For those who have listened to IB subs.... - AVS Forum
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Old 06-11-2010, 10:50 AM - Thread Starter
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To those of you who own, have owned, or have spent some time listening to IB subs, how would you compare to other capable sub setups you've experienced? I don't want to start any flame wars. I know horns are in right now. I know those of you who've built THT's and DTS-10's love them. I want input from those who have spent time with IB's and can give comparisons with THT's, Danley's, Ect.

What I'm looking for are your impressions. What do you like/dislike about any IB's you've listened to. What are their strengths/weaknesses in comparison to other types of subs you've heard. I'm asking for opinions on what would make a better sub and why. Not because horns are more efficient, or sealed doesn't need a large hole on your walls or ceiling(or floor), but sheer sound quality and realism in your movies and music.

If you could only have one type of sub for the rest of your life, based on your past listening experiences would you choose an IB or something else?
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Old 06-11-2010, 11:08 AM
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Not sure how many replies you will get but you could start by reading the Notable "Quotables" from the Cult of the Infinitely Baffled forum.
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Old 06-11-2010, 11:49 AM
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If you ignore space and cost factors, and just go on SQ they are great. By SQ I mean playback uncolored by the enclosure (and driver in some cases.)

If done right, a folded horn can have the least coloration. Tapped Horns and IBs follow, with everything else fighting it out below them.

The best way to describe an IBs sound is effortless, natural, and bottomless.

The rub with a horn is that they are bandwidth limited. If you have content playing below 20Hz you are really out of their element, unless it is a huge horn. They are also not naturally flat, and have built in "bass boost."

The problem for most people with IB sound is that it is pretty flat naturally. Most any other sub (unless we are talking about a ported sub designed to counter this, EBS...) has a much greater degree of bass roll off as the frequency gets lower. What this means is that they are naturally hot in the 60-120Hz area, right where most of the thump in music is perceived at (that is also the area most coloration is located.)

What this means is that it seems like the IB (or LLT) sub has less punch/thump than other set ups. It is just that the subs are not made with built in boost. To get the sound most people want from there bass heavy music, you need to add in a lot of boost in the area mentioned above, or lower the bottom end same difference.

If you are big into bass heavy music/thump/punch, and your mains can't do it alone I would look to a horn, or more traditional set up.

The IB setup is the only sub I have seen that during a movie (The Incredibles, DVD) made someone watching it ignore the visuals totally, jump, and run to the window to see what exploded outside on reflex. It was great. I had to rewind it to prove it was the movie. That was at a friends with only a pair of Dayton IB15s, so it wasn't even up very loud -20/-15. (You should really use at least four, but he was really cheap. I had to add a 10Hz HP later to allow higher playback levels, and after I added it he ordered a 4-pack of AE IB15s. )

Effortless, natural, and bottomless sums it up pretty nice.
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Old 06-11-2010, 12:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soho54 View Post

Effortless, natural, and bottomless sums it up pretty nice.

I went from 2 ported 12s to two ib18s and prefer the IB by far. The only major complaint I have is that my living room sucks for room gain so I'd like to add 2 more 18s to really polish of the 10-17hz area but the cost is more than I can justify considering from 18hz up the IB is all I need.
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Old 06-11-2010, 01:02 PM
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RyguyOK, look at it this way...

Realities.

The IB might be the best fit for you if any of these are you: are really serious about total sound quality, are real big on having a flat(ish) system, want earth quaking realistic HT LFE, or just want to get the sub out of the room.

If you just fiddle with your players EQ setting, and maybe a bass knob you should do fine with an IB. (IB_at least 4 15"s or 2 18"s)

If you are always turning the sub settings, amp "gain," EQ, and bass knob up you are probably/almost definitely someone who would be better off with a horn. (IB_at least 4 18"s)

If you crave more than a single 12" sub in your car, go clubbing, or are always thinking, "man, I need more bass" you are definitely better off with a (pair of) horn(s). (an IB can be made to do this, but it is not the best fit really)

EDIT: I have the IB driver requirements going up as the list goes on to give you the headroom for the EQ adjustments (and SPL) you will need.
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Old 06-11-2010, 03:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soho54 View Post

RyguyOK, look at it this way...

Realities.

