Epik Empire VS. HSU VTF-15H Subwoofer - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 07-06-2012, 07:10 AM - Thread Starter
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I’m shopping around for a sub and looking for some advice.
I am a true novice setting up a 5.1surround system in my living room which is 20’ by 26’. My TV is mounted in the upper front corner which I am aware will add some audio challenges being where it is but that is where it is staying. My couch (the listening area) is about 16’ from the TV. After lots of research and lots advise, I am looking at purchasing Wharfedales DIA 10.7 for towers, DIA 10 CM for my center and DIA 10.DFS for my surrounds. I am shooting for about 80% HT and 20% music. My current dilemma is Epik Empire or HSU vtf-15H? The Epik has a frequency response of 20-300 Hz +/-3.5 dB anechoic VS. the HSU which has 16 Hz Ported, 22 Hz Ported or sealed. Which sub do you think will fit my needs better (which will mesh with the Wharfedales the best/which will sound the best). I am not Looking to bring down the house with base but I do want to have some powerful base when I choose. I see that the HSU will get me to those lower Hz than the Epik will but the HSU is also a bit pricier and I wonder if I would even notice the difference. I am also under the impression that with a Ported sub you are able to get lower HZ compared to a sealed sub but as a tradeoff you lose some base on the upper end at some point with a ported sub. My thought is that the 10.7 towers will make up for that loss. Also I have not picked out a receiver yet, which I will deal with at a later time. My main focus here is on the subs but if you have heard something in my setup that sound completely crazy feel free to speak up. Thank you.
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post #2 of 13 Old 07-06-2012, 07:33 AM
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Check out the 2011 thread linked in my signature - you can get a perspective from several people on the Epik Empire vs. the HSU VTF-15H.

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1335139/2011-kansas-city-subwoofer-meet-results/0_50

"Without subs it's just background music - with subs it's the main event!"

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post #3 of 13 Old 07-06-2012, 07:37 AM
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Then there is the two brother's $1000 sub roundup for more perspective.

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1313176/shootout-epik-empire-vs-hsu-vtf-15h-vs-cht-cs18-1-vs-rythmik-fv15-vs-ed-a7s-450/0_50

"Without subs it's just background music - with subs it's the main event!"

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post #4 of 13 Old 07-07-2012, 04:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok guys, I know that this is decision I have to make for myself but after carefully reading the Kansas city sub results and the two brother’s shootout, I am at a standstill between the Epik and the HSU. I’m sure I would probably love both individually but I can’t seem to make a decision. The Epik is about $79 cheaper (shipping included) than the HSU which is not an issue. The HSU is a little larger but has a better finish. The HSU seems to have more controls on the back (which to be honest I still don’t completely understand their roles) and the HSU is ported but allows me to plug the ports for a more sealed like performance. Most of my use is going to be for HT. If you were me, all things considered, which would you choose? Now I’m taking a vote.
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post #5 of 13 Old 07-07-2012, 05:55 AM
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I have a Hsu mk2 and will be upgrading my home theater system. The Hsu "15" is top of my list but sounds like picking between a Porsche and a Ferrari, both great!
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post #6 of 13 Old 07-07-2012, 07:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phillip6414 View Post

I am also under the impression that with a Ported sub you are able to get lower HZ compared to a sealed sub but as a tradeoff you lose some base on the upper end at some point with a ported sub.

Not quite. The Empire extends lower than the VTF-15H will in ported mode (not sure about sealed mode). Here is a frequency response graph of the Empire and one of the VTF-15H that shows the various effects of the Q adjustment. The difference is that the Empire has less SPL (volume) output compared to its peak at around 80hz. The VTF-15H is more consistent--"flat"--down to around 30hz. Ultimately, we want everything as flat as possible so that all bass frequencies will be consistently reproduced at the same relative volume. Your room will of course effect the frequency response of the sub, creating dips and peaks in the response. And then if you get a receiver with Audyssey MultiEQ or higher MultiEQ version (very much a good idea for good bass) it will attempt to automagically flatten out the frequency response of the sub in your room using subwoofer EQ filters.

