Need help picking a subwoofer for my situation - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 10-08-2012, 02:36 AM - Thread Starter
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I am looking for a new subwoofer to use in my 1,230 cu.ft. home theater room which is in my parents house. My main dilemma is I am not sure how much to spend on a subwoofer considering my situation. I am also looking to get new left, right and center speakers with a budget of $300-350. This will likely be my home theater room for the next year and then I will be moving into an apartment somewhere (likely small). My budget is $400-700 and initially I going to get the Hsu Vtf-3 Mk4 but after doing more thinking, I am concerned that when I eventually get an apartment, a sub that can play that low would bother other tenants in an apartment building too much. I would be using the sub for 100% movies. It would be nice to own a sub that could hit those really low frequencies but I don't see any benefit to owning a sub like that if I will never be able to play it loud enough to benefit from its increased performance. I am now thinking of getting the Hsu Stf-2 because it still seems like a quality sub and because it doesn't play as low, I don't think it will bother any future neighbors as much. However, I am little concerned about amp failure on the Stf-2 in the future as I have read several different posts where people said that happened to them.

Should I still get the subwoofer that I want (the Vtf-3 Mk4 or something in that range) or just get a smaller sub? I am weary of buying any budget subs in the $200-300 range because I don't believe that the overall quality of the product will be as good and I am worried that the one of those subs might fail in the near future.

As for the speakers, I was thinking of getting the Pioneer sp-bs22 bookshelfs and the matching cp-22 center for a total of $360. Should I spend more on the speakers than the subwoofer? With my speaker budget, am I better off buying used or new?
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post #2 of 15 Old 10-08-2012, 08:38 AM
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Have you considered the SVS SB12-NSD? Smaller sealed 12" sub. Won't hit quite as low as the HSU you are considering, but still has decent output below 30hz.

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post #3 of 15 Old 10-08-2012, 08:44 AM
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+1 to the SVS SB12-NSD ($649, shipped). It should provide plenty of performance in your relatively small room and even in a moderately-sized apartment.

If you're OK with an elegant, grille-less look, the SSA Rumba 12 ($549 + shipping) is getting very good buzz from owners on this site. (Check out the official thread, or do a search for "rumba".)
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post #4 of 15 Old 10-08-2012, 10:27 AM - Thread Starter
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I think both of those subs could be good options. I am not sure that their price could be justified considering that the Stf-2 can play just about as low as those subs and can be had for several hundred dollars less. For example, after paying for shipping and purchasing an extended 5 year warranty, the Stf-2 would cost me about $415. Even if the Stf-2s amp went on me in a few years I would be covered by that 5 year warranty. The SVS sub is already $649 and then I would have to pay for tax because I live in NY state so the total would come to about $700. The Rumba is a little cheaper but still quite a bit more expensive. Do you still think I should consider the SVS or Rumba subs?
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post #5 of 15 Old 10-08-2012, 01:55 PM
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The SB12 will definitely be a better sounding sub than the STF-2. One of the best in it's class for a 12" sealed sub. Here's a review:

http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/speakers/subwoofers/sb12-nsd-subwoofer

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post #6 of 15 Old 10-08-2012, 02:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eljaycanuck View Post

If you're OK with an elegant, grille-less look, the SSA Rumba 12 ($549 + shipping) is getting very good buzz from owners on this site. (Check out the official thread, or do a search for "rumba".)

+1 for the Rumba

It would be great if someone could do a comparison review and see how the Rumba stacks up against the SB12 NSD.
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post #7 of 15 Old 10-08-2012, 03:55 PM
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The STF2 is a pretty reliable sub, but it has been out for a long time and the failures you are talking about are probably on older units. The nice thing about it is it isn't hugely expensive, and it can resell fast thanks to the Hsu rep. I bought mine for $320 some years ago and sold it quick for $280 a few years later, so it depreciated pretty well.

Remember that the VTF3 has different operating modes and adjustments, and you can pretty much eliminate the deep bass output by simply running it in sealed mode and turning the Q control down to the minimum. This has the added benefit of making the sub sound tighter and crisper. You can adjust how much deep bass you want by bringing up the Q or opening one or both ports as well. If you get a sealed sub, you are stuck with a high roll-off, but the advantage is they will be smaller and easier to move around.
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post #8 of 15 Old 10-08-2012, 09:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Nice point shady Jay.
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post #9 of 15 Old 10-08-2012, 09:48 PM - Thread Starter
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I went to Best Buy and local speaker shop today to look at bookshelf speakers and I had a conversation with employees at both stores. They both told me that a down firing sub is not good if you have carpet or concrete floors because they will absorb the bass. My home theater room is in my basement and the floor is concrete with carpet on top. If I buy a down firing Hsu sub or any down firing sub that has legs on it, will my floor impede the performance o the subwoofer or are these people just blowing smoke up my rear. I thought that since bass waves are non directional, it wouldn't matter if a down firing sub was placed on a solid floor like concrete. Are these employees correct? Should I get a front or side firing sub instead?
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post #10 of 15 Old 10-08-2012, 11:22 PM
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LOL those employees are full of it! You are correct, below a certain frequency bass is omnidirectional (80 hz, the most common crossover frequency for a sub). You do want to give both the woofer and especially the ports some room to move air, but any of these subs will have the clearance. The flooring won't have any effect on the sound unless it is flimsy and rattles, and it won't 'absorb the bass' (I'd love to know how they cooked up that one!)
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post #11 of 15 Old 10-09-2012, 06:16 PM
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Both the SVS or Hsu STF-2 would work fine in the room(s) your planning to put the sub in. I'm partial to HSU because I'm close to their headquarters
and have bought 5 subs from them directly. Their customer service is top notch, and there staff are a pleasure to deal with. Never had a problem with
any of their subs. You can get an extended warranty on their amp (normal warranty is 2 yrs as you know by now).

