One $500 or two $250 subs? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 23 Old 05-17-2018, 07:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi All,

Looking for some advice. My theater room is ~2,600^3, carpet/drywall, with the back half about 3 feet wider on either side than the front half. Running Pioneer Elite Andrew Jones Atmos front, center and rears off of a Marantz 6011. My total LFE budget is a pretty firm $500 and I'm trying to decide between one monster sub, either an SVS PB-1000 or a Monolith 10", or a pair of BIC H-100II's (*edit* the Hsu VTF-2 mk5 is also an option on my premium single sub list but it is definitely at the absolute top of my budget.). The single sub options are both absolute beasts and dig to 20Hz and below pretty effortlessly. The BICs get to 24Hz on paper and are well reputed but clearly a lower pedigree. In some testing with an 8" Paradigm sub with no AVR compensation/EQing I have found that my room has some strong tendencies to localize the sound. 2 subs would potentially give me more flexibility in my weird shaped room to balance sound more but also poses placement issues around furniture and stuff. I'm not an audiophile per se but I want a visceral experience with movies. I am borrowing a PB-1000 for room testing this weekend to see if I can find a sweet spot but I can't get my hands on 2 12's. What do you guys think?

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post #2 of 23 Old 05-17-2018, 07:57 AM
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Any chance you are willing to add a second sub down the road if you start with 1? Personally, I'd go single sub right now since there are such good options at $500... with either sub, you could add the same one later as a second, or upgrade "within the family" and get great improvements.

If you are having trouble with localizing, you can adjust your crossover settings and/or dial in the sub placement.

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post #3 of 23 Old 05-17-2018, 08:04 AM
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Bass can be addicting. Get the biggest sub you can now, and just save for a 2nd down the road.
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post #4 of 23 Old 05-17-2018, 08:06 AM
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24 hz for the Bic is a bit overly optimistic (it will hit it, but at substantially lower output). They start rolling off quite a bit before that. The SVS and Monolith will give you much more linear output and play a bit cleaner and give you better output below 30 hz than two Bics. Two subs do have an advantage in evening out room response and two bics will likely give you more output above 30 hz. I'd go with the SVS or Monolith and just plan on saving and adding a 2nd later.
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post #5 of 23 Old 05-17-2018, 08:13 AM
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A couple things to ponder. No matter how good it is, you will have nulls or dead spots with a single sub that can be eliminated or greatly reduced with a second sub. If you use two subs, you will only need half the power on each to reach the same volume, so potential for distortion is reduced. The bass that we "feel" is in the 40-60Hz range. Of course, two $500 subs should be better than two $250 subs but that is not your question. You could also consider one better sub for the lower range and one lesser sub to fill the dead spots and still stay in budget. They do not necessarily have to be the same.
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post #6 of 23 Old 05-17-2018, 08:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by golfster View Post
A couple things to ponder. No matter how good it is, you will have nulls or dead spots with a single sub that can be eliminated or greatly reduced with a second sub. If you use two subs, you will only need half the power on each to reach the same volume, so potential for distortion is reduced. The bass that we "feel" is in the 40-60Hz range. Of course, two $500 subs should be better than two $250 subs but that is not your question. You could also consider one better sub for the lower range and one lesser sub to fill the dead spots and still stay in budget. They do not necessarily have to be the same.
You can get some SPL gains by adding two subs for sure, but i don't think it is an accurate statement that you will only need half the power on both subs to reach the same volume. Sub gain is heavily dependant on the room and on the placement. Sub#2 wont necessrily double the volume. I believe you can get up to a 6dB gain if you co-locate, but maybe more like 3 dB otherwise. Co-locating kind of defeats the purpose of the second sub in terms of evening out frequency response. Also, i wouldn't personally pair a budget sub with a "legit" sub. The budget sub could potentially ruin the sound of the better sub while trying to keep up IMHO.

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post #7 of 23 Old 05-17-2018, 08:27 AM
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It depends.

