2nd Subwoofer versus Motion Actuator - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 31 Old 07-03-2016, 04:34 PM - Thread Starter
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2nd Subwoofer versus Motion Actuator

What is your advice on the value of adding a second subwoofer OR adding motion actuators? You all have probably done both - what were you most happy with?

Below are some pros and cons I've come up with. Have I missed some consideration?

Second subwoofer
~$1000
Helps to even out any nulls/peaks in frequency response
Low WAF
Lowers bass distortion
May or may not increase tactile response
Everyone in room benefits
Can be hard to integrate two subs

Motion Actuators
~$1500
Can have tactile response even at low volumes
Only one or two people can feel
No worries about WAF
Butt Kickers are cheaper but not as good.
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post #2 of 31 Old 07-03-2016, 05:35 PM
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$1500 for bass shakers?! Are you high?! That's friggin insane!

I have both. Both have their place. But what you want/need is the second sub. Bass shakers are for when the kids are asleep and they are cool. VERY effective. But at the same time, after a spell, are gimmicky. In fact, I don't even use the 2 that I have mounted in my recliner anymore. In fact, I haven't used them in at least the last 3-4 years.

I think you'll gain a whole lot more enjoyment from having a second sub.

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post #3 of 31 Old 07-03-2016, 05:38 PM
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Go with two subwoofers and the Crowson Tactile Transducer System.
Adding a second sub will provide smoother bass response and the Crowsons are capable of extending all the way down to 1Hz.
Very few subwoofers, if any, are capable of doing that.

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post #4 of 31 Old 07-03-2016, 05:38 PM
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Oh, and it isn't difficult to integrate 2 subs. It is very easy. At least for me it is.

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post #5 of 31 Old 07-03-2016, 05:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squirrel! View Post
$1500 for bass shakers?! Are you high?! That's friggin insane!

I have both. Both have their place. But what you want/need is the second sub. Bass shakers are for when the kids are asleep and they are cool. VERY effective. But at the same time, after a spell, are gimmicky. In fact, I don't even use the 2 that I have mounted in my recliner anymore. In fact, I haven't used them in at least the last 3-4 years.

I think you'll gain a whole lot more enjoyment from having a second sub.
He's probably talking about Crowsons, which are not cheap:
http://www.crowsontech.com/go/crowsontech/3450/en-US/DesktopDefault.aspx?Alias=crowsontech&TabID=3450&l ang=en-us
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post #6 of 31 Old 07-03-2016, 05:50 PM
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He may be. I'm certainly not impressed. See, the problem with bass shakers, no matter the placement nor how low they can go, they transmit voices as well. And THAT is really the deal breaker. And you can't avoid it unless you have a specific channel(s) for the lows only. And no, the LFE out on an AVR where it just combines ALL the bass (or lower frequencies if you want to be a stickler about it ) isn't the same thing as I am referring to.

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post #7 of 31 Old 07-03-2016, 05:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coolcat4843 View Post
Go with two subwoofers and the Crowson Tactile Transducer System.
Adding a second sub will provide smoother bass response and the Crowsons are capable of extending all the way down to 1Hz.
Very few subwoofers, if any, are capable of doing that.
Exactly. Cost aside, going this route gives you everything.
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post #8 of 31 Old 07-03-2016, 05:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squirrel! View Post
$1500 for bass shakers?! Are you high?! That's friggin insane!

I have both. Both have their place. But what you want/need is the second sub. Bass shakers are for when the kids are asleep and they are cool. VERY effective. But at the same time, after a spell, are gimmicky. In fact, I don't even use the 2 that I have mounted in my recliner anymore. In fact, I haven't used them in at least the last 3-4 years.

I think you'll gain a whole lot more enjoyment from having a second sub.
Clearly your severely uneducated when it comes to this stuff. He said Motion Actuators not bass shakers. No comparison between them.
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post #9 of 31 Old 07-03-2016, 06:36 PM
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Clearly, I have no clue what I am talking about.

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post #10 of 31 Old 07-03-2016, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by coolrda View Post
Exactly. Cost aside, going this route gives you everything.
Clearly, you are ignorant as to just what "everything" means.

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Originally Posted by Squirrel! View Post
Clearly, you are ignorant as to just what "everything" means.
Do tell.
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post #12 of 31 Old 07-03-2016, 06:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XBR11 View Post

Motion Actuators
~$1500

No worries about WAF
'Hey honey! Mind if we raise the furniture to place on a hotplate that sits on the carpet?'

I think you'd have more difficulty with WAF using that hot plate and wires all over the floor, than a second sub that doesn't require the raising of furniture.

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post #13 of 31 Old 07-03-2016, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by coolrda View Post
Do tell.
Already did.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squirrel! View Post
'Hey honey! Mind if we raise the furniture to place on a hotplate that sits on the carpet?'

