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post #1 of 39 Old 08-05-2014, 04:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Budget Subwoofer for Music

I've been reading many threads on this topic (how to pick a subwoofer) but I thought I'd get some direct opinions for my setup.

I don't know if everyone remembers the brand Athena, but about 10-years ago I purchased two Athena AS-B2 bookshelf speakers. I liked them so much I eventually completed a matching surround setup by finding some additional used ones. Two years ago I matched them to a Denon AVR-1612 which, I have to say, I love the room correcting technology on that receiver. I have a Sony SA-WM250 subwoofer but after I got the Denon receiver I actually stopped using it because it was so muddy sounding, especially during music. I found the Denon receiver was able to make the bookshelf speakers sound pretty darn good on their own so the subwoofer has sat disconnected for the last two years.

I'm interested in a new subwoofer that would compliment my budget setup. The absolute maximum I can spend, and this is already a stretch, is $500 shipped. I use the setup for 50% music and 50% movies/games, but having a subwoofer that is good at music is probably more important. I can't stand boomy subwoofers for music, but I do want something that has a little more bass than my current setup plus I'd like to take some of the burden off of my bookshelf speakers.

I was looking at both the Outlaw LFM-1 "Plus" (when on sale), SVS PB1000, the HSU STF-2, and the BIC PL200. From what I have read the Outlaw LFM-1 "Plus" is likely the best, although I don't know if I'll be ready to purchase while it is still on sale. The SVS PB1000 seems to follow as a good subwoofer, followed by the STF-2 which maybe on the small side for the space. The BIC PL200 seems to get good reviews but from what I've read may not be quite as good for music as the others. My room size is about 3,600 cubic feet (the living room where the speakers are setup is much smaller, but the measurement includes the open floor plan into the dining room and a small sun room which are all connected).

Again, having something that has nice controlled bass is the most important thing because if it sounds too boomy or muddy during music I likely won't use it much.

Any advice appreciated!

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post #2 of 39 Old 08-05-2014, 04:52 PM
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Because your music preference and because you dont like boomy subwoofers, stretch your budget $69 more and get a Rythmik Audio LV12R for $569 with shipping included. The LV12R is on sale until August 15th.
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post #3 of 39 Old 08-05-2014, 04:58 PM
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I'd look at the Hsu VTF-1 or VTF-2 over the STF-2. I used a VTF-2 with my Atena's for years. (I recently replaced the fronts, but still have the Athena's at the rear.)

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post #4 of 39 Old 08-05-2014, 07:08 PM
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If you can't stretch your budget over $500, go with the PB-1000. If you can stretch it, +1 to the LV12R.


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post #5 of 39 Old 08-06-2014, 05:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone. I will look into the LV12R. Will it still be decent at movie performance? I want to make sure it can still provide good support for movie/game use, I just want to make sure it doesn't cause music to sound muddy. Although I'm guessing any of these subwoofers will be an improvement over the Sony I was using (correct me if I'm wrong).

As a second choice, what would people reccomend between the PB1000 and the Outlaw LFM-1 Plus? Is the PB1000 better for music?

Final question, will most of these subwoofers be okay in 3,600 cubic foot room?
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post #6 of 39 Old 08-06-2014, 06:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WarpSpeed2013
... I will look into the LV12R. Will it still be decent at movie performance?
It will work very well for both music and movies.

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Although I'm guessing any of these subwoofers will be an improvement over the Sony I was using ...
Any of these subs will be a significant improvement over your 8", 100W RMS Sony.

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As a second choice, what would people reccomend between the PB1000 and the Outlaw LFM-1 Plus? Is the PB1000 better for music?
Properly integrated into your calibrated set-up, both subs should work equally well for music. But the servo-controlled LV12R would be the preferred choice.

