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Any Thoughts on PSB SubSeries 500 Subwoofer

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I am a big proponent of DIY route when it comes to sub for movies and music for the reasons known to everybody.

Anyway, I happened to visit an authorized dealer who carries PSB and NAD product lines. While I went to audition NAD M25 amp, my jaw dropped at the subwoofer response in the listening area.

I checked the sub and it was PSB S500. I have never heard such articulate, accurate, and super clean bass and I have heard a lot of subs in my limited experience.....Klipsch (SUB12, KSW10, SW115, SW112), Def Tech SC Ref, REL Gibralter G1, JM Labs Electra 1000 be, and my DIY Subs (Ported Alpine SWR1223D, and dual ported Dayton HO15).

I'm all sold on this sub and plan to buy it, but would like to hear thoughts from people who have used it. Any thoughts??
Edited by braveheart123 - 6/12/13 at 11:34am
post #2 of 24
Never heard a 500, but watching with interest... I rarely catch anything on the forums about PSB subs. wink.gif

post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
I see SubSeries 1 and SubSonic 5i subs in your signature. Can you share your experience about their performance? How do they sound?
post #4 of 24
Originally Posted by braveheart123 View Post

I see SubSeries 1 and SubSonic 5i subs in your signature. Can you share your experience about their performance? How do they sound?

No worries mate! Just for fun, I'll have a crack at a little mini-review for my 200th post. smile.gif

I need to preface my comments with a couple of things. Firstly, these are the first two subs I've ever owned, so I've got nothing to compare them with in my room. Secondly, I've only been "into" this audio hobby (obsession!) for about two and a half years, so I haven't really developed a stellar vocabulary to describe what I hear.

OK, here's a snapshot of the setup:

This is a family living room situation. The room is 3.6m wide X 4.8m long with the standard 8ft ceiling. The room has large openings on two sides the to remainder of the living zone. The 1 is positioned out of frame to the right behind the daybed, in a solid corner. Half the 5i can be seen on the left of the entertainment unit. It is adjacent to a 1.4m wide opening, so in 1/4 space. With both sub gain knobs set to about "8:30" (just below "one"), Audyssey has reported sub trims to the AVR of -6.5dB for the 1 and -4.5dB for the 5i, so there's good headroom. I don't run the subs "hot" at all. All main channel crossovers are set at 80Hz (THX). The main listening position is at 3.75m distance.

I got the 1 in March 2011 and it was soon apparent that this is a fairly articulate and musical sub at moderate volumes in a smallish room. At the time I was running a Denon AVR1911, which with my 87-88dB/W/m speakers, was really starting to sound strained/metallic (gritted teeth!) at a calibrated -15dB master volume, therefore most listening was done below this level. At these volumes, the 1 provided nice, unobtrusive support for music content and even though low end extension is understandably limited - reasonable LFE rumble on movies. Most people would be perfectly happy with this little sub as part of a modest living room 5.1 setup, especially if their priority is musical content.

The Denon was clearly not up to the task so it was flicked in favour of the current Onkyo TX-NR1007 in May 2011. The Onkyo is THX Ultra2+ rated and easily capable of reference level playback in this sized room. But guess what? I was now sub limited. Enter the 5i in short order. I can't comment with authority on the performance of the 5i as an individual sub because I've always run them as a pair. It's addition did make a huge difference in volume capability though and I expect it sounds very similar to the 1. I don't think PSB is in the habit of producing "one note wonders" to impress the general populace in the showroom. As a pair, they're great with musical content in this sized room. I listen to concert Blu-rays at -7dB to -5dB MV (about the limit of my little mains!) and the bass remains clear, composed and locked-in to the room. Right now I'm listening to a couple of newish Daft Punk songs (Lose yourself to Dance; Get Lucky; MP3's via USB) at -7dB MV in stereo (+subs) and there's satisfying bass energy in the room; I can easily pick individual bass notes and the drums and electric bass synth is giving me a nice gentle pat on the chest… but all seeming to come directly from the (inactive) centre speaker area. I don't like subs that draw undue attention to themselves and this pair don't, within the limit of my preferred listening levels.

