As follows is my current list judged from both experience and being an active participant/reader on this forum. Of course there are alternates to each of these that I'd also recommend in a particular pricepoint - in some cases the winner could even be decided by a coin flip because the subs are so close in performance, but generally speaking these would be my 'go to' recommendation at a given pricepoint for the typical situation.
Subs in red designate models I've heard in person.
Pricepoint / Recommendation
$100 - Polk Audio PSW10
$200 - BIC F12
$300 - Klipsh RW-12D
(indicates discontinued price but often available
$400 - ED A2-300 (ED may be in trouble, use caution if buying from them currently - 8/18/2012)
$500 - Rythmik FV12
$600 - Outlaw LFM1-EX
$700 - HSU VTF-3
$800 - Epik Empire
$1,000- HSU VTF-15H
$1,333 - Rythmik FV15 HP
$1,666 - LMS-5400 + DIY Flat Pack + EP4000 Amp
$2,000 - JTR Captivator (passive) + EP4000 Amp
$2,500 - Seaton Submersive HP
$3,000 - JTR Captivator S2 or JTR Orbit Shifter
Price no object? - to my experience there isn't much value in spending more than $3000 on a subwoofer...
As to my subwoofer experience:
• Jamo 650 sub - discontinued price of $250
. This Jamo is excellent for a smaller room full audible bandwith sub system (flat down to 20hz in room)
• Pioneer SW-8 = junk but still currently own for secondary system (purchased in 2012)
• Captivator Pro pair (purchased mid 2011) (love - all around my favorite sub I've ever encountered)
• SVS PB13 Ultra pair (purchased mid 2011) (sold - I didn't like them for music, but they did great in home theater!)
• Yamaha CW218V (purchased mid 2011) (sold - love for music - doesn't do much for home theater)
• Jamo D7sub pair (purchased mid 2011) (liked them quite a bit for $500 price - were fantastic for music with the right settings - THX Ultra II certified - overpriced MSRP - not very capable of high SPL - sold)
• Infinity HPS-1000 pair (purchased 2003) (very nice subs IMO, the best Infinity has ever made according to my local authorized repair shop that does anything but actually repair them correctly - one 15" driver with two passive 15" radiators and a 1000 watt amp -still own a pair - in storage closet currently)
• DIY subwoofer ottoman
with four 15" subwoofers (built in 2002 - sold)
• JBL PSW-D115 - 15" home theater sub (purchased 1999 - sold)
• AIWA HTIB sub = junk (bought in 1997 - sold)
• Multiple iterations of car audio subs, some I used in theater (all my life haha -- my favorite car audio drivers remain the Infinity Kappa Perfect drivers)Subwoofers I've heard since Jan 2011.
BIC America Formula F12 at KCNitro07's house and my place
BIC America V1220 pair at KCNitro077's house and my place
Chase Home Theater CS 18.1 pair at my place and at husker omaha's meet
Chase Home Theater SS 18.2 at huskeromaha's meet
Chase Home Theater VS 18.1 pair at huskeromaha's meet
Crystal Acoustic TX-12 Sub at my place
Danley Sound Labs DTS-10 + JTR Growler at huskeromaha's meet, and at nebrunner's house on Omaha home theater tour
Definitive Technology Supercube at Gorilla83's meet
DIY Dayton Audio 15" pair at ecrabb's house, and Gorilla83's meet
DIY Dayton Audio Titanik MK3 pair in 3.5 cubic foot sealed enclosures at KCNitro07's house
DIY Dual Cinema F-20 (lilmike designed) at huskeromaha's meet
DIY Infinite Baffle System with eight 15" subwoofers at desertdomes on Omaha home theater tour
DIY LMS-5400 pair in sealed 4.5 cubic foot enclosures / EP4000 at TJhub's house, and another pair in 3.5 cubic foot enclosures / Inuke DSP 6000 at Gorilla83's meet.
DIY Rythmik 15" at huskeromaha's meet
DIY THT at Braushs' house
DIY Four UXL18's powered by a Lab Gruppen Clone amp at HuskerOmaha's on the Omaha home theater tour
Elemental Designs A7s-450 18" at huskeromaha's meet
Epik Empire (heard four in the same room at counsil's place) and a single at my place, heard a pair at Gorilla83's meet.
HSU ULS15 at Gorilla83 meet
HSU VTF-3 HO at andersa's on Omaha home theater tour
HSU VTF-15H pair at my place and Luke Kamps
Infinity HPS-1000 pair at my place
Infinity IL100S sub at ignoring my wife's house
Jamo D7sub pair at my place and Luke Kamps place
Jamo Sub 650 at my place and tatersly's place
Jenson MS500 at my place
JTR Speakers Dual Captivator at carps house, my house, Gorilla83's meet, and bluesprings1's house
JTR Growler at HuskerOmaha's meet and at nebrunner's house on Omaha Home Theater tour
JTR Speakers Dual Orbit Shifters at my house, and carps house
JTR Speakers Dual S1 at my place
JTR Speakers Dual S2 at dlbeck's house
Klipsch RW-12D sub pair at my place and my brother's place
MFW-15 dual opposed DIY setup x 4 - (eight drivers) at huskeromaha's meet, and Omaha home tour at W00lly's house.
Motor City Custom Audio Dual MFW-15 Turbos at huskeromaha's meet
Onkyo THX HTIB sub at luke kamps house
Polk PSW10 at a friends house
Polk PSW505 at Gorilla83's place
Procella Pro 18 pair at Randy Bessigner's Place
PSA XS15 at Gorilla83's meet
Rythmik E15 at Gorilla83's meet
Rythmik FV15HP at Gorilla83's meet
Seaton Sound Submersive HP heard five units in the same room at counsil's place, duals at my place, duals at carps place, triples at Gorilla83's meet, and a single at huskeromaha's meet.
Seaton Sound F2 at Gorilla83's meet
SVS 20-39 PCI at Gorill83's meet
SVS PB12+ at my place
SVS PB13 Ultra pair at my place, and at scrappydues place.
Yamaha 10" hometheater subwoofer at tatersly's house
Yamaha CW218V (dual 18" pro audio subs) at my place
~ and probably more I'm forgetting ATM.
and not so recently - - - scads of car audio subs --- up to some of the best types of subs like JL w7's and competition Orion drivers -- because I and many of my friends were into car audio.
Since January 2011, I've attended (or hosted) the following full scale AVSforum audio meets.2011 KC Meet (subwoofers)2011 Omaha Meet (subwoofers)2012 KC Blind Meet (subwoofers)2012 Wisconsin Meet (speakers)2012 Iowa Home Theater Tour2012 KC Blind Meet (speakers)2012 PA Meet (subwoofers and speakers)2012 Omaha Home Theater Tour2012 KC Speaker Meet in the Park2013 Iowa Blind Meet (speakers)
And a few smaller face offs with fewer people in attendance:A day split between a pair of JTR Captivators and a pair of Seaton Submersives in June of 2012 at carp's placeA brief evening spent comparing a pair of Jamo Sub 650s, a pair of Klipsch RW-12Ds, and a pair of Dayton Titanik MK3 subwoofers in August of 2012 at my brother's placeA afternoon split between a pair of JTR Noesis 212HT and a pair of JTR Noesis 228HT in February 2013 at carp's placeEdited by Archaea - 4/5/13 at 7:38am