Anyone have the MartinLogan BalancedForce 210/212 subwoofer? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 30 Old 05-30-2014, 09:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Just curious if anyone has tried out or owns the ML BalancedForce 210 or 212 subwoofer.

I auditioned the 212 version today along with Martin Logan Montis speakers hooked up on mcintosh equipment and i was extremely impressed with the way it handled music (very fast, not punchy either). I asked the rep to play a movie and he chose The Dark Knight Rises scene where Batman shows up in the tunnel. I wasn't impressed with the way it handled it, sounded like the subwoofer wasn't even on but in all fairness the subwoofer did not seem properly tuned. The rep then pressed a button on the subwoofer which checks to see what is resonating in the room and the subwoofer showed quite some power, shaking nearly everything. Wish the subwoofer was properly tuned in the first place.

Anyways, just seeing who else has tried the subwoofer out or owns one. Despite the less than pleasant demo, i am considering this subwoofer (the 210 model) as well as the SVS 12 and 13 SB and PB Ultras to go with my Theos.
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post #2 of 30 Old 05-31-2014, 01:44 AM
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So ML has gone for a dual-opposed design, interesting. A little overpriced IMHO for $3k for a dual opposed 10" sub. Suggest if you want the king of the hill in this design in a pretty package that you look at Seaton Submersive HP instead.

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post #3 of 30 Old 05-31-2014, 09:14 AM
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I have 2 of the Balanced Force 212 subs in my basement and 2 in my showroom. They are tremendous subs. I have owned quite a few subs in the past few years (Rel Q150e, Velodyne DD-12, Seaton Submersive, JL F113, Triad Platinums, Funky Waves 18.0, and JTR S2's). I put the Balanced Force 212 subs in last December and without running the PBK I wasn't blown away, sounded similar to all my other setups. Then I ran the PBK on both subs and they were totally a different animal. After that, running Audyssey XT32 in my Marantz made it that much better. All the internet direct stuff sounds good, but is limited with features and finishes. They rely on a setup from their seller, or controls in the preamp, which not all preamps have.

The fit and finish of the ML Balanced Force is outstanding. It's a shame they weren't setup correctly, but I understand as a business owner. We participated in a local show last month and people came in to listen to what they heard at the show but we were unable to demo the room correction because we didn't have enough time to dial everything in before people arrived. Maybe give the shop a call in a few weeks and see if they had time to do it, if I knew someone was coming in to listen to a specific request, I can tell you I would have it done right away.

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post #4 of 30 Old 05-31-2014, 01:27 PM - Thread Starter
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How does it sound for home theater use?I plan on using it mostly for music but I would say 40% will be movies. I'm looking at the balanced force 210 and I'm concerned the output won't be enough to satisfy my needs. I noticed you said you have 2,have you just tried one by itself?

I'm going to redemo it at another bestbuy and hopefully it will be properly tuned. Granted they only have the 212 on display
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post #5 of 30 Old 05-31-2014, 06:12 PM
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I heard the Balanced Force 212. I would go for a Seaton Submersive, it may not look quite as nice, but it will be higher performance and cost less.
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post #6 of 30 Old 05-31-2014, 09:51 PM - Thread Starter
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The Seaton does look nice, read some reviews and they look stellar.

Unfortunately it is out of my budget, i have about $2K to spend max, which the SVS fits in and the Balanced Force 210 (got it knocked down quite a bit). I get the feeling i will be happy with the SVS PB 13 ultra, but i definitely don't want to miss out of a potentially better subwoofer (the balanced force 210/212) especially at this cost. I've never spent more than $1100 on a subwoofer but now since i have the Theos i do want to upgrade.
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post #7 of 30 Old 05-31-2014, 10:39 PM
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You might do better with dual subs, too. You might even consider a newcomer, Reaction Audio, with their dual-opposed subs. http://www.avsforum.com/t/1512281/reaction-audio-subs. Even at $2k the dual opposed 10" from ML is more about pretty than performance....no matter what the dealer says. Out of all the subs he supposedly tried he settled on ML? Give me a break....

