Originally Posted by schmoppa
If I were to get a sub that would fill in the low-end, do you have any recommendations for one that isn't too physically or sonically big, and not too expensive?
Budget-wise, given that I am looking for the Toyota Corolla of options (that will get me to my destination efficiently), I'd love not to spend too much money. How much is "too much?" My gut says over $600 is too much for a Corolla. I'd love to be closer to $400. Is that even feasible? And does the car analogy continue to work here, in that a Corolla is small, but is there a cost-effective small sub that is worth a damn?
Originally Posted by eljaycanuck
SVS PB-1000 - $500, shipped.
(The Monoprice Monolith 10" is also $500 and it's more-powerful and tune-able...but it's larger and less WAF-friendly.)
RSL Speedwoofer 10S - $400, shipped: Less extension but more compact and WAF-friendly.
Originally Posted by RayGuy
Consider the Rythmik L12. It's sealed and (relatively) small. It will not be near enough for the room (none of your choices will be), but it has good linear response, should fulfill WAF, and will do the job of filling in the lower frequencies. Since the wife does not like loud, boomy bass, this should be perfect, assuming you place it well (bass response is all about proper positioning). In addition, it has quite a few tuning options, to tailor it to the needs of your room and your speakers. Lastly, excellent customer support to help you get the most from your investment.
+1 to these, as I read your OP my first thought was:
"His price point was my price-point 5 years ago, and I landed on the "entry level SVS" offerings (the ported PB-1000, previously recommended, and the sealed SB-1000 counterpart)."
My second thought was "I wonder what Rythmik charges for their entry level offering" and I went and checked that that L12 is also in your budget.
I had a PB-1000 in a very large space (16'x24', but open-floor-concept into other equally large rooms) for 5 years. You can't/won't pressurize the kind of space I'm workin in. But sure, you can fill out the frequency response graph and greatly benefit from having a sub. Sealed subs will tend to be physically smaller than ported subs, and based on your description that might matter to you...
I recently (~4 months ago) upgraded to a MUCH larger and more expensive Rythmik F25 sealed servo sub... and I absolutely love it. How much "sealed vs ported" and "servo vs non-servo" matters, in terms of sound quality, is hotly contested by some on these forums, but IMO and based on my (small, limited-sample-space) experiences I have found that the sealed servo Rythmik sounds quicker tighter and more articulate than my old ported SVS, and I'm a big believer in their product. My wife doesn't love the aesthetic... but she loves me, and she let's me "get away" with some things, A/V-wise, that a lot of others don't get clearance from the tower to pull off... she's not an audiophile. She mostly DGAF about the A/V "details" that I sweat and obsess over. But she would tell you, if you asked her, that (purely from a sound quality perspective) she thinks the Rythmik F25 made a bigger difference/improvement, going from the SVS PB-1000, then my new Ascend Sierra Towers (w/ RAAL ribbon upgrade) did, going from my old Polk monitor 70 Series II's.... Two things I'd highlight:
1) The price difference between the Rythmik F25 and the SVS PB-1000 is significantly less than the price difference between the Sierra RAAL towers and the Polk Monitor 70 towers... so this was a better bang-for-the-buck improvement.
2) She's not a bass-head, and this opinion isn't based on the fact that the F25 *can* when I want it to play WAY louder than the PB-1000 could... she wouldn't like that. At all. I keep it "under control" when she's already, and sometimes give it a little bass boost when I'm home alone. Her opinion is based on it's ability to "hit and get out of the way" in a way the SVS didn't.
3) Again, she's not an audiophile. At all.
Punch line: I think either the SVS-SB1000 or the Rythmik L12 would be great options for you at your budget and size constraints... and I'd personally recommend the Rythmik.