Subwoofer poll - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 16 Old 09-09-2014, 04:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Subwoofer poll

I am sure it has been done, but just for fun I would like to see who is who is the subwoofer world. Ported, Sealed or Other
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post #2 of 16 Old 09-09-2014, 10:25 PM
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My opinion:
Anything that can play with flat response down to 15hz. Ported, Sealed, or Horn - doesn't make much difference. Dedicated enthusiasts couldn't even tell which was which in our blind subwoofer meet in 2012.


As long as you understand their nuances - you can be happy with any of them. Assuming 18" drivers I recommend the following for my subjective impression of extreme enthuisast level status.

*Sealed for full bandwidth (plan on multiples for full bandwidth reference level playback - most likely 4-8 sealed depending on room size and expectation - crossover as high as you like. With even most budget 18" drivers as high as 120hz is fine if that floats your boat, the better the driver quality the higher you can typical crossover - ((though I'm not a fan of a universal high crossover as it can muddy voices.))

*Ported for extra umpf in the all important low frequencies tuning range with fewer idiosyncrasies than a horn (plan on 2-4 ported for extreme enthusiast level bass - crossover set at 80 or 90hz typical.)

*Horn for absolute prowess at low horn tuning frequency - but be prepared to deal with wonky frequency responses in upper bass (depending on horn design) because of resonances with the horn (described as a hollow sound by some) or set crossover lower (plan on 2 for extreme enthusiast level bass - Crossover at ~60hz for something like the gjallarhorn).

The above use cases are simplistic and summarial. There are obviously exceptions to everything - but generally speaking accurate.


Each has their application and followers. Me? - I would be happy with any of them assuming they are tuned to 15hz as relates to ported and horn. I currently am toying with eight Ultimax 18" subwoofers in sealed boxes and enjoying them quite a bit, I've spent three years with ported JTR Captivators, and love them (probably still my favorite single sub). I had dual SVS PB13 Ultras before that, had dual Jamo D7 sealed subs before that, had a Yamaha dual 18" PA sub before that, had a DIY ottoman sealed subwoofer with four 15" drivers before that, had dual Infinity HPS-1000 passive radiator based 15" subs before that. I've had everything but horn based subs so far, but have hears several different horn models at various subwoofer meets including most of the forum favorites. I may have to build some gjallarhorns at some point to complete the adventure - but before I pursue that route - I'll need mains that dig deeper so I can crossover lower (say 60hz) to the gjallarhorns.
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Archaea's 9.8.4 Home Theater Room
(13) JBL CBT 70j-1 | Denon x7200wa | Sherbourn PA 7-350 amplifier | (8) Ultimax 18" sealed subwoofers | (4) iNuke DSP 6000 amplifiers | (4) MB Quart 12" subwoofers mounted direct mounted to Berkline theater chairs BOSS style | Epson 5040UB Projector | Jamestown 144" acoustic transparent 2.35:1 screen w/ Seymour XD fabric

Last edited by Archaea; 09-10-2014 at 08:14 AM.
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post #3 of 16 Old 09-09-2014, 11:31 PM
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Mine are always changing and mainly have to do with what space I have. So after having sealed, horned and ported I am going back to ported because my space is VERY limited. I am going with four Sundown 10's. Each pair will be in 2cuft ported at 23hz with PR's. Might end up doing an ottoman also but not decided yet. BUT if I do that will be a ported subwoofer also.
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post #4 of 16 Old 09-09-2014, 11:33 PM
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Sealed simply because they are easier to build. Personally, I think it's more about the implementation that whether it's sealed or ported.
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post #5 of 16 Old 09-10-2014, 01:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archaea View Post
I currently am toying with eight Ultimax 18" subwoofers in sealed boxes and enjoying them quite a bit, I've spent three years with ported JTR Captivators, and love them (probably still my favorite single sub). I had dual SVS PB13 Ultras before that, before that I had dual Jamo D7 sealed subs, before that I had a Yamaha dual 18" PA sub, before that I had a DIY ottoman sealed subwoofer with four 15" drivers, before that I had dual Infinity HPS-1000 passive radiator based 15" subs. I've had everything but horn based subs so far. I may have to build some gjallarhorns at some point to complete the adventure - but before I pursue that route - I'll need mains that dig deeper so I can crossover lower to the gjallarhorns.
are the 8 Ultimaxes an improvement over your previous setups ? and how do only 4 compare ?
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post #6 of 16 Old 09-10-2014, 05:46 AM
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Two sealed SI-18" behind AT screen. One sealed Mal-X 18" below the screen. One sealed RE-XXX near field behind seating. Two sealed 12" TC Sounds near field behind seating. Sealed can be made smaller, so works better in my small room. Wattage and boost is cheap these days. Also since equipment is located in the mechanical room below the HT, I don't have to worry about noise and heat from the 8 amps I use.
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post #7 of 16 Old 09-10-2014, 05:54 AM
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Eight Ultimax 18" in sealed enclosures are a slight improvement over my 2011 pair of JTR ported Captivators (with the Orbit Shifter drivers).

