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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello all,

(Edit: photo added, potential 15" locations)

Happy Holidays and thanks in advance for the help. Been lurking here for the last 8 months, searching and reading; now I think I am ready to ask some questions. Recently bought a house and I am looking to build our home theater/hifi music setup in the main living room. It is an open-concept large room with moderately vaulted ceilings:

Room size: approx. 25ft x 23 ft
Room Volume: approx. 5973.5 cubic ft

I would like to build DIY subwoofers for this space. (Very much in the planning phase right now, don’t plan to start for quite awhile due to other house stuff needing to get done first). I have built several enclosures for car audio subwoofers before and am decently handy.

Here are my requirements for the subwoofers:
  1. Current budget for amp and subs: $650
    (In a few years I am not opposed to upgrading drivers, or adding more of the same type, but I would prefer not to replace or buy a new amp).
  2. Will be used 70/30 for Music/Movies
  3. Must be accurate, tight, musical, not sloppy
  4. Ideally would like to extend quite low, and experience the “room breathing” everyone talks about
  5. Will be built into furniture, for this reason I would like to keep enclosure size around 4 cubic feet max per driver (will build a stealthy credenza table to house 1 or 2 drivers, will build others into a bench or similar. If I need to go over budget a little due to enclosure materials that's okay).
  6. Will likely build ported (not sealed) for efficiency’s sake

Here are my current ideas and questions:
(Drivers I’ve been looking at: Dayton Reference Series, Dayton Ultimaxes 12” and 15”, super cheap Daytons/Peerless like Dayton Classics)
This seems like a big room. For this reason I figured two 15s would do well in this space. If two 12s would fulfill all my requirements, that would be great. However 15s are more efficient and move more air for just a bit more money. But, will they be less accurate/tight for things like detailed basslines?

I have been searching and reading for weeks to confirm if the myth of bigger driver = sloppier is true. It leads to a lot of internet subwoofer arguments with no clear-cut answer. If anyone can confirm or deny this please do! What I have sorta gathered is that given the same enclosure type, big drivers can sound great, but they need to be a higher end/expensive driver to achieve this.
Can I achieve all my requirements with two 15s? Two 12s? …FOUR 12s?!

If 12s in this price point will just sound tighter/cleaner/punchier, I am not opposed to doing something like four 12s around the room. However four 12s of the same quality will cost more than two 15s, at this point I’d have to go with cheaper drivers. I can find very few reviews of HT/hifi enthusiasts using the Dayton Classics or other cheap Parts Express drivers (other than the PA640/VBSS, which seems like it would move too little air and require too large of an enclosure?)
Will four 12s sound inherently better than two 15s? Would the cheap PE subwoofer drivers meet my req’s?

As far as amps go, I know very little when it comes to HT. I was leaning towards the Crown XLI 1500, as it seems to be the cheapest, trusted one with decent power output, and fan noise needs to be minimal because it will live near the TV/listening area. If there is another option available for not too much more that is stable to 2 ohms, that would be preferable to give more wiring options.
Crown XLI 1500, or any other suggestions for amps?

….Do I need to spend more money?

Sorry for the long post, and thank you very much for any input/help!
 

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Important -- woofer size does NOT determine "tightness."

Woofer size determines the amount of impact you can feel...more cones and cone area = more. More xmas also = more

So what makes sloppy? A crap alignment. Put a driver in a box not designed for it you get crap, or sloppy.

In a big room with limitations on budget and space, you have to go ported.

4 is better than 2. 2 is better than 1. I guarantee you need at least 2 and more likely 4 to begin approaching something that makes your room HQ.

I would go VBBS based upon your budget and plans, buy used if you can. 2 sets are available I believe....eng-399 and Remy.

QED

Or build 2 or 4, with plans for at least 4.

Imo you will want 8 big subs in there for an awesome room, but 4 could also do the job.
 

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IMO 4 15's would be the minimum for a space that large.

95% of music bass is 30-300hz.
90% of movie bass is 30-300hz.

You can generally save a LOT of money and cone-area and box-space by NOT focusing on the DC-30hz region.

You generally want a high efficiency driver for music.
B&C 18's would be good, PA-460's for entry-level.

The UM's are designed for making bass below 40hz, at 88db/w/m they are low-efficiency.

Generally I would say trust your box-modelling software.

You can always solve the DC-30hz problem afterward, by throwing endless piles of money at big cones, lots of cones, and lots of watts.

Every time you drop an octave, it gets 4x more difficult/expensive.

2hz is 4x easier than 1hz
4hz is 4x easier than 2hz
8hz is 4x easier than 4hz
16hz is 4x easier than 8hz
32hz is 4x easier than 16hz

Above 32hz it starts to level-out fast, and can generally be solved with a few cheap china-made pro woofers, such as the Dayton PA-460; whereas 2hz... requires an infinite number of SI-24's or RE-18's or FI-IB's in an IB or room-sized ported-box tuned to 2hz.

