Originally Posted by Longhorn69
This write-up got a little long so I’m adding a quick summary:
• I’m not a shill for Rythmik in fact I had never heard of them until less than a month ago
• I tested both the FV15HP and the EV15 from Rythmik and found both to sound fantastic. I also think they are an amazing value for the money.
• My goal was to decide between ported and sealed and between one sub and two. For me, one ported sub (FV15HP) was the way to go. I’m thrilled with the sound.
• Brian Ding at Rythmik was amazing to work with in helping me determine what worked best for my room.
A while back I started a thread on this forum asking for help deciding between SVS and Hsu as my leading contenders for a subwoofer upgrade. Before that thread devolved into a painful back-and-forth about the merits of various published measurements by various sub manufacturers, I got some very useful insight / advice. (No insult intended to anyone involved in that thread.)
The 2 key things that came up were: 1) I needed to be considering whether I should go with a sealed or a ported sub (because I had kind of been comparing apples and oranges in my initial thinking). 2) I should consider Rythmik Audio (because they make great subs and because they are local to me in Austin, TX).
Quick side bar: Austin has a famous slogan… Keep Austin Weird. Which is all about supporting local businesses. I’ve always been in favor of that, but even more so since my wife now owns and runs a local business. So considering buying from Rythmik was a no brainer for me.
After checking out the website and zeroing in on a couple of models as contenders I contacted Brian Ding (Owner / Inventor /All around great guy) to get more information and ultimately to set up an in home audition.
I swung by Rythmik’s office space and picked up an FV15HP (ported) and E15HP (sealed). My intension was to compare the ported to the sealed and to determine whether I should move from 1 sub to 2 for my 18.5 x 21 foot dedicated theater space. I thought there was a very good chance that I’d end up keeping both subs. (Note that given my room’s configuration and current wiring, I positioned the FV15 in the front right corner and the E15 in the back left corner (those are really my only options given the space I have and the size of these monster subs – especially the FV15).
Holy Cow was I blown away! My prior experience has been with a 10 inch Def Tech sub and then a Velodyne DD12. The Velodyne really sounded good but did leave me thinking I could go bigger for my sizable room. I was right. The Rythmik combo rocked my house like I didn’t think possible. But they also sounded under control and “tight”. I did some comparisons between each of the subs individually as well as together. I found that the much larger, ported, FV15 definitely went lower, but to my ears with no sacrifice in sound quality, control, etc. Even with music I was very happy with the sound of the ported sub, so at least for me the question of ported vs. sealed really just came down to the ability to go lower/ louder for movies. The FV15 clearly won in that regard.
As great as things sounded when I used both subs together, I was not confident that the 2 subs were dialed-in as best they could be for my space. I called Brian, and talked through my concerns and he agreed to come to my house and help.
Talk about fantastic service and going the extra mile! Brian arrived with an SPL Meter and tripod (more sophisticated than my SPL from Radio Shack) and a disk containing test tones from 150hz to 10hz. He walked me through the process of configuring the subs and measuring the output across the frequency spectrum. This process led to a couple of interesting realizations.
First, my room has “bump” of about 15db in the 30-40hz range. Which I actually kind of appreciate, it really gets things rocking when the bombs start dropping. The only downside is that when you are listening to tone sweeps down below 30hz it makes it feel like the drop-off down to 20hz and then 15hz is really steep. The subs were still outputting strongly at those low frequencies but “by ear” it felt like a big fall-off compared to the bolstered sound at 30hz. That was noticeable at my listening position but disappeared when measuring or listening “near-field” right at the subwoofers.
Next, we discovered that in my particular situation adding a second sub was really not providing the gain one might expect.
I’m absolutely convinced that my room is the cause. Part of the reason is very likely that I have some room treatments in the back left corner where the E15 was positioned that are reducing its output somewhat. It is also probably because the FV15 was just filling the room so fully. Whatever the reason, to Brian’s credit, he was very upfront about what the numbers were saying. He didn’t try to “sell” me on the value of using both subs, or anything like that. He simply laid out the numbers and said that ultimately it was up to me to decide if the modest gains provided by having both subs would be worth it to me.
I kept both subs for another week or so in order to do some A/B comparisons of specific real-world material with just the FV15 and with both subs. I listened to the climactic scene from Skyfall (Bond’s childhood home is leveled in a massive room shaking series of explosions) as well as the classic depth charge scene from U-451. I also just watched / listened to a bunch of TV and music. In the end I determined that I could not hear enough of a difference when I added the E15 to the mix. So the E15 was returned.
I may try to integrate a 2nd sub (likely a second FV15) when I can drop a second run of wire to the front of my theater to have both subs up front and when I have a more advanced 7.2 processor that can help better integrate a second sub. But for now I’m thrilled with the FV15HP and I’m thrilled with the service I got from Rythmik!
I’m sure that (as much as possible) the service I received will be replicated whether you live in Austin or not. So if you are not lucky enough to have a world-class designer and manufacturer of subwoofers based in your town, I highly recommend calling Brian at Rythmik. (Even if you do, you should still consider Rythmik.)
JVC DLA-RSe5u projector
Stewart Studio Tek 130 G3 Screen (123”)
B&K AVR 507
Oppo BDP-93, PS3, Mac Mini HTPC & DirecTv
Definitive Technology Speakers (Powered Bi-polar for the front 3)