On movies, the pair produce most of the usual crash, boom, bang that you'd usually expect in action flicks and seem to sail along comfortably at my usual volume of between -10dB & -5dB MV. The exception is some of the "5 star" bass movies - due to their size, they won't reproduce the lowest octave of LFE with any authority. For example, I found the "sonic cannons" scene in The Incredible Hulk and "f... ing Irene" in Blackhawk Down to be a bit underwhelming, simply because these subs won't reproduce the "meat" of the LFE in those scenes. They do well with most loud bass movies in this relatively small room though… crockery in the kitchen cupboards rattle, the front door thumps in it's frame, soot is regularly dislodged in the combustion stove flu and I've even had a framed photo (2m from the 5i) jump it's hook and fall off the wall! I enjoy these subs a lot and at my preferred listening levels, I've never heard them make a "bad" noise, bottom out, clunk or chuff from the ports etc. Pretty damn good performance for the price and size I reckon, particularly if music is your priority.

Edit: few extra words here and there.
Edited by GIEGAR - 6/13/13 at 10:57pm
post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks man for such an elaborate write up and taking out time for me.

Your subs not digging deep into ultra low frequency region is coz they are only 150watts rms 10 inchers. But the way you describe; your duals do paint the picture about their sonic character.

One more thing, I mistyped in my post.....I heard s300 and not s500 during the audition. It was a typo. Anyway, it was an awe-inspiring, accurate, and super clean bass reproduction by s300. So, I placed the order for the flagship model S500 and hope it will have the same sonic signature as it is bigger, heavier, and digs deeper i.e. close to 20Hz.
post #6 of 24
You already have 42 inches worth of subs... the S300's performance must have been pretty impressive to have you going for more! Does the S500 sell for about $2100 in your neck of the woods? At that sort of coin there's some serious performance in the ID sub segment (eg. JTR Captivator S1; Rythmik F15 x 2; SVS PB13 Ultra), so that's impressive too. Best of luck with it and glad you enjoyed the write-up.

[My 14yo son and his mates are currently watching near the end of TRON: Legacy at -5dB MV. Honestly, the whole house is vibrating in sympathy. It's no wonder you blokes get hooked on big bass!]
post #7 of 24
Let me us know how your new S500 goes. I currently have an S300 and thinking of adding the S500. Cheers:D
post #8 of 24
Thread Starter 
I played conservatively, and ordered s300 instead coz that's the one I had auditioned. Also, I upgraded my avr to CA Azur 751R. Been using s300 for over 3 weeks now. And I must say PSB knows how to bend the rules of physics. I mean the amount of power this puppy pumps out from just a tad over 1 cu ft net internal volume is unbelievable and unheard of.

I am using it in my bedroom as bedside table and it is lying just a foot away from MLP. And that is not the first time I tried a subwoofer in that spot. This sub just unleashes tremendous amount of grunt with zero box resonance, port noise, and with super clean SPL. It simply disappears in the room with zero localisation. I had long left buying turnkey subs and had hopped on DIY bandwagon. I wish I had not wasted time and energy on such superfluous approach.

What I would suggest to anybody looking for a sub to just audition s300 and they will be surprised with what they will be treated to. I can clutter this post with a large number of everybody's famous buzzwords to praise s300 when it comes to defining the bass response, but people are sick of all that. So, best would be to audition it and figure it out yourself.

The spec sheet numbers are very very conservative for s300 and can easily push a prospective buyer to other choices. This sub can easily handle bashing down to 22-23Hz as was evident during last 30 minutes of Battle LA. I have used Def Tech SCRef and it literally murders it in every department including SQ, SPL, depth, tactile response, accuracy, control, etc at roughly half the price.

