Requesting subwoofer advice (+/- $1,500, 82 sq. ft.) - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 40 Old 11-11-2019, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Requesting subwoofer advice (+/- $1,500, 82 sq. ft.)

I have an old non-descript 12" subwoofer I have used in my system for a long time and I've realized, it really is not that great. Setting my price to $1,500 give or take, I'm wanting good quality so if there's a $750 sub that is good that is bested by a $1,600 one, I'll go for the $1,600 one. But not looking to pay a lot just for the sake of it. I take it this kind of ruled JL Audio out of the consideration, great looking subs but phew expensive...


It's a very small room, so I am as ever size constrained somewhat. It's a roughly 8' x 10' room. I have an old Denon AVR-4802 that works like a champ driving a pair of Infinity Crescendo CS-3008 speakers. About now I'm sure someone is going to tell me that's way more speaker than my little room needs, I don't disagree...however these speakers came to me for a very cheap price and they sound quite good so I haven't found a good reason to kick them out. I have some vintage amps I might end up swapping out the Denon for, but haven't been able to bring myself to do so in years so who knows I may never actually do it. It's a strictly 2.1 setup I use on this system.


More specifics listed below on current setup/goals:


Current subwoofer: Eosone RSP-912


Specs: 12", 120 watts RMS, bass reflex, front ported, 28-150 Hz (yep, no other specs, a sure sign of quality )


Space restrictions: Yep, I have exactly one spot a sub can go. And only one sub. Sorry, there is no possible way to work 2 subs in a room this small (in case it gets recommended). Sub can't be bigger than 20" x 18" (L x W), height I can't see being an issue. This is very close to a corner FWIW.


Goal: Better SQ, lower bass response. I know I can get an even better cinematic experience than the fairly decent one I get as is, so I'd like to make the next step to achieve that.


Usage Breakdown: 60% gaming, 35% music, 5% movies (I guess movies vs. games matters in dynamic terms? I always thought they were about the same, but this is mostly gaming system that I do listen to music on time to time).


Brands I had heard were worth considering: HSU Research, Rythmik, PSA, and Seaton (Did I miss any of the direct market brands? ).




I think that covers it. Advise away please. Would prefer the ability to in home trial, not that I imagine any of these won't clean the floor with the poor old Eosone (Polk) sub I've been using. Funny enough I have a few old Sunfire subwoofers, a True Signature and an Architectural one. I thought of using one of those instead of the Eosone, but in some way I feel the Sunfires are a bit gimmicky much like a lot of Bob Carver products (no offense to fans of his stuff, as I like some of the old Carver amps).


Attached an old, fairly approximate diagram of my room set up. Except there is no where near that much room between the subwoofer and the speaker next to it. Maybe 1-2" max.
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post #2 of 40 Old 11-11-2019, 01:39 PM
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PSA S1512 or S1512DF. Sealed will work well in that small of a space.
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post #3 of 40 Old 11-11-2019, 01:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by bargugl View Post
PSA S1512 or S1512DF. Sealed will work well in that small of a space.
How should I determine if I go for the down firing vs. front firing version? I assume DF is more non-directional in how you position it, whereas front firing you'd want it facing out into the room and not towards the speaker or into the corner? I say, because those PSAs I had thought of but my measurements are approximate so I'm not 100% sure how much clearance that would leave me to plug things in if it's facing into the room. If I rotate it 90 degrees where the plugs are facing the corner, that might work better.
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post #4 of 40 Old 11-11-2019, 02:51 PM
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It's pretty much preference...nothing more or less. I have owned 3 downfiring PSA's for 6yrs. They have been great and work well as end tables.
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post #5 of 40 Old 11-11-2019, 03:07 PM - Thread Starter
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So given that, I think I prefer the front firing, assuming it can fit without issue. I really do not like that plain satin black finish. I hate to pay extra just for the finishes...but I think I'll have to given that's pretty homely for a $1k+ sub TBH. So what about the Anti-Mode modules? It sounds like subwoofer specific room EQ, which given what a PITA getting that all set just right might be kind of nice. Although the cheapest one at $399 along with the upgraded finish does put the PSA a little on the high side. Does that Anti-Mode module do anything really besides just a sort of room correction for the sub and setting the levels? If I'm a dummy, how much difference is that going to make in the sound I get in my tiny room vs. me setting it up myself?

