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post #1 of 41 Old 12-17-2012, 09:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Living area audio setup for music
Area size (approx - sketch jpeg attached) 15*33*17 (open to kitchen area and rooms on the second floor).
I have a JBL Studio 190 set, an old Pioneer Elite VSX-33TX receiver and a really crappy HK sub (part of the HKTS5 boxed 5.1 channel spk set that I used in an apt before). And this sub is what I would like to replace with a $1000 budget (or lower smile.gif ). I intend to make it a music only setup (+regular TV - not imp) since I already have a Pioneer 1121K 7.1/JBL studio 190/BIC H100/Panny AE7000 20'*20' theater upstairs. I will appreciate suggestions for music friendly sub, number, placement etc. I don't have an SPL meter and will appreciate advise on that as well only if required. The studio 190 set is from a deal and I have to start researching better musical speakers for $1000 that can better these studios.
So far, I have been able to browse this forum and have read good things about Epik Empire/Legend (OOS), dual RW12D, Rythmiks, SVS, HSU 15H etc etc. but want to hear from you pros for this particular situation. I actually have an opportunity to purchase 15H for $800. JTR Captivator will be out of my budget and I am not certain about a straightforward DIY - just too much info to digest without any help. I do have every tool it takes for a DIY sub. BTW, entire floor is hardwood frown.gif
TIA smile.gif
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post #2 of 41 Old 12-17-2012, 09:51 PM
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Umm, DIY is definitely the way to go if you're willing to put in the effort. You can take this thread over to the DIY section, your options are immense with that budget. A pair of sealed Dayton RS18's would be right up your alley.

http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=295-472

edit: its really pretty simple, build each cabinet like this one

http://www.diysoundgroup.com/flat-packs-1/subwoofer-flatpacks-2/4-sub-flat-pack.html

Grab an amp like this to power the pair

http://www.amazon.com/Behringer-EP4000-Professional-Accelerated-Technology/dp/B001U5JFNM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1355806364&sr=8-1&keywords=ep4000

(you can do a fan mod on these to run quite, just do a search)
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post #3 of 41 Old 12-18-2012, 08:22 AM
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DIY is going to give you the most bang for the buck. Jay1 gave you some great information and you could easily build a sub (or better yet) a pair of subs in your budget that would be far superior to anything you can buy.

That said, the 15H for $800 is a good deal, so if you decide to forgo DIY, I would consider that deal.
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post #4 of 41 Old 12-18-2012, 03:14 PM
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For $800 you jump on it before its gone. Have you read the review in Sound&Vision? Great review. People like the HSU a lot and you don't find many used ones out there. DIY is great if you have the patience and want to build boxes. I know DIY is not terribly hard, but I would go with the HSU, most people are pay about $1,000, so $800 is a good way to go for the VTF-15H. You can actually call and speak to Dr. Hsu. He also does a lot posting on this Forum and he can answer most questions.

One more vote for the VTF-15H. Once you get 1 you will probably want another.

Happy Holidays
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post #5 of 41 Old 12-18-2012, 03:38 PM
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If the VTF15 is the goal, you could practically build two equivalent subs for $800

RS390HO 15" x 2 $300
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=295-469

Dayton SPA500 amp x2 $420
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=300-807

3" x 17" port kit x4 $50
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=268-350

2 sheets of 3/4" MDF $60

Each built to the same 25" x 18" x 26" dimensions of the VTF15, with a pair of the 3" x17" ports, this would be the result.

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post #6 of 41 Old 12-18-2012, 04:06 PM
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As Jay1 said, you will get a lot more bang for your buck with DIY, but if you don't have tools or woodworking experience it is something to consider if you want the box to look nice. You could look into these flat packs which will really cut down on the amount of woodworking you have to do:
http://www.diysoundgroup.com/flat-packs-1/subwoofer-flatpacks-2.html

At that point, you just need some cheap clamps, some wood glue, some screws, wood filler, then primer and paint.

Also, if you look for sales in DIY you can do a lot with $1K. For around $1K I am building 4 15" subs using the Dayton DVC385-88 drivers, and an INuke 3K DSP which has DSP and EQ built in. As much as I love my VTF-15H, I would need to buy about 3 of them to equal or beat that performance.

