How do YOU audition subwoofers????

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Josh Wolfman, Dec 20, 2002.

  1. Josh Wolfman

    Josh Wolfman Stunt Coordinator

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    I am looking at one for my bedroom and am wondering how everyone auditions subs. Speakers and equipment, no problem- but subs? They sound different in every room. Not every sound shop around me has all brands. They will let me take some home BUT will not give me cash refund only credit towards another brand sub. I am looking to spend around $500 and leaning towards Paradigm PDR's or Definitive. Is there a particular CD I should bring and listen to or a specific track on a DVD? This sub will be used 85% of the time for movies. How do you guys tell which sub will work for you? Thx.
     
  2. BradJudy

    BradJudy Stunt Coordinator

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    Josh,

    While I don't have much good sub auditioning advice for you, I highly recommend the Hsu VTF-2. I only had a crappy quasi-sub before, but have listened to plenty (including a dual SVS 20-39 CS setup that was killer) and definitely think the Hsu was better than anything I heard in various stores. This, of course, comes with the huge caveat that I didn't demo any of the subs in my home.

    Some advice on demoing a sub in this price class - pick something that can bottom out a lesser sub like Lord of the Rings where Frodo et al are hiding under the tree root from the ring wraith. Also, pick something that has some tight bass. While the sound will change with the room, at least you'll know it is capable of pulling off something demanding and something impactful.
     
  3. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    The way that I demo subs is: I buy what I think I'm going to like. I live with it a while in my system. I keep it, or I get rid of it and try again. [​IMG] A little expensive, but it works for me. Had a Velodyne HGS-10 for 3 years. Then went through an HGS-12 and an FSR-15 in 3 months, and settled on a Vandersteen V2W. Have had that one for almost 2 years now.
    For $500, Hsu makes great subs.
     
  4. Phuong

    Phuong Stunt Coordinator

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    Honestly, the best general track is a frequency sweep that goes down to 20 Hz. Stereo Review had this great track where the narrator announces the frequency as the test tone descends from 160Hz to 20Hz. Great to see where the peaks and valleys are on a cursory level. Btw, my Hsu VTF-2 has usable bass down to 20Hz in my bedroom. Not bad for $385 b-stock. Another way is to get tracks you're familiar with. One of my favorites is the "50 candles" track on the Boyz II Men "II" cd. I use the first 60 seconds to test the thump. Also the thump from the Lion King intro is fantastic for decay.

    good luck
     
  5. James R. Geib

    James R. Geib Stunt Coordinator

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    There are a lot of good subwoofers at or just below the $500 mark. Some of the most popular and best performing for the money are:

    Velodyne CT-100 and CT-80
    Paradigm PDR-12 and PDR-10
    SVS 25-31CS
    HSU VTF-2
    Klipsch KSW-12

    When auditioning a sub bring along music and movies you will be listening to in your bedroom and concentrate on the low end sound, and the sound quality as a whole. Also, take into consideration the size of the demonstration room and your bedroom. If your bedroom is considerably smaller than the store's room, the bass will probably be louder in your room. That doesn't mean it will sound better, but it will be more noticeable.
     
  6. Frank Carter

    Frank Carter Screenwriter

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  7. Kyle_Y

    Kyle_Y Stunt Coordinator

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    If you can find the Titanic soundtrack, about 50 sec into the first track, there is some very low frequency sound. The disc is an extremely good recording with crystal clear sound that will put subwoofers to shame. Also look at track 7(all) and the beginning of track 11. Good Luck!
     
  8. Guy Usher

    Guy Usher Supporting Actor

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    One of the best movie tracks to listen to is the lobby scene in Matrix, lots of stuff going on from the tinkles of shell casings hitting the floor to the little music track that flows thru the scene. I have seen many so-called good subs cover up those items I mentioned, remember there is a lot of high frequency energy in an explosion, glass breaking etc. Gun shots , can you hear the guns action and the shell cases hitting the floor. You dont want the sub to be so muddy that all you have is boom that covers everything else. Test tones tell you nothing about how a sub will sound, although interesting to know how low and how flat the response,
    The final test is your ears, you have a lot of listening to do as many, many of the subs at this price point are only noise, yes some will break all the windows in your house but how does it sound, can you hear individual bass guitar notes or drum beats. A good music piece is Jennifer Warens "Bird on a wire" or Chris Rhea, Leonard Cohen.
    I just got an SVS and I have used subs since the mid 70s, it does go low and is flat as advertised however I still have some tweaking to do, prior I had 4 tens that were a do-it-yourself project they were a hard act to follow, the svs goes lower but is not as tight and at this point does not sound as good, doesnt sound bad just not done yet. I will say at this price point it sounds as good or better than anything I have heard, better than many that are in the 1500-2000 range.
     
  9. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Hopefully you realize that whatever the sub sounds like in a showroom, it will be completely different than in you own room. [​IMG]
    The best way is to make sure you can return it for something else if you don't like it in your own place.
     
  10. george.Legeza

    george.Legeza Stunt Coordinator

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    Speaking of the Matrix, I'd recommend the helicopter crash scene. That scene completely destroys my crappy little subwoofer and yet sounds spectacular on my friend's system with a higher quality sub. Lord of the Rings is also a good idea since there's a lot of lows throughout the whole movie.
     

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