Musical, meaty and under $600? A subwoofer recommendation. - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 20 Old 02-14-2014, 07:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Hello!

Recently my ancient Paradigm PDR-10 blew and now I'm in the market for a new subwoofer to go with my existing home theater/music setup. I thought I'd hit up the resident geniuses here for help and reassurance. The system it would be going into includes:
  • B&W DM602 S3 mains
  • B&W LCR60 S3 center
  • B&W DM601 as surround channels
  • Denon AVR-1712 Receiver (which has Audyssey MultEQ XT room calibration)
  • Sources include Blu-ray and a music server with an Asus Xonar STX audio card.

My basic set of requirements/considerations are:
  • 50/50 split of music listening and movie watching, although musical performance is overall more important to me.
  • The music I listen to tends towards the more bassy end of things (ie, hip hop, funk/rock, electronica). If you want an example of the most bass-heavy music I listen to, check out 'Hydrogen' by M|O|O|N
  • The outgoing Paradigm PDR-10 was frankly too boomy for my tastes, so I'm looking into a sealed, more musical sounding subwoofer.
  • I live in a roughly 450 square foot studio apartment in NYC, so I need something that can perform well in a less-than-ideal room.
  • Along those lines, adjacency issues prevent me from enjoying super-loud, super-low bass, so I'd prefer something tight and fast.
  • I plan on using the Audyssey MultEQ XT feature of my AVR to integrate the subwoofer into the system.
  • Budget is $600 or below.

Right now I'm considering one of the following:
  • SVS SB-1000: currently the front runner, given the exceptional reviews I've read and the DSP features. The fact that SVS sells $50 rubber feet does kind of worry me, however.
  • HSU VTF-2 MK4: sounds like an absolute monster, but reasonably musical with both ports closed.
  • A used B&W ASW 610 or equivalent from ebay: they can be had for under $600, but performance is a big question.
  • An entry level REL: not sure which model yet, I'd probably hit up Stereo Exchange in Manhattan to investigate further.

Given my setup, requirements and so on, which sub would you go with and why? Suggestions beyond what I've listed are very welcome, as are any helpful comments/suggestions on how to proceed with my setup.

Thanks!

- A
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post #2 of 20 Old 02-14-2014, 07:38 AM
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The SVS pb12-nd is now $600 delivered. I've not heard it, but people say it's the best for that price.

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post #3 of 20 Old 02-14-2014, 07:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcwhammie View Post

The SVS pb12-nd is now $600 delivered. I've not heard it, but people say it's the best for that price.

+1

This would be a step up over the HSU VTF-2 MK4, more comparable to the VTF-3 MK4 in class.

The compact sealed SVS SB-1000 would be too small for your room. The PB12-NSD would perform very well in that space. Here is a review: http://www.audioholics.com/subwoofer-reviews/pb12-nsd And here they review the B&W ASW 610XP: http://www.audioholics.com/subwoofer-reviews/asw-610xp/asw-610xp-measurements The PB12 has much better output below 40hz with solid extension down to 20hz, which is great for movie watching. A definitive improvement over your Paradigm PDR-10. smile.gif

I'd ignore REL subs. You'll pay a premium for the brand name.

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post #4 of 20 Old 02-14-2014, 08:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcwhammie View Post

The SVS pb12-nd is now $600 delivered. I've not heard it, but people say it's the best for that price.

+1, this is a great price!!
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post #5 of 20 Old 02-14-2014, 08:38 AM
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Another vote for the PB12NSD for $600 shipped.

Shawn
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post #6 of 20 Old 02-14-2014, 08:49 AM
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Does anyone know if that is a permanent price drop or just a temporary sale?
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post #7 of 20 Old 02-14-2014, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by emerson1 View Post

Does anyone know if that is a permanent price drop or just a temporary sale?

Close out. They've come out with a new model and are trying to eliminate the stock. Best to call them and find out how much stock they have if you are not ready to buy right now.

