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post #1 of 15 Old 02-10-2013, 12:08 PM - Thread Starter
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This will be my first subwoofer and would like some suggestions. I am a long time lurker, but first time poster. I would prefer to do it correctly the first time, so as not to be doing the constant upgrade (searching for that allusive audio nirvana). My true love is two channel music (Vandersteen 3A, Conrad Johnson Premier 12, vinyl, etc.). However, my significant other loves movies. I have put together a small budget system for movies (Marantz 1402 with Pioneer Andrew Jones SP-BS21 and SP-C21) that I think for the money is surprisingly good, and prioritizes quality sound. We do not watch many bass heavy, big Hollywood movies. For example the last ten movies we watched at home were Midnight in Paris, Black White + Gray, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Way, Far From Heaven, Macbeth, Runaway Bride, Broken Flowers, Lord of the Rings trilogy, and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. I give this list to illustrate that I am not looking for, nor really desire, room shaking base. I am searching for clean, tight, musical base. I am more interested in the soundtrack of a movie than the explosions (this is not to say those that enjoy the wall shaking are wrong; it is just a personal taste issue). I also listen to a lot of music on this system, but it is just streaming and background music, not critical listening.

Other issues I have are that the room already has a lot of furniture in it. Yes I could move everything around, but the look of the room is very important to her, so I have very few placement options (some things in a relationship are not worth the conversation). With the room layout as it is I am only going to purchase one subwoofer. I am fully aware of the benefits of multiple subwoofers, but at this time I will only be getting one (and it is highly unlikely a second one will be purchased, and certainly not in this house). Also, I strongly prefer to have the Subwoofer only 18 inches high, but realize that may not be feasible. If I do need to go over that height it will be by 4 inches maximum. The room that has the entertainment area is roughly 24403, the total open area is roughly 52003 (there is a room layout with dimensions below). It is impossible to give an exact number because of the cathedral ceiling. The room also has hardwood floors. I realize that trying to get a single subwoofer to pressurize a room this large will be near impossible. I also have a preference for a sealed subwoofer due to footprint, and personal sound preference (I do not want to go down the rabbit hole with regards to “can a person discern if a subwoofer is ported or sealed...” so I ask that you do not bring that specific question up in this thread). That being said I am open to exploring ported subwoofers, realizing in my situation the benefit may outweigh the cons. It will just be a hard sale.

My process began with thinking I would get the Klipsch RW-12d because I really wanted to be at $300, and it seemed as the general consensus for the best subwoofer at that price. After reading more about it (not very musical) I thought maybe I should up my budget to $500 and considered the Epic Legend. After seeing the thread on Epic I felt that it was not a wise purchase. Next I was up to the $750-$1000 price range and looked at the PSA XS15 and HSU VTF-15H. Not sure that those were going to fit the needs (output and WAF) I considered the PSA XS30 and ULS-15, but at this point the price for the subwoofer seemed absurd in relation to the rest of the system. I have read the lavish comments about Rythmik and SVS, but for some reason they just have not struck a note with me. I obviously want to keep the budget as low as I can (I recently quit my job and am now in law school), but I also do not want to buy something just to sale it in a few months because the purchase was unwise. I seem to be drawn to PSA and HSU, but I have not decided that is those are the only manufactures I will consider. I even looked at Funk, but that seems to be inappropriate in my situation.

So after all of this searching my questions are 1. Have I overlooked any subwoofer that would be a good fit? 2. What is the percentage of total system budget typically applied to subwoofer? 3. Any recommendations, and why you believe they are appropriate for my situation. Finally, to everyone who took the time to read this ridiculously long post and express your opinion I thank you!

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post #2 of 15 Old 02-10-2013, 12:25 PM
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Whew, long read, lol.

Without going into a huge diatribe; I don't think there is really a right or wrong sub for that setup. There is no way you are even going to come close to filling up that amount of space with a single driver fitting those dimensions. Sealed will only compound the output issue further, albeit with a smaller footprint.

I have owned multiple HSU and SVS subs and they have always treated me well. I know it's probably not the answer you are looking for, but IMO, I would merely select the one that fits the budget while keeping with the WAF theme and call it a day. If you decide down the road you want to add some more tactile sensation, you can always add some buttkickers that won't clutter the room.

