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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've owned my PB13-Ultra for a little over a year now. It's obviously been a fantastic all around performer, but since upgrading my main speakers, I've been on the hunt for "better" music performance. I stated "better" because I'm not all to certain what "better" may sound like...


I use REW and a BFD (1124P) to EQ my sub. I've been running it for the last 6 months in 15Hz mode and a slight house curve. I have a large room (~6,500cF) with a rather large opening to my dining room. The PB13-Ultra has proven to have more than enough output for my needs/wants.


For grins this morning, I figured I'd try running the sub in sealed mode. I changed nothing else (subsonic filters, EQ, or gain), just plugged the other 2 ports.


The funny thing is, I think I like what I'm hearing. There is nothing in particular I would have complained about with the previous 15Hz tune, but things seem to sound "better". The bass sounds very balanced and articulate; more articulate than what I'm used to from the sub. For example, a double bass sounds more lively and realistic. I now seem to not hear the chesty body of the double bass when it plays as much. It sounds "better" now. The sound is still there, but it doesn't sound so bloated. It's more musical now.


A lot of music sound very much the same, but my speakers seem to sound cleaner. Maybe it's the removal of some subsonic sounds from the sub that have cleaned things up? I don't know...
Nonetheless, things seem to sound better. So much so, that I'm thinking about dragging out my REW setup and EQ'ing things with the sub sealed. I haven't watched a movie with the sub sealed yet, that'll be later tonight when the wife and I watch Twilight.


I'm not certain if what I'm hearing is really "better" or not. It usually takes my some time and I have to listen to a lot of material one way and then switch back. So this will take a few days to figure out. I'm just a little surprised that I like the sound a little better.


I've been seriously considering selling the PB13-Ultra for quite some time now and moving to dual ULS-15s or maybe dual Rythmiks. My main goal is music and movies a distant 2nd. I also think I'd like a pair of smaller subs for some balance aesthetically for my setup:




It has crossed my mind that maybe the EQ I currently have combined with plugging the ports has some "better" sound to it and when I re-EQ the sealed tune, things will get worse. I don't know... Just sitting here listening to Patricia Barber's "You & The Night & The Music" is sounding pretty damn good. The double bass plucking is still very full bodied but cleaner sounding than I'm used to hearing from this track. It's almost like the transients are quicker and each note is a little more accurate.


Maybe this is all just my imagination, but I'd love to hear from anyone that has tried their PB13-Ultras sealed and I'd like to know your thoughts. Am I imagining this?


Thanks.
 

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Have you considered that the house curve you were running while using the 15hz mode imparted a heaviness that made the bass seem less natural? Maybe the sealed rolloff offset the house curve you had dialed in and restored a natural balance. I'd suggest breaking out the REW to really figure out what's going on.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mojomike /forum/post/16852693


Have you considered that the house curve you were running while using the 15hz mode imparted a heaviness that made the bass seem less natural? Maybe the sealed rolloff offset the house curve you had dialed in and restored a natural balance. I'd suggest breaking out the REW to really figure out what's going on.

good advice. it's always nice to see what you're hearing.
 

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I was less articulate than the OP, but running the Ultra sealed gained significant improvements in musical sound quality for me. More natural, faster attack, a tad less visceral (but not much) and the natural rolloff did remove a ton of room gain that I had to previously scrub with the PEQ. The only problem I had was I use the sub exclusively for multi-channel music and movies/TV. With that criteria, I was careful to watch movies no higher than -10 from reference and had no problem. Then Valkyrie came out and scared me with how it treated the U13 in sealed mode. I'm back to 15hz tune. It's just not worth the hassle for me to worry and MCH still sounds great...just not as...
 

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i didn't do blind tests ... but yes, i "think" i noticed better music performance when the Ultras were sealed.


i'm happy i don't have to make a decision between sealed or ported since i use them in a dedicated HT.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by mojomike /forum/post/16852693


Have you considered that the house curve you were running while using the 15hz mode imparted a heaviness that made the bass seem less natural? Maybe the sealed rolloff offset the house curve you had dialed in and restored a natural balance. I'd suggest breaking out the REW to really figure out what's going on.

I most certainly will run REW tomorrow night after work. I just didn't have it in me today to monkey with all this stuff. I just felt more like listening today and REW'ing tomorrow.


It has crossed my mind that (as I eluded to in my original post) I fixed something that I had set "wrong". What I plan to do is EQ the sub tomorrow and just live with it for the rest of the week. I'll then switch everything back to the 15Hz tune and listen again. Then I'll know which setup is "better". However, I suspect you may be right about the house curve imparting some heaviness. Something is up, and I'll find it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Temple /forum/post/16852863


I was less articulate than the OP, but running the Ultra sealed gained significant improvements in musical sound quality for me. More natural, faster attack, a tad less visceral (but not much) and the natural rolloff did remove a ton of room gain that I had to previously scrub with the PEQ. The only problem I had was I use the sub exclusively for multi-channel music and movies/TV. With that criteria, I was careful to watch movies no higher than -10 from reference and had no problem. Then Valkyrie came out and scared me with how it treated the U13 in sealed mode. I'm back to 15hz tune. It's just not worth the hassle for me to worry and MCH still sounds great...just not as...

