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Am noob - Which Subwoofer to get

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
OK I have bought two replacement subwoofers now and I don't like either one and I am very aggravated so I need all your help PLEASE!
A while back I use to work at Best Buy and with some program they had with Athena Speakers I was able to get a great deal.
What I had was:
-2 rear Athena WS-15 http://www.athenaspeakers.com/v2/pro...hp?ident=WS-15
-2 front Athena WS-100 http://www.athenaspeakers.com/v2/pro...p?ident=WS-100
-1 center Athena http://www.athenaspeakers.com/v2/pro...hp?ident=WS-60
-Sub Athena AS-P6000 down firing 800 watts http://www.athenaspeakers.com/v2/cla...ident=AS-P6000
-Receiver Yamaha HTR-5850 http://www.yamaha.com/yec/products/p...l?CNTID=200019

I put it all together myself and after a lot of manual readings and playing around with receiver settings I got it all configured and LOVED everything! I could turn the volume way up and play music CDs and movies and the sound would be crisp/sharp and the bass on the sub could go low and be loud and when I turn the sub even just half way would rattle my house walls and things would shake, but the quality was good and not distorted. I usually had the sub volume at 4 out of 10 and max would be 6 out of 10. Was very happy with everything and then after 3 years my Athena AS-P6000 subwoofer went out. It was one month passed expired warranty, but Athena fixed the amp and it was all good again until 6 months later it went out again.

So then I started looking and gathering all sub info. I could which totally confused me even more. Do I need 8" or 10" or 12". Do I need 800 watts like my last sub or 150 watts. Do I need a big sub or small sub? No idea! I finally found a JBL SUB10 10-Inch 250-300-Watt Subwoofer on Amazon for $200 that had a lot of good ratings so I bought it. It arrived and I hooked it up and woh! ... it sucked compared to my last sub. Its volume was not very high and the quality when turned up had a lot of "rattle" then a "thud". So I returned it. After visiting Best Buy and Circuit City and looking at their Polk Audio and their one Velodyne subs the sales guy said I should really visit a home theater store dedicated to high end speakers. So I did. I talked with a sales rep and listened to a B&W ASW608B sub. It sounded good in their small show room so I decided I was sick of trying to find a sub and spent $500 for it. Brought it home. It was a lot better then the JBL but still did not produce the volume of my last sub and not near the bass and rumbling as the Athena. You could hear the B&W from the other end of the house though, but in the same room it just didn't seem to have that nice thud bass sound. My old Athena sub, when turned way up, could be heard outside my home on the sidewalk. It would sound like a night club was going on inside my house. Even this B&W sub was not that great and it cost a whole $500! When I stand right over the B&W sub it sounds good and shakes my hair a bit, but when you step 15' away and sit on the couch it is just so, so.

So basically I need all your help, PLEASE.
My living room is about 25' x 20' with about 12' vaulted ceilings and it is partly open to the kitchen and on one side is an open hallway the bedrooms. The couch is about 12' from where the sub would go. The floor in the living room is carpet and tile in the kitchen. The walls are just regular ground floor house walls. My price range is really about $500, but if I REALLY have to spend more to get the quality of what I use to have then I suppose I could spend a bit more. I don't really care about the size of the sub as it has before been to the side of my entertainment center and somewhat by the corner of the room. Three B&W 608 subs could probably fit into the Athena sub I had so I don't care about the size too much. I will mostly be using the bass for 70% movies and then some for 20% music, but would like some bass for TV shows 10% I watch too. I was thinking of hiring someone to configure my receiver and speakers, but not sure if its needed or not.

I don't really know too much about speakers, Hz or crossover whatever, so please keep it simple, stupid for me. Thanks so much in advance!
post #2 of 32
25x20 with vaulted ceilings is a very large room. You won't be able to fill it with powerful bass by using a 10", 200W small sealed sub like the B&W 608. I'm sure it's a good sub as far as sound quality goes, but as you've discovered, it just doesn't produce the output you require.

Considering the fact that you're on a budget and have a big room, a large ported subwoofer will probably give you the best experience. It sounds like the budget is at $500 but can be expanded somewhat if doing so would make a big difference. Is this correct? Also, do you have a timeframe? If you can afford to wait a while to get your sub, Epik (http://www.epiksubwoofers.com/), Elemental Designs (http://www.edesignaudio.com/), and AV123 (http://**********/) have great subs that will give you a whole new level of bass. SVS (http://svsound.com/) and Hsu (http://www.hsuresearch.com/) also make quality subs - they aren't QUITE as good in terms of price/performance, but they're available immediately and their products are excellent.

