JL d110, SVS, or Paradigm?
I thought I knew a little bit about subwoofers, having spent countless hours in forums and reading hundreds of reviews, but after stopping by a JL audio store today, I feel more lost than I've ever been.
Just bought a new (old) semi-detached home, and working on a home theater in the basement. Problem is I live in Canada, and our selection of easily accessible subwoofers is limited. Here are the vitals:
1) ~1850 cubic feet basement (20' x 15' x 6'2)
2) Budget is $1400 CAD
3) 95% movies, TV, and video games, 5% music
4) Size isn't a huge factor
5) Setup includes Onkyo 747, KEF Q700 L/R, Q200c C, Q100 rears
6) Output probably not as important as the quality of the bass and the extension
So I went to a high-end audio store today, and the gentlemen that I spent an hour talking to was super helpful. He sold Paradigms, JL, Klipsch, Monitor Audio, among other pretty high end stuff, so he knows what he's talking about. I asked him about Paradigms as he was an authorized seller, and after a few minutes, he was directing me towards JL. He swears by it, and says they make the best stuff. I don't know enough about JL except that they make really expensive stuff that I feel I can't really afford. I can tell he was trying to sell me the best sub for the money, but the problem is the best sub for him may not be the best sub for me. It's like saying between a Porsche Boxster, BMW M2, and Corvette, he thinks the Porsche is the best car for my money. The Porsche might just be the most fun to drive and the most balanced car, but maybe I like the styling better in the M2, or sheer performance of a new Vette. He focused a lot on making sure the sub wasn't just big HT boom-boom-boom, and that it was fast and accurate, and that it blended well with my existing setup of KEFs (says they are very musical speakers).
Now, I don't have thousands of hours of subwoofer listening experience, and it's not like he had SVS and Paradigms to demo for me to compare which one I preferred, and I think that's the problem with subwoofer shopping. For cars, it feels so much easier, because you can literally test drive the cars, likely not on a track, but still, the test drive helps immensely. For subs, there are so many barriers - store HT-dedicated rooms are nothing like your actual setup; SVS is internet only so no demos, and I can't return an SVS since I'm from Canada; and no store will have the subs you're shopping for actually around for you to compare all at the same time.
In the end, my question is not just "what sub should I get" based on the above, but I'm looking for people with actual listening experience between ported and sealed subs that can maybe shed some insight. The store guy recommended only sealed subs, because ported ones just wouldn't be fast enough and accurate he said. I'm sure that's all well and true, but what if I don't appreciate that as much as he thinks I should? It's so hard because I really don't know what I like, and at my price point, some subs will do better at certain things than others. I don't have a $10K to spend on a sub that will do everything well. I feel like at my price point, some will go loud, some will go deep, and some will be fast/accurate - but I only get to choose 2.
Or perhaps I'm overthinking this as I usually do, because if I get either one of the 4 subs I'm considering, I'd be happy with any, which is not what the store owner thinks (says I gotta go sealed). Anyways, here are my top picks in no particular order:
- SVS PC2000
- JL d110
- SVS SB2000
- Paradigm SUB 12