Large Room = Ported Sub: Rule or Rule of Thumb? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 38 Old 02-26-2014, 03:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Righteous Dudes (and Dudettes?),

First off, thanks to everyone who participates in this forum. I've learned a great deal in my few months of browsing AVS. Secondly, sorry for the redundant topic, but I can't seem to find the answer I'm looking for.

I am working on a system for mostly movies and TV. The room that its going in is quite large 18'x37'x10' (6,660 cu.ft.), and it is open to even more space. But the listening area is 18'x18'. The TV is directly above a fireplace. I spent last weekend cutting the mantle in half so I don't have to stare at the ceiling to see the TV. The floor plan can be seen here:
http://www.dsldhomes.com/CmImageDir/182__1372269911.pdf

I was initially going with dual sealed 12" or 15" subs on each side of the fireplace because of WAF. Also to help with room modes. BUT, I'm hearing that sealed subs are not the way to go in large rooms because of the loss of room gain in the lower end.

Are there any guidelines on this topic? A few people have suggested that you really need to go ported if your room is over 5000+ cu. ft. Is +/-3db down to 19Hz on a sealed sub the same as +/-3db down to 19Hz on a ported sub? Would a sealed 15" sub play as low as a ported 12" sub in a large room? The only home theater subs I have experience with have been ported.

What I really need is for someone to tell me that going with sealed subs would be a bad idea or not. Or, that I would have to spend a significant amount of money to get the same low end output as a ported sub from a sealed sub. I don't need earth shaking bass, but I do want it to sound "full" or "significant." I look forward to your comments.

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post #2 of 38 Old 02-26-2014, 04:55 PM
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The answer to your question heavily depends on your budget. Could you start by telling us your budget for the subs?
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post #3 of 38 Old 02-26-2014, 05:57 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm not really locked down on a price. I'm pretty good at delayed gratification, so if I'm not comfortable with the amount of a purchase I can hold off until I save enough money. I find wanting and/or researching an item is almost as much fun as having it.

 

With that said, I was initially leaning toward two SVS SB-2000 at $700 (or SB12-NSD at $600 while they last). I am willing to pay $1000 for each sub; $1200 max.

 

To save some cash, I am also willing to buy a driver and plate amp kit (eg. Rythmic DS1200 or DS1500) and build my own cabinet using a proven design. I've built a few ported and sealed boxes for car audio and I am familiar with Thiel-Small parameters and cabinet tuning. Actually, that may be more fun.

 

These subs will likely have to be right up against the wall so back-ported designs are a deal-breaker. I will likely be limited by the depth of the cabinet. Hence, wanting to go with sealed subs.

 

Thanks for your help!


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post #4 of 38 Old 02-26-2014, 06:18 PM
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From what I know, you won't be getting much room gain with sealed subs in that size room.  So I would suggest ported with as much output as you can get.  Your best option within your budget imo would be dual HSU VTF-15H, which should come in under $2k.  After that, it would be the Rythmik FV15HP, which offer a substantial increase in output, but will run close to 1400 each shipped.  The only other option would be dual SVS PB or PC12 Plus.

 

Since you are open to DIY, I think you could get much more bang for your buck going that route.  But premade, I don't think you will do much better than the above options.


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post #5 of 38 Old 02-26-2014, 07:40 PM
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The room volume and listening space don't matter; the longest room dimension does. Where that's 1/2 wavelength (565 divided by the dimension in feet) is where cabin gain begins. Ideally you want the sub f3 no higher than that frequency, which is difficult to achieve with sealed below 40Hz. You can use sealed without cabin gain, but to get the same results you'll need at least twice as many of them, which eliminates their size advantage, and greatly increases system cost.
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post #6 of 38 Old 02-26-2014, 08:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bear123 View Post

Your best option within your budget imo would be dual HSU VTF-15H, which should come in under $2k.  After that, it would be the Rythmik FV15HP, which offer a substantial increase in output, but will run close to 1400 each shipped.  The only other option would be dual SVS PB or PC12 Plus.

+1

That about sums it up. Your room is far too large for acoustic suspension subs, unless you get about 4 of them. A pair of the HSU or Rythmik would be your best bet, unless you went DIY.

