OK, I need help making a decision, compact subwoofer for 3000^3 room. - AVS Forum
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Old 09-07-2012, 11:31 PM - Thread Starter
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After convincing myself for the past couple of months that somehow I was going to make an SVS PB12-Plus part of my future, I've wracked my brain but there is simply no way it is going to fit into my room without major furniture re-arranging (we're talking building new shelves and all sorts of other shenanigans) and even if I get that ambitious there is almost no way my wife is going to go for it.

My room measures about 17' x 20' x 9' however it adjoins other rooms in the house, it is a large space. The room has an unusual layout (office behind the entertainment area, kitchen behind and foyer/dining area off to the side) that makes sub placement very difficult.

Currently in this room tucked under an end table is an SVS SB12-Plus. The SVS SB12-Plus is simply outmatched by the size of this room. I used to (in an older home) have an SVS PC12 and that thing was a monster.... I get nowhere even close to the output from the SB12-Plus, and it's also worth noting that I don't listen at reference levels.... probably listen at 75-90dB (or less) most of the time.

The space that I have lined up for a potential replacement is behind a large sectional, along the side of the room, and measures about 20" x 19" x 20".... I had hoped to move things around and basically force a PB12-Plus into this space but it's simply not going to happen, for one thing it will stick out into the room like a sore thumb and my wife isn't about to see thousands of dollars of living room furniture look like an afterthought for a huge sub.

I had pretty much given up when I stumbled across the recently announced SVS SB13-Ultra. I noticed that a couple of the reviewers claimed that at reasonable listening levels (below ref) it was doing as well as a PB12 in sealed mode and other higher performance subs.

I also noted that for comparison purposes it was mentioned that the HSU ULS-15 and the Rythmik F15HP were also excellent compact offerings. From what I can tell any of these should fit into my space.

So, here's the question. Which "should" be the best? I realize that almost no one here would have auditioned several of these subs but I'm hoping someone has at least some first hand recommendations to make. We listen to 90% TV and movies with 10% music listening. I don't like muddy or mushy/boomy bass but I definitely love feeling the low end of a good movie soundtrack when I am in the mood to "treat" myself.

The rest of the system components consist of an Onkyo 818 (XT32 single sub) and Boston reference center and mains with some ceiling installed cambridge rears... There's a 65" Panasonic Plasma also (not that it matters).

Can anyone help steer me in the right direction? Cost is not the principal concern if one subwoofer is head and shoulders over the others.... it should hopefully go without saying that whatever I choose needs to be noticeably better than the PB12-Plus it would be replacing although theoretically I could keep the PB12-Plus and run it in conjunction with another sub.

Would love to hear thoughts from the experts, thanks.
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Old 09-07-2012, 11:39 PM
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The F15HP is a servo design with excellent performance. Rythmik is also developing a new deual-8" that could be interesting to you -- check near the end of the Rythmik thread.

"After silence, that which best expresses the inexpressible, is music" - Aldous Huxley
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Old 09-07-2012, 11:51 PM - Thread Starter
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The FH15P is probably right on the ragged edge of what will fit, I will actually have to remeasure to verify this. Is it your suspicion that the lower cost FH-15P with its 600 watt direct servo drive and larger driver should outperform the SB13-Ultra with the smaller driver and 1000 watt sledge amp?

I find the spec sheets for the SVS subs very easy to read, the one for the Rhythmik not-so-much.

I don't think that the dual 8" Rhythmik will work for me... for one it will initially only be a kit, second it looks like it will be too big, third, Rhythmik says that it is anticipated they will be deployed in pairs, I really don't have room for two subs, fitting one is hard enough.
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Old 09-08-2012, 06:09 AM
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Is 20" your height restriction? Or can you stack two?

 

My DIY Subs ... http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1233892

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Old 09-08-2012, 10:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by pbc View Post

Is 20" your height restriction? Or can you stack two?

No room to stack two of them. I could go as high as 27" but would prefer not to (it would be flush with some low bookshelves at that point). I re-measured and the maximum footprint is 23" (d) x 18" (w) x 27" (h) but we would like to keep it as small within that constraint as possible. I could probably shoot a photo of that area to better explain.
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Old 09-08-2012, 12:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Here's the room layout which might help to understand the situation better;

DSC00854-1.jpg 271k .jpg file
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Old 09-10-2012, 08:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Bump, still looking for input.
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Old 09-10-2012, 09:36 AM
 
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Originally Posted by jmpage2 View Post

I really don't have room for two subs, fitting one is hard enough.
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Bump, still looking for input.

Working with you, let's see what you posted earlier: "I don't like muddy or mushy/boomy bass...."

