Picked up my HSU STF-2 today, first impressions…

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Matt_Smi, May 1, 2004.

  1. Matt_Smi

    Matt_Smi Second Unit

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2004
    Messages:
    327
    Likes Received:
    0
    I know this post is going to end up longer than I want it to but o well. First a little background info. My room is 19 x 11 and this sub is replacing a Sony SA-WM40, I was sick of how boomy and sloppy this sub got at high volumes. And wanted a nice clean sounding sub for under $400, I first considered the Velodyne CHT-12, but then after a recommendation decided that the STF-2 would be my best bet. I went to my local CompUSA today and got the last one they had. After getting the sub home and taking it out of the box, I noticed that it seems to have been damaged during shipping; there are two small dents on the upper front rim of the sub. On one of them you can see a crack in the material that covers the sub. I called CompUSA about this and they said since there are no others in stock, they can only give me a refund. I asked if they could knock a certain percent of the price off due to the damages, but he said no because it’s already a sale item. So in a way this is good because CompUSA normally charges a 15% restocking fee on returns. But since mine is damaged I have two weeks to decide if I want the sub, and if I am not satisfied I can then return it for a full refund. The plan is too live with the sub for two weeks, and if I am 100% satisfied with it hope that CompUSA has another one in stock by then so I can return it for a new undamaged one. If they do not have another one in stock my two weeks, I may be screwed. And if I am not fully satisfied with the sub I will just return it for a full refund end of story.

    So after being a bit disappointed by the damages I hooked the sub up set the volume to around 1 o clock and tried it out. I first played some bass heavy rap songs and right away noticed that the bass was MUCH stronger, tighter, cleaner and more accurate than my old Sony. You could also feel it more and this sub can get very loud! I then watched a lot of select scenes from movies that I was used to with my old Sony. My receiver’s volume goes from 0-30, with my Sony if I had the master volume on 15 (Dolby Digital movie), and the subs level between 1 and 3 o clock it would be too much for the sub to handle, and it would get boomy. With the HSU I had the volume up to 18-20 (something I would never try with my Sony) and the bass remained for the most part clean and tight. For DTS movies with the old sub, the volume would need to be at around 12, and that was even sometimes too much. Now I can bring the volume up to 15 and it will still sound plenty clean. When watching movies with the HSU I had the subs volume between 12 and 3 o clock. After a bit of usage I noticed some insulation was behind the sub, I looked in the port and it seems that the box is stuffed with it and a piece happened to blow out, not a big deal.

    So yes even though this sub for the most part does everything I want it to, am I 100% satisfied with it? The answer is no, I have also been comparing this sub directly to my Sony with music and honestly its not all that I expected. The HSU seems to outperform the Sony much more in movies rather than music however. But to judge the sub this early is very unfair for many reasons that I will list below.

    - The sub is not in a corner, it is just about in the middle on the room (along a wall), which is not recommended in the HSU Manuel, and behind my chair that I normally listen to movies in. I can make room for it in a corner in the back of my room if I move a few things and put my surrounds to the side, rather than to the rear like they are now. I plan to move it to the corner later in the week. My only concern here is that the sub might be a bit too far away to really feel the bass, but it will only 5 feet away, so I guess it should be ok.

    - The sub is on a hardwood floor and there is no throw rug under the sub, HSU recommends having a throw rug under it if you have hardwood floors. The sub is also a bit un-level because of the floor.

    - The sub is not calibrated; I had the volume between 12 and 3 o clock for everything I listened to, the cut off frequency set to 70 Hz, phase at 0 and crossover at out. I plan to get an SPL meter and calibration disc so I can set it up properly.

    - I think having the sub directly behind my listening chair is a bad idea, since you almost feel the bass too much sometime rather than hear it. Sometimes you can almost feel the woofer going in and out. And I think this makes the bass seem a tad boomy.


