Requesting help -- another "budget subwoofer -- which is best for my room/setup" question...(and I'm following the "read before posting thread" rules! :) ) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 30 Old 09-18-2012, 08:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi all --

When I began my theater project over 2 years ago, NEVER did I think a SUBWOOFER was going to be such an integral, tough-to-select part of my theater! Now that I'm almost finished, though, researching this topic has both shocked, and overwhelmed me.

I have tried to read some information, but my head is spinning. I see lots of folks asking "which sub should I get" questions, but I'd like some specific advice for my setup.

Here is a drawing of my room, with dimensions:

theater.jpg 56k .jpg file

I will answer the questions in the "please read before posting" subwoofer thread...

1. My budget? AS LOW AS POSSIBLE, but definitely $250 or under
2. Size requirement? I can fit a sub up to roughly 18" wide, high, and deep.
3. Room dimensions? The theater portion of this space (which excludes the hallway and closets external to the main room) is roughly 255 sq. ft. -- and roughly 2000 cu. ft.
4. Primary uses? 90% Theater (of which 75% will be sports viewing, and 25% movie viewing), 8% Wii, 2% Music
5. Listening habits? NO NEED to bring the house down. I'd simply like to have a "movie theater-like" experience, able to enjoy all the LFE effects included in the soundtrack.
6. Appearance requirements? Basically none
7. Time frame? Probably anytime from now to about 6 weeks from now (when the theater should be finished).

Bottom line, I've never had a sub before; I have a 5.0 setup in my living room, using an old Pioneer Dolby Pro-Logic receiver which -- until my wife forced me to get bookshelves smile.gif -- was powering speakers which included 2 Pioneer front floor speakers with 12" woofers. Those 12" woofers on my L and R fronts are all the bass I'm used to (and obviously, I get even less, now, with the bookshelf fronts).

Anyway, I am way over budget on this project, and unfortunately need to do this as cheaply as possible -- BUT, I don't want a piece of junk. I'd like the best possible sub for my situation, able to reproduce the best, most accurate low frequency movie effects, at the absolute lowest possible price. I would consider used, refurbished, closeout -- anything to get me there (except DIY -- I don't want to tackle that as I don't have the time to research it to the level I'd need to feel comforable). I don't care about blowing my windows out and waking up the neighbors; as a matter of fact, my room does not have the best sound isolation to begin with, so many times I won't be playing at high volume levels anyway. I simply want to enjoy a "theater-like" atmosphere when watching Blu-Ray/DVD movies, able to fully enjoy the soundtracks.

My other speakers will, 90% sure, be Fluance AVHTB+ speakers (unless someone suggests a better 7.0 setup, used or otherwise, at the same price)

http://www.fluance.com/fluance-avhtb-avsssingle-2pack-7-0-system.html

All of these speakers will be powered by a Pioneer Elite VSX-21TXH.

I'm not sure yet on a Blu-Ray player (I'd take suggestions on a decent budget Blu-Ray player, too! smile.gif ).

I will be using a Mitsubishi HC-3800 projector, a 92" DIY screen, and seating row one at roughly 9 to 10', and row two at roughly 14-15'.

I have seen plenty of talk about the BIC America F-12 (which was, I guess, formerly the H-100), and I've seen some talk about the Energy S10.3 -- either of which can be had, new, for around $200 shipped. I don't know whether these would be considered among the best for my situation, or not. Any and all advice would be appreciated.

Thanks!

Steve

P.S. Another option could be a Fluance sub, to match my system, but not sure if that's the best sub for my situation, or not, given the $250 price tag and the fact that the other two subs I mentioned are less expensive, and perhaps higher quality?
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post #2 of 30 Old 09-19-2012, 06:25 AM
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For $250 or less on a brand-new sub, you're not likely to get "accurate low frequency movie effects" and "a 'theater-like' atmosphere" in a 2000+ cu.ft. room.

That being said:
- The Energy S10.3 is a great little sub for ~$200. The Klipsch RW-12d is a well-regarded sub for ~$300.
- If you can find a gently-used SVS PB10-NSD for ~$300, jump all over that. IMO, that sub WILL give you what you're looking for. (I used to own one, and it was a great sub!)
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post #3 of 30 Old 09-19-2012, 06:49 AM
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Agreed. The S10.3 or RW-12d would be your best choices, and they will sound very good. But don't expect to get great movie theater bass out a sub in your budget range.