I will order another one in a couple of months not for extra SPL but rather for dealing with room modes. Otherwise, it is not required. I wonder what kind of a sonic monster would S500 be????

Overall, fantastic for movies / fantastic for music......what else do you want? PSB should stand for PhysicS Bender not Paul Sue Barton..... One hec of a tremendously BALLSY sub!!!!!
Edited by braveheart123 - 6/28/13 at 12:02pm
post #9 of 24
nice man. Yeah this s300 is a beast in all departments. PSB make brilliant products, they truly have succeeded in bringing highend entertainment at an affordable price. You should of seen my parents when I played Avatar for them. I think they crapped themselves everytime the entire room shook. I really want to demo the S500, if its more than double the price then surely its quadruple the performance eek.gif
post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 
Yeah I know, the demon inside says pull the trigger on S500 instead of second s300. I mean the cherry finish is just gorgeous. S300 is just the shadow of S500. I won't be wrong in saying S500 is the TVR of sub world. While nearly everybody dreams to own ferrari, they completely forget what TVR has to offer if sheer torque and speed are the requirements. It's one of those unsung war heroes....

Kudos PSB!!!
post #11 of 24
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Diamonddogs View Post

I really want to demo the S500, if its more than double the price then surely its quadruple the performance eek.gif

Have you been able to audition S500? Eager to know your impressions.
post #12 of 24
Thread Starter 
Finally i measured S300 last night and ere is the FR at MLP with no eq and smoothing. Digs way deeper than the stated specs. Not bad wink.gif

post #13 of 24
Not bad at all!
post #14 of 24
Thread Starter 
Yeah I could tell it was digging way deeper than the specs suggested without measuring coz the opening battle scene in Master & Commander was a real body massage with this sub.

Do you have any idea how to measure THD in REW?
post #15 of 24
Originally Posted by braveheart123 View Post

Yeah I could tell it was digging way deeper than the specs suggested without measuring coz the opening battle scene in Master & Commander was a real body massage with this sub.

Do you have any idea how to measure THD in REW?

I think REW is limited on its capability for this...here is a good read.

post #16 of 24
Hey Brave> Hope you don’t mind but I went ahead and grabbed a few pics when I did a search regarding the 300 and 500. I also noticed that PSB carries the 125 200 HD10 and HD8

500 Very nice


Your graph shows your coming in at about a +-3dB at 22-23 Hz - 90 MV. I could see myself really liking it also at that MV. Most of us know it’s easy to find subs that perform loud from around 23-24ish on up (I know you do) with a varying degree in SQ. Being also the PSB is very simple in amp features including the graph, why would you suggest it being worth the $$ it commands? Is it the SQ you feel it exhibits?

Please don’t be offended by this post, I’m just trying to wrap my head around what your saying and where your coming from. I do notice you suggesting just to give it a demo and you not trying to push it down anyone's throat, I respect that. I also appreciate you and GIEGAR taking the time to share your opinion with us. I can see you really believe in the 300 and I don’t fault you in the least for that. I just don’t see the graph or the product commanding that kind of $$ considering what's available from the ID Co.’s is all. cool.gif
Edited by steve nn - 8/2/13 at 5:56am
post #17 of 24
Thread Starter 
steve nn:

I get what you are saying. The FR does not command a $1000 price tag. I agree a lot of subs can offer that FR with -3dB point at around 21Hz and usable output below 20Hz with less than half the price. But I am considering a lot of other factors also.

Following are some graphs of my previous subs.There is no external EQ and no smoothing was applied. The FR for all the subs (except DefTech SC Ref) is taken placing each sub in the same spot over the course of time, which is 3 feet from MLP in the right side corner next to my bed. I din't bother putting SC Ref nearfiled, coz it was terrible to listen to anyway and was more than a resonator than a sub. Plus it was way too heavy to move.

Although, all the sweeps were run at different times and with different levels; but one can make out where the subs naturally roll off. Look at the -3dB points on the lower side of the FR.