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post #8 of 30 Old 06-01-2014, 06:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovinthehd View Post

You might do better with dual subs, too. You might even consider a newcomer, Reaction Audio, with their dual-opposed subs. http://www.avsforum.com/t/1512281/reaction-audio-subs. Even at $2k the dual opposed 10" from ML is more about pretty than performance....no matter what the dealer says. Out of all the subs he supposedly tried he settled on ML? Give me a break....


I never said in my post that these were the absolute best subs I have owned and that I am done in my conquest. The whole package is what I am looking for. My basement isn't huge, but it is wide open. With some of the subs, I only had 1 (which I know now is unfair, I need atleast 2 subs if not more for the output I want). I need phase control with my subs, something that the JTR and Seaton did not offer on their plate amps (at the time of each purchase). The funky waves sub was awesome, but the fact that I needed to get my laptop out to adjust volume and other options wasn't ideal (not to mention I think I bought one of the very first ones with the new plate amp, my amp didn't connect to my computer every time I tried). I work 6 days a week, I have 3 kids under 7. I don't have free time to play with things, I just want to put something in play and have it sound good. With the PBK setup on the ML subs, oncethe 5 minute setup is finished, it is done I don't have to use my computer again.

I have 3 small kids, so the sharp edges of the Seaton sub worried me as they are banging in to all sorts of things down there. Performance on the Seaton was great, for the price it is quite good. He didn't have different veneer options then either, so it was the black finish for me. Everyone regards the JTR S2 sub here as one of the absolute best. In my basement, without phase control (Marantz preamp doesn't have in bass management) they were not impressive. Good low end output, but just not what everyone said they were cracked up to be. The ML subs had better output at my listening position than the JTR subs did, but phase and PBK made a world of difference.

The internet direct stuff is great for performance, no doubt. I hear it all the time from customers. Not everyone is looking just for performance, sometimes it has to come in a "pretty" package as well. The original poster wanted to hear an opinion on the ML subs, so I gave it to him. I wish he lived closer to me so he could hear them properly setup. Now that I know it was a Best Buy (Magnolia probably) he more than likely won't hear the sub setup the way it should.

And I think I have now settled, I added 2 JL F212 subs to the mix.
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post #9 of 30 Old 06-02-2014, 12:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Yes, its the magnolia design center. They carry some decently high end stuff (sonus faber, rotel, mcintosh, B&W, ML) but it was just not tuned properly. I'd like to believe it's an awesome subwoofer but I'm not sure which is why i have to go redemo it another store. @Need4spdnb how does it do for movie playback though? I know for music i will be happy with it but if it lacks the power and depth for movies i will unfortunately have to cross it off my list. My living room isn't huge either but is wide. The budget calls for the 210 version so when i do listen to the 212 i have to factor in it won't be as loud. If i do go with the ML i will definitely get the PBK.

I am also considering 2 of the Dynamo 1500X (one now and one later)which has a great review here http://www.hometheatershack.com/forums/speaker-subwoofer-reviews/67737-martin-logan-dynamo-1500x-subwoofer-review.html I will demo that subwoofer as well on Wednesday to see how it sounds compared to the 212 they have.


It seems there are quite a few of ID sellers now, the reaction audio does have my attention at that price but since it's a new coming company, i can't say i would get that subwoofer over the SVS if i go with an ID subwoofer.

I thought picking out front towers was difficult but it seems picking out a subwoofer is much more difficult than i expected frown.gif
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post #10 of 30 Old 06-02-2014, 02:09 AM
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I thought you might be interested in other dual opposed designs. Another is the XS30 from Power Sound Audio (a company founded by the "V" in SVS, Tom Vodhanel). By most accounts here on AVS, the best in this class is the Seaton Submersive HP.

You might want to check this review of the 1500X also http://www.data-bass.com/data?page=system&id=99 (this is a great site in general for things bass).

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post #11 of 30 Old 06-02-2014, 10:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Review for the Martin Logan 1500x looks good across board. Interesting.

