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Can you get quality sound from home built subs? (1 Viewer)

RickBlacker

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Apr 30, 2002
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I am very new to all this and am interested in all this DIY stuff I have been reading tonight. Thus I am wanting to find out more information about quality sound and DIY subs.

I have a Klipsch RSW12 sub. It really kicks butt. I have no complaints at all. So, my question is this, I have seen several links on building you own subs. Can someone build their own and have it sound as good at the Klipsch RSW12?

Here are some of the specs on the RSW12. Can you produce the same punch and clarity with a much less cost?

FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 22-120Hz±3dB

MAXIMUM ACOUSTIC OUTPUT: 119dB @ 30Hz 1/8 space, 1 meter

ENCLOSURE TYPE: Bass reflex via passive radiator

AMPLIFIER: BASH® digital hybrid

AMPLIFIER POWER: 2400 watts dynamic power / 1000 watts continuous power

AUTO POWER ON: 2 second ON delay, 15 minute OFF delay

LOW PASS CROSSOVER: Continuously variable from 40-120Hz, 36dB/octave slope above 120Hz

INPUTS: 2) Line level RCA phono jacks, Lowpass Enable / Disable switch for LFE mode

OUTPUTS: 2) Line level RCA phono jacks (unfiltered)

PHASE: Switchable 0 or 180 degrees

DRIVE COMPONENTS: Subwoofer system using one 12" (30.48cm) rear-firing, aluminum cone woofer and one 12" (30.48cm) front-firing, aluminum cone passive radiator

WOOFER: K-1113-T 12" (30.48cm) Cerametallic® cone, cast aluminum frame active / KD-124-T 12" (30.48cm) Cerametallic® cone, cast aluminum frame passive
 

Joe Meissner

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Jan 31, 2002
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I have never listened to the sub you have but i can tell you that I just built my first sub last week and it sounds as good as any i have heard at my local hifi store for under $1000 bucks. it is tuned to 22hz using a ported design with only 120watts. it might not hit 119db but for a total cost to me of $120(I used some parts off my old sub and bought a used SVS driver for $40) i think it is definetly worth it to DIY. The only thing i might do is replace the old amp with a bigger one. but I think it sounds pretty good right now.
I think the thing you have to remember is that you probably paid like $1200 for your sub and most guys are building subs that might total $300-$400. and sound almost as good or maybe even better. You could build 4 subs that would rip apart your house for the price you paid for one.:D
 

Dustin B

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Mar 10, 2001
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Easily.
There is an iron law in sub design that a guy named Hoffman came up with. Out of efficiency, extension and enclosure size you can pick two and the third will be dictated to you.
The RSW12 picks a small enclosure size (~55L) and then trades some extension to get power requirements down to 1000W. The other thing is if you do some reading on passive radiators you will discover that the preference is to have the PR be able to displace at least twice what the active driver can, peferably more than 3 times as much. So unless that PR on the RSW12 can travel 3 times as far as the active driver the RSW12 is under radiated. The RSW15 in the Secrets of Hifi review also dropped off in output heavily below 30hz inticated a fairly high tuning frequency.
Commercial sub designers need to keep enclosure sizes down and parts cost low so profit can be made by the manufacture and retailer. So in reality the cost of parts in your sub is in the 15-40% range of the final price you paid.
Also Klipsch really likes to exagurate their sub output specs. 119dB is way to high for that sub. They were something like 12dB higher than Nousaine on the numbers for their LF series.
If you are willing to trade enclosure size to get efficiency and extension incredible things can be done with DIY. I'd put an EBS Vented Tempest (340L) with a 250W plate amp up against a RSW12 and fully expect it to easily win in both output and soundquality. This sub can easily be built with a simiple finish for less than $400. You can spend more to get as elaborate of a finish as you want.
If you want a smaller sub you could put a BluePrint 1503 in a 150L or so enclosure with a pair of 18" stryke PRs. Parts cost would be $500 plus several hundred for a pro amp and whatever you spend on the enclosure. It would sound as good if not better than the RSW12 and absolutely trounce it in output.
If you can do it though, the ultimate in sound quality and output (if you use enough drivers) is an infinite baffel.
http://home.tampabay.rr.com/kraushome/IB.html
http://t-3.cc/users/kloneaudio/page13-12Shiva1.html
Do some more reading, get a better idea of what you want and any questions you have that you can't find answers to searching past posts the guys here will be happy to answer.
 