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post #7 of 38 Old 02-27-2014, 09:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by bear123 View Post

From what I know, you won't be getting much room gain with sealed subs in that size room.  So I would suggest ported with as much output as you can get.  Your best option within your budget imo would be dual HSU VTF-15H, which should come in under $2k.  After that, it would be the Rythmik FV15HP, which offer a substantial increase in output, but will run close to 1400 each shipped.  The only other option would be dual SVS PB or PC12 Plus.

Since you are open to DIY, I think you could get much more bang for your buck going that route.  But premade, I don't think you will do much better than the above options.

Bear123, thanks for your advice. I think the depth of the VTF-15H will prevent me from using it, but if I go DIY its great to have reference sub to aim for.

I know in my original post is asked that someone just tell me if sealed subs would work, but I was hoping to keep this from being a "recommend-a-sub" thread. I would really like to get a discussion of the parameters involved in sizing a sub for a room and how the room affects the output of sealed and ported enclosures.

For example, It sounds like Bill Fitzmaurice is saying that all that matters is your longest room dimension and f3 of your sub. I am going to assume that he is implying (hypothetically) that a sealed and ported sub with the same response curve would sound virtually identical in a given room. Its just that finding sealed subs that play as low as ported subs are hard to come by.

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post #8 of 38 Old 02-27-2014, 10:33 AM
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I think it would be safer to say that sealed subs generally extend lower than ported.  Ported tend to have higher output around their port tune regardless of room gain.  Sealed subs require either good room gain, more power, more subs, or a combination of the three to match ported subs around their port tune, but will have higher output below ported subs tune, as a ported sub drops off very sharply below tune.  A sealed sub has a shallow drop off below 30-40Hz.  My advice, stop in at the DIY forum and mention your max budget and room dimensions and see what the DIY guys come up with.

 

If you are DIY capable, you will get a lot more output with your budget than buying premade subs.  Check out data-bass.com, they have quite a few DIY subs tested.  This might help steer you in the right direction as well.


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post #9 of 38 Old 02-27-2014, 11:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

The room volume and listening space don't matter; the longest room dimension does. Where that's 1/2 wavelength (565 divided by the dimension in feet) is where cabin gain begins. Ideally you want the sub f3 no higher than that frequency, which is difficult to achieve with sealed below 40Hz. You can use sealed without cabin gain, but to get the same results you'll need at least twice as many of them, which eliminates their size advantage, and greatly increases system cost.

 



Bill, my longest uninterrupted room dimension is 37-ft. Using the equation you posted (565 ft/s / 37 ft) equals 15.3/s or 15.3Hz. Using SVS's products as an example, the SB-2000 and PB-2000 both seem to have a "baseline" response of 100dB. The SB-2000 appears to have an f3 around 21Hz. The PB-2000 appears to have an f3 around 16.5Hz along with ~3dB boost between 20-30 Hz. Is this, in a nutshell, what you are saying? That the f3 of sealed subs is usually too high for large rooms and that's why they don't respond as well?

Rythmik claims that their F15HP is 3db down at 14Hz. The chart they have published is very "low-res." Does this mean that this sub would work well in my scenario? I think with 600 watts (X2) the baseline output level would be sufficient.

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post #10 of 38 Old 02-27-2014, 11:08 AM
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A safe assumption is if you want output below 18-20 Hz, sealed subs can get you there. More ported subs will just get you more output from the tunning frequency and higher. Sealed subs can be used in larger rooms with good results. They need to be corner loaded, placed nearfield and have eq to boost the low end safely. I use sealed subs in a large room, 53-5600 cu ft. I have good extension to around 10-12 Hz.

