Paradigm UltraCube 12 or DSP-3200 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 29 Old 01-20-2013, 08:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello everyone! I've spent the last several days reading hundreds of forum posts and numerous articles and reviews, but I still cannot come to a solid conclusion about the Paradigm UltraCube 12 or DSP-3200 subs. I am setting up a 15' x 25' x 8' rec room in a basement. The HT system will be all Paradigm, and will consist of Monitor 11 fronts, a Center 3 and Surround 3's in the rear. The last item in this system I need to make a decision on, is you guessed it...the sub.

From what I have read, it seems fairly fast someone brings up the idea of an ID sub such as SVS, but I am staying with Paradigm here. I am getting a really good Paradigm package put together by my dealer. I am completely torn on which of these 2 subs to go with. I have read an equal amount of positives and negatives people have said on each sub, leaving me stuck in the middle. I have heard opinions from 3 different local audio shops, one of which even has one guy who says go UltraCube 12, and the other DSP-3200. The general verdict from them is to go with the UltraCube 12 as it is more powerful and much tighter because of the sealed/radiator design. Though the other guy who is very knowledgeable in acoustic and sound research, says go with the DSP-3200 because of the ported design which acoustically he says is better.

One of the main issues is that none of the dealers in my area have both the UltraCube 12 and the DSP-3200 on display side by side for me to compare, so I am relying on the opinions of others. I also plan to purchase the PBK Kit to set the sub up properly. I plan to use the sub in a 50/50 environment for HT and music, some of which can be more bass heavy pop and techno/electronic. Another point of interest is that I would like the sub to be able to perform decently on moderate listening volumes. I don't want to have to push it really hard to sound good.

If anyone out there can tip me one way between the UltraCube 12 and DSP-3200, that would be greatly appreciated. I am almost ready to flip a coin on which sub to choose.
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post #2 of 29 Old 01-21-2013, 05:26 AM
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... I still cannot come to a solid conclusion about the Paradigm UltraCube 12 or DSP-3200 subs. I am setting up a 15' x 25' x 8' rec room in a basement. The HT system will be all Paradigm ...

From what I have read, it seems fairly fast someone brings up the idea of an ID sub such as SVS, but I am staying with Paradigm here.
I've read comments from owners of the DSP-series subs who have been unimpressed with their flabby sound and lack of output and extension. I'd take the UltraCube over the 3200. But in a basement HT space the size of yours, I'd actually take two.
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post #3 of 29 Old 01-21-2013, 08:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Well having 2 of them will most likely be a future accomplishment. I first need to be happy with one! Which seems to be my current dilemma. Originally I was leaning towards the DSP-3400 as it seemed to be the pick over the 3200 in that series. In general it seemed the order of choice I perceived from people's opinions was at the top, the DSP-3400, then the UltraCube 12, and at the bottom, the DSP-3200. From that order (since the DSP-3400 is discontinued), the logical choice would then be the UltraCube 12. If that's what I can get as a general consensus from this forum, then the UltraCube 12 it will be.
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post #4 of 29 Old 01-21-2013, 08:50 AM
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FYI only (since I know you're intent on getting a Paradigm sub): Dual SVS PB-1000s are currently selling for $949, shipped. They will provide plenty of output in your space, dig deeper than the UltraCube, and deliver a smoother FR at the listening position (vs. a single sub).
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post #5 of 29 Old 01-21-2013, 11:00 AM
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It's only a good deal if you are going to be happy with the purchase.... Listen to these threads about the ID manufactures. I have owned 6 or 7 high end subs from local stores before ending up with a sub from a recommended ID manufacture and I can tell you that it would have saved me a ton of money to just buy the best sub I can afford once and be done with it. Tell them to make you a package deal with the speakers only and you will supply the subwoofer. Just my 2 cents on the subject.

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post #6 of 29 Old 01-21-2013, 12:01 PM - Thread Starter
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I figured it wouldn't be long until ID subs came back into play. Is there really such a difference between Paradigm and say SVS subs? It seemed in every forum I read, ID subs were recommended over Paradigm pretty fast, with SVS being a top pick.

Unfortunately I live in Canada, so I can't benefit from SVS's free shipping. I would most likely purchase from Sonic Boom Audio, as I could even do a pick up myself since they are fairly local.