The reaction audio p215x has my attention for sure. Good price, dual 15. I do wish it had a review though.
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post #12 of 30 Old 06-02-2014, 08:15 PM - Thread Starter
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After doing some reading i am leaning towards 2 Dynamo 1500X since it has great reviews or 1 PAS XS30 or the reaction audio 215X. I already know at these sizes these subwoofers will do great for movies, but how about music? This is probably my biggest concern now, considering i want clean bass from either subwoofers.

The Balanced Force 212/210 is still up for grabs, as i will demo it tomorrow. I already know the output won't be the same as the subwoofers listed but i know it blends in perfectly with music. I don't want to give that up either.
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post #13 of 30 Old 06-02-2014, 09:48 PM
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Hard to know where the BF 212/210 output measures since as far as I can tell there's not much to go on in that respect. I think dual subs, if not more, are a good way to go to smooth room response. If you want monster output start with it. Two of the Dynamo 1500X vs one XS30 why? More fair to compare two of each at the pricing. I think all the subs you're considering are accurate enough to do well with music or movies. There's better, though.

How do you feel about DIY? What aesthetic considerations are there? Comfortable with using measurement/eq gear on your own? I just noticed the ML site, with no meaningful measurements I note, says the PBK thingie is extra? How much does that cost?

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post #14 of 30 Old 06-03-2014, 06:12 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm considering 2 1500x since they are closer to 2 grand walk out after I negotiated. Granted, still more than the 215x or xs30 but they are smaller which is a plus. The pbk thing is $100 I believe. Either way my priority is clean, deep bass. I want it to blend in with my theos, not stand out when it comes to music. I know the balanced force 212 can achieve that for me. I don't know if these other subwoofer can. I do wish my mk subwoofer was still working, that had deep clean bass that was great for movies and music. I would fix it but I have an upgrade bug.

As far as tuning goes, I was probably going to use the pbk for the ml subwoofer if I got one or just use audessy on my receiver for other subwoofer.

I can do diy, been through a jl w6, dd3512, tc sounds subwoofer for car audio but honestly the less I deal with the heat outside the better (Texas heat).
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post #15 of 30 Old 06-03-2014, 10:13 AM
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I would recommend one of the ID options that you are looking at.  You simply get more for your money.  As far as blending well with music, they will do so as well as any other....perhaps even better.  With ID subs you tend to get better quality components i.e. drivers and cabinets than comparably or even much higher priced retail brands.  Higher quality components will translate into higher clean output capability with lower distortion.  Not to say that there are not good quality retail subs made, but ID should give you better quality for the money.

 

Just checked data-bass on the Dynamo 1500x.  To get a general idea how it should perform relative to the XS30 or PS215X, you can use the Funk Audio FW18.0, 120 volt.  Output very closely matches the XS30, and I am taking an educated guess that the PS215X should perform quite similar to the XS30.  From what i can tell, you will get about double the deep bass output, and about three times the clean output for music.  Duals of either one of these will not be much over your $2k budget after your dual sub discount.


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I would recommend one of the ID options that you are looking at.  You simply get more for your money.  As far as blending well with music, they will do so as well as any other....perhaps even better.  With ID subs you tend to get better quality components i.e. drivers and cabinets than comparably or even much higher priced retail brands.  Higher quality components will translate into higher clean output capability with lower distortion.  Not to say that there are not good quality retail subs made, but ID should give you better quality for the money.

In terms of sheer output, I'd note that PSA's numbers put it a single XS30se as being a little more than twice as powerful as a Dynamo 1500X. A pair can be had for $2,350 shipped to your door; if you've got the space, it's hard to beat.
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post #17 of 30 Old 06-03-2014, 10:58 AM - Thread Starter
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I would recommend one of the ID options that you are looking at.  You simply get more for your money.  As far as blending well with music, they will do so as well as any other....perhaps even better.  With ID subs you tend to get better quality components i.e. drivers and cabinets than comparably or even much higher priced retail brands.  Higher quality components will translate into higher clean output capability with lower distortion.  Not to say that there are not good quality retail subs made, but ID should give you better quality for the money.

