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Where can I find some info about choosing the right home theatre sub?


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#1 of 61 OFFLINE   VanillaRice

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Posted June 22 2012 - 06:07 PM

I'm trying to find some info about "what makes a good home theatre sub". More specifically I want to get a better understanding about what will sound best for movies. Is a larger sub always going to perform better? Is amplifier power indicative of performance? Is price reflective of the brand name or are there some cheaper models out there that can run with the more expensive ones. I'm not looking to spend $1000 on a sub, maybe 300-400. I want deep low bass for movies and explosions not punchy music bass for hip-hop. Is there a "all you need to know about choosing a home theatre sub" website? PS. I don't want to make my own enclosure lol.

#2 of 61 OFFLINE   Robert_J

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Posted June 23 2012 - 04:57 PM

More specifically I want to get a better understanding about what will sound best for movies.
Why not a sub that reproduces whatever signal is fed to it? The sub doesn't care if it is music or a movie, all it sees is an alternating current on the input.
Is a larger sub always going to perform better?
Bass is about moving air. Larger subs can move more air than smaller subs all other things equal.
Is amplifier power indicative of performance?
No. Hoffman's Iron Law is in effect here. Larger subs are more efficient and therefore need less power to reach the same SPL as a smaller sub.
Is price reflective of the brand name or are there some cheaper models out there that can run with the more expensive ones.
I'd put my DIY sub up against a $20,000 Wilson Audio "Thor's Hammer" any day of the week. And there are many subs you may not have heard of that we recommend all of the time.
I'm not looking to spend $1000 on a sub, maybe 300-400. I want deep low bass for movies and explosions not punchy music bass for hip-hop.
What is your idea of "deep, low bass"? We recommend subs like the BIC F12 all of the time but it only goes a little below 30hz. Ported subs can play low but they require large enclosures. But to get an enclosure large enough, they become price prohibitive for you. A quality sealed sub my fit your needs. If you can stretch your budget a little more, the Epik Legend may work in a medium sized room. Also the Elemental Designs A2-300 would work also.
Is there a "all you need to know about choosing a home theatre sub" website?
Is there a site about how to pick out the perfect car or a girlfriend? Everyone has their own ideas. Heck, someone else may come along with a completely different answer than mine.
PS. I don't want to make my own enclosure lol.
That gives you the best results but it's not for everyone.

#3 of 61 OFFLINE   VanillaRice

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Posted June 24 2012 - 12:36 PM

Thanks Robert, I did say I didn't want to make my own enclosure. But I have made 2 car sub enclosure's in the past, but I was younger and impatient and they didn't turn out as I'd planned, still effective though. I had a look at the BIC America F12, that's incredibly powerful at a reasonable price. Too bad I don't live in that states to buy one. I will use that as a benchmark and see what I can come up with.

#4 of 61 OFFLINE   Robert_J

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Posted June 24 2012 - 02:01 PM

There's a location field in your profile so that we can tailor answers to your location. I'd guess to say that 95% of the forum members are in the US so that's what we usually assume unless you include a clue in your post. If you have learned patience, I can help you through the build process. I've done it with others here. Then again, location will determine parts availability and cost so DIY may not be a great idea for you.

#5 of 61 OFFLINE   VanillaRice

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Posted June 24 2012 - 05:09 PM

I'd appreciate the help if I go that route. But that BIC F12 has opened my eyes as to how far these home stereo subs have come over the years. I have a little sub I bought for my mini system about 10 years ago and I was shocked when I learned its only 30watt ! Then again, I have quite a small lounge room that is basically un-furnished so it's not hard for bass to travel in there.

Here is a pic of my lounge, (be gentle I just moved in) bearing in mind I still have ALL of my speakers for 7.1 still to purchase hence the mini system speakers the I'm currently using. How much sub would I need to get the floor shaking in here? Not much I presume.