Eljaycanuck recommended dual SVS PB-1000's. Would I be better off getting dual 10" subs, or get one of their 12 inch PB12-NSD instead? I guess if everyone is still saying to walk away from Paradigm, maybe I should consider SVS. Especially since I could purchase them from a local retailer, and not have to directly online. Their prices in store match SVS online.
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post #7 of 29 Old 01-21-2013, 12:07 PM
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SVS has an excellent reputation for its subs - which are proven performers - and its customer service. SVS subs represent a better value ("bang for buck") than do Paradigm (and most other "regular retail") subs.

SBA is the only place you can purchase them from in Canada, as they are SVS' sole Canadian distributor. The fact that you live near them and can save the shipping is definitely a bonus.

Your room is ~3,000 cu.ft. I had a single BASH-equipped PB12-NSD in my ~3,375 cu.ft. basement HT space and I felt I could use a second one. Based on that - and on briefly having my PB10-NSD in my basement HT space - I would say that dual PB-1000s would be a better choice than a single PB12-NSD.

But not as good a choice as dual PB12-NSDs. biggrin.gif
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post #8 of 29 Old 01-21-2013, 12:36 PM
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I have an ultracube 10 and a dsp-3200 and the PBK kit.
To my ears the ultracube is a far better sub.

However,..... You really should listen to the people talking
About ID subs. They are correct! I have one ID sub (rythmik)
And it puts both Paradigm subs to shame...in spades.

I also agree about about checking into SVS subs, in particular
The new sb/pb 1000 series. You could get TWO for what you
Might pay for the ultracube.
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post #9 of 29 Old 01-21-2013, 03:03 PM - Thread Starter
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I am really warming up to the idea of SVS subs because they can be purchased locally, as I like being able to deal with people. I also think that 2 subs in the room would create a more uniform listening environment, as they can work together to create a fuller sound. I am under the general understanding that the larger the woofer diameter, the lower the frequency the sub can deliver. Are the 10" PB-1000's able to hit as low as the larger 12" PB12-NSD?

Now I know that with the Paradigm subs you could use their Perfect Base Kit to optimize the subs output in whatever room they are in, to give a consistent output across the entire frequency band (except the low end drop off). I am unable to see this feature on the SVS subs. Are the SVS subs able to run optimally without being able to set them up?

Eljaycanuck, when you say your PB12-NSD is 'BASH' equipped, what does this mean? And boy would I love to have dual 12's...just not their price tag frown.gif
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post #10 of 29 Old 01-21-2013, 03:10 PM
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According to the SVS site the PB-1000 will go from 19 - 270Hz + / - 3db. The PB12-NSD will go from 18 - 150Hz + / - 3db.

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post #11 of 29 Old 01-21-2013, 03:24 PM
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I am really warming up to the idea of SVS subs ...
My work here is done. biggrin.gif
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I am under the general understanding that the larger the woofer diameter, the lower the frequency the sub can deliver.
As a very general rule, yes. But good design and sufficient power can compensate for a smaller driver.
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Are the 10" PB-1000's able to hit as low as the larger 12" PB12-NSD?
The PB-1000 is spec'd to play almost as low as the PB12, but not as loud overall.
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Are the SVS subs able to run optimally without being able to set them up?
The 1000- and NSD-series subs are pretty basic - which helps keep them affordable - and they rely entirely on external EQ such as AVR-based Audyssey or stand-alone miniDSP. The Plus- and Ultra-series subs have built-in DSP, which allows for additional EQ'ing / tweaking.
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Eljaycanuck, when you say your PB12-NSD is 'BASH' equipped, what does this mean?
I owned an older version, which used a BASH amp. The newer version uses a Sledge amp.
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post #12 of 29 Old 01-21-2013, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by eljaycanuck View Post

The SB12-NSD and other SVS subs have built-in DSP, which allows for additional EQ'ing / tweaking.

The PB12-NSD has only phase, gain and low pass settings. The additional DSP tuning features start at the PB12-Plus.

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post #13 of 29 Old 01-21-2013, 04:48 PM - Thread Starter
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You've been a really big help for me eljaycanuck!!! biggrin.gif I think I am going to start off with a single PB12-NSD, and go from there. Worst case if the room is really lacking, I will do the unthinkable and get a SECOND PB12-NSD! My only last concern is about the DSP for the sub. IMO it was a really neat feature in the Paradigm. I was briefly looking at the miniDSP 2x4. Would you think it is a worthwhile investment to start off with this module as well, or see how the sub sounds first in the room and go from there? I'm assuming I would have to buy a separate mic as well to be able to do the setup in the same manner as the Paradigm PBK described.

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Originally Posted by ceh383 View Post

The PB12-NSD has only phase, gain and low pass settings. The additional DSP tuning features start at the PB12-Plus.

