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Need advice on a sub/Also how does HSU stack up?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone,
I'm in need of a subwoofer for the first time and have been looking for over a month. This has resulted in lots of confusion and difficulty. My budget is $200 to $300 or so max. I could really use some help in picking the one that would best suit me. I'm about 90% music and 10% movies and such. So I am looking for something that will give me clean, tight non-boomy bass and be able to switch to HT duties when needed. For example of music I listen to would be Jazz-Rock= example Rush (huge fan), New-age electronica, etc. (No hip-hop or Rap). HSU has been suggested to me over and over and I have read good things here about HSU. The only one I will be able to demo is the HSU as they are located nearby me. The stores in my area are limited and do not carry any on my list. The HSU is about $80 over my budget so I need to figure out how I can come up with the money and I need to be careful that it will be best suited for me. After countless hours of staring at specs I have come up with the following list:
I'm wondering how the HSU STF-2 stands against the rest of the list? Also let me know if there may be a better choice.

HSU STF-2
Polk PSW111
Polk PSW125
Polk PSW505
Energy S10.3
Klipsch Sub10
Velodyne Impact-12
KEF PSW2150
JBL ES150P
JBLES250P

Here is my situation and specs:
I recently moved and my previous place had good acoustics I guess because I did not need a sub with my 5.0 system. My new place is an acoustical challenge at best. The room I have my system in is about 14 feet x 18 feet with 7 foot ceiling. It opens to a little dining nook, which is about 9 feet x 10 feet. The room has a brick fireplace and sliding glass door on one side and hardwood floor. I have put in a large non-padded rug a sofa, coffee table and end table. There is also a recliner chair in one corner. (This mostly got rid of the echo chamber). My speaker placement options are limited (as is my budget). My pertinent gear is as follows:
Onkyo TX-SR705 Receiver
Main speakers = Kenwood JL-690s 140 watts 8 ohms 3-way ported bass-reflex 10-inch woofers
Center Channel = Polk CS-1
Surrounds/Rears = KLH 911Bs

I'm thinking I would need a 10-inch sub? I know a front-firing sub would be correct in my case, but I figure I could also get away with a down-firing sub if need be as I have left over carpet pieces I can put down for it to sit on. As for placement, ideally I can put a sub behind the sofa or perhaps on the fireplace near one of my mains, but the sub would be in front of the main, but off to the side. Of course I will probably experiment to try to find the sweet spot as I can.

Thanks for all your help.
post #2 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anubisrocks View Post

Hello everyone,
I’m in need of a subwoofer for the first time and have been looking for over a month. This has resulted in lots of confusion and difficulty. My budget is $200 to $300 or so max. I could really use some help in picking the one that would best suit me. I’m about 90% music and 10% movies and such. So I am looking for something that will give me clean, tight non-boomy bass and be able to switch to HT duties when needed. For example of music I listen to would be Jazz-Rock= example Rush (huge fan), “New-age” electronica, etc. (No hip-hop or Rap). HSU has been suggested to me over and over and I have read good things here about HSU. The only one I will be able to demo is the HSU as they are located nearby me. The stores in my area are limited and do not carry any on my list. The HSU is about $80 over my budget so I need to figure out how I can come up with the money and I need to be careful that it will be best suited for me. After countless hours of staring at specs I have come up with the following list:
I’m wondering how the HSU STF-2 stands against the rest of the list? Also let me know if there may be a better choice.

HSU STF-2
Polk PSW111
Polk PSW125
Polk PSW505
Energy S10.3
Klipsch Sub10
Velodyne Impact-12
KEF PSW2150
JBL ES150P
JBLES250P

Here is my situation and specs:
I recently moved and my previous place had good acoustics I guess because I did not need a sub with my 5.0 system. My new place is an acoustical challenge at best. The room I have my system in is about 14 feet x 18 feet with 7 foot ceiling. It opens to a little dining nook, which is about 9 feet x 10 feet. The room has a brick fireplace and sliding glass door on one side and hardwood floor. I have put in a large non-padded rug a sofa, coffee table and end table. There is also a recliner chair in one corner. (This mostly got rid of the echo chamber). My speaker placement options are limited (as is my budget). My pertinent gear is as follows:
Onkyo TX-SR705 Receiver
Main speakers = Kenwood JL-690s 140 watts 8 ohms 3-way ported bass-reflex 10-inch woofers
Center Channel = Polk CS-1
Surrounds/Rears = KLH 911Bs

I’m thinking I would need a 10-inch sub? I know a front-firing sub would be correct in my case, but I figure I could also get away with a down-firing sub if need be as I have left over carpet pieces I can put down for it to sit on. As for placement, ideally I can put a sub behind the sofa or perhaps on the fireplace near one of my mains, but the sub would be in front of the main, but off to the side. Of course I will probably experiment to try to find the sweet spot as I can.