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post #4 of 30 Old 09-19-2012, 01:09 PM - Thread Starter
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OK guys -- neither of the two of you appear to be fans of the BIC F-12; interesting, as I have read where alot of folks here have some good things to say about those subs.

On the S10.3 and RW-12d, I can get the s10.3 for $200; can't find an RW-12d under $300.

You both said something I would like to ask further questions about...
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

But don't expect to get great movie theater bass out a sub in your budget range.
Quote:
Originally Posted by eljaycanuck View Post

For $250 or less on a brand-new sub, you're not likely to get "accurate low frequency movie effects" and "a 'theater-like' atmosphere" in a 2000+ cu.ft. room.

Hmm...you both say I won't get what I'm looking for. But, eljay -- you also said that the SVS PB-10 NSD will give me what I'm looking for.

Hmm...my question is, what will I get from the BIC F-12? If it won't be a good theater-like experience, what would it give me? Would it give me enough until I can afford an upgrade?

FWIW -- I cannot find an SVS PB-10 for sale right now, and it's too big for the space I have. (I need the dimensions to be less than 18" deep, 18" wide, and 18" high.)

(by the way, looking at the S10.3, it would BARELY fit, depth-wise, but is it correct that it does not have a LFE input?)

Steve
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post #5 of 30 Old 09-19-2012, 01:27 PM
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... neither of the two of you appear to be fans of the BIC F-12 ...
It's not a matter of not being a fan - I just happen not to know anything about the F-12.
Quote:
... eljay -- you also said that the SVS PB-10 NSD will give me what I'm looking for.
Hmm...my question is, what will I get from the BIC F-12?
See my comment above. smile.gif
Quote:
... [the PB10-NSD is] too big for the space I have.
I overlooked the dimension requirements - sorry about that. Anyway, it's too bad a PB10-NSD won't fit. It's a great sub. cool.gif
Quote:
(by the way, looking at the S10.3 ... but is it correct that it does not have a LFE input?)
The S10.3 does have an LFE input:
- plug the cable into "SUB IN"; and
- set the "X-OVER MODE" to "B - CROSSOVER BY-PASSED".
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post #6 of 30 Old 09-19-2012, 01:42 PM
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The F12 is likely to play a little louder, but will not be as accurate as the 10.3...but of course which would sound better to you in your room is strictly subjective.
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post #7 of 30 Old 09-19-2012, 03:24 PM - Thread Starter
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eljay -- got it. You are not familiar with the BIC so you can't comment.

Audiophile -- when you say "louder but not as accurate," I assume you are meaning with theater-type applications, and not just music? If so, that seems to me like a pretty strong endorsement for the s10.3 over the BIC, for my situation...

Steve
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post #8 of 30 Old 09-19-2012, 03:47 PM
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I mean the 10.3 is going to have a flatter native frequency response...although how it interacts with your room is unpredictable. Also some people prefer certain frequencies be accentuated, so it is possible you would prefer the native sound of the F12. All things being equal though (and with proper placement in the room), the 10.3 is more likely to give you an accurate representation of the source material than the F12, but whether or not you would prefer that is up to your own personal taste.
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post #9 of 30 Old 09-19-2012, 04:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Makes sense, Audiophile. I hear that there is a large "personal preference" aspect of how speakers "sound." Makes complete sense to me.

It makes me wonder if, since I'm not an "audiophile" by any stretch, and have never even HAD a subwoofer, that I might be so impressed by having a decent one,PERIOD, that it would be awhile before I could come to understand that I COULD have something even BETTER.

Since they can be had for an equivalent price, I have one other question. The "depth" of the 10.3 is listed at 18.3 inches. I have 18" of depth in the "nook" I have to place this in, so the 1/3" is not a big deal. BUT -- it could be a bigger deal if I consider that I will have to plug a cable into the back of the sub, which might require it's "effective depth" to be even greater (due to the cable). Not knowing exactly how the connection is set up in the back of the 10.3, is it likely that with a cable attached to the back, that it would have to be placed even farther than 18.3" from a wall? If so, that might make my decision, right there.