I'm not so sure I was all that articulate, but there really does seem to be the improvement both you and I have heard. Even though I may have fixed something I had wrong, I am still hearing a more natural and realistic bass tone from the sub. The attack (transients) really does seem quicker.


It's funny you mention having to scrub off a lot of room gain. I do as well. This is an older graph I found, but it does show what and how I EQ my Ultra. What I'm running now could be close to this, but if memory serves me, I'm running a shallower house curve now...




One thing is for certain, the bass I hear is not weak at all. As it turns out, Twilight wasn't much for bass, but I'll run WOTW on the sub tomorrow after re-EQ'ing the sub in sealed mode. If it's scary sounding like the driver could be damaged, I'll go back to 15Hz and leave the experiment at that.


I'm also past the need for big bass sound for movies. It has to sound impressive, but not crazy. Music performance is very critical to me, and while I never hated the PB13 for music, it never really impressed me either. Thus far, sealed mode has made me a little impressed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by ribbit /forum/post/16852959


i didn't do blind tests ... but yes, i "think" i noticed better music performance when the Ultras were sealed.


i'm happy i don't have to make a decision between sealed or ported since i use them in a dedicated HT.

I'm happy to see there are at least two of you guys that have tried sealed mode and thought things sounded better musically. The change isn't night and day, but it's not exact subtle either. I've learned over the years to trust my ears and I do, but sometimes you have to wonder if you're really hearing something or not.
 

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take some more measurements tomorrow and post em up.
 

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I was referring to some earlier posts I made about sealing the sub. I judge a sub based on it's musicality and with my setup I just don't need a sub for 2 channel. It's a multi-purpose rig. A separate 2 channel pre which is bypassed to an AVR/pre/pro for movies and DVD A/SACD. If the media has a .1 channel then I use the sub. The Ultra is very much more musical in sealed mode, but losing that 3-5dbs of headroom down low can get a bit distressing when the loud/deep stuff hits.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Temple /forum/post/16854000


I was referring to some earlier posts I made about sealing the sub. I judge a sub based on it's musicality and with my setup I just don't need a sub for 2 channel. It's a multi-purpose rig. A separate 2 channel pre which is bypassed to an AVR/pre/pro for movies and DVD A/SACD. If the media has a .1 channel then I use the sub. The Ultra is very much more musical in sealed mode, but losing that 3-5dbs of headroom down low can get a bit distressing when the loud/deep stuff hits.

I read some of those posts prior to starting this thread. As I didn't really find what I was looking for, I thought it best to start a new thread.


I too have a 2-channel setup that is multipurpose. I run a Parasound 2100 preamp with HT bypass, a Parasound 2250 amp for my mains, and an Onkyo 876 for HT duties and to power my center channel and surrounds. However, I run my sub for everything to tame room modes by EQ'ing the sub. Even though my mains are very capable in the bass region, I still prefer the sound of music with a sub even beyond fixing room modes.


I'm just not certain that I listen to movies loud enough to miss the extra headroom. If I do, I'd just pick up another sub if necessary. I'll find out soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Here are the REW measurements from tonight:


PB13-Ultra in sealed mode (EQ'd with 15Hz house curve):




PB13-Ultra in 15Hz mode (EQ'd with house curve):




Comparison of sealed vs 15Hz:




I find it rather interesting that just plugging the last two ports basically removes my house curve.


Thoughts?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by TJHUB /forum/post/16858210


Here are the REW measurements from tonight:


Comparison of sealed vs 15Hz:




I find it rather interesting that just plugging the last two ports basically removes my house curve.

Thoughts?


try the 15hz tune and eliminate the house curve. see if it sounds like it does when sealed, you'll have more headroom that way as well.
 

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No wonder it sounds so good sealed. It's beautifully flat. It actually looks a lot the curve I worked so hard to get with my own PB13 in 15hz tune. If you can get that sort curve in 15hz tune, I'll bet you like what you hear and you will have all that added headroom to boot.


Just curious, in sealed mode did you remember to switch off the low filter? The response seems to drop off pretty sharp below about 15hz.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by mojomike /forum/post/16858755


No wonder it sounds so good sealed. It's beautifully flat. It actually looks a lot the curve I worked so hard to get with my own PB13 in 15hz tune. If you can get that sort curve in 15hz tune, I'll bet you like what you hear and you will have all that added headroom to boot.


Just curious, in sealed mode did you remember to switch off the low filter? The response seems to drop off pretty sharp below about 15hz.