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post #11 of 38 Old 02-27-2014, 11:45 AM
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If the HSU VTF-15 is too big then look at the PSA XV-15's...they will get close to the performance of a VTF-15 but on a smaller foot print.
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post #12 of 38 Old 02-27-2014, 11:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jchata2 View Post

I am going to assume that he is implying (hypothetically) that a sealed and ported sub with the same response curve would sound virtually identical in a given room.
True.
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Its just that finding sealed subs that play as low as ported subs are hard to come by.
Also true. If sealed did go as low with as much sensitivity and displacement limited output as ported then there would be no such thing as ported, as they'd serve no purpose. But they don't.
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Using SVS's products as an example, the SB-2000 and PB-2000 both seem to have a "baseline" response of 100dB.
That's at whatever power they measured them at, which they don't say. It's not 4 watt/2 meter, that's for sure.
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The SB-2000 appears to have an f3 around 21Hz. The PB-2000 appears to have an f3 around 16.5Hz along with ~3dB boost between 20-30 Hz. Is this, in a nutshell, what you are saying? That the f3 of sealed subs is usually too high for large rooms and that's why they don't respond as well?
According to the SPL charts at SVS the SB2000 f3 is 25Hz, the PB 2000 17Hz, so unless the longest room dimension is 22 feet or less I'd go with the PB 2000 if you want the best possible result to 16Hz, though not by a huge margin according to the charts. BUT...that's assuming both were measured with the same power level. They might not have. In order for a driver to go lower in a sealed cab the driver specs result in lower sensitivity than a driver optimized for a ported cab. That's where specs can be misleading, because it you don't know all of the fine details then you can't make a valid comparison. If the PB 2000 was measured with significantly less power input than the SB 2000 that would give the PB even more of an advantage. Not knowing the driver specs I can't be sure that they were measured at different power levels, but I'm highly skeptical.

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post #13 of 38 Old 02-27-2014, 12:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jchata2 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

The room volume and listening space don't matter; the longest room dimension does. Where that's 1/2 wavelength (565 divided by the dimension in feet) is where cabin gain begins. Ideally you want the sub f3 no higher than that frequency, which is difficult to achieve with sealed below 40Hz. You can use sealed without cabin gain, but to get the same results you'll need at least twice as many of them, which eliminates their size advantage, and greatly increases system cost.

 



Bill, my longest uninterrupted room dimension is 37-ft. Using the equation you posted (565 ft/s / 37 ft) equals 15.3/s or 15.3Hz. Using SVS's products as an example, the SB-2000 and PB-2000 both seem to have a "baseline" response of 100dB. The SB-2000 appears to have an f3 around 21Hz. The PB-2000 appears to have an f3 around 16.5Hz along with ~3dB boost between 20-30 Hz. Is this, in a nutshell, what you are saying? That the f3 of sealed subs is usually too high for large rooms and that's why they don't respond as well?

Rythmik claims that their F15HP is 3db down at 14Hz. The chart they have published is very "low-res." Does this mean that this sub would work well in my scenario? I think with 600 watts (X2) the baseline output level would be sufficient.

Go to data-bass.com and look at the output difference between the PB-12 and SB-12NSD. The PB-12 has a 6-10db advantage between 16-20hz. Your room will not allow enough room gain to make the difference up. Go Ported!
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post #14 of 38 Old 02-28-2014, 06:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by basshead81 View Post

If the HSU VTF-15 is too big then look at the PSA XV-15's...they will get close to the performance of a VTF-15 but on a smaller foot print.

 



The PSA XV-15 is out because it is rear ported. Right now everything is leaning toward a DIY ported box because of depth dimension restrictions.

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post #15 of 38 Old 02-28-2014, 06:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jchata2 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by basshead81 View Post

If the HSU VTF-15 is too big then look at the PSA XV-15's...they will get close to the performance of a VTF-15 but on a smaller foot print.

 



The PSA XV-15 is out because it is rear ported. Right now everything is leaning toward a DIY ported box because of depth dimension restrictions.

That is a great option...I would look at the SI D2 18" or Dayton Ultimax 18", Marty Cube flat pack enclosure, Inuke 3000 DSP amp.
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post #16 of 38 Old 02-28-2014, 09:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by derrickdj1 View Post

A safe assumption is if you want output below 18-20 Hz, sealed subs can get you there. More ported subs will just get you more output from the tunning frequency and higher. Sealed subs can be used in larger rooms with good results. They need to be corner loaded, placed nearfield and have eq to boost the low end safely. I use sealed subs in a large room, 53-5600 cu ft. I have good extension to around 10-12 Hz.

