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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As the title suggests, I am in the market for new subwoofers. I currently have 2 PSB powered subs and am not satisfied with the results.


I use my system 80% for home theater use and 20% for music. The subs I have currently been researching are the SVS and the Sunfire. Could someone please comment on these products. Unfortunatly I do not live anywhere close to audition the Sunfires nor do I know anyone who has an SVS. By the way, I am open to other brands.


Audio is my weakest link in home theater. So any information would be of great assistance.
 

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Budget?


If you've got the space the SVS would by far be my choice over a Sunfire. You can't cheat Hoffman's Iron law. And to make the sub that small and still have decent output the Sunfire makes some compromises (requires really high power levels and produces a lot of distortion down low).


You'd very likely be very happy with a dual 20-39PC+ setup from SVS.


For other options, Hsu, VMPS or DIY (do it yourself).


For DIY see my sig and this page:

http://members.tripod.com/~terrycthe...um/page12.html


Oh, and if the DIY idea intrigues you, but you don't have the tools or skills check these two sites out.

Acoustic Visions or Rutledge Audio
 

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NHT's U1 Subwoofer has dual 12" woofers and is both fast and tight (it's sealed), yet powerful and explosive as needed. A rare combo. Sunfire is bassy and boomy and uncontrolled, but if you like the constant rumble of bass, it'll do that. The NHT will disappear when not needed. It's bigger, but no more expensive. And, for less than the cost of the first one, you can add a slave if you're a glutton for punishment. Also, it depends on if your speakers are full range towers or compact monitors. However, the better the quality of a sub, the more speakers it will work with.
 

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vmps large-dont settle for less get the best.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replys.


As for the budget, I do not have one. If I had to guess I would say around 2000.00 each. Hopefully this is enough to yield a good sub or two.


I want to get away from "boomy" subs. My current PSB subs are "boomy" and not very tight. This is very frustrating and undesireable.


Yes, I will be using these with full range towers. PSB Silveri series. By the way, although I am not satisfied with the PSB subs, I am very satisfied with the towers and other speakers by PSB.
 

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Darren,


I run Stratus Silveri's, C6i center, Image 10S surround's and an SVS 20-39PC w/original driver. I'm completely satisfied with the audio end of things.. I'm currently building a room in my basement for my gear and will be upgrading to either a powered Ultra (coming in the summer) or, a PB2+ (price to be announced soon). I'd also suggest going the SVS route. It's the cleanest,deepest bass i've ever heard personally. You get alot for your dollar going with SVS. With the budget you've suggested, $2000.00 a piece (wow), i'd save half of that and go with a duel Ultra package with amp from SVS. This would be the ultimate package for me. Comes in at $2099.00 + shipping.

http://www.svsubwoofers.com/subs_csultra.htm



Also, SVS is debueting another box sub soon: The PB2+ Duel PB2+'s, although the price isn't set yet, would be about $2500.00 + shipping. Crazy spl's... 900 watt built in amps per box.

http://www.svsubwoofers.com/news.htm
 

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I replaced my Sunfire True Sub MkII a few months ago with a SVS 16-46PC+. There is absolutely NO comparison. My 16-46PC+ doesn't hum, is easy to place, and produce huge amounts of very low, very clean bass. SVS customer service is SUPERB. Their subs are more affordable than Sunfires...


The Sunfire True Sub MkII has a bad tendency to hum, is hard to place, and produces much more distortion than SV subs. Their customer service is less than adequate, to say the least. Do a search with 'hum' as the keyword. Please.
 

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With $2000K per, definately check out those last two links I posted. A pair of Tumult based subs from those two places would be possible with that budget.


Check out this http://www.adireaudio.com/tech_papers/xbl2_motors.htm to learn about the XBL^2 motor topology this driver uses. There is also a link to a detailed comparison of the Brahma 12" to the Audiomobile Mass 2012 (which is very similar to the original SVS Ultra driver).


And this page has the specifics on the Tumult itself:

http://www.adireaudio.com/diy_audio/...ire/tumult.htm


Budget a little less than $3k for the two Tumult based subs and then use the rest on a Crown K2 and a parametric EQ.


