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Basic sub upgrade question, primary use = music

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Like most new posters, spent the last 24 hours reading thread after thread. As most of you guys may remember when you first get interested in something, there is value in asking for someone to give direct advice. So I know these questions get irritating for longtime posters, but I'm in an area of not knowing what I don't know so here's my scenario.

I mainly use my system for music and, while I do watch movies, don't care much about HT (<10% use). I do like to listen to loud music ranging across many styles (bluegrass, folk, industrial, rap, pop, you name it). I want a sub that can handle higher volume while staying crisp. I have some older, hand me down equipment that was good in its day but is obviously not cutting edge anymore:

Yamaha DSP-A1
Infinity Kappa 7.1 floorstanding main speakers


They are paired with some very low end equipment that came as part of a cambridge soundworks / boston acoustic HTIB. The sub in question is a basscube 8 and even to my untrained, non-audiophile ear, it is garbage.

I started my sub looking on amazon based upon average customer review and have extended it by reading a lot here. My room is pretty large, 20 x 30 or so because it is an open living room / kitchen. Because all I know is that my current sub isn't good, I don't know how much to go up before the law of diminishing returns kicks in. I care enough about lower bass tones that I think I want at least a 12" sub. My budget isn't exactly fixed, as you'll see from my list below. But I don't see any reason to spend 1000 on a sub to pair with my current system. I want to spend enough so it isn't any longer the weak link...hopefully that makes sense.

So...I'm considering

BIC F-12 - good bang for the buck, some describe as boomy and seems less ideal for music as primary.

BIC PL-200 - better than F-12 but will I notice difference? Still seems better thought of for HT than music

Lava LSP12 - very intrigued by this one at price point.

HSU STF-2 - low end model from a company that people seem to think very highly of. Only 10" which bothers me but maybe I'm over-reacting to this one issue.

SVS SB12-NSD or PB12-NSD - whole different price point. Now we're talking 3-4x price of the first sub I mentioned, but I could be talked into this (or other 500-700 options).

Others??


I guess this is really a bang for the buck thread and how much do I need to spend so that I no longer notice that my sub is poor. Clearly it isn't a 'which sub is best overall' thread.

Thanks.
post #2 of 25
Key word you said loud so we will need room size and budget.
The HSU and SVS you listed will be a major upgrade over what you have.
post #3 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcole05 View Post

I mainly use my system for music and, while I do watch movies, don't care much about HT (<10% use). I do like to listen to loud music ranging across many styles (bluegrass, folk, industrial, rap, pop, you name it). I want a sub that can handle higher volume while staying crisp.

In addition to oztech's question, I'd also ask you to define "loud". Listening to music with average levels at the seats of 80dB with peaks around 100dB is pretty darned loud to me, but you might have a different definition.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jcole05 View Post

The sub in question is a basscube 8 and even to my untrained, non-audiophile ear, it is garbage.

I had one years ago as part of a 5.1 system I think I picked up for like $250 from CSW, B-stock. In that context, it wasn't half bad. Obviously today with a bit more money, you can do quite a lot better.

In addition to the options you've listed, I'd also toss in a Rythmik FV12 and the Epik Legend. Of the lower priced options you've listed, I think the STF-2 would be a fantastic as well, within its limits.
post #4 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks for replies.

Did mention room size actually, but my first post was a bit long winded so maybe got missed. About 20 x 30 due to very open floor plan of the house. This is our main living room / kitchen. Ceilings are 12'.

In terms of volume, well...all I can say is that I've never had a system that got as loud as I'd like without distortion. I'm sorry that I can't really convert to dB but by looking at a typical dB scale I'd assume I like it in the 90-100dB range.

I've been to concerts which were too much, though, so it's not without limits.

Budget - tried to address. I can spend up to 1000 but see no need to go beyond what is necessary for my current setup and needs. I started thinking that the BIC F-12 was 'perfect' based upon amazon reviews and price. That should tell you something about how little I knew about SWs two days ago.
post #5 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcole05 View Post

Thanks for replies.

Did mention room size actually, but my first post was a bit long winded so maybe got missed. About 20 x 30 due to very open floor plan of the house. This is our main living room / kitchen. Ceilings are 12'.

