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Compact Sub Help

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi All, I'm doing a whole house audio as follows:

4 Zones, each powered via a Sonos Connect Amp.

Zone 1: Great Room 15x30. 100% music, 4.1
Zone 2: Family Room 15x24. 80% music 20% movies, 4.1
Zone 3: Bedroom 13x16. 100% music, 2.1
Zone 4: Outdoor deck/pool. 100% music, 2.0

I plan to purchase Mirage Nanosats for all the indoor satellites. Haven't decided what to buy for outside speakers yet.

My wife does not want big subs anywhere, so I'm looking for the most bang per cubic foot. Price is a concern because the Sonos amps blew the entire budget I thought I had for this project. However, I'm not one to set a budget in stone only to wish I'd done it differently a year from now. Sonos is the only viable option for what I want the system to do, so the budget has grown by at least $1K.

We listen to music mostly at background volume levels, and movies at moderate volume. (Just boring old farts that enjoy music and want a little more punch in our movies)

Current plan is to buy two Nanosat systems, which would give me the 10 satellites I need for Zones 1-3. The cheapest option would be to buy the 5.1 systems ($400 ea.), which would give me two Nanosat subs for Zones 1 & 3, and get a third (better) sub for Zone 2. The other option is to buy the 5.0 systems ($310 ea) and get 3 better subs.

Nanosat S8 subwoofer: -
bass-reflex (ported) design
frequency response: 33-120 Hz
75-watt RMS amplifier
8" down-firing woofer with Ribbed Elliptical Surround™
12-1/4"W x 13-3/4"H x 13-1/2"D
warranty: 1 year
$90 if purchased with the 5.1 system

Other subs I'm looking at:

Definitive Technology Prosub 800 -
bass-reflex (passive radiator) enclosure
8" front firing woofer pressure-coupled to an 8" low bass radiator
built-in 300-watt amplifier
frequency response 20-150 Hz
continuously variable low-pass 40-150 Hz crossover
80 Hz fixed high-pass crossover for speaker-level outputs
10-5/16"W x 12-7/8"H x 16-5/8"D
warranty: 5 years woofer, 3 years amplifier
$400

Mirage Omni S8
bass-reflex (ported) enclosure
100-watt RMS amplifier
8" front-firing woofer with patented Ribbed Elliptical Surround™
frequency response 27-120 (±3dB)
continuously variable 40-120 Hz crossover
unfiltered LFE input
11-11/16"W x 14-11/16"H x 15-3/8"D
warranty: 5 years (1 year for the amp)
$250

Infinity Primus PS38
8" front-firing MMD driver
bass-reflex (ported) cabinet design
150-watt RMS amp
frequency response 35-150 Hz (±3dB)
continuously variable 50-150 Hz crossover
10-5/8"W x 17-3/4"H x 16-3/8"D
weight: 31.7 lbs.
warranty: 5 years speaker, 2 years amplifier
$200

Lava LSP08
Front-firing, front-ported
8" coated cellulose composite
100 watt internal amplifier
Frequency Range, Lowpass: 28 - 250 Hz (+/-3dB) boost: 12dB @ 45Hz
Frequency Range, LFE: 37 - 400 Hz (+/-3dB)
Sensitivity: 200mV @ 100W
Crossover: 46 - 250 Hz continuously variable low pass
Cabinet Dimensions: 15" H 11 1/2" W 13" D
BUT, THE FINE PRINT:
Lava LSP08 powered subwoofer extends the low frequency response of the system below 40Hz, with a low pass frequency response in the range of 37-150 Hz (+/-3 dB) and a 60 - 180 Hz continuously variable low pass crossover. In a surround sound system the LSP08 provides stunning reproduction of the LFE (low frequency effects) channel in the range of 20-380 Hz (+/-3dB). The LSP08 is also incredibly sensitive testing a 130mV at 100W.
NOT SURE WHAT THAT MEANS How can a driver that's rated @ 37Hz also do 20Hz LFE?
$200 -

Question 1:
At low to mid volume levels, is the 33-130Hz Nanosat sub adequate? We are by no means audiophiles; would we really notice much difference between that and the others? I'm mostly wondering about Zone 1 (largest room) with a 75W sub.

Question 2:
We'll want the best sub to go in Zone 2. I've chosen front firing models because it's possible the sub will be relegated to under a built-in computer desk. We have a small down firing computer sub there now, and it gets a little boomy tucked back in the knee hole like that. The only other two possible locations are 1.) a tight corner 8' to the right of the screen, but there's a door on either side so it'll have to be be close to the walls. 2.) 8' directly behind the viewers. Regardless, will non-audiophiles like us discern much difference between these 8" subs? I don't want to waste any money, but if it's worth the extra cost, I'll pay it. As an added bonus, the $400 Prosub 800 is also the smallest.

I apologize for the length of this post, but hopefully it'll give you enough info to help me make a decision. I've spent many hours poring over the threads on this forum, and have enjoyed learning from you all. I'd be grateful for your insights. Thanks!
post #2 of 14
Since the vast majority of what you'll be doing in all 4 zones is listening to music I'll concentrate on that...