The PB12-plus looks like a real beast of a sub, but it's a bit too pricey for me at the moment unfortunately frown.gif
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post #14 of 29 Old 01-21-2013, 05:32 PM
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You've been a really big help for me eljaycanuck!!! biggrin.gif
Glad to help! smile.gif So...I guess you're not mad I brought ID subs into this thread? wink.gif
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And sorry I think I am going to start off with a single PB12-NSD, and go from there.
That's an excellent place to start. Talk to Mason at SBA - he's the guy most people seem to deal with. And keep in mind that they offer (at least I think they still offer) a 5% discount on your second and subsequent subs.
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Worst case if the room is really lacking, I will do the unthinkable and get a SECOND PB12-NSD!
It's not unthinkable. In fact, I believe Agent Smith said it best: "That is the sound of inevitability." cool.gif
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My only last concern is about the DSP for the sub. IMO it was a really neat feature in the Paradigm. I was briefly looking at the miniDSP 2x4. Would you think it is a worthwhile investment to start off with this module as well, or see how the sub sounds first in the room and go from there? I'm assuming I would have to buy a separate mic as well to be able to do the setup in the same manner as the Paradigm PBK described.
PBK is a neat feature, but it's not the only game in town. AVRs with Audyssey MultEQ XT32 can provide an excellent level of system - including subwoofer - calibration. And while I'm not really very familiar with miniDSP, it's a well-regarded and relatively inexpensive means of adding sub EQ capability to your system. I'd search AVS for more info - there's probably a thread dedicated to it - or contact the company for suggestions on what might work best for you.
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post #15 of 29 Old 01-21-2013, 07:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Glad to help! smile.gif So...I guess you're not mad I brought ID subs into this thread? wink.gif

Not at all! You probably figured 'this guy has no idea what he is talking about! I must change him over to the dark side aka ID SUBS!!!' wink.gif

I feel much better now about getting a SVS sub. Choosing between the UltraCube 12 and DSP-3200 seemed like a never ending challenge. In terms of the EQ in my system, that will be an ongoing development. My AVR (Yamaha RX-A3020) does have some form of calibration as well as it comes with a microphone and fancy setup (not sure if it will calibrate the sub). I will run the calibration when I get the entire sound system installed, and go from there.

Thanks again everyone for their input, especially eljaycanuck, as 24 hours ago I was about to filp a coin to choose a sub. Now I feel 100% confident with my decision! PB12-NSD here I come! biggrin.gif
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post #16 of 29 Old 01-21-2013, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by DemoMan2502 View Post

Not at all! You probably figured 'this guy has no idea what he is talking about! I must change him over to the dark side aka ID SUBS!!!' wink.gif

I feel much better now about getting a SVS sub. Choosing between the UltraCube 12 and DSP-3200 seemed like a never ending challenge. In terms of the EQ in my system, that will be an ongoing development. My AVR (Yamaha RX-A3020) does have some form of calibration as well as it comes with a microphone and fancy setup (not sure if it will calibrate the sub). I will run the calibration when I get the entire sound system installed, and go from there.

Thanks again everyone for their input, especially eljaycanuck, as 24 hours ago I was about to filp a coin to choose a sub. Now I feel 100% confident with my decision! PB12-NSD here I come! biggrin.gif

I'm sure you will enjoy the PB12-NSD, it does look like a killer sub for the money.

I was just in s similar situation to yours. I was originally looking at the PB-1000, based on price and size. The more I read I realized I would need something larger, so I started looking at the PB12-NSD.
It is as large as I can fit, I have only 1 placement option. After much more reading it became clear to me, that with only placement option, I would probably need more tuning options to get the best possible sound. I ended up ordering the PC12-PLUS, due to it's footprint and tuning options. I didn't want to spend that much, but, I only want to do this once....So I bit the bullet.....
Now I'm just waiting for it to arrive....

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post #17 of 29 Old 01-22-2013, 05:26 AM
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Not at all! You probably figured 'this guy has no idea what he is talking about! I must change him over to the dark side aka ID SUBS!!!' wink.gif
The intent was there, just not as evil-sounding... wink.gif
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In terms of the EQ in my system, that will be an ongoing development. My AVR (Yamaha RX-A3020) does have some form of calibration as well as it comes with a microphone and fancy setup (not sure if it will calibrate the sub). I will run the calibration when I get the entire sound system installed, and go from there.
Yamaha has proprietary room-correction software - YPAO - and it's reputed not to be as good as Audyssey. But definitely run it *after* you've done a sub crawl to find the best two or three locations for the sub, and placed it in the one that offers the best compromise between output, overall sound, aesthetics, WAF, etc.
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Thanks again everyone for their input, especially eljaycanuck, as 24 hours ago I was about to filp a coin to choose a sub. Now I feel 100% confident with my decision! PB12-NSD here I come! biggrin.gif
Once again, I'm glad to help. And I'm happy to see that you're more confident with the purchase you're about to make. Best of luck, and please do post your thoughts and comments once you've got the new sub dialled in. smile.gif
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post #18 of 29 Old 01-22-2013, 07:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ceh383 View Post

I ended up ordering the PC12-PLUS, due to it's footprint and tuning options.

