2 subs vs 1 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 22 Old 01-07-2020, 01:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Cool 2 subs vs 1

I'm looking for some feedback on my upcoming subwoofer purchase. There are several things to consider including price. Budget is 1k or less. Unfortunately that's a hard ceiling on cost. Room setup is a 19x19 room roughly 3000 cubic feet of space. It is almost exactly square shape except for slight change in ceiling height that is mostly 9ft with a lower 8ft section around the outer edge all the way around. Room is also fully closed off with no windows, no open doors , and no ambient light. It's a true theater setup. Seating is approximately 13 feet from face of the front speakers. Using a 131" screen, AVR is Denon AVR x3400. 120 watts per channel is I remember right. Set up is currently 7.1 using Paradigm speakers all around with R11 for front towers and whatever their larger center channel is called. Name slips me. Current sub is the Polk PW550 8" Ughhh! Nothing special considering the size of the room. It really lacks the range and punch to deliver the desired theater experience. I play mostly movies at higher levels, also some concert music on blue ray. Current movie collection is about to creep up over the 1k mark. It's time to make a big improvement on the only significant week spot of my set up and get some real subwoofer or (s). I'll go ahead and say I'd read lots of forums and have listened to many subs. SVS, HSU, PSA, Monolith all seem to be good bang for the buck solid subs.

The challenge is this. I could choose a larger 15" sub like a HSU VTF-3 which would end up delivered to my door with a final cost of about $950 including shipping and tax. Or, I could get 2 SVS PB12 or PB1000 subs delivered for the same cost. I like ported subs and also like the idea of a dual sub setup but have never done it. I recognize that two subs probably has more even sounds distribution and that moving into a 15" might add better coverage into the really low frequencies.

Which is a better setup? One 15" Example VTF-3 or the two SVS which net about the same cost. I'm not aware of any base dead spots in my room where I currently use the underwhelming PW550. Any advise or feedback is appreciated. Thanks all!
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post #2 of 22 Old 01-07-2020, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by SMH-RR View Post
I'm looking for some feedback on my upcoming subwoofer purchase. There are several things to consider including price. Budget is 1k or less. Unfortunately that's a hard ceiling on cost. Room setup is a 19x19 room roughly 3000 cubic feet of space. It is almost exactly square shape except for slight change in ceiling height that is mostly 9ft with a lower 8ft section around the outer edge all the way around. Room is also fully closed off with no windows, no open doors , and no ambient light. It's a true theater setup. Seating is approximately 13 feet from face of the front speakers. Using a 131" screen, AVR is Denon AVR x3400. 120 watts per channel is I remember right. Set up is currently 7.1 using Paradigm speakers all around with R11 for front towers and whatever their larger center channel is called. Name slips me. Current sub is the Polk PW550 8" Ughhh! Nothing special considering the size of the room. It really lacks the range and punch to deliver the desired theater experience. I play mostly movies at higher levels, also some concert music on blue ray. Current movie collection is about to creep up over the 1k mark. It's time to make a big improvement on the only significant week spot of my set up and get some real subwoofer or (s). I'll go ahead and say I'd read lots of forums and have listened to many subs. SVS, HSU, PSA, Monolith all seem to be good bang for the buck solid subs.

The challenge is this. I could choose a larger 15" sub like a HSU VTF-3 which would end up delivered to my door with a final cost of about $950 including shipping and tax. Or, I could get 2 SVS PB12 or PB1000 subs delivered for the same cost. I like ported subs and also like the idea of a dual sub setup but have never done it. I recognize that two subs probably has more even sounds distribution and that moving into a 15" might add better coverage into the really low frequencies.

Which is a better setup? One 15" Example VTF-3 or the two SVS which net about the same cost. I'm not aware of any base dead spots in my room where I currently use the underwhelming PW550. Any advise or feedback is appreciated. Thanks all!
If you can get the single 15 to work for you then go that route. It has a clear upgrade path to a 2nd one down the road should you desire. With a pair of the PBs your upgrade is kind of limited to selling and starting over which is always a money losing proposition.

