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One sub or two? That is the question.

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
One HSU VTF-15H or Two BIC PL-200. Budget is around $900 with a max ceiling of $1000.

My home theater room is 12' x 18' x 7.5'.

They would be hooked up to an Onkyo TX-NR818 in a 7.1 or 7.2 setup with Axiom M22 v3 all the way around. Prolly cross over the speakers and the sub(s) around 80hz.

I would do 85% movies, 10% video games, 5% music (alternative rock and metal).
post #2 of 37
You could do three Klipsch RW-12d's. I have two and LOVE them.
post #3 of 37
Depends on whether you're looking for a better sub or better bass. At almost triple the cost of the Bic, the Hsu is a more powerful sub that goes lower and louder than the Bic. However, the ability to buy 2 or 3 of the Bic subs within your $1K budget limit means that you can get smoother/flatter bass by arranging those subs in the room so that they cancel each other's peaks & dips. Personally, I'd opt for the latter and get multiple (at least 2) subs.
post #4 of 37
I too am a huge advocate of multiple subs. I started with one PB12-NSD and thought it was pretty good. But definitely not in the league I was hoping for, at least from where I sit in the listening position (can't change this). I moved the sub around where I could but it didn't give me that bone-rattling satisfaction. Now with two (and just as importantly, proper placement), I can say WOW! Night and day.

Get two - if $1000 is your upper limit, then get two PB-1000s.
post #5 of 37
I asked this exact same question.

If you look under my name it is ... 2 good subs better than 1 great sub?

I got various response but I think it boiled down to room size (mine is med not large) and what I was looking for...hard hitting below 20hz.

Given those two requirements they pointed me to one great sub vs two good subs.

Bigger rooms or different sound spectrum requirements may drive a different answer.
post #6 of 37
I think it also 'boils down to' how many seats you want even bass response to reach. Multiple subs will help 'even out' the bass response across more positions in the room. If you are the only one listening (or you don't care about the other people in the room), then placement of one sub can give good response in one listening position, up to the limits of that sub. One better sub will, of course do that better than one lesser sub. I bought the best sub I could afford at the time, (HSU VTF3, mk 3), and added a second later. I could've purchased two lesser subs at the beginning, and been done with it. I actually had an order in for two BIC PL 200's, but didn't want to wonder 'what if...?' And wifey reminded me of what I'd told her before about "buying the right tool once" so I cancelled that order, and went with what I really wanted. A huge performer that wouldn't leave me wanting to upgrade in 3 months.

And, like newbie mentioned, I wanted <20 hz performance from the beginning. If it had been available, I would've gone with the VTF 15, but I pulled the trigger right before that sub was announced. I went with the biggest, baddest (ported) sub they had, at the time. A year later, I bought a second VTF 3, instead of the larger model, mainly to avoid problems 'matching' different subs, but also to enable each to 'work less hard', while still 'evening out' the bass response across multiple seats.

Hope that makes sense...
Joseph

oh yeah... YMMV
post #7 of 37
Lol, this is a ridiculous comparison. You would be crazy to get two BICs over a VTF15h. Here is the thing: yes, two subs can get you a smoother response than a single sub, everything else being equal, but, of course, these are not equal subs, far from it. The VTF15h alone may end up having more severe peaks and dips in its frequency response, but it will have soooo much more headroom, that those peaks and dips can be EQ'd out by your room correction above any point two PL200s could dream of touching. It will absolutely crush two BICs, it will sound smoother, sharper, deeper, and more even, especially in a room of that size. This is a no-brainer, get the VTF15h, and if you don't believe me, call up or email Hsu and ask them how a VTF15h would compare to the PL-200, after all, Dr. Hsu did design both subs. The performance delta would be huge.
post #8 of 37
^What about nulls
post #9 of 37
No way two BICs are going to shore up a null above a point the VTF15h can play at. Anyway look at the size of the OPs room, the VTF15h will easily pressurize that entire space.
post #10 of 37
Dont leave out PSA subs
post #11 of 37
post #12 of 37
I would recommend going with whatever ShadyJ says tongue.gif
post #13 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by pokekevin View Post

^What about nulls
A single VTF-15 is so powerful, it doesn't allow the room to create nulls. It is so flexible, it can be at two places simultaneously and do mode cancelling all by itself.
post #14 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

A single VTF-15 is so powerful, it doesn't allow the room to create nulls. It is so flexible, it can be at two places simultaneously and do mode cancelling all by itself.