P.S. I live in New Zealand.
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#6 of 61 OFFLINE   Robert_J

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Posted June 25 2012 - 03:31 AM

How much sub would I need to get the floor shaking in here? Not much I presume.
I'd go with at least a single 10" in a ported enclosure tuned as low as possible. Going to a 12" or 15" would allow you to go sealed and have a box the same size as the 10 with more output. Is your goal really to shake the floor? That tactile feeling requires a LOT of sub and a LOT of power behind it. What brands are available to you? Klipsch? Polk? Velodyne?

The guy that runs http://www.subwoofer...com/drivers.htm is in Australia so at least you can get an idea on what is available for DIY.

#7 of 61 OFFLINE   VanillaRice

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Posted June 25 2012 - 04:27 AM

Well I don't know about shaking the floor but I would like to feel the bass. I came across a Klipsch Subwoofer today but It was a good $200nz or $160us more than I was wanting to pay. Any experience with these models? http://www.trademe.c...px?id=486852880 http://www.trademe.c...n-486939894.htm Also there is a bunch of big power car subs/amp like this: http://www.trademe.c...n-486239847.htm http://www.trademe.c...n-486398441.htm That's only a 10'' but I'm sure there are 12s for about the same price. But the cost of an enclosure on top of that would put me over budget. Which is why the former options are looking more appealing.

#8 of 61 OFFLINE   Robert_J

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Posted June 25 2012 - 07:40 AM

Klipsch makes a decent sub. That Infinity Kappa Perfect is an awesome driver to use in a DIY sub. But you can't use a car audio amp since there is no safe way to properly power it.

#9 of 61 OFFLINE   aerialacoustics

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Posted June 25 2012 - 11:33 AM

Increase your budget for your subwoofer. A solid sub with high output need to be large, and high wattage.

#10 of 61 OFFLINE   Robert_J

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Posted June 25 2012 - 05:16 PM

A solid sub with high output need to be large, and high wattage.
Large subs are more efficient and therefore don't need high wattage. http://www.salksound.com/wp/?p=56

You can also go with other alignments like a folded horn or tapped horn that will increase sensitivity to extremes. As with any sub, there's a trade-off in size. These things are massive.

#11 of 61 OFFLINE   VanillaRice

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Posted June 25 2012 - 06:25 PM

Thanks Robert for that Aussie enclosure building website. I'm sure I could make a box myself, the idea of making my own enclosure sounds kinda cool. I'm curious as to what kind of amplifier is used to power these subs, can you link me some examples? Thanks.

#12 of 61 OFFLINE   VanillaRice

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Posted June 25 2012 - 09:48 PM

I also found a store in New Zealand that sells Energy, Velodyne and Yamaha Subs. Although looking through their range it's apparent that for the price they are somewhat underpowered. 60watt subwoofers for nearly 700bucks? So damn expensive. http://www.computerl...sp?partid=11278 edit. Anyone heard of the MISSION M6AS sub? 350watt rms 10'' ? I believe it's a discontinued model but I found one second hand for $400nz and it's still retailing for $1000nz down from $1900nz. http://www.trademe.c...n-488085096.htm http://www.garyander...id_product=1327

#13 of 61 OFFLINE   Robert_J

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Posted June 26 2012 - 02:55 AM

I'm curious as to what kind of amplifier is used to power these subs, can you link me some examples? Thanks.
The most popular are plate amps. The same amps that are in the retail subs. Here's a small sample from Parts Express - http://www.parts-exp...g International . There are some Asian manufacturers that will sell direct. Since they are all made closer to you, I don't see why they wouldn't be available locally.

If you go really big, then you need a pro amp. Behringer is the best value. I use this amp - http://www.parts-exp...tnumber=248-748 to power a pair of these - http://www.parts-exp...tnumber=293-642 . I've never taken the time to remove them from the test enclosures because they sound so good. When I do, I'll be putting them in a pair of these - http://www.danmarx.o...ion/tc3000.html .

#14 of 61 OFFLINE   Robert_J

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Posted June 26 2012 - 02:59 AM

Velodyne makes some very good subs but they are expensive. MIssion and Energy make good subs as well. I wouldn't waste my time on Yamaha unless you can get it at a great price. Most companies that make electronics don't make good speakers and subs. Speaker manufacturers make pretty good subs. Companies that stick with only subs or started out with only subs are the best. SVS, Hsu Research, Elemental Designs, Epik Subwoofers and Rythmik Audio are our favorites here.