A couple of years ago Penngray who used to frequent these forums tried to explain to me what your money will buy you in DIY vs commercial and I wish I would have listened more... I will most likely have to sell the VTF-15H as it will be overpowered by the other subs.
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post #7 of 41 Old 12-18-2012, 05:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Oh boy! I knew two RS18 DIY suggestion by Jay1 will have a huge momentum around here. I also know that if I build Daytons, the final product will look disgusting in my living area (relatively speaking vs 15H or other ID subs; I suck in finishing touches) and won't have any WAF at all. In addition, I don't want to overwhelm this area with giant subs. Sure, it will happen one day down the road but for the basement when I have 50K to finish it or sooner if I get enough info and courage to build two 18" Daytons for my HT and replace my beloved H100. BTW those 18" subs are OOS on partsexpress and are close to $300 ea by the same guys on AMZ. Most suggested flat packs for 18" are OOS too. So a single 18" with amp ($275 or more), MDF (2 sheets $90), laminate (??), small parts (??) etc is not gonna be far from H15. While rummaging thru DIY forum, I also come across rattling noises and other issues with DIY subs and although its kinda labor of love, most look ugly (again relatively...). However, I do want to ask Dr HSU what he thinks about a DIY Dayton 18" vs his H15. Also, I would appreciate more opinions of members before making a purchase. Is there a good dumb proof video on a large DIY sealed sub?

Also saw somewhere that a near field placement of an underpowered sub can be beneficial in large areas and there is enough room on the left side of the sofa for one big sub where it will also be in a corner.
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post #8 of 41 Old 12-18-2012, 06:08 PM - Thread Starter
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spyboy - absolutely! its a great deal and I was impressed by that review in addition to the opinion of most folks here comparing 15h to other ID subs. However, I have no clue about DIY sub and so far my impression is that its too involving. However, I will continue educating myself on DIY forum; its been way over my head! I am afraid things will go wrong and I will not be able to have the patience/know how to troubleshoot.
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post #9 of 41 Old 12-18-2012, 06:19 PM
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Why are you paying $45 for a sheet of MDF? Anyway, post #5 shows you a ported 15" build that matches the VTF for about $450 ea finished. If you aren't a moderately experienced woodworker, it can seem challenging to jump right into this. It really is pretty basic though. You're building a box... Large panels need braces to reduce flexing, so you cut a piece of wood to fit inside the box and tie the panels together.

A specific internal enclosure volume, together with a specific vent cross area (diameter + length) will tune to enclosure to a specific frequency. A woofer will work in a specific manner in a given enclosure based on its t/s parameters. A modeling program like WinISD will put all of this together and allow you to design an optimized subwoofer. This is how the frequency response in post #5 came to be.

A simple sealed box like I originally mentioned in post #2 is almost impossible to mess up. The RS15HF in the same VTF15 sized enclosure as the ported HO, with a cheaper 250 watt amp would be the perfect newbie music sub

http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=295-468

http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=300-803
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post #10 of 41 Old 12-18-2012, 08:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi Jay1, its actually $37/sheet with tax here + I have to ask them to cut it in several pieces to avoid a delivery charge (no truck frown.gif ). It may be ~$80 for two. Anyway, I think if I were to build, I will do an 18" sealed you first suggested. And that's what I would like to compare with H15. I hope more members have experience in this regard and can share it with us. I do feel OK working with wood but as I said earlier, I suck in finishing dept and don't want to put a giant eyesore in the living area. I really appreciate your super awesome insight into DIY subs. I was completely oblivious but now quite intrigued with building 18" sealed sub. There is a learning curve for me and its gonna take me sometime to read up. Lets see how this discussion goes, I may build one but if I don't I am now curious enough to build one regardless for HT - thanks to you! I hope I will find buyers for H100 and this piddly little Harman Kardon I am trying to replace.
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post #11 of 41 Old 12-18-2012, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by samx View Post

Hi Jay1, its actually $37/sheet with tax here + I have to ask them to cut it in several pieces to avoid a delivery charge (no truck frown.gif ). It may be ~$80 for two. Anyway, I think if I were to build, I will do an 18" sealed you first suggested. And that's what I would like to compare with H15. I hope more members have experience in this regard and can share it with us. I do feel OK working with wood but as I said earlier, I suck in finishing dept and don't want to put a giant eyesore in the living area. I really appreciate your super awesome insight into DIY subs. I was completely oblivious but now quite intrigued with building 18" sealed sub. There is a learning curve for me and its gonna take me sometime to read up. Lets see how this discussion goes, I may build one but if I don't I am now curious enough to build one regardless for HT - thanks to you! I hope I will find buyers for H100 and this piddly little Harman Kardon I am trying to replace.