Wow would I be jealous ;)
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by DarrenW
My current PSB subs are "boomy" and not very tight. This is very frustrating and undesireable.
With any decent subwoofer, "boomy" bass is far more likely to be caused either by system configuration and calibration issues or by room response issues than by the sub being inherently "tight" or "boomy". I get a chuckle when people attribute various sonic characteristics to one good sub or another, because the sonic differences between one good sub and another will be miniscule in relation to the set-up and calibration issues.


Setup of the system -- how the crossovers are set and how loud the subwoofer is set relative to the main speakers -- is absolutely critical for achieving non-boomy bass. If you have significant overlap between the main speakers and the sub or if your sub is even a couple of dB too loud, you will get "boomy" bass as an extra emphasis in the crossover region (usually around 80 Hz) masks the midbass harmonics that give bass a tight, fast attack. I would estimate that 99.99% of the systems out there have the subwoofer levels set too high, which is guaranteed to produce "boomy" sounding bass. Many of the things I read here about tweaking crossover settings and adjusting subwoofer calibration are really just band-aids to cover up for problems fundamentally caused by having subwoofer levels out of whack.


I'm not saying that there aren't differences in subwoofers. There are differences in driver excursion and power handling, there are differences in subwoofer amplifiers, and there are very minor differences in the tuning of the sub at ultra low frequencies. But, if you are experiencing "boomy" bass with the PSBs, I would find out what is wrong with the system configuration before spending $4000 on new subwoofers. It is really easy to get off track trying to calibrate a subwoofer. Sometimes it makes sense to start from square one and take a look at subwoofer placement, bass management settings, and measured SPL levels.
 

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Well, the operative word being "decent". What many people believe is decent actually has a huge bell-curve shaped peak. Look at 95% of all subwoofers reviewed in Home Theater Mag. The curves they measure are awful. I thought it was just that they were measuring the room, but when they measured the NHT sub, it was measured as flat less that +/- 1dB from 28Hz to 90Hz. That's impressive. Problem is, with a sub THAT accurate, you're definitely going to hear the sound of the room. With most subs, it's hard to tell where the bad sub ends and the bad room begins. But, the sad fact is, most subs start out boomy and just get worse with a bad room.


John
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by John Ashman
Well, the operative word being "decent". What many people believe is decent actually has a huge bell-curve shaped peak.
I don't think most people know how to evaluate subwoofer response curves. They are pre-conceived notions that response graphs should be flat lines that go down to a particular frequency and then fall off like a brick wall filter.


Guess what....that is probably not going to be the best sounding subwoofer because that kind of response curve for a subwoofer generally indicates higher Q tuning. In point of fact, many speaker designers beleive that a low-Q woofer will sound "tighter" because it is much better damped. But, a low Q-woofer would have what many people would say is an awful response curve.


There are three misleading things about many published subwoofer response curves:


a) subwoofers are only designed to reproduce two octaves. So, of course a response curve is going to look like a big peak. Really, you should expand the scale when comparing subwoofers so you can see some detail.


b) many published graphs include the lo-pass filter on the top end. Of course, the response is going to be down 3 to 6 dB at the crossover point and falling very rapidly above that.


c) Many powered subwoofer designs have an active subsonic filter. In fact, any good vented subwoofer SHOULD have a lo cut filter. A good design will be electrically rolling off the response at 18 dB per octave on the bottom end because trying the drive a vented subwoofer below its tuning freqency produces uncontrolled cone excursion.


Honestly, a better way of comparing subwoofers is probably to plug the Theil-Small parameters and box dimensions into an enclosure modelling graphing program and trying to see what the designer was attempting to accomplish -- determining the Q the Fs of the tuning will tell you a lot about a subwoofer.
 

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I'm completely losing you here.


a) As I understand it, NHT's subs are both low-Q AND flat, generally +/- 1.5dB or less.


b) Of course, any reasonable person would expect the crossover to roll off the upper end response.


c) "good vented subwoofer" is almost an oxymoron in my book. There are some, but not very many in my experience. You have to accept that everything coming out of the port is musically unrelated to the original signal and is purely for "effect".


Honestly, I'd say the best way of comparing subwoofers is to listen to them. Preferably in a decent sized room with no big peaks in it. Of course, I'd say most designers are trying to create either a) the biggest "boom" for the buck (low bass peak, undamped) or b), the "punchiest" bass for the buck (upper bass peak, reasonably well damped). I'd rather have accurate and fast. And that's a tough thing to find. You should hear the new Genesis 6.1s with the 4 12" servo-subs. Wow! I'm hoping to get some of those soon!