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post #6 of 40 Old 11-11-2019, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Shintsu View Post
How should I determine if I go for the down firing vs. front firing version? I assume DF is more non-directional in how you position it, whereas front firing you'd want it facing out into the room and not towards the speaker or into the corner? I say, because those PSAs I had thought of but my measurements are approximate so I'm not 100% sure how much clearance that would leave me to plug things in if it's facing into the room. If I rotate it 90 degrees where the plugs are facing the corner, that might work better.
The direction the driver is facing, will do nothing for the sub sound. Only the location of the sub, within the room matter. I prefer front firing for look only, while the down firing do have the advantage of the following. Out of site for small children's with curious fingers, or owning a pet that might touch it. That said some children's can be very good with Daddy stuff, so are some pets.


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post #7 of 40 Old 11-11-2019, 08:18 PM - Thread Starter
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No issues with front facing if that's the only reason for sure. New possible issue though, I had in the future thought of using a vintage amp in place of the Denon 4802 I'm using right now. The PSA subs all do not seem to offer an output, only an input.


Perhaps it would change that decision for me about a vintage unit, but between the below models is the PSA S1512 still the best performing of the options? I've listed them as I would spec them, price wise with finish and options.

PSA S1512 - $1,449
Seaton JS-12 - $1,195
Rythmik F12SE - $1,099
HSU ULS-15 MK2 - $807 (I factor shipping as part of the cost and the rest are free ship)

Can anyone help me summarize the performance differences between these models, e.g. is one of these way above or below the others in performance? I have noted also the HSU does not have outputs, and only inputs which does serve as a mark against it.
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post #8 of 40 Old 11-11-2019, 09:00 PM
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The direction the driver is facing, will do nothing for the sub sound. Only the location of the sub, within the room matter. I prefer front firing for look only, while the down firing do have the advantage of the following. Out of site for small children's with curious fingers, or owning a pet that might touch it. That said some children's can be very good with Daddy stuff, so are some pets.
Interestingly, the down-firing model is $100 cheaper.

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post #9 of 40 Old 11-11-2019, 09:03 PM
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No issues with front facing if that's the only reason for sure. New possible issue though, I had in the future thought of using a vintage amp in place of the Denon 4802 I'm using right now. The PSA subs all do not seem to offer an output, only an input.


Perhaps it would change that decision for me about a vintage unit, but between the below models is the PSA S1512 still the best performing of the options? I've listed them as I would spec them, price wise with finish and options.

PSA S1512 - $1,449
Seaton JS-12 - $1,195
Rythmik F12SE - $1,099
HSU ULS-15 MK2 - $807 (I factor shipping as part of the cost and the rest are free ship)

Can anyone help me summarize the performance differences between these models, e.g. is one of these way above or below the others in performance? I have noted also the HSU does not have outputs, and only inputs which does serve as a mark against it.
This list contains both 12 and 15-inch subs. Did you mean to put Rythmik F15HP instead?

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post #10 of 40 Old 11-11-2019, 10:25 PM - Thread Starter
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This list contains both 12 and 15-inch subs. Did you mean to put Rythmik F15HP instead?
Nope, I measured the space. I don't think I can fit the 15" versions of the others, the PSA is the only one. Perhaps that may speak for itself, but looking at frequency response and other specs it doesn't seem such an absurd comparison.


Looking at it, PSA really does seem impressive value. I've heard none of them, so grain of salt naturally, but their top sub with 4x 18" drivers @ $4,000 compared to JL charging the same for a 12" Fathom V3...sort of seems a row boat to a battleship comparison, even if it is a very nice row boat lol. I imagine the Gotham V2 is the closer comparison, and that's $16.5k. Ouch.


I'll remeasure and make sure I did it proper, but I really don't think the 15" models from the other guys would fit. Not without altering the toe-in on my Crescendo speakers. FWIW, is there a real case to be made for 12" vs 15" in a small room? Any downside to the larger driver, other than higher cost for possibly not as much return? It seems like based on costs here though, it's pretty marginal.
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post #11 of 40 Old 11-11-2019, 10:45 PM
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Might want to check shipping on the PSAs. I'm not sure it's included like in Rythmik pricing.

I do agree that it's impressive what they crammed into such a small box.

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post #12 of 40 Old 11-11-2019, 10:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Might want to check shipping on the PSAs. I'm not sure it's included like in Rythmik pricing.

I do agree that it's impressive what they crammed into such a small box.
It is indeed, I think HSU was the only one that charged shipping at around $78. Only downside to PSA, they said 4-6 week lead time since apparently this is a new model?

