Large Open Space ; DIY Sub better bang for the buck than 2 x Dayton 1200's? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 36 Old 12-26-2012, 02:19 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm somewhat helpless to try to pressurize the whole space, since it's probably well over 10k cubic feet:






Also, it's a condo, so if it gets too intense, I'm going to have some angry neighbors. We're pretty well insulated though, fwiw.

So the plan was to get two Dayton 1200's for ~$200, since I'm on a budget, and place them in opposing corners of the seating area. The hope is that the proximity to listeners could give a great listening experience even if it couldn't fill the room entirely.

I would imagine DIY can yield a better sub for the same money. Ultimately it comes down to this - can the audience enjoy a better listening experience (60% HT, 40% music) with a DIY setup in the $200-$300 range vs two Dayton 1200's?

Thanks all!

Edit: I should add that the fronts will likely be KEF iQ70's, and the center channel the KEF C6LCR. For now the surrounds are Polk Monitor70's.
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post #2 of 36 Old 12-26-2012, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by ahheck01 View Post

Also, it's a condo

Wow, that's a condo? It looks more like a townhouse, if anything, to me. I wish my condo was that big. By the looks of it, your "condo" is three times bigger than my condo! smile.gif
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post #3 of 36 Old 12-26-2012, 02:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow, that's a condo? It looks more like a townhouse, if anything, to me. I wish my condo was that big. By the looks of it, your "condo" is three times bigger than my condo! smile.gif
Yeah, the tall/open floorplan makes it look much bigger than it actually is. The finished basements puts us at 2200 sq ft - was about 1550 before that. That big space just makes it seem so much nicer than surrounding condos smile.gif

That said, it's not so good for filling space with sound, lol. rolleyes.gif
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post #4 of 36 Old 12-26-2012, 03:31 PM
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The finished basement

That being said, can you make the basement a media room? My statement about being three time bigger was pretty accurate as my condo is roughly 900 sq. ft. but hopefully that'll eventually change as i'm currently going back to school. Maybe, one day i'll be lucky enough to have a house with a dedicated theater room as some of you folks have. smile.gif

I'm not trying to go off topic but merely offering suggestions.
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post #5 of 36 Old 12-26-2012, 03:45 PM
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Your room looks very difficult to deal with...neat looking space, but the fireplace sure does make it tough to arrange things properly. I can't even imagine having to turn my head 45-60 degrees to the side and then look up at that angle to watch the screen. Where do you plan on placing your speakers? It's going to be very difficult to get anything resembling a decent soundstage sitting so far off to the sides. As Audiophile1178 said, I would strongly recommend looking at the basement if you are looking for this to be your main HT/music listening system. Either that or don't center on the fireplace...move the TV over to the wall that has the couch on it now.
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post #6 of 36 Old 12-26-2012, 04:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Aaron Smith View Post

Your room looks very difficult to deal with...neat looking space, but the fireplace sure does make it tough to arrange things properly. I can't even imagine having to turn my head 45-60 degrees to the side and then look up at that angle to watch the screen. Where do you plan on placing your speakers? It's going to be very difficult to get anything resembling a decent soundstage sitting so far off to the sides. As Audiophile1178 said, I would strongly recommend looking at the basement if you are looking for this to be your main HT/music listening system. Either that or don't center on the fireplace...move the TV over to the wall that has the couch on it now.

For movie nights, here was the idea for our setup:




We'd have to have the projector closer as we discovered, but seating will be adjusted similarly to pictured.
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post #7 of 36 Old 12-26-2012, 06:00 PM
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If you are prepared to rearrange your seating and equipment like that everytime you want to watch a movie, that setup should work pretty well.