Steve
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post #10 of 30 Old 09-19-2012, 04:41 PM
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Quote:
It makes me wonder if, since I'm not an "audiophile" by any stretch, and have never even HAD a subwoofer, that I might be so impressed by having a decent one,PERIOD, that it would be awhile before I could come to understand that I COULD have something even BETTER.
If you've never had a sub, a decent one is better than none at all. But once you've had one for a while and you've played around with it, you may start to notice its shortcomings. And you may wish to upgrade. Where you end up is anybody's guess, but the point I'm poorly trying to make is: Why start at the bottom when - as folks here will likely try to point out - you likely won't be satisfied there for very long.

Space isn't really an issue since there are lots of smaller subs that will fit your bill, but if money is an issue, well, then, that's just how it is. In which case, start with an F-12 or S10.3 and enjoy it until you're ready for the "next level".
Quote:
... is it likely that with a cable attached to the back, that it would have to be placed even farther than 18.3" from a wall?
Yes, but you could minimize the additional required depth by either:
- gently bending the sub cable downward; or
- using an adaptor such as this one.
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post #11 of 30 Old 09-19-2012, 04:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveg66 View Post

It makes me wonder if, since I'm not an "audiophile" by any stretch, and have never even HAD a subwoofer, that I might be so impressed by having a decent one,PERIOD, that it would be awhile before I could come to understand that I COULD have something even BETTER.

You don't have to be an audiophile to tell the difference between a good subwoofer and a great subwoofer when it comes to HT usage. We aren't talking about the subtleties of music, but rather the realism of events. In that scene in Immortals when the mountain comes down? With a good subwoofer, you might say, "How cool the way the effects made my room rumble." With a great subwoofer, you'd say, "OMG, it felt like my room was about to come apart just like the mountain!" Same thing with the train crash in Super 8 eek.gifbiggrin.gif

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post #12 of 30 Old 09-19-2012, 06:33 PM
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I just wanted to make it clear, that as far as I know the two subs we are talking about are about the best you can hope to do on new subs for $200. I don't want you to think I'm saying the F12 is not a good sub, and there are a lot of people who like it over the 10.3. There are certainly "bad" subs in this price range that either won't play anywhere close to 20Hz or are so boomy they sound like a loud fart on every low note (with little distinction between ANY low notes). These subs won't have those problems, so coming from NO sub, either will probably blow you away and reveal things you've never heard before. If this was strictly for music, it would be easy to recommend the 10.3, but for HT (especially movies) it is tempting to recommend the F12 to anyone who thinks they might be tempted to crank it up from time to time, and because its lack of accuracy seems to be in all the right spots for HT to exaggerate exciting explosions and similar LFE action.
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post #13 of 30 Old 09-19-2012, 07:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Guys --

This is some great advice. Thanks to all of you. You have really answered my questions with respect to what I can expect to hear, and the fact that -- while I can get MUCH more by spending more and moving to the "next level," I also will not be spending $200 and -- with either of these two choices, ending up with a "loud fart" in Audiophile's words! smile.gif Sounds like that could DEFINITELY be the case for some $200 subs, but these two are apparently among the best choices, so that's about as good as I can do for now.

eljay -- that right-angle connector is something I hadn't even thought of, so THANKS for that.

One last question...my theater is an upstairs room, above our dining room/living room. I notice that the S10.3 has down-firing ports, and the F12 is front-firing. I am not sure of the implications of these designs, but would one be better than the other -- again, it's an upstairs room, and my intent is to place the sub along the right-hand wall, on the right side of the first row of seats, about 1/2 way "back" in my room. Not sure if this type of configuration would make a front-firing or down-firing a clearly better choice, or not...

THANKS!

Steve
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post #14 of 30 Old 09-19-2012, 08:07 PM
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Port direction won't make a difference as long as it is not directly blocked by something. If at all possible, try not to tie yourself down to one placement option. Besides the room itself, placement in a room will have the biggest effect on the sound. Doing the sub crawl will find you the best placement option, but short of that it is best to start with it placed in a corner and then work your way down the wall to see where it will sound the best.
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post #15 of 30 Old 09-19-2012, 08:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Audiophile --

I hear you on the placement. I made a "nook" for this sub to fit in, 18x18x18, about 4" off the ground (with 4" of sand underneath, to absorb some vibration). I did this due to the small size of the room -- to keep it out of the main "floor space." HOWEVER, I can move it, if I had to, and actually wired another couple of spots in the room for a sub (albeit with no "nook") -- though I only wired these other spots with RG-6 coax (not sure if I can make that work, or not). ANYWAY, if the sub sounds too bad in the spot I intend for it to go, I have some flexibility, I think. I understand what you mean by the "sub crawl," and will exercise that option if my "sub nook" just is not cutting it.