On many things. Room size, your needs etc... If the 500 sub is a level or 2 up from the 250 one, then get the 500 one

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post #8 of 23 Old 05-17-2018, 09:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Negative459 View Post
My total LFE budget is a pretty firm $500 and I'm trying to decide between one monster sub, either an SVS PB-1000 or a Monolith 10", or a pair of BIC H-100II's.
Those 2 are good subs but certainly not 'monsters'. To earn that type of designation you need too look at something like this or this.


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The single sub options are both absolute beasts and dig to 20Hz and below pretty effortlessly.
The PB-1000 drops like a stone before 20Hz so there will not be any discernible output from there on down (the Monolith is probably similar). If ULF is what you're after you won't find it in any $500 subwoofer I'm afraid. For a bit more than $500 you can get an LV12R, which will start to get you into that range.

 
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post #9 of 23 Old 05-17-2018, 10:38 AM
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If this is it and you'll never buy another sub or plan to upgrade, go with the dual Bic. If you are open to having more than one sub and want accurate, quality bass, go with the Monolith THX Select 10. If you really want superb home theater experience, go with a larger sub and plan on getting a second later. Monolith THX Ultra for $800 or HSU VTF-3 mk5 hp for around $855-$900.

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post #10 of 23 Old 05-17-2018, 12:39 PM - Thread Starter
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It would be a very long time before I'll be able to invest in a second sub. I'm pretty much treating this project as a closed book once the sub(s) aspect is sorted. That's the crux of my dilemma. If I knew I was going to have the money to throw another $500 at it in the short term I would just go big.

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Any chance you are willing to add a second sub down the road if you start with 1? Personally, I'd go single sub right now since there are such good options at $500... with either sub, you could add the same one later as a second, or upgrade "within the family" and get great improvements.

If you are having trouble with localizing, you can adjust your crossover settings and/or dial in the sub placement.

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post #11 of 23 Old 05-17-2018, 12:45 PM - Thread Starter
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In the incredible subwoofer thread at https://www.avsforum.com/forum/113-su...2958528?page=1 and other places it's strongly advised not to pair subs that are not identical or at least very close in specs, especially if you are using Audessey or a similar type of room based correction, so I don't really consider that to be an option.

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You could also consider one better sub for the lower range and one lesser sub to fill the dead spots and still stay in budget. They do not necessarily have to be the same.

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post #12 of 23 Old 05-17-2018, 12:56 PM
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I'm not the bass head that others like Mix master is but to me the question would be do I get on $500 sub that would still be useful if I get the opportunity to upgrade or do I get two "budget" subs that would be outperformed by two quality Emotiva 8" subs? Rather than think about getting a second right away, take your time and enjoy you system, play with setting and placement and see how it works in your room. You may find that you don't need a second sub in your situation. If you don't find that you need a second one the be happy you are done. If you find that you need second sub or your situation changes and you can swing a second, then your additional outlay would only be $500 or less if it drops in price as models get updated. If you buy the cheap subs then eventually will end up in this same place again or you will have to live with gear you end up hating.
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post #13 of 23 Old 05-17-2018, 01:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimWilson View Post

Those 2 are good subs but certainly not 'monsters'. To earn that type of designation you need too look at something like this or this.
The SVS and Monolith are beasts within the constraints of my budget, class leaders in the category in question, and certainly a significant step up from the BIC. Of course they're not on par with $8k 15" exotics, my man. That's clearly not the scope of my post.

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The single sub options are both absolute beasts and dig to 20Hz and below pretty effortlessly.
The PB-1000 drops like a stone before 20Hz so there will not be any discernible output from there on down (the Monolith is probably similar). If ULF is what you're after you won't find it in any $500 subwoofer I'm afraid. For a bit more than $500 you can get an LV12R, which will start to get you into that range.[/QUOTE]

You're right about the SVS. I've been reading too many reviews and got my specs mixed up. I forgot to put the Hsu VTF-2 mk5 in my shopping list in the original post. It's documented to play strong to 19Hz and a bit below with one port closed, for just over $500 and the Monolith is supposed to do 20-19 but documentation is still short on that unit. I recognize the constraints of my budget aren't going to have me drowning in infrasonic bliss so I guess I'm looking for some subjective input about whether or not the extra ~5Hz extension is worthwhile compared to the advantages of dual LFEs.