Keep in mind that sealed subs are smaller than the Hsu VTF-15 H which is ported. On the finish department, I highly recommend this:
http://store.acrytech.com/Speaker-Cabinet-Coating-DuraTex-Roller-Grade-Black.html

No priming. It is made specifically for building speaker enclosures and two coats with a cheap foam roller looks like this:


Sand the box. Wipe it down to remove all dust/debris, apply one coat. Do a light sand, and apply second coat. It is that simple.

I am not pressuring you to go DIY, you have to have your heart in it, but this stuff is not rocket science. $279 for a driver, and most stores sell smaller sheets of MDF (either 2x2, or 4x4) or just pay to have them cut it, but you should be fine with 4 to 5 cu ft sealed box. Say $100 for the Duratex and wood. A decent pro app will be around $300 (which you can use to power the second sub). You are around $700 out the door and the second sub will be even cheaper to make. You can also go with 15" woofers and get two of them for around $300 and build either a dual opposed, or two sealed 3.5 cu ft boxes powered off the amp for not much more.

But hey, I would not blame you for buying the 15H, like I said I own one and have really enjoyed it. My room is just too big and I don't want to spend $2K+ to get what I need to really fill my room.
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post #12 of 41 Old 12-19-2012, 06:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay1 View Post

If the VTF15 is the goal, you could practically build two equivalent subs for $800

RS390HO 15" x 2 $300
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=295-469

Dayton SPA500 amp x2 $420
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=300-807

3" x 17" port kit x4 $50
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=268-350

2 sheets of 3/4" MDF $60

Each built to the same 25" x 18" x 26" dimensions of the VTF15, with a pair of the 3" x17" ports, this would be the result.


Do you think that guys like Dr Hsu,Mullen,Ding etc just did a model and slapped together a sub? It seems that's what your suggesting.
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post #13 of 41 Old 12-19-2012, 07:12 AM
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Do you think that guys like Dr Hsu,Mullen,Ding etc just did a model and slapped together a sub? It seems that's what your suggesting.
I can't say if any specific designers or companies have done so, but I'm quite sure that some have done so. I also know for a fact that many companies don't even model their designs, and more than a fair number don't even have designers, other than those in the graphics department. The owner of one very successful loudspeaker company in the 80s-90s wrote a book in which he admitted that he didn't know anything about how speakers worked, and that all of the speakers he made were copies of those made by others. As for the general quality of engineering of DIY versus commercial, DIY has always been superior, and always will be, if for no other reason than DIYers don't have to consider labor costs or profit margins.

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post #14 of 41 Old 12-19-2012, 07:34 AM
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Do you think that guys like Dr Hsu,Mullen,Ding etc just did a model and slapped together a sub? It seems that's what your suggesting.
I can't say if any specific designers or companies have done so, but I'm quite sure that some have done so. I also know for a fact that many companies don't even model their designs, and more than a fair number don't even have designers, other than those in the graphics department. The owner of one very successful loudspeaker company in the 80s-90s wrote a book in which he admitted that he didn't know anything about how speakers worked, and that all of the speakers he made were copies of those made by others. As for the general quality of engineering of DIY versus commercial, DIY has always been superior, and always will be, if for no other reason than DIYers don't have to consider labor costs or profit margins.

I understand the advantages of DIY Bill. I'm currently looking for a project now to work with my pair of HSU 15Hs. Likely I would be surprised by the amount of companies that lack understanding. I know of one low rent "company" that just models and leaves the rest up to the client to make it fit/work lol.
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post #15 of 41 Old 12-19-2012, 07:55 AM
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Do you think that guys like Dr Hsu,Mullen,Ding etc just did a model and slapped together a sub? It seems that's what your suggesting.

I don't think that is what is being suggested by Jay1, but I think what is being suggested that as a DIY'er you have way more design control using a tool like Winisd Pro to model a driver in a box. Commercial companies have to build a lot of profit margin in their subs, and they also have to keep the size and weight to a minimum for shipping purposes. As Bill mentioned, engineering could take a backseat to profit, and size/shipping constraints.