A question though -- you said porting won't matter "as long as the port is not directly blocked." Not sure what EXACTLY that means; if a sub has down-firing ports, I assume that means it's ported on the bottom; if you set the sub on a floor, the only clearance between the port and the ground would be the length of the sub's "feet" which seems like that port is "blocked" to me. I guess you would not consider this 1" or so clearance from port to floor to be "directly blocked?" And likewise, a sub ported in the back, with the back of the sub only an inch or two from the wall, would not be considered "directly blocking" that port?

Steve
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post #16 of 30 Old 09-19-2012, 10:12 PM
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Downfiring means the driver is on the bottom facing the floor (and generally the port, too). Downfiring subs are designed to be placed on the floor. As long as you don't have thick shag carpet from the 1970's smile.gif, they are fine being placed that way.

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post #17 of 30 Old 09-19-2012, 11:12 PM
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yup, and just to add to what cel said, directly blocked means something directly against either the driver or the port preventing the air or cone from moving the way it should. For example, if you had front ported sub with the front directly against some furniture so that it was blocking air flow from the port, it would not be good. But, as cel pointed out, they don't need much space. Rear ports are almost impossible to block because of the amp and cords, but front ported subs are sometimes blocked because people wedge them into a space that doesn't allow the port to breathe at all (or directly against a chair or couch so they can feel them more). Not good for ported subs or their sound to block the ports (unless they were designed for that, but that is whole different story).
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post #18 of 30 Old 09-20-2012, 05:53 AM
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When I was helping a buddy of mine set up his HT a few years ago, the room he was setting it up in had fairly deep-pile carpet. So we cut a piece of wood to the L x W dimension of his S10.3 and just sat the sub on top of it.
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post #19 of 30 Old 09-20-2012, 10:48 PM - Thread Starter
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OK -- thanks much, guys. Now I see what "directly blocking" the ports would mean...and it makes sense. Appreciate the info.

Right now, I'm leaning BIC, since at 18.3" deep, that s10.3 -- with a cable plugged in -- would need to stick out of the "nook" I have built by at least an inch to inch and a half; not the end of the world, but with the BIC only 17.3" deep, it could sit with its front face nearly flush...

Any last thoughts by anyone?

OH -- one other question; I have seen folks talking about a "subdude" which supposedly reduces vibration. When I started this room over 2 years ago, I recall someone suggesting the sand underneath the sub -- so when I built this "nook," I included that 4" of sand below the "floor" of the sub nook. Will this do basically the same thing, or is there still a purpose for looking into a "subdude?"

Thanks!

Steve

P.S. IF I end up having to move the sub for placement/acoustic reasons, is there a way to make the connection using RG-6 coaxial? Can you attach an RCA fitting to coaxial cable? Or is there another option? Like I said, I wired a few outlets around the room with coax -- for some reason, back when I did it, I must have been advised that coax would work for connecting a sub to my receiver, but I can't recall what my thinking was...
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post #20 of 30 Old 09-20-2012, 11:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveg66 View Post

OK -- thanks much, guys. Now I see what "directly blocking" the ports would mean...and it makes sense. Appreciate the info.
Right now, I'm leaning BIC, since at 18.3" deep, that s10.3 -- with a cable plugged in -- would need to stick out of the "nook" I have built by at least an inch to inch and a half; not the end of the world, but with the BIC only 17.3" deep, it could sit with its front face nearly flush...

Well, if the sub is going to be crammed into a nook, best not to do downfiring. Go for front firing.

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post #21 of 30 Old 09-20-2012, 11:27 PM
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That cable was meant for video signals...I don't think there is any way to convert it to sub cable, but you can do a search to see if such an adapter exists. Sub cables are just beefed up RCA cables.
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post #22 of 30 Old 09-21-2012, 12:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Audiophile -- I know the RG-6 coax is a video cable; I don't know what made me think it would work for a sub...but it must have been something I read...

Steve
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post #23 of 30 Old 09-21-2012, 12:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Well, whaddaya know?! smile.gif

http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=104&cp_id=10430&cs_id=1043008&p_id=4130&seq=1&format=2

I guess THIS is how I'd do it...leave it to Monoprice to have me covered! smile.gif

Lemme ask one question, NOT to open a can of worms.

