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"musical" Subs

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by Jack Leslie, Sep 29, 2003.

  1. Jack Leslie

    Jack Leslie Auditioning

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    I'm trying to understand the description of "musical" as it's used with subs at a number of manufacturers sites.

    As an example, with SVS they describe the PB2-ISD as musical, while the similar (exterior dimensions) PB2-Plus is not.

    Anyone help this non-acoustic person?
     
  2. Geno

    Geno Supporting Actor

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    IMO - musical, is just another descriptive-non-descriptive word. its as bad as "bright" or "warm" or "low bass" or "invisible" or well... if you want to read words that really mean anything you want them to, read a Bose ad. [​IMG]

    Im sure anyone here with a PB2+ will tell you that their SVsub definately sounds "musical" or sounds very good when music is being played thru it.

    back to your question, what's being played when when these reviews are calling the subs "musical" are you sure its the type of music you like? my point is, many of these words mean so many different things to so many different people.

    ITS YOUR EARS AND YOUR MONEY
     
  3. Jeremy Stockwell

    Jeremy Stockwell Supporting Actor

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    You'll find that many here don't understand the term "musical" when it comes to subs.

    Some here have the opinion that a "musical" sub should be sealed or have a higher tune (if ported) than a "Home Theater" sub. Much music doesn't have much content below 30Hz, though I believe that it will more and more as people obtain the equipment to handle deep bass.

    Others (myself included) will tell you that any sub worth having will give you both the impact required by DVD soundtracks in home theater uses and the accuracy required by CD and multi-channel audio listening.

    I also know a couple of PB2+ owners that will take exception to their sub not being musical. [​IMG]

    JKS
     
  4. Jon_Krug

    Jon_Krug Stunt Coordinator

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    i haven't read anyone that described the pb2 isd as musical in comparison to the pb2 plus. i have the pb2 plus, and upon worrying about my purchase, i was worried about whether or not it would be musical enough. i feel that my friend has the best comparison for me so we lugged the pb2+ over to his place and did a side by side comparion with his m&k mx350. obviously before bringing it over i already assumed that it would be louder and deeper (which it definitely was). as far as music went, i felt that it was either as musical or almost as musical as his m&k. the main difference, was how loud u made the sub. i found that depending on the music or movie, i would turn the sub up or down a little bit. ppl talk about a sub being too boomie or whatever, and although i can't comment on their subs as i haven't heard them (nor have i read anyone describing the pb2+ as that way), i have to ask if these ppl turned down their subs at all to see if the boominess went away at all.
    on a side note... because i also had my new speakers over at his place for the weekend (onix ref 1's) i had the crossover on the sub set to around 50 or 60 hz and the speakers set to large. oddly enough when i had his speakers (and mine when i had mine on) turned to small on the receiver (80 hz crossover) and the sub accidentally turned to somewhere bet/ 50 and 60 hz (we forgot to turn the crossover on the sub off) it sounded awesome. i honestly don't think ppl play with their equipment enough and automatically assume that a sub was too boomy simply because it was turned up too high for their preference.
     
  5. Rich Wenzel

    Rich Wenzel Supporting Actor

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    i always thought when reading reviews that when they say a sub is very musical they mean its very quick, even, non-booming bass, that doesn't always deliver in hometheater when listening to crashes and explosions. I.e. a sub that was made for music, which doesn't tend to have these types of sound....

    When they say hometheater subs, I always think they mean booming and very powerful, overwhelming subs. Something that can stop your pacemaker....

    But i have no real opinion on it. Thats just my take when reading the reviews.

    Rich
     
  6. Geno

    Geno Supporting Actor

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  7. David Judah

    David Judah Screenwriter

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    Without getting too technical, the Group Delay of a sub will have alot to do with how "tight" or "fast" it is perceived to be. If you were looking at the Group Delay performance of a sub on a graph, the vertical axis would be the Group delay in milliseconds and the horizontal axis would be the frequency in hertz. Group delay is higher as the frequency goes lower. With a ported design GD is usually very high around its tuning point with a gradual roll-off as the frequency goes up.

    Typically, sealed designs have lower group delay than ported or passive radiator subwoofers, but trade-off flat output at the lower frequencies. That is why sealed subs are often called "musical" subs. It is possible, however, to design a ported sub that has low GD in the frequency range that a system will commonly reproduce even for DVDs(like around 18 Hz and up)by lowering the tuning point. Unfortunately, you won't find that kind of design in most consumer ported subs. They are tuned so high it can cause a problem with music(when it normally wouldn't because most music doesn't extend as deeply as soundtracks on DVDs do).

    You'll notice alot of the guys over in the DIY Forum will design a ported sub for its high output, but tune it very low(by commercial standards) because A--It will protect the sub driver when they want to play a bass heavy DVD at reference or near reference level and B--it shifts the high GD around the tuning point down where there's not alot of low frequencies being reproduced. That'll yield a sub that has the slam for Home Theater, but still is nice and tight for music reproduction.