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post #8 of 20 Old 02-14-2014, 09:10 AM
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I'll have to do that. At worst try it out and see how it compares. I'm thinking of upgrading from a PL-200 if I can sale it for a decent price.
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post #9 of 20 Old 02-14-2014, 12:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for all the helpful replies. Getting a better model from last year's SVS lineup sounds like a great idea. A question for those of you recommending the SVS PD12-ND: I noticed the SB12-NSD is also on sale for the same price ($599), would you recommend that as well? The reason I ask is that I'm heavily leaning towards a sealed sub, both because I really want something fast and tight, and because I don't really have the room to position a ported sub away from the wall so that it can 'breathe' properly. (Basically, the sub would have to be about 8 inches from the wall, in a corner.)

Another question: I've gotten a couple of recommendations for subs from Rythmik Audio, in particular the LV12R. Does anyone have experience with that, relative to the SVS models of a comparable price? I realize the LV12R is ported, but perhaps there is an entry level sealed box in their line up that might suit me.

Regardless, sounds like REL is out of contention. Thanks everyone!
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post #10 of 20 Old 02-14-2014, 12:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grizzledyoungman View Post

Thanks everyone for all the helpful replies. Getting a better model from last year's SVS lineup sounds like a great idea. A question for those of you recommending the SVS PD12-ND: I noticed the SB12-NSD is also on sale for the same price ($599), would you recommend that as well? The reason I ask is that I'm heavily leaning towards a sealed sub, both because I really want something fast and tight, and because I don't really have the room to position a ported sub away from the wall so that it can 'breathe' properly. (Basically, the sub would have to be about 8 inches from the wall, in a corner.)

Another question: I've gotten a couple of recommendations for subs from Rythmik Audio, in particular the LV12R. Does anyone have experience with that, relative to the SVS models of a comparable price? I realize the LV12R is ported, but perhaps there is an entry level sealed box in their line up that might suit me.

Regardless, sounds like REL is out of contention. Thanks everyone!

I asked a similar question in an PB12-NSD vs. LV12R thread I started this morning that hasn't gotten any responses yet. One of the data points I liked about the LV12R is that as a result of its servo design, it's often described as having some of the benefits of a sealed design despite being ported.

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post #11 of 20 Old 02-14-2014, 12:24 PM - Thread Starter
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@niccolo - yeah, I find subwoofer shopping really difficult. So many difference approaches, and listening at the dealer is virtually useless because of how important setup and calibration is for subs. I do generally like the idea of going with an internet-direct sales company like Rythmik or SVS, as my experience with dealers has been underwhelming at best.
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post #12 of 20 Old 02-14-2014, 12:35 PM
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Your space is really big. A 12" sealed sub doesn't make sense to me for a big studio apartment.

Your questions are answered: Speaker FAQ
Living room HT: Energy RC-50, Ascend Sierra Horizon w/RAAL, Ascend Sierra 1, PSB Imagine XA | PSA V1500 and CHT SS 18.1 | Denon X4200W | modified Dayton SA1000
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post #13 of 20 Old 02-14-2014, 12:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Your space is really big. A 12" sealed sub doesn't make sense to me for a big studio apartment.

I've gotten this feedback a couple of times, and I'll admit it surprises me. I get the feeling that lots of people prefer way more pressure and intensity than I do from their bass, but I may be mistaken. Either way, a bigger sub is out of my budget - unless there is something I'm overlooking.
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post #14 of 20 Old 02-14-2014, 01:15 PM
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If you have the funds you could buy a pb12-nd and a sb12-nd. Svs has a 45 day return policy with free shipping each way. You could audition both and choose the one that best fits your needs. Then ship the other back to them and get your money back.

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post #15 of 20 Old 02-14-2014, 01:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grizzledyoungman View Post

I've gotten this feedback a couple of times, and I'll admit it surprises me. I get the feeling that lots of people prefer way more pressure and intensity than I do from their bass, but I may be mistaken. Either way, a bigger sub is out of my budget - unless there is something I'm overlooking.

Audioholics recommends the sub for rooms up to 3,000 cubic feet in their review with their bassaholic rating: http://www.audioholics.com/subwoofer-reviews/sb12-nsd-subwoofer/sb12-nsd-conclusion

I have the smaller SB-1000. Based upon what I have heard about the additional output of the SB12, and then my experience with a 10" ported sub with similar output, it's expecting a lot for a sub to work well in that size space. For normal moderate listening, probably fine. But for cranking the music up or watching movies with high dynamics, you could potentially be pushing it to its limits a lot.

