Room dimensions/layout & picture album: https://imgur.com/a/GhlqXQo
Note - I will
be acoustically treating my room with bass traps, absorbers, and diffusers. I will be professionally calibrating the entire system (video & audio) and treating the room per what the testing results & math shows to get an accurate as possible audio signal (accounting for rt60 times, etc.).
I'm looking to upgrade my subwoofer to a dual-sub system. I'm currently running a 10 year old Jamo D 6 SUB
. Along with that a 5.1 Jamo S 606 HCS 3 system
. I will be upgrading to ceiling mounted Dolby Atmos height speakers in a 5.2.4 configuration. AVR is a Denon x4400h.
TV is a 77" LG C8 OLED TV.
My biggest complaint on my system is my subwoofer drops off a ton at 35hz, and is inaudible past 28-25 hz, so I'm missing out on a lot of content. Then just having one subwoofer it seems like there are a lot of standing waves/null spots around. Currently my main listening position is fine but the last place I lived at I had to sub crawl for a day to get a decent spot.
To answer the sticky questions:
Up to $2,500 per sub $5,000 max hard limit on my budget including shipping & sales tax. I'd greatly would prefer something in the $1,000/sub range ($2k preferred.) I'm willing to spend extra though to meet my requirements.
2. Size requirements/limits.
I'm disabled (narcolepsy) so it's not safe for my boyfriend and I to lift more than 100lbs together in case I have a sleep attack. Any sub above 100lbs I'll need to bring in friends or professional help to move around. No wife approval factor as we're both guys here so go crazy otherwise, as long as it still fits in our apartment and our current gear.
3. Room dimensions.
I have 9' ceilings, living room is 18'x14' (2,268^3 cubic ft) and an open dining room/living room (total open air volume is 3,600 ft^3). Hardwood floors but it's on a concrete floor. Main listening position is 8.5' feet from the tv and is the 3 theater-seat sofa. Audyssey mic 1 is the middle seat on the sofa. I usually sit in the left seat.
4. Primary uses.
80-90% Home Theater usage (equal mix between streaming(netflix), tv shows, anime, movies, UHD bluray movies)
10-20% Music (Muse, Incubus, Green Day, Alternative Rock, classical, etc.)
10% Video Games (I'm a PC gamer and not much of a console gamer but we will likely pick up next gen consoles when they come out.)
For movies specifically - heavy on fantasy, sci fi, action, and comic movies - all demanding awesome bass.
5. Listening habits.
I am in an apartment and I've had no complaints or issues up to listening to -8 db MV (master volume.) Our preferred listening volume is -15 db for everyday use (even at midnight). We only kick it up to -8 db for special movies during the day. Originally I thought 0 db was theater level reference sounds until Ed Mullen from SVS corrected me that is only the case if there is no room gain. I guess my -8db listening is pretty close to the theatrical experience!
As far as our apartment goes we've been here for a year now with no complaints. We never hear our neighbors. It seems like this place has great soundproofing between apartments. I think it's concrete walls and 100% confirmed concrete floors (they put in hardwood floors for us.) Our volume is limited by our ears and preference over our neighbors. However, since it is an apartment, we still want to be respectful.
As far as bass itself goes I want to listen to what the audio content creator intends. So if we're listening to reference level then reference level bass it is. If we're listening to lower than reference values then since low frequency drops perceived volume quicker then upping bass a bit so it still has proportionally the same perceived bass to other frequencies as the content creator intended. I'm currently using DEQ to manage this on my denon AVR-x4400h.
I do desire some future proofing as I hate having to buy again. I anticipate I'll be in a house within 5 years (maybe sooner) and can therefore crank up the volume as much as I want. I don't really want to go past theatrical limits though as I value my hearing.
As far as the type of bass I definitely prefer precise and articulate bass over boomy. I care greatly about quality over raw loudness - as long as it can still hit LFE 115db peak reference levels. At the same time I definitely want to experience very low bass - including infrasonic bass down to 10-15 hz if possible.
6. Appearance requirements.
Nicely finished. Unfortunately it is visible in our living room and fits the decor. We like the style of the SVS series.
As long as it takes. Definitely has to be a retail product/purchase though - not going to build our own.
I'm currently considering these subwoofers:
SVS SB-2000 / PB-2000
SVS SB-3000 / PB-3000
SVS SB-4000 / PB-4000
SVS SB16-Ultra / PB16-Ultra
HSU VTF-15H MK2
I posted over on Reddit and they recommended the SB-2000/PB-2000
Contacting SVS Ed Mullen recommended me the sealed SB-4000 to fit my usage needs. Thanks Ed! You've been very helpful in pointing out a lot of things I didn't even realize.
What do you think? I'm having a hard time deciding between that and the ported version.
Audioholic's CEA 2010 testing
shows a wickedly flat curve for the ported/extended modes down to the tuning frequencies of 20hz/18hz, while sealed starts rolling off at 40hz but at a much more gradual rolloff of 12db per octave vs the 24 db per octave. The sealed does pull ahead past 15 hz which is what I'm wanting to experience. Room gain will probably boost the sealed levels a lot realistically so the end result in my room is hopefully flat.
I'm a bit more concerned when it comes down to total harmonic distortion. Both standard and the extended port modes look impeccably clean down to the tuning point on all output, while distortion starts to be really audible in sealed mode at about 100 decibels at 25hz (90db looks fine down to 12hz~ which is awesome). I guess with room gain possibly giving me +12 db gain then +6db dual sub sealed should still hopefully be ok at 115db peaks but I'm a bit worried. Of course with sealed subwoofers the driver has to quadruple it's excursion for higher SPL at lower frequencies so we are just fighting against the limits of raw pure physics here. On the other hand neither the ported or extended mode can even hit 12hz at 90 db without distortion - again pure physics, we don't want to start chuffing a ported subwoofer.
Then lastly the ported subwoofer does give us one experience that the sealed can never provide - moving physical air from the ports which some people may find brings a whole new experience to movies. Or it could be annoying. Neither of us have had that experience. (Of course you don't get that in a regular theater.)
Regardless of the air flow we both want to be able to feel the bass as intended. I will be picking up some chair bass shakers as after all we are in an apartment and can't regularly shake our neighbors walls. Plus with my current subwoofer not going below 40hz we really haven't had shaky bass either...
So right now I'm pretty much stuck trying to decide between 2x SVS SB-4000 and 2x SVS PB-4000. With the PB-4000s I know I won't have any what ifs or regrets as I can always plug up the ports and run in sealed mode. However, it's a ton taller, longer, bigger, etc and is too heavy for us to manage ourselves. While the sealed version is smaller, weighs less, and is obviously designed as running primarily in sealed mode. Plus a huge cost savings as SVS has $1,300/sub outlet specials with no damage vs their $1,600 msrp.
I know they have 45 days of home trial use if we went with SVS. I'd still rather get it right the first time as even just reboxing it will be a pain for us and we'd rather not have to deal with that.
I'm also considering the SB-3000. I can't really find much independent testing on it and no CEA 2010 measurements. How does the SB-3000 compare to the SB-4000?
At the end of the day I think I'm close to pulling the trigger on 2x sealed SB-4000 subs but want to absolutely be sure.