The IB might be the best fit for you if any of these are you: are really serious about total sound quality, are real big on having a flat(ish) system, want earth quaking realistic HT LFE, or just want to get the sub out of the room.

If you just fiddle with your players EQ setting, and maybe a bass knob you should do fine with an IB. (IB_at least 4 15"s or 2 18"s)

If you are always turning the sub settings, amp "gain," EQ, and basswaf knob up you are probably/almost definitely someone who would be better off with a horn. (IB_at least 4 18"s)

If you crave more than a single 12" sub in your car, go clubbing, or are always thinking, "man, I need more bass" you are definitely better off with a (pair of) horn(s). (an IB can be made to do this, but it is not the best fit really)

EDIT: I have the IB driver requirements going up as the list goes on to give you the headroom for the EQ adjustments (and SPL) you will need.

Thank you for your posts. They sum up what I'm really interested in, I think. Why should I spend $1200 bucks on a nice IB setup, when I could build a couple THT's for much less? The two bold sections in your quote are my reason. I do want more bass, but haven't heard what a high end sub can do. Going from a Velodyne ct-120 to two diy Ported 10's was a huge step up. I'm hoping my next upgrade will destroy what I have now. Budget (and WAF) will not allow me to make and test every build out there, and without the option to actually audition any beforehand, I've gotta go by graphs and opinions of others. I don't want to jump into one, and feel I may not have made the right choice for my needs.

Horn subs? Hell yeah! More SPL than I can handle. Ok, a little on the large side, but my wife will allow it. But....what about those scenes I keep hearing about that have ULF's. Dammit! Now I think maybe I should have gone with IB.

I know it can work the same way no matter what I choose to do. It is a sad fact of life that a DIY home theater enthusiast will never be happy with his equipment forever.

I never get tired of reading impressions from happy sub owners regardless of the build. Thanks guys for feeding my addiction daily
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Old 06-11-2010, 04:14 PM
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If there is one word that I would use to describe IB's, it would be "Effortless". I'm not much into flowery words to describe sonic qualities of speakers or subs, but what amazes me about IB's (I have 4 x 18") is that at one second you don't know they are playing, and the next second - your innards and dental work are damn near rattling loose. My IB's are complimented by five QSC-2150 clones (2x15" drivers each) that drop down to 38Hz. On the other hand, my IB's simply over-dominated my 7.1 AVS Rocket system, but mate nicely with my QSC clones.

IB's advantages - haven't heard anything that can come close at the really low frequencies (<20Hz) while not overpowering or over-pressurizing the room in the 20-100Hz range.

IB disadvantages - they rattle and shake the entire house... anything in the house that can squeak or rattle will. Recommend complimenting speakers that can be crossed lower (cross mine at 55-60Hz).

Horn advantages - foolishly efficient and capable of high SPLs while still sounding very "clean". Just my humble opinion, but I would favor IB's for that "knock your socks off" bass found in HT, and probably favor horns if your listening is primarily music (not much less than 20Hz) or if you do a lot of listening with others in the house.

Horn disadvantages - not quite as "effortless" sound as I've heard with IB's at low freq (less than 20Hz), but more than capable of making your ears bleed with very clean, efficient sound. I have considered adding, THT's, Table Tubas or tapped horns just for fun - but right now they just don't compliment my current setup. They sound fantastic and as a "recovering engineer" I find their efficiency and clean sound quality very impressive. The best analogy I can come up with... imagine being at a rock concert without the typical distortion and coloration... in your living room...audio nirvana!

That said...Pending your primary listening requirements; (HT/Music, db level, complimenting speakers, and room size) either type could/would be a better selection.
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Old 06-11-2010, 04:42 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm definitely more geared towards HT than music. I'd say 80/20 movies/music. I understand that with any sub that can crank out 120+ db there's gonna be some rattling. My wife may not comprehend. We'll just let her discover that for herself, shall we?

I like the idea of feelingthe Balrog stomping around, or a giant Terminator for that matter. God I'm a nerd.
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Old 06-11-2010, 06:15 PM
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Rattling from 20Hz and up content is nothing compared to infrabass madness.

It doesn't take super loud SPLs to do damage with them either. It is something you have to experience to understand. At 90dB I can rattle things all over the house with test tones below 20Hz. You can't hear anything, but things are moving everywhere. It is the first thing I do on a new IB setup.

