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Help with a Subwoofer


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56 replies to this topic

#1 of 57 OFFLINE   JimMIT

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Posted June 15 2004 - 10:54 AM

In my quest to put together a modest audio system/home theater, I've either purchased or decided on the following:

Receiver - Denon AVR-2805
Mains - Paradigm Studio 20 v.3
Center - Paradigm CC-470
Surrounds - Paradigm SA-10R

Now, I'm looking for a subwoofer. I don't want/need a sub that goes super low or plays super loud. My primary interest in a sub is one that is "musical" and accurate with minimal distortion. My understanding is that a sealed sub is best for this. Also, because of my three grandchildren, I want a downfiring sub. And finally, I would like a sub that is small to medium in size. Price limit - $750. Room size - 18'x18'x12'open to other rooms.

I recently entered into Google the words, "sealed downfiring" and pretty much all I came up with (aside from car subs) were the following:

1) ALAS12 and ALAS15 by Acoustech Labs
2) CLARUSX10200 and CLARUSX10150 by Creative Sound Solutions

Another sub which has peaked my interest is the ACI Force. I'd really like to hear from anyone who either owns or has extensive experience with this sub.

So, my questions are:

1) Has anyone ever heard of these companies (Acoutech Labs and Creative Sound Solutions) and/or their subs? Any opinions?

2) Am I correct in believing that sealed subs are generally more accurate and "musical?"

3) Based on my needs/wants (small to medium size, accurate, dowfiring and <$750) can anyone suggest a sub for me?

4) Anyone care to comment on the ACI Force?

Thanks to all for any help you can give me.

#2 of 57 OFFLINE   GrahamT

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Posted June 15 2004 - 11:52 AM

1)I built my DIY sub with the amp driver and ports from CSS and I built some DIY speakers from CSS. I highly recommend them. The Clarus uses their custom XBL^2 driver by Adire Audio which should sound excellent and the finish looks awesome.

2)It is said that sealed is more "musical" but in my experience and humble opinion it is the same.

3) The HSU subs sound very good and have excellent build quality www.hsuresearch.com

#3 of 57 OFFLINE   JimMIT

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Posted June 15 2004 - 05:48 PM

Thanks, GrahamT, for your reply. Anyone else?

#4 of 57 OFFLINE   Brian Fellmeth

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Posted June 16 2004 - 01:33 AM

ACI is an old established company and their products are first rate. The reasoning that leads you to a sealed sub is sound. Although I've never heard the force, my experience with ACI gives me confidence to recommend this choice.

Another contender should be the Adire Rava. Below your budget, but probably plenty enough sub for your application.

#5 of 57 OFFLINE   JimMIT

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Posted June 15 2004 - 10:54 AM

In my quest to put together a modest audio system/home theater, I've either purchased or decided on the following:

Receiver - Denon AVR-2805
Mains - Paradigm Studio 20 v.3
Center - Paradigm CC-470
Surrounds - Paradigm SA-10R

Now, I'm looking for a subwoofer. I don't want/need a sub that goes super low or plays super loud. My primary interest in a sub is one that is "musical" and accurate with minimal distortion. My understanding is that a sealed sub is best for this. Also, because of my three grandchildren, I want a downfiring sub. And finally, I would like a sub that is small to medium in size. Price limit - $750. Room size - 18'x18'x12'open to other rooms.

I recently entered into Google the words, "sealed downfiring" and pretty much all I came up with (aside from car subs) were the following:

1) ALAS12 and ALAS15 by Acoustech Labs
2) CLARUSX10200 and CLARUSX10150 by Creative Sound Solutions

Another sub which has peaked my interest is the ACI Force. I'd really like to hear from anyone who either owns or has extensive experience with this sub.

So, my questions are:

1) Has anyone ever heard of these companies (Acoutech Labs and Creative Sound Solutions) and/or their subs? Any opinions?

2) Am I correct in believing that sealed subs are generally more accurate and "musical?"

