Originally Posted by craig john
The Empires start rolling off at just above 20 Hz, and they have a roll off pattern that is atypical for a sealed subwoofer. A typical sealed sub rolls off at 12 dB/octave. The Empire, in your measurements, rolls off at well over 24 dB/octave, (it's down 25 dB at 15 Hz and is off the bottom of the chart before 10 Hz.) This leads me to believe they have a infrasonic filter to protect the driver/amp.
You can add as many Empires as you like and you won't get a different low frequency extension. You'll get more output at the lower frequencies, but you won't be able to use it unless you use some boost below the -3 dB point. If Epik uses an infrasonic filter to protect the driver/amp, it's probably not a good idea to use boost on it. OTOH, the Seaton has the boost built in with it's 2 different DSP programs... AND it has the amplifier power and the driver excursion/durability to utilize it.
And, just for the heck of it...
Multiples of any subwoofer add headroom. They won't change extension.
It boils down to this; Do you want a subwoofer, or a version of a subwoofer?
The content is 3-120 Hz with peaks around 120dB. None of the subwoofers being discussed in this thread offer that capability. This is why the debate is an endless one, because you can't argue that all bases are covered and multiples of any of them will not get you there.
Bang for buck, value, $ for $... whatever you want to call it, is just as empty and endless an argument. That argument has been used since day one, but as subwoofers improved in options, extension and output (or alternative 'versions of a subwoofer'), the subwoofer that was the darling of the bang for buck crowd 10 years ago is long discontinued, replaced by a long string of progressively 'new and improved' versions.
In the final analysis, you have to add up the costs of all of the 'versions' you've bought in the name of upgrading your previous versions to truthfully view how much you've spent to arrive where you are today (or hope to be tomorrow).
Over the past decade, the 5-1/2 octave bandwidth 3-120 Hz LFE+Redirected bass channel (SW output), has been redefined many times, despite the fact that it hasn't changed one bit in 15 years. It began with experts chopping it to 1-1/2 octaves (25-80 Hz) and it was justified by various errant philosophies about intended content vs artifacts, equal loudness contour curves, human hearing abilities, etc., while it just so happened to correspond exactly to the bandwidth of that expert's subwoofer offering.
It was extended to 20 Hz, accompanied by similar arguments.
It then went to 18 Hz. I remember a thread started by a forum regular that set out to prove that any soundtrack content below 18 Hz was unintended artifact, quoting comments by an industry sound designer and other similar experts.
Then, 16 Hz, 15 Hz and, more recently, 10 Hz.
These days, there seems to have been a shift to complete abandonment of that progress in extension in favor of an exaggerated 40-80 Hz octave, where, supposedly, 'the slam frequencies' reside, whatever that means.
The truth is that all of these subwoofer trends and their endless debates have just been all about versions of a subwoofer with marketing jargon, irrationally exuberant owners and lots of opinions to justify the bandwidth and other performance limitations.
A true subwoofer system will be flexible enough to arrive at a flat in-room response, able to play back all of the content at whatever level is required by the room and its owner with extremely low levels of non-linear distortions in a package whose only upgrade is multiples for headroom or aesthetic options.
Finally, many DIYers are getting it. Check out notnyt's 8x18" LMS 5400 sealed system driven by 4 @ 14,000W Class TD SMPS digital amps (sorry, I don't know how many tons of power that is, I can't seem to find a calculator that translates watts into weight). Or, Warp's 6x18" LMS 5400 sealed system driven by 6 @ 4,000W amps and many others. Overkill? You bet. Expensive? IMO, not at all. If you bite the bullet and go with a similar system (OK, maybe you could get away with slightly less overkill
) and not buy a string of bang for buck subwoofers over many years, it's cheaper, will outlast you and allows reference rendering of the entire SW channel all along, instead of adding a bit of performance toward the ultimate goal at each rung in the upgrade ladder.
Then, the discussions would not be about infinite opinions as to which compromises are better for the money and would instead focus on content choices and enjoyment of one source vs another and how to best optimize performance in a given room. Shootouts and GP measurements would largely be irrelevant. Hurt feelings and name calling between owners of brand 'x' and brand 'y' would disappear.
To get back on topic and agreeing with what CJ said; I feel that output numbers should be given the least importance in this thread. Instead, bandwidth and sonic signature (which includes various non-linearities and self noise) should be given the top priority because SPL can be achieved by multiples but extension and sonic signature, not so much.
I also compelled to mention that, regarding the Captivator, a due amount of focus should be on the fact that the version listened to was the powered version, which had 4kw of available burst and quite a bit of EQ in line. Had a passive version been used with a less capable amp and no EQ, I believe it would have faired far worse subjectively, which would have been verified in the in-room response graph. So, in keeping with the above rant, stop trying to get something for less and buy the powered version.