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KC Budget Subwoofer Shootout - Interest Thread

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
I propose hosting a budget sub shootout later this year at my place. Timeframe to be determined based on interest.

For this shootout I'd like to gather some of the most popular and frequently discussed budget subs on this forum.

I'd like to set a max street price of around $500 (maybe as high as $750 depending on lineup). The two subwoofer meets I've hosted in the past have focused more on mid and top tier subs. I'd like to evaluate some of the cheaper mainstream subs against each other.

Through KC friends I have access to:

Klipsch RW-12D
Jamo Sub 650
BIC F12
BIC V1220
Onkyo THX HTIB subwoofer
Polk PSW505
Pioneer SW-8
DIY Dayton Titanic MK3 sealed sub

I'd like to locate a lower priced HSU, Outlaw, Energy S10.3, BIC PL-200, PA-150, ED a2-300, monoprice 12" and potentially other budget subs that fit in this general category, and jointly decide which of these devices is worth an audition timeslot. If you have a sub to add to this lineup, or would just like to participate in such an event please feel free to post in this thread.

If you are a vendor and would like to submit your sub into the lineup feel free to sound off.
Edited by Archaea - 8/17/12 at 9:48pm
post #2 of 31
I am in the market for a HT sub and something like this would be very beneficial for me. I do not have any subs (currently) to offer for the meet but would be more than willing to offer my reviews listening.

I wish I could have heard your latest test between the Klipsch RW-12D pair and the Jamo Sub 650 pair. These two are currently on my list of possible subs. I have heard your brothers Klipsch pair before but it sounds like he has rearranged his setup. I would have liked to hear the Jamo's.
post #3 of 31
Nice, man! You're quickly becoming the king of the shootouts! Are you going to do this one blind as well?

Would be cool if someone had a FV12 to include as well although that would certainly be at the higher end of the spectrum.
post #4 of 31
I just ordered an Energy ESW-M8 ($300) and I'd really like to know how it would hold up against your list, especially when paired with small speakers. Can you include it?
See, I was going to buy the BIC F12, but then was reading how it doesn't like to perform well over 80Hz and how its muddy in high frequencies etc. I wasn't ready to buy full towers yet and my old JBL 12" monster broke. My receivers YPAO autosetting wants my crossover at 200Hz! So I figured, let me try this small sub and stick it on the floor behind my TV stand and try a high crossover with these tiny speakers of mine (Yamaha NX-430P).
post #5 of 31
Don't know how I missed this thread....

I don't have a lot of interest in the less expensive subs, but if you want to go blind you could obviously use my works of art.
post #6 of 31
Scratch that V1220 off the list sold it! But I do still have the F12, and might be able to get the V1220 there perhaps the guy that bought it would be willing
post #7 of 31
Thread Starter 
carp,

the 2011 meet that you missed half of was a lot of fun. We let lose on the volume control and people drove their subs to the limits. The clanks and clunks and 'ouch' noises were half the fun! tongue.gif
post #8 of 31
Flavius, ignore those YPAO crossover settings and set them where they should be manually...for some reason it can never get crossovers right. I have a 5.2 setup with all 5 speakers capable of 40hz or lower, and it still tries to set my crossover to 120hz. It does a good job with distance and levels, but pretty much everything else needs to be done manually.

Archaea, depending on exactly when this is I MIGHT (admittedly very unlikely) be able to bring up my PL-200s and my buddy might want to bring some of his subs. I still have my old Velodyne ULD-15 in my music system to put on the block for comparison to see if newer inexpensive subs can compete with a 25 year old sub (it was considered one of the best when new)... Keep in mind I'm over 3 hours away without too much free time, so it will all just come down to dates and time for me.
post #9 of 31
Thread Starter 
That'd be cool Audiophile2k.

I usually have fun at these things and meeting the avs gang is half of the fun. I just want to continue to drum up some interest before I commit to looking for a date. The PL-200's would be a great addition to the meet. If we could find a couple S10.3's we'd be fairly set with the typical recommended budget subs from this place.
post #10 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Audiophile2k View Post

Flavius, ignore those YPAO crossover settings and set them where they should be manually...for some reason it can never get crossovers right. I have a 5.2 setup with all 5 speakers capable of 40hz or lower, and it still tries to set my crossover to 120hz. It does a good job with distance and levels, but pretty much everything else needs to be done manually.
Archaea, depending on exactly when this is I MIGHT (admittedly very unlikely) be able to bring up my PL-200s and my buddy might want to bring some of his subs. I still have my old Velodyne ULD-15 in my music system to put on the block for comparison to see if newer inexpensive subs can compete with a 25 year old sub (it was considered one of the best when new)... Keep in mind I'm over 3 hours away without too much free time, so it will all just come down to dates and time for me.