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Final question, will most of these subwoofers be okay in 3,600 cubic foot room?
That's a fairly large room, so you won't get earth-shattering, chest-crushing bass, but you will get good performance from any one of those subs. (Duals of any of them would be even better.)
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post #7 of 39 Old 08-06-2014, 11:37 AM
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Servo = control, your focus on controlled bass and musical subtlety pretty much screams Rythmik, and yes, it'll still provide plenty of oomp for movies and gaming.

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post #8 of 39 Old 08-08-2014, 03:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WarpSpeed2013 View Post
My room size is about 3,600 cubic feet (the living room where the speakers are setup is much smaller, but the measurement includes the open floor plan into the dining room and a small sun room which are all connected).
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Originally Posted by enricoclaudio View Post
Because your music preference and because you dont like boomy subwoofers, stretch your budget $69 more and get a Rythmik Audio LV12R for $569 with shipping included. The LV12R is on sale until August 15th.
With what you're looking to achieve the LV12R is definitely worth considering. However, 3600 ft^3 is a lot of space for a single $500 subwoofer to fill, so don't expect a whole lot of output.

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post #9 of 39 Old 08-09-2014, 04:14 AM
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Good options suggested so far. I'll throw another option on the table which is Reaction Audio. It won't have the low end grunt, but will have great output above 30hz and was designed by a musician.
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post #10 of 39 Old 08-09-2014, 03:19 PM
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^^ Good call, rnatalli. Reaction Audio has a very interesting line of subwoofers. At the $500 level, they have the dual 12-inch opposing driver design which might be worth looking into and matches your maximum budget constraints. But all of the subs mentioned are high quality and very competent, but your room volume will place stiff demands on any $500 sub. I'd call each company to see how best they can serve you for your room size (considered "large") and audio preferences.
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post #11 of 39 Old 08-11-2014, 09:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by dsrussell View Post
^^ Good call, rnatalli. Reaction Audio has a very interesting line of subwoofers. At the $500 level, they have the dual 12-inch opposing driver design which might be worth looking into and matches your maximum budget constraints. But all of the subs mentioned are high quality and very competent, but your room volume will place stiff demands on any $500 sub. I'd call each company to see how best they can serve you for your room size (considered "large") and audio preferences.
Yes, surprisingly my apartment is not very big, but the living room is open to the dinning room on one side and an entry room on the other side... With the high ceilings it all adds to a lot of open space that the subwoofer would need to deal with due to the open design.

After some consideration I have decided to give myself more time to save in order to get something like the Rythmik. I have not heard of Reaction Audio so I will look into that too.

Since I'm deciding to wait a bit longer I maybe able to stretch my budget up to $750 shipped. Would that change the recommendations at all? I'd prefer to be closer to the $500-$600 range, the cheaper the sooner I can afford it, but if there is a massive quality jump going to $750 then I'm open to the idea.

I tend to keep my audio equipment for a long time, so I'd rather do it right the first time rather than feel the need to upgrade in a few years.

Same priorities as before: high quality sound with tight, controlled bass for music but something that won't struggle with movies or games. I'd also like a company that has a good warranty and good customer service if possible, but that seems like most of these companies.

You have all convinced me the Rythmik is the way to go for just under $600, but let me know if there are others I should look at if I can stretch to $750.

Final question: are there any concerns about the Rythmik using a paper cone? I assume not, but wanted to ask.

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post #12 of 39 Old 08-11-2014, 10:24 AM
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^^ Giving yourself more time is another wise decision. Never rush into anything without a little more research. I, and many here, have auditioned several subwoofers before making a final decision. As many have realize, once they understand their room volume demands, and what it takes to get that tactile sensation and impressive deep bass, expanding the budget may be the only way to be fully satisfied. Total open area volume is the main driver (as is your personal expectations).

Expanding your budget from $500 to $750 will allow you to look at and compare a larger number of subwoofers from several other companies. That's a good thing. And yes, the difference can be fairly significant as far as sound quality and output, but don't expect a "night-and-day" difference, simply because those $500 subs are quite capable. Companies like Outlaw Audio (who just had a big sale) and Rythmik Audio (known for precision) are now on the table, while those mentioned before (Hsu, Reaction Audio, SVS) have bigger, better and badder subs one now can research and audition. Unfortunately, $750 puts you just under Power Sound Audio's (PSA) XS15se (unless they have some "B" stock available).