At the $500 price point, the eD A3-300 is probably your best bet, though you're probably looking at a wait time of at least 2 months to get it. If you can expand to $600+ shipping, all kinds of options appear. The eD A5-350, Epik Knight, AV123 MFW-15, and SVS PB12-NSD are all great options at that price point. My honest opinion is that you'll need at LEAST an eD A3-300 for your room. Any of the aforementioned subs would probably do well.

Note that all of the companies and subs I've mentioned are from internet direct companies. You won't find them in stores. I'm not neglecting to mention subs that are available in stores because they're no good (though many aren't any good). Rather, considering your budget and the size of your listening space, no sub at a dealer or brick and mortar store will give you the impact you require, unless you manage to score a floor model or something for at least 50% off.

Anyway, just thought I'd throw a couple suggestions out there. I'm sure others will have ideas as well. If you could read the sticky thread regarding what information to provide when looking for subwoofer advice it would be very helpful. Good luck.
post #3 of 32
The Athena AS-4100p's are on sale for $149.00 each. two of these should best the output of your 6000. If you still have the 6000, you can replace the amp with a Bash 500w for $250.00 but may require a little carpentry. Your 6000 has a bash amp rated to 800w burts which shouldn't be a problem with the repl amp. Those 6000 amps were a problem from he begining. Hope this helps
post #4 of 32
Thread Starter 
I am ready to order the right sub right after I return the B&W. Thats my timeframe

From what you have said so far I would consider the SVSound PB12-NSD, HSU VTF-2 MK 3 or, if I can scavenge up more money, the HSU VTF-3 MK 3. Which one do you think would be a best fit for me? Thanks.
post #5 of 32
Problem you've got is some of the very hot subs have a 2 month wait. Sounds like you want something a lot sooner than that.

Other subs can be had sooner, but you'll have to pay more than your target price if you want to do it right.

Something else I've been wondering is have you been calibrating your system with a spl meter? Just referring to the clock position of the volume knob doesn't sound like it.
post #6 of 32
lalakersfan34 - since that is the same answer I either see you someone else post to every question about subs, it should just be a sticky or bold text at the top of sub forum. I really hope you have that copied to your computer so you don't have to keep typing it from scratch!

So, obviously I agree 100% with lalakersfan34. I have the eD A5-350 w/LT550 amp; it is amazing. My room is about 20x17x15 (vaulted ceilings). It rumbles the hell out of the room. But you will wait as they are made-to-order. All the other subs mentioned are the typical ones you will read about on avs and they all have their fans too.
post #7 of 32
Corwiniii,

That probably because we see the same question asked so many times.

There is a sticky with a lot of useful information, but who reads stickys?

What we should probably do is have his post added to the sticky and when people ask, give them a link to the sticky.
post #8 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by froggyliver View Post

From what you have said so far I would consider the SVSound PB12-NSD, HSU VTF-2 MK 3 or, if I can scavenge up more money, the HSU VTF-3 MK 3. Which one do you think would be a best fit for me? Thanks.

Any of those are going to be excellent. The VTF3 and PB12 would be recommended for your size room.

People keep saying that the MFW, Epik and Elemental Design subs are better value, and they probably are. But the SVS, Hsu's are extremely high performance subs also and you should find them very impressive compared to what you had before. Any of these represent (I'll make up a number), say, a 30-100& improvement over the Athena, B&W and JBL subs. I hate to use the term night and day difference, but the difference will be quite apparent.
post #9 of 32
Thread Starter 
No I have never used a spl meter. The only real calibration I have done (becides changing the Hz and volume on the sub) is on the receiver. I mostly just told the receiver what size room I am in (I chose medium), told it I have 6 speakers (including the sub) and increased the volume of some of the speakers independently. I don't really know how to calibrate it more then that.
post #10 of 32
Hey froggyliver check your private message. Thanks
post #11 of 32
Thread Starter 
I was just looking at the Elemental Designs A5 with the 550 amp. I see it has a 15" driver. From what people seem to be recommending to me it seems like a bigger driver is what I need. One question I have is that does a bigger driver have any delay in bass? Seems like a smaller driver would be a lot quicker. However I would also guess that a bigger driver would help with a bigger room and deeper, lounder bass. Am I correct? Thanks.
post #12 of 32
A bigger driver will be just as "quick". Bass notes are "slow" enough themselves that any size cone can keep up. A bigger driver will move equal amount of air while moving less, therefor the distortion will be less.
The only advantage a smaller cone has is that it can play higher frequency material with better quality. So you can use a higher crossover. But it preferable to not cross the sub over higher than 100 hz anyway, because it becomes localizable.
post #13 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by froggyliver View Post

No I have never used a spl meter. The only real calibration I have done (becides changing the Hz and volume on the sub) is on the receiver. I mostly just told the receiver what size room I am in (I chose medium), told it I have 6 speakers (including the sub) and increased the volume of some of the speakers independently. I don't really know how to calibrate it more then that.