    There's certainly alot more to it, but that should suffice for this discussion.

    DJ
     
  8. Michael R Price

    Michael R Price Screenwriter

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    I would like to emphasize that no one has ever actually correlated reasonable amounts of group delay with decreased subjective sound quality. (Reasonable? I don't know... 40 milliseconds or less below 40Hz?) I don't have a good enough opinion of that issue myself, since I don't have enough experience. Because of this uncertainty I think the current popular designers, like Tom V, are mostly concerned with frequency response (at listening positions of course) and distortion in order to make their subs sound best.
     
  9. David Judah

    David Judah Screenwriter

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    Group Delay is not a mysterious phenomena or a cause for great uncertainty. It is well defined and reliably measurable. Now yes, reasonable people could disagree about the exact amount that makes it audibly undesirable and it is certainly not the only indicator for sound quality(of course, if you don't have good frequency response then your GD will be out of whack as well--they go hand in hand), but it is an important indicator and something most designers take into account. Again, for our purposes, lower GD is going to be better.

    Incidently, the brain trust at Adire Audio use less than 25 ms @ 20 Hz as a rule of thumb.

    DJ
     
  10. Ganesh

    Ganesh Agent

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    Isn't the dB level vs freq graph a good measure of the SUB? For example, 78 dB at 20 Hz of SUB-X is better than say 68 db at 20 Hz of SUB-y? Or does it only mean that SUB-X is louder than SUB-Y? BTW, I didn't see the freq response graph of HSU or SVS on their site. Is it available on their sites at all?
     
  11. KostaVan

    KostaVan Extra

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    Basically, a sub should do what it is told to do. If it's suppose to be producing quick accurate beats while listening to Dave Mathews or Skynyrd, whatever your taste, that's what it should be doing. If you are watching planes drop bombs on Vietcong in "We Were Soldiers" then it should be making room shaking deep bass. I don't completely understand this movie/music crap. But that's just me. My SVS 20-39PCi seems to be good at both and that's why I'm keeping it. [​IMG]
     
  12. CurtisC

    CurtisC Second Unit

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    Yes there are subs that are musical and some that are not,SVS included in both.If you think your sub is,thats all that matters.If you listen to enough subs you can make your own conclusion,this is just mine.
     
  13. Jason.Soko

    Jason.Soko Stunt Coordinator

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    Boy this forum isn't biased towards SVS is it.
     
  14. David Judah

    David Judah Screenwriter

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    Well, from a designer's viewpoint, Jason, companies like SVS make less compromises than the typical mass market brands. Plus, the founders are members here and are very open about their design philosophies(and very helpful too).

    DJ
     
  15. John_MackieBass

    John_MackieBass Stunt Coordinator

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    id consider a music sub appealing to the ear. Musical means the speakers will be brigher and warmer sounding, compared so a sub that may be missing some notes?
     
  16. Geno

    Geno Supporting Actor

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    john, "bright" sounding speakers are the opposite of "warm" sounding speakers.

    so a sub that may be missing some notes? ?????
     
  17. DarrenAlan

    DarrenAlan Stunt Coordinator

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    Just a survey of one, Paradigm PDR-10 vs. Adire Rava.

    For movies, the Paradigm did fine -- you could almost say great, even. Lots of SPL, lots of deep, palpable boom. For music, not as good; bass seemed sort of slow, muddy, a bit indistinct. I think the English would say "woolly."

    For movies, the Rava does very well, at least as good as the Paradigm to my ear. But for music, there is no comparison. The Rava is taut, quick and clean and goes deep enough for all but the lowest organ notes.

    I have been very happy with the upgrade.
     
  18. David Judah

    David Judah Screenwriter

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  19. Bob_M

    Bob_M Stunt Coordinator

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    > It is possible, however, to design a ported sub that has low GD in the frequency range that a system will commonly reproduce even for DVDs(like around 18 Hz and up)by lowering the tuning point. Unfortunately, you won't find that kind of design in most consumer ported subs. <

    SVS and others have been around for a while now. Why don't the big brands come up to par. Does it cost more to produce a sub that is tuned lower to help with the GD?

    Thanks Bob
     
  20. Jeremy Stockwell

    Jeremy Stockwell Supporting Actor

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    Bob,

    Generally, to tune a sub low enough to take advantage of the Group Delay described above, the enclosure needs to be pretty big. The "big" speaker companies believe (right or wrong) that they cannot market a sub that's 8ft^3 externally or even bigger. This is especially true on the retail floor when a massive, heavy, well-designed sub is towering over a tiny wimpy box, but both are described as "subwoofers" and cost about the same. The SO says, "I like that little one" and that's it. [​IMG]

    Online companies have found the market that understands that in order to achieve the entire low end of the aural spectrum (as well as infrasonics), you need a relatively big box/tube with a suited driver and tuning along with enough watts to power the whole thing.

    JKS
     

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