But there are other things to consider besides price. Warranty, shipping policies, and peace of mind (I'd add customer service, but all of these companies strive to service their customers). Two of the best warranties come from SVS and PSA (5 years unconditional). SVS will ship their subs for free (as most I.D. companies will), but will also allow return shipping for free (PSA also is doing this as a summer promotion on 3 of their subs). One can audition to see what their products can do, and if you're not satisfied, ship it back for a full refund. But paying for return shipping was not a limiting factor for me, but it might be for you. I felt it was more important to audition a product in my home than worry about return shipping if it didn't meet my needs.
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post #13 of 39 Old 08-11-2014, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by dsrussell View Post
^^ Giving yourself more time is another wise decision. Never rush into anything without a little more research. I, and many here, have auditioned several subwoofers before making a final decision. As many have realize, once they understand their room volume demands, and what it takes to get that tactile sensation and impressive deep bass, expanding the budget may be the only way to be fully satisfied. Total open area volume is the main driver (as is your personal expectations).

Expanding your budget from $500 to $750 will allow you to look at and compare a larger number of subwoofers from several other companies. That's a good thing. And yes, the difference can be fairly significant as far as sound quality and output, but don't expect a "night-and-day" difference, simply because those $500 subs are quite capable. Companies like Outlaw Audio (who just had a big sale) and Rythmik Audio (known for precision) are now on the table, while those mentioned before (Hsu, Reaction Audio, SVS) have bigger, better and badder subs one now can research and audition. Unfortunately, $750 puts you just under Power Sound Audio's (PSA) XS15se (unless they have some "B" stock available).

But there are other things to consider besides price. Warranty, shipping policies, and peace of mind (I'd add customer service, but all of these companies strive to service their customers). Two of the best warranties come from SVS and PSA (5 years unconditional). SVS will ship their subs for free (as most I.D. companies will), but will also allow return shipping for free (PSA also is doing this as a summer promotion on 3 of their subs). One can audition to see what their products can do, and if you're not satisfied, ship it back for a full refund. But paying for return shipping was not a limiting factor for me, but it might be for you. I felt it was more important to audition a product in my home than worry about return shipping if it didn't meet my needs.
I think we have 1 XV15se b-stock left at $799. Same 5 year warranty, 30 day trial, free shipping both ways, etc.

Reaction Audio is another great option too.

http://reaction-audio.myshopify.com/...ered-subwoofer

That is a lot of subwoofer for $799..

And this seems very hard to beat for $499

http://reaction-audio.myshopify.com/...ered-subwoofer

Start with one at $499 and I bet Jeremy would discount a little on a second one down the road if you felt the need. Dual subs often = smoothing, more accurate bass at the seating position(s) too.

Tom V.
Power Sound Audio
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post #14 of 39 Old 08-13-2014, 03:25 PM - Thread Starter
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^^ Giving yourself more time is another wise decision. Never rush into anything without a little more research. I, and many here, have auditioned several subwoofers before making a final decision. As many have realize, once they understand their room volume demands, and what it takes to get that tactile sensation and impressive deep bass, expanding the budget may be the only way to be fully satisfied. Total open area volume is the main driver (as is your personal expectations).

Expanding your budget from $500 to $750 will allow you to look at and compare a larger number of subwoofers from several other companies. That's a good thing. And yes, the difference can be fairly significant as far as sound quality and output, but don't expect a "night-and-day" difference, simply because those $500 subs are quite capable. Companies like Outlaw Audio (who just had a big sale) and Rythmik Audio (known for precision) are now on the table, while those mentioned before (Hsu, Reaction Audio, SVS) have bigger, better and badder subs one now can research and audition. Unfortunately, $750 puts you just under Power Sound Audio's (PSA) XS15se (unless they have some "B" stock available).

