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Sub suggestions for challenging room  

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
My sub died sometime in the last week or so (seems the amp has expired) and I need some suggestions for a replacement.

I have a very large and very acoustically challenging room. The room is difficult to describe but here are some characteristics that will give you an idea of what I am dealing with. It is a modern great room with a sloped ceiling on one side (with two skylights) up to an approximately 22’ ceiling that flattens out. It is open on two sides (I mean really open and not just a hallway) (1) to a dining room with 10’ tray ceiling (only thing that separates the two are two columns that support an arch into the room and (2) into the breakfast nook and kitchen area (the kitchen shares the same 22’ ceiling). Very modern with columns and arches suspended by columns flaking the room. One wall is all windows and to add more difficulty all the flooring all this space is hardwood. There is a large area rug in front of the HT system. The windows have cellular shades to attempt to tame some of the acoustics and there is some stuffed furniture (but still a very lively room). My equipment includes an Acurus ACT-3 w/ABM, Acurus 125x5 amp, PSB Silveri’s as the mains, PSB Century C100 center (was going to be replaced with a C6i prior to this little problem), and PSB Alpha’s as surrounds. My sub was an older PSB Century 2ii.

Anyway I have to replace the sub. My listening is 50/50 music/HT. I don’t watch the HT selection at reference levels (so absolute SPL is not necessary) but I do like to like to “experience†things somewhat. I am not a huge bass freak. I want a sub that is an all around performer with tight bass (I already have boominess issues just with the room) being more important that absolute volume or maximum extension.

This little incident came as a surprise and as a result coffers are rather empty for this purchase so I know that my budget is not going to allow me to get the “biggest and best†sub for this room, but I want to get the best my money can buy. I have approximately $800 to spend, but would like to spend a little less if possible. DIY is really not something I want to mess with, so that option is out. I would like some options and suggestions? I know there are some here with a lot of experience with various subs and would really like to hear your experiences and recommendations.

post #2 of 17
With a challenging room your gonna want a solution that uses about all the $$$ you can muster. At $850 you could get a Hsu VTF-3R box with a forum member discount or and SVS PC+ model($775-825). Going lower you could get a Hsu STF-3 or SVS PB1-ISD or PCi cylinder. In general, the few here that have had a chance to hear both of some models claim the Hsu more accurate, do they give the SVS' the SPL advantage? There are other options, but the two internet direct companies will get you the most for $$$ IMO. Good luck.

post #3 of 17
post #4 of 17
Xavier beat me to it. Their back-fire design (dual 12's in a push-pull sealed cabinet) works well in acoustically challenging rooms.
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Whereas I agree the M&K's would be excellent choices they are quite a bit out of my price range unless I can find one used for an absolute steal (and for the price I need they very likely would be stolen).

I have browsed the HSU and SVS web sites. Both products sound interesting and promising for the price. In that $800 price range are these the best bang for the buck? Or is there something else I should be looking for used?
post #6 of 17
Here is the pre-owned sub link in our forum:

post #7 of 17
look into hsu, svs and adire subs. they are (too my knowledge) the best bang for your buck. i wouldnt spend more then 600 dollars though. after 600 dollars it is more of just an spl game. each sub is similiar in its tightness and deepness, but the more money you spend the louder it can go. since you really arent that interested in high spl levels look at hsu's stf-2 and vtf-2. the svs pci models will also do a great job(but they are big)
if your room is really difficult spend about 600 bucks maximum and buy an equalizer. this will flatten out any room issues you might have.
you might want to buy the equalizer at a later date, or just save some more money and buy it together.
post #8 of 17
Be careful there Hawk. In a small room, it may get louder. In a large room, it will move more air so to speak. His room is huge.

Keep it @ 600 if you want and then buy another later to help. Having 2 subs will make it easier to deal with the room anyway. Otherwise, do without until you can afford the sub you want/need.
post #9 of 17
Best bang for the buck I know of is an Infinite Baffle sub. With an open floorplan like yours, you probably have access to attic/basement/garage to use as the "enclosure". For your budget, you could start with an amp and couple of good 15" drivers and, with careful up-front planning, move up from there without discarding anything. I have a similar great room (14,000 cubic ft) and IB works very well for me.
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
I really appreciate the suggestions and help. Yes the room is huge. I estimate a little more than 10,000 cubic feet. My plan at this point is to plan on a two sub solution eventually. The equalizer is an interesting idea, because the wife factor determines that unsightly acoustic treatments are not allowed. I have no experience with equalizers though, what is the down side?