I can tell what frequency is playing by what is vibrating at home. At 17Hz it is the glass window in the rear, and 16Hz it is the window to the right, 15Hz is the counter-weights in the window frames, 14Hz is the dishes in the kitchen in the next room, 13Hz is the door into the room, 12Hz the lower movable half of the windows try to escape, 11Hz is something between the 1st & 2nd floor, at 10Hz my vacuum torus screen look like a storm at sea...

Those are just things I can hear from my theater room. There is another list for the bathroom at the other end of the house.

People tend to blame this effect on the IBs rear wave, but it is just the infrabass. My mains use EBS sonosubs as 4th ways, are flat to 10Hz in-room, and can do the exact same thing. You cannot contain a 100ft wave with normal home construction.

It sounds like you are going with a THT though. It will have great bass as well. You will be very happy with it.

As for content in real life,

Unfortunately, you will find it more common that the great behemoth stomping around/explosion will be unimpressive, if not irritatingly tame. Once you have the capability really awesome bass it really stands out when it is not there when expected. This is the true reason for all the movie bass threads. Once you experience it you will understand.
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Old 06-11-2010, 06:56 PM - Thread Starter
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"It sounds like you are going with a THT though....."

Sorry to confuse. I was trying to show my thought process for when I actually build something. I'm afraid if I go THT, I'll regret it down the road. One of the major drawbacks to DIY is getting your money back out of a project if you change you mind. So I want to do it right the first time, if possible.....
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Old 06-11-2010, 07:51 PM
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OK, I understand.

In that case I would look at your placement options first.

Take your present sub, and position it in your listening position with the driver at ear level. Play some bass heavy tracks, or a test wave that sweeps from ~20-150Hz on repeat. Turn off any EQ you have going, and then walk around the room placing your head where you think the THT or IB manifold mouth would be located. Of course you will need a ladder if a ceiling IB is doable.

If you can find an possible spot for both you need to then consider your true SPL needs. How loud do your really listen to movies at? What is the distance from the sub to the LP?

If they are normal numbers <20ft / 110dB you could get away with a single THT or a two 18" IB. At this point I would suggest the IB, but oversize the manifold to allow another pair of 18"s to be added at a later time just in case. If either figure is more than that you should really look at doubling up.

It's pretty easy to get 80% back on good drivers and amps, if necessary.

Good luck with your decision.
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Old 06-12-2010, 11:40 AM
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IB
- Easiest build period, There is nothing easier then building a raw box that is well braced then mounting it into a wall or Ceiling with more proper bracing.

- ZERO boxes taking up space in a room.

- Performs really, really low and with 27 liters of displacement you have no need for HUGE amps. 2000Watts gives you great SPL.


If someone can do an IB, I see no reason to bother a THT project. There is nothing inherently better about a THT, except the cost is much lower but the box has to be huge for low frequency performance and the build is not that easy. Many cuts and lots of clamps required

It is not "open-minded" to reject knowledge - Bob Lee
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Old 06-12-2010, 01:46 PM
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How many drivers would you need in an IB setup for 130db+ (10-15 feet LP) 40-150Hz?

Just wondering.
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Old 06-12-2010, 02:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Decadent_Spectre View Post

How many drivers would you need in an IB setup for 130db+ (10-15 feet LP) 40-150Hz?

Just wondering.

Four Fi IB3 18"s could do it with at least a 1st order HP at 15Hz. You would also need two 20amp circuits for the 4000w. This kinda kills the IBs lowend though, so it would be better to go another way to me.

Eight of them could do it without a HP. Still going to need ~2500w though.
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Old 06-12-2010, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by soho54 View Post

Four Fi IB3 18"s could do it with at least a 1st order HP at 15Hz. You would also need two 20amp circuits for the 4000w. This kinda kills the IBs lowend though, so it would be better to go another way to me.

Eight of them could do it without a HP. Still going to need ~2500w though.

Thanks, I was just curious. Think horns are a better fit for this kind of use.
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Old 06-12-2010, 02:43 PM
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I'm not considering IB, but two things I've wondered about are Heat Loss, since only a driver's cone and surround seperate the inside air from the attic and Condensation. Are these valid concerns?
Again, I am not considering IB. I've just wondered about those two issues.