#15 of 61 OFFLINE   VanillaRice

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Posted June 26 2012 - 03:49 AM

What a beast of an amp you have there. 48lbs! Oh and the subs. I've always been keen on big audio, in high school my car stereo was 135dB and worth more than the damn car! That was 10years ago, and these newer subs would seriously out-gun what I had. I cant find a bad review on the mission M6AS. And I'm almost temped to buy it outright and not even save the $100 by bidding. Considering the serious lack of decent Active subs available in my price range, I'm worried someone else will snap this up before the auction closes on Saturday. I think the best thing for me is to start low and work my way up.

#16 of 61 OFFLINE   VanillaRice

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Posted June 26 2012 - 02:51 PM

I gave in and got the Mission M6AS. Pickup tonight and I'll review it in a day or two. Thanks for all your help so far.

#17 of 61 OFFLINE   Robert_J

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Posted June 27 2012 - 02:52 AM

Good luck with the sub. I'll definitely read the review. We can also discuss room placement, in-room frequency response and adding an EQ if needed. 135 is pretty good. Sundown Audio just hit 152db with a single 8" sub in their test car.

#18 of 61 OFFLINE   aerialacoustics

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Posted June 27 2012 - 10:30 AM

152deci Bells, with a 10 Watt a side Sony Receiver? LOL

#19 of 61 OFFLINE   VanillaRice

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Posted June 27 2012 - 12:59 PM

I've had the sub going this morning but I'm struggling to figure out this new surround amp. I can get it to work through my ipod which is connected to a pair of "audio in" ports but through an HDMI source its not playing. I guess I'll have to resort to reading a manual, Damn! Because this sub has line level inputs and outputs do I plug my RCA's in to the "Line level in" and run my two front speakers off my "Speaker level Inputs"? Kinda confused, I'm guessing the whole purpose of wiring this way is to pass all the frequencies above the cutoff go to the fronts and everything below goes to the sub? Performance of this sub is good so far, the bass goes DEEP! which is what I wanted. Yes Robert I will need help setting this up as the sub sounds COMLETELY different in some areas of my room. My RCA's aren't long enough to reach around the room so that is next on the list to buy.

#20 of 61 OFFLINE   aerialacoustics

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Posted June 27 2012 - 01:55 PM

A solid sub with high output need to be large, and high wattage.
Large subs are more efficient and therefore don't need high wattage. http://www.salksound.com/wp/?p=56

You can also go with other alignments like a folded horn or tapped horn that will increase sensitivity to extremes. As with any sub, there's a trade-off in size. These things are massive.

The number one cause of distortion is having too little power, or lack of quality wattage.

If a sub says, (which is typical), 500W-1000W RMS, 3000W peak the sub will sound best with a 1000W amp. (Although, you can and we on here often recommend you push 1100-1200W to it, it will likely take it and you can keep the gain down and know you can send it 1000W with no problems or clipping). Aerial Acoustics recommends getting an amp that is at least 70% of RMS - so a 700W amp would work for it (and not be too much quieter than the 1000W amp), some but not much). I have seen some setups on Aerials, or (less expensive ones) with as little as 41-56% of RMS, so you could use a 400W-500W amp with the sub, but that is about the limit for it to play decently.
The specs say AT LEAST 500W b/c they need that to sound good. But they sound best with 800-1200W.
They include the lower number b/c if that is all you have; a company they still want you to buy their sub. It is very similar to Microsoft newer OS’s claiming it work with a certain level of RAM, but I think it likes ten times the recommended RAM, although more than that is not much benefit.

Bottom Line - if you can only get a 500W amp, it will still play that sub, but it would do better with a 500W RMS sub, and that sub would do better with a 1000W amp.Bass requires lots of power. More power means cleaner bass, less power is muddier, regardless of cone size, magnet size, excursion, and enclosure design. Just power match your driver with your amp.




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