I think you'd have more difficulty with WAF using that hot plate and wires all over the floor, than a second sub that doesn't require the raising of furniture.
Hehehe. We got a real winner here fellas.
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post #15 of 31 Old 07-03-2016, 06:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coolcat4843 View Post
Go with two subwoofers and the Crowson Tactile Transducer System.
Adding a second sub will provide smoother bass response and the Crowsons are capable of extending all the way down to 1Hz.
Very few subwoofers, if any, are capable of doing that.
This makes no difference here or in the real world, but for prosperity's sake: The actuators themselves could go down to 1 Hz, but their amplifier can only go to 10 Hz according to the Owners Guide. So I figure the system can only go down to 10 Hz.

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post #16 of 31 Old 07-03-2016, 06:54 PM
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We have multiple subs. It really helps to smooth out the bass. That being said. We used to have twin 13" SVS drivers that would literally shake the house. After a neighbor came over to ask if we were OK, I sold them and went with an HSU and several smaller subs (Energy, Polk and Boston). Then I added Buttkickers to the seating. The transducers have a little resting platform that the couch legs sit on. Completely hidden under the furniture. Now when the rockets take off, or the storms rage, we have the "feeling" (without worrying about the neighbors or the windows)
Just about the best "bang for the butt" (HT humor) upgrade I have experienced.
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post #17 of 31 Old 07-03-2016, 06:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squirrel! View Post
'Hey honey! Mind if we raise the furniture to place on a hotplate that sits on the carpet?'
I think you'd have more difficulty with WAF using that hot plate and wires all over the floor, than a second sub that doesn't require the raising of furniture. [IMG]https://www.avsforum.com//forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif[/IMG
Good general point. Thank you.
In my specific case, the intended chair sits on a tile floor while between the front of the chair and the system is an area rug. And in that area I already have WAF to run wires.
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post #18 of 31 Old 07-03-2016, 07:58 PM
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IMO, here's how all upgradeitus should look like:
  1. First sub (focus on achieving your output and extension you want)
  2. Second sub (focus on smoothing response for Sound Quality)
  3. Measuring Gear (REW/Mic or Omnimic, Vibsensor): If you don't get these, YOU ARE GUESSING and potentially making bad decisions hereon after.
  4. Optimize Frequency Response and Tactile Response with sub placement (nearfield/farfield). Once you have it the best you can, then your FR and TR should tell you what the next steps should be after that.

Next steps could be the MA...could be more subs...could be different subs.

To me, in order of priority:

FR (or SQ) then SPL then TR

Why? Boomy bass will ruin an HT experience even though the TR may be there. That's why FR/SQ is first, then TR.
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post #19 of 31 Old 07-04-2016, 12:45 AM
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Originally Posted by XBR11 View Post
This makes no difference here or in the real world, but for prosperity's sake: The actuators themselves could go down to 1 Hz, but their amplifier can only go to 10 Hz according to the Owners Guide. So I figure the system can only go down to 10 Hz.
It doesn't mean there's no output below 10hz. It's just the amp rating. Amps are rating 5-20khz +-1db or 3db. With my EP4000 I get strong output to 5hz and decent output to 2hz. Their system goes below 10hz.

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post #20 of 31 Old 07-04-2016, 06:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by dominguez1 View Post
IMO, here's how all upgradeitus should look like:
  1. First sub (focus on achieving your output and extension you want)
    Second sub (focus on smoothing response for Sound Quality)
    Measuring Gear (REW/Mic or Omnimic, Vibsensor): If you don't get these, YOU ARE GUESSING and potentially making bad decisions hereon after.
    Optimize Frequency Response and Tactile Response with sub placement (nearfield/farfield). Once you have it the best you can, then your FR and TR should tell you what the next steps should be after that.

Next steps could be the MA...could be more subs...could be different subs.

To me, in order of priority:

FR (or SQ) then SPL then TR

Why? Boomy bass will ruin an HT experience even though the TR may be there. That's why FR/SQ is first, then TR.
Thank you for the voice of reason. Of course you are correct IF we were being logical, conservative, and disciplined in our approach to this addiction. But if we had those attributes then we wouldn't be addicted. We're all crazy on this bus!
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post #21 of 31 Old 07-04-2016, 06:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coolrda View Post
It doesn't mean there's no output below 10hz. It's just the amp rating. Amps are rating 5-20khz +-1db or 3db. With my EP4000 I get strong output to 5hz and decent output to 2hz. Their system goes below 10hz.
Thank you for that correction.
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post #22 of 31 Old 07-04-2016, 06:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squirrel! View Post
... the problem with bass shakers, no matter the placement nor how low they can go, they transmit voices as well. And THAT is really the deal breaker. And you can't avoid it unless you have a specific channel(s) for the lows only.
Is this correct? That would be distracting (except when certain actors with deep voices were talking, such as James Earl Jones, or Michael Clarke Duncan, or Ving Rhames)

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post #23 of 31 Old 07-04-2016, 09:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote from here
Quote:
Originally Posted by Secret Squirrel View Post
After following this thread about the Beringer 1200D subwoofer used as a mid bass module I became very interested in trying it out. I've always been interested in the idea of a near field MBM. Several others in the thread have multiple or a handful of large subwoofers in their room. I have six fifteens in my theater but never really had the mid bass I was looking for. I also have large mains with fifteen inch woofers. I have tried all sorts of different calibrations and crossovers. I even moved the entire room around which took me nearly two weeks to move everything and rewire the system. The sound improved but I still thought it could be even better. Especially in the music department.

