SB12-NSD could be good enough for me
I picked up a used Polk PSW303B as part of a package deal through craigslist a few years ago. While it produced more and better bass than my previous sub (no previous sub), I've found that it is not particularly musical or tight. I've read a lot (too much) on the forum the last couple of weeks, which has taught me a lot about what I didn't know I didn't know.
My system is used primarily for TV/movies with occasional streaming music. The viewing room is 16' wide x 17' deep with a sloping ceiling that probably averages 9-10' in height. The back of the room is completely open to the kitchen, adding another 10' depth to the room. I am not concerned with pressurizing the whole space. I enjoy cranking up the volume periodically, but I can only really do that when the Mrs. is out of the house. I'm not sure what volume level I'm actually listening at since my Pioneer VSX-1022-K starts the volume index at zero instead of negative whatever decibels. The loudest settings I normally get to are in the 40-45 range on the Pioneer (whatever that means).
I'm less concerned about filling all the space and more concerned with getting tighter, deeper, more accurate bass than the Polk is delivering but in a similar form factor. And of course, there is that whole budget limitation. I've perused many of the options discussed here - SVS, HSU, Rythmic, PSA, etc. While the AVS consensus seems to be that I'd "need" multiple subs to fill this space, my budget and WAF are just not going to let that be possible. She'd rather I not have a sub than upgrade the one we've got. So even if I had thousands to throw at this (which I don't), I still wouldn't.
So I've been trying to decide how much of an upgrade is enough. For their price range ($250-329 on Amazon), the BIC H100II and PL200 seem well regarded here and in reviews. They seem better than what I have and would not break the bank. However, I was underwhelmed when I looked at the measurables for the PL200 at data-bass.com.
The SVS SB12-NSD is out of stock on SVS's website but available through authorized dealers on Amazon at $399. It's price is at the upper limits of what I might be comfortable with in the near future. I'm aware the sealed design will not deliver the output of the ported boxes, but that's part of its appeal for this application. It's been rated well for its flat response, going much lower and sounding much cleaner (crisper?) than my Polk. It's still a very nice form factor - my wife may not even notice if I switch it out with the Polk. It's data-bass.com measurables looked pretty good.
HSU's only offering in this price range is the VTF-1 MK3. The website lists it as a St. Patrick's Day sale at $369 + $54 shipping ($423 delivered). With its ported/hybrid design, it's a larger form factor than the other subs I've considered, which may be disqualifying. I didn't see it reviewed on data-bass.com. The frequency response charts and specs provided on HSU's website seem to indicate that it's probably at least close to the SB12-NSD in performance.
I didn't see any other options in this price range from most of the other sub producers frequently mentioned here.
What am I missing? What other subs in this price range perform better for low-medium volume consumption? Is the jump up in quality to the next range of products significant enough that I should continue to suffer longer with this Polk PSW303B for a while longer while I build up marital equity for a more substantial purchase?
EDIT: One issue that is making me feel this is more urgent than it probably is - how many more of the new SB12-NSD units do the authorized dealers have left to sell? If I miss out on this deal, how could I ever live with myself?
Last edited by capo4u; 03-02-2017 at 11:57 PM.