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post #13 of 40 Old 11-11-2019, 11:27 PM
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Yep - brand new drivers. And worth the wait, I hear.

Where did you get the price quote for the S1512? I see $1,199.99 on the website.

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post #14 of 40 Old 11-12-2019, 06:15 AM
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It is indeed, I think HSU was the only one that charged shipping at around $78. Only downside to PSA, they said 4-6 week lead time since apparently this is a new model?
Yes all of the current "11" series subs are switching to the "12" series that have B&C Neo drivers. There is a 4-6 week lead time since PSA has to catch up on all the pre-orders. You should follow the PSA thread and stay up to date. Tom just posted an update last night.
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post #15 of 40 Old 11-12-2019, 07:24 AM
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Interestingly, the down-firing model is $100 cheaper.
While I am only taking a guest, building a grill with the material involve. Could account for the difference of price, since it would be more costly than four legs.


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post #16 of 40 Old 11-12-2019, 07:30 AM
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The PSA downfiring sub is a little smaller and not tuned quite as low.
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post #17 of 40 Old 11-12-2019, 10:50 AM - Thread Starter
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I think the PSA might be ruled out, I don't think either version will fit the space I have. I started thinking about it, and I use the sub on my main system far more often so it might be better to upgrade that, and on that I have a SuperCube II. Space constraints there are no deeper than 15-1/2", no wider than 16", and no taller than 28". I could shift the SuperCube to replace the Eosone, I imagine while DefTech subs are not as well rated as legit sub brands that it's still probably an improvement over the old Eosone and it's a tiny cube that fits easily in most places.


For my original space, depth cannot exceed 18-1/2", width cannot exceed 24" (however part of the sub will end up behind the cabinet I have over there, I guess it's a problem if I have a driver firing straight into a cabinet that is 1-2" away?), and height I'm going to eyeball at about 30". I can maybe regain another 2-3" of width if I scoot the left speaker in the diagram closer to the TV but that reduces the width of my sound stage and they're kind of close as it is so I'd hate to do that (not sure how detrimental that would be to the sound). Seems most 12" subs will fit in the spaces I have, but 15"s are pushing it. How much would I be missing out if I shift down to a 12" instead of say the S1512?


Some of the Rhythmik subs like the L22 look like they might fit in my spaces. Most 15" subs seem to take up too much cubic space. Torn now, I kinda got hyped on the PSA but as they don't have a 12" offering right now I don't now that anything they have will work for me. I can maybe try and shoe horn that 15" in but it's really pushing it. How worth it do you all think that is to do, vs. my tiny 82 sq ft listening space (Height factored, it's about 667 cu ft). This is a tiny room, all things considered.

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post #18 of 40 Old 11-12-2019, 11:00 AM
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The L22 is a good choice at its price point and rhythmik's are known for their clean sound. It will still be a huge upgrade over your current and other sub experiences. You give up some output for sure not going with the PSA, but given how tiny the room is, I don't think it will be much of a problem for you.
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post #19 of 40 Old 11-12-2019, 01:45 PM - Thread Starter
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The L22 is a good choice at its price point and rhythmik's are known for their clean sound. It will still be a huge upgrade over your current and other sub experiences. You give up some output for sure not going with the PSA, but given how tiny the room is, I don't think it will be much of a problem for you.
So I make sure I follow right, what exactly do you mean with output? Referring to SPL or how low it will go? I guess a "duh" sort of thing, but I realized looking at these frequency response charts that subs can produce frequencies that are absurdly low. Most can. However, the difference in how audible it is, is the key. My SuperCube II "can go to 14 Hz" per Definitive. However, at what dB? Totally not disclosed. Likely at -12 or even -18 dB, so it's technically not dishonest though most would not consider that a frequency it can audibly hit to a listener.


To make sure I have my expectations in line, besides better and more controlled bass, what other improvements should I expect from one of these subs over my current offerings?


I mentioned the L22 mostly because I know from Rhytmik it will fit, however is it a better choice than say the Seaton JS-12? Ha, I feel like someone will say "more is better" and that very well may be the case here. Though I am a bit curious why pricing wise, the L22 is cheaper than the F12 with only a single 12"? Guessing it comes down to paper vs aluminum cone, but I don't know real world what that difference would mean to me. Equally, why is the F8 cheaper as well with lower bass output? Feels like I am missing a piece of what the compromise/trade off is here. I might be fine with it, but it's hard to discern looking at their site.