And then you post: "I really don't have room for two subs, fitting one is hard enough."

The reason I highlight these comments of yours is, with a single sub, you're setting yourself up for your stated disappointment.

I'd encourage you to get two 10" subs as opposed to one 15" sub so as to best prevent "muddy or mushy/boomy bass..."

In your OP you left this comment: "Cost is not the principal concern if one subwoofer is head and shoulders over the others...."

Working with you and this comment, you might find a solution in the pricey Martin Logan, Depth i. Used you can find them on AudiogoN for about $1,300.00 and one of these should solve your need for sound quality, WAF and fit in your stated location; the best of all worlds.

Hope the above gives you some ideas.
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Old 09-10-2012, 10:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BeeMan458 View Post

Working with you, let's see what you posted earlier: "I don't like muddy or mushy/boomy bass...."
And then you post: "I really don't have room for two subs, fitting one is hard enough."
The reason I highlight these comments of yours is, with a single sub, you're setting yourself up for your stated disappointment.
I'd encourage you to get two 10" subs as opposed to one 15" sub so as to best prevent "muddy or mushy/boomy bass..."
In your OP you left this comment: "Cost is not the principal concern if one subwoofer is head and shoulders over the others...."
Working with you and this comment, you might find a solution in the pricey Martin Logan, Depth i. Used you can find them on AudiogoN for about $1,300.00 and one of these should solve your need for sound quality, WAF and fit in your stated location; the best of all worlds.
Hope the above gives you some ideas.

I'm not trying to be dismissive of your comments. Clearly others have gotten good performance in their large rooms with smaller vented or even sealed subs. The SB13-ultra is intriguing because at least one of the early reviewers at audioholics commented that in his fairly large area the SB13-ultra performed similarly (or better) than his PC13-ultra... if I knew I could get similar performance from a single SB13-ultra to what I got from my old PC12-plus that I had to get rid of when I bought my current home then I would pull the trigger immediately.

The reason for my hesitation is that the current SB12-plus that I have is completely under-whelming in my area so I'm nervous about going with another sealed cabinet design.

You point out that I will be disappointed, that I should go with two subs (even though I've explained why this is not possible) and you recommend a sub like the ML Depth.i which is almost never, ever mentioned at AVS and I don't see it reviewed in any sub shootouts that compare the more well regarded subs from SVS, HSU, etc.

I know from previous subwoofer purchase experience that the best bang for the bucket is obtained by building my own sub (not going to do that) or going with an internet direct company as the subs that they sell will usually outperform "retail" class subs that cost 50% to 100% more.

So, basically what I am trying to find out is, will I get good, below reference level movie involvement from ANY of the smaller ported or sealed designs that will fit into the 20" x 20" x 20" space I have available for a new sub? Especially considering that I expect to get almost no room gain in the location I will be putting it?

Honestly based on the level of feedback I've gotten in this thread it is becoming apparent to me that I'm simply going to have to start purchasing subs and auditioning them, and dealing with the return shipping charges if they don't work out.
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Old 09-10-2012, 10:51 AM
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Have you experimented with placement / done a sub crawl? Just curious, given that you're running your SB12-Plus nearfield - placement which is often recommended for smaller subs in larger rooms - and you find the performance to be disappointing.
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:01 AM
 
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Originally Posted by jmpage2 View Post

I'm not trying to be dismissive of your comments.

Let's see what you posted: "Bump, still looking for input."

It's to your above request regarding "still looking for input." that I posted. And your response to my thoughtfulness was:

"I'm not trying to be dismissive of your comments. Clearly others have gotten good performance in their large rooms with smaller vented or even sealed subs."

Based on your below comment, my recommendation then becomes, go with what they recommend or what your wife will allow.

wink.gif

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Old 09-10-2012, 11:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by eljaycanuck View Post

Have you experimented with placement / done a sub crawl? Just curious, given that you're running your SB12-Plus nearfield - placement which is often recommended for smaller subs in larger rooms - and you find the performance to be disappointing.

My wife dictates where the sub can be located which is why I provided a photo and diagram of the options. I actually tried to convince her to simply replace the end table which the SB12 is under with a sub that would be roughly the same size (PB12-plus, etc) and she vetoed that pretty quickly.

I'm fairly envious of you guys who can put your gear wherever you want or build dedicated listening rooms... those aren't options for me.
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:08 AM
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My wife dictates where the sub can be located which is why I provided a photo and diagram of the options. ... I'm fairly envious of you guys who can put your gear wherever you want or build dedicated listening rooms... those aren't options for me.
OK, I'll take this to mean that you at least tried placing the SB12-Plus in the spot you have "scoped out for a new sub" and it just didn't work out there, either. Bummer.
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:14 AM
 
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Originally Posted by jmpage2 View Post

Here's the room layout which might help to understand the situation better;

DSC00854-1.jpg 271k .jpg file

Based on your provided image, the cherry wood (or stained), Martin Logan, Depth i will blend nicely with the decor.