In terms of volume, well...all I can say is that I've never had a system that got as loud as I'd like without distortion. I'm sorry that I can't really convert to dB but by looking at a typical dB scale I'd assume I like it in the 90-100dB range.

I've been to concerts which were too much, though, so it's not without limits.

Really think you should consider something like the Rythmik VF12. I would say the 15, Or even an HSU-VTF-15, but that will run around $1k.
post #6 of 25
That is a huge space 7200 cubic feet. Im gunna say you need to up your buget. If you can and placement isn't too much of an issue I will suggest 2 subs. I will let others post which subs. Cuz I'm more of a movie guy so don't know as much about musical subs. But I hear the Rythmik FV12 is great for both.
post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by flickhtguru View Post

That is a huge space 7200 cubic feet. Im gunna say you need to up your buget. If you can and placement isn't too much of an issue I will suggest 2 subs. I will let others post which subs. Cuz I'm more of a movie guy so don't know as much about musical subs. But I hear the Rythmik FV12 is great for both.

I agree with all of this. That room is very large, and while I'd normally recommend sealed subwoofers for music that space is likely too big and you'd probably need four of them.

I would buy two SVS PB12-NSD's or one SVS PB13 Ultra or Rythmik FV15HP. They are ported, but in that sized room that's the best route (besides passive) IMO.
post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 
Interesting to hear that nobody is even considering the lower priced subs...makes sense on this forum and I am taking notes.

I suppose two BIC F-12s would just be idiotic? Again, I am talking bang for the buck, not necessarily best overall and two of these is < 1/2 of ONE SVS PB12.

My room is such that I could easily place one sub at each of my two corners and although ancient, the DSPA1 does have capability to support a dual sub setup.

Maybe two FV12s?

Thanks...this is helpful.
post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcole05 View Post

Interesting to hear that nobody is even considering the lower priced subs...makes sense on this forum and I am taking notes.

I suppose two BIC F-12s would just be idiotic? Again, I am talking bang for the buck, not necessarily best overall and two of these is < 1/2 of ONE SVS PB12.

My room is such that I could easily place one sub at each of my two corners and although ancient, the DSPA1 does have capability to support a dual sub setup.

Maybe two FV12s?

Thanks...this is helpful.

It takes a lot of sub to fill that big of space and the difference between thats an improvement and wow what have I been missing is the difference between 500.00 and 1000.00 and up with that my vote VTF-15H and yes
I listen to a lot of music besides movies but there are other owners you can ask on this forum as to the fact if they think its great for all around.
post #10 of 25
I have a Bic F12 in my 13x10x9 living room, opened to the kitching/dining. It's sufficient for my space, but I'm not so sure it would be adequate for your needs. Two would help to even things out, and would make it slightly louder, but I don't know what you would consider loud.

It would shake your walls, pictures, maybe even the plates in your cabinets. But, it won't shake you. You will easily hear them, and will feel a slight rumble through the floor, but it may not leave you with much headroom. My sub is in the corner next to my couch. It easily shakes me and my couch without having the volume very loud. But, it's also because of my room and how close to the sub I actually am.

I listen to music a lot on my sub, and while it isn't the most "musical" it isn't bad. It has trouble with fast bass, but does well on slower, or deeper music bass. When listening to faster music bass, it tends to lag behind and hits about a half second after it should. It's not terribly muddy or boomy either. It all depends on the content, but overall I think it does great for the price.
post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcole05 View Post

Interesting to hear that nobody is even considering the lower priced subs...makes sense on this forum and I am taking notes.

Well yeah, this is the asylum, and the inmates are running loose. In any case, you do have a very large room, and that does necessitate a lot of subwoofer for high output levels. The question will of course remain, how much output do you want to buy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcole05 View Post

I suppose two BIC F-12s would just be idiotic? Again, I am talking bang for the buck, not necessarily best overall and two of these is < 1/2 of ONE SVS PB12.