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post #20 of 40 Old 11-12-2019, 02:04 PM
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So I make sure I follow right, what exactly do you mean with output? Referring to SPL or how low it will go? I guess a "duh" sort of thing, but I realized looking at these frequency response charts that subs can produce frequencies that are absurdly low. Most can. However, the difference in how audible it is, is the key. My SuperCube II "can go to 14 Hz" per Definitive. However, at what dB? Totally not disclosed. Likely at -12 or even -18 dB, so it's technically not dishonest though most would not consider that a frequency it can audibly hit to a listener.


To make sure I have my expectations in line, besides better and more controlled bass, what other improvements should I expect from one of these subs over my current offerings?


I mentioned the L22 mostly because I know from Rhytmik it will fit, however is it a better choice than say the Seaton JS-12? Ha, I feel like someone will say "more is better" and that very well may be the case here. Though I am a bit curious why pricing wise, the L22 is cheaper than the F12 with only a single 12"? Guessing it comes down to paper vs aluminum cone, but I don't know real world what that difference would mean to me. Equally, why is the F8 cheaper as well with lower bass output? Feels like I am missing a piece of what the compromise/trade off is here. I might be fine with it, but it's hard to discern looking at their site.
Based on a comparison done a little while ago the Seaton performs like a really good 15" sub, however there have been some who have had issues with service with Seaton. YMMV

The L22 would be terrific in that space, plenty of output and extension given the small space. I don't see you getting much better for the money considering your limitations on space.

You might also want to take a look at the SVS SB3000. Maybe bring your top choice in and compare with the SVS. SVS makes it easy to try it out.
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post #21 of 40 Old 11-12-2019, 02:40 PM
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+1 on the L22. Great sound and output for the money and footprint since one dimension is larger in the vertical.
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post #22 of 40 Old 11-12-2019, 03:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Based on a comparison done a little while ago the Seaton performs like a really good 15" sub, however there have been some who have had issues with service with Seaton. YMMV

The L22 would be terrific in that space, plenty of output and extension given the small space. I don't see you getting much better for the money considering your limitations on space.

You might also want to take a look at the SVS SB3000. Maybe bring your top choice in and compare with the SVS. SVS makes it easy to try it out.
Well that's a dangerous game. Having to lug these subs around, and knowing both are better than both my current subs would be a great way for me to end up buying two new subs instead of just one


So I can manage to make the PSA S1512DF fit, maybe could on the front firing but I have more width than depth. If I faced the front firing woofer toward my speaker or toward the corner how much would that affect the sound vs. just pointing it out into the room like I had planned to? Equally, does the PSA S1512 actually better the dual 12" Rhythmik L22? They really look within 1 dB of each other, with a slight edge for the L22. Are there any killer features or capabilities on the S1512 compared to the L22 or anything else being overlooked? The PSA has a 960 watt amp to the 600 watt on the Ryhtmik, but I'm not sure the real impact that makes especially if I'm not playing at high volumes.

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post #23 of 40 Old 11-12-2019, 04:27 PM
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The S1512 will be a significant step up from your current sub imo.

You can't judge a sub by power ratings alone unless you know the drivers sensitivity and specs.

That being said, I would be willing to bet the PSA is quite a bit stronger above 40hz over the L22. The 12 series subs gained a significant amount of output capability in the mid upper bass with the new drivers due to the huge increase in efficiency. For example, it would take 2 of the previous S1511's stacked to match a single S1512 in the mid upper bass. Down low the gains are not as significant. The L22 might have a slight edge there.
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post #24 of 40 Old 11-12-2019, 04:54 PM
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The S1512 will be a significant step up from your current sub imo.

You can't judge a sub by power ratings alone unless you know the drivers sensitivity and specs.

That being said, I would be willing to bet the PSA is quite a bit stronger above 40hz over the L22. The 12 series subs gained a significant amount of output capability in the mid upper bass with the new drivers due to the huge increase in efficiency. For example, it would take 2 of the previous S1511's stacked to match a single S1512 in the mid upper bass. Down low the gains are not as significant. The L22 might have a slight edge there.
Suddenly the new subs are less attractive. I want a linear to rising response, not a humpback. If the new driver just makes the response less linear, I'm not sure that's for me.

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The S1512 will be a significant step up from your current sub imo.

You can't judge a sub by power ratings alone unless you know the drivers sensitivity and specs.