"Still, a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest." --Paul Simon The Boxer
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Old 06-12-2010, 03:44 PM
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Heat loss is not a problem. It is better than a pane of glass as the materials have voids. You could add insulation to the back side of the manifold if you wanted. I don't know of anyone who noticed a change in their power bill if that helps.

I have never noticed any condensation or wet spots, so if it is occurring (possible in the winter months) it must be very mild.

I have never vented into the open though. It has always been into an attic, crawl space, or another wasted interior space. As such, radiant temperatures from the living spaces would keep the temps from getting to extremes.

Another common concern is the temperatures of say an attic itself, increasing wear on the driver. This really isn't a big deal either. I have had the same ported BP sub in the back of one car or another for the last 13 years. It is exposed to much higher and lower temps than any home IB would be, and is still going strong. My wife bottoms it all the time, so it hasn't had an easy like either.

I have had people concerned about blown-in insulation getting into the motor structures before. I just added some speaker grill cloth over the drivers as a filter, and they seemed happy. I have never seen the stuff flying around on its own, even with +120dB levels playing. It could happen though I guess from pests, or a weird attic ventilation setup. If it would worry you add some grill cloth, and you will be good to go.
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Old 06-12-2010, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by soho54 View Post

Heat loss is not a problem. It is better than a pane of glass as the materials have voids.


Better than a pain of glass? A pain of glass has no insulation value. Same thing as an open window except that the air does not go in and out or the house.

Where do you live?
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Old 06-12-2010, 04:13 PM
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The IB's I have heard were smooth but lacked articulation. They seemed to slurr and blend notes.

This was really evident in the midbass area. There was no midbass punch/slam in any of the music we tried, and it seemed like it was missing something in songs with the double kick-drums. The systems were tuned flat with no high knee curves but even so I would have expected just a little bit of chest resonance during some of the songs we played.

The movies that had low frequencies like the pod racing scene in Episode 1 sounded nice but during musical scenes in movies it sounded like it was missing something.

The dynamics also seemed to be lacking in the IB's I have listened to. They couldn't get really really loud quickly.

With all of this said. I have an ideal media room for an IB with half of the wall occupied by basement in my split level house. I was originally planning on going down this route. I decided against it after hearing the IB's in person. Instead, I first built an EBS/LLT but eventually replaced it with a THT. I haven't had the bass itch since. The THT does everything I wanted and more.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 06-12-2010, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by J_Palmer_Cass View Post

Where do you live?

What world do you live in? I said better than a pane of glass, and guess what it is.

I didn't say anything about insulation values, that would be an R value ~.9 for a single glass pane. (about the same as 3/4" plywood) Not the same as an open window.

I guess you have never lived in a home with single pane windows.
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Old 06-12-2010, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by mynym View Post

The IB's I have heard were smooth but lacked articulation. They seemed to slurr and blend notes.

The dynamics also seemed to be lacking in the IB's I have listened to. They couldn't get really really loud quickly.

Who's IBs have you listened too, and what are the specifics of the installations?

In the decade + I've been involved with IB's I've never heard anyone characterize the performance that way.
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Old 06-12-2010, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by soho54 View Post

What world do you live in? I said better than a pane of glass, and guess what it is.

I didn't say anything about insulation values, that would be an R value ~.9 for a single glass pane. (about the same as 3/4" plywood, a brick, or concrete block) Not the same as an open window.

I guess you have never lived in a home with single pane windows.



You said "heat loss is not a problem". Air loss is not the same as heat loss. Heat goes through a single pane of glass whether the window is open or closed, so around these parts heat loss is a problem.

Now what state do you live in again?
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Old 06-12-2010, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by mynym View Post

The IB's I have heard were smooth but lacked articulation. They seemed to slurr and blend notes.--The dynamics also seemed to be lacking in the IB's I have listened to. They couldn't get really really loud quickly.


There was no midbass punch/slam in any of the music we tried, and it seemed like it was missing something in songs with the double kick-drums. The systems were tuned flat with no high knee curves but even so I would have expected just a little bit of chest resonance during some of the songs we played.

The first section would be caused by room, placement, and integrations problems with the mains. An IB is just a very large sealed enclosure, so its impulse response is as good as it gets. Unless they were really poor drivers, the manifold was undersized, or improperly braced if arrayed.

