Budget Subwoofer Overload - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 32 Old 09-04-2012, 06:05 AM - Thread Starter
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This is driving me crazy. I've been upgrading my cheap Onkyo HT-S5400 HTiB 7.1 setup for the last couple of months. On a meager budget, I went all BIC DV series on the speakers and now I have come to the final pieace of my puzzle, the subwoofer.

However, I have mental freeze after weeks of reading reviews and comments, and I have no clue what to do now.

Before we get started, let me spell out my situation:

  • Meager budget, capped at around $350.
  • My room is big, open floor plan with kitchen and angled ceiling going from 10' to like 18'.
  • I already know that either a dual sub setup or a $1k single sub is needed but that's not gonna happen for quite a while so I need something now 'cause this Onkyo HTiB 10"-er is driving me nuts.
  • Musical accuracy and speed is as important to me as home theater performance, power, and low-end dbs.
  • I'm using the Onkyo TX-NR609, so while this version of Audessey will not EQ the sub, I do have a 5-band manual EQ for the sub.
  • With my room size, I really don't want to consider 8" or 10" drivers because the decreased cone area will make me paranoid.

    Haha...so if anyone still wants to help me with these challenging restrictions, that'd be great.

    Now, the subs I've looked at recently are:


    Lava SP12 ($338)
    BIC VK12 ($330)
    BIC PL200 ($279)
    Klipsch RW-12D ($299)
    Infinity PS312 ($397)

    This is driving me crazy! Trying to balance performance, range, SPL, and the unavoidable compromises of my price point seems to be impossible!

    I was leaning towards the PL200 originally...then the VK12...then the Klipsch RW-12D, but then the Lava began to intrigue me...

    If I had my way I'd get the HSU VTF-2 MK4, but it's too far north of my range.

    Can anyone help this poor bastard??eek.gif

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post #2 of 32 Old 09-04-2012, 07:14 AM
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How big is your room and where do you sit in relation to the display and proposed sub placement? Possibly, a nearfield sub placement could help getting over your size/size issue.

When are you looking to buy?

What kind of music do you listen to?

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post #3 of 32 Old 09-04-2012, 09:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikerret View Post

How big is your room and where do you sit in relation to the display and proposed sub placement? Possibly, a nearfield sub placement could help getting over your size/size issue.

When are you looking to buy?

What kind of music do you listen to?

Room is pretty big, considering the living room and kitchen are open. I measured it at like 35' x 18' IIRC.

I have a large sectional sofa about 10' back from the viewing area, with display, center channel and mains all within 10' of listening area. I basically used the couch to cordon off the viewing/listening area. Surrounds are on stands to each side of the long part of the "L" with rear surrounds about 9' high and 3' behind the couch. Sub is in front right corner, on other side of doorway.

Looking to buy within the next few weeks.

I listen to everything from Soundgarden, to Mozart, to Skrillex, to Moby.

The thing that bothers me about the lava is that one review stated there was a substantial drop off below 40hz while the review of PL200 stated it sounded strong down to mid/low 20's.

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post #4 of 32 Old 09-04-2012, 09:59 AM
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I haven't heard one, but there are very few bad things said about the PL-200. A buddy of mine was damn close to getting one, but got the Hsu STF-2, instead. He still wonders how the PL-200 would have compared (better & lower extension).

Your music selection is as eclectic as mine!

That is a massive room. I don't think any of the subs in your price range are going to do much for you unless it's right beside you.

From the limited reviews I have read, I would try the BIC PL-200. My buddy and I did a lot of research on it and it seems to be a hell of a contender for the price. However, I haven't heard any of the subs you have listed. I have heard the Infinity's brother the JBL! Studio Series S120Pii from years ago (12" 400 watts). It was a great sub. Another friend bought one new about ten years ago and it's still rnning strong and sounding GREAT. However, it was rated to 22 Hz, if I recollect correctly.