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Old 09-10-2012, 11:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by eljaycanuck View Post

OK, I'll take this to mean that you at least tried placing the SB12-Plus in the spot you have "scoped out for a new sub" and it just didn't work out there, either. Bummer.

I think the problem that the SB12-Plus has is simply one of physics. It can't move enough air to pressurize the very large 3300+ square foot space. I don't know if, in this regard the SB13 would be any better. It does have a larger higher excursion driver and a much better amplifier, so I suppose that it is possible.
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BeeMan458 View Post

Based on your provided image, the cherry wood (or stained), Martin Logan, Depth i will blend nicely with the decor.
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I would have to do more research I know virtually nothing about the ML depth i and have seen pretty much zero reviews here that compare it to other subs in a similar price range. My original plan was to try to shoehorn a PB12-plus in and if I could have gotten one in cherry then I probably could have gotten the okay on it. My wife has more or less vetoed a large black box against that wall.

Option B is to convince her to eliminate the bookshelves, put a nice piece of artwork in with a couple of shelves below it and then I might have more latitude in putting something along the wall.
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:40 AM
 
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I would have to do more research I know virtually nothing about the ML depth i and have seen pretty much zero reviews here that compare it to other subs in a similar price range. My original plan was to try to shoehorn a PB12-plus in and if I could have gotten one in cherry then I probably could have gotten the okay on it. My wife has more or less vetoed a large black box against that wall.
Option B is to convince her to eliminate the bookshelves, put a nice piece of artwork in with a couple of shelves below it and then I might have more latitude in putting something along the wall.

The only subwoofer I've found similar to the Martin Logan, Depth i is a Paradigm, Signature, Sub 2 and as we all have to make assumptions in order to get out of bed in the morning, dollar to doughnuts, I'm betting the sound signature will be close as Martin Logan is a well respected speaker manufacture and don't put out junk upper-end speakers.

E%20sub%202%20spectrogram.jpg

That is the sweetest spectrograph I've seen but at $9k, it better be. As to single subs vs dual subs, it's well discussed the benefit of two subs being better than one sub for the purpose of smoothing out boomy, mushy, muddy bass problems that are created by a single sub solution.

As to WAF in conventional sub designs, Hsu is all over that with their rosewood veneers.

This unit would blend nicely when placed to the left of the sofa table and pretty much would visually disappear as a functional subwoofer when a doily and pretty blue vase are placed on top of the sub. Hsu has a well respected name as an ID subwoofer product line provider. And looking at your room image, there's enough room for a pair of Hsu subs on either side of the sofa table/bookshelf. Subs are a necessary part of the home theater experience but subs are not well know for playing and getting along well with the rest of the living room furniture; low WAF. Either a Hsu or Martin Logan, Depth i will give you what you want; "More power Scottie!", yet sooth the savage nature of the (Get that thing out of here!) wife factor.

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Old 09-10-2012, 11:44 AM
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I think the lack of comments is because you are in an impossible position...which I think you already know. The number 1 key to getting good sound out of any sub is placement, and that means no matter what sub you get, it is likely to disappoint if you cannot place it correctly. There are a couple of mini subs that might work for you in other other places your wife is likely to approve. Keep in mind, you are not going to get anything below 20hz with something like the sunfire True Sub, but you can fit those little suckers in almost any corner and hide them away. It looks like one would fit next to where you have your equipment behind what I think is a speaker (kinda hard to see everything clearly from that angle) and one could fit underneath the corner shelf where the wicker basket is now (of course you would have to measure to make sure, but they are basically a 12" cube that works best in a corner) http://www.sunfire.com/productdetail.asp?id=9 .
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:44 AM - Thread Starter
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I had not thought about putting a sub on each side of the book cases, but that might be possible (the bookcases are only about 12-15" deep so I can't have a sub that sticks too far out or I will get shot, the larger HSU is a non starter, but I might be able to go with their next size down). I have emailed Ed at SVS on his thoughts about two PB-12 Plus vs a single SB13-plus to see what he has to say about it.
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:45 AM
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I forgot to ask...are you using any sub EQ? Assuming you are not sitting in a null, that might help a lot also...
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:49 AM
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Could you lay a cylinder sub on its side behind the couch? I can't tell if the couch has enough of a lean at the top to get you that room at the bottom...if not maybe you could get approval to bring it out a few inches from the wall....
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Could you lay a cylinder sub on its side behind the couch? I can't tell if the couch has enough of a lean at the top to get you that room at the bottom...if not maybe you could get approval to bring it out a few inches from the wall....