But there are other things to consider besides price. Warranty, shipping policies, and peace of mind (I'd add customer service, but all of these companies strive to service their customers). Two of the best warranties come from SVS and PSA (5 years unconditional). SVS will ship their subs for free (as most I.D. companies will), but will also allow return shipping for free (PSA also is doing this as a summer promotion on 3 of their subs). One can audition to see what their products can do, and if you're not satisfied, ship it back for a full refund. But paying for return shipping was not a limiting factor for me, but it might be for you. I felt it was more important to audition a product in my home than worry about return shipping if it didn't meet my needs.
I've taken a look at what could be available for $750 or under. Since it will be at least a few months now to save up the extra money, I can't take advantage of any sales or stock that is available right now, so these are based on normal prices for each subwoofer. The new list of subwoofers in my price range would be:
  • HSU VTF-2 or VTF-3
  • Outlaw LFM-1 EX
  • SVS SB2000 or PB2000
  • Rythmik LV12R
  • Reaction Audio BPS 215
  • Power Sound Audio XS15se

Out of the subwoofers above, would people still recommend the Rythmik LV12R for music or should I go with one of the more powerful subs my expanded budget can now afford? Again, precision for music is the most important factor, but it also has to be good at movies/music and have a good warranty. I did include a couple of sealed subs (XS15se and SB2000) on the list because I thought with the extra power and size they may be powerful enough to fill the 3600 cubic feet of my living room area. Please correct me if I'm wrong, perhaps I should only be looking at ported subs in this price range? I've heard good things about all of these subs, but I'd like to know how they compare to the $600 Rythmik LV12R for music.

Note: I did include some subs at the $799 price point because it was so close, but I really cannot go any higher or I'll be delaying this purchase for years trying to save up.

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post #15 of 39 Old 08-13-2014, 04:15 PM
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Yes, Rythmik is well known for its music capability. And as far as the Rythmik listed being superior to all others musically? That's subjective. Those that own the Rythmik listed are pretty darn happy, but your room volume will put a strain on any single 12-inch driver. For music and movies, I tend to lean toward sealed designs from PSA (I own the XS30, so take that bias into account) and Reaction Audio (although I own an SVS for music only and not a R.A., but it's the SB13-Ultra which is double your budget). For music only, I would look at SVS, PSA, RA (again, the only reason I'm not including Rythmik is your room volume), but I have a preference, or bias, for sealed.

With SVS, as had been said before, it's free shipping both ways, so you can test it out during the trial period without cost (once you receive the refund). If you miss the PSA summer promotion, return shipping would be around $65 (but check with Tom).

Ported subs in that price range may indeed have a better chance to fill that room more adequately, but it won't be that big of a difference. And many folks here like ported for music just as much as sealed designs. And so it goes….
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post #16 of 39 Old 08-13-2014, 07:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes, Rythmik is well known for its music capability. And as far as the Rythmik listed being superior to all others musically? That's subjective. Those that own the Rythmik listed are pretty darn happy, but your room volume will put a strain on any single 12-inch driver. For music and movies, I tend to lean toward sealed designs from PSA (I own the XS30, so take that bias into account) and Reaction Audio (although I own an SVS for music only and not a R.A., but it's the SB13-Ultra which is double your budget). For music only, I would look at SVS, PSA, RA (again, the only reason I'm not including Rythmik is your room volume), but I have a preference, or bias, for sealed.

With SVS, as had been said before, it's free shipping both ways, so you can test it out during the trial period without cost (once you receive the refund). If you miss the PSA summer promotion, return shipping would be around $65 (but check with Tom).

Ported subs in that price range may indeed have a better chance to fill that room more adequately, but it won't be that big of a difference. And many folks here like ported for music just as much as sealed designs. And so it goes….
Thanks! At least I know I'm not crazy for considering a sealed subwoofer for movies and music. So should I be considering 15-inch subs for this room size? Or will some of the more powerful 12-inch subs work too, such as the VTF-3, LFM-1 EX, and the PB2000?