But, I do mean slight improvement.

I invited a friend, who isn't a hobbiest, but likes bass over to compare the two systems on various demo clips. He was indifferent. I took both systems to + 5dB over reference with the subs about 6 dB hot.

Archaea's 9.8.4 Home Theater Room
(13) JBL CBT 70j-1 | Denon x7200wa | Sherbourn PA 7-350 amplifier | (8) Ultimax 18" sealed subwoofers | (4) iNuke DSP 6000 amplifiers | (4) MB Quart 12" subwoofers mounted direct mounted to Berkline theater chairs BOSS style | Epson 5040UB Projector | Jamestown 144" acoustic transparent 2.35:1 screen w/ Seymour XD fabric
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post #8 of 16 Old 09-10-2014, 06:03 AM
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Four sealed subs:
- two AIY w/ UXL-18s + iNuke 6000DSP; and
- two ChaseHT SS-18.1s + Dayton SA-1000.


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post #9 of 16 Old 09-10-2014, 07:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archaea View Post
Eight Ultimax 18" in sealed enclosures are a slight improvement over my 2011 pair of JTR ported Captivators (with the Orbit Shifter drivers).

But, I do mean slight improvement.

I invited a friend, who isn't a hobbiest, but likes bass over to compare the two systems on various demo clips. He was indifferent. I took both systems to + 5dB over reference with the subs about 6 dB hot.
Great posts! Question: did you demo movie or music or a combination?
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post #10 of 16 Old 09-10-2014, 08:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxozaxu View Post
Great posts! Question: did you demo movie or music or a combination?
All of the above. We watched multiple clips off the scubasteve demo disc, multiple clips off my HTPC, and a few scenes off some blurays. We listened to music off Spotify. This was to compare with similar clips, but then we watched a different full length movie on each setup. His response at the end of the night was - eh, not that much difference between the two and he actually said he remembered the ported being more tactile from the front of the room. Though he said he did like the nearfield 18"s firing into the back of the chair.

I personally prefer the eight sealed overall slightly because:
More placement options
Nearfield subs are nice (6 font, 2 rear)
My caps are tuned to 20hz and the sealed give me flat response in my room lower, it's a worthy difference between 15hz and 20hz. I can use the Captivator subs in a 15hz tune (1 port plugged) but they lose some output, and are underported in 15hz tune if you run them hard (like nearly any ported sub with port plug options). I typically ran them in 20hz tune.
I've typically/historically preferred sealed subs slightly for music, but by a larger margin preferred ported subs for movies. I've found you can narrow and overcome my preference gap for ported in cinema use with multiple sealed. I've never tried more than a couple ported - so I don't know how they scale (but it seems less necessary, because I honestly never needed more output than my two ported captivators could provide). I've been in multiple rooms with eight 18"s or even to popalocks that has sixteen 18"s. I tried four sealed 18" SI, and I tried four sealed 18" UM18-22. Both were beaten pretty strongly, in my opinion, by the pair of ported captivators. Eight sealed wins the battle though, and nearfield subs really rock.
Would I like four ported Captivators better? Perhaps, but I can attest I didn't lack for output with just the two Captivators, and with four sealed 18" I want more than they can give in the several rooms I've heard them in.

I have less than $3k in my passive ported Captivators, not including amps.
I have $4,500 in my eight sealed, not including amps.