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post #3 of 22 Old 01-07-2020, 02:24 PM
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I agree that the way to go now is to buy the best 15" you can get for your money right now. Going duals can be tempting but why settle for two lesser subs now, when you can get one good sub that will impress the crap out of you right away, and know that you can get a 2nd in the future to completely surpass your expectations.

Ported subs are the way to go for home theater movie viewing. Sealed are great for music, but it sounds like you're mostly a movie fan. I have a VTF-15H MK2 in my home theater which is considerably larger than your room, and I love it. You won't be disappointed in the VTF-3 MK5.
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post #4 of 22 Old 01-07-2020, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by SMH-RR View Post
I'm not aware of any base dead spots in my room where I currently use the underwhelming PW550.
Surprising, considering a single sub in a square room.

A single sub typically results in peaks & nulls throughout the room, giving each listener a different bass experience. The main advantage of a second sub is that its peaks & nulls can fill in the nulls & pull down the peaks of the first sub, resulting in a much smoother bass response (fewer/smaller peaks & dips) AND greater seat-to-seat consistency for all listeners. Can't do that with a single sub (it cannot fill in its own peaks & nulls).

With that in mind, my first choice of the ones you mentioned would be a pair of PB12 subs, followed by a pair of PB1000s. Single sub would be a distant 3rd choice.
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post #5 of 22 Old 01-07-2020, 03:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by sdurani View Post
Surprising, considering a single sub in a square room.

A single sub typically results in peaks & nulls throughout the room, giving each listener a different bass experience. The main advantage of a second sub is that its peaks & nulls can fill in the nulls & pull down the peaks of the first sub, resulting in a much smoother bass response (fewer/smaller peaks & dips) AND greater seat-to-seat consistency for all listeners. Can't do that with a single sub (it cannot fill in its own peaks & nulls).

With that in mind, my first choice of the ones you mentioned would be a pair of PB12 subs, followed by a pair of PB1000s. Single sub would be a distant 3rd choice.
Admittedly, I have not gone around the room with a meter to identify dead spots. In the 5 primary seats within the room there is not a significantly different feel to the base. Key word being "significantly". Maybe I'm lucky on my placement :-)
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post #6 of 22 Old 01-07-2020, 04:00 PM
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I'm with the others that say to go with the single best sub you can afford now, and then add a second later down the road if you deem it is necessary (especially since you do not notice a significant different feel around the room with your existing single sub). The upgrade path will be more expensive if you go with two lessor subs now. You will notice quite an improvement even with a single 15" over your existing 8".
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post #7 of 22 Old 01-07-2020, 05:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurani View Post
Surprising, considering a single sub in a square room.

A single sub typically results in peaks & nulls throughout the room, giving each listener a different bass experience. The main advantage of a second sub is that its peaks & nulls can fill in the nulls & pull down the peaks of the first sub, resulting in a much smoother bass response (fewer/smaller peaks & dips) AND greater seat-to-seat consistency for all listeners. Can't do that with a single sub (it cannot fill in its own peaks & nulls).

With that in mind, my first choice of the ones you mentioned would be a pair of PB12 subs, followed by a pair of PB1000s. Single sub would be a distant 3rd choice.
Every room is different.
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post #8 of 22 Old 01-07-2020, 06:14 PM
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I've done it both ways. I had a single 15" and something went wrong and I had to RMA it. I then replaced the 15" with two 10" subs, and to be honest, they held their own, but just didn't have that ultra deep extension that the 15" did. So, in the end, I got the 15" back, and just ordered a 2nd 15" to pair with it. However, I think even if I hadn't ordered a 2nd 15", I would have probably gone back to the single 15" vs. the two 10" subs and been pretty happy.
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post #9 of 22 Old 01-07-2020, 06:22 PM
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If you know that $1,000 is what you want to spend now and in the future then I say two PB1000. That’s what I did. I know I can afford more but I don’t want to. Only you know the answer to your question.
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post #10 of 22 Old 01-08-2020, 07:45 AM - Thread Starter
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its not likely that i would make an upgrade of a second 15" sub even though i like the idea. Marriage has a funny way of changing how freely you buy your next toy. now i could go 600 on a 12" and come back in a year or so and do another 600 on a sub but that is probably all i can reasonably do. so it really comes down to a choice of a single 15" (no future upgrade) or the two 12" route. possibly two vtf-2 which are close to 500 each.
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post #11 of 22 Old 01-08-2020, 08:23 AM
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Here's what you should do... in a completely sealed room no windows like yours...PSA is selling B Stock of the previous generation of subs.
There is one S3010 (dual opposed 15's, 1920wRMS/4300wPeak). For movies this will be your best bet. Even with dual ported 12's or a single ported 15 they are going to fall off a cliff at some point for movies. You have the perfect room for a beast sealed sub like the 3010 and can truly maximize its extension capabilities down to 10hz or below and not lose anything(probably gain) in mid bass slam vs the single ported 15's. It would be endgame for you coming from the sub you have. Its $1250 shipped with all the PSA reps and warranties. Just buy it and ask forgiveness.