I think if I do go with the sub-$600 route, the LV12R is the clear choice. If I go one step above that it does open a lot more options for both sealed and ported subs. What's interesting is in the $750 price range there are some pretty powerful looking sealed subs.
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post #17 of 39 Old 08-13-2014, 09:52 PM
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I certainly would be looking at 15-inch subs. Then again, my SVS has a 13-1/2 driver and it's working in a volume similar to yours.

What you're looking for is output at different frequencies. Ported subs usually have greater output at and around their tuning port frequency, while a sealed design might actually extend lower (depending upon room size), but the output would be rather low at that point. You might want to check the following website for subwoofer output at different frequencies (you will see some of the subs listed): http://www.data-bass.com/data?page=systems
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post #18 of 39 Old 08-13-2014, 11:00 PM
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Ported subs in that price range may indeed have a better chance to fill that room more adequately, but it won't be that big of a difference. And many folks here like ported for music just as much as sealed designs. And so it goes….
In a pretty large-volume space, with 50 percent movies/games usage, don't you think there's a pretty strong case for ported?

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post #19 of 39 Old 08-13-2014, 11:53 PM
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^^ Probably, and especially if the room volume comes closer to the 4,000 and up cubic footage. But I don't think sealed designs get quite enough credit in our 'ported is the only way to go in a large room' mentality . As I've indicated, I have two rooms that are both around 3,500 cu. ft. (one with cathedral ceilings) and both are rather open. My XS30 and SB13 (both sealed) have no problems filling those rooms with hard, wall-slamming bass. And while I listen at what I think are very loud levels (85 to perhaps 90 dB peaks at the listening position), I fully agree it isn't reference levels. So if the O.P. listens at reference levels (and I think he stated he didn't), ported could make a difference.

However, if you look at the XS15 (sealed) and XV15 (ported) on data-bass, there is a good 5 dB output difference in favor of the ported design from 16 - 20 Hz (around port tune) and that is pretty significant if one could actually hear those frequencies (yes, we do feel them). The ported design still has an advantage above that, but only a 2 dB difference from 25 Hz on up, which isn't nearly as significant, especially at the body slam frequencies.
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post #20 of 39 Old 08-14-2014, 12:07 AM
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^^ Probably, and especially if the room volume comes closer to the 4,000 and up cubic footage. But I don't think sealed designs get quite enough credit in our 'ported is the only way to go in a large room' mentality . As I've indicated, I have two rooms that are both around 3,500 cu. ft. (one with cathedral ceilings) and both are rather open. My XS30 and SB13 (both sealed) have no problems filling those rooms with hard, wall-slamming bass. And while I listen at what I think are very loud levels (85 to perhaps 90 dB peaks at the listening position), I fully agree it isn't reference levels. So if the O.P. listens at reference levels (and I think he stated he didn't), ported could make a difference.

However, if you look at the XS15 (sealed) and XV15 (ported) on data-bass, there is a good 5 dB output difference in favor of the ported design from 16 - 20 Hz (around port tune) and that is pretty significant if one could actually hear those frequencies (yes, we do feel them). The ported design still has an advantage above that, but only a 2 dB difference from 25 Hz on up, which isn't nearly as significant, especially at the body slam frequencies.
Interesting. For my ~4800 cubic ft space, I just assumed sealed would fall short, but perhaps the differences are more subtle than often made out to be.

With all this talk of varying output at varying frequency levels, it sure doesn't make these subs sound very linear. Of course room dynamics play into it as well, but isn't the non-linearity problematic? Is that partly why sealed subs are often recommended for music? But speakers are often ported.
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post #21 of 39 Old 08-14-2014, 12:45 AM
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No, you assumed correctly. Your room is close to 5,000 cu. ft. and it would be difficult for most sealed subs, except of course, a Seaton SubMersive or JTR S1/S2 or Funk 18.0 or JL Audio Gotham or Paradigm Sub 2 or …. Besides, you have the best of both worlds, a ported sub that sounds great with music (no one would know it's ported in a blind test) and is a killer for movies. That FV15HP is one heck of a sub (you lucky dog), and I understand it's on sale right now. Heck it was a bargain to begin with.

