What makes a subwoofer sound more powerful than another? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 5 Old 10-19-2014, 08:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What makes a subwoofer sound more powerful than another?

I'm trying to learn to build a powerful subwoofer for movies (The thread is here), but I've been quite confused by what I'm reading when determining the design I should take.

Can someone explain to me what makes a subwoofer sound more powerful than others? Clearly, more maximum output helps, but it seems like that's sometimes not true.

I'm reading about (commercial) subwoofers, and I've read many cases where people found one subwoofer to be a huge upgrade over another.

Example: I've read countless posts on how the Seaton Submersive is way better than even dual SVS PB13. Even one SVS PB13 should have more output than the Submersive down low, let alone two. It is also compared with the 18'' ported JTR Captivator, where it is just as good in movies even though the JTR should have much much more output down low. The drivers in the Submersive looks kind of weak when the PB13 and Captivator drivers look much more impressive.

Several people in a GTG states the horn loaded 18'' JTR Orbit Shifter did not sound as good on movies as many other subwoofers, including the Submersive, even though it was clear the Orbit Shifter had significantly more output than every other subwoofer once they turned it up.

Another example is people find the SVS SB13 to be a huge upgrade over the SB12 even though it only has maybe 5dB more maximum output across the range.

If having more maximum output does not make a subwoofer sound more powerful than the other, then what determines how powerful a subwoofer sounds?

Thanks
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post #2 of 5 Old 10-19-2014, 08:48 PM
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quite frankly, a lot of it is because of user confusion around such factors as:
1. room effects
2. eq
3. level matching
4. placebo effect/listener preference bias
if all these things aren't controlled for, anything is possible.

Listen. It's All Good.
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post #3 of 5 Old 10-19-2014, 08:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soundcrave View Post
I'm trying to learn to build a powerful subwoofer for movies (The thread is here), but I've been quite confused by what I'm reading when determining the design I should take.

Can someone explain to me what makes a subwoofer sound more powerful than others? Clearly, more maximum output helps, but it seems like that's sometimes not true.

I'm reading about (commercial) subwoofers, and I've read many cases where people found one subwoofer to be a huge upgrade over another.

Example: I've read countless posts on how the Seaton Submersive is way better than even dual SVS PB13. Even one SVS PB13 should have more output than the Submersive down low, let alone two. It is also compared with the 18'' ported JTR Captivator, where it is just as good in movies even though the JTR should have much much more output down low. The drivers in the Submersive looks kind of weak when the PB13 and Captivator drivers look much more impressive.

Several people in a GTG states the horn loaded 18'' JTR Orbit Shifter did not sound as good on movies as many other subwoofers, including the Submersive, even though it was clear the Orbit Shifter had significantly more output than every other subwoofer once they turned it up.

Another example is people find the SVS SB13 to be a huge upgrade over the SB12 even though it only has maybe 5dB more maximum output across the range.

If having more maximum output does not make a subwoofer sound more powerful than the other, then what determines how powerful a subwoofer sounds?

Thanks
5 db's is a really big difference . Just put avr to -20 and turn sub trim up 5 dbs in bass scene.
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post #4 of 5 Old 10-19-2014, 11:28 PM
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It's a number of things that makes one better than another.
The total sum of the: efficiency, power handling, cone size and excursion goes a long ways...

Nothing beats a PA sub above 40hz. 4-8 PA-18's or 21's that each handle 1000watts at 99db/watt, is gonna break drywall/noses and bleed out ears and eyeballs.

Below 40hz usually the most massive sub wins. Just pure beef-ness.
The threshold of pain and ear damage threshold at 20hz is something like: 140-170db. So you can never really have TOO MUCH.
Usually people stop at around 8 18's as the SPL get's pretty crazy and diminishing returns kicks in hard at that point.
Usually, you can only be hit in the head with a frying pan so many times.

At 16 18's and 16kW+, the box design almost doesn't even matter anymore because it's just plain loud to matter how you have it thumping,
and unless you live in a cement underground bunker 1 mile away from the nearest person, then there is no practical way to bang it at max for more than a short period of time before cops fine you big money or just simply take your gear away and throw you in jail for a few days/weeks. (Which is pretty much the point where I'm at now. )

You can only buy/have so many cones in a room until you/it looks like: hoarder or prepper or nuttybar (or a mix of all of them.)
But don't mind me, I'm just listening to bass while eating astronaut-icecream and survival-rations/ramen in my off-grid vault, Howard-Hughes-style

Last edited by BassThatHz; 10-19-2014 at 11:57 PM.
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post #5 of 5 Old 10-20-2014, 05:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BassThatHz View Post
At 16 18's and 16kW+, the box design almost doesn't even matter anymore because it's just plain loud to matter how you have it thumping,
and unless you live in a cement underground bunker 1 mile away from the nearest person, then there is no practical way to bang it at max for more than a short period of time before cops fine you big money or just simply take your gear away and throw you in jail for a few days/weeks. (Which is pretty much the point where I'm at now. )

You can only buy/have so many cones in a room until you/it looks like: hoarder or prepper or nuttybar (or a mix of all of them.)
But don't mind me, I'm just listening to bass while eating astronaut-icecream and survival-rations/ramen in my off-grid vault, Howard-Hughes-style
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