Best DIY Subwoofer to build? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 29 Old 08-09-2017, 11:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Best DIY Subwoofer to build?

I have come across Marty, VBSS, Tuba HT, and all other kinds of DIY subs. My question is: which one should I build? I use my home theater mainly for movies/tv shows and gaming. I also listen to music, but not enough to cater my subwoofer to it.

I am looking for something that will get decently loud and produce sub-20 Hz frequencies if possible. Budget is not necessarily an issue at the moment, but always open to making the best that I can for the money. Any insight is helpful. Thanks!

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post #2 of 29 Old 08-09-2017, 11:51 AM
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How large is your room? Are you space limited? Budget? My vote would be for as many ported UM18-22 you could fit. If you're really serious and have the budget, 2 ported or sealed SI24s would be killer
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post #3 of 29 Old 08-09-2017, 11:52 AM
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this is not the first time (or last) this legitimate and general question will be asked . that's one good factor of AVS

in the recent "1 sub woofer' l, something like that, thread there was the usual array of good comments, suggestions and humor


This quote I read in that thread is perhaps one of the most concise and on point answer about the basic factors / criteria / details you need to "put on paper"

(and yes, I saved it as what i see as a good go-to )

from @Ricci : Depends on the budget available and the volume and shape of the space available. Also the room size, shape, placement and listening habits. I've done a project like this for myself but it was entirely driven by factors such as these.

Hie thee to the drawing board . .

we'll be listening
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post #4 of 29 Old 08-09-2017, 11:54 AM
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I would base it on the size of the room and how much space you have for each enclosure. If a small room I would go sealed and if large go ported. Then build as many as fits your needs 1,2,4 etc. I would base it off of one of the commonly used 18" from UM18, SI HT. Each of those designs you listed has its positives and its drawbacks.

The VBSS will need to be used in multiples to be of much use for home theater since it has low Xmax so it does not have as much output down low. Negative is that you have to build that many more enclosures so that much more cost for wood and that much more time building each enclosure. Plus is it is cheap per woofer and lower power requirement because it is an efficient driver. In my opinion, most will need 3-4 of these to get good output in the lower frequencies. It will take 2 VBSS to equal 1 sealed 1 U18 in the lower FR range so 4-6cf enclosure for the UM18 vs 11-12cf for 2 VBSS. It will take 3 VBSS to equal 1 ported UM18 so 18cf+ to 9-11cf for 1 ported UM18.

Tuba HT good is that it is efficient so it can get loud from minimal drivers, less amp power requirement, negative is that it is a larger enclosure, complex to build and less output down low. They drop off fast below 20hz.

Marty- good output all around, negative is a larger size, fast drop off in the output below tune if you want output down in the low teens or single digits.

Sealed good simplest design/build, plays the lowest, smallest enclosure. The drawback is they require a more expensive driver, more power, and more drivers to get equal output to a ported subwoofer around the tune. For example, a single Um18 in a Marty would require approximately 3 sealed UM18 to match the single Um18 around port tune but then below port tune, the sealed pulls away.

That is just a quick generalization and my opinions, other peoples will vary. I have used most of these subs or similar designs in my room and in most cases I would recommend sealed from simplicity unless someone has a large room and/or they are willing to build larger enclosures for the extra output that a ported or horn loaded subwoofer gives.

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post #5 of 29 Old 08-09-2017, 11:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Budget: $600

Volume: 20x20 room

Placement: Wherever it sounds best

Listening Habits: Mostly movies/gaming. Music from time to time.

I would like to fit it underneath a space which is 20" tall, but can accommodate if needed to be taller.

These are my specs I hope help!
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post #6 of 29 Old 08-09-2017, 11:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by bscool View Post
I would base it on the size of the room and how much space you have for each enclosure. If a small room I would go sealed and if large go ported. Then build as many as fits your needs 1,2,4 etc. I would base it off of one of the commonly used 18" from UM18, SI HT. Each of those designs you listed has its positives and its drawbacks.

The VBSS will need to be used in multiples to be of much use for home theater since it has low Xmax so it does not have as much output down low. Negative is that you have to build that many more enclosures so that much more cost for wood and that much more time building each enclosure. Plus is it is cheap per woofer and lower power requirement because it is an efficient driver. In my opinion, most will need 4 of these to get good output in the lower frequencies. It will take 2 VBSS to equal 1 sealed 1 U18 in the lower FR range so 4-6cf enclosure for the UM18 vs 11-12cf for 2 VBSS. It will take 4+ VBSS to equal 1 ported UM18 so 22cf+ to 9-11cf for 1 ported UM18.