Its not really possible to properly calibrate your system without an SPL meter. They're not very expensive. Seems like the Radio Shack model is just under $40.

You might want to post your location and see if anybody is near enough to you that they'd be willing to come over and help out.

You also need to check those distances in your receiver setup. A subwoofer that has the wrong distance in the setup menu could sound like its slow due to the long decay times in the crossover region where both the sub and the mains are playing.
post #14 of 32
Thread Starter 
I am in the north Houston, TX area. I was considering having someone professional to configure it all for me, but everything sounds great except the sub.

---------------------------------------------------------

OK. I think I narrowed my sub choice to two now! I really didn't want to wait more then a month and half. So my choice is between:

-SVS PB12-NSD (ships in about 3 weeks)
or
-ED A3-300 (ships in about a month and a half)

Help to narrowing it down to one of these would be great! I am very excited to finally being close to having the right sub. Can't wait for the room to shake again! hahaha
post #15 of 32
You already narrowed it down to it's narrowest. No one can decide for you how long you're willing to wait. If you can wait for a3-300 it should be a better value - comparable specs, much lower price.
post #16 of 32
All I will say is that for the price of the PB12-NSD you should be looking to compare to the eD A5-350 (assuming size or some other factor isn't limiting you to the A3-300). And if that is the case, by the numbers I would say the A5-350 is the better option. Of course that is what I own so I'm biased! Wait time to me is irrelevant because it is a variable that will not exist once you have the sub. Either way you choose you are going to be very happy.
post #17 of 32
Thread Starter 
Thank you all so very much. I would have not been so aggrivated with finding a sub if I would have just found this forum sooner.

THANKS!
post #18 of 32
I notice that nobody has recommended running dual subs. I am waiting for a new Yamaha RX-V663 and was thinking about using two subs in my medium sized room (24x15). I have a 10 year old JBL PSW-1000 now, (No idea if that's a decent sub or not and if I can match it to a 2nd sub). I would love some suggestions or your thoughts.
post #19 of 32
Thread Starter 
Just wanted you all to know that I went and placed an order for the ED A5 - 350 Subwoofer with the 550 amp. Its on back order for 6-8 weeks and was $715 shipped. Can't wait for it!!!
post #20 of 32
another convert to the dark side. welcome.
post #21 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by andy sullivan View Post

I notice that nobody has recommended running dual subs. I am waiting for a new Yamaha RX-V663 and was thinking about using two subs in my medium sized room (24x15). I have a 10 year old JBL PSW-1000 now, (No idea if that's a decent sub or not and if I can match it to a 2nd sub). I would love some suggestions or your thoughts.

IMHO, dual subwoofers are usually the way to go. It can help alleviate large dips in your frequency response (nulls) which typically robs a subwoofer of its potential. However, it can be a little bit more challenging to set up.

Matching different subs can be extremely difficult. You are probably better off getting two new subwoofers. There have been many improvements in subwoofers over the past decade, and even the past year.
post #22 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by froggyliver View Post

Just wanted you all to know that I went and placed an order for the ED A5 - 350 Subwoofer with the 550 amp. Its on back order for 6-8 weeks and was $715 shipped. Can't wait for it!!!

Congratulations on your decision. You have picked one helluva subwoofer!
post #23 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by froggyliver View Post

Just wanted you all to know that I went and placed an order for the ED A5 - 350 Subwoofer with the 550 amp. Its on back order for 6-8 weeks and was $715 shipped. Can't wait for it!!!

you're gonna love that sub
post #24 of 32
Good choice Froggy! I'm certain you will soon be enjoying your new sub!






Sorry, but I just couldn't resist!


Ian
post #25 of 32
...hello my baby, hello my darling...
post #26 of 32
Hello all: I could actually use some help on this too. I have almost the EXACT situation FroggyLiver described above. My speakers are Athenas as well but a little "smaller": though I have the LS C-100 for left, right and center, and LS-100 for rear.

However, I have already purchased and recieved a HSU VTF2-MK3 woofer. It is clearly a great sub. After trying for a few nights (both by ear and SPL), I'm not sure I have is quite dialed in. At a higher volume levels, it all sounds awesome. I have lower notes than I have ever experienced. At medium to low levels, it seems like the bass is not as loud as the speakers.