I asked my buddy if he thought the eight sealed were $1,500 better than the ported Captivators after our demo session. He said no. I asked him if he thought they were better if they were the same price. He said he was indifferent.
I think they are slighty better and enough to warrant that uptick in $ outlay -- so I'll keep them for a time, and play with them more. I like trying and listening to different gear in this hobby.

Archaea's 9.8.4 Home Theater Room
(13) JBL CBT 70j-1 | Denon x7200wa | Sherbourn PA 7-350 amplifier | (8) Ultimax 18" sealed subwoofers | (4) iNuke DSP 6000 amplifiers | (4) MB Quart 12" subwoofers mounted direct mounted to Berkline theater chairs BOSS style | Epson 5040UB Projector | Jamestown 144" acoustic transparent 2.35:1 screen w/ Seymour XD fabric

Last edited by Archaea; 09-10-2014 at 10:08 AM.
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post #11 of 16 Old 09-10-2014, 08:33 AM
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I am using sealed subs as they were the easiest to fit into my current theater.
I do agree if you go sealed plan of using multiples of 4, 8, or even more.
One or two is probably not going to cut it, unless your room is small.
I have 4 sealed 15's right now and am building a new enclosure that will allow me to add 2 more 15's.
If you go sealed go big on the amplification, sealed boxes absorb power like a sponge.

I have done big ported boxes in the past and the only downside with them is the big box. If you have the room a ported box will not disappoint. The low frequency gain around the tuning frequency is impressive. I used 2 15's in separate 11 cubic foot boxes tuned to 17hz and the low frequency output was enough to blur your vision in my 12x16 viewing room.

Had a IB set before this and loved it! An IB is easy to drive, not boomy and just a great option for a sub bass if your theater will support the construction needed to get an IB installed. With no eq my system extended down to 10hz and was pretty flat. If you build a IB have a plan in place to handle room nodes as you can not just more the IB around until it sounds good again. Everything below that was smooth and sounded great.

I have used 15's in the past since they were what is available to me. I discovered this forum about 8 months ago and man has my theater changed for the better. Now that I know of the great 18 inch options, 18's are what I will be buying from now on.
18's are just a better value on the output vs $$ scale plus they have much higher output capabilities.
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post #12 of 16 Old 09-10-2014, 09:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Sorry guys, I did not mean to post this. I had a poll set up and cancelled it, somehow it got posted LOL. Sorry, but continue on.
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post #13 of 16 Old 09-10-2014, 09:22 AM
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sealed, easier to build and can be made really small (driver dependent) and still yield huge output down low.

takes EQing but can so silly things in the ULF range with multiples
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post #14 of 16 Old 09-10-2014, 10:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sibuna View Post
sealed, easier to build and can be made really small (driver dependent).

ha - says the guy with the refrigerator sized sealed subwoofer box housing a 24" subwoofer.
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(13) JBL CBT 70j-1 | Denon x7200wa | Sherbourn PA 7-350 amplifier | (8) Ultimax 18" sealed subwoofers | (4) iNuke DSP 6000 amplifiers | (4) MB Quart 12" subwoofers mounted direct mounted to Berkline theater chairs BOSS style | Epson 5040UB Projector | Jamestown 144" acoustic transparent 2.35:1 screen w/ Seymour XD fabric
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post #15 of 16 Old 09-10-2014, 11:36 AM - Thread Starter
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I had always loved ported and when I took delivery of my Triax's, I immediately loved sealed. However going to back to all ported. 2 DIY HST 18's paired with JTR 215's. Should get me where I want to be

Going to work and switch up for awhile blending ported and sealed and ported with ported and see what works best for me.
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post #16 of 16 Old 09-10-2014, 12:19 PM
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For the last year or so, I've been running 2-SI HT 18"s in 4.2 cu ft sealed boxes and EQ'ing with a MiniDSP. My setup is in a shared living room/dining room space and is on a suspended wood floor. Sitting ~10 feet from the two subs gives more than enough output and tactile feel in my room is pretty ridiculous as-is. I have 2 more SI 18"s new in the boxes that I will be putting into 5 cu ft sealed boxes in the back of the room over the next couple of months. All will be powered by a NU4-6000.
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