "small" 14" cube sb12. it has tons of output! and is a georgeous small box (available in piano black gloss)

I have one in my 13x17x8 living room that is in an open floorplan to a dining room and kitchen. This thing shakes the house!

I used to have a svs 20-39+ in a very small room. and this SB12 compares very closely to that sub (despite what others may say)

any other q's let me know! I LOVE talking about svs

I disagree with this characterization about the SB12-NSD, I tried it for a week and then returned it for a PB12-NSD, which has loads more output and power. The SB12 IMHO is primarily geared towards small rooms and for more musical performance. I have a small room and wasn't impressed by its performance with movies, I'm about 70 movies/30 music like you. I will give it credit for sounding good with music though.

My recommendation is to get a PB12-Plus like you were thinking originally. If you decide to go a model lower, the PB12-NSD is also very good with large rooms as rated by audioholics. If you can afford the plus, go for that and you'll be happier in the long run with having more output.

I am very happy with my PB12-NSD, I'm ecstatic in fact, it just sounds awesome, clean output with boatloads of bass. I don't see how you won't be happy with a PB12 Plus in your room. Good luck!
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post #23 of 31 Old 04-07-2012, 02:26 PM
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There is no doubt the pb12 has more output. However, there is not a HUGE DIFFERENCE. I went from a small room with a much more powerful and lower tuned svs sub than the pb12 to a big room with the smaller sb12.

I am somtimes confused what people are looking for and hiw they can be disapointed. Yes it may not be the loudest you can possibly go but by no means shoild you be disappointed. Also, everyone DOES have their own opinion i was just trying to give insight that the smaller sb12 is still a great sub and you shouldnt be afraid to get one.

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post #24 of 31 Old 04-07-2012, 02:44 PM
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Sometimes people make the common mistake of having a powerful avr giving them a dynamic soundstage. However, buying an under performing sub shows most obvious in that situation. Especially if you are mainly a movie guy. There's nothing wrong with a sub you can eventually grow into. It's easier to lower a subs volume then it is to turn it up when it doesn't perform.
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post #25 of 31 Old 04-07-2012, 03:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Venomous View Post

...There's nothing wrong with a sub you can eventually grow into. It's easier to lower a subs volume then it is to turn it up when it doesn't perform.

+1, well said, I would rather have a more powerful sub than a less powerful sub. My PB12-NSD is dialed down in my small room, definitely a lot easier than when I had to crank my SB12 till the limiter light lit up to get it loud enough, and it still wasn't loud enough.

Although, YMMV depending on your room's acoustics so Brian's setup may very well be fine for his needs. Though based on my experience, the SB12 was just not enough output for my tastes with movies. Not to diss the SB12, just want to share my experience with the OP.
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post #26 of 31 Old 04-07-2012, 04:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avspace View Post


+1, well said, I would rather have a more powerful sub than a less powerful sub. My PB12-NSD is dialed down in my small room, definitely a lot easier than when I had to crank my SB12 till the limiter light lit up to get it loud enough, and it still wasn't loud enough.

Although, YMMV depending on your room's acoustics so Brian's setup may very well be fine for his needs. Though based on my experience, the SB12 was just not enough output for my tastes with movies. Not to diss the SB12, just want to share my experience with the OP.

Exactly! I agree with this 100%

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post #27 of 31 Old 04-07-2012, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


Except, there is a significant difference in SQ and low frequency extension down to the low 20hz range between budget subs and the lower end 12" ID subs.

Ah, so you're saying that even if a lesser sub has the output at 20hz or could be eq'd flat, there's the additional problem of excessive distortion and group delay? Makes sense.

I have an SVS PB10 that is 10" but big driver in a big box with 300 watts. Gives me around 105dB down to 18 hz in room, but that leaves me down 10dB or more. I need an upgrade too!
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post #28 of 31 Old 04-07-2012, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Venomous View Post

Sometimes people make the common mistake of having a powerful avr giving them a dynamic soundstage. However, buying an under performing sub shows most obvious in that situation. Especially if you are mainly a movie guy.

Yeah it is hard for people to take systems approach. They don't look at the bottleneck and address that first.

We're attracted by the shiny boxes with blinking lifts and knobs. I know that I still gravitate to eBay or Audiogon for good deals on external amps, even though I know I really need a new front sound stage and another sub.

And over in the reference level speakers threads, a lot of people are bummed out by realizing they're going to be 2 or 5 dB down below reference level, but their sub is already down 10 dB at 20 to 30 hz! Not to mention many peoples' rooms not treated enough for high levels.
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post #29 of 31 Old 04-07-2012, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by SaviorMachine View Post

^^ +1
If I could have shaved off the top layer of my HT sub's output--which I just don't use--so that I could shave off some of its price, then I would gladly have done so. I was chasing <20Hz extension, though, and lots of the characteristics that enable deep extension are also characteristics that enable high output.

I think some of them are mutually exclusive. If you want more extension, without going to a huge box, the driver needs more excursion? But that decreases sensitivity, requiring a bigger amp?

For sure output and extension require more money!
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post #30 of 31 Old 04-07-2012, 06:54 PM
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Just an FYI. My sb12 is at 12 o'clock on the gain for audyssey to be at zero. So I'm not overly cranking it up to fill my room

Panasonic 65VT30 | Panasonic AE8000 HD PJ | Denon x4100 ATMOS 5.2.4| Emotiva XPA-5 | PSA MT110 x 3 FL/C/FR | PSB B4's | DUAL PSA XS30 | OPPO 103 | minidsp | Buttkicker LFE

the SadieMax HT build thread - my first build
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