RickBlacker

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Apr 30, 2002
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133
What about taking the parts out of my exising RSW-12 and building a tube. Would it be worth it?
 

Dustin B

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Mar 10, 2001
Messages
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Passive radiators can only be mounted vertically, so unless you lay the tube on its side you can't use it with a PR. A box and a tube do the same thing, there is no difference in the sound. It's just tubes can be much lighter for the same strength (you have to brace a box and make it out of much thicker material, you don't have to brace a tube and can use much thinner lighter materials).

Your RSW12 is worth more to you assembled than in parts. You should easily be able to sell it for more than it would cost to get the parts to build an entirely new sub. Plus it will have boost and limiter circuitry in the amp that you won't want for a DIY sub.
 

jeff lam

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I listened to the RSW series subs a month or so ago and was very surprised at the sound quality of these little units. Probably due to the PR and massive power. I was quite impressed to say the least. Didn't have the extension of big tube subs tuned low but had much more punch and tightness in the common musical frequencies. I did enjoy it very much. But very expensive if you ask me.
 

Dave Poehlman

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Mar 8, 2000
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Rick,

Yes you can, and once you see how easy they are to build, you'll wonder how anyone can spend so much on retail subs.
 

Mike Strassburg

Second Unit
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Nov 4, 2001
Messages
421
Rick,

I recently completed a dual Tempest sonosub thanks to the advice offered on this GREAT forum (and Dan Wiggins from Adire). I have about $900 in mine and I can tell you that NOTHING I heard in the stores can come close, and I listened to: Boston, Mirage, Klipsch, REL, Polk Audio, Yamaha, JBL, etc...up to around $3k.

It seems to be a pretty well acknowledged fact that subs are one area where the DIY'er can easily duplicate or exceed commercial offerings for much less $$$.

My Klipsch Legends couldn't be happier with their new "brother".

I say take the plunge, you won't regret it....Mike
 

RickBlacker

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Apr 30, 2002
Messages
133
Wow. That just seems amaizing.

So, if I had $1000.00 to spend on a tube, what brand of drivers(s), amp and crossovers would be recomended. I think I would go duel 15" drivers.
 

Jack Gilvey

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Mar 13, 1999
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Didn't have the extension of big tube subs tuned low but had much more punch and tightness in the common musical frequencies
This is just what I found with my small PR sub tuned to ~23Hz. Doesn't go as low as the Hsu 1220HO I used to have (for a commercial reference), but I much prefer it for the vast majority of stuff I listen to. Much more responsive with HT and rock bass, with better attack and impact. I'd recommend anyone looking for that type of sound give it a shot.
 

Dave Poehlman

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So, if I had $1000.00 to spend on a tube, what brand of drivers(s), amp and crossovers would be recomended. I think I would go duel 15" drivers.
Personally, I would go with the 15" Adire Tempest because I've had a good experience with my 12" Shiva. But, I'm sure there are plenty of drivers to choose from
As far as an amp.. again.. basing it on personal experience, I would say the
Apex Senior (350 watts into 4 ohms for $199) but only because I love my Apex Jr. I'm sure there'll be other recommendations.
As far as a crossover goes.. thats the beauty of building a sub.. the crossover comes with the amp!
 

Mike Strassburg

Second Unit
Joined
Nov 4, 2001
Messages
421
Rich,

I went with 2 Adire Tempests which are 15". I also chose the Hypex HS500 amp, but many use QSC or others which are $100-$200 cheaper. Normally you just use the 80Hz or whatever cross-over you have in your receiver.

You also might want to do some research on ported vs sealed to get an idea of what each has to offer, and which will provide the results you're looking for.
 

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