Thanks for all your help.

Given the extensive nature of YOUR list of posssible choices, I suggest that you search the following list (put together based on output between 25-62 Hz).

http://home.comcast.net/~frank_carter/Nousaine.htm

I saw that the Polk 505 is on the list.

Given that you are 90% music, the HSU STF-1 is at least as good as any of the other subs on your list (for the price you want to pay).
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks Spyboy, but I'm confused. Are you saying the HSU STF-1 (8-inch) will serve me as well as the HSU STF-2 (10-inch)?
Also that link just confused me even more. I saw a number of ones on my list, but too many numbers to look at and I don't know if they were tested with mains or exclusively or what. I'll try to look at it again and dechipher, but after my headache is gone. (A headache I get everytime I look at subs). That's why I'm thinking of just taking a chance with the HSU provided I can come up with the money and justification for spending that much on a sub just so I can put an end to the search.
post #4 of 20
I think what he was getting at is that for your budget and music content that the STF-1 would be as good as anything on the list (except the STF-2 which would of course be better but more expensive).
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rick240 View Post

I think what he was getting at is that for your budget and music content that the STF-1 would be as good as anything on the list (except the STF-2 which would of course be better but more expensive).

I'm more confused now and scared to get a sub. I have no idea what that chart link is telling me because it does not explain what it is and has no legend. I also don't see the HSU models I was looking at on it anyway.
I thought room size and such mattered? The STF-1 is an 8-inch and the STF-2 is a 10-inch. I thought with my given situation I needed a 10-inch with a continuous power of at least 150 -200 watts and of course a good frequency range down to at least 30mhz? Am I completely off track?
I also don't want "boomy" at all in my music. (Of course I want it to be able to handle HT stuff when needed, but completely separate from my music). I know placement can have a lot to do with it, but I mention this again because I thought that some subs might be naturally too boomy. Is that true?
I also don't want to get a sub home and find it to be garbage because I hate returning stuff (and if I get it on-line I can't return it if I wanted to because it would cost as much as the price of the sub). Electronics are even harder to return because you have to go through an interegation and accusations even with receipt and original packaging.
post #6 of 20
The STF1 or STF2 would be better choices than whats on the list, if you can strech you budget go with the STF2. But the STF 1 is a great choice if you can't strech you budget little.
post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by gtpsuper24 View Post

The STF1 or STF2 would be better choices than whats on the list, if you can strech you budget go with the STF2. But the STF 1 is a great choice if you can't strech you budget little.

Agreed.

Anubisrocks, your expectations do not match your budget.

Within your budget a STF-1 closest meets your demands; but as you've pointed out, you may find it lacking in your room (you might not, but it is a definite risk that would require a return and upgrade). Problem is, anything with enough output in your budget will be less "musical".

Pushing your budget a bit gets you to a STF-2. This is probably the lowest cost that will make you happy.

Pushing it further gets you a Paradigm DSP-3100 or a SVS PB10-NSD.

Double it and then add some and you can get a Rythmik F12.

You could also look into getting parts from Rythmik and going DIY; that will get the best result and reduce budget push.
post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rick240 View Post

Agreed.

Anubisrocks, your expectations do not match your budget.

Within your budget a STF-1 closest meets your demands; but as you've pointed out, you may find it lacking in your room (you might not, but it is a definite risk that would require a return and upgrade). Problem is, anything with enough output in your budget will be less "musical".

Pushing your budget a bit gets you to a STF-2. This is probably the lowest cost that will make you happy.

Pushing it further gets you a Paradigm DSP-3100 or a SVS PB10-NSD.

Double it and then add some and you can get a Rythmik F12.

You could also look into getting parts from Rythmik and going DIY; that will get the best result and reduce budget push.

Ah, now that's less confusing, but bad news. I'll take it all the same though. I have not priced Paradigms or SVS, but I imagine they start around $600. I'd faint at the sticker for a Rythmik if I ever saw one I imagine.

Getting into a STF-2 will be tough, but maybe it will be worth working on, I hope. So I guess that is what I will do.
I love building and I'd do a DYI in a minute, but I don't have the space to work on it, nor do I have the tablesaw and other big equipment to make the enclosure and such.

