Which is a better musical subwoofer: HSU or SVC with 12 " driver? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 09-22-2013, 07:39 PM - Thread Starter
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I am looking to get a good musical subwoofer ranging in price from $500-$700 to match my front Totem Sttaf speakers to play 2 channel music. The Sttaf is complemented by a Centre Totem Mite T and a pair of surround bookshelf speakers Totem Mite. I am very happy with the musical sound, however, it is lacking in the bass compartment. I heard lots of good things about the subs HSU and SVC and I wonder if anyone can suggest which sub would be more musical as I like to hear the punchiness of the beats of the drum without the rumbling and boominess of the sub. Any good musical sub in my price range to match my Totem system? Any good musical subs other than HSU and SVC? Is a 12" driver better than a 10" one? Many thanks.
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post #2 of 16 Old 09-22-2013, 07:59 PM
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There are several subs in that category that will be great for music.

PSA XS15

SVS PB/PC12 NSD

SVS SB12NSD

Rythmik LV12

HSU VTF-2 MK4

Outlaw LFM-1

What is the size of your room? This will help narrow your search.
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post #3 of 16 Old 09-22-2013, 08:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by basshead81 View Post

There are several subs in that category that will be great for music.

PSA XS15

SVS PB/PC12 NSD

SVS SB12NSD

Rythmik LV12

HSU VTF-2 MK4

Outlaw LFM-1

What is the size of your room? This will help narrow your search.

My room is about 20 ft X 15ft.
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post #4 of 16 Old 09-22-2013, 08:51 PM
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The PSA XS15 is going to offer the most mid upper bass punch out of the subs I mentioned. It should generate reference level output from 40-80hz in that room. The Rythmik LV12 servo sub is another great choice. Jim Wilson really liked this sub for music also. Head over to hometheatreshack.com and look up Jman sub reviews.
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post #5 of 16 Old 09-23-2013, 02:48 AM
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I don't believe any sub in that budget is going to to be touching THX Reference levels in that room. If any of those subs tried to achieve THX levels, they would only be outputting gobs of distortion. It doesn't matter since the OP isn't likely to be looking for 115 dB output levels anyway. If it were me, I would go for the Hsu VTF3 mk4. It has a sharp sound and has a lot of ways to customize the bass to suite your tastes.
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post #6 of 16 Old 09-23-2013, 05:32 AM
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"I am looking to get a good musical subwoofer ranging in price from $500-$700 to match my front Totem Sttaf speakers to play 2 channel music. The Sttaf is complemented by a Centre Totem Mite T and a pair of surround bookshelf speakers Totem Mite. I am very happy with the musical sound, however, it is lacking in the bass compartment. I heard lots of good things about the subs HSU and SVC and I wonder if anyone can suggest which sub would be more musical as I like to hear the punchiness of the beats of the drum without the rumbling and boominess of the sub. Any good musical sub in my price range to match my Totem system? Any good musical subs other than HSU and SVC? Is a 12" driver better than a 10" one? Many thanks."

common question. common problem. your situation is excerbated by the fact that your speakers have no woofers.

most of the punch factor in music is getting high spl in the 60-200hz region, which means high sensitivity mains as much as good subs. your best bet for increasing that midbass punch is to do what the entire pro audio world does...use a high sensitivity driver with high power handling and put it in a ported cab tuned relatively high and then put some power on it. ~98db sensitivity and 500+ watts will get you going...this is precisely the problem that hsu was attempting to address with its mid-bass module.

adding a home subwoofer with 81db sensitivity isn't going to cut it.

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post #7 of 16 Old 09-23-2013, 05:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hamptons View Post

I am looking to get a good musical subwoofer
Define 'musical'
Quote:
Is a 12" driver better than a 10" one?
What matters is frequency response and maximum SPL output, not driver size. For 2.1 music only you want response to 30-35Hz with output able to match that of your mains. You can find out maximum output for many subs at data-bass.com. But as already mentioned you're not going to get anything even vaguely resembling club levels from mains with a single 5.5 inch woofer.

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post #8 of 16 Old 09-23-2013, 05:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hamptons View Post

I am looking to get a good musical subwoofer ranging in price from $500-$700 to match my front Totem Sttaf speakers to play 2 channel music. The Sttaf is complemented by a Centre Totem Mite T and a pair of surround bookshelf speakers Totem Mite. I am very happy with the musical sound, however, it is lacking in the bass compartment.

I question the question.

Why would any subwoofer manufacturer try or allow himself to be tricked into building a subwoofer that was great for music or sucked for movies, or vice versa? What would the technical parameters of a subwoofer favor one and not favor the other?
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I heard lots of good things about the subs HSU and SVS

Both are good companies who seem to promote their products for movies and music pretty equally. As others have pointed out, they have energetic competition. I find that this web site contains objective information that can be used to reliably judge the price/performance of subwoofers:

http://www.data-bass.com/systems
Quote:
and I wonder if anyone can suggest which sub would be more musical as I like to hear the punchiness of the beats of the drum without the rumbling and boominess of the sub. Any good musical sub in my price range to match my Totem system? Any good musical subs other than HSU and SVS?

I see the problem of matching subs to the balance of the system as being a problem in speaker deployment and positioning, room acoustics, room treatments, bass management, and system spectral tailoring.