That being said, the SB12 does come with a great limiter that would prevent you from over driving it. My experience with the SB-1000 is that it's great for music. Not so much for HT because it doesn't have good 20hz extension. Of course your neighbors might prefer that. (lol)
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcwhammie View Post

If you have the funds you could buy a pb12-nd and a sb12-nd. Svs has a 45 day return policy with free shipping each way. You could audition both and choose the one that best fits your needs. Then ship the other back to them and get your money back.

Yep. SVS has a good in home trial policy. You might consider ordering both the SB12 and the PB12, demo them both, and send one back. Problem solved smile.gif

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post #16 of 20 Old 02-14-2014, 01:59 PM
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 I don't really have the room to position a ported sub away from the wall so that it can 'breathe' properly. (Basically, the sub would have to be about 8 inches from the wall, in a corner.)

 

My ported sub is about 2" from the walls in a corner. The port is on the front, so it does not matter at all.  The ported 12" svs sub will have very similar output to the sealed sub from 35Hz up.  However, it will simply have a lot more output from there down.

 

If you simply don't want a ported sub and want to keep it much smaller, then go sealed, as long as you realize you will give up low frequency output in exchange.

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post #17 of 20 Old 02-14-2014, 02:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grizzledyoungman View Post

I've gotten this feedback a couple of times, and I'll admit it surprises me. I get the feeling that lots of people prefer way more pressure and intensity than I do from their bass, but I may be mistaken. Either way, a bigger sub is out of my budget - unless there is something I'm overlooking.

I wonder about this also. But I'm uncertain whether a modest sized subwoofer in a large space would give me good-sounding but just less loud/intense bass, or whether it would sound thin/anemic.

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post #18 of 20 Old 02-14-2014, 06:08 PM
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You might want to check out these guys. They are a new company but they have sealed subs with dual 12" drivers for $400 and $500 for the upgraded "turbo" models. Also a discount on two subs.
http://reaction-audio.myshopify.com/collections/frontpage
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post #19 of 20 Old 02-14-2014, 06:09 PM
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Your space is really big. A 12" sealed sub doesn't make sense to me for a big studio apartment.


I've gotten this feedback a couple of times, and I'll admit it surprises me. I get the feeling that lots of people prefer way more pressure and intensity than I do from their bass, but I may be mistaken. Either way, a bigger sub is out of my budget - unless there is something I'm overlooking.

 

 

The reason you have gotten this feedback is that sealed subs are not flat to as low of a frequency without room gain as an equivalent ported sub.  For example, the PB12 will be relatively flat down to 18Hz with no room gain.  The SB 12 will only be relatively flat to about 30Hz without room.  Your room is too large to provide the room gain necessary for a relatively small sub, so this should not be a surprise.

 

If you want the sub primarily for music, and need a small sub, the sealed version will work just fine, and will of course be much smaller.  If you want a sub that works fine with music, but also offers strong 20-30Hz output for movies, then ported is the way to go, hence peoples recommendations.

 

The good news, all the subs you are interested in...PB12-NSD, SB12-NSD, LV12R, have all been around a while, are popular subs, and have a lot of reviews and published test data that will help you make your own decision as to which sub will work best for you.  But hopefully the above helps to explain why people are recommending ported for your application.

 

I would certainly look into the Rythmik as well to see if the servo design will be up your alley.  However, due to the uncertainty you are feeling, keep in mind a company that offers a one year trade up might not be a bad idea.  After all, how many forum members do you see that bought a sub and never upgraded for ten years............most stair step themselves up quite a bit.

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post #20 of 20 Old 02-15-2014, 08:22 AM
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I'd concur with Bear. A ported sub will hold about a 10db advantage over a sealed at it's tuning point. Sealed subs require a lot of EQ/boost to flatten out their response, which is fine if you're running multiples with big power; not so much if going singles (especially in a largish room). The only advantage of sealed, IMO, is the smaller footprint; and of course the ability to dig really deep (which doesn't apply to your situation).

The purpose of listening shouldn't be to respond as much as it should be to understand.
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