Tuba HT good is that it is efficient so it can get loud from minimal drivers, less amp power requirement, negative is that it is a larger enclosure, complex to build and less output down low. They drop off fast below 20hz.

Marty- good output all around, negative is a larger size, fast drop off in the output below tune if you want output down in the low teens or single digits.

Sealed good simplest design/build, plays the lowest, smallest enclosure. The drawback is they require a more expensive driver, more power, and more drivers to get equal output to a ported subwoofer around the tune. For example, a single Um18 in a Marty would require approximately 3 sealed UM18 to match the single Um18 around port tune but then below port tune, the sealed pulls away.

That is just a quick generalization and my opinions, other peoples will vary. I have used most of these subs or similar designs in my room and in most cases I would recommend sealed from simplicity unless someone has a large room and/or they are willing to build larger enclosures for the extra output that a ported or horn loaded subwoofer gives.
What sealed subs do you recommend?

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post #7 of 29 Old 08-09-2017, 12:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yrnron View Post
Budget: $600

Volume: 20x20 room

Placement: Wherever it sounds best

Listening Habits: Mostly movies/gaming. Music from time to time.

I would like to fit it underneath a space which is 20" tall, but can accommodate if needed to be taller.

These are my specs I hope help!
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That's a large room. Does the $600 budget include the amp as well? If Not, you could go with 2 UM18-22 ported or 3 maybe 4 SI HT-18 if you stretch your budget a tad.
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post #8 of 29 Old 08-09-2017, 12:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnson636 View Post
That's a large room. Does the $600 budget include the amp as well? If Not, you could go with 2 UM18-22 ported or 3 maybe 4 SI HT-18 if you stretch your budget a tad.
I probably overestimated my room size a bit. It may be closer to 15x15 or so. Won't know until I get home. It's not a HUGE room, but decent.

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post #9 of 29 Old 08-09-2017, 12:09 PM
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With a budget of $600, you will have to go with something like the SI HT18" for sealed. http://stereointegrity.com/product/ht18-v2-subwoofer/

You would not be able to do 2 of those plus wood and material for $600. Depending on the amplifier. Something like an Inuke 3000DSP($280). So closer to $675-700 I would estimate. But I don't think you would be happy with just 1 18" sealed.

If your ceiling height is 8' and your room 20'x20' that is what I would consider a larger room(3200cf) so you will need a fair amount of subs to get good output. Edit of 15x15 that is small and 2 sealed 18" would give you good output.

Is the floor concrete or suspended?

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post #10 of 29 Old 08-09-2017, 12:15 PM
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initially , 3 thoughts

square room :there will be exacerbated room modes issues , usually predicates needing 2 subs and REW and EQ work getting optimal placement/ response

and 20 x 20 by ,and 8' (?) ceiling = 3200 ft^3, that's getting large for 1 sub

and $600 ? - that's pretty tight if includes an amp . .

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post #11 of 29 Old 08-09-2017, 12:36 PM
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Depending on your expectations, a pair of VBSSs and an inuke 1000DSP would put you right around $600 if you can't stretch your budget a bit.

Probably enough for most sane people....but you've wandered into the area where overkill rules. (not a bad thing)

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post #12 of 29 Old 08-09-2017, 12:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bscool View Post
With a budget of $600, you will have to go with something like the SI HT18" for sealed. http://stereointegrity.com/product/ht18-v2-subwoofer/

You would not be able to do 2 of those plus wood and material for $600. Depending on the amplifier. Something like an Inuke 3000DSP($280). So closer to $675-700 I would estimate. But I don't think you would be happy with just 1 18" sealed.

If your ceiling height is 8' and your room 20'x20' that is what I would consider a larger room(3200cf) so you will need a fair amount of subs to get good output. Edit of 15x15 that is small and 2 sealed 18" would give you good output.

Is the floor concrete or suspended?
It is concrete, but I live on the second floor. My room is not necessarily square. I will upload an image later with dimensions to give a better view of what it is like. What could a sealed sub like that extend down to?

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post #13 of 29 Old 08-09-2017, 12:48 PM
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^ napkin based accounting says he's right .

build the lowest tuned VBSS there is

maybe you can save a few bucks ($50+ or so) if you can get a design using triangle /corner ports ports designed to give the low tune desired

that design was tuned higher for more MBM from the front of the room
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post #14 of 29 Old 08-09-2017, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by yrnron View Post
It is concrete, but I live on the second floor. My room is not necessarily square. I will upload an image later with dimensions to give a better view of what it is like. What could a sealed sub like that extend down to?