It doesn't stop there. Mine just got done doing my taxes for me and made me a Singapore Sling. I submit that the VTF-15 is useful and tasty.
post #15 of 37
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the replies. I think I'm gonna get the best sub I can get (HSU) and if I want more I will add a second down the road. My room is relatively small and one sub should do the trick.
post #16 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

A single VTF-15 is so powerful, it doesn't allow the room to create nulls. It is so flexible, it can be at two places simultaneously and do mode cancelling all by itself.

I'd like to see a null so massive that two Pl-200 subs could overcome the output of that frequency point of a VTF15h. You would need a particularly severe null. And even then, all you would need to do to correct it is move the sub.
post #17 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

I'd like to see a null so massive that two Pl-200 subs could overcome the output of that frequency point of a VTF15h. You would need a particularly severe null. And even then, all you would need to do to correct it is move the sub.
A pair of subwoofers allow you to line up the peaks of one sub with the dips of the other, thereby smoothening/flattening the response. One subwoofer, even the VTF-15, can't do that with itself. It would be like saying that Hsu speakers image so well, you only need one to create a soundstage. Multiple speakers can do things that a single speaker cannot. Likewise, multiple subs have advantages over a single sub; any single sub.
post #18 of 37
It is pretty easy to get a null 20 - 30 dB deep. A 10 dB null requires 10x the power to overcome; 20 dB needs 100x the power. It is pretty easy to see why just cranking the volume is not a good answer (and causes overloading of the sub, and boomy bass in the rest of the room). Adding a sub allows you to adjust its placement and/or phase to counteract the null at the listening position, at least as much as practical.

That said, I am not a fan of cheap speakers, and that includes subs. Usually ends up being a waste of money. For $1k I would get the best sub I could, then work to optimize placement in the room. And start saving for another...
post #19 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

A pair of subwoofers allow you to line up the peaks of one sub with the dips of the other, thereby smoothening/flattening the response. One subwoofer, even the VTF-15, can't do that with itself. It would be like saying that Hsu speakers image so well, you only need one to create a soundstage. Multiple speakers can do things that a single speaker cannot. Likewise, multiple subs have advantages over a single sub; any single sub.

Multiple subs can also create their own cancellation. Anyway, whether you have one sub or two, the key to getting rid of nulls is placement flexibility.
post #20 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tack View Post

It doesn't stop there. Mine just got done doing my taxes for me and made me a Singapore Sling. I submit that the VTF-15 is useful and tasty.

Nice! Mine will make breakfast but I cannot get them to do windows.biggrin.gif
post #21 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

Multiple subs can also create their own cancellation.
Only if you set them up improperly. It's like saying two speakers don't create a wider soundstage than a single speaker. But for that to be true, you'd have to stack the two speakers on top of each other (i.e., set them up improperly). Why would you deliberately sabotage a system that way?
post #22 of 37
I thought dips could be fixed by placement while nulls couldn't.
post #23 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

Multiple subs can also create their own cancellation. Anyway, whether you have one sub or two, the key to getting rid of nulls is placement flexibility.

I have the room I'm building wired for 7.4 sound and I'm only gonna have 4 seats in the room so placement flexibility shouldn't be an issue.
post #24 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

Lol, this is a ridiculous comparison.
It's not a ridiculous comparison at all. Many, many people face this decision all the time. It's a very valid question. As Sanjay points out, dual subs provide better frequency response over more seats. As you point out, a better sub can provide more output and deeper response. However, ONE sub can only be optimized for ONE seat, AND it can only be EQ'd for the peaks... nulls can't be EQ'd, (see DonH50's post above.) So the matter comes down to the user's priorities. Does the user want smooth bass over more seats, or massive output and smooth(er) bass at one seat.
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

You would be crazy to get two BICs over a VTF15h. Here is the thing: yes, two subs can get you a smoother response than a single sub, everything else being equal, but, of course, these are not equal subs, far from it. The VTF15h alone may end up having more severe peaks and dips in its frequency response, but it will have soooo much more headroom, that those peaks and dips can be EQ'd out by your room correction above any point two PL200s could dream of touching. It will absolutely crush two BICs, it will sound smoother, sharper, deeper, and more even, especially in a room of that size. This is a no-brainer, get the VTF15h, and if you don't believe me, call up or email Hsu and ask them how a VTF15h would compare to the PL-200, after all, Dr. Hsu did design both subs. The performance delta would be huge.

You are correct here, the VTF-15H would have more output and deeper extension than a pair of PL-200's. If that is the only goal, the a single VTF-15H plus some form of EQ would be the best decision. Optimize the response with placement and EQ at one seat and accept the compromised response everywhere else.