The fact that the PC12-PLUS has built in DSP is nice. It would save me having to purchase a stand alone EQ. Now the sub you chose was a cylindrical one. Why was this? Are there any advantages over a standard 'box' sub other then saving space?

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Originally Posted by eljaycanuck View Post

Yamaha has proprietary room-correction software - YPAO - and it's reputed not to be as good as Audyssey. But definitely run it *after* you've done a sub crawl to find the best two or three locations for the sub, and placed it in the one that offers the best compromise between output, overall sound, aesthetics, WAF, etc.

When you say 'sub crawl', is this basically placing the sub in different parts of the room (which I choose by picking out of a hat? wink.gif ) and seeing how they sound to me? Or is there a method that has some structure to it?
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post #19 of 29 Old 01-22-2013, 07:21 AM
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When you say 'sub crawl' ... is there a method that has some structure to it?
Yes and it's fairly straightforward:
- Place your sub in your primarly listening position - up onto your chair of sofa - or as close to it as you can get.
- Run some bass tones or bass-heavy music.
- Crawl - or slowly walk while crouched or stooped over - around the perimeter of your room and note where the bass plays the loudest.
- Put the sub in that location or in one of those locations.
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post #20 of 29 Old 01-22-2013, 10:12 AM
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The fact that the PC12-PLUS has built in DSP is nice. It would save me having to purchase a stand alone EQ. Now the sub you chose was a cylindrical one. Why was this? Are there any advantages over a standard 'box' sub other then saving space?

Performance wise, they spec out pretty much the same. My choice of the cylinder style was simply due to the foot print of it.

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post #21 of 29 Old 01-22-2013, 11:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by eljaycanuck View Post

Yes and it's fairly straightforward:
- Place your sub in your primarly listening position - up onto your chair of sofa - or as close to it as you can get.
- Run some bass tones or bass-heavy music.
- Crawl - or slowly walk while crouched or stooped over - around the perimeter of your room and note where the bass plays the loudest.
- Put the sub in that location or in one of those locations.

You literally do crawl for a sub crawl! Sounds primitive, but I will for sure give that a shot smile.gif
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post #22 of 29 Old 01-22-2013, 12:13 PM
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You literally do crawl for a sub crawl!
It wouldn't be any fun if you didn't... biggrin.gif
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post #23 of 29 Old 01-22-2013, 03:16 PM
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Demoman,

for what it is worth, I agree with your approach and going with the SVS sub. I too have (until recently) an all Paradigm setup, including Anthem gear, and last week received my 2 new SVS SB-13 Ultras to replace/complement my Paradigm Seismic 12 (the reference version of the Ultracube 12). I think Paradigm makes fnatastic speakers at great value price points for those of us in Canada, but their subs are not really competitve with ID. Until I had done the upgrade, I was reasonably pleased with the Paradigm sub, but the SVS's just blow it out of the water. In fairness, the SVS Ultras are a better sub and 6 years newer than the Paradigm, but they were less expensive than the Paradigm by a significant margin.

I dealt with SBA and Mason and everything worked out great. SBA did honor the dual purchase discount that you see on the SVS US site, but not on the SBA site.

I think your choice for single PB12 will work out great. And the dual option for down the road is a great one. Dual really helps smooth out the bass across the seating area which always bugged me with the single sub, and the headroom is very significantly improved of course as well.

My comments on the Seismic 12 sub (very similar in spec to Ultracube 12):
- very strong deep bass, not as tight as the new SVS (things like gunshots sounded more like a thump instead of a snap - loud and with impact, just less tight)
- I had a lot of trouble using the Seismic 12 in near field as the passive radiators are quite localizable, and my main speakers are wall mounted and don't go very low - even though it sounded great in my room when located on side wall near the couch, it always bothered me that the bass sound came from tehe side, and n ot the front
- i prefer the front fireing of the new SVS, and strangely the much higher frequency capability, to seemlessly match with my mains - a surprising bonus that I was not planning on
- the in-sub 2 PEQ is nice on the Ultras, however I have had a lot of success with Behringher feedback pro process and ARC on the Anthem - i like it cause I'm a tweaker and it's nice to be able to do a quick smoothing of major peaks on subs individually when in dual more

Dave
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post #24 of 29 Old 01-22-2013, 08:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info Dave! It's disappointing that with all the great quality speakers Paradigm has, their subs cannot match SVS unless you want to pay over $2000. I am really happy with what the SVS subs seem to offer right now.