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It is room dependent, hence smaller rooms the more gain you get down low with a sealed sub. Here is an example of sealed subs vs ported in a small room. Ground plane measurements would show the ported sub having MUCH more output than the sealed but in the room, things change.

Since you are on concrete you are not going to gain much from having more output below approximately 14-15hz, is many peoples opinion.

Also if you can do a nearfield sub it helps IMMENSELY. 1 near field sub located behind your seating will feel like having a room full of subwoofers.

The graph is from this thread Dual Seaton Submersive HP on the way!

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post #15 of 29 Old 08-09-2017, 01:05 PM
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Also, it looks like the SI 18" benefits a lot from a larger enclosure when you go sealed because it has so much unused excursion in a smaller enclosure. According to WINISD it is not even using half of the Xmax if you put it in 4cf like most put them in. I would go 6-8cf.

But I just posting this graph to show you sealed vs ported. But remember when you put them in a room that is small thing will change and they sealed will have more output below tune than ported.

You could also go with a smaller enclosure and give it more power to use more of the available Xmax when using them sealed. The WINISD graph is 2 sealed in 16cf vs 2 ported in 22cf 17hz tune.

Edit threw 2nd WINISD to compare 4 VBSS or similar(25cf 18hz tune) in white vs 2 SI 18".
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Here go some pictures for you guys if it will give you a better sense of what size the room is. These are pretty exact measurements. Let me know if you need any other angles or measurements.

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post #17 of 29 Old 08-09-2017, 03:21 PM
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A quick estimate is that is around 1400cf so I would consider that a small room and I would go with sealed subs if it were me.

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A quick estimate is that is around 1400cf so I would consider that a small room and I would go with sealed subs if it were me.
Do you think a single SI 18 would be enough or would I need multiple?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yrnron View Post
Do you think a single SI 18 would be enough or would I need multiple?
It really depends on a couple of factors. # 1 is placement and how it interacts with the room and @ your listening position. If the location you put it in has a huge null/cancellation at your listening position then 1 would won't do it # 2 is how sensitive(expectations) you are to bass frequencies. Basically how much bass do you like, for some people 1 10" would be enough yet someone else will want 4-6 18" in a room that small.

Have you had subs before and if so which ones?

I think 2 would be a fairly safe bet that most people would be pretty happy in a room that size if they are set up right. You could always build 1 to start and see what you think. But plan on building 2 so by that I mean buy an amplifier that can power 2 of them from the start. Something like the Inuke 3000DSP. That way adding a 2nd sub just means buying sub # 2, building the enclosure and connecting it.

Running 2 subs gives you the benefit of getting a smoother frequency response throughout the room and at your listening position which is a good thing. It is not only about the increased output but that is always a nice added benefit. Note to get the maximum benefit of dual subs your placement options need to be somewhat flexible. Meaning if you only have 1 spot you can put them you still may have a rough frequency response at your seating location if both are preset and not flexible to some movement.

For example, you ideally move the subs to where they give the smoothest frequency response but sometimes if that is not possible moving the seating location can also help. You won't know until you try it though.

Also which AVR do you have? Do you have REW and a mic?

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Although the room isn't large, I wouldn't rule out a ported cab. There are smaller tried-and-true ported designs that are as simple to build as a sealed cab.
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post #21 of 29 Old 08-11-2017, 01:24 AM
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Here is my take coming from research...advice...planning and building a sub recently.


The entire premis is to get more/better bass....

Building a undersized cabinet is just shooting yourself in the foot.........no matter what driver you select, build the optimal cabinet size for it to get the max performance from your driver.
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post #22 of 29 Old 08-16-2017, 11:42 AM
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I have a dedicated theater room right now that is 12' x 18' (total volume calculated is actually 1530 ft^3). The floor is concrete (except for the platform), room is carpeted. Right now I have 2 12" Ported Jamo Subs and I am wanting something a little bit smoother with more consistent bass down low. I have space for 2 cabinets that measure 48" wide, and 24" tall and deep. I don't have a whole lot of space in the room for nearfield but eventually plan on building some into the furniture I am building for the room. What would you guys suggest for those two front subs? I am also running 3 Fusion 15s as my LCR and 8 Volt 6s for surrounds.
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post #23 of 29 Old 08-16-2017, 12:47 PM
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@LTD02 had a ported design he called Cyclʘps 18. It's 24" tall x 18" deep x 48" wide.
It's standard orientation is side firing, and I'm not sure that would work well for your layout. There were some other suggestions deeper into the thread that were front ported that may work better.

Cyclʘps 18

If you can spare an extra inch or so, you could probably get a full marty design (another LTD02) in there. It might actually be better suited for you.