First thought is the Nanosats are simply not going to work, at least in zone 1 and 2 they won't. Those speakers are far too small to produce much usable output in rooms of that size. Same goes for all your subwoofer choices; in zone 3 you can probably get away with an 8" subwoofer, but in zones 1 and 2 they're going to be completely overwhelmed. I'd also scratch the Lava off your list entirely - there's nothing musical about that sub. For a tiny home theater it might work but music requires a bit more detail, and the LSP08 doesn't really have that.

If you want a small subwoofer that would be better able to handle some of your larger zones check out the SVS SB1000. Since you aren't inclined to listen at elevated volume levels that should do very well. Another pretty musical sub is the Emotiva X-Ref12. Paradigm, Sunfire and Martin Logan all make small subwoofers too, but they're quite a bit more expensive.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Well, that's disappointing. Even at lower volume levels, the Nanosats won't do? I'm looking for something small that I can mount high on the walls. We don't want speakers sitting on the floor or on stands, and particularly in Zone 1, there's no good place to do that anyway.

The SB1000 would be great; that's a lot of sub in a 13" box, but out of my budget especially for 2 of them.
post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by bradsab View Post

Well, that's disappointing. Even at lower volume levels, the Nanosats won't do? I'm looking for something small that I can mount high on the walls. We don't want speakers sitting on the floor or on stands, and particularly in Zone 1, there's no good place to do that anyway.

Mounting them high on the walls would actually exacerbate the problem. The Nanosats have a midrange that's just 2.75"; a driver that size simply does not have the ability to project very much. Unless you're sitting right on top of them -- like a music system for your desktop -- I don't image you'll get much from the Nanosats. Even at modest volumes they'll probably sound thin and a bit harsh.
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Jim. I'll keep looking.
post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by bradsab View Post

The SB1000 would be great; that's a lot of sub in a 13" box, but out of my budget especially for 2 of them.

I strongly urge you not to use a subwoofer until you can afford to get two.

Consider this analogy of an A/C window unit versus central air.
The window unit (single sub) will deliver blasts of cool air at one spot, with little at others.

When it comes to bass, the goal is smooth and even at all listening locations.

Multiple subwoofers dramatically reduces standing waves as well as providing better bass at all listening levels.
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Can I split the sub out of the Sonos Connect Amp to two subs with an RCA "Y"?
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by bradsab View Post

Can I split the sub out of the Sonos Connect Amp to two subs with an RCA "Y"?

Yes, the signal can indeed be split that way.
post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by bradsab View Post

Thanks, Jim. I'll keep looking.

Here are a few other subs that might be worth considering...

post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
So many choices...

What's your opinion of the Definitive Technology Pro Sub 60? It's an old model, but there's some out there for around $150.

There's also a ton of Yamaha YST-SW012 subs for cheap. There are so many it makes me wonder if they're junk.
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by bradsab View Post

What's your opinion of the Definitive Technology Pro Sub 60? It's an old model, but there's some out there for around $150.

I'm actually a fan of DefTech speakers. But their subs, not so much. DefTech has a very bad habit of over-exaggerating what they can do, which makes me suspect about them in general. For example, the Prosub 60 supposedly has a frequency response of 24Hz - 150Hz. There's no way that's the case; 34Hz - 150Hz is probably more accurate. And if so, that's a huge discrepancy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bradsab View Post

There's also a ton of Yamaha YST-SW012 subs for cheap. There are so many it makes me wonder if they're junk.

I don't really have any exposure to the Yamaha subwoofers, so I can't really help much there. Perhaps someone else can chime in on those.
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimWilson View Post

I'm actually a fan of DefTech speakers. But their subs, not so much. DefTech has a very bad habit of over-exaggerating what they can do, which makes me suspect about them in general. For example, the Prosub 60 supposedly has a frequency response of 24Hz - 150Hz. There's no way that's the case; 34Hz - 150Hz is probably more accurate.

Should I be leery of any 8" sub that publishes specs below 30Hz? If I add the OSD PS88 to your list above, half of them bottom out @ 33-38Hz, and half are 23-25Hz. Is there a thread here that explains what makes a good sub?
post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by bradsab View Post

Should I be leery of any 8" sub that publishes specs below 30Hz? If I add the OSD PS88 to your list above, half of them bottom out @ 33-38Hz, and half are 23-25Hz.

A valid argument could be made for that, especially if the lower range of the frequency response was listed as -3dB. It's difficult for me to imagine an 8" driver being able to generate much useful output below 30Hz. For most types of music that wouldn't be such a big issue, but for HT it would be.
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
This has been an interesting education for me. Ultimately, I’ve learned that I can’t afford what I wanted to accomplish. I would rather look at other options than try to do this and max out my budget, only to be dissatisfied with the result. I’m going to explore another option in a new thread. Thanks for all your help!
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1450610/existing-whole-house-sonos-upgrade
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