The couch/sectional is a four piece monster that is right up against the wall, there is not enough room to move it out the 18" from the wall that would be needed, and if that were an option then I would probably simply go with a ported sub.

I am liking the option of trying to convince her to put "matched" subs on either end of the book cases. This might make it less of an eyesore if there was a single sub on the one side that sticks out farther then the end of the book case.

The thing that really pisses me off about this whole situation is that she had okay'd the placement of the SVS PB12-plus behind the sofa next to the bookcase (on the side towards the wall) but the catch was she okayed it in the blonde oak/maple color since it then more closely matched the floors. Then SVS sold the only one they had from their outlet store and I was back to square one.

I guess another option is the aforementioned purchasing of some new artwork and removal of the cube shelves in which case I can probably get her to go along with putting a larger sub along that wall as long as there is a shelf immediately above it to somewhat hide the subwoofer grotesquery.
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:58 AM - Thread Starter
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I forgot to ask...are you using any sub EQ? Assuming you are not sitting in a null, that might help a lot also...

I have XT32 in an Onkyo 818.
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Old 09-10-2012, 12:07 PM
 
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I had not thought about putting a sub on each side of the book cases, but that might be possible (the bookcases are only about 12-15" deep so I can't have a sub that sticks too far out or I will get shot, the larger HSU is a non starter, but I might be able to go with their next size down).

You can always pull the bookcase away from the sofa a couple of inches and hang a comforter over the back of the sofa to help close the newly created gap.

Oooooooor, you can check out the Martin Logan, Depth i in dark cherry. tongue.gif

depth_i_dark_cherry.jpg

Dimensions

17.9" × 17.1" × 16.5"
(45.4cm × 43.5cm × 41.8cm)

I want a pair of Martin Logan, Depth i but budget wise, I see myself choosing a pair of SVS, PB12-NSD subs for a 3,500^3ft room. In our case, money is an object. In our case, I have a wife willing to work with me on issues of this kind but if I were in your shoes, which I'm clearly not, I'd be looking at a Depth i.
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Old 09-10-2012, 12:09 PM
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I don't know if you saw my post about Sunfire subs above (I think it probably was missed in my triple post), but that is probably the only option that will be able to be placed where it needs to be to give you great bass and work with WAF. They have several models in that line, so find what will work best within your budget.
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Old 09-10-2012, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Audiophile2k View Post

I don't know if you saw my post about Sunfire subs above (I think it probably was missed in my triple post), but that is probably the only option that will be able to be placed where it needs to be to give you great bass and work with WAF. They have several models in that line, so find what will work best within your budget.

If the current PB12-plus does not work I am very skeptical about the Sunfire. I might opt to sell my SB12-plus and put a pair of newer generation SB12s in, one on each side of the book case and see how that works out. Still curious if a single HSU ULS-15 or SVS SB13 would work better. One advantage of the HSU is that I can get it in wood trim.
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Old 09-10-2012, 12:52 PM
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You are right that the Sunfire won't be a better sub, but it CAN be placed where it needs to be placed, and that will make all the difference. You should experiment with your current sub in all the possible wife approved spots. If none of those yield the results you are after, you will not gain anything from putting a different sub in another bad spot. As I said before, you can have the greatest sub ever made, but if it is placed poorly there is little chance you'll be happy with it.
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Old 09-10-2012, 08:09 PM
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Will wifey allow you to cut a hole in the floor and maybe install some awesome IB setup? Then she wouldn't have to look at it at all. Thought about something like the Seaton Submersive to save space but offer great output and performance?

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Old 09-10-2012, 09:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Cut a hole in the floor? Ha ha. Good one.
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Old 09-12-2012, 08:32 AM - Thread Starter
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OK, I've talked to Chad at Epik and I might have a solution. I would run a dual subwoofer setup, with one Epik Empire placed in the "new" sub location and an Epik Legend placed where the older SVS sub currently is. In both cases the subs would "just fit" with grills removed.

In the case of the Empire, It will be tucked in behind the sofa and it will end up sitting with one foot peg directly on top of a forced air duct. As I've said before, this room is an F'ing sub placement nightmare. Are there any specific issues with doing this? My primary concern is either bending/destroying the sub grate under the weight of the sub, or having issues with the sub performance or rattling due to the placement over the grate. I could remove the grate completely, but then one of the feet of the sub would likely be swallowed up into the grate hole.

I will also have the challenge of tuning the dual subs. My onkyo with XT32 has dual sub output but does not have sub-eq tuning for each sub individually.
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