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post #14 of 23 Old 05-17-2018, 01:46 PM
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You're right about the SVS. I've been reading too many reviews and got my specs mixed up. I forgot to put the Hsu VTF-2 mk5 in my shopping list in the original post. It's documented to play strong to 19Hz and a bit below with one port closed, for just over $500 and the Monolith is supposed to do 20-19 but documentation is still short on that unit. I recognize the constraints of my budget aren't going to have me drowning in infrasonic bliss so I guess I'm looking for some subjective input about whether or not the extra ~5Hz extension is worthwhile compared to the advantages of dual LFEs.
The SVS PB-1000 has a frequency response of 19-270 Hz ±3dB, so it's a legit 20Hz sub. That's good extension for a 10" sub in a medium-ish sized box. I would still take the Monolith 10 over it, however. The Rythmik LV12r has a very similar frequency response as the PB-1000, with it being ±2dB at 19Hz and drops off a cliff below that.
The Audioholics review of the Monolith 10" and 12" subs is up if you want to check it out. The Monoliths are tough to beat!
https://www.audioholics.com/subwoofe...lith-10201d-12

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post #15 of 23 Old 05-17-2018, 03:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Negative459 View Post
The SVS and Monolith are beasts within the constraints of my budget, class leaders in the category in question, and certainly a significant step up from the BIC. Of course they're not on par with $8k 15" exotics, my man. That's clearly not the scope of my post.
The PB-1000 is a class leader as it has a long and quantifiable track record. The Monolith has very little on it at this point in time so there's a way to go before it can be considered similarly. It does look interesting though. Nothing I linked to cost 8 grand, they were merely examples of what a true monster sub is.

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I recognize the constraints of my budget aren't going to have me drowning in infrasonic bliss so I guess I'm looking for some subjective input about whether or not the extra ~5Hz extension is worthwhile compared to the advantages of dual LFEs.
Duals have some distinct advantages, but in order to fully realize them you need to have freedom of placement and the ability to properly tune them. Not everyone is in that position so it isn't uncommon to find a single larger sub to be the better alternative.

Relative to the entire frequency response of most subwoofers 5Hz doesn't sound like anything significant, but when you're talking about lower extension it actually can make a perceptible difference. It's one of those situations where you don't know what you're missing until you know what you're missing. Depending upon the movie genres you prefer it could be important.


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The SVS PB-1000 has a frequency response of 19-270 Hz ±3dB, so it's a legit 20Hz sub. That's good extension for a 10" sub in a medium-ish sized box.
The PB-1000 doesn't really have usable output by 20Hz (room gain dependent of course). That's nothing for SVS to be ashamed of though as it's a modest priced subwoofer with a 10" driver.

 
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post #16 of 23 Old 05-17-2018, 03:53 PM
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I don't think I've ever read anybody state the PB-1000 has no usable output at 20Hz. SVS has it ±[email protected] and Brent Butterworth measured it to be ±[email protected] Obviously in an appropriate sized room you get some room gain over these measurements. Jim, what exactly is the ±3dB point that you measured?

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post #17 of 23 Old 05-17-2018, 04:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for this. This is the in depth review I have been waiting for on these. I am pretty sure I will be pulling the trigger on the Monolith 10 if my testing with the SVS yields positive results. My little 8" paradigm does a decent job in the room so I'm guessing a burly 10" will be more than enough. I am in a corner condo with a single shared wall so I won't be pushing this thing to the limits often anyway, for the sake of avoiding my neighbor's wrath. The review said the sub would be more than capable of filling a room over 3000 cu/ft and I'm less than that. The Hsu may go a little deeper and louder but under the circumstances I'm not sure it's worth me overshooting my budget by 20% on what may end up being overkill. The Mono 10 looks to do a solid 20hz as well.

Cheers!