John
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by John Ashman


a) As I understand it, NHT's subs are both low-Q AND flat, generally +/- 1.5dB or less.
Sorry. Those two things are mutually exclusive. The flattest bass extension from from a Q=.707, known as a maximally flat tuning. Lower Q tunings (such as infinite baffle designs and very large sealed enclosures) roll off the bass gradually, but starting at a higher frequency.


The NHT Evolution subwoofer's enclosure is not large enough for two 12 inch drivers to be a low-Q tuning. With about 1 cubic foot of enclosure per driver, I would say that the actual tuning of the drivers is probably a fairly high Q tuning (>.9).


What they are then doing is equalizing the bottom end response to achieve something like maximally flat tuning (Q=.7) down to about 30 Hz and then using a very very steep subsonic filter at around 25 Hz to keep from destroying the drivers. I would guess that they are using as much as 8 dB of bass boost at 30 Hz. The dual drivers allow them to do this, since excursion is the limiting factor with this kind of EQ.


This is a good approach, although they might actually get even better performance by moving the -3dB point a little higher and not using the subsonic filter. This would reduce overall output a bit, but a gradual roll-off extending even deeper may be a prefered approach.

Quote:
c) "good vented subwoofer" is almost an oxymoron in my book. There are some, but not very many in my experience. You have to accept that everything coming out of the port is musically unrelated to the original signal and is purely for "effect".
I wouldn't agree with that at all. It is quite possible to tune a vented subwoofer for very impressive, dare I say "musical" performance with no peak at all. This kind of tuning looks very much like a low-Q sealed enclosure. Just look at the way many British companies use vented enclosures in their speakers.


Any output from the vented tuning is most certainly related to the musical signal, since the musical signal is the only energy being input into the subwoofer. The output may well be under-damped, just as a high-Q sealed enclosure tuning may be under-damped. It is, of course, possible to tune a vented enclosure with a huge peak, but I don't really see that happening with most good subwoofers when I model drivers and enclosures. Most companies seem to be doing about the same thing that NHT is doing -- using low bass EQ to achieve a "better" -3dB point on spec sheet and then using a steep subsonic filter to protect the driver. It's a perfectly valid approach.


My pont is this. There is nothing in a two PSB subwoofer system that would inherently lead to "boomy" bass. It is far more likely that "boomy" bass is the result of either a room resonace OR a bass management/subwoofer level calibration issue. I would suggest that the number one cause of "boomy" bass is excessive subwoofer levels -- not the design of the subwoofer.


The reason I bring this up is that throwing money at different subwoofers isn't going to solve a problem if the problem is the result of poor system configuration or calibration.
 

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Here is my recommendation'


1) Used Velodyne HGS-18...there is one on audiogon now $1950 + shipping

2) Dual SVS CS-ultra with samson amp $2099 + shipping

3) Dual SVS 16-46 PC+ $1750 + shipping (I have one B-stock which is as good as new that I got for $825 + shipping) so if you find 2 B-stocks you will have an awesome setup for about $1700 shipping included

4) The upcoming single SS subwoofer $1895 + shipping SVS SS


Note that a single sub is much easier to calibrate for a flatter response and you save on space too ! You may want to strongly consider option 4, though we do not have any reviews on the SS series, SVS has always delivered great subs and it comes with a 30 day guarantee. You can always switch to one of the other subs, if the SS was not your cup of tea.

Last but not least, the much anticipated Onix ref sub if you are willing to wait a few months. As I hear, it may turn out to be a cousin of the Genesis 928 !

Follow this link and you may want to read it before purchasing a sub

Also consider factoring in the cost of EQing your sub

Subwoofer equalization
ETF


ENJOY !

-Jai
 

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Darren,

I forgot to add the amp cost to option 4. YOu can find B-stock samson amps for $365 but one channel will be unused and I am not sure if SVS recommends a samson or you have to go only with a crown. If the latter was the case then the cost will go beyond yoru budget. A brideged S-700 for $389 maybe a cost effective solution for the SS if you don't plan on getting a second SS later. I like this statement on their website :)


"The SS will provide low bass performance that will rattle your teeth and blur your vision, all while maintaining SVS's legendary clean, articulate and accurate bass."
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Once again, thanks for all of the helpfull information.


hwc: Point well taken on the configuration, callibration for my system. I will definately do some searches and address this issue before proceeding with new subs.