Now we need to work on hooking you up with something that can fill that large space. If you can swing about $650-$700 or so, you can get a pair of LilMike's Cinema F-20 horn subs that will knock your socks off! The driver for the cabinet would be the $140 (x2) Dayton DVC-385 15", $150 for a Behringer A500 amp (I would actually look for a used pro amp myself), and $200 in wood and screws. I realize that is double the "$200-$300 range" that you specified, but this would truly take care of the output problem pretty much forever. I can't say I've heard the Dayton subs you mentioned; although they do seem to get decent reviews from PE, they will not be able to come close to what an F-20 (or especially 2!) will do. They have their place, but not in a HT room IMHO...spend a few bucks more at the start and do it right. smile.gif

You could do a single F-20 for about $350 by substituting the Behringer with one of the $100 PE plate amps.
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post #8 of 36 Old 12-26-2012, 08:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Aaron Smith View Post

If you are prepared to rearrange your seating and equipment like that everytime you want to watch a movie, that setup should work pretty well.
Now we need to work on hooking you up with something that can fill that large space. If you can swing about $650-$700 or so, you can get a pair of LilMike's Cinema F-20 horn subs that will knock your socks off! The driver for the cabinet would be the $140 (x2) Dayton DVC-385 15", $150 for a Behringer A500 amp (I would actually look for a used pro amp myself), and $200 in wood and screws. I realize that is double the "$200-$300 range" that you specified, but this would truly take care of the output problem pretty much forever. I can't say I've heard the Dayton subs you mentioned; although they do seem to get decent reviews from PE, they will not be able to come close to what an F-20 (or especially 2!) will do. They have their place, but not in a HT room IMHO...spend a few bucks more at the start and do it right. smile.gif
You could do a single F-20 for about $350 by substituting the Behringer with one of the $100 PE plate amps.

I see, well I'm open to figuring out what we should do, then saving a bit to do it would work.

So are you saying two drivers in a single box if I can swing it? Or two separate complete subs altogether? If the latter, then one after the other could work to get me something sooner. Otherwise I can just roll with perhaps a single $100 Deyton to tide me over till the money and construction is done.

So what are the key advantages to doing this DIY and spending a bit more money? Just more power, or is there more to it?
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post #9 of 36 Old 12-26-2012, 08:49 PM
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It would be 2 drivers in 2 separate boxes. These are pretty huge-ish boxes too...have you checked the thread out? You could build one now, decide if this type of sub is for you, and then build another later when you catch the bug. smile.gif

The advantage is a *way* better movie watching experience due to the air moving abilities of the big horn subs. These things will sweep much, much more air than the Dayton pre-fab units could ever dream of doing and will make the bass effects that are so prevalent in today's movies that much more enjoyable. I believe that the immersion provided by a quality sound system is 2/3-3/4 of the battle when it comes to 'losing yourself in the movie' and the video is 1/4-1/3 -- getting the bass right and setting the foundation is a huge part of that effect. smile.gif
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post #10 of 36 Old 12-26-2012, 09:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Aaron Smith View Post

It would be 2 drivers in 2 separate boxes. These are pretty huge-ish boxes too...have you checked the thread out? You could build one now, decide if this type of sub is for you, and then build another later when you catch the bug. smile.gif
The advantage is a *way* better movie watching experience due to the air moving abilities of the big horn subs. These things will sweep much, much more air than the Dayton pre-fab units could ever dream of doing and will make the bass effects that are so prevalent in today's movies that much more enjoyable. I believe that the immersion provided by a quality sound system is 2/3-3/4 of the battle when it comes to 'losing yourself in the movie' and the video is 1/4-1/3 -- getting the bass right and setting the foundation is a huge part of that effect. smile.gif

Holy cake... I know I said space isn't a limitation, but I didn't think subs would get to the size of refrigerators. While I love the idea of the immersion factor, there's no chance of my wife tolerating even one refrigerator-sized subwoofer in our living room, let alone two, unfortunately. Anything with remotely similar performance at maybe 1/3 of the size max?

Edit: That said, I like the idea of filling that much space for only $350. If there's a way to do it quite a bit more compact, I'd like to look into it.