Just checked data-bass on the Dynamo 1500x.  To get a general idea how it should perform relative to the XS30 or PS215X, you can use the Funk Audio FW18.0, 120 volt.  Output very closely matches the XS30, and I am taking an educated guess that the PS215X should perform quite similar to the XS30.  From what i can tell, you will get about double the deep bass output, and about three times the clean output for music.  Duals of either one of these will not be much over your $2k budget after your dual sub discount.

The ps215x and the xs30 do have my attention for sure, I basically crossed out svs off the list (not sure if that's a bad thing). I do wish the ps215x came in cherry finish, it looked to be overall more powerful than the xs30 white paper specs wise.

I'm still going to audition the Martin Logan subwoofers later today and see how they sound.

I can say for sure the only subwoofers I would get 2 of is the 1500x dynamo and that's because they are smaller, much smaller than all the other choices. Other than that I'm sticking with one subwoofer.
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post #18 of 30 Old 06-03-2014, 11:09 AM
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The ps215x and the xs30 do have my attention for sure, I basically crossed out svs off the list (not sure if that's a bad thing). I do wish the ps215x came in cherry finish, it looked to be overall more powerful than the xs30 white paper specs wise.

I'm still going to audition the Martin Logan subwoofers later today and see how they sound.

I can say for sure the only subwoofers I would get 2 of is the 1500x dynamo and that's because they are smaller, much smaller than all the other choices. Other than that I'm sticking with one subwoofer.

This is possible.  The PS215X has a slightly larger cab and certainly has very nice looking drivers.  I would feel safe saying the performance is probably close enough that we won't know for sure until they are both third party tested....reaction audio has posted estimated output, and PSA has actual internal test data.  RA may be doing full testing but posting the results with a grain of salt until third party?  They both look like darn nice subs for the money. 


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post #19 of 30 Old 06-03-2014, 11:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aznattic View Post

The ps215x and the xs30 do have my attention for sure, I basically crossed out svs off the list (not sure if that's a bad thing). I do wish the ps215x came in cherry finish, it looked to be overall more powerful than the xs30 white paper specs wise.

I'm still going to audition the Martin Logan subwoofers later today and see how they sound.

I can say for sure the only subwoofers I would get 2 of is the 1500x dynamo and that's because they are smaller, much smaller than all the other choices. Other than that I'm sticking with one subwoofer.


How do you judge a subwoofer's "sound" in an unfamiliar room with unknown setup? Earlier you mentioned you didn't want the sub to overpower the mains; this is a matter of integration, not the sub's potential.

I can feel you on the not wanting to do anything too diy in the Texas heat!

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post #20 of 30 Old 06-03-2014, 11:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Sorry I didn't mean overpower. I meant blend in which is as you said integration. Unless I'm playing a movie and want to be overwhelmed with bass. Music though is another story, I want the best quality for music. An example is my dad doesn't believe in using a subwoofer for stereo music just like many others believe in that. I believe that stereo music with a subwoofer is great if the subwoofer and stereo speakers blend in well.

Don't get me wrong, I've heard a kicker L7 in a Sq car that sounded great in the box it was in even though that subwoofer is more known for spl.

But I still want a sound quality subwoofer. Not sure if it's the same as car audio compared to home audio subwoofers.

Texas heat surprisingly isn't too bad yet in houston, but I would say in another month it'll feel like 100 frown.gif
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post #21 of 30 Old 06-03-2014, 12:35 PM
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^^ I understand where your dad is coming from. I didn't think a sub was necessary either, even though I knew I was missing lower end music from pipe organs and synthesizers. I felt a sub would just muddy up the waters. I can now report that I'm very happy I changed my mind. It's one thing to imagine a 32-foot pipe organ, but it's another to hear/feel one. It's made an excellent system into an outstanding one. However, most music is 30 Hz and above, so what does a sub give you there? It adds a subtle weight or presence that I think is very worthwhile.

