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Discussion Starter #1
Folks,


This is my first post ever on this forum. I have been an avid reader of this forum and have gained a lot of valuable information from here. I am looking to buy a sub for my living room (30' L x 15' W x 8' H that opens fully to the kitchen and formal room). While the room is long, I have set up my HT system width wise and so the listening distance is only 15', though we have a lot of open space all around.


My current setup: Yamaha RX-V650 receiver, Paradigm V7 Monitor 11 fronts and center.

Budget: Around $800 shipped

Size: My wife would certainly prefer this to be as small as possible :-(


I listen to HT and music 50/50. The music I listen to is primarily Indian percussion and classical music, where I do crank up the volume quite a bit, but for HT I do listen to it at a much lower volume. so I guess I am possibly looking for a more musical sub first.


Can you please provide some choices? the current ones that I have looked at are VTF3-MK4, Outlaw EX, Epik Empire, and SVS PB12.


Thank you in advance.
 

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The Empire has a reputation of being more musical than the other three subs you have listed. It also will have more overall output for that big room you have. I'd go with it
 

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The Empire is only .5" taller and 1" wider than the EX. These are all pretty close in size when you consider the total volume of each enclosure.


However, if you are worried about WAF, all of these are excellent subs. Let her pick the one that she likes the looks of best.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you. Is the SVS also musically a good sub? I have seen posts in this forum that seem to indicate, for example, that HSUs are musically superior to the SVSs. Is this mostly loyalty bias?
 

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People who talk about "musical" sub are just giving you incorrect information. If a sub is only good for 50Hz and above it is not really a sub :) and it has design flaws that does not allow it to have higher SPL (i.e more volume) at low frequencies.


People also mislead you when they say that "musical" subs are tighter than "HT" subs. It is not like people who watch movies with a lot of bass like a boomy sub. The tightness is more a function of the room. Even if a sub has a ruler flat response when measured outdoors (as it is in most reviews) in the absence of walls, the same sub can show peaks (sounds boomy due to reverberations) and nulls due to the effect of the walls and ceilings when used in a room.


A sub that exhibits a flat response over a wide range of frequency in a outdoor measurement will be equally effective for music and HT. Ultimately the response depends on the room. So it is imperative that some kind of room correction (passive treatment like bass traps or active correction like Audyssey MultEQ XT, YPOA in Yamaha, Antimode 8033 etc.) be used with any sub, whether it is a $150 sub or a $10,000 sub. An exception would be a perfect room which is highly unlikely unless every inch of the room is covered with some passive treatment :)


If your room is small-medium and you prefer a small foot print due to WAF, the SVS SB12 would fit your bill. It would do fine for both music and movies in a small-medium room. It is like a 14" cube, only 35lb and $649+tax. Read the review at www.audioholics.com
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you Mupi, for the detailed explanation. Given that my room is 30' L x 15' W x 8' H with lots of open spaces leading to the kitchen and formal room. I am not sure if it is medium or large. Will the SVS SB12 do well in this kind of a room?


While I understand what you mean by a tight bass and good SPL, I am still a but unclear about why folks in this forum call, for example, Epik to be more "musical" than even Hsu. Is it based on the two dimensions (tightness of the bass, good SPL, etc) that you talk about?


You mention the passive treatment required to extract the best out of the sub. In this context, I am wondering how the relatively small grill in the front of the speaker makes a difference in a controlled environment. For example, I keep the grill on in my speakers most of the time while listening, and even when I remove it, I can hardly notice a perceptible difference.
 

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Personally I think your room size is bordering on the medium to large size, especially with the open area to the kitchen, so placement is going to be everything. I realize the WAF is very important and a deciding factor, but with the subwoofers that you have listed, I can't help but think you'll be disappointed and sooner or later looking for another subwoofer with more output. None of those subwoofers have much on the low end, but I had to choose, the Epic or SVS are as good as you'll get in this group.
 