From Appearance/Size aspect, the dual 18's with the duratex coating looks great here: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1435795/first-diy-project-for-a-guy-looking-to-upgrade-multiple-sealed-18s/600

We'll be needing to buy a lot of furniture, so having these to double as an end table or two would be perfect wink.gif
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post #11 of 36 Old 12-27-2012, 01:02 AM
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Originally Posted by ahheck01 View Post

Holy cake... I know I said space isn't a limitation, but I didn't think subs would get to the size of refrigerators.wink.gif

Well, this is the DIY forum...things are a bit more hardcore around here. wink.gif
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While I love the idea of the immersion factor, there's no chance of my wife tolerating even one refrigerator-sized subwoofer in our living room, let alone two, unfortunately. Anything with remotely similar performance at maybe 1/3 of the size max?
Edit: That said, I like the idea of filling that much space for only $350. If there's a way to do it quite a bit more compact, I'd like to look into it.

Don't rule out the idea just yet, if you are creative, these big 'ol slabs o' beef can be integrated into a room with a surprising amount of stealth:

No Bass



Big Bass



(Those aren't F-20's, but a very close cousin inspired by them)

Quote:
From Appearance/Size aspect, the dual 18's with the duratex coating looks great here: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1435795/first-diy-project-for-a-guy-looking-to-upgrade-multiple-sealed-18s/600 We'll be needing to buy a lot of furniture, so having these to double as an end table or two would be perfect

You are dead on -- Gorilla83's 18's are a great option. These would extend lower than the horns would, but at the expense of output (in the horn's passband), they require more power to drive, and at the expense of, well, expense. These use the Dayton RS18-HO that go for $250 shipped a pop; you just missed a great preorder price of $162 (plus shipping) on Stereo Integrity's new 18" HT driver that actually outperforms the Dayton according to the Data-Bass.com test site. They are now at $190, so they would likely still be about $20-$30/each less expensive than the Daytons after shipping. You also need a bigger amp to properly push these sealed 18's -- the Behringer EP4000 is the go-to 'big power budget amp' on the forums these days...950 wpc @ 4 ohms for an unreal $275.
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post #12 of 36 Old 12-27-2012, 01:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Aaron Smith View Post

Well, this is the DIY forum...things are a bit more hardcore around here. wink.gif
Don't rule out the idea just yet, if you are creative, these big 'ol slabs o' beef can be integrated into a room with a surprising amount of stealth:
No Bass
(Those aren't F-20's, but a very close cousin inspired by them) You are dead on -- Gorilla83's 18's are a great option. These would extend lower than the horns would, but at the expense of output (in the horn's passband), they require more power to drive, and at the expense of, well, expense. These use the Dayton RS18-HO that go for $250 shipped a pop; you just missed a great preorder price of $162 (plus shipping) on Stereo Integrity's new 18" HT driver that actually outperforms the Daytonaccording to the Data-Bass.com test site. They are now at $190, so they would likely still be about $20-$30/each less expensive than the Daytons after shipping. You also need a bigger amp to properly push these sealed 18's -- the Behringer EP4000 is the go-to 'big power budget amp' on the forums these days...950 wpc @ 4 ohms for an unreal $275.

Hmm, so it sounds like variations of the F-20 are much much bigger bang for the buck? For a space that big, would sealed subs be a very impractical move?

ie. I can see building one of the 2x18" sealed boxes, running that for a bit while saving and assessing the need for a second. I would think they'd make great simple/minimalist end tables based on their approximate size, so the amount of room taken up would be far less of an issue.

As for the F-20 variants you pictured, take note of the layout I pictured and mapped out above - there's really no place to hide the subs, unless they double as usable furniture. That's what I'm running into with this livingroom setup.