    So for an un-calibrated sub in a location that is not recommended I would say it’s very impressive. MuneebM said in one of the threads that before calibration, he was not very impressed with the sub. After doing the above I hope it lives up to my expectations. Or maybe I just hyped the sub up too much. Do you guys think I will be much more impressed with it once I do what I listed above? But at least I can take it back without a re-stocking fee if I am not fully satisfied. Kudos to anyone who actually reads this whole thing!
     
  2. Cam McFarland

    Cam McFarland Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2004
    Messages:
    699
    Likes Received:
    0
    Matt,

    Congrats...sorry its damaged, but glad you like it
    after all our prompting.
    One thing, you say you have the sub gain between
    12 and 3. I certainly am not in a position to say
    that is wrong, but I have mine set at about 11,
    in a larger carpeted room, and it is almost seems
    like it is too much.

    Anyway, I am still tweaking my system
    & "learning" the sub so good luck.

    - Cam
     
  3. ross ish

    ross ish Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2002
    Messages:
    163
    Likes Received:
    0
    Smaller subs need to be in the corner for them to perform properly. It takes a large well designed sub to reproduce deep bass with significant output w/o the benefits of any wall loading. Corner load that HSU and brace yourself and everything else in your room[​IMG]
     
  4. TimMc

    TimMc Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2002
    Messages:
    220
    Likes Received:
    0
    Congrats on the persistence to get the sub, Matt. Now, to get it calibrated right and then to get you a non-damaged one... Well, we have a couple of weeks, right?

    The "standard" technique for many subs is to hook it up and place it right where you'd normally listen. Then you cruise around the room (while playing either a calibration disk or some familiar source material) and find the spot(s) where the bass sounds best - that's where you place your sub.

    It took me a while (actually, quite a surprizingly long time) to get the STF-2 set up right. It's not the first sub that I have (so in theory I kinda knew what I was doing?), but it's in a smaller room with definitely different acoustics and challenges. My "2" seemed a tiny bit boomy on some source material in the first place I ried it, but then I did the drill and found out it had been sitting in a singularly poor position in that room. I even went so far as to moderately move stuff around and to rearrange furniture to get it right - and once I did that the sub just seemed really right.

    Do the drill, and only then start to tweak the sub for a specific sound.

    Tim
     
  5. Matt_Smi

    Matt_Smi Second Unit

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2004
    Messages:
    327
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yeah I got two weeks, the only thing is my last week of college is next week, so that really only leaves me with a week to play with it and decide if I want to keep it. And if CompUSA does not have another sub in stock by then I guess I will return it, hope they get another one in stock before it goes off sale and buy it again. Or just live with the dent, it is very small but still if I pay $350 for something brand new, it should not have that. I have tried the “walking around the room” technique, and the bass seems equally strong in all the corners, but a bit stronger in the corner where my desk is, but I can’t put it there. Can placing a sub in a corner reduce boomy-ness? Maybe I should have experimented with my Sony in a corner. I understand it can make the bass louder, so less volume on the sub is needed, but what else can it do? I have made a room layout diagram in MS paint that I am going to post to give you guys and idea of where the sub is now and where I want it. But the site that I am going to use to host it is down, so I will post it as soon as it’s back up.
     
  6. RyanJM

    RyanJM Extra

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2002
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    0
    This is a cool review for me because I was considering buying the HSU for my family's home theater. I'm also at college, and I have a Sony-WM40. It's a great sub, but I've also heard a lot about the HSU. A suggestion:

    Have you tried the mod-podge/insulation modification on your Sony? It greatly reduces the boominess and makes it so that you can go to higher volume levels with much less distortion. I'd try that before you spend a lot of money to upgrade to a sub that might only be a little better than the sony after modification.

    Good luck adjusting the HSU though, I look forward to the update.
     
  7. Frank Zimkas

    Frank Zimkas Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2002
    Messages:
    888
    Likes Received:
    0
    It depends on the sub.
     