Everybody is telling me that. "You have to spend at least $600 or more on a sub". My question is "why"? I do believe that speakers are the hardest working and most important components of any system and one should budget for a good set of mains. However, I have found that spending $101 or more on surrounds is a waste. My cheapo KLH surrounds (are not specifically surrounds, they are just small 2-way speakers) are the same as a $400 pair of surrounds. They both do the same thing the same way.
That's why I wonder about spending an incredible amount of money on a sub, an amount I couldn't save up for over 3 years with the most of sacrifices. I live that way now, an audiophile on a very tight budget. It took me a few years to get the gear I have now.
I guess I'm also wondering what makes a $600 sub any better than a $300 sub in the same class? Do higher-priced subs defy the laws of physics or something? Could someone explain and help me understand that please? I apreciate learning.

Thank you

Side note: (I was considering a JBL sub because they were in my price-range and I've been in a lot of recording and radio studios and that's all I ever saw was JBL. I used to work in radio as a Music Director and assistant Producer. Being an MD required lots of intense listening so things had to be decent at least. I loved being an MD. Anyway, now days everyone has been telling me that JBLs are awful. Go figure).
post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anubisrocks View Post

Ah, now that's less confusing, but bad news. I'll take it all the same though. I have not priced Paradigms or SVS, but I imagine they start around $600. I'd faint at the sticker for a Rythmik if I ever saw one I imagine.

Not as bad as you think. I bought a DSP-3100 for $455 Cdn, and the PB10-NSD is $430 US plus shipping.

The F12 is $700 plus shipping; not sure what a DIY would run.

Quote:


Getting into a STF-2 will be tough, but maybe it will be worth working on, I hope. So I guess that is what I will do.

It will probably be OK, but upgrade-itis is a horrible disease. I bought my DSP-3100 in January and yesterday I just ordered an F12

Quote:


I love building and I'd do a DYI in a minute, but I don't have the space to work on it, nor do I have the tablesaw and other big equipment to make the enclosure and such.

I couldn't go DIY either.

Quote:


Everybody is telling me that. "You have to spend at least $600 or more on a sub". My question is "why"? I do believe that speakers are the hardest working and most important components of any system and one should budget for a good set of mains. However, I have found that spending $101 or more on surrounds is a waste. My cheapo KLH surrounds (are not specifically surrounds, they are just small 2-way speakers) are the same as a $400 pair of surrounds. They both do the same thing the same way.
That's why I wonder about spending an incredible amount of money on a sub, an amount I couldn't save up for over 3 years with the most of sacrifices. I live that way now, an audiophile on a very tight budget. It took me a few years to get the gear I have now.

A rule of thumb I heard here was add up what you spent on your front 3 and spend that on your sub.

And $101 may do the same thing as a $400 pair of surrounds, just not sounding as well.

[quote]I guess I'm also wondering what makes a $600 sub any better than a $300 sub in the same class? Do higher-priced subs defy the laws of physics or something? Could someone explain and help me understand that please? I apreciate learning. [quote]/

A $300 sub and a $600 sub aren't in the same class

Spend more money and get better components.

Spend what you can and be happy with what you get, just have realistic expectations for your budget. A STF-2 will not sound as good as an F12 but it will sound better than a $200 sub.
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rick240 View Post

Not as bad as you think. I bought a DSP-3100 for $455 Cdn, and the PB10-NSD is $430 US plus shipping.

The F12 is $700 plus shipping; not sure what a DIY would run.



It will probably be OK, but upgrade-itis is a horrible disease. I bought my DSP-3100 in January and yesterday I just ordered an F12



A rule of thumb I heard here was add up what you spent on your front 3 and spend that on your sub.

And $101 may do the same thing as a $400 pair of surrounds, just not sounding as well.


A $300 sub and a $600 sub aren't in the same class

Spend more money and get better components.

Spend what you can and be happy with what you get, just have realistic expectations for your budget. A STF-2 will not sound as good as an F12 but it will sound better than a $200 sub.

Well, going by that rule of thumb you just said I'm on target. My mains were $85 for the pair believe it or not. (23 years ago at Rogers Sound Labs on special sale). My center channel was $96 again thanks to Circuit City BK. (Normal price was $289) My surrounds were about $40 for the pair. Total = $221 That said, I can see that I should budget a bit more than that.