The second point is caused by a lack of a naturally boosted FR. You said both were tuned flat, but what does this mean? If you used PN the IB would be setup lower than the other sub. If using an RTA you would have to EQ them without the mains to compare them.

If you want "punch" as most people use the term you need better mains, a peaky sub, or a lot of EQ between 60-120Hz.
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Old 06-12-2010, 05:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by soho54 View Post

The first section would be caused by room, placement, and integrations problems with the mains. An IB is just a very large sealed enclosure, so its impulse response is as good as it gets. Unless they were really poor drivers, the manifold was undersized, or improperly braced if arrayed.

The second point is caused by a lack of a naturally boosted FR. You said both were tuned flat, but what does this mean? If you used PN the IB would be setup lower than the other sub. If using an RTA you would have to EQ them without the mains to compare them.

If you want "punch" as most people use the term you need better mains, a peaky sub, or a lot of EQ between 60-120Hz.



Or several sealed subs.
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Old 06-12-2010, 05:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J_Palmer_Cass View Post

You said "heat loss is not a problem". Air loss is not the same as heat loss. Heat goes through a single pane of glass whether the window is open or closed, so around these parts heat loss is a problem.

Now what state do you live in again?

Who said anything about air loss?

What does where I live have to do with anything? I have lived in a home covered with snow at -18deg temps with single pane windows. In the military I lived in several places with those conditions, as well. What does that prove? Nothing.

Have you heard of anyone putting in an IB, and taking a hit on the heating bill?
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Old 06-12-2010, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by mjg100 View Post

[/b]

Or several sealed subs.

All normal sized sealed subs have a peak somewhere. They tend to be ~50, 80, or 120Hz. What is interesting is that these are also the main center frequencies you boost when mixing an audio track. You pick one for the bass line, and on for percussion so they don't interfere with each other as bad.
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Old 06-12-2010, 05:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the input. I didn't even know Thomas W had an AVS account

Even after lurking for quite a few hours at the Cult website over the past few years, I still have learned a few things in this thread. Part of what I've been mulling over, was whether to go with a THT in the near future, or save up and go with an IB further down the line. I think I will end up going with an IB, but if the right opportunity presents itself I'd love to try a THT. We shall see....
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Old 06-12-2010, 05:59 PM
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IB heat loss is a straw man. Put a piece of 12" fiberglass insulation (unfaced) over the back of the driver and it won't change the frequency response in any meaningful way. The driver will like it too as it's operating at room temperature rather than attic temperature.

Dennis H
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Old 06-12-2010, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by PassingInterest View Post

I'm not considering IB, but two things I've wondered about are Heat Loss, since only a driver's cone and surround seperate the inside air from the attic and Condensation. Are these valid concerns?
Again, I am not considering IB. I've just wondered about those two issues.

I live in Florida...Today the humidity was pretty well 100% and its was 97degrees...."Feels like" 103deg (on weather.com). My attic is oh about 130 deg I have the worse case scenario.

Drivers are completely sealed,board is sealed against ceiling. No worries about air leaks and there is no worries about the effects of heat on the drivers so far. Its been 3 years.

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Old 06-12-2010, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by mynym View Post

The IB's I have heard were smooth but lacked articulation. They seemed to slurr and blend notes.

This was really evident in the midbass area. There was no midbass punch/slam in any of the music we tried, and it seemed like it was missing something in songs with the double kick-drums. The systems were tuned flat with no high knee curves but even so I would have expected just a little bit of chest resonance during some of the songs we played.

The movies that had low frequencies like the pod racing scene in Episode 1 sounded nice but during musical scenes in movies it sounded like it was missing something.

The dynamics also seemed to be lacking in the IB's I have listened to. They couldn't get really really loud quickly.

With all of this said. I have an ideal media room for an IB with half of the wall occupied by basement in my split level house. I was originally planning on going down this route. I decided against it after hearing the IB's in person. Instead, I first built an EBS/LLT but eventually replaced it with a THT. I haven't had the bass itch since. The THT does everything I wanted and more.

Just my 2 cents.

Sounds like lacking mains to me but everyone has a choice. There are many success stories. Nothing I have heard in my entire audio history (20+ years) digs as deep as my IB array (27 liters of displacement). Its just a different world with one.

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