Also, just to keep this on the radar, I do have neighbors on the opposite side of that big wall to think about, so while I do want to provide the best listening for the HT viewer and music listener as possible, I think having 1000% lifelike shuttle launches may be a tad bit irresponsible given we share walls in the condo. They're well insulated, but it can be heard when the neighbors accidentally slam a kitchen cabinet that's mounted on that shared wall.
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post #13 of 36 Old 12-27-2012, 04:54 AM
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I do not recommend that you use a sealed sub with that much space to fill. Sealed subs are great, but they lack the output that a larger ported enclosure can bring. You could look at possibly building a pair of THT low profile subs. They would be easier to integrate in to the furniture scheme.

Yes, you can definitely use any sub enclosure for things like end tables, coffee tables, bench seats, ect. I believe that you could build two of the THT-low profile enclosures and make them into padded bench seats along the walls, or you could make one of them into a coffee table.

If I were in your shoes, I would go with either a pair of ported Dayton HO18's or a quad set of infinity 1262's. You really need two subs for that listening space, but, you could get by with a single F-20 or THT-low profile. I would look into those last two that I mentioned, and try to figure out creative ways to integrate them into the room without it looking bad. Don't just assume that they will be an eye sore and make your wife mad, but rather, try and think up creative ways to make them look like furniture.
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post #14 of 36 Old 12-27-2012, 05:09 AM
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That is a tough situation. I would probably end up building a dual opposed box and using it as an end table between the window to the right of the fireplace and that loves eat.

Edit: just saw that your going to move the furniture around. Here is a link to my THT horn thread. I made them look like columns. Just to give you another idea of how a fridge sized sub can be hidden. But no matter how they are hidden, they will always be a big location commitment.
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1438536/dual-thtlp-architectural-series#post_22584862

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post #15 of 36 Old 12-27-2012, 02:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Edit: I'm also open to the coffee table idea, though I haven't the first clue on how to make a THT look good as a coffee table. Open to inspiration there.
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That is a tough situation. I would probably end up building a dual opposed box and using it as an end table between the window to the right of the fireplace and that loves eat.
Edit: just saw that your going to move the furniture around. Here is a link to my THT horn thread. I made them look like columns. Just to give you another idea of how a fridge sized sub can be hidden. But no matter how they are hidden, they will always be a big location commitment.
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1438536/dual-thtlp-architectural-series#post_22584862
Wow, honestly I think that's 80% better when it comes to the WAF, but we still have the issue of placement. In their ideal location, they'd be blocking the windows or fireplace. Based on the functional and cost effectiveness of the THT/F-20 approach, that seems to be the best idea functionally, but practically I just don't see how it would be possible, unless someone really creative can show me some strategic placement based on the photos etc of the above.

It seems like end-table subs are my option. I do like the idea of the functional difference that a sealed design makes. I heart extension.

That said, I just got an idea. It's a crazy idea, but it just might work. What about having the THT/F20 in the loft? Here a photo of it. The short wall that's barely in the left side of the photo is the wall that overlooks the living room.

I'll have a large desk in there, eventually with a 27" iMac and two 27" displays flanking it. I'm not 100% about placement yet, but I assumed an L against the short wall and against the adjacent big wall. I'll also have either some bookshelf speakers for that sound system, or I'll use my current Polk Monitor 70's for the stereo. If there's a big sub already up there, I could just use it for both?

Anyway, is the loft idea an option? I think the space is there? Would the THT/F20 be detrimental to neighbors?

Pic of loft:
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post #16 of 36 Old 12-28-2012, 01:42 AM - Thread Starter
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My other idea, if I went the sealed route, is to make a coffee table for the living room as follows:

Surface would be a 6' x 4' glass surface.
Stands would be two sub boxes with dimensions 18" x 18" x 36", with dual 15" drivers in each to eliminate vibration and for extra output. They would be parallel to each other, 2' apart, leaving 6" of glass extending over the edges. Like this:

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post #17 of 36 Old 12-28-2012, 12:25 PM
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I didn't get a chance to read the whole thread, but if you want a big horn sound in a smaller package, you could try lilmike's t-6. About one quarter the size, and I believe only 3 db's quieter. The catch is it only plays down to the upper 20's hz. They're small enough to use in a car trunk.
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post #18 of 36 Old 01-01-2013, 11:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Yeah, if I'm going to build a DIY sub, I'd like to get some significant extension that I couldn't get at the same cost going retail.
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post #19 of 36 Old 01-02-2013, 12:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Bump?