Not only are woofers inefficient at making low-bass, but the human ear is increasingly insensitive to hearing low bass, and the content is also increasingly rare and fleeting. i.e. don't chase rainbows uninformed.
Solve the 30-300hz region first... make that as loud as you desire, only-then chase infrasonics.
 

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You could consider building two down firing "end table" VBBS subwoofers. Put a nice veneer on them to match the room's deco. You should be able to easily drive both subs with a cheap Inuke or Crown amp.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Thanks for the responses all - geez, 4 to 8 15" subs sounds like madness. I guess I underestimated the bigness of this room.

So, I guess I'll plan to try and fit some 15s into the room. 15s will be easier to hide than 18s due to enclosure size and diameter. If possible, the Dayton PA-380 (15" brother of VBSS PA-460) seems like a good cheap option to put around the room. I re-read the first few VBSS pages, and came across this quote from LTD02 on pg2:

"
1 x pa460 in 6.5 c.f. tuned to 22hz (red)
2 x pa380 in 6.5 c.f. tuned to 22hz (black)

2 x pa380 vs 1 x pa460 in the same size cab and same tuning. those two systems model almost identically, so you could get the same frequency response with a 1 x pa380 in a cab exactly half as large and using 1/2 the ports (of course, you would get less output as well).

"

So if I put two pa380 in a credenza table (6.5 cu ft), I could then put two more elsewhere in the room, each in its own 3.25 cu ft enclosure for four total drivers, and in theory - this would perform well with good output?

(For some reason I am turning up few threads of people using pa380 as subs. Much more for midbass. Slightly higher Fs than pa460.... is that awful? Is there a better budget 15"?)

IMO 4 15's would be the minimum for a space that large.



95% of music bass is 30-300hz.

90% of movie bass is 30-300hz.



You can generally save a LOT of money and cone-area and box-space by NOT focusing on the DC-30hz region.



You generally want a high efficiency driver for music.

B&C 18's would be good, PA-460's for entry-level.



The UM's are designed for making bass below 40hz, at 88db/w/m they are low-efficiency.



Generally I would say trust your box-modelling software.



You can always solve the DC-30hz problem afterward, by throwing endless piles of money at big cones, lots of cones, and lots of watts.



Solve the 30-300hz region first... make that as loud as you desire, only-then chase infrasonics.


Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
 

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Do you have an idea of how you want to lay out your HT? If you do, than make sure your sub plans align with your other plans. For example, you mentioned that this will be in your main living space, so you could consider putting subs geared towards the infrasonics in the credenza and your 30Hz+ subs in "end table" type nearfield enclosures.

Following @BassThatHz suggestion of nailing the 30Hz+ frequencies first (which I agree makes sense) would mean that you could build end tables first. Then build the credenza to house your equipment, but not populate the subs until later, which would save you a little cash up front.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Do you have an idea of how you want to lay out your HT? If you do, than make sure your sub plans align with your other plans. For example, you mentioned that this will be in your main living space, so you could consider putting subs geared towards the infrasonics in the credenza and your 30Hz+ subs in "end table" type nearfield enclosures.

Following @BassThatHz suggestion of nailing the 30Hz+ frequencies first (which I agree makes sense) would mean that you could build end tables first. Then build the credenza to house your equipment, but not populate the subs until later, which would save you a little cash up front.

Happy new year all!

So mumbles60 here are my current plans/thoughts on layout, I tried to add the picture also to the first post. (The floorplan is to scale, the little pink things are humans)

Up until this point all I have heard/read (in car audio land) is that all subs must match, and you’re a silly, silly goose if you have different subs in the same system. It looks like that is not the case in Home Theater Land, as I keep reading about folks with different subs for different freq. bands.

So, assuming I will tackle 30Hz and up first:

  • I think I can stuff two or three 15s in the credenza table I will build in the rear of the room, assuming each needs 3.25 cu ft. (The credenza is just an attractive enclosure for subs, it was not intended to hold anything else)
  • One additional 15 can be hidden in a booth/bench thing, and/or near the kitchen.
  • I could build narrow enclosures and use them as stands for my mini towers (Pioneer SP-FS52), however I worry about the subs’ proximity to my neighbor wall. Ours is a detached house, and this is an exterior wall. (I am planning to do two layers of 5/8” drywall with green glue on this wall, but not use whisper clips.) I don’t want to piss off my neighbors.