A couple of days ago I got a Beringer 1200D subwoofer. Instead of placing it behind my couch I placed it on the wall just to the right side of my couch. That distance is about 2ft from the LP. The driver and ports are firing across the LP at your feet. I think this is a good way to place these subs versus a rear placement. Placing the MBM behind the couch will work. But I think the couch will act as an absorber. So some of the subs energy is wasted.

Next I got the subwoofer up and running. I was amazed at how well this subwoofer performs. It completely changed the way my system sounds. Now it has very accurate, tight mid bass. One of these subwoofers would of probably done fine. But I decided to add a second Beringer 1200D subwoofer. I placed the second MBM right next to the other one. Adding the second one just put the icing on the cake. Music sounds live. It has a very clean warm sound. You can feel the guitars and the drum kick as well. It wasn't that difficult to blend all of my other subwoofers with the two MBM's.

I highly recommend adding one of these MBM's to your system.
After reading this, thinking that a third option would be a Behringer 1200D subwoofer for $310 ($300 + $10 for RCA to XLR cable).

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post #24 of 31 Old 07-04-2016, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by XBR11 View Post
Is this correct? That would be distracting (except when certain actors with deep voices were talking, such as James Earl Jones, or Michael Clarke Duncan, or Ving Rhames)
With bass shakers, yes. Motion Actuators hell no!.... I've listened to a system with crowsons at reference and no voices were coming out of them at all...... They are is a completely different league to Buttkickers/Auras.... I have experienced all of them.... And I absolutely love the crowsons.... So much so I'm pulling the finger on them this week

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post #25 of 31 Old 07-04-2016, 11:34 AM
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Though I've seen you on several threads, I'm not sure if REW is one of them. If you don't have measurements, then you should start there.
If you have only one seating position that matters (as is the case in my house, where my wife couldn't care less), then only one sub would probably be okay. I have 2 15's aimed right at me, supporting the TV. Looks good, works well, measures fine.
I also have ButtKickers under my chair. If you look carefully, you can tell that that part of the sectional is about an inch higher than the rest, but you wouldn't notice if you're not looking for it; probably depends on your furniture. The BK system I bought has a wireless adapter, but I didn't play with it much since I already had a cable run, so I can't tell you how well it works (though wiring is not a problem for you either, it appears). That said, I know my BKs only start "kicking" below mid-40sHz, and have never responded to voices. As with most things, you can overdo it, but I have found a setting that works well for most things. I've heard there are better systems out there, but this was a good bang for the buck/butt (I like that one!).
That said, I have an Ultimax 10 kit waiting for me to assemble to put right behind my chair. So I'll (eventually) be able to let you know if a nearfield sub makes much of a difference. And I'll be able to measure the difference with REW and VibSensor, which should also be interesting.
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post #26 of 31 Old 07-04-2016, 11:56 AM - Thread Starter
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I have UMIK/REW but I've only had the chance (so far) to make one measurement. I did post it. I find REW hard to understand their instructions. Hard to find the alone time. Not knocking REW. Plan to use UMIK/REW to compute a EQ correction and load into my unused NanoAVR HD.

Twice today I've loaded the Behringer into my shopping cart. But so far no purchase. Also it is kinda ugly for a home. It does have the lowest cost.

I think I'd like the Crowson MA the most because I could get the feeling without the increase in SPL. But I'd dislike the cost the most. Never see anyone selling these used.

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post #27 of 31 Old 07-04-2016, 12:02 PM
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Just follow Jerry's guide:
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/91-aud...l#post22823228
You can ignore some of the esoteric discussions on the thread for the time being. The basic stuff will get you 95% of the way there.
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post #28 of 31 Old 07-04-2016, 12:04 PM
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post #29 of 31 Old 07-05-2016, 10:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coolrda View Post
It doesn't mean there's no output below 10hz. It's just the amp rating. Amps are rating 5-20khz +-1db or 3db. With my EP4000 I get strong output to 5hz and decent output to 2hz. Their system goes below 10hz.
Is this true for most amps? I ask because I recently installed a Clark TST329 powered with the amp from a Mirage MM6 and when I ran ULF test tones, there's nothing under 30hz.
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post #30 of 31 Old 07-05-2016, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by wpbpete View Post
Is this true for most amps? I ask because I recently installed a Clark TST329 powered with the amp from a Mirage MM6 and when I ran ULF test tones, there's nothing under 30hz.
Is that the small 6" subwoofer? If so thats not surprising as it should have a high pass filter. You'll have to replace the amp to have output below 30hz.

Last edited by coolrda; 07-05-2016 at 12:22 PM.
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