Don't know much about the F-12's performance, but the PL-200 simply isn't in the same ballpark against a PB12, even if you double them.

http://www.data-bass.com/data?page=system&id=47&mset=45

http://www.data-bass.com/data?page=system&id=66&mset=71

Looking at the 105dB sine sweeps (which are at 2 meters, ground plane), the PB12 is +/- 1dB from 125Hz down to 30Hz. In that range, distortion doesn't exceed 3%, which is an excellent result.

At PL-200, at the 100dB sine sweep, is +1/-10dB from 30Hz to 125Hz, and even at that more modest level, distortion is pushing 10% at the 31.5Hz mark.
post #12 of 25
See the reviews of the SVS PB12-NSD and the Outlaw Audio LFM-1 EX. Note at the end where they are rated for rooms up to 5,000 cubic feet:

http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/s...nsd-conclusion

http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/s...-ex-conclusion

You could do one of these as long as it is somewhat near the listening position. What they will not do in your size room space is pressurize the room to give you that hit in the chest sub feel; you should be able to hear and feel them as long as your seating position is not too far away. I use an EX in 6,000 cubic feet sitting about 11ft away. However, I do have wood floors over a basement, so I know that part of what I'm feeling is being transferred through the structure of the house, and I can't feel it in the other open area rooms nearby.

And I would recommend the EX over the SVS since it's capable of higher SPL (output) from 25hz on up (see the table).
post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcole05 View Post

Interesting to hear that nobody is even considering the lower priced subs...makes sense on this forum and I am taking notes.

I suppose two BIC F-12s would just be idiotic? Again, I am talking bang for the buck, not necessarily best overall and two of these is < 1/2 of ONE SVS PB12.

My room is such that I could easily place one sub at each of my two corners and although ancient, the DSPA1 does have capability to support a dual sub setup.

Maybe two FV12s?

Thanks...this is helpful.

When it comes to subwoofers you usually get what you pay for (unlike other aspects of this hobby, such as speakers and cables and what not). A low price usually equates to a cheap product, and something that certainly will not fill your room(s) with bass. Two Rythmik FV12's is more like it, but again, that still might not be enough. It really has nothing to do with "the asylum" in which "the inmates are running loose;" it's all physics. Bass doesn't care that your listening space is smaller than the entire cu. ft. of the room and attached rooms. If you have a big room you'll need a big sub, or two or three. "This forum" has nothing to do with our recommendations; it's simply how things work. Go to any other forum and you'll receive the same responses provided the members are fools.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


You could do one of these as long as it is somewhat near the listening position. What they will not do in your size room space is pressurize the room to give you that hit in the chest sub feel; you should be able to hear and feel them as long as your seating position is not too far away.

Exactly - well said.

jcole,

Here is the CEA-2010 maximum SPL chart so you can see things for yourself. I've also attached the room size recommendations/certifications.



post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuance View Post

When it comes to subwoofers you usually get what you pay for (unlike other aspects of this hobby, such as speakers and cables and what not). A low price usually equates to a cheap product, and something that certainly will not fill your room(s) with bass.

Agree

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuance View Post

It really has nothing to do with "the asylum" in which "the inmates are running loose;" it's all physics. Bass doesn't care that your listening space is smaller than the entire cu. ft. of the room and attached rooms. If you have a big room you'll need a big sub, or two or three.

Respectfully disagree, to an extent. The reason I referred to this place as an asylum is quite frankly, some of your interpretations of "loud" are well...out there, at least IMO. Yeah, if the OP wants full reference level capabilities with bandwidth reaching all the way down to 10Hz, that's going to take a heck of a sub(s).

On the other hand, if the OP is aiming for peak levels of 100dB to 110dB at the listening position, and a bandwidth only reaching down to 25Hz, that's an entirely different proposition.

Moreover, while the size of the room plays a factor, so does layout/placement. If the OP is able to corner load an EX for example and sit ~10 feet away, he's going to have a heck of a lot of output to work with. The EX can deliver ~110dB+ output at 2 meters, 1/2 space from 32Hz on up. Translate that to 1/8th space at 10 feet and you're looking at 118dB. Is that loud? I'd say so...
post #15 of 25
Thread Starter 
Looks like room size for me will necessitate larger investment. But im pretty sure that if I drop too much money on a sub it'll just mean I'll be disappointed in my amp / speakers. Maybe that's just the case and I'll find this as a new hobby (last hobby was converting my Subaru sedan into a ~500hp 4 cylinder, so I enjoy getting into new things).