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post #12 of 22 Old 01-10-2020, 08:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the input guys. Always enjoy the willingness and variety of of information everyone shares on the forum. I'm about a month out from making my purchase and leaning heavily towards the single larger sub. Any choice I make is a big step up from what I'm used to having.

A couple pics are attached of my media room to share what I've slowly been building over the years. It never actually ends right? :-)

Once my final purchase and setup is done I will post an update.
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post #13 of 22 Old 01-10-2020, 02:58 PM
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Very nice room! All those blurays are going to come flying off the shelves when the new sub gets turned up tho. fyi PSA listed a B stock S3000i which is the dual opposed 15in with a slightly older amp for $999 shipped. Take the extra dollar and buy a lottery ticket and be spot on budget. Not sure exactly the difference between it and the s3010($1249) other than it doesnt have balanced inputs(which i dont think anybody uses for HT anyway) and the RMS power is listed at 1700W vs 1920W on the newer amp(same peak tho). Maybe PSA updated the DSP too? Anyways, good luck with whatever you land on.

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This question gets asked often and you will usually get one of three responses.

1. Go with dual smaller subs. The advantage to multiple subs, especially in a rectangular sealed room is that you are able to get a smoother frequency response. While this is technically accurate, most people would not notice the nulls and peaks with actual content (even though a lot of people claim they can). Most content in movies is a complex combination of different frequencies and not a sustained single frequency. What might look bad in a graph, likely doesn't sound bad to most listeners.

2. Get the single biggest sub you can afford now. The advantage here is obvious in that you are buying the most capable subwoofer you can afford. Unlike option 1 which has a more difficult and costly upgrade path should you get the itch in the future, this option allows you to simply add another of the larger sub. While this option might result in some nulls throughout the room, as mentioned earlier, nulls that are obvious in a measurement graph really aren't noticeable in 99.9 percent of content. What you will notice is the additional output of a larger sub.

3. It depends on the room, listening preference, etc etc. This is the best answer but doesn't really help you make a decision.

My personal subwoofer journey looks like this:

Single 12 -> Single 15 -> Dual 15 -> Dual 18 -> Single Sub with Dual 18 inch drivers

In each of the 5 configurations, I used REW to do measurement graphs and optimize placement. The dual sub options always had the smoother looking graphs, but I am happiest with my current setup that uses a single sub. Although all of the single sub setups I have had suffered from "some" narrow nulls, I never felt like I was missing out on anything which watching a movie as a result. The things that are very obvious are amplitude and extension.
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post #15 of 22 Old 01-10-2020, 08:31 PM
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To help you make your decision easier, which type of person are you.

1. Hook up the subwoofer, fire up the equipment, play some demo clips and trust your ears. Wow, that sounds amazing and blows away my old subwoofer. If this sounds like you, buy the largest single subwoofer that fits your budget and then STAY OFF OF THE FORUMS!!!!!

2. Hook up the subwoofer, fire up the equipment, play some demo clips. Wow, that sounds amazing and blows away my old subwoofer. I wonder if I can tweak it to get even more out of my system. Head to the forums, read for hours, order MiniDSP microphone, install REW, measure, tweak, measure, tweak, obsess over a slight null at 40 hz, move sub, measure, tweak, measure, tweak, obsess over a new slight null at 55 hz, repeat, repeat, go back to forums. If this sounds like you, order 2 smaller subs which fits your budget so that you can make the graph look prettier. Of course, if this sounds like you, the rabbit hole gets deep quick and you will be looking to upgrade the 2 smaller subs in the future.