I would also be open to a coffee table THT setup if it was possible to average out the depth and height of the low profile one, and go 18 x 42 x 42.

Also, as an update, the living space is open to a total area of about 12,000 cu ft, all inclusive.
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post #20 of 36 Old 01-02-2013, 03:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ahheck01 View Post

Yeah, if I'm going to build a DIY sub, I'd like to get some significant extension that I couldn't get at the same cost going retail.
The rule with subwoofers is they can be small, dig deep, or be efficient - pick 2 of the 3. Physics. Another way that shakes out is, if you want small with deep bass you need to use better drivers and hit them with a lot of power (because you lost efficiency), which means spending more money. That's one reason you see some pretty large builds around here - it's the best bang for your buck by far. What you'll gain over a retail sub with even a moderately large horn is it will be LOUD.

Coffee table sub sounds like a plan. Others will chime in with candidates for the size you want, I'm sure.
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post #21 of 36 Old 01-02-2013, 05:59 AM
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You have a lot of constraints. I don't think THs are really a responsible option for condo living eek.gif even if it would be cool.

Your budget for DIY is going to have to expand past $200 to get more output than the dayton 1200's. You could do a pair of coffee tables with a down firing Inifinity 1262w in each.
http://www.amazon.com/Infinity-Reference-1262w-1200-Watt-High-Performance/dp/B0028AYIXK/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_S_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=2FNQCEE0HADXC&coliid=I3S6IELEL84KVS

Ported and tuned to 20-22hz they could be powered by a 500w yung plate amp: http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=301-514
or the dayton: http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=300-807

With mdf that's about $400 and will get quite loud with decent extension down to about 25hz.
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post #22 of 36 Old 01-02-2013, 12:26 PM - Thread Starter
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By coffee tables, do you mean a couple end tables? Ballpark dimensions? I'd love to get a little lower extension, would it be possible to do two sealed cubes instead of the two ported boxes?
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post #23 of 36 Old 01-02-2013, 12:50 PM
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Yes, end tables. I must have needed some coffee. biggrin.gif

You will get more output/$ with ported. You could build 3-4 cu ft boxes with woofer and port facing down, paint it black, put a 24" x 24" "marble" floor tile on the top of each one and add some stained wooden legs to make it look like an end table. A 4" pvc pipe would work for the port.

You can do sealed if you want to trade spl for low frequency extension, or go up to 15's like the dayton dvc or ho.
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post #24 of 36 Old 01-02-2013, 01:20 PM - Thread Starter
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So it sounds like the best of both worlds is to spend a little more to make two sealed 15s (or 18s?) - start with one, and go from there?

Would a single dual opposed work to cancel vibrations and fit more in less room, or would two separate sealed 15s or 18s be a better choice in this space?
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post #25 of 36 Old 01-02-2013, 01:29 PM
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More is better...unless you ask your neighbors.

All things being equal a single 15 will have more than twice the displacement of a 12 and an 18 more than twice a 15.

I've found down firing reduces cabinet movement to a near inconsequential amount. Dual opposed won't really fit more into less volume, but there will be less footprint. Once you get into dual opposed 18's you are back to refrigerator sized cabinets though.

Also you will get smoother response with more sources. It would be better to have 2 single driver boxes than 1 dual driver box, and 4 is better than 2. It's past 4 drivers where diminishing returns sets in and you can look into dual opposed.
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post #26 of 36 Old 01-02-2013, 01:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay, other than the vibration issue, what trade offs are there to down firing vs side? I don't mind taking stuff off for HT use.