Current Questions:

  1. Is the Dayton PA-380 a good choice for a budget 15” sub, and 3.25 cu ft a good enclosure size for mini VBSS?
  2. If I use subs as stands for mains, will them being nearfield to the wall cause more sound transmission through the wall than if they were 10+ feet away from it?
  3. What amp should I use to drive all these? The VBSS was designed for an iNuke DSP… If I want to avoid fan noise on a budget, but also need DSP… what is the best choice?
  4. Indeed it is okay to have different model subs (for infrasonics vs 30Hz +) ?
Thank you!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Morning all, bump - if it's more appropriate I can make a new thread as the questions have evolved.

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Hope this helps?

1. My buddy built dual 15's for his theater but not sure which Dayton model he used. They are tuned to 17 hz and they rock the screws out of the sheetrock.
2. Bass waves are very long and they will travel through walls.
3. My buddy (above) uses an older inuke3000dsp for his dual subs and that thing is awesome. You are looking into it too much, you can't really hear it unless its dead quiet in the room so you will probably never hear it in a living room setup unless its sitting on top of the entertainment center in wide open space. If that bothers you there is a fan mod for like $9 that will make it almost silent.
4. You can mix and match subs, from what I read, don't mix sealed and ported subs in the same room.


Now if you want something more mild but still plenty of bass, my living room theater is underway and it's about the size of yours. I am going 5.2.2 atmos setup with dual jbl cs1214 subs tuned to 20 hz and running it off an inuke1000dsp (might get a new nx1000d). I am building dual end tables to please the wife and have had a lot of help from members here who have built these subs and said they rock for a living room setup. The subs were $29 each, just fyi.

Good luck!
 

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I can also recommend the VBSS as a very budget friendly way to get fantastic sound at or under your budget. Like shown above, an end-table, down-firing version would fill your space pretty well and not be too tall. I have also built a 3.5 cft enclosure with the JBL CS1214 tuned to ~ 20 hz and it works pretty well but I don't think two of them would keep up in a space of your size.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks very much Erik and Zarkoff,

I fully expect the long wavelengths to get through the walls somewhat - I am just wondering if the sub being 3 ft vs. 10, 12, 15 ft from the wall matters much, because they travel so far?

That CS1214 sub is intriguing, looks like a car audio sub, 90dB efficiency, Fs of 28Hz.

Is there a similar budget sub in size 15"? I didn't see a 15" version in the JBL CSeries line and most of the car subs I've come across are less efficient with a higher Fs. I could do subs in the credenza plus in end tables or stands for fronts.
Hope this helps?

1. My buddy built dual 15's for his theater but not sure which Dayton model he used. They are tuned to 17 hz and they rock the screws out of the sheetrock.
2. Bass waves are very long and they will travel through walls.
3. My buddy (above) uses an older inuke3000dsp for his dual subs and that thing is awesome. You are looking into it too much, you can't really hear it unless its dead quiet in the room so you will probably never hear it in a living room setup unless its sitting on top of the entertainment center in wide open space. If that bothers you there is a fan mod for like $9 that will make it almost silent.
4. You can mix and match subs, from what I read, don't mix sealed and ported subs in the same room.


Now if you want something more mild but still plenty of bass, my living room theater is underway and it's about the size of yours. I am going 5.2.2 atmos setup with dual jbl cs1214 subs tuned to 20 hz and running it off an inuke1000dsp (might get a new nx1000d). I am building dual end tables to please the wife and have had a lot of help from members here who have built these subs and said they rock for a living room setup. The subs were $29 each, just fyi.

Good luck!
I can also recommend the VBSS as a very budget friendly way to get fantastic sound at or under your budget. Like shown above, an end-table, down-firing version would fill your space pretty well and not be too tall. I have also built a 3.5 cft enclosure with the JBL CS1214 tuned to ~ 20 hz and it works pretty well but I don't think two of them would keep up in a space of your size.
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I haven't seen a 15" version of the JBL CS/CX line but the 6.25 cft VBSS box will take two JBL 12's nicely. Not huge savings at two per box vs one PA460 per box and having two high efficiency 18's is pretty neat.
 

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Happy new year all!

So mumbles60 here are my current plans/thoughts on layout, I tried to add the picture also to the first post. (The floorplan is to scale, the little pink things are humans)

Up until this point all I have heard/read (in car audio land) is that all subs must match, and you’re a silly, silly goose if you have different subs in the same system. It looks like that is not the case in Home Theater Land, as I keep reading about folks with different subs for different freq. bands.

So, assuming I will tackle 30Hz and up first:

  • I think I can stuff two or three 15s in the credenza table I will build in the rear of the room, assuming each needs 3.25 cu ft. (The credenza is just an attractive enclosure for subs, it was not intended to hold anything else)
  • One additional 15 can be hidden in a booth/bench thing, and/or near the kitchen.
  • I could build narrow enclosures and use them as stands for my mini towers (Pioneer SP-FS52), however I worry about the subs’ proximity to my neighbor wall. Ours is a detached house, and this is an exterior wall. (I am planning to do two layers of 5/8” drywall with green glue on this wall, but not use whisper clips.) I don’t want to piss off my neighbors.