  8. Robb Roy

    Robb Roy Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2002
    Messages:
    711
    Likes Received:
    0
    Matt,

    As you know, you really need to get an SPL meter and calibrate. From some of your descriptions, I would guess you have the bass very hot. BTW, after you calibrate, you might want to give yourself some time to get used to cleaner bass than the Sony was giving you.

    The sub came with two dents, and some of the stuffing blew out of the port?! And CompUSA won't do anything other than offer a refund?! I would demand you get a rain check for a new and undamaged sub at your promised price. And when you ask for that, make certain you are first talking with the store manager. If they still say it's a refund or a defective product, call CompUSA headquarters.

    -Robb
     
  9. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 1999
    Messages:
    11,571
    Likes Received:
    24
    Location:
    NorCal
    Real Name:
    John

    Actually, it depends on the room more than the sub, though the sub itself is also a factor.

    When I auditioned the VTF-2, the sub was sitting a few feet from the wall in the center of the room, and it was still able to yeild good SPL and tight bass in a very large room, I'd say ~15' x 25' with the gain about 60%. My room is ~19x20 with vaulted ceilings, the VTF-2 is ~9' away and I can feel it just fine at just ~40% gain (10 o'clock).
     
  10. Matt_Smi

    Matt_Smi Second Unit

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2004
    Messages:
    327
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yeah there is no way I am going to keep the damaged sub that I have now, if it was dropped, maybe something is wrong or weakened internally, who knows? I am going to bring it back next weekend once I am done with school (don’t have time today). And if they do not have another in stock I will ask for a rain check (good idea). Whoever I talked to on the phone said he did not know when the next shipment will be and they may not even get anymore in, which I don’t really believe. O well, if I take it back at least I have all my money back and if they do come in again I will be able to buy another if I want.

    Also today I tried putting the sub in the corner and I did not like it. I had the subs level on 11 or 12 o clock and it did not seem quite as tight (I have heard that corners make bass louder, but also less controlled). It was shaking the whole couch though! I also tried the Sony in the corner, and it had the same result. But more importantly was that with the subs in the corner I could not feel the bass at all from the chair that I always watch movies in. The bass was only strong when sitting on the couch. And where it is now the bass is strong in the chair and on the couch, so maybe its location is not so bad after all. I also did not really like the way I had to reposition my surrounds to make it fit in the corner. So I guess its going to stay where it is. And I also got someone who wants to buy my Sony, so if I can get a new HSU, then I can get $100 for my old Sony.
     
  11. Matt_Smi

    Matt_Smi Second Unit

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2004
    Messages:
    327
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ok I made a somewhat crude room layout in MS paint, click the link below. As you can see I am using my bedroom as a HT and its less than ideal, I’m 19, go to college and still live with my parents so what do you expect. But this will give you an idea as to where my sub is now and where I tired it. I tired it in the corner where my right left surround is now. But as you can see my post above, I was not happy with it. Its my only free corner, my bed is in one, A/V rack in another and the couch takes up most of the back of the room. So the sub either stays where it is now (which I think is better) or it goes in that corner. Also I have been spending so more time with the sub, I normally have the volume at around 11 or 12 o clock for DTS movies with my main volume on 15, this sometimes seems a bit hot but still sounds good. For Dolby Digital movies I have the sub between 12 and 1 o clock, with the volume at 15-18. Is there always a volume difference between DD and DTS tracks like this? One thing I really noticed when watching the first Matrix is that every punch and kick has much more of a tight impact that you can really feel to it. And I am still amazed at how high I can bring my volume levels on my receiver with the sub volume at around 11 and 12 o clock, and still have good impact. I still have not really gotten the sub to sound too boomy yet, and I now longer feel like my sub is holding back my speakers. I love how this sub has good output even at only half volume, my Sony would put out next to nothing at half volume even with the receiver volume high. But please comment on my room layout and offer suggestions (if you can). Also I forgot to include the full dimensions of the room. But they are 11 feet for the front wall (Bed, TV Stand, AV rack), 7 and ½ feet for the back wall (Couch) and the length is 19 feet.