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post #3 of 15 Old 02-10-2013, 12:38 PM
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Based on your needs, have you looked at the $499 shipped SVS subs? What about the Rythmik LV12R that is $549 shipped? The SVS PB12 is right around your max height requirements and should be good for what you are looking for:
http://www.svsound.com/subwoofers/ported-box/pb-1000#.URgEuDlSbHg


The Rythmik is pretty new and is slightly larger, but should offer solid performance:
http://www.rythmikaudio.com/LV12R_specs.html
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post #4 of 15 Old 02-10-2013, 12:53 PM
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I may be way off base here, but, if you have not yet purchased the speakers...
Perhaps some powered tower speakers may fit the bill, something along the lines of DefTech BP8060ST's.
Yes, they would cost more than the speakers you have picked but they each have a built-in 10" powered sub and sound very good. No, they won't provide wall shaking bass, but that is not what you are looking for....Just a thought...

If you want a separate sub, give serious consideration to SVS products. I own one and can say they do rock.
I have a ported sub and it does very well with music....

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post #5 of 15 Old 02-10-2013, 01:10 PM
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You are placing this sub in a large area, so you are going to want output, not an easy thing to do on a tight budget. One sub I would look at is the Premiere Acoustics PA-150, it doesn't have a lot of deep bass output, but it has a bunch of mid bass and upper bass output. Since you don't care about explosions, this might be good, because it is usually only movie effects that use deep bass, not music. It just barely meets your height restriction though.

Another sub you ought to look at is the Hsu VTF2 mk4. It costs a bit more, but it doesn't press your height restriction as bad, and it will have a decent amount of output, as well as superior deep bass if not as much mid and upper bass, but it will likely have more finesse and articulation. If you can stretch up to the VTF3, that would be worth considering too, a very powerful sub with lots of deep bass, but again it just barely meets your max height requirement.

As for percentage of the total budget the sub should take, there is no absolute answer. From the perspective of physics, the sub has the hardest job to do, it has to move a lot more air than the other speakers, and it has to pressurize the room its in to do its job effectively, so the room plays a role here. The larger the room, the more work the sub has to do. By room, we mean open volumetric space. So there are scenarios where, in order to get a nice bass sound, you will have to spend a lot more than all of your other speakers combined. We also have to take in the purchaser's goals, how loud do you want it, what frequency range are you interested in, what kind of sound quality you want, etc. In your case, I think you don't really have to spend a fortune because you are not interested so much in material that has deep frequencies. I would focus above 30 hz performance. The aforementioned PA-150 does this very well. If you can stand a cosmetic imperfection, you can get a killer deal on one right now.
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post #6 of 15 Old 02-10-2013, 07:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bass addict View Post

Whew, long read, lol.

Without going into a huge diatribe; I don't think there is really a right or wrong sub for that setup. There is no way you are even going to come close to filling up that amount of space with a single driver fitting those dimensions. Sealed will only compound the output issue further, albeit with a smaller footprint.

I have owned multiple HSU and SVS subs and they have always treated me well. I know it's probably not the answer you are looking for, but IMO, I would merely select the one that fits the budget while keeping with the WAF theme and call it a day. If you decide down the road you want to add some more tactile sensation, you can always add some buttkickers that won't clutter the room.

One of the major problems I have is that there is not real budget, but I think above 2K would be too much. Thank you for your opinion, I would rather have an honest assessement than a lie.
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post #7 of 15 Old 02-10-2013, 07:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ack_bk View Post

Based on your needs, have you looked at the $499 shipped SVS subs? What about the Rythmik LV12R that is $549 shipped? The SVS PB12 is right around your max height requirements and should be good for what you are looking for:
http://www.svsound.com/subwoofers/ported-box/pb-1000#.URgEuDlSbHg


The Rythmik is pretty new and is slightly larger, but should offer solid performance:
http://www.rythmikaudio.com/LV12R_specs.html

I have looked at both honestly. Both seem like great subs, perhaps I should revist them.
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post #8 of 15 Old 02-10-2013, 07:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ceh383 View Post

I may be way off base here, but, if you have not yet purchased the speakers...
Perhaps some powered tower speakers may fit the bill, something along the lines of DefTech BP8060ST's.
Yes, they would cost more than the speakers you have picked but they each have a built-in 10" powered sub and sound very good. No, they won't provide wall shaking bass, but that is not what you are looking for....Just a thought...

If you want a separate sub, give serious consideration to SVS products. I own one and can say they do rock.
I have a ported sub and it does very well with music....

I have purchased the speakers, but that was a great thought. Thank you for the idea...
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post #9 of 15 Old 02-10-2013, 07:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

You are placing this sub in a large area, so you are going to want output, not an easy thing to do on a tight budget. One sub I would look at is the Premiere Acoustics PA-150, it doesn't have a lot of deep bass output, but it has a bunch of mid bass and upper bass output. Since you don't care about explosions, this might be good, because it is usually only movie effects that use deep bass, not music. It just barely meets your height restriction though.

