Originally Posted by Joshua Chmiel
I finally got my house basement setup for a home theater this last fall and pulled my almost 20 year old stuff out of storage. I use to have this setup in an apartment. I upgraded my receiver to an Onkyo TX-RZ720, bought the tv stand and LG OLED 65". I got a LG UP870 4k blu-ray player. My speakers are JBL S312 L/R, S-Center, S38 rears, Yamaha NS-AW1 top, and a Yamaha YST-SW90 sub. For the most part my sub does good. I don't remember it having problems before I put into storage and now I notice an unpleasant sound on certain points with Dolby Atmos tracks in particular. As an example with the demonstration file "Amaze" where it is the thunderstom and it says "Sound You Can Feel" and transitions to where it says "Powerful Bass" my sub emits a sound that one local retailer referred to as burping. I have heard the clip in a local Atmos Demonstration room and the sound was more felt than heard with none of that unpleasant sound. They were of course running a 7.4.4 setup with GoldenEar speakers where one tower alone cost more than I spent so far. Another good example clip of where my existing sub sounds great and perfect to me is the movie Unbroken. The scene where they are going into the bombing run and flak is going off with bullets zinging by and the impact when they fire their own machine guns sounds incredible to me. I tried listening to the SVS line PB-1000, PB-2000, PC-2000, SB13 at the only local SVS retailer, and they all did the "burping" sound. Oddly enough they had a Definitive Technology Super Cube 2000 sitting in between the PC-2000 and SB13 that sounded not quite as loud or felt as much but was cleaner in reproducing that sound in that clip. In another room they had a Super Cube 4000 that did a little better but when they started the demo was getting a bad vibration sound and they took off the top plastic cover which has me questioning quality of the brand. My listening area is 10'x11'x8' open to the left in a 11'x18' room. In front I have 14" of space available on either side of my towers. On either side of my seating I have 24". Behind my seating (where my sub is now) I have 24" low, but because my back angles I only have 16" high.
So I am looking for recommendations of a subwoofer replacement that will be able to do everything. Is it a case where if I got a higher wattage sub than mine with similar frequency ratings I could turn the volume down so it doesn't sound distorted at those frequencies yet still be loud enough to sound great like mine does in Unbroken? Are Definitive Technology subs actually good and they just had an abused one? I keep reading how good SVS subs are, is it just them being poorly setup? One big thing I didn't like about the higher end SVS subs is their grill covers. I have a spray I have used on my cloth grills to train my cats to leave them alone. I can see my cats puncturing the woofer or surround with such a huge opening at top on the SVS. Since I have a small room get one very good one or buy 2? My ideal budget is less than $1000, less the better of course. I am willing to go max $1500 for the right set up. Thank you in advance.
Yes sir that Dolby Amaze clip has ultra strong bass down into the single digits but is centered around 11-14hz the strongest. This clip has been known to eat drivers in very "Real Subs" in the DIY community. You will have a hard time finding a sub at any retail store that will cleanly play back the bass on that clip that is not sealed or if ported tuned very low like the Rythmik Fv15HP. A few of the SVS subs like the Ultra's of maybe the new 4000 series possibly in the ported lineup or maybe some of the sealed models could handle it. I'm with the others who mentioned it before that if you are looking to upgrade I would stay away from SVS or any of the store brands and focus on brands like Rythmik, Psa or JTR. Personally I would stretch your budget to the max $1500 and buy the best sub or 2 that I could afford now as a good sub will last you through several system iteritations/upgrades and is the anchor of any descent system. You will never regret buying all the sub/subs you can possibly afford now instead of trying to stay under $1000 and wishing (like all of us do eventually) down the road you had more sub again. Making that mistake will end up costing you more in the long run because if you skimp a bit now to later want more again you end up having the hassle of trying to sell off what you have, for a loss, then spend more on top of that to upgrade. Taking the plunge now and buying an ultra capable sub/ or pair of subs will ensure you can play back whatever is encoded to the soundtrack of any movie or clip no matter how hard it is to reproduce.