The baffle sub is not an option. The design of the house means there is no attic as the roof line is the ceiling. I don’t want to mess with crawling around in the crawl space.

I would like some comparisons of the HSU vtf-2 (maybe even vtf-3) and the 25-31 SVS models (maybe 20-39). I have read the reviews on the respective web sites but I would like actual user experiences. Is there an advantage to the plus model of the SVS in my application? It seems that the SVS models will move more air which would advantageous in my application, however, would the word “boomy†ever be used to describe them? Tight, fast and non-boomy bass is what is important to me. Also what is the build quality of these subs? I was not impressed with build quality on the original HSU cylinder subs. Do their cubical subs suffer similar problems? What about the SVS? Never seen or heard one so I have no basis for any opinion. Thanks again.
post #11 of 17
10k CF!? Holy cathedral Batman, LxHxW is CF, you certain? M&K suggests two subs for any room 6000CF, or more. A third for headroom. If you use only one get either a M&K MX-5000, or something from www.servodrive.com This pic is a cabinet housing large drivers and handles 1600 watts nominal and can get to the low notes and effects well.

post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
Yes I am quite sure on the cubic feet. I am dealing with a living room that is 20x20 with a sloping ceiling starting at 10' and going up to 22' (it 22' for about 8 feet). The kitchen and breakfast nook share the same ceiling line and are open to this room except for a support wall for about 10' and measure 10x28. Additionally there is a dining room attached that is 10x11 with a 10' ceiling with a tray. Also there is the entry way that is 10x8 with a ceiling sloping from 15' to the 22'.

I know that I can't afford the proper sub(s) for the room and/or my wife would never allow me to have that many even if I could afford them. Basically like everyone I want the best my money can buy. Luckily I am don't listen to things at reference level nor do I seek the highest spl I can get.
post #13 of 17
The Hsu's of today are very well built and offer 7 year warranty on the driver, definitely a huge step above what they had many years ago. They also have a new series of STF box sub out now, priced from $299-$599, although soon to come is piano black VTF-3 ver2 for $799 (shipping included in preorder stage). The best thing you can do it do a quick search on the forum for opinions. ADIRE has some offerings in this range too, and I am sure there are other companies too like av123.
post #14 of 17
Even though you may not demand high SPL levels, with a room that large, a PC+ would be better because of the driver and amplification over the PCi series, plus you could buy a 25-31PC+ and tune it down to 20hz or 16hz if you so desire. There's no way it's gonna be too much, even with two, if you add another in the future. You can't "tune" the PCi series once you have it. I've never heard build quality problems for Hsu and many say the box (VTF-3R) is beautiful. You do get a trial 45-day period, 30 for Hsu, so if you were utterly unhappy you could return it and be out shipping, but I'd bet the shipping you won't.
post #15 of 17
no downside to an equalizer that i can think of. it reads room frequencies and flattens them out. 2 subs would probably be your best bet though. that can even out your room's problems significantly. it doesnt sound like your room is that bad accoustically, just big. do you have hardwood floors, hard walls and little furnishing? is your house one of those modern designs without any furnishing? my parents have a big room for the basement but they put so much crap in the room i doubt putting a sub in there would be a problem.
unless your room actually is accoustically challeged i would go for the 2 subwoofer option.
look into HSU's TN 1220. IMO that is the best dual subwoofer option out there. these are really tall, but very skinny and can be placed anywhere. also, they can be put on there side, possibly under a couch and out of site
post #16 of 17
There is a forum sponsor that sells subs built into furniture. Perhaps you could get two of those and they are accepting to wives.
post #17 of 17
If you are going to do an EQ, this will obviously eat in to your budget. Also, you are really more concerned with the bottom end. Therefore get a parametric (not graphic) EQ and MAKE SURE that all of the bands (4-5) are identical and can cover all of the frequencies.

Look at things like

Rane PE-17
Symetrix 551E (I own one of these)

Understand that these are single channel solutions. If you go with 2 subs in different places in the room, you will likely want/need to EQ them differently - again great performance, more $$$.

Also understand that these are pro pieces and you MUST use balanced inputs/outputs. If you don't have balanced, get something like the Symetrix 303 active matching transformer. Don't bother with a passive one. If your sub does not take balanced ins, you'll need another one to take it back to HiZ RCA connection. The one bright spot is that the 303 is 2 channel and can be had for a reasonable price (~$125).

What is does give you is the ability to have 5 totally tailored bands (center frequency, slope, width) ANYWHERE you want. I run all 5 of mine below 50 Hz to tune the room down to the gnat's ass.
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