    http://images.cardomain.com/member_i.../439698_16.jpg


    Here are some more older pictures (with the Sony) to give you even more of an idea of what my room setup is like. Let me know what you think.


    http://images.cardomain.com/member_i...98_17_full.jpg

    http://images.cardomain.com/member_i...98_18_full.jpg

    http://images.cardomain.com/member_i...98_19_full.jpg

    http://images.cardomain.com/member_i...98_20_full.jpg
     
  12. Cam McFarland

    Cam McFarland Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2004
    Messages:
    699
    Likes Received:
    0
    Matt,


    Yep, not much room......how do your parents like your
    new sub.......bet they hate it.....lmao!



    Do you at least move the Papasan chair (listening chair)
    over more into the middle when you are viewing movies?
     
  13. Matt_Smi

    Matt_Smi Second Unit

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2004
    Messages:
    327
    Likes Received:
    0
    Actually my parents are pretty cool about it. The only time they get pissed is if I have it up later at night. Other than that they never are really on me about it, which is cool. Still I sometimes feel bad when I am blasting a movie. Especially since my room is above the kitchen, all the plates and glasses rattle like crazy down there. And yes I usually just drag the papasan in the middle when I seriously watch a movie, but I don’t bother for causal viewing of video games, T.V. or listening to music.
     
  14. Matt_Smi

    Matt_Smi Second Unit

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2004
    Messages:
    327
    Likes Received:
    0
    Anyone else want to add anything here?
     
  15. MuneebM

    MuneebM Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2004
    Messages:
    621
    Likes Received:
    0
    Matt, first thing I'm concerned about is the fact that your sub has dents on it and stuffing blew out of the port. How the heck did stuffing blow out of the port? That can not be a good thing and might be affecting the sound quality of your sub. Your STF-2 may have gone through some serious shipping damage, internally more than externally. I highly recommend you get it exchanged.

    As for the location of the sub, how far is the back of the sub from the wall? Try 6" and 12" and see which configuration you like the best. Also, what kind of receiver are you using with the STF-2? What is the crossover on your receiver set to? My STF-2 sounds better with my Yamaha RX-V2400 than it ever did with my Kenwood HTiB receiver. I have my STF-2's crossover set to IN and dialed at 80 Hz. My Yamaha's crossover is set to 80 Hz, but I find the bass is cleaner when I use the crossover of the STF-2 (IN) rather than that of the Yamaha (OUT). I have my STF-2 in a corner, in a much larger room than yours, on a carpeted cement floor and I think it has plenty of power and output, but an STF-3 would be better suited for my room.

    Here are a few things I'd try if I were you:
    - put the sub in the front corner, but it does not seem possible from the pics you've posted
    - set the STF-2's crossover to IN and dial it in around 80-90 Hz, and make sure the receiver's crossover is around the same level
    - measure the SPL level of the sub and tweak it to reference level. If you don't have a calibration disc and SPL meter right now, try the sub's gain between 12 o'clock and 2 o'clock
    - put a rug under the sub, I think it may help

    good luck. BTW, have you tried Matrix 3 with the STF-2 yet?

    http://66.46.69.23/sigserv/pl/index.pl?p=1
    Dynamic signature images powered by mod_perl running on Apache.
    My DVD Collection
     
  16. Matt_Smi

    Matt_Smi Second Unit

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2004
    Messages:
    327
    Likes Received:
    0


    Yes I did, it was much better than the Sony, but when the machine god spoke it did not “hit me in the chest” like I was expecting. And scenes like the water explosion showed the weakness of the sub.