3) Based on my needs/wants (small to medium size, accurate, dowfiring and <$750) can anyone suggest a sub for me?

4) Anyone care to comment on the ACI Force?

Thanks to all for any help you can give me.

#6 of 57 OFFLINE   GrahamT

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Posted June 15 2004 - 11:52 AM

1)I built my DIY sub with the amp driver and ports from CSS and I built some DIY speakers from CSS. I highly recommend them. The Clarus uses their custom XBL^2 driver by Adire Audio which should sound excellent and the finish looks awesome.

2)It is said that sealed is more "musical" but in my experience and humble opinion it is the same.

3) The HSU subs sound very good and have excellent build quality www.hsuresearch.com

#7 of 57 OFFLINE   JimMIT

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Posted June 15 2004 - 05:48 PM

Thanks, GrahamT, for your reply. Anyone else?

#8 of 57 OFFLINE   Brian Fellmeth

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Posted June 16 2004 - 01:33 AM

ACI is an old established company and their products are first rate. The reasoning that leads you to a sealed sub is sound. Although I've never heard the force, my experience with ACI gives me confidence to recommend this choice.

Another contender should be the Adire Rava. Below your budget, but probably plenty enough sub for your application.

#9 of 57 OFFLINE   JimMIT

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Posted June 16 2004 - 05:29 PM

Thanks, Brian, for taking the time to reply. The information on ACI is helpful. Regarding the Rava, it is front firing, so it won't do.

I'd sure like to hear more opinions about whether or not sealed subwoofers are more "musical."

Also, it would be helpful to hear from more folks who are familiar with CLARUS speakers and the ACI Force.

#10 of 57 OFFLINE   Tim Hoover

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Posted June 17 2004 - 04:30 AM

Quote:
I'd sure like to hear more opinions about whether or not sealed subwoofers are more "musical."

Well, this is a highly-debated and extremely personal thing. IMO, musicality has nothing to do with a sub being sealed or vented. The perceived "tightness" of a sub has more to do with the damping factors and such...and any well-engineered sub has taken this into account, regardless of a vented and sealed design. The purpose of venting is to allow lower frequency extension with a given size driver and available power.
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#11 of 57 OFFLINE   Stephen Houdek

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Posted June 17 2004 - 10:42 AM

I've read good things about the Rocket UFW-10. Its well within your budget and I think you'd be happy. I've never heard one but there have been rave reivews of them over on av123.com.

Look Here

I'm an SVS owner and given your list of priorities I'd say this would be the best match. The SVS box subs are freaking awesome, but they're also freaking huge!

Ooops, not downfiring......Nevermind.

#12 of 57 OFFLINE   mackie

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Posted June 17 2004 - 11:05 AM

I have a similar setup to what you're putting together. I auditioned several subs and went with a sealed one. I liked the way it sounded, and I didn't want a monster sub in my living room. With that said, I have a Velodyne SPL 1000 II. There is one listed on Audiogon for about $850 which is much less than retail, but it is a front firing sub. You might consider one of Paradigms lower priced subs that aren't sealed, and I think that B&W makes several sealed subs in your price range. Best advice is: don't rule our ported subs, audition several, and get the one you like best.

#13 of 57 OFFLINE   Jon-C

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Posted June 17 2004 - 11:25 AM

The Rocket is frontfiring, the SVS is downfiring.

Sorry, Stephen. You're last statement might cause some confusion. Posted Image

#14 of 57 OFFLINE   JimMIT

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Posted June 17 2004 - 02:14 PM

Thanks, fellas, for taking the time to reply. I appreciate the value of auditioning speakers, including subwoofers. At this point, I'm trying educate myself and also trying to narrow the audition list a bit to those which fit most or all of my criteria.