Another sub you ought to look at is the Hsu VTF2 mk4. It costs a bit more, but it doesn't press your height restriction as bad, and it will have a decent amount of output, as well as superior deep bass if not as much mid and upper bass, but it will likely have more finesse and articulation. If you can stretch up to the VTF3, that would be worth considering too, a very powerful sub with lots of deep bass, but again it just barely meets your max height requirement.

As for percentage of the total budget the sub should take, there is no absolute answer. From the perspective of physics, the sub has the hardest job to do, it has to move a lot more air than the other speakers, and it has to pressurize the room its in to do its job effectively, so the room plays a role here. The larger the room, the more work the sub has to do. By room, we mean open volumetric space. So there are scenarios where, in order to get a nice bass sound, you will have to spend a lot more than all of your other speakers combined. We also have to take in the purchaser's goals, how loud do you want it, what frequency range are you interested in, what kind of sound quality you want, etc. In your case, I think you don't really have to spend a fortune because you are not interested so much in material that has deep frequencies. I would focus above 30 hz performance. The aforementioned PA-150 does this very well. If you can stand a cosmetic imperfection, you can get a killer deal on one right now.

Thank you for the detailed response! This gave me a lot of things to think about. I will look at the PA-150, I know next to nothing about it. It seems a lot of the people here like the HSU VTF subs, but there is little about the ULS. I am wondering if after all of this I should remove the height issue, and find the sub that I enjoy the most.
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post #10 of 15 Old 02-10-2013, 07:48 PM
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Here is a review of the PA-150 with some extensive measurements. On this page you can see how is compares with other subs. It's performance at 50 hz and above is very good, it has the output of some $2k subs listed there. At 30 to 40 hz, its not bad, but there isn't much going on below 30 hz. It's distortion numbers aren't bad, they aren't great and get ugly when you push the sub hard. This is a pretty good value, and a very good value if you get the B-stock. As for the VTF and ULS, I have both of those, they are terrific subs. Neither will have the upper bass performance of the PA-150, but the VTF3 might get close, but they will dominate it in low bass and sound cleaner too. I think a VTF15h would be able to keep up with the PA-150, even in upper bass, and it would certainly plow it over in the low bass region. The ULS is not an output monster, its is more about form and clean bass more than anything else. It is a great subwoofer but for a room of that size you would want at least two or more. Keep in mind I am into big bass sound, and what might be too much bass for some people might not even be a start for me.
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post #11 of 15 Old 02-10-2013, 08:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you shadyJ! That is very helpful on many levels. Very interesting about the PA-150, the levels were very impressive until you get low, as you said. Could save me a lot of money to get that sub...

On the other hand your description of the ULS sounds exaclty like what I have been searching for.
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post #12 of 15 Old 02-11-2013, 01:07 AM
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The ULS is a great sub, very clean and very sharp bass. I have two. You could order one from Hsu for a 30 day try-out. Unfortunately, if you decided it wasn't for you and sent it back, you would be out the $150 shipping to go back and forth. Unless you lived near Anaheim, CA.
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post #13 of 15 Old 02-11-2013, 07:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ODucks View Post

Thank you shadyJ! That is very helpful on many levels. Very interesting about the PA-150, the levels were very impressive until you get low, as you said. Could save me a lot of money to get that sub...

On the other hand your description of the ULS sounds exaclty like what I have been searching for.

Most rooms have room gain as well. The PA-150, in my room, would go down below 30hz but it was lacking authority. For $350 shipped it is hard to beat in the 40-80hz range which is where most bass is anyway. Based on your viewing habits it seems like a good fit, but if you want a sub that extend past 30hz with authority, I would look at something else. The ULS seems like a very nice sub, I would also look into the PSA subs (XS15 and XV15). Should get the job done for under $800 shipped. SVS also makes some nice subs.
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post #14 of 15 Old 02-11-2013, 08:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Yesterday I emailed both HSU and PSA to ask what their thoughts were on my particular situation. I also plan on emailing Rythmik today and asking about the F15, I received a private message suggesting that it may be the ticket I am looking for. I also plan to continue looking at the PA-150, for 350 shipped (or the discounted one) it seems hard to beat.

Please continue to give to share your insights, it has been helpful.
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post #15 of 15 Old 02-11-2013, 10:54 AM
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Rythmik LV12R or PSA (XS15 or XV15)
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