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post #5 of 32 Old 09-04-2012, 10:26 AM
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I borrowed my brother's DefTech Supercube, and liked how it performed for music and movies. He took it back, and I put the PL-200 in its place and have been underwhelmed. It just didn't hit as low as the supercube, and it felt flat to me in music. Some might say that's not a fair comparison. I probably would've been ignorantly happy if I hadn't heard the supercube when connected to my equipment, but I know what I'm missing. It got to the point where I've ordered the Outlaw LFM-1 EX with their current $599 sale.
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post #6 of 32 Old 09-04-2012, 11:17 AM
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Jamo 650 or klipsch rw12d.

butter and jelly please.
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post #7 of 32 Old 09-04-2012, 11:39 AM
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I would say wait for the Outlaw LFM-1 Plus to go on sale. Your room is going to eat any other sub alive. Maybe think about that Cadence 15" sub, I think that one is under $500.
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post #8 of 32 Old 09-04-2012, 11:41 AM
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Klipsch RW-12d . . . Below your price point at Newegg now.

Best bang for the buck in your price range. Just remove the front grill when you are hammering it low and hard . . . Grill rattles at high volume thumps . . . Looks nicer without the grill anyway . . . No big deal. Great for movies and music, for anyone on a tight budget looking for NIB.

Picked one up for my home office with La Scala fronts in a 7.1 setup. Blends nice.

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post #9 of 32 Old 09-04-2012, 12:08 PM
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The Plus is a good recommendation, but way above his budget listed. His most expensive sub listed is $400. The Plus used to go on sale for $499, but will likely be bumped to $549 based on the EX's $549 to $599 price bump during the last sale.

Yes, it is a step above the subs he listed, but the price reflects that increase in performance. Then, when you look at $500+ subs, there are many more to look at.

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post #10 of 32 Old 09-04-2012, 12:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfrey0118 View Post

Meager budget, capped at around $350.

nikerrert is correct; that room is too large for any one of those subs. You say the budget is "around" $350. What about $400 for a pair of BIC F12's? Not the most music subwoofer on the planet, but at least having two of them means the room probably won't swallow them whole.

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post #11 of 32 Old 09-04-2012, 05:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by JimWilson View Post

nikerrert is correct; that room is too large for any one of those subs. You say the budget is "around" $350. What about $400 for a pair of BIC F12's? Not the most music subwoofer on the planet, but at least having two of them means the room probably won't swallow them whole.

Yeah, it's just a pick your poison situation for me. If I was going to consider a dual sub setup, it would be one of the above I am considering and an additional of the same a few months later, at the earliest. In other words, if I'm going to do it in my price range, do it right, you know?

Maybe my room sucks for anything less than a $1,000 sub, but the fact is the status quo is unacceptable. If my room eats all my subs, it will still choke a little on a better sub, rather than swallowing this factory Onkyo whole as an appetizer.

Does anyone have info on the Lava? Does it really drop off badly below 40hz? That's a lot of low end suffering...the PL200 and RW-12D seem to be the front runners for me right now.

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post #12 of 32 Old 09-04-2012, 05:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfrey0118 View Post

Does anyone have info on the Lava? Does it really drop off badly below 40hz? That's a lot of low end suffering...the PL200 and RW-12D seem to be the front runners for me right now.

This review gives a good indication of how the Lava performs.

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post #13 of 32 Old 09-04-2012, 06:23 PM
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Klipsch RW-12D is better than BIC PL-200 of the subs you've mentioned.

but at a 400$ hard limit things change--- so if limited to only one klipsch vs two bic f12s.

I'd pick the bic f12 pair.

You aren't going to hit deep with a single sub < $500 anyway in a space that large, but the bic f12 subs will at least go loud and two subs will deliver smoother frequency response to low 30hz.

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post #14 of 32 Old 09-05-2012, 05:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by JimWilson View Post

This review gives a good indication of how the Lava performs.

Yeah, that review got me excited until I read the part about the drop off starting at 35hz. My DV64 towers can hit 35hz just fine on a sine wave test (they're rated to 29hz), why would I even need a sub that can't sound good lower than that? I'm reading through two Lava threads right now though, to see if I can catch any owners that talk about it sounding good in lower freqs...