    Right now I still honestly don’t know if I am going to buy another one. The sub sounds much better with movies than the Sony. I watched some scenes from the Rock and Terminator 3 recently. And the impact was much better and more defined than the Sony for the most part. A scene I really enjoyed it was during the car chase in the rock, the Sony gets very boomy during most of the explosions there unless you turn the level on the sub down, but then the impact is not a good at all. But with the level of the HSU on 11 o clock it handled it great and was not boomy. I am mostly disappointed with music on the HSU; I guess I prefer somewhat boomy bass for music and I like a lot of bass in my music, and am somewhat used to car stereos. The HSU just does not put out enough bass for me a 12 o clock, putting it up to around 2 is good for low volumes, but too much for high volume. I have also tired boosting the bass though my receiver, but I cannot seem to get a config that I like. For movies it seems that 12 o clock is good for Dolby Digital movies, and 11 o clock is good for DTS movies. I am honestly now considering getting an SVS PB1-ISD or a 20-39PCi. The HSU is a very nice improvement over the Sony, but I could see myself wanting to upgrade it to something better. And I want a sub that I will have no doubts about and that will handle almost anything that is thrown at it. The HSU is a great sub, but maybe my expectations where a bit too high for it.
     
  17. Robb Roy

    Robb Roy Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2002
    Messages:
    711
    Likes Received:
    0


    Matt,

    I think it's worth mentioning, especially when it comes to music, that if you are used to car audio bass, that you have a chance of being disappointed with any and all home subwoofers, at least initially. I started in car audio and it took me a long time to appreciate flat, clean bass response (in my case from SVS). Now I hate my car stereo...

    -Robb
     
  18. Chris A H

    Chris A H Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Messages:
    172
    Likes Received:
    0
    I bought an SFT-2 in November, had it behind my main listening position next to the couch. Used it for a few weeks. Performance was good but I was expecting more. Then they had the CompUSA pricing issue and that didn't sit well with me either. I returned it.

    Bought a SVS PB1-ISD in December and liked it better just out of the box (same room location), but wasn't "blown away" like many others.

    Then I calibrated the PB1, and in particular got the variable phase adjustment dialed in. WOW, what a difference. When I flipped the phase switch on the STF-2 (0 or 180 degrees) nothing happened that I could hear. On the PB1 the variable phase dial in the 0 or 180 positions again made no difference. But when the dial is at about 95 degrees it turns into a beast! This made a huge difference in volume level and impact.

    Variable phase control is an must-have sub feature IMHO.
     
  19. MuneebM

    MuneebM Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2004
    Messages:
    621
    Likes Received:
    0
    You really can't and shouldn't determine the gain on your sub by what "seems" to sound right. You definitely need good calibration materials: an SPL meter and calibration disc are must-haves before you decide you don't like this sub. In fact, unless there is something wrong with your STF-2, if my STF-2 is any indication, I think you may even be running your sub too hot relative to reference levels. My room is 23' long, 14' wide, and 8' high. I have a carpeted cement floor and the STF-2 is 12 feet away from my listening position. My STF-2 is corner loaded and 12" away from the wall. I can hit 92 dB with the DVE test tone on my SPL meter with the gain just slightly over 1 o'clock. That being said, your room is smaller and has wooded floors, so I would expect you to be hitting higher SPL levels with the gain at 1 o'clock, but that's all speculation.

    http://66.46.69.23/sigserv/pl/index.pl?p=2
    Dynamic signature images powered by mod_perl running on Apache.
    My DVD Collection
     
  20. Matt_Smi

    Matt_Smi Second Unit

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2004
    Messages:
    327
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ok I really want to calibrate the sub before I decide if I want to keep it or not. Maybe tomorrow or tonight I will go out and buy an SPL meter and a calibration disc. Can you get a calibration disc at a store like Best Buy? And which one should I get, Avia, sound and vision, or VE? I will hopefully try to calibrate it before I return it this weekend. I will also calibrate the Sony, and then make my final decision as to if I want to buy another one when they are back in stock again.
     

Share This Page