Flavius's speakers are from a speaker package and the frequency response listed as 70Hz-60khz with no +/- and so this is a worthless spec. However on page 13 it shows how to set the subwoofer LPF and the nx-430p show a roll-off starting above 200hz. I am sure it will work fine with a high crossover.

http://www2.yamaha.co.jp/manual/pdf/av/english/Spac/NS-P430-436.pdf

We are just going to have to agree to disagree about your crossover points. Here are a couple threads about crossovers.

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1350415/does-adding-a-sub-drain-the-receiver

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1408941/crossover-point

These are some good articles.

http://www.audioholics.com/tweaks/get-good-bass

You have two subwoofers that would give better and smoother bass response across a wider listening area due to modal averaging. I say raise that crossover and gain headroom in speakers and receiver power and delegate the bass to the subwoofers that were made for it! IMHO

Anyways I am down for another GTG at Archaea's anytime as long as you promise to blow peoples minds with the Captivators afterwards!!
post #11 of 31
I don't want to get into my crossover points again. Every situation is different, and setting my crossover low works very well for my situation. I understand bass management, and I also understand the strengths and weaknesses of MY system and the best way to exploit those...which doesn't always correspond to the advice meant for a broad spectrum of "typical" HT systems. Enough about that. My only point, and I know it is true from experience, is that YPAO does not set accurate crossover points so don't just blindly follow its settings if they don't seem right.
post #12 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Archaea View Post

We let lose on the volume control and people drove their subs to the limits. The clanks and clunks and 'ouch' noises were half the fun!

You need help my friend. Is there a 10 step program for an affliction like this? tongue.gif
post #13 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Archaea View Post

carp,
the 2011 meet that you missed half of was a lot of fun. We let lose on the volume control and people drove their subs to the limits. The clanks and clunks and 'ouch' noises were half the fun! tongue.gif

When I got there you had the Empire going for movies. Both it and the VTF-15 did NOT like the Iron Man scene if I remember correctly. It wasn't as much the bad noises I remember as much as the "um, I'm going to go ahead and NOT reproduce that at this time" biggrin.gif reactions from both of those subs on the Iron Man scene and maybe a couple of other scenes. Yeah, I did miss out on the actual sub death of one of the subs, what was it, a Jensen?

If I come over maybe I should bring a 10" Dayton I bought years ago from Parts Express and see how long it takes us to blow it up!! smile.gif We could try blowing up my MBM-12 too. I don't have much use for it and no one seems to want to buy it.
post #14 of 31
Thread Starter 
ha carp...

if you want to blow up your dayton 10" -- that's on you bro. tongue.gif I'm sure we could find some clips to do it. I think you'd have a harder time damaging the HSU mid bass module -- Dr. Hsu knows how to implement a HPF that protects his equipment better than most.

I laughed when I read your post, but I'm going to pause here to say that isn't the point of this meet. I can see it now - - - - nobody would come or bring their subs for fear that our entire plan is to run them into the ground.

nah that ain't it. (but it was fun in 2011 when some of the more adventurous attenders just said to heck with it and turned it up).

A few things come to mind and yeah I think you missed the 'best' of the worst moments.
The Jensen which sounded plum awful on nearly every movie clip at the level Stephen was playing. It was farting most of the time. We just skipped half the movie clip lineup cause it sounded so bad. Stephen looked over at me and asked do you think we should turn it down? I said I think you should turn it off. We both had a laugh. Then there was my Jamo D7sub that couldn't keep up with what I was asking it to do and as best I can tell the amp just overheated because it started sounding AWFUL!!!! I thought I blew the driver, it was buzzing, and pitifully weak and I thought it was ruined, but the next time I tried it about a week later it worked fine. But probably my favorite was when we demoed the older SVS PB12+ that chirpie owned. Chirpie had pushed that thing to the limit more than once. The SVS didn't have a graceful limiter. It clanked and complained like an old steam engine at its limits. During the Iron Man sonic boom scene there is supposed to be a cool bass sounding Kaboom (which as you mentioned the HSU and Epik just said "nope" and didn't even try). Well the SVS girded up its loins and DID try. the effort resulted in a clank that sounded like a 60lb sledge hammer hit a steel tent peg. It was that tone, and it was LOUD. We all cringed -- It was a terrible sound, and I thought the SVS was through. Somehow it wasn't, and it just kept on going. Chirpie still has the sub and says it's fine. Those SVS drivers seem to be as bullet proof as they claim.


Anyway, by the time you got there that night we were into the higher end subs and most of them could either reproduce the content or didn't try because of effective limiters in place.

I think for this budget sub meet that 2011 model was best. Because the subs have wildly different potentials, we should just let the owner hold the remote and turn up or down the volume as he sees fit. My intet isn't to hurt the subs. (heck I'll have a couple of my own in there). The intent is just to have some fun listening to what's available on a modest budget.
post #15 of 31
"I think you should turn it off." I laughed at that part.