You guys honestly believe it's the flatter FR that I'm hearing? For music? For the record, I tried the house curve to bring movies to life without affecting the sound for music. I did a lot of testing months back and arrived at using my own custom house curve. I honestly thought at the time that I could not hear any discernible difference for music over a flat response.


For grins, I will EQ everything flat with the 15Hz tune and listen. However, I don't expect that it'll make the same difference I hear with the sub sealed.


One thing is for certain, the bass impact for movies is really gone. The bass is good, but not earth shaking. Very lackluster to be honest. WOTW was not exciting at all. I did hear a weird noise from the sub during the ship explosion in Attack of the Clones. The strange part was that the driver was only moving a max of about 1" (maybe) during the scene.


And no, I did not turn off the subsonic filter. I left all settings at 15Hz.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by TJHUB /forum/post/16858889


You guys honestly believe it's the flatter FR that I'm hearing? For music? For the record, I tried the house curve to bring movies to life without affecting the sound for music. I did a lot of testing months back and arrived at using my own custom house curve. I honestly thought at the time that I could not hear any discernible difference for music over a flat response.


For grins, I will EQ everything flat with the 15Hz tune and listen. However, I don't expect that it'll make the same difference I hear with the sub sealed.


One thing is for certain, the bass impact for movies is really gone. The bass is good, but not earth shaking. Very lackluster to be honest. WOTW was not exciting at all. I did hear a weird noise from the sub during the ship explosion in Attack of the Clones. The strange part was that the driver was only moving a max of about 1" (maybe) during the scene.


And no, I did not turn off the subsonic filter. I left all settings at 15Hz.

I can't speak for the other guys, but I believe that it's primarily the flatter frequency response that you hear. Personally, I really like a flat bass curve, but what I do for extra impact is raise all of the bass shelf by a couple of db's rather than incorporate a house curve. For me, that sounds better with both most movies and music.


Just for the hell of it, try a frequency response measurement using sealed mode with the filter off. You will probably see descent response to below 10hz.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mojomike /forum/post/16858988


I can't speak for the other guys, but I believe that it's primarily the flatter frequency response that you hear. Personally, I really like a flat bass curve, but what I do for extra impact is raise all of the bass shelf by a couple of db's rather than incorporate a house curve. For me, that sounds better with both most movies and music.


Just for the hell of it, try a frequency response measurement using sealed mode with the filter off. You will probably see descent response to below 10hz.

I can't comment on sealed vs. ported SQ, but I can say that like mojomike, I prefer my bass flat without an augmented bottom end. When I was experimenting with REW (I think you and I were both on the Shack playing with REW around the same time, TJ) I tried a house curve at one point. Though it was fun, I prefer my sub calibrated flat both with music and HT. In my setup, the house curve made bass seem a bit bloated in comparison. Just my two cents.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by mojomike /forum/post/16858988


I can't speak for the other guys, but I believe that it's primarily the flatter frequency response that you hear. Personally, I really like a flat bass curve, but what I do for extra impact is raise all of the bass shelf by a couple of db's rather than incorporate a house curve. For me, that sounds better with both most movies and music.


Just for the hell of it, try a frequency response measurement using sealed mode with the filter off. You will probably see descent response to below 10hz.

I understand what you're saying. I'll set the tune to 15Hz and try a flat curve again. It'll have to wait until tomorrow now.


I'll do the measurement with the filter off just for fun. I am now curious...



Quote:
Originally Posted by lalakersfan34 /forum/post/16859327


I can't comment on sealed vs. ported SQ, but I can say that like mojomike, I prefer my bass flat without an augmented bottom end. When I was experimenting with REW (I think you and I were both on the Shack playing with REW around the same time, TJ) I tried a house curve at one point. Though it was fun, I prefer my sub calibrated flat both with music and HT. In my setup, the house curve made bass seem a bit bloated in comparison. Just my two cents.

Hey man. I remember that we were both on the shack figuring things out. Seems like forever ago.



Maybe the issue is my house curve. I didn't think so, but maybe Wayne poisoned my mind and I thought house curves were the greatest thing ever!



I hate to say this, but when I pulled the two port plugs for my sweeps, I listened to some bass heavy music while pulling the plugs out. I instantly heard what I'd best describe as a hollow and boxy deep bass sound. Maybe it was because I was so close to the sub's ports. All I know is that the difference in sound is there the way I have things EQ'd right now.
 

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Hey bro.... I remember that wall with that beautiful looking setup...


How about waiting for the new Sealed Subs from SVS, or maybe crossing over to the dark side...? Dare I say DIY....?


Ya know, Nuance and I could lug a couple of my 24" Maelstrom-X subs up there to see what they have to offer you in terms of smoothing things out...


Or bring his dual TC-2000's up there - or maybe Both Options to see what you think and we can measure all options...
 
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