 



Derrick, one of the subs could be corner loaded, but I was hoping to stay symmetrical around the display for WAF. Near-field is not an option for me. Audessey SubEQ HT will be handling the EQ'ing of the subs, but I don't know how low it EQ's to.

I am curious as to what your sealed set-ups in large rooms were.

I was starting to lean heavily toward dual Rythmic F15HP's (or a replica DIY build with their driver and amp kit). They claim it is -3dB at 14 Hz! I contacted Rythmik about it, and they said I would likely not be happy with them for home theater use. They recommended building a replica of their FV15.

As an aside, Rythmik's Direct Servo technology seems pretty cool, and enables a given driver and enclosure to operate outside the response boundaries you would normally expect. Is there anything equivalent to it in the generic DIY market?

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post #17 of 38 Old 02-28-2014, 12:15 PM
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Quote:
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I was hoping to stay symmetrical around the display for WAF. ?
That almost guarantees a less than good result. Subs need to go where they sound the best, which is almost never where they look the best,
Quote:
As an aside, Rythmik's Direct Servo technology seems pretty cool, and enables a given driver and enclosure to operate outside the response boundaries you would normally expect.
But not outside what the laws of physics will allow. As we say in the speaker designing business, there's no such thing as a free lunch. Any gain in one factor will always be offset by a loss in another. For instance, using EQ to lift the low end with a sealed sub. Yes, it works. But each 6dB of EQ boost gobbles up twice the driver excursion and four times the amplifier power. That's fine if you've got plenty of excursion and power to spare, not so much if you don't.

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post #18 of 38 Old 02-28-2014, 02:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jchata2 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by derrickdj1 View Post

A safe assumption is if you want output below 18-20 Hz, sealed subs can get you there. More ported subs will just get you more output from the tunning frequency and higher. Sealed subs can be used in larger rooms with good results. They need to be corner loaded, placed nearfield and have eq to boost the low end safely. I use sealed subs in a large room, 53-5600 cu ft. I have good extension to around 10-12 Hz.

 



Derrick, one of the subs could be corner loaded, but I was hoping to stay symmetrical around the display for WAF. Near-field is not an option for me. Audessey SubEQ HT will be handling the EQ'ing of the subs, but I don't know how low it EQ's to.

I am curious as to what your sealed set-ups in large rooms were.

I was starting to lean heavily toward dual Rythmic F15HP's (or a replica DIY build with their driver and amp kit). They claim it is -3dB at 14 Hz! I contacted Rythmik about it, and they said I would likely not be happy with them for home theater use. They recommended building a replica of their FV15.

As an aside, Rythmik's Direct Servo technology seems pretty cool, and enables a given driver and enclosure to operate outside the response boundaries you would normally expect. Is there anything equivalent to it in the generic DIY market?

The subs I use are the Chase SS 18.2 and stacked SS 18.1's. So, basically two SS 18.2 subs. They are not going to win the WAF since they are black and plain looking, lol. Rhthmik IMHO makes a great subs and multiple subs will need to be used for a strong low end. Budget is a constraint for most people and is a prime consideration. A happy wife will make to a happy man with his HT.smile.gif

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post #19 of 38 Old 03-03-2014, 08:49 AM - Thread Starter
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It looks like I'm off to the wonderful world of DIY. Likely a down-firing, front-ported box. I saw that Bill Fitzmaurice (along with others) has some intriguing information about the advantages of down-firing orientations.

Thanks to everyone who replied to my thread!

-James

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Keep us posted James and pic's of the finished subs.

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post #21 of 38 Old 03-04-2014, 06:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jchata2 View Post

It looks like I'm off to the wonderful world of DIY. Likely a down-firing, front-ported box. I saw that Bill Fitzmaurice (along with others) has some intriguing information about the advantages of down-firing orientations.



Thanks to everyone who replied to my thread!



-James

 



I don't want to turn you away from DIY because if you are a skilled wood worker its the way to get the most bang for buck.... BUT you say that the VTF-15H is too deep and that the XV-15 is out cuz its rear ported; you know you can turn them side ways. The front of the sub doesn't have to face front. I actually have dual Outlaw Audio LFM-1 Plus subs and they are both sitting sideways because they take up too much floor space sitting in their normal orientation.