Once you get past your current question, you will have to answer the next question:

Sealed, Ported, or Low Tuned Ported
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post #16 of 22 Old 01-11-2020, 08:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chucks0 View Post
To help you make your decision easier, which type of person are you.

1. Hook up the subwoofer, fire up the equipment, play some demo clips and trust your ears. Wow, that sounds amazing and blows away my old subwoofer. If this sounds like you, buy the largest single subwoofer that fits your budget and then STAY OFF OF THE FORUMS!!!!!

2. Hook up the subwoofer, fire up the equipment, play some demo clips. Wow, that sounds amazing and blows away my old subwoofer. I wonder if I can tweak it to get even more out of my system. Head to the forums, read for hours, order MiniDSP microphone, install REW, measure, tweak, measure, tweak, obsess over a slight null at 40 hz, move sub, measure, tweak, measure, tweak, obsess over a new slight null at 55 hz, repeat, repeat, go back to forums. If this sounds like you, order 2 smaller subs which fits your budget so that you can make the graph look prettier. Of course, if this sounds like you, the rabbit hole gets deep quick and you will be looking to upgrade the 2 smaller subs in the future.

Once you get past your current question, you will have to answer the next question:

Sealed, Ported, or Low Tuned Ported

Very wise bit of advice. When I received my current sub (single dual driver like chucks0) I was in bass bliss. I couldn't be happier. Are there nulls and peaks, most likely yes (I don't use REW or have a miniDSP). Would another make the room sound better, probably. But the sound is so awesome as is that I'm completely and utterly happy with my setup. But that's just me in my room.
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post #17 of 22 Old 01-12-2020, 01:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Thx for the additional feedback. I appreciate high end audio and even have a couple friends of mine have 100K plus media rooms. Yes, they are really fun to hang out in but not what I'm aiming for.

I normally do an audigy set up with each new speaker change or addition and make one small tweek afterwards then leave it alone. That leaves me close enough to great that I can sit back and enjoy. Ill look into the PSA and possibly hsu. Hope to find some single or double in a 15" size. 10 " or 12" will leave me second guessing my purchase.
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post #18 of 22 Old 01-12-2020, 01:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Category5 View Post
Very nice room! All those blurays are going to come flying off the shelves when the new sub gets turned up tho. fyi PSA listed a B stock S3000i which is the dual opposed 15in with a slightly older amp for $999 shipped. Take the extra dollar and buy a lottery ticket and be spot on budget. Not sure exactly the difference between it and the s3010($1249) other than it doesnt have balanced inputs(which i dont think anybody uses for HT anyway) and the RMS power is listed at 1700W vs 1920W on the newer amp(same peak tho). Maybe PSA updated the DSP too? Anyways, good luck with whatever you land on.
I think the PSA S3000i (I use to own a pair) is a fantastic bargain as these B stocks still come with a new 5-year warranty. This uses the Speakerpower plate amp w/DSP. PSA's plate amps use a different DSP but the same IcePower amplifier modules. I doubt there is much if any difference in performance (it's just older).

P.S. XLRs are still quite relevant.
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post #19 of 22 Old 01-13-2020, 05:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Marc Alexander View Post
I think the PSA S3000i (I use to own a pair) is a fantastic bargain as these B stocks still come with a new 5-year warranty. This uses the Speakerpower plate amp w/DSP. PSA's plate amps use a different DSP but the same IcePower amplifier modules. I doubt there is much if any difference in performance (it's just older).

P.S. XLRs are still quite relevant.
Do many people use XLR to their subwoofers? I cant recall it being discussed. Not that im the greatest resource of info. Id be curious to hear experiences if there was a noticeable change in sound quality in the LFE with balanced. My gut tells me that people are naturally more sensitive to distortion at higher frequencies. But a cleaner signal is a cleaner signal.