Current Questions:

  1. Is the Dayton PA-380 a good choice for a budget 15” sub, and 3.25 cu ft a good enclosure size for mini VBSS?
  2. If I use subs as stands for mains, will them being nearfield to the wall cause more sound transmission through the wall than if they were 10+ feet away from it?
  3. What amp should I use to drive all these? The VBSS was designed for an iNuke DSP… If I want to avoid fan noise on a budget, but also need DSP… what is the best choice?
  4. Indeed it is okay to have different model subs (for infrasonics vs 30Hz +) ?
Thank you!!!

Hi @CT
Just a couple of thoughts in no particular order...
You mentioned your primary speakers which I see are around 35" tall. If you put those on top of a sub enclosure it may put your tweeter/mid too high for a realistic sound stage.

What about a center channel speaker? Do you have one, and if so, where/how is it located relative to the TV? You could consider building the credenza to fit under the TV and put the 30Hz and up subs in it while locating the infrasonic subs near field behind the couch or in another credenza like you have pictured.

The PA-380 is and 8ohm sub... but it does have a 96db sensitivity, so probably a wash. You could of course run two in parallel to get both high sensitivity and a 4ohm load.

Yes, it is perfectly fine to run different size subs to cover different frequencies...

Hope this is helpful!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Hi @CT

Just a couple of thoughts in no particular order...

You mentioned your primary speakers which I see are around 35" tall. If you put those on top of a sub enclosure it may put your tweeter/mid too high for a realistic sound stage.



What about a center channel speaker? Do you have one, and if so, where/how is it located relative to the TV? You could consider building the credenza to fit under the TV and put the 30Hz and up subs in it while locating the infrasonic subs near field behind the couch or in another credenza like you have pictured.



The PA-380 is and 8ohm sub... but it does have a 96db sensitivity, so probably a wash. You could of course run two in parallel to get both high sensitivity and a 4ohm load.



Yes, it is perfectly fine to run different size subs to cover different frequencies...



Hope this is helpful!
Thanks mumbles and zarkoff,

Number one question - will putting subs that close to the TV wall significantly increase sound transmission through the wall, vs putting them far away?

Eventually we will have a large wall-mounted OLED, and I was planning to put the receiver, amps, PS4, etc in a wall-mounted bookshelf/cabinet thing below the TV, probably with the center channel sitting on that.

I could put subs in there, or as stands for the mains... but then the subs will be connected to the wall, or right next to it. Will this significantly limit how much I can turn up the volume? (I have very nice neighbors and don't want to irritate them... and we like loud music).



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If you have an open basement or crawl space beneath your living room, do a little research into infinite baffle subwoofers.

The only thing you'd see in your upstairs living space is a grate in the floor.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
If you have an open basement or crawl space beneath your living room, do a little research into infinite baffle subwoofers.



The only thing you'd see in your upstairs living space is a grate in the floor.
Unfortunately we are on concrete slab, one-story house... but thanks for the suggestion!

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A, "one-story house", might have attic space which could be used similarly, but does, "moderately vaulted ceilings", eliminate that as well?
Yes it does - no attic space either!

Even if we did though - I am trying to keep isolation to the maximum and prevent the bass from escaping the house as much as possible - coupling the subs to the ceiling/walls I imagine would work against this.

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Yes it does - no attic space either!

Even if we did though - I am trying to keep isolation to the maximum and prevent the bass from escaping the house as much as possible - coupling the subs to the ceiling/walls I imagine would work against this.

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The boxes thankless aren't going to vibrate much. Boxes in the ceiling could be totally hidden. You could use a bandpass configuration so that the only thing coming into the room is just a port. You would need space in the Attic, but it has potential to be the stealthiest config out there.

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Thanks mumbles and zarkoff,

Number one question - will putting subs that close to the TV wall significantly increase sound transmission through the wall, vs putting them far away?

Eventually we will have a large wall-mounted OLED, and I was planning to put the receiver, amps, PS4, etc in a wall-mounted bookshelf/cabinet thing below the TV, probably with the center channel sitting on that.

I could put subs in there, or as stands for the mains... but then the subs will be connected to the wall, or right next to it. Will this significantly limit how much I can turn up the volume? (I have very nice neighbors and don't want to irritate them... and we like loud music).

If it were me, I would pick up an RSS390HO-4 Bundle and test it out. Notify the neighbors in advance and see if it bothers them... if it does, then you had already chosen a few other spots that you could put the sub in, so you wouldn't really be losing anything.
https://www.parts-express.com/dayton-audio-15-reference-series-ho-subwoofer-and-cabinet-bundle--300-7093
 
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