As long as the subwoofer can move the air cleanly, the rest is pretty much up to the individual implementation.
Quote:
Is a 12" driver better than a 10" one? Many thanks.

All other things being equal, a 12" driver can move more air cleanly than a 10" driver. That's simply the laws of physics rearing their ugly head. Of course, all other things are not always equal but they often can be.
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post #9 of 16 Old 09-23-2013, 06:05 AM
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

I question the question.
Why would any subwoofer manufacturer try or allow himself to be tricked into building a subwoofer that was great for music or sucked for movies, or vice versa? What would the technical parameters of a subwoofer favor one and not favor the other?.
+1, which is why I asked 'define musical'. Where the notion came from that a sub can sound good for music or HT but not both is a puzzler. If a sub sounds good it sounds good with any material, and if it stinks it stinks with any material. wink.gif
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post #10 of 16 Old 09-23-2013, 06:23 AM
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"Why would any subwoofer manufacturer try or allow himself to be tricked into building a subwoofer that was great for music or sucked for movies, or vice versa? What would the technical parameters of a subwoofer favor one and not favor the other?"

for most music, chopping off everything under about 35-40hz can be fine while for movies another octave really adds to the excitement. exceptions apply of course, but i think that is what folks are generally trying to get at with such a comment.

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post #11 of 16 Old 09-23-2013, 06:29 AM
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Originally Posted by LTD02 View Post


for most music, chopping off everything under about 35-40hz can be fine while for movies another octave really adds to the excitement. exceptions apply of course, but i think that is what folks are generally trying to get at with such a comment.
It's what they should be getting at, but it's usually not the case. Somehow there's arisen a view that if a sub gos to 20Hz or lower that for some reason it won't work as well an octave or two above that than a sub that only goes to 35-40Hz. It's not the least bit true, but as with most rumors truth is at best a secondary consideration.

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post #12 of 16 Old 09-23-2013, 06:36 AM
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To me musical would mean that the subwoofer produces the sound of an instrument in the bass octaves that sounds like the instrument. I have an old subwoofer that doesn't do that all the time. Sometimes it produces a note at the instrument's frequency that doesn't necessarily sound like the instrument. It is just noise at the right frequency. I have a better, newer subwoofer that produces instrumental sounds pretty accurately. I would refer to the latter subwoofer as musical. It is true that the "unmusical" subwoofer is unmusical with a movie score just as it is with a CD recording But the LFE doesn't care how accurate things are. The old sub can pressurize the room and shake the sofa. But it doesn't play music as nicely. Since I don't view movie audio as all that high in fidelity, I would be content with the old sub in a home theater but certainly not as an addition to a 2 channel music playing system. The new sub, on the other hand manages stereo music very nicely.

So I don't have a real problem with the term musical sub. I have both a musical one and one that is not so musical and certainly understand the difference between them. Perhaps I'm just fussier about what I hear from a stereo music recording than I am about movie scores.
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post #13 of 16 Old 09-23-2013, 07:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LTD02 View Post

"Why would any subwoofer manufacturer try or allow himself to be tricked into building a subwoofer that was great for music or sucked for movies, or vice versa? What would the technical parameters of a subwoofer favor one and not favor the other?"

for most music, chopping off everything under about 35-40hz can be fine while for movies another octave really adds to the excitement. exceptions apply of course, but i think that is what folks are generally trying to get at with such a comment.

I know that is common wisdom, but I built my first subwoofer in the 1970s when movies were not nearly as pervasive. One of its first trials was the Telarc 1812 LP.

It was basically only for listening to music.

Typically it was measured flat down to 20 Hz in large rooms and had great sensitivity and dynamic range. Its active ingredient was a rebuilt 18" subwoofer that was originally made for movies with Sensurround (e.g. Earthquake). So, I guess the movie connection was there, even though it was long displaced before DVDs were even a glint in anybody's eye.
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post #14 of 16 Old 09-23-2013, 07:43 AM
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the subs I mentioned in my initial post will work great for music...the op does not need huge pro audio subs. The key is getting a nice response and the sub will sound accurate. I have a feeling my Polk 505's would have sounded pretty good for music if I would of taken the time to measure and properly place them for a good response. I think most mistake a sub for being boomy due to bad room acoustics or placement.
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post #15 of 16 Old 09-23-2013, 09:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

Define 'musical'
What matters is frequency response and maximum SPL output, not driver size. For 2.1 music only you want response to 30-35Hz with output able to match that of your mains. You can find out maximum output for many subs at data-bass.com. But as already mentioned you're not going to get anything even vaguely resembling club levels from mains with a single 5.5 inch woofer.

"Musical" , for me, means a sub should be able to provide a detailed, crisp, distortion free of all instruments, especially, the bass coming from the drum beats should be very clear, solid and tight. It would be a bonus if the sub can translate these sound effects in an HT environment while enhancing the special toning effects when playing movies.
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post #16 of 16 Old 09-23-2013, 09:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hamptons View Post

"Musical" , for me, means a sub should be able to provide a detailed, crisp, distortion free of all instruments, especially, the bass coming from the drum beats should be very clear, solid and tight. It would be a bonus if the sub can translate these sound effects in an HT environment while enhancing the special toning effects when playing movies.

If the sub has a flat freq response and low distortion it will reproduce drum beat and big HT explosions equally as well. String bass and a car crash will also be reproduced accurately. There is no bonus it either can do it or it can't.
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