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post #22 of 38 Old 03-04-2014, 07:20 AM
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I have two XV15's turned 90 degrees for the WAF smile.gif That does not effect performance in anyway

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post #23 of 38 Old 03-04-2014, 10:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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It looks like I'm off to the wonderful world of DIY. Likely a down-firing, front-ported box.......

 



I don't want to turn you away from DIY because if you are a skilled wood worker its the way to get the most bang for buck.... BUT you say that the VTF-15H is too deep and that the XV-15 is out cuz its rear ported; you know you can turn them side ways. The front of the sub doesn't have to face front. I actually have dual Outlaw Audio LFM-1 Plus subs and they are both sitting sideways because they take up too much floor space sitting in their normal orientation.

 

Guru, I am aware that the orientation a sub-woofer driver, for the most part, does not "damage" its frequency response. The crux of the problem is that the room is a living area that I'm trying to fit a home theater into. I'm trying to keep everything clean and as unobtrusive as possible. I (and the wife) don't want to be able to see the amps.

 

I used some painters tape to tape to the replica of a Rythmik FV-15HP in its down-firing orientation (as can be found on Rythmik's website) on the floor and wall. I have it taped out sideways so it doesn't stick out as far. The wife started to have a cow about how big they would be. Although, her first reaction to things is usually her most dramatic. So, I'm currently looking into passive radiator design to attempt to get the cabinet size down.

 

Another idea was to build a down-firing/down-ported box and disguise it as a fabric bench seat. Just google "fabric bench" and you'll get the idea of what I'm thinking of doing.

 

Thanks!


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post #24 of 38 Old 03-04-2014, 12:01 PM
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A single driver ported sub will produce more output than a single driver sealed sub, but I wouldn't rule out a dual driver sealed sub. In theory, a dual driver sealed sub should outdo a comparable ported single driver sub. The problem with most dual driver sealed subs is since there are 2 drivers and the subs need to be cost competitive, the drivers are typically low quality. A good quality dual driver sealed sub, like a seaton submersive, can easily compete with ported subs.
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post #25 of 38 Old 03-04-2014, 12:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jchata2 View Post

Another idea was to build a down-firing/down-ported box and disguise it as a fabric bench seat. Just google "fabric bench" and you'll get the idea of what I'm thinking of doing.
With DIY your only limitation is your imagination. In the build threads section on my forum you'll see all sorts of creative ways guys have gotten around WAF.

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post #26 of 38 Old 03-06-2014, 01:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Turns out that the wife is ok with the fabric bench/ottoman idea.

...and so it begins.

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post #27 of 38 Old 03-06-2014, 01:32 PM
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what about cylinder svs ? Only 16" diameter

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post #28 of 38 Old 03-06-2014, 06:15 PM - Thread Starter
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what about cylinder svs ? Only 16" diameter

Fatbottom, a few reasons: Personally, I find them kind of goofy looking and they are more than I want to spend. With the size of the room this is going in, the people here are suggesting that I will need at least two 15"s for the tactile response I'm looking for. Also, I'm getting pretty pumped about doing a DIY build.

 

Thanks for replying!


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post #29 of 38 Old 03-18-2014, 07:48 AM
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My room is very similar in size and dimensions and I am running a corner loaded Submersive HP. It takes my breath away during intense movie sequences and absolutely pounds for music. And it sounds great doing it.

I am running it in program 2 DSP and can't imagine needing anything more. You'd be getting 2 15" high performance sealed subs in a relatively compact enclosure with an enormous amp to drive them to the level you need in that big space. Seems like a no brainer to me.

When I bought mine mark still had some of the "flashback" finish left with the HP amps that had been sent in on exchange from users upgrading to the HP+. I got a somewhat used but inspected 2400w amp with a brand new submersive enclosure and subs for quite a bit under what your budget is for 2 subs. Granted I live relatively close to Seaton's HQ here in Illinois and picked it up to save shipping, but still.

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post #30 of 38 Old 03-19-2014, 11:21 PM
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I thought in larger rooms dual sealed subs work great for home theater? Is that not true?

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