As far as my preference, I won't go there. You need to determine what is best for you and your situation. All the subs that have been mentioned are quality products.
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post #22 of 30 Old 06-04-2014, 04:51 PM
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I got 2 of last years subs on clearance, one Descent and one Depth. Each one has 3 drivers in a sealed cabinet, and are servo controlled. They are fantastic for music and surprisingly powerful for ht. Got both if them both for the price of the Descent alone.
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post #23 of 30 Old 06-05-2014, 10:57 PM - Thread Starter
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I demoed the BalancedForce 212 again at another store. It was properly tuned (or better tuned) compared to the other store and the sales rep was extremely knowledgeable. With the gains a little below half way i was extremely impressed on how it handled The Dark Knight's opening bank scene. More than plenty of bass for me and it was very clean as well. Don't know how i would far with the Balanced Force 210 but i'm still looking at options. Musically, i don't think it can get much better than the 212 or 210 but then again i haven't demoed any of the ID subwoofers.
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post #24 of 30 Old 07-07-2014, 07:36 AM
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Talking Have a BalancedForce 210; Love it

Quote:
Originally Posted by aznattic View Post
I demoed the BalancedForce 212 again at another store. It was properly tuned (or better tuned) compared to the other store and the sales rep was extremely knowledgeable. With the gains a little below half way i was extremely impressed on how it handled The Dark Knight's opening bank scene. More than plenty of bass for me and it was very clean as well. Don't know how i would far with the Balanced Force 210 but i'm still looking at options. Musically, i don't think it can get much better than the 212 or 210 but then again i haven't demoed any of the ID subwoofers.
I have a BalancedForce 210 set up alongside a pair of CM9's, a CMC1, CM5's and sourced by a Marantz 7701. It absolutely meshes beautifully (although the gain is turned down due to the size of the room and the fact that my wife is kept up by the wall-penetrating power the sub exhibits). I had heard the BW, Mac and few other subs but nothing really compared to the accuracy (please note, the "perfect bass kit" is actually helpful in terms of tuning the frequency waves).

Recommend hearing it but honestly, one sub was plenty, 2 would be great but not necessary. It makes the couch shake all on its own and its tight, clean bass makes for an accurate representation of the audio sequence in the media.

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post #25 of 30 Old 07-07-2014, 09:03 PM - Thread Starter
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I have a BalancedForce 210 set up alongside a pair of CM9's, a CMC1, CM5's and sourced by a Marantz 7701. It absolutely meshes beautifully (although the gain is turned down due to the size of the room and the fact that my wife is kept up by the wall-penetrating power the sub exhibits). I had heard the BW, Mac and few other subs but nothing really compared to the accuracy (please note, the "perfect bass kit" is actually helpful in terms of tuning the frequency waves).

Recommend hearing it but honestly, one sub was plenty, 2 would be great but not necessary. It makes the couch shake all on its own and its tight, clean bass makes for an accurate representation of the audio sequence in the media.
That's what i wanted to hear

How big is your room? I was actually going to go with the CM10s but after demoing the Theos i decided to go ML instead.

I probably will pick up the Balanced Forced 212 early next year and see how well it performs. Currently i'm awaiting for the Reaction Audio 215X to ship.
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post #26 of 30 Old 07-07-2014, 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by aznattic View Post
That's what i wanted to hear

How big is your room? I was actually going to go with the CM10s but after demoing the Theos i decided to go ML instead.

I probably will pick up the Balanced Forced 212 early next year and see how well it performs. Currently i'm awaiting for the Reaction Audio 215X to ship.
I thought I'd seen an order comment in the Reaction thread. Looking forward to your report on the 215x, too. Am betting you won't bother with the BF212.

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post #27 of 30 Old 07-08-2014, 07:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aznattic View Post
That's what i wanted to hear

How big is your room? I was actually going to go with the CM10s but after demoing the Theos i decided to go ML instead.

I probably will pick up the Balanced Forced 212 early next year and see how well it performs. Currently i'm awaiting for the Reaction Audio 215X to ship.
BF210 is in a room thats probably 450 or so sq feet (standard 8.5' ceilings) with the gain tuned to 45%. Its not "loud" its impactful. Love when a helicopter or something with a great roll-in comes on screen, its build just brings that lifelike feeling to the media.