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post #24 of 29 Old 08-16-2017, 12:53 PM
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Best diy subwoofer to build would be in my option is I would call FI speakers and have them build a custom ht subwoofer just like Jeff uses from jtr in his cabinets, incriminator Audio like Luke did and have the do the same just like FI. Third would be ftw-21 or the 24" sub from mach5audio. The rest has already been posted.
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post #25 of 29 Old 08-16-2017, 12:55 PM
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48 x 24 x24 = a full marty sub,


actaully48 x 24 x 25.5 iirc,

could go to minimarty , 40" tall.

driver may be the PE UM 18-22

I've heard 3 well dialed in marty's in a space about your size, tho conncted to much larger areas of the house, , like with your open wall side, that didn't make a difference,
a bit of planning for placement and either vertical or horizontal and bit of planning for port clearance .

a minidsp 2x4 for front subs and the jamo's . .good EQ possibilities

and F 15's for matching LCR - WIN!.

the 12's could go nearfield?

let's see your thread /build

DIY FAN Denon X5200 , ATI A 2000 for 7.4.6 SCATMOS/DSU/SHARP 80" LED/LCD
L/R: Fusion 15 V2 , C: 88 Special , SL/SR: 88 Special(V2) , RL/RR: F-3, TF/TR: Volt 6's TM: SLX, FH: F4Q4
SUBMAXIMUS, ,Submaximus V3,LOWARHORNCustom Dual Driver VBSS,2 x Inuke6000DSP
www.avsforum.com/forum/155-diy-speakers-subs/1485120-submaximus-large-front-loaded-horn
http://www.avsforum.com/forum/155-di...orn-build.html
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post #26 of 29 Old 08-16-2017, 08:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asarose247 View Post
48 x 24 x24 = a full marty sub,


actaully48 x 24 x 25.5 iirc,

could go to minimarty , 40" tall.

driver may be the PE UM 18-22

I've heard 3 well dialed in marty's in a space about your size, tho conncted to much larger areas of the house, , like with your open wall side, that didn't make a difference,
a bit of planning for placement and either vertical or horizontal and bit of planning for port clearance .

a minidsp 2x4 for front subs and the jamo's . .good EQ possibilities

and F 15's for matching LCR - WIN!.

the 12's could go nearfield?

let's see your thread /build

The side isn't actually open, the room is fully closed in, just sliced the drawing so you could get a good view. I have considered a few full martys and actually designed the front of the room to be able to put them in. I just can't decide if I would rather have something sealed vs something ported after having the ported Jamos. I'm really not looking for sheer output, since I keep the Jamos at only about 1/2 volume and they are pretty overpowering even with the fusions. The Jamos definitely wouldn't fit nearfield. In order to get something nearfield to work I will have to build it into my furniture, that or just get some transducers so I'm not shaking the house all the time, or when the kids watch movies.

I started a build thread but it didn't get much attention and I never ended up finishing it. Though I do need to post pictures of my theater sometime.
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post #27 of 29 Old 08-16-2017, 10:21 PM
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I am liking the sealed SI HT 18 a lot.....


Simple/cheap and sounds good.........200 bucks plus whatever amp you want to use.

Link to budget Home Theater build

http://www.avsforum.com/forum/19-ded...i-version.html
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post #28 of 29 Old 08-16-2017, 11:13 PM
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Originally Posted by eng-399 View Post
Best diy subwoofer to build would be in my option is I would call FI speakers and have them build a custom ht subwoofer just like Jeff uses from jtr in his cabinets, incriminator Audio like Luke did and have the do the same just like FI. Third would be ftw-21 or the 24" sub from mach5audio. The rest has already been posted.
Mike: What amp and what sealed size box would you use with the ftw-21?

Equipment List: Benq W6000, Darbee DVP-5000S Video Processor, JKP Affinity 100 inch 16x9 .9 gain reference screen, Marantz SR7009 Receiver, 3-Marantz Ma700 and 2-Ma6100 mono blocks, 9.2 set-up, B&W Nautilus 805 front speakers, B&W Nautilus HTM2 center speaker, Infinity ( soon to be replaced by B&W ) bookshelf Atmos Speakers, Mirage HDT-R side speakers, Jamo THX surround one rear speakers, PSA S3600I & S3000I subs, Richard Grey, Monster Power, and Panamax powerline conditioning/surge protection.
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post #29 of 29 Old 08-17-2017, 06:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Butny View Post
Mike: What amp and what sealed size box would you use with the ftw-21?


This is just a guess until I get out my computer with that driver loaded in winisd but I would guess 8 cubic ft. Sealed with a fp14000 clone amp to drive it or something that's powerful.
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