Here is the comparative analysis;

I have no way to measure THD; but I have a set of ears and PSB sounds fantastic, most accurate, and cleanest of all. It blends in and disappears in the room so well that one doesn't even know where the sub is. One can easily localise Klipsch and SC Ref. Look at the actual -3dB point (23.6Hz) of SC Ref. I think the Def Tech guys were sleeping while they published 11Hz mad.gif It is plain rubbish for the I price paid.

Plus look at the -3dB point of PSB. It goes way lower than the stated lower frequency of 27Hz. It is way too easy to carry around. And trust me, it has zero box resonance. Part of this accolade goes to the feet design. Granted, they look ugly but I think a lot of engineering went in to zero out box resonance. They are like a funnel. The base is wider than the top and they help dissipate downward forces very effectively. I also opened up the amp section to look what was inside. The magnet inside is huge. Even the box this tiny has one window type vertical brace in the middle and another window type horizontal brace to hold the port.

I read somewhere in the reviews that the net internal size for PSB s300 is 0.88 cu ft. So, the kind of room pressurisation this puppy achieves with such a tiny footprint and a small net enclosure size with just a 12" driver is remarkable and at least I have not experienced the same in any of the subs I have auditioned thus far. I think part of such performance is attributed to down firing port.

I'm sure after experiencing the performance of S300, the S500 flagship from PSB must be digging down to 18-19Hz at least with usable output till 15Hz, which is way lower than the published specs.
Edited by braveheart123 - 8/2/13 at 9:18am
post #18 of 24
Yeah I don’t doubt that it’s not a good little sub (I think that’s part of it’s attraction/little) and some of the attributes you suggest. I grabbed another pic of the 500 and can see PSB 5 comes in about the same size as some other well know ID options for $500 to $1200 more. Very nice looking sub imo. Now don’t take this wrong, but what I wish is that you had more exposure to what the ID companies have to offer rather than what you’re comparing the 300 to. I’m sorry for keep bringing up the 5 but it’s where I seem to gravitate. Anyway I don’t doubt that it’s not a fun sub to listen to and it’s size is very manageable, but in the end I would have to say I’m sticking with my prior assessment. Although PSB might rate it at 27 and you realize 22, that isn’t a solid foundation for the price imo... still I would love to give it a run though. Try to remember that it’s down close to 20dB at 15 Hz. I see no size regarding the port though, am I looking at a 3 or 4”?

post #19 of 24
Thread Starter 
The port size is 3". I am sure SVS, Seaton, JTR, Rhythmik, PSA must be fantastic subs; but I have to choose between the subs available in this part of the world. I'm almost locked on Rythmik FV15HP duals for the dedicated home cinema; but there is a huge risk in shipping them all the way from US. Damage during shipping is the biggest concern and then claiming the warranties and all.

Anyway, I think S500 is well equipped to take on ID big boys. There is this review where this guy compared S500 head to head with Velo DD15, SVS PB-12 Plus, JL Fathom 112, and Earthquake Supernova MKVI-15. S500 outperformed the first three and equalled the last one.

post #20 of 24
Thread Starter 
I’m sorry for keep bringing up the 5 but it’s where I seem to gravitate.

Same here. I was also gonna go for S500 in the beginning but at the very same time I spent $2200 on upgrading my AVR to CA Azur 751R. So, ran short of cash. But I am going to buy S500 in very near future. wink.gif
post #21 of 24
I thought you were getting dual rythmik fv15hp's?
post #22 of 24
Thread Starter 
So much risk lurks. No doubt on performance; but shipping damages, warranties. I'm only located roughly 8000 miles apart from US eek.gif
post #23 of 24
Originally Posted by braveheart123 View Post

So much risk lurks. No doubt on performance; but shipping damages, warranties. I'm only located roughly 8000 miles apart from US eek.gif

I thought you lived in Scotland. smile.gif
post #24 of 24
Thread Starter 
ha ha ha. I did though back in 2000 in edinburgh
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