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The Audioholics review of the Monolith 10" and 12" subs is up if you want to check it out. The Monoliths are tough to beat!
https://www.audioholics.com/subwoofe...lith-10201d-12

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post #18 of 23 Old 05-17-2018, 04:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimWilson View Post

The PB-1000 is a class leader as it has a long and quantifiable track record. The Monolith has very little on it at this point in time so there's a way to go before it can be considered similarly. It does look interesting though. Nothing I linked to cost 8 grand, they were merely examples of what a true monster sub is.
Sorry Jim. The 8 was a typo. I think the MSRP on the JTR was still over 4, though.

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Duals have some distinct advantages, but in order to fully realize them you need to have freedom of placement and the ability to properly tune them. Not everyone is in that position so it isn't uncommon to find a single larger sub to be the better alternative.

Relative to the entire frequency response of most subwoofers 5Hz doesn't sound like anything significant, but when you're talking about lower extension it actually can make a perceptible difference. It's one of those situations where you don't know what you're missing until you know what you're missing. Depending upon the movie genres you prefer it could be important.
Yeah, those last 5 or 6 are significant which is why I'm in this dilemma of extension vs flexibility. I'm a sucker for action and sci-fi flicks as well.

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post #19 of 23 Old 05-17-2018, 04:45 PM
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I don't think I've ever read anybody state the PB-1000 has no usable output at 20Hz. SVS has it ±[email protected] and Brent Butterworth measured it to be ±[email protected] Obviously in an appropriate sized room you get some room gain over these measurements. Jim, what exactly is the ±3dB point that you measured?
The PB-1000 ran out of steam for me in the 22-23Hz range, and that was close mic. Not sure how 2m would measure but I suspect it would be even less so. The PB-2000 is solid down that far, but not the PB-1000.

 
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post #20 of 23 Old 05-17-2018, 04:49 PM
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I am in a corner condo with a single shared wall so I won't be pushing this thing to the limits often anyway, for the sake of avoiding my neighbor's wrath.
I generally say go big or go home, but in a condo with shared walls its tough to advocate for big subs that dig really deep. The 10" mono in a shared-wall condo will be enough to get the cops involved if you really want to push it.
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post #21 of 23 Old 05-17-2018, 04:52 PM
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Yeah, those last 5 or 6 are significant which is why I'm in this dilemma of extension vs flexibility. I'm a sucker for action and sci-fi flicks as well.
That suggests to me you should emphasize extension when making a decision. Those types of movies generally have content dipping very low in the frequency range. If that were to go missing you would lose some of the impact from the soundtrack and quite possibly diminish the viewing experience.

 
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post #22 of 23 Old 05-17-2018, 05:13 PM
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The PB-1000 ran out of steam for me in the 22-23Hz range, and that was close mic. Not sure how 2m would measure but I suspect it would be even less so. The PB-2000 is solid down that far, but not the PB-1000.
That's kind of odd. So that would put it about equal or worse to the SB-1000, which is ±3dB @24Hz according to SVS.

Ed Mullen posted the numbers 2m RMS for the PB-1000 and it had right at 100dB @20hz , which is pretty respectable for a 10" sub. https://www.avsforum.com/forum/113-su...qxjynv7-3.html

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post #23 of 23 Old 05-17-2018, 08:38 PM - Thread Starter
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The chart was hard to read on my phone but it looked like the Mono 10 was doing about 100 or 101 at 20 and low 90's at 16. That would imply that the SVS is pretty on par with it. That's uncorrected, too. Audessey DEQ bumps the curve down low so you could probably eek a bit more out as long as you have the headroom, power, Etc. before chuffing or OE.

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Originally Posted by MIX_MASTER_ICE View Post
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Originally Posted by JimWilson View Post
The PB-1000 ran out of steam for me in the 22-23Hz range, and that was close mic. Not sure how 2m would measure but I suspect it would be even less so. The PB-2000 is solid down that far, but not the PB-1000.
That's kind of odd. So that would put it about equal or worse to the SB-1000, which is ±3dB @24Hz according to SVS.

Ed Mullen posted the numbers 2m RMS for the PB-1000 and it had right at 100dB @20hz , which is pretty respectable for a 10" sub. https://www.avsforum.com/forum/113-su...qxjynv7-3.html

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