You'll also notice in those graphs that both subs have plenty of useable upper frequency response.

As to which will be better? How the sub responds in your particular room will be the biggest factor as to which would perform better. My guess is that you will be very happy with either. The ID companies like Epik and HSU make very impressive subs.

Your questions are answered:
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post #7 of 13 Old 07-07-2012, 08:23 AM
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I am a very satisfied HSU VTF-15H customer. I got it for the flexibility and the support of the company. You just have to be sure that you have the room for the 15H if you get it... it is rather large
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post #8 of 13 Old 07-07-2012, 10:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you guys very much for your input. It sounds like the HSU may be a better choice. It is beautiful and sounds like it is more stable across the board. The Epik looks like it would be fun to have as well. Did either of you purchase the extended warranty for $100? Do you think it is necessary? $100 is not too bad of a price for an additional 3 years but based on HSU’s reputation would it be a waste of money? Also, I looked at the return policy for the HSU and it didn’t say anything about how the warranty service would be done. Do you send the sub back to HSU if it fails? It looks like Epik requires you to send the entire sub back which would cost a lot of $ in shipping.
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post #9 of 13 Old 07-07-2012, 10:54 PM - Thread Starter
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I’m feeling pretty good about my setup which it looks like will be Wharfedale Diamond 10.7 (Towers), 10CM (Center) and Diamond DFS (Surrounds) with an HSU VTF-15H Sub. I now need to research an AV Receiver. I’m still considering whether or not I need an Amp to power the front 3 speakers. I think I may wait until I get it all setup and see how it performs because I’m planning on getting a pretty good receiver that may be able to handle the equipment. Basically what I am saying is my budget for a receiver is around 1K so this may be sufficient to do the job. It looks liket the receiver is going to be the hardest thing to decide on, but nothing good is easy.
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post #10 of 13 Old 07-08-2012, 06:40 AM
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I have Wharfedale Sapphire towers and like them quite a lot! Your diamonds are a step up and should sound great! My buddies Diamond bookshelves always sounded fantastic!

As to receivers - The Denon 4311 is the current sweetheart around these parts. It costs slightly north of $1300 on sale. It has every modern AVR function and then some.

If you don't need the newest Audyssey (multi EQ XT32), and want to save yourself a LOAD of cash and still have an incredible receiver for about $300 instead of $1300 then consider picking up an Onkyo TX-805 used off ebay. It does all modern AVR functions except for 3d and network streaming. It has the second newest Audyssey. It has an exceptionally powerful amp section. For $300 you cannot do better. If you need 3d you can bypass the receiver, if you want network streaming you can buy a $75 roku. The amp is probably more powerful in the Onkyo than the Denon -- so aside from the newest variant of Audyssey (which is nice) - I'm not sure how it's worth the extra money to a bargain shopper.

I owned an 805 and loved it. If you ask me if the Denon 4311(which I played around with just this week at forum member bluesprings1's house) and the Onkyo 805 have $1000 in quality difference or updated gadgetry --- the clear answer IMO is no. I updated to the Onkyo TX-NR1007 when I saw it on sale at circuit city closeout a few years back for $675. Otherwise I'd still be sporting the 805.

http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volume_14_3/onkyo-tx-sr805-receiver-9-2006-part-1.html

"Without subs it's just background music - with subs it's the main event!"

