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Dual Hsu VTF-3 : My 2 cents


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#1 of 43 Sean D

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Posted May 20 2002 - 12:49 PM

Ok, first off let me start off by saying that I am not a reviewer or an audiophile. I am an enthusiast with a half decent ear. Posted Image I am also a drummer/guitar player (primarily drums) and have spent many hours on stage/studio with a bass player. So I suppose I have a basic idea on how the rhythm section is supposed to sound when reproduced. This past Tuesday I received my two Hsu VTF-3 subs from AV123.com. The subs were dual boxed and came with a yellow envelope containing the manual, some DVD recommendations for deep bass as well as deep bass music. A cd was also provided that contains 5 songs (classical with some good bass material) and three different pink noise variations.
My room is approx. 26' X 16' X 7.5', a fairly large room. I am using Swans Diva 6.1 mains, Swans Diva C3 center, Swans Diva 2.1 as rears, powered by an Anthem MCA5 mkII with an Outlaw 950 pre/pro.
Before I get to the sound I will say that these subs look much better in person than the pics I've seen on the net but that is usually the case with most gear. They are built like a tank. They weigh 85lbs. each. I'm not sure what the finish is made of but I doubt very much that any harm could come to the finish without a lot of effort. The subs are black, they kind of look grey in the photos I've seen. The subs come with a removable port blocker for max extension mode. There is a switch on the back for max extension or max output mode as well as switches for phase and crossover in or out. The power cord is also removable. There is a decent sized heat sink sticking out of the back as well (which has yet to get beyond barely warm). The subs also came with a cheater plug for those who may need it.
The grill is removable with a flat jeweler screwdriver or something similar (butter knife), to expose the driver which has the letters HSU in the middle of the cone. Kind of cool looking if you are a "grills off" type of guy like me.

I have the subs stacked on top of each other in the same spot as my previous subs (Dual SVS 20-39CS with Samson S700). I have my system calibrated with AVIA at 82db (seemed loud enough to me). The subs are running 3-4 db hot. The same calibration settings as my previous sub setup.

So how do they sound? This is the part where I have to put in my disclaimer. The opinions expressed below are exactly that....my opinions. Posted Image I don't have any graphs or anything of the sort.
First off, I have listened to one sub as well as the two. I listen to a lot of music, my tastes range from Heavy Metal to New Age.
This is my 3rd sub configuration. My 1st sub was an Energy e: xl-S12, my second setup was a dual 20-39CS combo with Samson S700 amp. The VTF-3 is a very dynamic sub compared to my previous setups. With music the notes are much cleaner, they have more punch, and they seem to be faster, tighter and less strained at higher volumes. Mind you, in all fairness, the price difference is quite substantial. I will go out on a limb and say that one VTF-3 is almost comparable to my dual 20-39CS setup as far as volume goes at my listening levels, but I have not taken any measurements so I can't say for sure. All I can say is that I rarely listen at reference level, usually about 10db below reference and the single VTF-3 can definitely hold up without a problem. Regardless of volume, the VTF-3 is the most musically dynamic of all of my previous subs. Drums, especially kick drums really shine with the VTF-3. I was watching the Fleetwood Mac "The Dance" DVD and the kick drum at the beginning of the "The Chain" sounded and felt like the real thing. The bass guitar notes were very clear and musical as well.

For HT the subs are awesome, almost scary with two, they really make their presence felt. These subs really seem to pressurize my room, providing a nice whack in the chest during the heavy LFE tracks. I ended up buying two because I had two previously. I had no intentions of selling my SVS subs but I was given an offer I couldn't refuse so I did. I was going to go with a dual SVS 20-39CS+ with Samson combo but I read a review that made me consider the VTF-3. I have no intentions of turning this into a comparison or showdown between SVS and Hsu. They are both very good subs, and again, they are different price points so it would not be fair to do a direct comparison.
If you are looking for a good sub for both music and HT with some real nice punch, I highly recommend the Hsu. I apologize for my wording and lack of graphs and such, this is my first "review" and I don¡¦t really even consider it to be that. I consider it more to be my opinion/thoughts. I could post more and I'm sure I will end up posting more in the future if necessary.

My 2 cents,
Sean

#2 of 43 Karl L

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Posted May 20 2002 - 01:33 PM

Thanks for the review Sean. Think I'm going to pull the trigger on the Hsu tomorrow, instead of waiting for more reviews to pop up on the net (patience is not one of my better virtues!). For my decor the Hsu is a better fit, and seems to fit my need for a kick ass sub for music. Where did you end up purchasing yours from? Since I'm out in CA I would have to pay sales tax if I buy directly from Dr. Hsu's site.