Modern soundtracks (Atmos especially) and some of the older ones too have bass that reaches down to the single digits and is mixed very loudly(I.E. War of the Worlds, Star Trek 2009, How to Train your Dragon, Blade Runner 2017, John Wick 1&2, Warcraft, Star Wars TFA & RO, Deadpool, Hacksaw Ridge just to name a few) and the hope is they get even stronger and use more ultra low frequencies as time goes on and mixing gets(hopefully) better, so the demand on any sub you buy will prob only get more intense as time goes on. Just like your old Yamaha sub(which is rated from 23-120hz but the lower limit of 23hz is probably the -10db point so by the time you get to 16hz it will basically have no response and will make dreadful noises trying to reproduce it, though above about 30hz it will have decent output) is not up to the task it seemed to handle before storage, future proofing as much as possible will ensure you the best experience and keep you from being in the same shape you are now some years down the road.
If I were in your position myself there are only a few options I would seriously consider within your $1500 budget and size requirements. I'll drop links below for you to research and hopefully set you on the right track for finding the experience you are looking for with modern soundtracks and clips like Amaze.
Large Single sub options: These will stretch your size limits and budget but will really perform when needed. These first 3 are the bigger and more expensive options but will quickly let you know where the extra money went.
A bit large and slightly over budget but a damn serious performer, from some would argue one of the best in the world, that will have you in bass ecstasy for many many years to come. If you can squeeze this one in it will be sure to over impress, play down deep and sound great doing it. You will never hear any distress noises from this sub and you would be close to being run out of the room from the sheer amount of the bass before getting close. Owner
is always around here at AVS and especially in the JTR subwoofer thread which I encourage you to read from start to finish to get an idea of the insane customer service and more importantly the world class bar setting performance that is JTR subwoofers. With a staggering line up of huge ULF monsters and also some of the best speakers in the world it's no wonder JTR is my first choice were I in your position. Mate that with the level of service Jeff provides(personally delivering and helping setup some folk speakers and subs and even replacing some people's drivers and amp past their warranty) and the choice starts to become easy if you can swing the size and budget. Easily my first choice close to your budget.
Second choice:Ported or Sealed
Known for their sound quality and low tuned ported subs with servo feedback Rythmik is a staple of the community here at AVS and there is a reason why. They make a great sub at a good value that down right perform to even high single digits frequencies without ever sounding distressed because of the servo feedback system. The FV15HP comes in just under budget in FV form(ported or sealed) and is even a bit cheaper in only F (sealed only) form. The ported enclosure is like 3 subs in one because of 2 tuning modes and a sealed more. Its a bit on the large size but plays with good output down low because of a lowest 12.5hz tuning freq. and a sealed mode. The sealed only F15HP is also a good performer but gives up a lot of output in the deep bass from 13-25hz area to the FV because of the larger enclosure in sealed mode and ports in ported. (Not sure where in the Rythmik food chain he falls but
works with them and is always present on the Offical Rythmik Audio Subwoofer Thread) This one could also be in the First Choice position if JTR didn't exist and depending on your priorities still could be i guess.
Third Choice: Sealed Dual Opposed
Another stellar performer that has great sound quality to match. This sub is a Dual Opposed design and utilizes 2 15" drivers horizontally opposed to reduce vibrations. This being a sealed design it will reach down to single digits with ease and with authority but will be down a few db in the 15-30hz area to the larger ported subs above because of that deeper extension . It comes in just over your budget and will prob only fit in one or two places in your room without moving things around a bit(same with the first 2 recommends above) but will make up for it just like the last 2 with performance. Owner
is a great resource for knowledge, is always happy to help and has already stopped by this thread(more below). PSA is known for a great trial period and stellar customer service. All components used are quality as is the build/finishes. PSA has a very large following here at AVS and its for a reason as they offer a lot of performance for your dollar with sound quality to match. Once again this one just gets beat out for first choice because once again JTR exists, but if you can't make one of the first 2 fit in your room and want something a bit more powerful than the Rythmik F15hp this one could still be also.
First choice: Ported or Sealed Duals(2 Subs)
Known for no nonsense designs that consistently review well in the press and from owners HSU research makes good performing good looking subs. This and a few other Hsu designs are like buying 3 subs in one because of the 2 tuning modes and sealed mode also. A bit over your budget but well worth it, 2 of the VTF-3Mk5HP's would allow for near equal output but maybe not quite as low as some of the bigger more powerful subs I recommended for single use above but would allow the room smoothing qualities of duals.
