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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
An upcoming living room remodel will require me to make a change in my subwoofers. I currently have duel SVS SB12+, duel SVS PB10s, and a Hsu MBM-12 in a 2400^3 foot room which has a large opening to the rest of the house. The space immediately adjacent to the LR is about another 3500^3 feet. In addition to the subs, my current speaker system is comprised of ORB Mod2s (mains, surrounds) and an Orb Mod4 (center). the system is used primarily for HT at low to moderate volume levels so super high output is not necessary. However, there are occasions when I turn it up to feel the impact during an action flick so I don't want to limit myself if possible. Here's the bad news, the new room configuration will require me to lose the current sub set-up.
The good news is that I can replace them with sub(s) that will serve as end tables!
However, there are some restrictions:

1. They must at least resemble furniture, no industrial black boxes. A nice looking down firing unit would be ideal. The black piano look would also be a very difficult sell.

2. They will be used as end tables. That means their position will be fixed and as about as close to a corner they will see is about 3 to 7 feet.

3. Budget is about 2.5k.

4. Did I mention attractive (or at least not ugly)?

Considering the above I’ve listed some potential candidates (not in any particular order):

A. Rhythmik F15 (duel)*

B. SVS PB12+ (duel)

C. SVS PB13 ultra (single)

D. Hsu ULS-15 (duel)*

E. Hsu VTF3 mk3 (duel)

F. Hsu VTF2 mk3 (duel)

G. AV123 MFW-15 (duel)

H. Submersive (single)

I. Custom cabinet w/DIY kit ????

* maybe too short for an end table

The nice thing about the SB12+ and the MBM-12 is that they do a very nice job of filling in the mid/upper bass that the Orbs lack. The Orbs have to stay (unless you know of another small white speaker that has equivalent price/performance but can go lower) so whatever I get has to carry everything up to 120hz, maybe even 150hz. I’m hoping that with duels I may be able to minimize localization when using such a high xover.

The floor is yours so I’d like to hear your comments/thoughts. Thanks.

3,303 Posts

You have a pretty competent subwoofer setup already. It's too bad you have to get rid of it - but at least it gives you a chance to try out some great new gear

Before I give any opinions, let me give the following disclaimer: The only subwoofer I've heard from your list is the PB13-Ultra, and that was in a much larger space than yours. Thus, I can't compare the following subs based on my own personal listening experience. However, specs and some measurements I've seen may play a roll in my recommendations.

Rythmik F15 (dual):

The 15" Rythmiks are known for having good output, great extension down to ~10-15hz, and superb SQ. They won't have as much output as some of the other subs you're looking at but that doesn't seem to be your primary concern. The F15's are too short to be end tables, though the D15's might work a bit better (though they're black). The one concern with the Rythmiks is that they are meant to be crossed over below 100hz (none of the 15's are spec'd +/- 2dB above 100hz) and might not integrate well with the Orbs.

SVS PB12-Plus (dual):

This would be a heck of a combo. These subs have excellent looks, very strong output, deep extension, and most owners claim they offer great sound quality. They should also have enough output to make movies a lot of fun when you want them to. Combine the performance with svelte looks and these subs look to be an excellent choice. I'd put these near the top of your list.

SVS PB13-Ultra:

I've heard the Ultra in person in another forum member's gigantic ~10,000 cubic foot space and was thoroughly impressed. He hadn't spent the same amount of time fine-tuning it as I have with my Castle, and his room was much larger than mine, so it clearly couldn't deliver anywhere near the output I'm used to. However, it sounded controlled, clean, and articulate, and was able to convey a surprising amount of visceral impact in such a large room. It's a great option, but if I were to choose between a single Ultra or dual PB12-Pluses, I'd take the two Pluses in a heartbeat. They should be able to get louder and smooth out your in-room bass response better than a single Ultra.

Hsu ULS-15 (dual):

Dual ULS-15's sounds like another excellent choice. Users claim good deep extension to the low teens and beyond, great articulation, and good midbass performance. The ULS-15 also has nice finishes and a wireless option which could come in handy. The only real disadvantage I can see with the ULS-15 is that it's probably a little short to be an end table.

Hsu VTF-3 MK3 (dual):

The VTF-3 MK3 is a tried and true performer. Owners (and measurements) suggest good overall output, extension to ~15hz, and very good articulation. It also comes in a variety of finishes, and is a good size for an end table. At its price point a pair of VTF-3 MK3's is a superb subwoofer system. My only hesitation with dual VTF-3 MK3's is that they probably will fall short of some of your other options (dual PB12-Pluses comes to mind). Granted, the Hsu subs are a good deal cheaper, but since you have the budget for them, I'd probably spend the extra and go with the Pluses.

Hsu VTF-2 MK3 (dual):

Another great combo for the money, but these shouldn't be considered in the same breath as some of the other subs you're considering IMO. Again, if you want to get very good bass performance and save a lot of money, these are a great choice. But they'll fall well short of some of your other options (not to mention your current subwoofer setup).

AV123 MFW-15:

This subwoofer has incited more controversy around here than the Tiger Woods scandal. It's allegedly a superb performer when fully functional (though the odds of receiving two fully functional MFW-15's may be lower than you'd like). It's a great looking subwoofer with great midbass output, decent extension to around 20hz, and is the perfect size for an end table. It also carries with it the baggage of a company president fallen from grace (no need to get into details here - it's well-documented elsewhere), intermittently (or not) shoddy construction, and a plethora of other potential problems. Personally I wouldn't go there. It's your money and you can do what you like, but I'd stay far away from this hot potato.

Seaton Submersive:

The Submersive has received nearly universal praise from owners. It has exceptional midbass output, superb articulation, extension to the low teens (and often single-digits), and generally behaves very well even when pushed to its limits (no driver bottoming, port noise, etc). It's also a great size for an end table and is available in several classy finishes. The only disadvantage I can see with the Submersive is that you couldn't afford duals, and your limited placement options could leave you with the sub in a less-than-ideal location and, consequently, flawed frequency response. However, the Submersive is likely the best subwoofer you've listed (one-on-one).


DIY offers the best bang-for-your-buck in the subwoofer world. You'll be capable of far greater performance than brick and mortar or ID subwoofers for the same amount of money. $2,500 could buy you an absolute beast of a DIY subwoofer setup. You can also build (or have built) custom cabinets so the subs are the exact dimensions you want them to be. DIY is a great option, just not one I've had the guts to attempt myself yet.

Hope this helps a little. Again, keep in mind that most of my "comparison" is done based on reading other peoples' reviews and general impressions, along with some measurements I've seen posted (for at least some of the subs). Others will probably have more (and better input) to bring to the table. Good luck.

2,427 Posts
Great write up lalakersfan34. Balanced and Fair. You should work for Fox news.

1,721 Posts

Originally Posted by hometheatergeek /forum/post/18310699

great write up lalakersfan34. Balanced and fair. You should work for fox news.

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