BTW no offense in saying 'this forum.' All I meant is that people who really are into any topic are discriminating and usually can tell the difference between lower end and higher end.

Like posting on a scotch forum and expecting people to tell you that a cutty sark is pretty similar to lagavulin 16.

Thanks. I really do appreciate the input.
post #16 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve1981 View Post




Respectfully disagree, to an extent. The reason I referred to this place as an asylum is quite frankly, some of your interpretations of "loud" are well...out there, at least IMO. Yeah, if the OP wants full reference level capabilities with bandwidth reaching all the way down to 10Hz, that's going to take a heck of a sub(s).

On the other hand, if the OP is aiming for peak levels of 100dB to 110dB at the listening position, and a bandwidth only reaching down to 25Hz, that's an entirely different proposition.

Moreover, while the size of the room plays a factor, so does layout/placement. If the OP is able to corner load an EX for example and sit ~10 feet away, he's going to have a heck of a lot of output to work with. The EX can deliver ~110dB+ output at 2 meters, 1/2 space from 32Hz on up. Translate that to 1/8th space at 10 feet and you're looking at 118dB. Is that loud? I'd say so...

That's fine, you're allowed to disagree with me But that subwoofer will not pressurize that room, which is generally what people are looking for. They want to feel the bass, hear the bass and be enveloped. One EX corner loaded will not achieve all of that; not in a 7200 cu. ft. room. It really depends on what jcole's goals are, though. Personally, I don't watch movies at references levels, nor would I ever listen to music that loud, but I still like room pressurization. I still like to feel the subs give that chest pounding bass. Perhaps jcole doesn't want that, in which case I'd just get a Rythmik FV12 (since they are actually in stock) or a SVS PB12-NSD and be done with it. The one thing a purchaser doesn't want is buyer's remorse (besides a defective product), and hopefully that doesn't happen to the OP.

With all of that said, for music I don't think you need to pressurize a room to enjoy it. I think buying one Outlaw LFM-EX or SVS PB12-NSD would be a good place to start. If you're happy, jcole, then you're done. If not, simply buy another subwoofer and you should be good to go.

P.S. A great subwoofer (or two or three) will help you enjoy your speakers more, as it will take strain away from them since they are now crossed over. If anything I expect your speakers to sound a little better once you've implemented the sub(s) properly. That doesn't mean that upgraditis won't take over and force your hand, though.
post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuance View Post

With all of that said, for music I don't think you need to pressurize a room to enjoy it. I think buying one Outlaw LFM-EX or SVS PB12-NSD would be a good place to start. If you're happy, jcole, then you're done. If not, simply buy another subwoofer and you should be good to go.

Agree!

Offhand question: I was under the impression that pressurization had to do with frequency, ie as you cross the point where a sound wave cannot properly propagate, that will cause the room to pressurize. IOW, even if you had a pair of SVS PB13Us in such a room, playing a 80Hz tone simply won't "pressurize" it any more than the Outlaw. On the other hand, obviously since the pair of PB13 can play with more authority way down deep, it can effectively pressurize a room where the Outlaw can't. Why I think this is relevant is that for the OP's purposes (music), he's not going to get much pressurization given that most music isn't stressing frequencies that are likely to pressurize a room that large. Feel free to mock me if I'm incorrect

Edit: Quick (car audio) Link: http://www.caraudiohelp.com/newsletter/cabin_gain.htm
post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve1981 View Post

Agree!