Choice: Ported or Sealed Duals though ported will cost $100 more for duals. This one will push the budget to the point of possibly needing to buy one now and one later if the goal is to get the room smoothing effects of duals.
PSA has a huge following and with good reason. Tom Vodhanel who has already graced this thread is a master of the craft and offers serious deep bass value for money as this is the 2nd and 3rd PSA sub I have recommended. Customer service is exceptional and Tom's presence here is a sign of such. Many people get Tom on the phone the first time they call PSA and he is a vast wealth of knowledge about more than just subs. Both the ported and sealed 15 are great performers but only the sealed S model would reach strongly down below 15hz or so. The 15V will also be a bit larger than the S but will offer stronger performance from 16-30hz but roll off quickly much below 16hz.
Second choice: If you can't stretch the budget over $1500 at all and still want duals there are a lot of options but all of them will give up a considerable amount of extention or output power below 20-25hz. They will all be great performers in their intended bandwidth but will struggle down deep like your Yamaha all be it just a bit lower. Once you start to get to this point of lower priced subs the cost savings must come from somewhere and sadly most times the limiting circuits is one of the first places cuts are made. This is evident in the "chuffing"/distress"/"burping" sounds you hear from your Yamaha and some of the SVS's you demoed. Subs with the best limiters will just not even try and play the deepest freq's saving the sub from making the bad noises in the first place. Of course not all the lower priced subs in the $600-750 range that will allow you to buy duals and stay under $1500 will suffer from poor limiters but some inevitably will and wading through them can be tough between glowing reviews and proud owners who don't want and seem filled with regret when telling everyone about their new sub. This is why I urge you to push your budget even if that means buying one "good sub" now and the second later.
I'm going to go ahead and recommend a few subs that stay within your budget that are known to have good limiters that will keep a driver from sounding distressed(when setup properly of course) while still offering good output and sound quality. As I said the market is littered with options so this is just my top choices that I know are safe bets.
Nothing but good things said about the entire Forcefield line of subs though they are no output monsters they have great extension because of the passive radiator design and great sound quality. The passive radiator allows deep extension almost into sealed territory though with a bit more authority and output from 14-25hz all while keeping the size surprisingly small. I would have to give these a strong listen before ruling them out as my #1
choice for duals under your budget and size requirements. Also you can sample them locally it sounds like and you mentioned that the GoldEar's handled the Amaze clip. If you read any reviews of the ForceFields you will see that pushing them to distress is almost impossible and this is a good sign of top notch limiting/amplification and robust drivers. If sticking with duals and staying under your budget the FF4 would fit the bill because the FF5 is priced to where other options make more sense unless you truly must stay with a very small form factor.
New to the market and a bit unproven these look good, though a bit inefficient in the midbass area compared to other offerings in this price bracket. This is also only a 10" driver and the enclosures are large being ported.
I know I said stay away but the SB/PB-2000 are good performers with good limiting though possibly not the best as you heard during the demo but still very competent in this price bracket for duals. They use good drivers , amps and the build quality is good. I would still urge you to shop otherwise if possible though.
RSL has deep roots in the industry and created a very solid performer in the Speedwoofer 10S. It has good extension though will run out of gas quickly below 20hz. The price would allow you to possibly even go for a quad setup(4 subs), be just over budget and 1 sub in each corner of the room will offer the most room smoothing response benefits even over duals. The Speedwoofer has been seen to have good limiting and should show little signs of distress below its lower freq. limits of 20hz or so.
I could go on but hopefully you are able to do the budget and size stretching I suggest. This should at least get you on the right track for some serious research and contemplation. If I can assist you at all any further please feel free to PM me and as I already said
. is always available here and at PSA's site and he is much more qualified and experienced than I am. Also if you're are interested in JTR( I would be, still my most wanted sub brand, any of them throughout the lineup) you can reach out to the owner
here through PM or at JTR's site. Then if you are interested in Rythmik you can reach out to
for more info. All the other companies I mention can surely be reached at their websites if you can't find the info you need online of here at AVS. Good luck on your journey and keep us posted on what you end up choosing.