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Discussion Starter #9

Quote:
Originally Posted by LCSeminole  /t/1419227/newbie-subwoofer-help-please#post_22201090


Personally I think your room size is bordering on the medium to large size, especially with the open area to the kitchen, so placement is going to be everything. I realize the WAF is very important and a deciding factor, but with the subwoofers that you have listed, I can't help but think you'll be disappointed and sooner or later looking for another subwoofer with more output. None of those subwoofers have much on the low end, but I had to choose, the Epic or SVS are as good as you'll get in this group.

What other subs should I look at for more output? I understand that some of these may be larger and may not pass the WAF, but would still like to be educated on the choices.
 

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If you could wait and add a few hundred dollars more there is a wealth of ported and sealed subwoofer choices available, personally I just believe if have a room the size of yours and you're serious about good, smooth bass without having to stress the built in amplifier you should be looking at no less than a HSU VTF-15H or Elemental Design's A5-350 or A5S-325, then just above the last 3 I mentioned are the SVS PB12-Plus and several of the Rythmik subs(sealed or ported). I know some these subwoofers I just named are a little to a bit more, but it's worth it not to have to worry that you don't have enough low end output in the future. There is alway DIY- do it yourself kits if you are interested in that well.
 

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You might check out the new subs from Power Sound Audio, for that room size, check out the XV15 , it hasn't come out yet but it looks like it could have a lot of output. You have a big room, and if you want a decent amount of bass on that budget, you are going to have to get something with a large cabinet. Hsu VTF15, Epik Empire, SVS PB12-Plus or PC12-Plus, and so on. The Hsu VTF3 or Outlaw LFM-1 EX might work in that space. The SB12 will die in that space and leave you a big bass null- I would skip all the NSD subs.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sridhab  /t/1419227/newbie-subwoofer-help-please#post_22201113


BTW, what is the difference between a ported and a sealed sub?

Ported subs have a opening in the cabinet which can resonate at particular frequencies depending on the shape and size. The resonance usually adds a lot of low end output that the driver alone would never be able to accomplish, so its the go-to design for those who are after deep bass. Think about the sound when you blow over the top of a soda bottle, that woodwind-esque sound, it uses the same principle. Also, since the cabinet is open, the air pressure doesn't have as much force pressing on the woofer, and so they can get louder with less energy used, so they are more efficient. When ports are poorly implemented they can add a lot of overhang and make the sub sound 'boomy', and so have picked up a reputation for being less accurate than sealed designs. However, at the level of design expertise that we are discussing, Hsu, Rythmik, SVS, Outlaw, that won't be a problem.
 

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I only know about Hsu, but their Q control is a very useful tuning tool if you listen to a lot of music. Being able to combine the various setup options (0, 1 or 2 ports closed) plus the Q control plus the EQ switch makes it very customizable to your tastes.


The VTF3.4 is what I have (upgraded the amp from a Mk3) so I know the difference it can make (the Mk4 with Q.) My room and main speakers are also very close to yours, although with just a permanent side opening. For 99% of what I listen to, it's fine and I'm very pleased with it. Not saying I don't think about adding a second one, and if it was available at the time, I would have gotten the 15, but since it's on your list, I have to say you would be pleased and content with the VTF3.4, unless your listening is dominated by popcorn extravaganzas (need a VTF15H or two for that.)
 

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Discussion Starter #15

Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyJ  /t/1419227/newbie-subwoofer-help-please#post_22201325


You might check out the new subs from Power Sound Audio, for that room size, check out the XV15 , it hasn't come out yet but it looks like it could have a lot of output. You have a big room, and if you want a decent amount of bass on that budget, you are going to have to get something with a large cabinet. Hsu VTF15, Epik Empire, SVS PB12-Plus or PC12-Plus, and so on. The Hsu VTF3 or Outlaw LFM-1 EX might work in that space. The SB12 will die in that space and leave you a big bass null- I would skip all the NSD subs.