Also, what would be the key cost and size restraints of 15 vs 18?

Ps thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge. I've spent so much time searching, that its really nice to have someone with the knowledge chime in on my specific situation.
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post #27 of 36 Old 01-02-2013, 02:06 PM
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Down firing has less even order harmonic distortion and protection from children and pets. Front just looks cool.

Cost: $120 for a DVC15, $150 for ho15, $190 for a SI 18, $250 for a ho18.

Size sealed: 3-4 cu ft for a 15 and 4-6 cu ft for an 18. Twice that for ported.
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post #28 of 36 Old 01-02-2013, 02:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by nograveconcern View Post

Down firing has less even order harmonic distortion and protection from children and pets. Front just looks cool.
Cost: $120 for a DVC15, $150 for ho15, $190 for a SI 18, $250 for a ho18.
Size sealed: 3-4 cu ft for a 15 and 4-6 cu ft for an 18. Twice that for ported.

Hmm, perhaps I could start with a single sealed down-firing SI 18 and go from there. Do a 22" cube with 3/4" MDF or plywood (what should I use? I can get solid birch or cherry for super cheap too). Internal space ignoring bracing and the driver would be about 5 cu ft. Then use 3-4" legs to bring it up to nominal end table height, and give the driver room to move some air. Will that be enough? I have carpet everywhere - will that affect things, or should I put another wood panel underneath it by a few inches?

The final challenge is that my vision for side-firing enabled me to put the contacts on the bottom, not showing. What's the normal solution for down-firing end table subs to hide the contacts?
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post #29 of 36 Old 01-03-2013, 12:31 AM - Thread Starter
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In-progress shopping list:
Driver: SI 18: $190
Box Wood/Materials: ? : $?
Amplifier: 500w yung plate amp: $200 Behringer EP4000: $270
Total for first one: ~$460 + Wood/Materials
Total for second one: ~$190 + Wood/materials

That averages out to $325 each + wood/materials - is that pretty good value for 2 x 18" sealed subs with 650watts to each?

Edit: Since I may add another in the near future, it was suggested that I get the EP4000 for a little more, which can handle the second one when I build it, too.
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post #30 of 36 Old 01-03-2013, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by ahheck01 View Post

Hmm, perhaps I could start with a single sealed down-firing SI 18 and go from there. Do a 22" cube with 3/4" MDF or plywood (what should I use? I can get solid birch or cherry for super cheap too). Internal space ignoring bracing and the driver would be about 5 cu ft. Then use 3-4" legs to bring it up to nominal end table height, and give the driver room to move some air. Will that be enough? I have carpet everywhere - will that affect things, or should I put another wood panel underneath it by a few inches?
The final challenge is that my vision for side-firing enabled me to put the contacts on the bottom, not showing. What's the normal solution for down-firing end table subs to hide the contacts?

Most of that is fine. Carpet is good. You can use spikes if you want, but they really don't make a difference. Don't use solid wood for the box though. Void free plywood w/ at least 6 plys or mdf are good choices. You can cover that with a veneer of wood if you like. 3" legs should be fine. You should also have room to put binding posts on the bottom in one of the corners. Just don't get a 5" dish. Something like this http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=091-1245 would fit anywhere.

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Originally Posted by ahheck01 View Post

In-progress shopping list:
Driver: SI 18 D-4: $190
Box Wood/Materials: ? : $? $30-50 for a sheet of mdf/ply + $5 for a poplar 2x2 for legs + whatever you spend on finish
Amplifier: 500w yung plate amp: $200 Behringer EP4000: $270 Behringer iNuke 3k dsp $300-350 + $15 for 80mm fan + $15 for RCA to XLR adapter and a pair of speakon connectors

That will give you 1000w rms to each 18 + dsp for future eq-ing.
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