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post #15 of 32 Old 09-05-2012, 12:30 PM
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It would still benefit your system to get a sub. Yeah, your towers can play down to 30 hz, but that is a hard load on your woofers. It limits their output for the entire frequency range by gobbling up bandwidth, and it causes distortion when they are pushed hard, which is what they will be when asked to play at the lowest parts of their tuning point. That being said, yeah, it will be a better value to get a sub that can play lower than your towers. You will probably have to look at the larger ported 12"s from Hsu, Outlaw, Rythmik, and SVS.
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post #16 of 32 Old 09-05-2012, 12:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

It would still benefit your system to get a sub. Yeah, your towers can play down to 30 hz, but that is a hard load on your woofers. It limits their output for the entire frequency range by gobbling up bandwidth, and it causes distortion when they are pushed hard, which is what they will be when asked to play at the lowest parts of their tuning point.

You are correct, I only mentioned that to backup my point about the Lava's low-end drop-off. With a sub, I cross the mains over at 60hz.
Quote:
That being said, yeah, it will be a better value to get a sub that can play lower than your towers. You will probably have to look at the larger ported 12"s from Hsu, Outlaw, Rythmik, and SVS.


Yeah, problem is they are outside my price range. As I stated in the OP, my dilemna is choosing between those I listed...nothing more, nothing less.

Incidentally, the final pieces (except for the sub) to my 7.1 upgrade are now complete! Today I mounted my DV62sis on stands as surrounds and moved the 52sis onto the wall mounts as rear surrounds, retiring the last of the Onkyo satellites. So as it stands my budget system is as follows:

Mains: BIC Venturi DV64 towers
Center: BIC Venturi DV-62CLRS
Surround: BIC Venturi DV62si
Rear Surround: BIC Venturi DV52sib
Subwoofer: ?????

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post #17 of 32 Old 09-05-2012, 02:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

It would still benefit your system to get a sub. Yeah, your towers can play down to 30 hz, but that is a hard load on your woofers. It limits their output for the entire frequency range by gobbling up bandwidth, and it causes distortion when they are pushed hard, which is what they will be when asked to play at the lowest parts of their tuning point. That being said, yeah, it will be a better value to get a sub that can play lower than your towers. You will probably have to look at the larger ported 12"s from Hsu, Outlaw, Rythmik, and SVS.

This bggest issue without a sub is all the data sent in the .1 channel. It only goes to the sub and without the sub, it won't be heard.

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post #18 of 32 Old 09-05-2012, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by nikerret View Post

This bggest issue without a sub is all the data sent in the .1 channel. It only goes to the sub and without the sub, it won't be heard.

You would still get the information from that channel, as long as you set your speakers to run full range.
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post #19 of 32 Old 09-05-2012, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

You would still get the information from that channel, as long as you set your speakers to run full range.

That isn't my undertanding. I always was under the impression the .1 channel coulnd't be delivered in any way other than through the .1 channel.

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post #20 of 32 Old 09-05-2012, 02:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by nikerret View Post

That isn't my undertanding. I always was under the impression the .1 channel coulnd't be delivered in any way other than through the .1 channel.

For .1 content, you'd be right but for all other LF content in the sub <120Hz range, it can go where ever it's channeled to go. With today's bass management software, via a LPF, if you want, the software will steer LF to the sub, much like a bus lane having all passengerless vehicles, steered towards the bus only lane.
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post #21 of 32 Old 09-05-2012, 03:03 PM
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I was referring to the .1 on BD's, DVD's, etc.

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post #22 of 32 Old 09-05-2012, 03:30 PM
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Check out the Premier Acoustic PA-150. It's $375 from Amazon ATM but probably less elsewhere. It will give you the most output for the $$ above 30hz. Check out the reviews.

Even at $1K you can probably forget about meaningful low or sub 20hz output anyway with a room that big unless you have near field placement.

The Cadence CSX12 has a lot of output as well. Usually on sale for $299.