Thank you. I will definitely look at XV15. I have never really heard of Power sound Audio before. I know that ID subs are very good quality in general, but I am wondering how they would compare against established players such as Paradigm or B&W. I understand that these established players do spend marketing dollars and the price increases due to the distribution channels, but really is that the only delta? Is the type of research that goes into developing the speakers same in ID sub world vs the name brand folks? This is a tangential topic, but one that I would like to get educated on.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sridhab  /t/1419227/newbie-subwoofer-help-please#post_22200953


While I understand what you mean by a tight bass and good SPL, I am still a but unclear about why folks in this forum call, for example, Epik to be more "musical" than even Hsu. Is it based on the two dimensions (tightness of the bass, good SPL, etc) that you talk about?

I think Mupi's response is defensive regarding an old argument that subs considered good for HT are not as good for music.


Some sub drivers are more articulate (detailed) in their reproduction of the audio source. Could be that the driver in the Empire is a better driver in that way, although it could also be because the Empire's frequency response emphasizes the upper bass frequencies, which is where most of the bass in music resides. Of course, you can take any sub and boost (EQ) the 40hz to 80hz frequency range and it might sound better for music.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sridhab  /t/1419227/newbie-subwoofer-help-please#post_22201964


Thank you. I will definitely look at XV15. I have never really heard of Power sound Audio before. I know that ID subs are very good quality in general, but I am wondering how they would compare against established players such as Paradigm or B&W. I understand that these established players do spend marketing dollars and the price increases due to the distribution channels, but really is that the only delta? Is the type of research that goes into developing the speakers same in ID sub world vs the name brand folks? This is a tangential topic, but one that I would like to get educated on.

While I would guess that the Power Sound Audio subs will be excellent, keep in mind that no one owns any Power Sound Audio subs yet. The other subs you have been considering have many users that can testify to their performance.


And yes. Typically the store brand subs have a much higher markup because of marketing and building in profit in their price for the retailers. If you were willing to significantly over pay, you could find a sub that would equal the ID subs in overall performance.
 

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Like cel said, the price/performance ratio for ID vs store brand subs are way off. In addition to the costs that B&M brands have to pay for distribution, sales, and marketing, they also have to make some very serious performance compromises for aesthetics. Their sub designs are governed more by the WAF than ID subs which place more emphasis on performance. Many ID subs are much larger because of this. Subs for many B&M brands are also an afterthought in respect to their speakers, and not something they give priority to their R&D dollars, but for these ID brands, subs are their bread and butter. The performance delta is wide between the two types of subwoofer makers.
 

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Discussion Starter #19

Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyJ  /t/1419227/newbie-subwoofer-help-please#post_22202461


Like cel said, the price/performance ratio for ID vs store brand subs are way off. In addition to the costs that B&M brands have to pay for distribution, sales, and marketing, they also have to make some very serious performance compromises for aesthetics. Their sub designs are governed more by the WAF than ID subs which place more emphasis on performance. Many ID subs are much larger because of this. Subs for many B&M brands are also an afterthought in respect to their speakers, and not something they give priority to their R&D dollars, but for these ID brands, subs are their bread and butter. The performance delta is wide between the two types of subwoofer makers.

Thank you for your explanation. Is this also true for floorstanding/bookshelf speakers as well or only subs?
 

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In my opinion (and this is very subjective), not quite as much. There are certainly some excellent ID speaker companies that provide very good value in comparison to full MSRP priced speakers at brick and mortar stores. For instance, many people like the Ascend Acoustics Sierra 1 speakers. There are also some good closeout prices to be had with traditional speaker brands via the Internet. Or, for example, the best deal on Paradigm Monitor speakers like you have always seems to be on the previous model version right when Paradigm comes out with a new model series. With subs, it seems that the ID brands almost always beat out even the deals from traditional speaker brands.


And I think part of the difference with speaker choice is that it is very subjective based on listener preferences. So what might be a good value to one person might not be to another; statements like ID speakers are better than more well known speaker brands become more difficult to make. With subs, so much of whether one sub is better than another can be determined with scientific measurements. For example, all this data from Audioholics review of the SVS PB12-NSD tells us a lot about how this sub will perform in a room: http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/speakers/subwoofers/pb12-nsd/pb12-nsd-measurements
 
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