No, I know the object isn't the destruction of subs. smile.gif However I can't think of a use for my Dayton so if it were to die so be it. The mbm on the other hand, it's not out of the realm of possibility that it could be sold someday so I don't want to destroy it.

Yeah, I can attest to the fact that SVS drivers can bottom and then still be fine. My old SVS with dual 12's bottomed a few times before I sold it but the sub never seemed to be any worse for wear. I just had to be careful on some scenes but other than that it didn't have any problems.

It seems GTG in general are more fun when people can control the volume that they like, it worked out great at my house too I thought.
post #16 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Audiophile2k View Post

I don't want to get into my crossover points again. Every situation is different, and setting my crossover low works very well for my situation. I understand bass management, and I also understand the strengths and weaknesses of MY system and the best way to exploit those...which doesn't always correspond to the advice meant for a broad spectrum of "typical" HT systems. Enough about that. My only point, and I know it is true from experience, is that YPAO does not set accurate crossover points so don't just blindly follow its settings if they don't seem right.

I here you and understand that there is more than one way to skin a cat. I am also not a fan of ypao and agree that it doesn't set stuff up that great. I do suggest bringing your speakers as well if you can attend. I can measure them with omnimic and bring over my minidsp and set them up with your subwoofers how I would do it for music and HT. I am just trying to help out but it is your system do as you do, just don't recommend others do the same as it is not common practice for a many reasons.

System setup for meet: If I have any say this will be low level listening with subs level matched or up to 3db hot or else we will be listening to which one sounds better or worse at limits. Except my Onkyo computer sub, it plays 120db at 5 hz and I cross over to it at 15hz with my bookshelfs.biggrin.gif
post #17 of 31
I have an Outlaw Plus and EX I would be happy to bring, if I can get the time off.

I also may be able to bring a HSU STF-2 and/or an Emergy S10.3, if m buddies can do without htem for the night. Of course, they would probably like to tag along.

It is all dependent on when it is.
post #18 of 31
Thread Starter 
most excellent nikerret!

Those are all three excellent additions!
post #19 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Luke Kamp View Post

I here you and understand that there is more than one way to skin a cat. I am also not a fan of ypao and agree that it doesn't set stuff up that great. I do suggest bringing your speakers as well if you can attend. I can measure them with omnimic and bring over my minidsp and set them up with your subwoofers how I would do it for music and HT. I am just trying to help out but it is your system do as you do, just don't recommend others do the same as it is not common practice for a many reasons.
System setup for meet: If I have any say this will be low level listening with subs level matched or up to 3db hot or else we will be listening to which one sounds better or worse at limits. Except my Onkyo computer sub, it plays 120db at 5 hz and I cross over to it at 15hz with my bookshelfs.biggrin.gif

at a volume that is lower that the peak for each sub, shouldn't they all the sound the same? doesn't bass sound like bass? :P
post #20 of 31
Any idea when this might be? I'm going to need advance notice.
post #21 of 31
Thread Starter 
most likely closer to end of year I would guess, unless one of my other KC friends is willing to host I usually wait until my wife goes to visit her family a few times a year to host these things because I'm not bothering her and our young kids with a weekend's disruption.
post #22 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Archaea View Post

most likely closer to end of year I would guess, unless one of my other KC friends is willing to host I usually wait until my wife goes to visit her family a few times a year to host these things because I'm not bothering her and our young kids with a weekend's disruption.

You don't go with your wife to visit the in-laws? Coward! tongue.gif
post #23 of 31
You really need to include the Energy EWS-M8. Put the M8 at 75% volume. Put the BIC F12 at 45% volume. They will just about equally loud everything else being equal.

Now test with some scenes from say, War of the Worlds, Gladiator, Tron Legacy, or U-571. You will find that the Energy just blows the BIC away. Energy will be super tight, controlled, musical, and nuanced. The BIC F12 will just sound like a bloated muddy mess, with power to spare, sure, but... YUCK on the sound quality!!!
I thought maybe... hey, the big 12" incher will sound deeper because it can go a little lower. Yes, it is a bit deeper on U-571 depth charges. Enough to really matter? Not really. I'd rather have explosions sounds like explosions rather than muddled farts.

In the War of the Worlds ferry scene with the alien "horns", as mentioned in a recent feature article here at avsforums.... The BIC sounded dull and lifeless. The Energy made the aliens sound really scary! It was really night and day. For a movie like Tron Legacy, the BIC F12 just seemed like overpowering noise, while the Energy felt well integrated into the sound stage.