Meanwhile while the search continues, I will contact SVS and talk to them to get some of their input on what there recommendations are for my room and acoustics. Maybe they can also provide some insite on the configuration and callibration issues.


Question: What are the pro's and con's of using powered subs vs. non powered.
 

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Interesting Thread,

Before I decided to go with a DIY setup the following subs were on my short list:

Revel B-15

Pair of SVS subs

Velodyne HGS-18

Klipsch ( Top Model )


The non powered subs will probably require some sort of crossover and phase control prior to amping, but that is not always the case and will depend on your HT receiver. Some people are using equalization. In my case I an using a Paradigm X-30 unit with good results. I think the Revel would be the best for musical applications. Also as the above thread mentioned, your existing setup may just require some additional calibration.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by DarrenW
Question: What are the pro's and con's of using powered subs vs. non powered.
The advantage of using the amplifier of your own choosing to power your subwoofer is that most good quality amplifiers will be better than the plate amps that are usually installed in powered subwoofers. The plate amps tend to use a lot of shortcuts to achieve their rated power: either very loosely regulated power supplies, various digital switching amp schemes, etc. These things are valid approaches to an amp with the limited bandwidth required for subwoofer use, but they probably don't provide as much control of the woofer or sustained current capacity of a good separate amp with a beefy power supply, etc.


For example, I use an old Audio Research solid state amp to drive my subwoofer, bridged mono for 160 watts into 8 ohms. I am quite certain that this amplifier can run rings around the typical 250 watt plate amp.


The disadvantage is that you are on your own for any equalization and or subsonic filtering -- both of which can be very valuable tools in the design of a complete subwoofer system. It is nearly impossible to achieve some of the flashy bass extension numbers bandied around without active equalization to extend the bass.


Without equalization of the bottom end, you are probably looking at an "anechoic" -3dB point of somewhere in the 30 to 40 Hz region with a typical 2-inch voice coil long excursion driver in a typical box. This can actually produce very impressive performance, which demonstrates that having flashy spec sheet numbers isn't all that it's cracked up to be. But, nevertheless, you aren't going to get a -3dB point of 25 Hz without EQ -- although you might get it from room gain, depending on the size of your room.


The use of such equalization almost always requires the additional use of a lo-cut subsonic filter to protect the driver, especially in a vented design where you must avoid sending signals below the tuning point of the system to the driver where excursion is totally uncontrolled. Even with a sealed cabinet, low-end output is almost always excursion limited, so EQ boost at low frequencies can hammer the driver without a subsonic filter.


The built-in equalization is a big part of the design of virtually every good subwoofer system on the market. Of course, if you "roll your own", you get to pick the EQ that is right for you. For example using a Linkwitz Transform Function EQ to extend the response of a sealed enclosure, you could extend the response deeper (more boost) if you listen at lower SPL levels than if you try to play the system at Dolby reference levels.
 

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Quote:
Also, SVS is debueting another box sub soon: The PB2+ Duel PB2+'s, although the price isn't set yet, would be about $2500.00 + shipping. Crazy spl's... 900 watt built in amps per box.
The price of the upcoming PB2-Plus is supposed to be around the $1300 mark. I wasn't sure whether you meant that $2500 price for each or dual, just wanted to clarify.
Quote:
4) The upcoming single SS subwoofer $1895 + shipping SVS SS
The SS is not upcoming, it has been available. It shares the same woofer as the CS Ultra, but is available with custom finishes.



How big is your room? What are your listening preferences? Associated equipment?


With your budget of $2000 for each sub you can easily reach bass nirvana. With companies like SVS, Acoustic Visions, and Rutledge Audio Design you don't need to spend that much to crush commercial sub offerings.


As mentioned before, the biggest influence on your sound will be your room. I would highly recommend to set a small amount of your sub budget for a parametric eq like the BFD 1124 or Rane PE-17.


Something comes to my mind in your budget is the SVS B4-Plus . Here's a detailed review from one owner . Also keep in mind that you can have it finished as desired. If you'd like to save a little money, you can pass on the Crown K1 SVS offers and choose a less expensive(but still powerful) amplifier option from QSC that will do this sub justice.
 
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