The sealed SVS small sealed sub is also an excellent buy. Don't know if it will play as low as an STF-2 (the SVS is sealed, and small, down to 23hz
in room...which is pretty good actually for a 14" cube). Their 5 yr bumper to bumper warranty can't be beat, and customer service is superb.

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post #12 of 15 Old 10-09-2012, 08:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

LOL those employees are full of it! You are correct, below a certain frequency bass is omnidirectional (80 hz, the most common crossover frequency for a sub). You do want to give both the woofer and especially the ports some room to move air, but any of these subs will have the clearance. The flooring won't have any effect on the sound unless it is flimsy and rattles, and it won't 'absorb the bass' (I'd love to know how they cooked up that one!)

I agree 100% with ShadyJ on this. I have a down firing SVS PC12-NSD... in a basement with berber carpet over concrete floors. I'll tell you now, if my bass is being "absorbed" I sure can't tell. Sounds like they are wanting you to buy from them and that is the excuse they came up with.

Just an observation.... the STF-2 is a 10" woofer and the SVS is a 12" woofer... you are correct that the prices are much different, the woofer size is the reason.

Between the 2 (SVS vs. HSU), I think the SVS is a better purchase.... but the price sure is nice for the Rumba 12

Dave, if I were you I would check Craigs List..... that is where I got my SVS. The seller was asking $550 for his PC12-NSD. I got the serial number from him and called SVS, it was confirmed that the sub was legit and it still had 1 year left on the warrany!! I ended up talking the guy down to $400!!! $400 for a sub like that, with 1 year left on the warranty was a steal for me, IMO.

EDIT... Was looking and the VTF-1 MK2 looks nice, it's a 10" woofer and you can either run it ported or sealed. Under $500 total for that one.
http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/vtf-1mk2.html

As far as your bookshelf speakers and center channel speakers.... from what I understand, about 70% of all your home theater sound will come out of your center channel speaker... DO NOT go cheap on that, it's the most important speaker you will have.
I say scrap the Pioneers. I'm gonna go waaay out on a limb here (and probably get crucified for it) and suggest a speaker that has probably never been spoken about on these forums smile.gif

Cerwin Vega CMX-25C is that speaker. I have one right now in my basement and I ran my HT through it for over 2 years and it's an excellent speaker... you can get it for $199 pretty much anywhere. http://www.cerwinvega.com/home-audio/center-channel-speaker/cmx-25c.html

Found the CV CMX-25C for $139 here.... http://www.macmall.com/p/Cerwin-Vega-Home-Audio/product~dpno~8996919~pdp.hacdfab

My concerns with the cheap Pioneers is that the subs you are considering will overpower the poor things. That will not happen with the CV, not only will you be able to hear it, it will be pretty clear. Also, the Cerwin Vega VE-5M's will be better then the pioneer bookshelf speakers you listed. http://www.amazon.com/Cerwin-VE-5M-2-Way-Bookshelf-Speaker/dp/B000LSG09Q

If you get those CV's I told you about, not only will you get better speakers but you will also save $100..... you can add that to your sub budget smile.gif

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post #13 of 15 Old 10-10-2012, 07:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the help guys. Another thing I was considering is still getting a subwoofer but spending more on the speakers. For example, I would still get a lower cost quality subwoofer like the Stf-2 but increase my speaker budget to no more than $600/pair. With the budget I have right now (about $1,000) I would just buy front left and right bookshelf speakers and a subwoofer because that is all I can afford. I would then build the rest of my system over time. I went to a local home audio store and listened to B & W, KEF and Paradigm speakers in the $600/pair price range and I thought they sounded great. I listened to other cheaper speakers (Def tech, Polk, Klipsch) at Magnolia in Best Buy and they just didn't sound as good. Building my system this way seems to make the most sense. Do you guys think that my money would go farther buying from an internet direct speaker manufacturer such as Ascend Acoustics or Aperion Audio? I know I could do well used as well but I think I would just like to buy new.
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post #14 of 15 Old 10-10-2012, 10:22 PM
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Yes, you will get more for your money going with ID speakers.... My suggestion would be the Ascend Sierra-1, they would take most of your budget but the reviews I've read about them have been very positive. One review said they were the best speakers of all time under 1K.

EDIT.... I'm sure there are some nice book shelf speakers out there for $600 though. I mentioned the Ascend Sierra-1's because they have perked my interest and I think they would be a good upgrade for my Martin Logan Motion speakers. There's nothing wrong with the ML's, I like them a lot. The ML Motion 4's are around $500 a pair. Though I'm sure that if you look enough you will find better speakers then they are in the $600 range.

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post #15 of 15 Old 10-11-2012, 01:36 PM
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Ascend's 170SEs at $508 for L/C/R plus $48 shipping are a very good speaker set. Not particularly pretty, but they sound very nice. The Sierras for L/C/R are very nice but you're talking $1300 for L/C/R in the least expensive finish (but much nicer appearance). Can't audition in a store, but they do offer a 30 day in home trial if you want, and that's the best way to audition in any case, you just pay return shipping...
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