Unfortunately, because many of these speakers are sold only via the Internet, some of them are difficult to audition. I really don't want to begin a process of blindly purchasing subs, having them shipped, listening to them and then having to send them back if I don't like them. And if I'm responsible for shipping and/or re-stocking fees, it could get expensive. On the other hand, if I can identify an Internet-only sub that has received generally excellent professional reviews and is widely liked by folks like yourselves, it will increase the likelihood that I'll be happy with it and won't have to ship it back. Does that make sense?

Based on the feedback I've received here and elsewhere, there doesn't appear to be any hard evidence that sealed subs are any more musical than vented subs. So, sealed vs. vented is not an issue -- unless the sub is known to be a "chuffer." But, I'd still like to find one that is:

- downfiring (because of my grandkids; 3 & more coming)
- small to medium (at least not gargantuan)
- accurate (as reasonably accurate as a sub can be)
- $750 (I can go over a few bucks, but less is good)

So, keep the suggestions coming; they're great help to me.

#15 of 57 OFFLINE   mackie

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Posted June 17 2004 - 02:25 PM

Check Sound and Vision archives. They did a comparsion of subs about a year ago on subs in your budget range. I don't own one but think you'd be pretty safe going with a Hsu or SVS.

#16 of 57 OFFLINE   Brian Fellmeth

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Posted June 17 2004 - 02:32 PM

Yes, Hsu or SVS. On some SVS models, you can plug the ports and convert it to sealed (at the expense of LF extension of course). They may even make a custom sealed version for you. Give em an email.

#17 of 57 OFFLINE   JimMIT

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Posted June 17 2004 - 02:35 PM

Thanks Mackie, I will research Sound & Vision's website to see if I can find that comparison.

But, in the meantime, let me try this another way. Does anyone have any comments, one way or the other, about the following?:

ACI Force
Boston Acoustics PV700 or PV900
Cambridge Soundworks Bass Cube 12S
Hsu STF-2 or VTF-2
Klipsch KSW-10 or KSW-12
REL Q108E
Wharfedale PC-10 or PC-12

#18 of 57 OFFLINE   Tim Hoover

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Posted June 17 2004 - 02:43 PM

Jim, SVS's cylinder subs might meet your criteria. They ARE downfiring, unlike their box offerings. As far as size...well, most of the size is vertical. They have a pretty small footprint. Accurate? You betcha! And finally, $750 will get you anything in the PCi range, and almost nudge you into PC+ territory.

For smaller rooms or less-demanding applications, the Rava would also be a nice choice. I've been thinking about getting one for my office system.
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#19 of 57 OFFLINE   mackie

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Posted June 17 2004 - 02:45 PM

I had a Boston Acoustics PV600 and it was boomy - not good at all with music. Every reviewer that's reviewed a Hsu sub has raved about it.

#20 of 57 OFFLINE   JimMIT

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Posted June 17 2004 - 04:37 PM

Thanks Brian and Tim. Hsu is a possibility; I've listened to the STF-2 and it sounded as good as it could sound at Best Buy. I've never heard SVS subs, but I know they get rave reviews from many quarters. My sense of things (based solely on what I've read) is that they are both great for HT, but maybe not quite as good for music.

Mackie - When I found Sound & Vision's August 2003 sub comparison, I recognized it, having read it before. Of the ten subs they reviewed, nine are front firing and one (the Canton), I can't tell where that one fires; the only photos I've seen of it show a huge port in the front -- the kind that invites toddlers to reach in and explore with their little arms. Based on what you said in a later post, I'm going to scratch off Boston Acoustics.

I may add one to the list -- Paradigm PS-1000. The dealer who sold me my Studios recommended it. I initially didn't consider it because it's ported and it's also border on being too big. Any comments on the PS-1000?

So, assuming I keep Hsu and SVS on the list, which of the following are also worthy of further consideration?:

1) ACI (The Force)
2) Cambridge Soundworks BassCube 12S
3) Klipsch KSW-10/KSW-12
4) REL Q108E
6) Wharfedale PC-10/PC-112

I appreciate you folks taking the time to reply; it helps alot.