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post #11 of 13 Old 07-12-2012, 11:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archaea View Post

I have Wharfedale Sapphire towers and like them quite a lot! Your diamonds are a step up and should sound great! My buddies Diamond bookshelves always sounded fantastic!
As to receivers - The Denon 4311 is the current sweetheart around these parts. It costs slightly north of $1300 on sale. It has every modern AVR function and then some.
If you don't need the newest Audyssey (multi EQ XT32), and want to save yourself a LOAD of cash and still have an incredible receiver for about $300 instead of $1300 then consider picking up an Onkyo TX-805 used off ebay. It does all modern AVR functions except for 3d and network streaming. It has the second newest Audyssey. It has an exceptionally powerful amp section. For $300 you cannot do better. If you need 3d you can bypass the receiver, if you want network streaming you can buy a $75 roku. The amp is probably more powerful in the Onkyo than the Denon -- so aside from the newest variant of Audyssey (which is nice) - I'm not sure how it's worth the extra money to a bargain shopper.
I owned an 805 and loved it. If you ask me if the Denon 4311(which I played around with just this week at forum member bluesprings1's house) and the Onkyo 805 have $1000 in quality difference or updated gadgetry --- the clear answer IMO is no. I updated to the Onkyo TX-NR1007 when I saw it on sale at circuit city closeout a few years back for $675. Otherwise I'd still be sporting the 805.
http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volume_14_3/onkyo-tx-sr805-receiver-9-2006-part-1.html
After looking at all my options and doing a ton of research, I have decided to go with the Denon 3312. It seems to be exactly what I am looking for. I will also be adding a 2 channel 300W AMP to the equation to power the towers. Thank you very much for the input.
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post #12 of 13 Old 07-12-2012, 11:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archaea View Post

Then there is the two brother's $1000 sub roundup for more perspective.
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1313176/shootout-epik-empire-vs-hsu-vtf-15h-vs-cht-cs18-1-vs-rythmik-fv15-vs-ed-a7s-450/0_50
Thank Archaea for this info (and everyone else that gave their input). The Kansas City Sub Meet and the Two Brother’s gave me a ton of info to help me make a decision. I have decided to go with the HSU VTF-15H. I’m really lucky because I live about an hour from their facility and will be able to demo the sub and throw it in the back of my truck and drive it home. This will save me somewhere around $130 in shipping costs, which is great because I am dropping around 4K on my entire system which is being built from the ground up. I don’t even have speaker wire. I decided on the HSU before I realized I could go pick it up, so this was a nice surprise.
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post #13 of 13 Old 07-13-2012, 05:28 AM
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save your money on the 300 watt main's amp. You don't need that IMO. You'll never be able to tell the difference. Or if you do end up buying that amp have several buddies and you test back and forth BLIND and you'll find you can't tell the difference by any stretch of the imagination at typical listening volumes. I tested the same on my Wharfedales with a couple of friends on a crown XLS-5000 amp with 1100 watts per channel into 8 ohms. I couldn't tell the difference to save my life between the crown and the Onkyo receiver when EQ was off on both units. Requiring upgraded amps for normal and typical hometheater use on typical loudspeakers is one of the biggest snake oil myths in this hobby IMO.
http://crownaudio.com/amp_htm/xls.htm

I've got lots of experience with friends discovering the same -- even at our subwoofer meets. The only way you need external amps is if you have really low sensitivity speakers (which you don't) or you want to drive something 3dB louder than you can now with your AVR.

Every doubling of power gives you 3dB. So lets say you get your AVR and you hook it up and at +2 on the AVR volume dial your tower speakers start sounding a bit compressed. With the upgraded amp you might hit +5 cleanly --- if your speakers can even take the additional power? I don't think the Wharfedale Diamonds can. Not worth it.....

I power my Wharfedale Sapphires SP-89 off my former Onkyo SR-805 and my current Onkyo TX-NR1007 perfectly adequately --- all the way to reference. (my receiver may have slightly more power - but Denon is no slouch) If you use a 80hz crossover, (which you will with your HSU sub) you likely won't need more power than that receiver can provide -- unless you either have a big room or need that additional 3dB (max) of headroom. The Wharfedale Diamond 10.7 towers are rated at 90dB sensitivity. That should be fine with an AVR.


If you do end up buying that amp - that fine -- to each his own. But I challenge you to take the blind testing to heart, and verify for yourself if you can actually tell the difference or if it's just placebo.

"Without subs it's just background music - with subs it's the main event!"

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