I have been using my Logitech z5500 5.1 system for years now as my main HT sound system. It has treated me very well but I am now ready for a change.
I have purchased and setup the following system:
Receiver: Denon AVC-X1000 http://www.crutchfield.com/S-mSWQFLm3q2H/p_033AVX1000/Denon-AVR-X1000.html
Speaks: Pioneer-sp-pk52fs (without sub) http://www.audioholics.com/tower-speaker-reviews/pioneer-sp-pk52fs
Budget. $300-400 ($450 max) including any would-be shipping costs
Size requirements/limits. No real size requirements although a typical box form factor is desired and given two equal subs of different sizes, I would prefer the smaller one.
Room dimensions: My "viewing area" is a 12x12 area in the living room however there is more space (another 12x12' area) in the same room and as I understand it, the sub doesn't care that no one sits over there. There is also a 12x10' dining area and it's unclear if the sub "sees" this area or not and there's a long hallway to the right. I have made a quick diagram of the room. The dark squares are are the most likely locations for the sub. All floors are hard wood but we have rugs.
Cubic footage is ~2,400 not counting the dining area, ~3,300 with.
Primary uses. 80% HT viewing, 20% music
Listening habits. I do NOT currently listen at high volume. I usually watch movies on medium-low volume when other people are in other parts of the house. On movie nights the volume is raised to medium-high but only on rare occasion do I raise levels to what people would consider "loud".
Appearance requirements. Even ugly ducklings are OK.
Timeframe: No hurry. The system without the sub is already a major upgrade from the z5500.
There's are a lot of subs in the running which is why I'm asking for a recommendation specific to my situation.Here are some that I have looked at:
Premier Acoustic PA-150
Velodyne Impact 10, impact 12, and VX-11
NXG Technology NX-BAS-500
The sub "sees" the entire volume of your space because you've no walls to create a boundary effect. Assuming, of course, that the only walls (physical walls with drywall) are the grey bounding boxes. Which would mean you've a really open area. As things start to wrap around (like in your hallway) and there are more physical impediments (like doors/door-ways with walls) the way the volume interacts becomes less and less. But, the sub is still "seeing" all that area in some way. The only way to constrain the volume a sub "sees" is to put boundaries (a physical wall) around it. Otherwise, pressure escapes and, therefore, the sub needs to work harder to pressurize the room.
The reason this is important is so that you adjust your expectations accordingly. Your area is pretty large and, therefore, hard to fill. Especially for lower budget sub woofers. Moreover, because of the odd size and difficulty, I (and many others) would highly recommend multiple sub-woofers to assist in both evening out the response so it sounds better overall and in gaining some efficiency in a hard-to-fill area. Unfortunately, your receiver will make this difficult on you because "blending" both together in your room will be a completely manual effort on your part.
That said -- at your budget, if you have *any* DIY ability, I would highly recommend you turn your budget towards it. You said it yourself "ugly ducking" is ok, so...build an ugly one yourself. You can buy flat-packs and a driver for so much cheaper than most of the pre-built alternatives. You may have to up your budget a little to get an amplifier, but it will be well-worth the upgrade!
Keep in mind, bass is the foundation upon which an entire soundtrack is built. Trust me, having a good bass system can make even the puniest of LCR speakers sound many times better. But, if you buy a tiny sub and overpower it, then the muddy bass can absolutely destroy the entire audible range, smearing up everything to the point where it all sounds like absolute crap.
P.S. I think you mean cubic footage, no? Two 12x12 and a 12x10 area is about 400 square foot, but it's 3200 cubic foot, assuming 8' ceilings.
The only recommendation I would feel comfortable making that fits your budget would be to keep your eyes peeled for an outlet PB1000 from SVS for $449. If you could sneak another $50 in, there is an Outlaw LFM Plus in their outlet section for $499. This is the same as the HSU VTF2.4 which runs around $625 shipped. Just saying at this price point, $50 can make a huge difference in the quality of sub that you end up with.
I would be looking at the new Reaction BPS 212, $430 shipped. Two 12"s, that promises a decent amount of displacement, so good for a large room.
Assuming a 22' wall length, you think he would get enough gain from that setup, which would not start until 25-26 Hz.?
Bear and DreamWarrior have provided some good advice... I am going thru the same learning curve as you. I have a 3400ft^3 area to fill out. I first purchased a Lava 12" sub... great price but lacked the clarity I desired. I then listened to a very expensive sub and learned what I was looking for in a sub... it wasn't booming like I thought. It was more of a vibration that emanated from the center of my chest and increased with volume.
I have since purchased a SVS PB-1000, a ported sub. The volume and vibration are there and it blends well with my speakers... but if I were to turn off my speakers the amount of bass that the sub provides is in the very low range. It is cleaner than the Lava in that the note is more pure and invisibly blends with the bass from my speakers. I have a remote set-up so I can differentiate what the sub is and is not providing.
The PB-1000 is stretched to fill out the room... but it does. Unfortunately... I still want more because my room configuration provides no opportunity to optimize sub accoustics and it is addicting (in my case).
The PB-1000 is very good for both music and HT... but at it's limit for my room, guessing it will be the same for you.
SVS offers a 45 day trial... and I think 1 year upgrade. If you read enough recommendations you'll learn there are a host of subs out there to try... the ability to try without having to pay return shipping and/or being able to upgrade is a huge plus. Because a lot of the posting you will read are from those who have rooms better set-up to optimize sub location... and even they are still seeking that next best sub fix.
Disclaimer: Your experience may be different.
Recommendation if you can afford it... limited experience, SVS PB-2000.
It had been $450. That's when I got mine.
How about two of these:
Did you really need to quote that entire post in your reply?
Downloadable FREE demo discs: Demonstration Blu-Ray Discs (Independently Authored)
Welcome to AVS - Get out while you still can!
If you take yourself too seriously, expect me to do the exact opposite
The bass boost in the stock 212 gives us a pretty even response down to the high 20s. The boost in the amp gives us the ability to lower F3 considerably at the expense of a little headroom.
(there's no free lunch. Just being honest here)
My listening room in my house which I have used as a barometer for all three of our units is 20x20x8 with it opening to the kitchen, dining room and entrance to the hallway. My whole 1870 sq foot first floor is pretty much open. The sealed units do surprisingly well above 25hz..
A single driver ported unit would have some clear advantages, but that would be assuming two things:
A proper low tuning (around 20hz). Many subs under $500 are tuned between 25-32hz
Enough displacement and output to be noticeable.
When we get down in to the 20s and below you are talking about frequencies that are more felt than heard and the further down you go, the more spl it takes to make the reproduction of those frequencies readily noticeable.
Increased extension has to be coupled with increased clean output to produce those deep bass sensations that we notice. Also assuming that what we're noticing is indeed clean deep bass output and not having our ears pick up on harmonics generated from distortion of frequencies below tuning.
I do agree that it will be difficult to get very deep extension in that room with that budget at levels that are desire-able.
However I think there are plenty of great options both ported and sealed from many companies in his budget for a satisfying HT experience, within reasonable expectations of such a large room.
Reaction Audio Subwoofers