I do recommend the floor spikes as well, I had not used them when trying to find a good spot to place the sub but when I installed them it had a noticeable impact as it tightened the bass a bit and added a fuller punch. If you would like, there are brass (and other variations) of spike saucers available as well if you dont want to mark up your floors.

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MM7055
B&W CM9 Fronts
B&W CM5 Rears
B&W CMC1 Center
Martin Logan BalancedForce 210 Sub

Oppo 103D

Last edited by DutchOven88; 07-08-2014 at 09:06 AM. Reason: Adding infortmaition regarding spikes and saucers for more solid footing
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post #28 of 30 Old 07-08-2014, 07:16 AM
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Based on what? Not to get too defensive but thinking you have a bias thats not necessarily founded on experience since it doesnt sound like youve heard them both.

aznattic, sounds like youre doing your homework. let us know what you come up with please.

AV7701
MM7055
B&W CM9 Fronts
B&W CM5 Rears
B&W CMC1 Center
Martin Logan BalancedForce 210 Sub

Oppo 103D

Last edited by DutchOven88; 08-14-2014 at 05:00 AM.
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post #29 of 30 Old 07-08-2014, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by DutchOven88 View Post
Based on what? Not to get too defensive but thinking you have a bias thats not necessarily founded on experience since it doesnt sound like youve heard them both.

aznattic, sounds like youre doing your homework. let us know what you come up with please.
I've heard neither but the other sub is quite capable and priced well thus my comment for the most part (have heard neither specific sub but then there's not a lot to "hear" in a sub IMO, more about capability and in-room response and integration with your speakers and how you deal with that). How do you figure spikes "tightened" and made "fuller" your bass response? I have a hard time understanding what the benefit of spikes would be on a dual-opposed sub since the cabinet should be fairly inert. Is your cabinet or flooring resonant? Was there a measurable difference? How did you determine a 45% gain setting? What are the trim settings or do you not use the bass management in your prepro? Have you done your homework?

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post #30 of 30 Old 07-08-2014, 01:59 PM
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Thumbs up

Since you've heard neither, I wouldnt purport to point out that the sub you choose might be selected based on sound and how you integrate them with the remainder of your system.

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Originally Posted by lovinthehd View Post
How do you figure spikes "tightened" and made "fuller" your bass response? I have a hard time understanding what the benefit of spikes would be on a dual-opposed sub since the cabinet should be fairly inert. Is your cabinet or flooring resonant?
I live in an old building, with wooden floors that are not exactly level due to settling. While the sub might be "inert" the vibrations emitted from the sub had a tendency to soften the impact of the drivers because, while small, the woofer was able to shimmy/move slightly without having a firm footing based on the uneven and smooth nature of my floor. But... There are plenty of debates on the effectiveness of spikes that dont belong in this post but you can definitely find debates in other topic threads; illustrating my success with the spikes to our friend here as a bit of an insight into the setup they might want to entertain.

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Originally Posted by lovinthehd View Post
Was there a measurable difference? How did you determine a 45% gain setting? What are the trim settings or do you not use the bass management in your prepro?
Gain setting, well thats simple, turn your dial to a point where its a little below 50% and you have your ~45%, leveled to my personal interpretation of where my bass setting should be, since this is not the exact science everybody wants to believe it is, you might have yours at 10, 20 30, 40% or 50%, or 60, or 70..., but thats to you and you alone. Bass management, using the pre/pro it has its own response range and the crossovers are set to their own positions just fine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lovinthehd View Post
Have you done your homework?
Now you're being snarky. Bottom line, I like the way my system sounds and the ML BF210 did the trick for me.

AV7701
MM7055
B&W CM9 Fronts
B&W CM5 Rears
B&W CMC1 Center
Martin Logan BalancedForce 210 Sub

Oppo 103D

Last edited by DutchOven88; 07-08-2014 at 02:19 PM.
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