My concern is that my sub is "too large" for the speakers I have. Could this be the case, or do I need to keep working the volume levels? I have a Yamaha HTR-5890 receiver.
post #27 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by corwiniii View Post

All I will say is that for the price of the PB12-NSD you should be looking to compare to the eD A5-350 (assuming size or some other factor isn't limiting you to the A3-300). And if that is the case, by the numbers I would say the A5-350 is the better option. Of course that is what I own so I'm biased! Wait time to me is irrelevant because it is a variable that will not exist once you have the sub. Either way you choose you are going to be very happy.

Corwiniii would you do me a big favor and PM me a review of the A5-350 you have PLEASE. Is it tight,clean,accurate,goes low? How is the SQ? likes and dislikes? I debated for a very long time between the A5-350 and the Epik Knight. I finally picked one and ordered the Knight(backordered) because was said (on here) that has a slightly bigger encloser(which is suppose to be good?) and a slightly better amp(so they say). What I liked about eD was they have been around longer and when I talked to them on the phone they were very helpful,not pushy and just all around good C/S.
I will tell you in that time I talked to Epik about whether the $100 upgrade to the Caliber would be worth it and they(Chad)told me that in his opinion he felt that the extra $100 would be worth it because it has a bigger encloser and in goes lower (in Hz's) but he said the Knight would be great also. FYI Chad is great guy and was not pushy at all either,he just said that would be the only difference between the Knight and the Caliber.
I'm still debating this so if you would could you give me your thoughts on the A5-350 please.
post #28 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrPainMD View Post

...hello my baby, hello my darling...


Hey Doc,
Couldn't you get him to dance?


Ian
post #29 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by mailiang View Post

Hey Doc,
Couldn't you get him to dance?


Ian

I googled "bugs bunny frog", and thats the first image that came up, sorry no time.

would have loved to see him dance, thats one of my favs.
post #30 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by SUPERMANROB View Post

Corwiniii would you do me a big favor and PM me a review of the A5-350 you have PLEASE. Is it tight,clean,accurate,goes low? How is the SQ? likes and dislikes? I debated for a very long time between the A5-350 and the Epik Knight. I finally picked one and ordered the Knight(backordered) because was said (on here) that has a slightly bigger encloser(which is suppose to be good?) and a slightly better amp(so they say). What I liked about eD was they have been around longer and when I talked to them on the phone they were very helpful,not pushy and just all around good C/S.
I will tell you in that time I talked to Epik about whether the $100 upgrade to the Caliber would be worth it and they(Chad)told me that in his opinion he felt that the extra $100 would be worth it because it has a bigger encloser and in goes lower (in Hz's) but he said the Knight would be great also. FYI Chad is great guy and was not pushy at all either,he just said that would be the only difference between the Knight and the Caliber.
I'm still debating this so if you would could you give me your thoughts on the A5-350 please.

Well, I think it's probably splitting hairs comparing a lot of these subs in the same price range with similar specs. All will probably perform well in any given room. Unfortunately many of us can't afford to test out several to find the best fit. I bought it because I got the package deal with a full HT purchase and because there was "just something" that struck me about the sub and company. I have been very happy with my total purchase from eD.

I have a large room and felt the ported design would help fill the space better. At the time I don't think eD was advertising their A7S-450, but I probably wouldn't have gotten it anyway. I really wanted the A7-450 but that would just been silly in my space and with my budget. Also, with a child and dog, etc, I liked the safety a down-firing sub provided. Anyway, none of this is answering your question, just providing background. That said, I don't have much in my experience to compare the A5-350 to. I will say again, for HT it rumbles my room terrifically. This seems like the perfect size all around for my needs. It is explosive at all the right moments and still 100% integrated into the rest of the system to provide well calibrated, subtle bass throughout movies/TV. I'm not sure it gets low at high SPL levels to enjoy the sub 20hz content, but that's below tuning anyway. LFE Scenes in movies like Master and Commander and Flight of the Phoenix are jaw-dropping.

As for music, I think it's very good. Kick drum and bass punch/thump are excellent. Tone and crispness are OK, but I'm not sure it's either a) great or b) I'm expecting too much. For instance, I'm hearing some great full-range bass in songs like We Are Not Alone (Zappa) which I never really heard before, but they are not too crisp - again not sure what the variable is there (sub, source, my ear, room, etc) so I'm hesitant to say the sub is under performing in that area.

I'm so pleased, and filled with such euphoria over the sub that I can't find any fault with it, so I say all this with that bias caveat. Plus, eD handled a bad amp situation terrifically with me and their interaction with me personally and in the public (like these forums and their blog) make me feel confident they believe in their own products and that they will continue to make high quality products in the future. Very long winded and still just scratching the surface. Again I say products by these typical ID companies (eD, Epik, SVS, Hsu, AVS123, etc) all seem to be high quality and attract a cult following so you can't go wrong.
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