But I think people get caught up in the numbers game and not real life in-room output capabilities that is more than enough for a majority of people. Each room is different, and what may work in my room, could possibly be more of a problem in another person's room, or could be better in another person's room. And room dynamics do indeed play into subwoofer satisfaction (or speaker satisfaction) big time.

I think the "sealed subs for music" is a long-standing myth. Not that it isn't true, it just depends upon the sub. Let's face it, I heard differences in music performance in 3 sealed subs I auditioned at home. I suspect I could hear differences between 3 ported subs as well. Does that mean I could hear a difference between ported and sealed? Yes, but I wouldn't necessarily know which sub was ported and which sub was sealed in a blind test (if we're talking about equal quality subs).

Last edited by dsrussell; 08-14-2014 at 01:31 AM.
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post #22 of 39 Old 08-14-2014, 08:06 AM - Thread Starter
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No, you assumed correctly. Your room is close to 5,000 cu. ft. and it would be difficult for most sealed subs, except of course, a Seaton SubMersive or JTR S1/S2 or Funk 18.0 or JL Audio Gotham or Paradigm Sub 2 or …. Besides, you have the best of both worlds, a ported sub that sounds great with music (no one would know it's ported in a blind test) and is a killer for movies. That FV15HP is one heck of a sub (you lucky dog), and I understand it's on sale right now. Heck it was a bargain to begin with.

But I think people get caught up in the numbers game and not real life in-room output capabilities that is more than enough for a majority of people. Each room is different, and what may work in my room, could possibly be more of a problem in another person's room, or could be better in another person's room. And room dynamics do indeed play into subwoofer satisfaction (or speaker satisfaction) big time.

I think the "sealed subs for music" is a long-standing myth. Not that it isn't true, it just depends upon the sub. Let's face it, I heard differences in music performance in 3 sealed subs I auditioned at home. I suspect I could hear differences between 3 ported subs as well. Does that mean I could hear a difference between ported and sealed? Yes, but I wouldn't necessarily know which sub was ported and which sub was sealed in a blind test (if we're talking about equal quality subs).
I must admit, I'm a bit overwhelmed by the sheer number of companies and choices, but I really appreciate everyone's help here.

I will also admit I'm a sucker for long warranties, especially since this is a very big purchase for me that I probably can't do again for many years, so that does give a slight edge to SVS and PSA.

Obviously I need to start listening to subwoofers and see what I like. I did hear a Rel brand subwoofer once and was amazed at how good it sounded for music. It was too expensive for me but as I recall it was a dual driver sealed design.
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post #23 of 39 Old 08-14-2014, 09:30 AM
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Just to chime in, I've just bought a BPS-215 b stock sub from Jeremy himself. I took it home, plugged in in my brothers set up next to his Bic f12. It completely filled his whole living room with pounding smooth, tight bass. I plugged the Bic f12(which is only slightly worse then the pl-200 you mentioned earlier) and it's sounded like a noise maker. Literally just grumbled at me, it was a sad, sad comparison.
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post #24 of 39 Old 08-14-2014, 09:49 AM
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^^ In all fairness, the BIC in an entry-level 12-inch sub for under 200 bucks. That BPS had better kill it with its dual-opposing 15-inch drivers and 5 times the price . Congratulations on your Reaction Audio sub!
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post #25 of 39 Old 08-14-2014, 11:11 AM - Thread Starter
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When I listened to some subs at a local store I liked the ones that had accurate, tight bass. Drum beats sounded like the drum was in the room and bass guitar notes didn't boom or drone over the rest of the music as some subs did. The challenge is finding a sub that can be tight and accurate yet still powerful enough to have some punch in my room for movies and games. I'd love to hear the low frequency explosions and effects in Star Wars without having a sub that is boomy for music.
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post #26 of 39 Old 08-14-2014, 11:14 AM
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When I listened to some subs at a local store I liked the ones that had accurate, tight bass. Drum beats sounded like the drum was in the room and bass guitar notes didn't boom or drone over the rest of the music as some subs did. The challenge is finding a sub that can be tight and accurate yet still powerful enough to have some punch in my room for movies and games. I'd love to hear the low frequency explosions and effects in Star Wars without having a sub that is boomy for music.
The Hsu VTF line excels at that. Very musical but also able to hit the low frequencies in movies. The first time I played War of the Worlds, the LFE when the visitors started coming up from the ground just about knocked all the pictures off the shelves. Plus, if you really want to get crazy with it, you can plug one or both ports for music playback, then unplug them for movies. I don't bother, though. It does double-duty just fine as-is, IMO.