I just had the opportunity to demo a Velodyne MiniVEE10 at Ken Cranes. I thought it was ok, but not anything special. Certainly clear and clean with that much power and it was pretty tight (outside of standing in the null spot of the room it was in). Granted, different room and carpeted and all. Also it was matched with a set of really expensive mains. (I'm thinking about changing my mains someday when I become a millionare which means never, but I would like new mains. Not that I hate my old ones, it's just there are better components out there that sound real nice). Anyway, it was $800 and I'm not Bill Gates.
However, your statement about "better components" makes crystal clear sense now, thanks.
I went over the Best Buy and they had almost no subs! So I walked out. I have no other place to demo subs except HSU which I will do next week. Bummer.

Hmm, I wonder if the DYIs come with a prefab or at least pre-cut enclosure? If so, it might be good to look into. Can you direct me to some places if that is the case? I'm thinking if I can get a $600 or $700 sub for about 45% to 50% off retail complete built or something, I may try very hard to wait a while longer (3 months or so) add another $100 or so to my budget and get one that way.
Still keeping the STF-2 on the burner.

PS. I try to avoid the "upgrade disease". I was forced to upgrade on my receiver and TV though. My old Kenwood receiver failed after 21 years of service and my tv is an old CRT and stopped working with the digital. I don't do cabel or sattelite. I'd rather pay $50 per month for a good cable broadband internet connection and watch tv over the internet then fork out $110 per month for cable tv for two channels I would watch.
post #11 of 20
If you can front the cash, go pick up the STF-2. If you don't feel it was worth the cost or you don't like it, take it back. Because you don't have to pay shipping, it will only cost you some drive time and some gas.
post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ransac View Post

If you can front the cash, go pick up the STF-2. If you don't feel it was worth the cost or you don't like it, take it back. Because you don't have to pay shipping, it will only cost you some drive time and some gas.

That's what I am thinking. I would also like to check out the DYI option if the conditions I mentioned are the case.
post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anubisrocks View Post

Hmm, I wonder if the DYIs come with a prefab or at least pre-cut enclosure? If so, it might be good to look into. Can you direct me to some places if that is the case? I'm thinking if I can get a $600 or $700 sub for about 45% to 50% off retail complete built or something, I may try very hard to wait a while longer (3 months or so) add another $100 or so to my budget and get one that way.

Parts Express sells completed boxes as well as other places I'm not familiar with. You might want to check the DIY forum for more info if that's a route you want to take.

PS yeah ED also, thanks Randy how could I forget that one.
post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 
More accurate room measurment for clarity:
18 feet x 13 feet opens to an 8 feet x 9 feet dining nook. 8 foot ceiling all the way with two skylights.

I'm thinking a 10-ich sub is right on the money....or could I get away with and 8 inch and would it be just as good given the revised room size?
post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anubisrocks View Post

That's what I am thinking. I would also like to check out the DYI option if the conditions I mentioned are the case.

You can find cabinet makers that will custom make an enclosure if you give them the specs. I believe eD will also make custom enclosures.

The rule of thumb rick mentioned about spending on a sub the same as you spent on your front stage uses the real price of the speakers, not the special deal prices you got. Though I have never heard this rule. What cost you $85 twenty-three years ago would cost you at least $200 today.

You already have 10" drivers in your mains, so why would you want an 8" sub? Granted, 23 years ago speaker manufacturers weren't trying to reproduce VLF or ULF. Even RSL designed 18" speakers didn't get very deep. But they sure got loud.

If you want to go DIY, select your driver first. The T/S specs will dictate everything else. Venture on over to the DIY forum and start to post some questions there.
post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anubisrocks View Post

More accurate room measurment for clarity:
18 feet x 13 feet opens to an 8 feet x 9 feet dining nook. 8 foot ceiling all the way with two skylights.

I'm thinking a 10-ich sub is right on the money....or could I get away with and 8 inch and would it be just as good given the revised room size?

I would say STF-2 at the utmost minimum but our expectations might be quite different.

BTW if the dining nook opens to the room you count that as part of the total measurement. The sub doesn't know it's only supposed to fill the listening room if it isn't closed off.
post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the new info and suggestions everyone. I really appreicate it. You are all real helpful. I'll get on the research.
post #18 of 20
Depending what your rush is like, it appears Tweak City Audio is very close to having product which should provide a < $300 10".
post #19 of 20
You are in the OC, Ca....you can drive right over to Hsu and check everything out in person, and not pay shipping if you decide they have the sub you want.
post #20 of 20
At some point pending your budgetary situation, you may want to consider getting matching speakers across the front. Speakers from the same line will be timbre matched and sound seamless from speaker to speaker as the sound moves.
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