Offhand question: I was under the impression that pressurization had to do with frequency, ie as you cross the point where a sound wave cannot properly propagate, that will cause the room to pressurize. IOW, even if you had a pair of SVS PB13Us in such a room, playing a 80Hz tone simply won't "pressurize" it any more than the Outlaw. On the other hand, obviously since the pair of PB13 can play with more authority way down deep, it can effectively pressurize a room where the Outlaw can't. Why I think this is relevant is that for the OP's purposes (music), he's not going to get much pressurization given that most music isn't stressing frequencies that are likely to pressurize a room that large. Feel free to mock me if I'm incorrect

Edit: Quick (car audio) Link: http://www.caraudiohelp.com/newsletter/cabin_gain.htm

Nope, that sounds correct to me, which is why I said bass pressurization probably isn't too important for music. Well, unless you listen to a lot of organ music and rap...guess it really depends on the individual. Pressurization is more useful for movies IMO. Still, punchy bass won't be achieved in a huge room with a subwoofer that isn't up to the task. I don't know about the OP, but I love good bass punch and want to feel the bass as well as hear it. Achieving both will be difficult when the room is acting as a bass suckhole.
post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuance View Post

Still, punchy bass won't be achieved in a huge room with a subwoofer that isn't up to the task.

You won't get an argument from me here; and with a room like his, it's certainly not a bad idea to get the best he can afford. Still, I hesitate to tell the OP to increase his budget at this point given he's coming from a CSW Basscube 8. For those that don't know, it's an 8" ported sub in a one foot cubed cabinet and a massive 50 watt amplifier. With extension rated down to 40Hz, (off the top of my head anyways), its not going to take much to top it. Even a "lowly" PB12 or LFM-1 EX is going to be a quantum leap in bass reproduction. As such, my advice mirrors what you've already stated, start with one, and if that's enough great; if not, get a second.
post #20 of 25
For mostly music and your budget / expectations I'd look into a pro-audio style sub that does 25-30 hz and up well and loud. If you'd like sealed and consumer style, check out epik.
post #21 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve1981 View Post

Even a "lowly" PB12 or LFM-1 EX is going to be a quantum leap in bass reproduction. As such, my advice mirrors what you've already stated, start with one, and if that's enough great; if not, get a second.

Oh my gosh - absolutely! I think he's in for a treat, but if those darn bass heads (ehem...us...ehem) ever get into his head, he'll be begging his wife for a second subwoofer.

In all seriousness, though, he should be just fine with one of the subs we mentioned. You can always add more if necessary.
post #22 of 25
Thread Starter 
Updated thoughts....

Been a few weeks and my head is spinning from all of the reading I've been doing as I try to piece together a new / upgraded system.

My thoughts have migrated to the point that I think I will be purchasing two subs almost no matter what. My trouble is that, like most here online, I am trying to make decisions about things I have not heard myself.

Because I care so much less about HT, I am just not sure that pressurization is as important to me as musicality. Thus, I keep struggling between knowing I need ported subs for my large space but wanting sealed subs for their supposed bstter musicality.

Right now, I am most strongly considering

1) 2 SVS SB12-NSDs on sale for 1300,

2) 2 Epik Empires for 1500

3) or 2 Epik Legends for 900 among the sealed options.

As for ported, I'm also considering.

1) 2 Hsu VTF-3 MK4s.

2) It would stretch the budget as well as the WAF quite a bit, but two Hsu VTF-15Hs are still on the list.

3) Two Outlaws. I am a bit uncertain as to the true difference between the LFM-1 EX and the LFM-1 Plus.
post #23 of 25
I would recommend just one of the more powerful subs at first, and see how that works, It could be that, in your specific circumstances, one will be more than enough. If that doesn't quite do it for you, then I would get another. The ones I would be looking at in your list are the Hsu VTF15h or Epik Empire, they will easily have the most output.
post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

I would recommend just one of the more powerful subs at first, and see how that works, It could be that, in your specific circumstances, one will be more than enough. If that doesn't quite do it for you, then I would get another. The ones I would be looking at in your list are the Hsu VTF15h or Epik Empire, they will easily have the most output.

I agree. Just start with one of those two. It may be that you will be happy with the bass output. Going from the basscube 8 to one of those will be like going from a bb gun to a 12 gauge shotgun
post #25 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

I agree. Just start with one of those two. It may be that you will be happy with the bass output. Going from the basscube 8 to one of those will be like going from a bb gun to a 12 gauge shotgun

I agree and you could always call the mfg they tend to be very helpful or its been my experience.
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