DIY now or SVS later... any thoughts???

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Stephen Hopkins, Dec 16, 2002.

  1. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
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    My current setup is a Denon 1803 receiver, JBL N28 mains and NSP1 package for center and 4 surrounds in a 7.1 setup, and an RCA 200W 12" sub. While the RCA is plenty loud enough in my 11' x 11' apartment living room, and was fairly inexpensive, it doesn't extend very far below 35hz and tends to sound a bit boomy.
    I've been strongly considering a DIY sub for quite awhile, and have been planning on building it while i'm home for Christmas break... but... recently i've been finding myself thinking about waiting until i'm working this summer and getting a SVS.
    If i do a DIY sub now, it would most likely be a traditional ported enclosure with the driver being Madisound Swan, Shiva, Tempest, or Dayton 12" DVC. I would scavenge the 200W plate amp from my current RCA sub and possibly add a better amp on down the road.
    If i waited until this summer, i would most likely get either 20-39 PCi or 25-31 PCi (tuned to 22Hz).
    If i wait, i'll be spending 6 more months with a sub i'm not all that happy with but gets the job done, and i know i'll have a great sub right out of the box. If i build a DIY now, i know i'll have a really good sub really soon, but i'm afraid i'll always wonder how it would compare to an SVS. I have all the tools and wood working abilities that i need to do the DIY sub, and I know i would enjoy the project, which is one reason i'm still leaning toward the DIY... along with the fact that i would have less than $100 invested in a DIY project vs. $600 or more in a SVS.
    Has anyone done any DIY/SVS direct comparisons? If so, how did the DIY hold up, and should i go for it on a DIY project now, or wait for the SVS.
    Any help or advice would be appreciated. Thanks [​IMG]
     
  2. Walt Park

    Walt Park Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi, I thought about doing that with my polk sub. Someone rightfully pointed out that the plate amp may not be putting out flat power and might be compensating for the speaker/enclosure, so you might spend your time building a box, and getting a good driver to end up with a sub that sounds a bit off. You could ask RCA if the amp is flat, but I'm not sure if their engineers will tell you. On the otherhand it couldnt hurt. I never asked polk. Maybe I'll do that tomorrow.
     
  3. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

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    I'll strongly advocate the DIY route. But I'll also strongly advocate against using the RCA plate amp.

    What kind of budget do you think you would swing for this Christmas project (will this include construction materials)? Do you have any size constraints on the sub?
     
  4. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
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    Size is not a real concern. I was planning on a 24" x 24" x 24" cube sub with dual ports and a front or down firing woofer. I was also planning on using the sub to replace one of the end tables in out apartment.

    As for cost, if i used the RCA amp temporarily, i'm looking at around $100 for the driver and materials. That figure is based on a $75 used Shiva driver and around $25 for a sheet of MDF, some wood screws, caulk, and wood glue. If i purchased a 250W PE plate amp now, my cost would instantly jump up to around $225. I know the RCA amp isn't perfectly suited for this situation, but i do believe it will get me by for awhile.

    My plans are to build the sub as a passive design and use the RCA amp outside the enclosure until i can add a 250W PE plate amp or a mono-block amp of some sort. A new amp would probably be 3 - 6 months down the road.

    Does anyone have any other driver suggestions in the > $100 range? My 2 main candidates are the used Shiva i mentioned and a Madisound Swan.

    Thanks.
     
  5. Brian Bunge

    Brian Bunge Producer

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    Stephen,

    As far as drivers are concerned, I'd take the Shiva or a DVC 12" long before I'd consider the Swan. They'll easily provide better performance over the Swan.

    Just my $.02!
     
  6. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
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    Brian,
    I know who you are and i'm very confident you know what you're talking about... my one question is why would the Swan not keep up w/ the Shiva and Dayton 12" DVC? When i compared the 3 in WinISD the swan dropped off around 22hz, w/ the Dayton and Shiva dropping off around 20hz, all in a 5.75 ft^3 enclosure tuned for optimal extension for each specific driver.
    Also, is the cabinet size i'm considering going to hurt me in terms of SPL, since i'm only going to be using around 200W to begin with? I know how power and speaker sensitivity works, but i'm not sure how cabinet size affects SPL. I'm going to assume it won't be a major factor since i've read of people using closets as infinite baffles.
    Thanks for the input and keep it comming [​IMG]
     
  7. Brian Bunge

    Brian Bunge Producer

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    Stephen,

    I was mainly talking about the Swan's Xmax, which is only 7.3mm. This is hardly what I'd consider a "subwoofer". A 200W amp will push this driver well past it's excursion limits.

    I don't have time to run any response curves right now, but if you'd like I can play around with it a bit tomorrow evening.
     
  8. Brian Fellmeth

    Brian Fellmeth Supporting Actor

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    I have both an SVS 25-31 PC and a large sealed tempest driven by 200 watts. Performance very close.
     
  9. Brian Bunge

    Brian Bunge Producer

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    Brian,

    But if you ported that Tempest it would be a totally different story.
     
  10. Brett Miles

    Brett Miles Stunt Coordinator

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    Another plus of using the Adire drivers is the free version of LspCAD you can download from their website. By all accounts, this is much better than WinISD. As far as having doubts later about your DIY vs. SVS, if you're comparing $100 and $600 you could add a second DIY later if you're unhappy with performance and still be ahead in the $$$.
     
  11. Jeremy Stockwell

    Jeremy Stockwell Supporting Actor

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    Stephen,

    Brett makes a good point. If you're considering the entry level powered SVS, you're looking at right around $600.00 including shipping.

    Go ahead and see what you can do with $100.00 now and if you're not happy, you can try again later w/ more $$ and still be in for less than the $600.00 you're apparantly willing to spend.

    JKS
     
  12. Dan Hine

    Dan Hine Screenwriter

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    You honestly cannot do much with $100. IMO you need about $300 to make something worth while. $115 for a good driver like the Dayton DVC, $100 for a decent plate amp, and about $50 for materials. Now, if you have a spare receiver lying around then you can temporarily cut out the plate amp. But you're still close to $200 with shipping and/or taxes. I'm not trying to dissuade you b/c I think DIY is an excellent idea. I plan to eventually have an all DIY speaker system. Just do some research in the DIY forum so you'll know what you're getting into. [​IMG]
     
  13. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
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    Well, as i said in the original post, i can get the Adire Shiva driver used for $75 shipped. I also said that i have a 200W plate amp from a current sub that i can make due with for a little while. I may have under-estimated building materials a bit and didn't factor in binding posts or spikes, but even at $75 + $50 ($125 total), it's within my current budget. I'm 99% positive i'm going to go the DIY route. I guess now the thing to do is post in the DIY forum asking what alignments/volumes/tuning frequencies people using the Shiva have had the most luck with.

    Thanks for your help everyone.
     
  14. Robert_Gaither

    Robert_Gaither Screenwriter

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    As someone with two shivaes (as well as two tempests) I will state that you shouldn't be disappointed goint this route. I would advise if budget is tight to go ahead and use the plate amp temporarily (most likely it has both a limiter and boost so it shouldn't be flat but at least it gives you cheap power for the moment). It really comes down to if you have the time to build it and desire as well. I will straight out admit the SVS looks better than what I have and the performance might be different since I also went with large sealed alignments (I wouldn't be surprised if the SVS has more output due to porting and maybe hit lower freqs due to the tuning but then I went with a low Q sealed design). I know if I didn't build what I have I would've of gone for the SVS myself or contact Brian, Kyle, or Stryke and commission a sub by these talented individuals as they have a design philosophy that the sub should sound great as well.
     

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