OTOH, if the ultimate plan is to spend the total budget once, and adding more subs down the road is not in the cards, then personally, I would opt for dual, lesser subs and shoot for better FR across more seats. Smoother response will always sound better than than higher output and deeper response, especially if the higher output is boomy, muddy and inarticulate due to poor FR.

Finally, If the *ultimate* goal is deep extension, massive output AND smooth FR at multiple seats, then the ideal solution is multiple, high output subs. In that case, it may makes sense to start out with a single VTF-15H with the ultimate plan of adding a second, (or third, or fourth), down the road.

Craig
post #25 of 37
The OP has placement flexibility in a small room with only four seats, so the answer to the OP's question is obvious at this point. Of course, there are situations where multiple weaker subs would be preferred, but they have to compete with a single, more powerful sub to some degree. For example, I am sure you would much rather have a single JTR Captivator than four or five monoprice subs. For me, the multiple sub advantages of two PL200s doesn't quite outweigh the superior performance advantage of a single VTF15h.
post #26 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by pokekevin View Post

I thought dips could be fixed by placement while nulls couldn't.

Just saying, from personal experience, dips and nulls can be helped via placement and parametric settings. It's quite interesting (actually a PITA) to watch a null come and go as phase and LPF settings are changed. On our setup, simple changes can cause fifteen or twenty dB dips or nulls to develop and simple changes can cause dips and in my experience, simple changes can cause dips and nulls to go away. Another sound quality destroyer is the gain control for if the gain is turned up to high, dips and nulls are reinforced to the negative. It's always frustrating to watch a dip develop as a null's reduced and vice-a-verse.

Something as simple as throwing a great chair in front of a corner positioned subwoofer is enough to throw the readings into a dizzy.
post #27 of 37
With multiple subs, you're less likely to have an issue with very poor placement of the sub. If you have a lot of flexibility on where to place your sub, I would go with the hsu. Even though it's big and heavy and not easy to move. If I had to place the sub(s) in specific spots, I would probably lean towards two subs because it's possible the hsu would sound bad in the spot it has to be in. It wouldn't be worth the risk IMO. I've had spots in rooms where it always seemed like the sub was off. No matter how much I cranked up the gain,
post #28 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by BeeMan458 View Post

Just saying, from personal experience, dips and nulls can be helped via placement and parametric settings. It's quite interesting (actually a PITA) to watch a null come and go as phase and LPF settings are changed. On our setup, simple changes can cause fifteen or twenty dB dips or nulls to develop and simple changes can cause dips and in my experience, simple changes can cause dips and nulls to go away. Another sound quality destroyer is the gain control for if the gain is turned up to high, dips and nulls are reinforced to the negative. It's always frustrating to watch a dip develop as a null's reduced and vice-a-verse.

Something as simple as throwing a great chair in front of a corner positioned subwoofer is enough to throw the readings into a dizzy.

In theory, phase shouldn't have much, if any, effect on room nulls. If changing LPF had an effect, it would likely only effect certain frequencies that were added when adjustiing the lpf. Not the ones where you have a null.
post #29 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by KidHorn View Post

In theory, phase shouldn't have much, if any, effect on room nulls. If changing LPF had an effect, it would likely only effect certain frequencies that were added when adjustiing the lpf. Not the ones where you have a null.

Don't know about theory as I can only go by what REW measurements show me. And as phase, the LPF, gain, subwoofer/furniture positions are changed, so goes how a room's acoustics will interact with a subwoofer system's output.

Today, I'll receive a buzz kill, (ground loop isolators) and see how this impacts modes, dips, nulls and standing waves. eek.gif

In my opinion, based on personal experience as to how phase impacts nulls, as the strength of a signal is increased or decreased, it can have a corresponding increase or decrease in the level of the nullification of an equally placed in the room (frequency) sound wave.

-
Edited by BeeMan458 - 3/5/13 at 9:00am
post #30 of 37
True, room nulls due to standing wave cancellation are tough to counter. The phase control knob on a sub allows the signals to combine constructively at the listening position when it is an additional (nearby, local) source. This can help counteract a room null (you put a signal source in the null, or one that is phased to counter the null). It may take a close sub with a decent amount of power, natch. I believe books/papers by Toole and Geddes discuss use of multiple subs (not sure, somebody will know). And, of course, the additional signal sources must all be carefully aligned so they do not cancel each other, as was previously mentioned.
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