Here is a brief review of three subwoofers and the upgrade path I took, or one could say the upgrade path I could get away with
About the location.
All these subs are in my living room which opens up to the kitchen with hardwood floors throughout. It is basically one large room measuring 15’ x 38’ with 10’ ceilings. The other speakers in the setup are LR Infinity Primus P363, Infinity Primus PC351, and Surrounds RSL C34E In-Ceiling Speakers.
Being that all of this is in my living room I tried to keep it looking at least somewhat reasonable. Very subjective what actually constitutes reasonable, but the wife is extremely tolerable, with that said her reactions are probably a better gauge of what is considered reasonable.
The demo material I used can be found here:
#### The ULTIMATE Bass Demo Disc ####
1. Klipsch R-12SW 12"
I got this subwoofer on a whim. It was a Fry’s promo-code buy for $200.
Not much to complain about or praise. It looked like a subwoofer. Wife said it was big and looked nice, but was worried the dog would go after the front grill.
This was the first subwoofer in the new house. Not much to compare it against. It was loud, but not loud in a good way. At the lower end it sounded like it was dying. Port noise galore. When playing music it was decent, it added noticeable bass. Couch shaking and tactile bass were almost nonexistent. Placement of the sub was critical, moving it around the room greatly affected the amount of bass at the main listening position.
Definitely worth the sale price. Much too “small” for my large open space. For as big as a box it is, I knew I could get better sound while still keeping the living room looking reasonable.
2. SVS PC-2000 12”
Thanks to AVS I knew I needed to look at this brand. Luckily they are available locally to demo and pick up.
This thing is huge. I was betting that the unique shape would blend in with the living room and look less “subwoofer-ish”. Yea that didn’t happen. Wife wondered why I brought a hot water heater into the living room. I tried to persuade her that it is more of an “air-purifier” look and barely noticeable. Even flirted with the idea she could put some fancy cloth around it. Pro tip, if you want to get something large like a 15” bring this one home before, my main selling point for the next sub is that it would be smaller
This was my first experience with at ID subwoofer (well sorta ID subwoofer now). After hooking it up and then jumping right in to some music I was extremely pleased. My couch was constantly vibrating, never having experienced such tactile bass inside of a living room I was blown away. After placing in several positions I noticed that placement had very little impact on the sound quality. The biggest surprise of all is that this sub actually made my living room windows flex.
I thought this was it. I had done it. Movies and music sounded amazing, I could feel the bass, wife didn’t mind the huge tube too much. However I still was wondering what else I could get away with. The PC-2000 is huge, so maybe a 15” sub wouldn’t be as absurd as an idea as I thought it would be a month ago…
3. PSA 15V 15”
Another ID subwoofer company which needs no introduction here. Talked to Tom and let him know my room size, he suggested the 15v over the 15s which I was hoping he would say. (side note, I was extremely delighted with the chat function on the website). A few days later there is a knock on my door and a FedEx delivery man asking if I could help him get it off the truck.
Big, black, and industrial. Out of all 3 subs this one was the most appealing to me. The finish is nice but not the kind of nice where I’m worried about touching it or it being damaged. Its in my living room with a pet, not really the most low traffic environment. The down fire design gave me 3 which flat sides that won’t collect hair or be inviting for other to try to interact with. Wife said she was glad I came to my senses and got something smaller that the “giant tube”.
Oh S*** what did I just do… Well the initial white lie that the 15v was “smaller” than the PC-2000 was easily foiled once I turned this thing on. Playing electronic music yielded a frantic scurry around the house with the wife pointing out all the fixtures, mirrors, and wall decorations that decided to start dancing. The provided felt feet pads for the sub did nothing to keep it from dancing around the room. It moved about 2” in 15 minutes. Something had to be done. Luckily cutting up a mouse pad and placing the squares under the feet ended the sub dancing and minimized the rest of the house from shaking as much. Putting the sub through its paces I was able to hear more than I could with the PC-2000, noticing more distinct bass notes. Tactile response is an order of magnitude more than either of the aforementioned subs. If you were wearing earplugs you would think I have a massaging couch. While watching Interstellar my wife paused the film and inquired about the structural integrity of the house. Placement was tricky because it was just so powerful. It sounded great everywhere. If I closed my eyes I could not localize the sub. Finally I decided on placing it in the most aesthetically pleasing place.
This sub has ended my upgrade itch for now…. Its giving me more than I even knew I wanted, its not going back.
I am by no means an audiophile. I probably could have spent more time with each sub and fiddled with placement more. However being that these were all in my living room the best placement did not always translate to reality.
I may have been able to stick with the Klipsch if I were to cancel my AVS account and never return to the forums. The SVS was better than anything I have heard before, it was better by far than my local cinema, and probably a few dance clubs. The PSA gave me the jaw dropping, what the hell is that feel. Im still at a loss of words for this thing, it does things to my living room that I didn’t think were within my budget and size restrictions.
Here are some photos of the placement of the subs. ( I returned the Klipsch before I got a proper picture)