I mean look at the Danley DTS-10 kit, or some of Bill's TNT designed subs. Can you imagine the cost to ship one of those built subs? Going DIY opens up a whole new set of options in terms of size and weight, and you can spend more of your money on getting a better woofer and amplifier since you don't have to worry about profit margins, R&D, operational costs, etc. I am guessing that a huge chunk in the price that you are paying is eaten up by operational costs and profit margins.

But like I said, DIY requires you to take the time to learn, and you need tools and drive. I totally get people who just don't want to spend their days off building their own gear and wanting to go commercial. But there is no question in my mind that going DIY means the best bang for the buck. The DIY speaker/sub community is amazing, and there are folks in those threads doing things that easily surpass what a commercial company can offer.
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post #16 of 41 Old 12-19-2012, 07:58 AM
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But like I said, DIY requires you to take the time to learn, and you need tools and drive. I totally get people who just don't want to spend their days off building their own gear and wanting to go commercial. But there is no question in my mind that going DIY means the best bang for the buck. The DIY speaker/sub community is amazing, and there are folks in those threads doing things that easily surpass what a commercial company can offer.

I know lol I just finished reading your thread.
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post #17 of 41 Old 12-19-2012, 08:08 AM
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I know lol I just finished reading your thread.

Yeah, if you are looking at some good ported subs to rival and integrate well with the Hsu, my thread has some of those smile.gif

I think a 5 cu ft ported sub with two 4" ports and a good Dayton driver (you could always get something better too like a TC Sounds driver) would be the ticket for you. If you need any help with anything I recommend starting a thread and I would be happy to help if I can (I am a newbie too).
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post #18 of 41 Old 12-19-2012, 11:50 AM
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Do you think that guys like Dr Hsu,Mullen,Ding etc just did a model and slapped together a sub? It seems that's what your suggesting.

Well I would hope they would measure the results of their designs before selling them to people wink.gif As Bill alluded to, that isnt always the case

This type of thing always comes up when people try to look down their nose at DIY... The models are very accurate, within their limits. Extreme low frequency tuning/porting/compression effects, massive power levels, and drivers with inductance issues are what the models will not catch. None of that applies to the above model... The DIYers around here have been doing this for a while, it isnt rocket science.
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post #19 of 41 Old 12-19-2012, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by sputter1 View Post

Do you think that guys like Dr Hsu,Mullen,Ding etc just did a model and slapped together a sub? It seems that's what your suggesting.

Well I would hope they would measure the results of their designs before selling them to people wink.gif As Bill alluded to, that isnt always the case

This type of thing always comes up when people try to look down their nose at DIY... The models are very accurate, within their limits. Extreme low frequency tuning/porting/compression effects, massive power levels, and drivers with inductance issues are what the models will not catch. None of that applies to the above model... The DIYers around here have been doing this for a while, it isnt rocket science.

Understood, thanks. smile.gif
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post #20 of 41 Old 12-20-2012, 01:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Looks like one sealed RS18 may not be good enough as per Dr HSU. I don't know what that Xmas stuff is. He also thinks that a 15H will be fine.

"Based on the relatively small Xmax of <13mm, I do not think that woofer in a sealed box would do a lot. If you put that in a huge vented cabinet, yes."

"A 15H will be great for your space. The left rear corner is fine (where you marked with 'S')."
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post #21 of 41 Old 12-20-2012, 01:42 PM
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Looks like one sealed RS18 may not be good enough as per Dr HSU. I don't know what that Xmas stuff is. He also thinks that a 15H will be fine.
"Based on the relatively small Xmax of <13mm, I do not think that woofer in a sealed box would do a lot. If you put that in a huge vented cabinet, yes."
"A 15H will be great for your space. The left rear corner is fine (where you marked with 'S')."

I would visit the thread I referenced in the Hsu thread (http://www.avsforum.com/t/1435795/first-diy-project-for-a-guy-looking-to-upgrade-multiple-sealed-18s) where you can see what can be built with this driver. Dr. Hsu is correct about the xmax being low for this driver, but per the Gorilla83 thread, you can see the specs for this woofer are very conservative. It will give you a lot of output and extension in a relatively small box if fed enough juice.