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The Hsu VTF line excels at that. Very musical but also able to hit the low frequencies in movies. The first time I played War of the Worlds, the LFE when the visitors started coming up from the ground just about knocked all the pictures off the shelves. Plus, if you really want to get crazy with it, you can plug one or both ports for music playback, then unplug them for movies. I don't bother, though. It does double-duty just fine as-is, IMO.
I've never been able to enjoy the LFE sounds because I have not been using a subwoofer. Although music is top priority, I am also looking forward to hearing those effects in movies that I've been missing.
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post #28 of 39 Old 08-14-2014, 11:21 AM
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I've never been able to enjoy the LFE sounds because I have not been using a subwoofer. Although music is top priority, I am also looking forward to hearing those effects in movies that I've been missing.
If you don't already have it, once you get your sub, buy or rent War of the Worlds (the Tom Cruise version). Not the best movie (but not horrible, either), but it has some of the best LFE around. Scared the crap out of me when I got my new sub.

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post #29 of 39 Old 08-14-2014, 11:43 AM - Thread Starter
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If you don't already have it, once you get your sub, buy or rent War of the Worlds (the Tom Cruise version). Not the best movie (but not horrible, either), but it has some of the best LFE around. Scared the crap out of me when I got my new sub.
I did try to hook up my old $99 Sony sub again just to get some extra low end punch in movies, but it just ends up making everything muddy and my bookshelf speakers actually seem to handle the bass down to 50hz better than the sub, which seems to only produce one boomy note. In music the sub is useless as it doesn't accurately take over from the bookshelf speakers at crossover of either 60hz or 80hz. I could probably improve things with more calibration or better sub placement, but until I get a different sub I think I will still be happier letting the bookshelf speakers cover the full range (as best they can).
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No, you assumed correctly. Your room is close to 5,000 cu. ft. and it would be difficult for most sealed subs, except of course, a Seaton SubMersive or JTR S1/S2 or Funk 18.0 or JL Audio Gotham or Paradigm Sub 2 or …. Besides, you have the best of both worlds, a ported sub that sounds great with music (no one would know it's ported in a blind test) and is a killer for movies. That FV15HP is one heck of a sub (you lucky dog), and I understand it's on sale right now. Heck it was a bargain to begin with.

But I think people get caught up in the numbers game and not real life in-room output capabilities that is more than enough for a majority of people. Each room is different, and what may work in my room, could possibly be more of a problem in another person's room, or could be better in another person's room. And room dynamics do indeed play into subwoofer satisfaction (or speaker satisfaction) big time.

I think the "sealed subs for music" is a long-standing myth. Not that it isn't true, it just depends upon the sub. Let's face it, I heard differences in music performance in 3 sealed subs I auditioned at home. I suspect I could hear differences between 3 ported subs as well. Does that mean I could hear a difference between ported and sealed? Yes, but I wouldn't necessarily know which sub was ported and which sub was sealed in a blind test (if we're talking about equal quality subs).
Agreed, the FV15HP is superb for music, I'm amazed how good it sounds taking over at 60 hz for solo double bass, for example.

Still curious about the non-linearity issue for ported subs, though.
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