It made me never want to buy an open port sub again. Crossover was 120Hz on both subs with a new V673 Yamaha receiver. I don't pretend to be an audiophile. I've had the same Yamaha bookshelf speakers as my mains in a 6.1 system for TEN YEARS now. But the difference was staggering between the two subs. Keeping the Energy, returning the BIC. And this after having a JBL Venue Sub 12" as my main sub for 6 or 7 years now, until the amp died.

The Energy S10.3 you want to get for comparison has two open ports on the bottom! I strongly suggest your try the sealed design M8 instead in your shootout.
Edited by Flavius - 8/31/12 at 10:07pm
post #24 of 31
Thread Starter 
I'd be happy to add a Energy 8" like what you have to the mix. We'll see if we get a volunteer to bring one.

The BIC F12 and your Energy 8" probably don't have too disimilar a frequency response as far as how low they actually extend. The BIC only goes to low 30's that, particular Energy is rated to mid 30's.

The BIC should probably get quite a bit louder. SQ could be better on the Energy, but I'd have to be shown first hand that the Energy ESW-8 is that much better than the Bic.

Did you place them in the same position? Did you run Audyssey for each sub and ensure phase and distances were set correctly through an autocalibration? What crossovers did you use on the BIC vs. Energy? What about crossovers used on your mainspeakers??? Little setup differences can make big difference positive or negative towards your impressions. I personally supsect a setup issue far more than I suspect a clear superiority of an 8" driver over a highly esteemed budget 12" driver. I've never heard that Energy and it might be better than I expect, but I live in Missouri and our state slogan is 'the showme state.' wink.gif
post #25 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Archaea View Post

I'd be happy to add a Energy 8" like what you have to the mix. We'll see if we get a volunteer to bring one.
The BIC F12 and your Energy 8" probably don't have too disimilar a frequency response as far as how low they actually extend. The BIC only goes to low 30's that, particular Energy is rated to mid 30's.
The BIC should probably get quite a bit louder. SQ could be better on the Energy, but I'd have to be shown first hand that the Energy ESW-8 is that much better than the Bic.
Did you place them in the same position? Did you run Audyssey for each sub and ensure phase and distances were set correctly through an autocalibration? What crossovers did you use on the BIC vs. Energy? What about crossovers used on your mainspeakers??? Little setup differences can make big difference positive or negative towards your impressions. I personally supsect a setup issue far more than I suspect a clear superiority of an 8" driver over a highly esteemed budget 12" driver. I've never heard that Energy and it might be better than I expect, but I live in Missouri and our state slogan is 'the showme state.' wink.gif

Yes, same exact position and distance from the wall... it's an "along the wall" position. Actually, its kind of weird. Its the underside of a breakfast bar that leads to my kitchen. Obviously NOT being used as a breakfast bar! The crossover was 120Hz on both subs from same Yamaha V673. The crossover is was actually controlled over LFE from the receiver, which both sub manuals state disabled the subs crossover knobs, which were both set to max crossover "just in case", though I could tell the 120Hz crossover was working since changing it on the fly from my receiver (to say 200Hz) produced a very different sound than 120Hz. My main speakers are all identical Yamaha satellites (good quality ones, supposedly).

And are we sure that the BIC F12 is not really esteemed because of how damn loud it can get and how cheap it is? And American company and all that jazz? It's not like BIC F12 doesn't have some audiophiles calling it rubbish in the Amazon reviews.

I've really become enamored by passive radiators now. Similar to how I just loved the sound of Monsoon flat panel speakers back in the day. Those things were amazing, as long you had regular cone woofer included to help the midrange.
post #26 of 31
Thread Starter 
I've heard the BIC F12 on multiple occassions and think it is a good option for $200 - though I would recommend spending $300 typically for something like the RW-12D instead if the money is not a deal breaker.

A group of people in a 2011 subwoofer meet that huskeromaha hosted all thought the Bic F12 was impressive for the cost.
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1368326/subfest-2011-huskeromaha-and-desertdomes-subwoofer-showdown/0_20
post #27 of 31
October would work best, for me, but I understand November and December work best for people with normal jobs. There is still a chance I can make it in Nov/Dec, but I won't know, for sure, until the beginning of each of those months.
post #28 of 31
Thread Starter 
October probably isn't a workable reality for me as there are already two events that month.

October 20th is the Gorilla83 shootout in PA. I'm going to try to make that happen some way or other.
October 27th is the DesertDome shootout in Omaha, Nebraska. That's close enough that I can make a day trip without too much grief. If you are interested in driving up with any of the KC guys to the Omaha meet just let me know. There will likely be a couple of us going at least.
post #29 of 31
I may be able ot make the Omaha meet. We'll have to see how the schedule looks. Any idea what time you'll be leaving?
post #30 of 31
Thread Starter 
They are starting at 11AM. It's about 3 hours there. So prolly around 7:30AM ' ish
We'd come back same day.
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