#3 of 43 Sean D

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Posted May 20 2002 - 01:40 PM

Thanks Karl,
I don't think you'll be disappointed with the Hsu. I ordered mine from AV123.com. Send them an email,I'm sure they can work something out for you. Very helpful guys , great customer support.

#4 of 43 Shawn Solar

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Posted May 20 2002 - 01:49 PM

Hey Sean,

Are you near the Niagara region?(Niagara Falls). That sounds like a killer sub. I would love to demo your setup if you are up to it. Though I'll understand if your not. How much did it cost to buy and ship? I currently own Paradigm reference speakers and the discontinued Energy microstar 12.1 sub. I'am also building a DIY based sonotube sub with a blueprint 1503 sub.

#5 of 43 Sean D

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Posted May 20 2002 - 01:56 PM

I'm in Ottawa Shawn.If you are up for the trip I don't mind giving you a demo. I got the subs for $750 U.S. each, I was given this price because I ordered two and because I bought a Diva package from AV123 previously. The cost to ship was $165 U.S. Sounds to me like you will have some serious "woofage" as well Shawn. Posted Image

#6 of 43 Karl L

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Posted May 20 2002 - 02:18 PM

Thanks for the reply Sean. AV123 will be getting a call first thing tomorrow morning.

#7 of 43 Jack Gilvey

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Posted May 20 2002 - 02:26 PM

Nice review, your conclusions seem to mirror everything else I've heard about this sub. I have a feeling Ferstler's review will be a real eye-opener.
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#8 of 43 Sean D

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Posted May 20 2002 - 02:31 PM

Thanks Jack. Any idea when Ferstler's review will be coming out ?

#9 of 43 Shawn Solar

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Posted May 20 2002 - 02:38 PM

Sean,
Thats a little further than I usually go But I appreciate the offerPosted Image $165US for shipping,ouch! At least it was worth it. I assume that was for both?

#10 of 43 Sean D

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Posted May 20 2002 - 02:44 PM

Shawn,
That is correct. $165 for both by air. I had to pick them up at the depot by the airport.

#11 of 43 Harley

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Posted May 20 2002 - 03:03 PM

Sean

Do you plan on keeping the subs stacked or will you be placing one in another part of your room for instance the rear?

I was hoping that Diva would make a sub comparable to the VTF-3 but Mark only hinted about it.

I've been torn between one subwoofer vs. two, I know that you would probably recommend two subwoofers but do you think that with the Divas one would be enough?

Harley

#12 of 43 EricHaas

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Posted May 20 2002 - 03:03 PM

Actually $165 for 2 subs of that size and weight is to be expected.

Harley:

That should depend on the one hand on the size of your room and on the other, whether or not you like to listen at or close to reference levels. It is my opinion that 2 good subs is overkill in *most* (but not all) situations.

#13 of 43 Todd smith

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Posted May 20 2002 - 03:23 PM

Finaly more VTF-3 info! Thanks for your thoughts on this sub! I will hopefully be able to go with one of these soon as well! Seems to be a great HT/music sub.

#14 of 43 Neil Joseph

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Posted May 20 2002 - 03:23 PM

Thanks for the review.
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#15 of 43 Sean D

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Posted May 20 2002 - 03:29 PM

Harley,
Eric is correct. One sub should be enough but it depends on your room size.The VTF-3 is really a monster,two is probably overkill for most.I am still contemplating selling one but I'm not sure yet, it's kind of nice have such clean powerful bass without straining the subs at all. As for moving the subs around I don't really have the room behind me due to my layout.

#16 of 43 Drew Bethel

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Posted May 20 2002 - 11:18 PM

Thanks for the review Sean. Those prices are pretty decent considering that you can probably get two of these beasts for the price of one HGS-15.
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#17 of 43 Richard Burzynski

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Posted May 21 2002 - 03:35 AM

Sean:

Thanks for the review. I started reading it last night but got sidetracked. I look again this A.M. and it appears shorter - and I see the edit note. Did you chop it? Why? I'd like to read all of it.

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#18 of 43 Sean D

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Posted May 21 2002 - 03:44 AM

Thanks Richard,
Actually I did not chop it at all. I did go in and edit a few typos and added the fact that I bought them from AV123.

#19 of 43 Steven Phipps

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Posted May 21 2002 - 04:23 AM

I am located in TO Sean, if you do choose to unload one, let me know, I may be interested.

#20 of 43 Jack Gilvey

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Posted May 21 2002 - 04:54 AM

No idea when to expect Ferstler's review in The Sensible Sound, Sean. He just mentioned to me a few weeks ago that he'd be getting one shortly to review.
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