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post #23 of 32 Old 09-05-2012, 03:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikerret View Post

I was referring to the .1 on BD's, DVD's, etc.
It depends on the receiver. With Pioneer and Onkyo, if you set the subwoofer to "No" in the receiver's setup and Mains to Large, then the LFE (.1) will be routed to the mains. I think Marantz doesn't reroute the LFE. I'm not sure about other receiver brands.
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post #24 of 32 Old 09-05-2012, 04:26 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikerret View Post

I was referring to the .1 on BD's, DVD's, etc.

It's all the same. The .1 channel content, no matter if coming from a DVD or a Blu-ray disk, subwoofer plugged in or not, all .1 content is ported to the .1 channel as that's what the .1 channel is, a separate information channel. Other content, separate of the LFE channel or the .1 channel can be part of other channel content and via bass management (LPF), one can choose to steer or not steer the content to the subwoofer. These signals are not mutually exclusive to the LFE or the .1 channel.

FWIW, I'm a Marantz kind of guy. If no subwoofer, fronts are automatically set to large. Irrespective, LFE is a single channel of information, separate from information ported to other channels. If I've done a terrible job of explaining the differences, my apologies.

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post #25 of 32 Old 09-05-2012, 04:42 PM
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desertdome is correct...it all depends on the AVR. Most that will allow you to set a separate sub LFE crossover will send all that info to the sub no matter what. But in my Yamaha you only get one crossover for everything, and it handles the crossover for ALL channels, including the .1, so whatever the sub doesn't get is redirected to the mains. (so you lose nothing by a lower crossover).

As to the OP original question, I don't think you ever stated how loudly you listen. If that headroom is not issue, it makes a budget sub much more acceptable. According to Josh Ricci
the PL200 can hit 96db @ 25hz, and is down to 84db @ 20hz. Those were outdoor ground plane, so worst case scenario with no room gain. That is about as much as you can expect for a sub in your price range, I don't think you'll find anything with much more output. We don't have apples to apples output data on the RW12-D, but from the one guy who has owned both he says they are VERY similar, and in his room the 12-D offers a slighter flatter overall unequalized FR. To maximize whichever you choose in your room, you should give corner loading a try. It will get you a few extra db and probably reinforce the lower frequencies also.
Of those you listed, the Klipsch will probably be your best bet for both output and the smoothest possible response in a large room. In the future adding a second along with bass EQ will probably be very cost effective way of making a major upgrade. (if a AVR with the better bass EQ is out of your price range, try the DSPeaker Anti-mode which can be found new for $350). Just as a testimony, I'm currently running 5 Bic FH-6's with 2 PL200s corner loaded in a 3500 cubic ft room with the Anti-mode and I'm flat down to 22hz with no major nulls. (before EQ I had bad 40 - 60 - 80 peaks with the 40hz being huge)...so great performance can be had on a budget even in larger rooms. Of course, I'm not going for any SPL championship. I usually listen to music @ -30db and movies @ - 20 on my Yamaha, but I have pushed it much louder and have never found the limit of my equipment before I find the limit of what I can stand.
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post #26 of 32 Old 09-05-2012, 09:59 PM
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Haveyou given any thought to building your own? A $200 driver and $150 amp would put you in the same category as the $1k internet direct subs. Honestly I think that may be the only way you'll notice much of a difference in a space that large. I have heard the onkyo htib subs and there wasn't much of a difference between them and a dual 8" klh sub I had that was on par with the subs your looking at. The only noticable difference to me was that I had a little more extension compared to the onkyo sub my cousin had.

I decided to buy a Dayton 15"rshf and am blown away by the difference in every aspect, and I haven't even put it in a permanent box yet. I had enough scrap plywood laying around to build a 24" sealed cube for it temporarily until I decide on a permanent design and amp to mate it with. I have less than $175 invested in it so far and it blows away the dual ported 8" box I had before.
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post #27 of 32 Old 09-06-2012, 05:33 AM
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Jdeaston,

That is absurd.

Have you heard a typical 1000 internet direct subwoofer like the hsu vtf-15h?

No, a 8" onkyo htib sub is in absolutely no way relevant to any $1000 I.D. sub.

Having heard quite a few subs myself including a couple diy projects like you suggest, I'd wager it would take two of the typical inexpensive subs like you suggest to hit the $1k I.D. subs preformance levels. Don't forget about box cost, and finish cost as adds to the $350 single price you quoted.