Since I have a roughly 18"x18"x18" opening in the wall, to set a sub in, would I perhaps (assuming the location is not a "bad" one, acoustically), be better off turning this space into a "box" or "enclosure," and then just get a speaker to mount -- sort of a DIY sub? If I could make it "not ported," and just have it front-firing, perhaps this is another option? I said before that I didn't want to go DIY, but as I think about the fact that I already have a box-shaped enclosure, then perhaps -- if I could be advised on how to do this in a fairly simple way -- this might give me an affordable, and perhaps better solution?

Steve
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post #24 of 30 Old 09-21-2012, 07:03 AM
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Your best bet would be the Dayton Sub-1200. You can 2 of them brand new from parts express.

http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=300-629

12" subs. This will give the most even room response.

Lumenlab "Community driven video lab".
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post #25 of 30 Old 09-21-2012, 11:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveg66 View Post

Since I have a roughly 18"x18"x18" opening in the wall, to set a sub in, would I perhaps (assuming the location is not a "bad" one, acoustically), be better off turning this space into a "box" or "enclosure," and then just get a speaker to mount -- sort of a DIY sub? If I could make it "not ported," and just have it front-firing, perhaps this is another option? I said before that I didn't want to go DIY, but as I think about the fact that I already have a box-shaped enclosure, then perhaps -- if I could be advised on how to do this in a fairly simple way -- this might give me an affordable, and perhaps better solution?
Steve

Sure, that could be a great idea. But you don't want to "sorta" do it. You need to talk to the AVS DIY folks and get advice on how to build the correct sub box with the right driver match.

And don't forget. You'll need to get a sub amp, too. Unless you have the wood laying around for the enclosure, it might not be any more cost effective, if that's what you are hoping.

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post #26 of 30 Old 09-21-2012, 10:06 PM - Thread Starter
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blake18 -- let me take another look at the Dayton sub; I had looked at it awhile back, and felt the F-12 was the better choice, but I hear what you are saying about getting two of them...

cel4145 -- I do have the wood (MDF) laying around, but no, I wasn't really thinking I could do it cheaper. Just that it might be another option. As I think about it, I just don't know if I have the guts and time right now to embark on trying to learn what I'd need to know to be able to tackle it as a DIY project and do it properly...seems overwhelming...

I'm thinking F12, pending one more look at the Dayton sub mentioned above...

Steve
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post #27 of 30 Old 09-21-2012, 11:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveg66 View Post

blake18 -- let me take another look at the Dayton sub; I had looked at it awhile back, and felt the F-12 was the better choice, but I hear what you are saying about getting two of them...
cel4145 -- I do have the wood (MDF) laying around, but no, I wasn't really thinking I could do it cheaper. Just that it might be another option. As I think about it, I just don't know if I have the guts and time right now to embark on trying to learn what I'd need to know to be able to tackle it as a DIY project and do it properly...seems overwhelming...
I'm thinking F12, pending one more look at the Dayton sub mentioned above...
Steve

I'd definitely go with the F12 over the Dayton.

And I understand about building one. A sealed sub box would not be that hard if you have the woodworking skills. It's just an MDF box with a little bracing. You mainly just have to make certain that the interior space is correct for the driver, and the DIY guys can help you with that. Get's a little tougher if you want a ported sub.

Your questions are answered: Speaker FAQ
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post #28 of 30 Old 09-22-2012, 05:09 AM - Thread Starter
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cel -- I do have the woodworking skills, so that part wouldn't be a problem. And, while I'm ignorant as to what the advantages or disadvantages might be, I would not intend to do a ported sub. Since this is an "in-wall" area, any "ports" would be within a wall cavity, which wouldn't make any sense, in my mind. A sealed box would make most sense.

Hmm...you don't make it sound as if it is that difficult, with appropriate guidance from the DIY guys.

Perhaps what I can do is buy the BIC F-12, and try it in that nook. If it simply does NOT work, I can always move it out of the nook to another room location, and use it as a second sub -- turning the "nook" into this sealed-box DIY subwoofer. Would that make sense?

Steve
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post #29 of 30 Old 09-22-2012, 11:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the help everyone.

I decided on the BIC F-12, for now. I may either add a second later, or else add a "second" that would be a DIY in that "nook" area I described.

Anyway, for now, I'm going to give the BIC F-12 a go...

Steve
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post #30 of 30 Old 06-18-2013, 01:24 PM
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curious to hear a follow up on the f12, op....
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