I actually spent the evening reading some specs on the SVS website, and seeing how the subs would fit in my recroom. I've come to the conclusion that the box type subs will be too intrusive for the layout I am trying to make. Taking the point ceh383 brought up about the space saving cylindrical subs, I have decided that's the way I am going to go. From what I can tell, you don't lose any performance going from a box to cylindrical design. So at the moment, I am deciding between the PC12-NSD and the PC12-PLUS. I like that the the PC12-PLUS has the build in EQ, which will save me having to get an external one. Does anyone have any experience with these 2 cylindrical subs? If Sonic Boom honours the current $100 discount SVS has on their website, the PC12-PLUS will be going for $1150. I think that is a pretty good price for this sub. Especially as it is close to the price I would have paid for an UltraCube 12.
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post #25 of 29 Old 01-22-2013, 09:24 PM
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Does anyone have any experience with these 2 cylindrical subs?
Mine should be here late this week. I'll try to get it setup this weekend (if it arrives on time) and post a review....I am looking forward to it....

Every customer review I've read has been positive...to say the least...

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post #26 of 29 Old 03-01-2013, 01:41 PM
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OP what did you end up going with and what are your thoughts now after owning it for a while?
After reading this thread i feel like i wrote the first paragraph from the OP, Minus that i WAS looking at other companies for the sub. I finally ended up pulling the trigger this week on a PSA XV-15.
The sales guy where i bought all the paradigm Speakers from is so confident in the DSP3200 that he wants me to bring my Sub up to compare them side by side when i receive it.
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post #27 of 29 Old 03-02-2013, 11:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey guys! Just letting you know what I ended up doing. After a long and hard thought process and all of your recommendations, I ended up going with SVS. I did a thorough search through all of the SVS subs, and as the best match for the Paradigm Monitor 11's (which sound AWESOME), I went all the way and purchased a SVS SB-13 ULTRA!! I really heard you guys loud and clear when you said don't save on a sub, as you'll just end up upgrading down the road. So I went all the way from the get go and got this SVS bad boy. Sonic Boom was great. I ordered the unit on Sunday night and it was hooked up to the system by Wednesday. I'm still not done with final setup as I am still adding and positioning furniture in the room, but from our listening experience thus far, this SVS sub is no slouch and seems to be up for any sub woofer work I could ever throw at it. It looks mean and awesome, especially with the perforated metal grill on the front. So far its has just been coasting with what I have thrown at it up to this point. It has made some serious sounds so far. It sounds great with music, and has made the room shake watching Skyfall. It sounded like the subway train was coming through the roof of my house. This sub sounds fantastic even though I'm still playing with configurations while rearranging the furniture, and don't have a final setup yet. I really appreciated all of your input to get me to this point, and don't regret this more expensive purchase considering it seems this sub has no limits to what it can do. This ultra sub sits at the front left corner of my setup, looks real innocent, but does it ever step up to the plate when you throw something at it!! I'll report again once I have done a more permanent setup and configurations.

I also noticed that when the sub has 2 input cables (left and right), it has a stronger output most likely to do with the higher input signal it is receiving. My receiver has 2 sub woofer outs (for 2 separate subs), but I hooked them both into this sub as it has a left and right input.
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post #28 of 29 Old 03-02-2013, 12:10 PM
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Congrats on the new sub, DemoMan! cool.gif
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post #29 of 29 Old 03-04-2013, 01:56 AM
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You definitely made the right decision. I've heard both Paradigm's in my space back-to-back and neither one impressed me whether that be for extension, articulation or SPL-wise. The Ultracube sub proves you can't trump physics and the DSP-3200 was middle-of-the-pack in a very ordinary subwoofer series, IMO.

ID companies easily trounce HiFi retail stores when it comes to price/performance ratio... sometimes by a very wide margin. The technology of the Ultracube/Seismic series might be impressive, but wouldn't you rather be paying for performance as opposed to neat-sounding rhetoric on a product sheet? Rhetorical question of course, since you already made the wise choice wink.gif

Enjoy the new sub.
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