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post #28 of 32 Old 09-06-2012, 11:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archaea View Post

Jdeaston,
That is absurd.
Have you heard a typical 1000 internet direct subwoofer like the hsu vtf-15h?
No, a 8" onkyo htib sub is in absolutely no way relevant to any $1000 I.D. sub.
Having heard quite a few subs myself including a couple diy projects like you suggest, I'd wager it would take two of the typical inexpensive subs like you suggest to hit the $1k I.D. subs preformance levels. Don't forget about box cost, and finish cost as adds to the $350 single price you quoted.


My post may have been a bit confusing, it was late last night and I was a bit tired. But I wasn't trying to compare a 10" onkyo sub to 1k ID subs. I was comparing the onkyo subs with an old klh dual 8" box I used to use. There wasn't a very noticable difference between those two subs. However there was a huge difference between my old klh and DIY 15" Dayton sub.

Im not saying my DIY sub is equal to a vtf-15 as I have not heard one. I have compared it to a 2700 watt sunfire truesub in the same room and was very impressed with the Dayton considering I don't have it in an optimal box and amp yet. Mind you I don't have a way to measure, so any comparison is done by ear. However, when modeled in a proper box with a good amp, the Dayton RSHF and Titanic subs compare favorably with the Hsu and svs subs in both output and extension. Considering the OP's budget, going the DIY route makes a lot of sense if he has any woodworking skills at all. If you have a budget less than $500, the only way to get 100+ db of output flat to 20hz is by building it yourself.
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post #29 of 32 Old 09-06-2012, 03:20 PM
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This thread is a pretty good indicator of how a budget sub pair like the Klipsch RW-12D at $600, compares against a pair of budget oriented DIY $200 drivers in sealed 3.5' enclosures with a Inuke DSP 3000 amp powering it. Total DIY cost including $400 Inuke amp was about $1k as compared to $600 for the Klipsch pair.

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1426307/klipsch-rw-12d-pair-vs-jamo-sub-650-pair-vs-dayton-audio-titanic-mk-iii-sealed-sub-pair-subwoofer-g2g/0_20
The room we utilized was small and had LOTS of room gain.

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post #30 of 32 Old 09-06-2012, 04:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDEaston View Post

My post may have been a bit confusing, it was late last night and I was a bit tired. But I wasn't trying to compare a 10" onkyo sub to 1k ID subs. I was comparing the onkyo subs with an old klh dual 8" box I used to use. There wasn't a very noticable difference between those two subs. However there was a huge difference between my old klh and DIY 15" Dayton sub.

Im not saying my DIY sub is equal to a vtf-15 as I have not heard one. I have compared it to a 2700 watt sunfire truesub in the same room and was very impressed with the Dayton considering I don't have it in an optimal box and amp yet. Mind you I don't have a way to measure, so any comparison is done by ear. However, when modeled in a proper box with a good amp, the Dayton RSHF and Titanic subs compare favorably with the Hsu and svs subs in both output and extension. Considering the OP's budget, going the DIY route makes a lot of sense if he has any woodworking skills at all. If you have a budget less than $500, the only way to get 100+ db of output flat to 20hz is by building it yourself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Archaea View Post

This thread is a pretty good indicator of how a budget sub pair like the Klipsch RW-12D at $600, compares against a pair of budget oriented DIY $200 drivers in sealed 3.5' enclosures with a Inuke DSP 3000 amp powering it. Total DIY cost including $400 Inuke amp was about $1k as compared to $600 for the Klipsch pair.

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1426307/klipsch-rw-12d-pair-vs-jamo-sub-650-pair-vs-dayton-audio-titanic-mk-iii-sealed-sub-pair-subwoofer-g2g/0_20
The room we utilized was small and had LOTS of room gain.

OK you guys are totalling hijacking my thread. If it ain't one of the the subs I posted in the OP, please don't clutter this up, I am trying to make a decision and I need input.

Incidentally, it looks like I've narrowed it down to the Klipsch RW-12D or Lava LSP12.

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