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Personally I would BEG the Mrs for an extra $500 and get 2 of the PSA traded-in V1500's for $1499 - cash out your next 2 birthdays and Christmas presents if you have to - whatever it takes
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post #21 of 22 Old 01-16-2020, 03:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chucks0 View Post
This question gets asked often and you will usually get one of three responses.

1. Go with dual smaller subs. The advantage to multiple subs, especially in a rectangular sealed room is that you are able to get a smoother frequency response. While this is technically accurate, most people would not notice the nulls and peaks with actual content (even though a lot of people claim they can). Most content in movies is a complex combination of different frequencies and not a sustained single frequency. What might look bad in a graph, likely doesn't sound bad to most listeners.

2. Get the single biggest sub you can afford now. The advantage here is obvious in that you are buying the most capable subwoofer you can afford. Unlike option 1 which has a more difficult and costly upgrade path should you get the itch in the future, this option allows you to simply add another of the larger sub. While this option might result in some nulls throughout the room, as mentioned earlier, nulls that are obvious in a measurement graph really aren't noticeable in 99.9 percent of content. What you will notice is the additional output of a larger sub.

3. It depends on the room, listening preference, etc etc. This is the best answer but doesn't really help you make a decision.

My personal subwoofer journey looks like this:

Single 12 -> Single 15 -> Dual 15 -> Dual 18 -> Single Sub with Dual 18 inch drivers

In each of the 5 configurations, I used REW to do measurement graphs and optimize placement. The dual sub options always had the smoother looking graphs, but I am happiest with my current setup that uses a single sub. Although all of the single sub setups I have had suffered from "some" narrow nulls, I never felt like I was missing out on anything which watching a movie as a result. The things that are very obvious are amplitude and extension.
I'm in this dilemma right now and this advice has helped me.
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post #22 of 22 Old 01-16-2020, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by SMH-RR View Post
I'm looking for some feedback on my upcoming subwoofer purchase. There are several things to consider including price. Budget is 1k or less. Unfortunately that's a hard ceiling on cost. Room setup is a 19x19 room roughly 3000 cubic feet of space. It is almost exactly square shape except for slight change in ceiling height that is mostly 9ft with a lower 8ft section around the outer edge all the way around. Room is also fully closed off with no windows, no open doors , and no ambient light. It's a true theater setup. Seating is approximately 13 feet from face of the front speakers. Using a 131" screen, AVR is Denon AVR x3400. 120 watts per channel is I remember right. Set up is currently 7.1 using Paradigm speakers all around with R11 for front towers and whatever their larger center channel is called. Name slips me. Current sub is the Polk PW550 8" Ughhh! Nothing special considering the size of the room. It really lacks the range and punch to deliver the desired theater experience. I play mostly movies at higher levels, also some concert music on blue ray. Current movie collection is about to creep up over the 1k mark. It's time to make a big improvement on the only significant week spot of my set up and get some real subwoofer or (s). I'll go ahead and say I'd read lots of forums and have listened to many subs. SVS, HSU, PSA, Monolith all seem to be good bang for the buck solid subs.

The challenge is this. I could choose a larger 15" sub like a HSU VTF-3 which would end up delivered to my door with a final cost of about $950 including shipping and tax. Or, I could get 2 SVS PB12 or PB1000 subs delivered for the same cost. I like ported subs and also like the idea of a dual sub setup but have never done it. I recognize that two subs probably has more even sounds distribution and that moving into a 15" might add better coverage into the really low frequencies.

Which is a better setup? One 15" Example VTF-3 or the two SVS which net about the same cost. I'm not aware of any base dead spots in my room where I currently use the underwhelming PW550. Any advise or feedback is appreciated. Thanks all!
In a sealed room, sealed subs will provide more ULF energy than ported subs. See this thread for a discussion: https://www.avsforum.com/forum/113-s...orted-sub.html


Instead of the ported subs you're considering, I suggest a pair of sealed subs. These will provide MORE low frequency output in your room than a single ported or a pair of lesser ported subs due to the inherent room gain realized with sealed subs, especially in a well-sealed room like yours. SVS and Hsu both make sealed sub alternatives, as do several other sub manufacturers, some of whom have been referenced in your thread.



Good luck.


Craig

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