That being said, I would be willing to bet the PSA is quite a bit stronger above 40hz over the L22. The 12 series subs gained a significant amount of output capability in the mid upper bass with the new drivers due to the huge increase in efficiency. For example, it would take 2 of the previous S1511's stacked to match a single S1512 in the mid upper bass. Down low the gains are not as significant. The L22 might have a slight edge there.
Hmm, well on the main system my Crescendo speakers are good down to 39 Hz +/- 3 dB so I imagine that would be a bit moot, right? Perhaps a bigger deal if using with my Totems which are only down to 57 Hz +/- 3 dB.

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post #26 of 40 Old 11-12-2019, 05:47 PM
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Suddenly the new subs are less attractive. I want a linear to rising response, not a humpback. If the new driver just makes the response less linear, I'm not sure that's for me.
The new drivers are very linear. There is no humped response. Should be a smooth and gradually rising response from 30hz on up. Below 30hz the roll off might be steeper.

All you have to do is go to data-bass.com and look at the measurements for the B&C drivers and you will get a ballpark idea of what they are capable of.
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post #27 of 40 Old 11-12-2019, 05:56 PM
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The new drivers are very linear. There is no humped response. Should be a smooth and gradually rising response from 30hz on up. Below 30hz the roll off might be steeper.
I know I have a small room and can rely on a decent amount of gain from that, but an increase in response above 30 Hz is by definition not flat - maybe that's the word I should have used. I realize all subs behave this way, but tilting the response further in that direction would make it harder to achieve flatness. Due to the way our hearing works, we actually need the opposite - the highest output at 20 Hz, and falling as frequencies rise.

There is another way to use the driver, though. You could keep SPL the same and gain the efficiency that frees up headroom for EQ down low. So maybe it's not a problem - I just prefer an emphasis down low

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Well that's a dangerous game. Having to lug these subs around, and knowing both are better than both my current subs would be a great way for me to end up buying two new subs instead of just one


So I can manage to make the PSA S1512DF fit, maybe could on the front firing but I have more width than depth. If I faced the front firing woofer toward my speaker or toward the corner how much would that affect the sound vs. just pointing it out into the room like I had planned to? Equally, does the PSA S1512 actually better the dual 12" Rhythmik L22? They really look within 1 dB of each other, with a slight edge for the L22. Are there any killer features or capabilities on the S1512 compared to the L22 or anything else being overlooked? The PSA has a 960 watt amp to the 600 watt on the Ryhtmik, but I'm not sure the real impact that makes especially if I'm not playing at high volumes.
Pretty sure the new PSA 1512 will have more output above 40hz like basshead mentioned. That said, your room is really small so I don't think the L22 would leaving you wanting, plus the DSP for the L22 has a roll off down to 12hz and with room gain you should be able to get usable output down to that or lower (if your placement cooperates with the listening position). The PSA will have significant room gain as well be its DSP is not "tuned" quite as low so it will start rolling off the response a little sooner.

Best thing is there's no loser in going with either.

As far as driver orientation- I have one down firing and one front firing. Can't really tell a difference. I did get better sound by pointing the front firing sub into the wall with the driver about 4" from said wall.
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post #29 of 40 Old 11-12-2019, 11:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Pretty sure the new PSA 1512 will have more output above 40hz like basshead mentioned. That said, your room is really small so I don't think the L22 would leaving you wanting, plus the DSP for the L22 has a roll off down to 12hz and with room gain you should be able to get usable output down to that or lower (if your placement cooperates with the listening position). The PSA will have significant room gain as well be its DSP is not "tuned" quite as low so it will start rolling off the response a little sooner.

Best thing is there's no loser in going with either.

As far as driver orientation- I have one down firing and one front firing. Can't really tell a difference. I did get better sound by pointing the front firing sub into the wall with the driver about 4" from said wall.
Yeah, agree on there not being a loser of these options, kind of amazes me what's out there that I wasn't even aware of previously. I don't have the luxury of having 4" of space between a front firing and the wall, mine would be more like 1", maybe 1.5". Guessing that when you get to something like that, it would start to negatively impact the subs performance a bit?

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post #30 of 40 Old 11-12-2019, 11:07 PM
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Does your sub have to face a wall for some reason? It won't make a difference other than the closer the driver gets to the wall, the better your bass is going to be; you eliminate something called SBIR from the wall bounce. I just turn my subs so they fire along the wall. No need to point the driver at the wall.

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