If your goal is to build one or two smaller boxes, you can do that with this woofer, you just to make sure you have an amp that is giving it enough juice to meet your demands.
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post #22 of 41 Old 12-20-2012, 02:00 PM
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No disrespect to Dr Hsu but his statement about the RS18 not working very well in a sealed box isn't accurate.

You could easily feed it several hundred watts with very good output down into the 30Hz range before any room/boundary effects are considered. This is for a music setup right? The woofer is also very flat up to several hundred Hz due to extensive inductance control measures.
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post #23 of 41 Old 12-20-2012, 02:25 PM
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No disrespect to Dr Hsu but his statement about the RS18 not working very well in a sealed box isn't accurate..
That depends on your definition of working very well. Sealed f3 is 38Hz, vented f3 is 20Hz. If all I needed was 38Hz f3 I'd go for a smaller and less expensive driver.

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post #24 of 41 Old 12-20-2012, 02:30 PM
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Guys. You hear lots of people always talking about the quality of sound from higher priced subs. When upgrading from a small budget sub to something like the HSU VTF 15H, people will claim to be amazed by the improved fidelity as well as the output at low frequencies.

How does the sound quality or fidelity of a DIY sub compare to that of the ID brand subs? How would the sound quality(tight and accurate bass) of the RS18 DIY build be compared to that of the VTF 15H?

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post #25 of 41 Old 12-20-2012, 02:35 PM
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There are tons of 15" driver options out there. I believe the Titanic 15" drivers are on sale for $199 each and the Dayton Reference 15" HO drivers are $149.

As for the RS18, it is pretty clear the specs on that sub are very conservative based on what Gorilla83 is getting from them in his room. The SI drivers are on their final pre-sale day as well and I believe the pre-sale price for the 18" is $169 through today and then it is $190:
http://www.data-bass.com/data?page=driver&id=46

Seems like a good 18" driver for a solid price.
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post #26 of 41 Old 12-20-2012, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Louquid View Post

Guys. You hear lots of people always talking about the quality of sound from higher priced subs. When upgrading from a small budget sub to something like the HSU VTF 15H, people will claim to be amazed by the improved fidelity as well as the output at low frequencies.
How does the sound quality or fidelity of a DIY sub compare to that of the ID brand subs? How would the sound quality(tight and accurate bass) of the RS18 DIY build be compared to that of the VTF 15H?

I would read through Gorilla's thread. He actually owned dual JTR Captivator's, dual Epik Empires, and an eD sub to compare to. I think the fact that he sold his dual Captivators pretty much tells you what he thinks about the DIY subs smile.gif
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post #27 of 41 Old 12-20-2012, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Louquid View Post

How does the sound quality or fidelity of a DIY sub compare to that of the ID brand subs?
Considerably better bang for the buck.

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post #28 of 41 Old 12-20-2012, 02:43 PM
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Awesome. I was in the market for a sub upgrade, and was a bit scared that DIY's only downfall would be the actual quality of sound it produced.

I love woodworking, and consider buying the amp and driver as an investment. As if I were to build a terrible sounding box, I could simply build a new one. Though I'd mostly find a good build on here and follow it.

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post #29 of 41 Old 12-20-2012, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Louquid View Post

Awesome. I was in the market for a sub upgrade, and was a bit scared that DIY's only downfall would be the actual quality of sound it produced.
I love woodworking, and consider buying the amp and driver as an investment. As if I were to build a terrible sounding box, I could simply build a new one. Though I'd mostly find a good build on here and follow it.

If you like working with wood, I think you might enjoy DIY more. There are some amazing builds in the DIY forum and the finishes can easily rival those in the commercial side. I like working with wood as well and wanted a fun winter project so I am building 4 15" sealed subs to compare to the Hsu VTF-15H that I have now. I spent about $1K shipped on the Hsu and I will have spent about the same price when it is all said and done (drivers, amp, baltic birch, Duratex, glue, etc) on the four 15" sealed subs.

And yes you can either download a program like Winisd Pro for free and learn how to model your own box, or just copy a build.
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post #30 of 41 Old 12-20-2012, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

That depends on your definition of working very well. Sealed f3 is 38Hz, vented f3 is 20Hz. If all I needed was 38Hz f3 I'd go for a smaller and less expensive driver.

This is supposedly for a high quality music setup, so yes I would say its a good choice.
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