Sony SAWM40 ($135) vs. DIY sub

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by BrianMu, Nov 7, 2001.

  1. BrianMu

    BrianMu Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi all,
    I have been considering a DIY sub for awhile to replace my piece'o'crap old 50 watt sub (it's really pathetic). If I did this, it would probably be centered around the Parts Express 250W amp ($125) with an inexpensive (
     
  2. Jon_R

    Jon_R Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm from Northern KY! Currently at school for the rest of the year, then I graduate with a degree in Computer Science. Are you an IT guy? Can you hire me? [​IMG] Job prospects look tough, any medium of searching is valid in my book.
    About the sub. I have the SA-WM40, and I really like it. I am not an Audiophile, but I am picky. The sub works very well for HT and pretty well for music. For music like jazz with medium tempo bass, I think it is smooth and enjoyable. For quick stuff like hard techno, it lags behind a tiny bit. But for $130, what I paid, what can you expect? And don't forget the golden rule. Use it for 29 days, and then return it if you don't like it. Best Buy will take anything back.
    About 6 years ago I used to work at the one in Florence and they really will take damn near anything back. On 12/26 I worked customer service, and to keep the lines moving we were giving refunds for stuff sold at Wal-Mart!
    If I were you, I'd buy it and give it a try.
    Good luck,
    Jon
     
  3. BrianMu

    BrianMu Stunt Coordinator

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    Jon,
    Thanks for the reply. What kind of receiver/speaker setup are you using the sub with? How large of a room? Would you consider the sub "punchy" or more boomy?
    Actually I am an IT guy (part of my job is the second IT guy for a 100 user office). We don't need any more full time people, but it's too bad you're not here now because we are actually looking for a college student type for some part time assistance. If you know anybody back here that might fit the bill, let me know.
    Can anybody else compare the Sony sub to an inexpensive first time DIY sub?
     
  4. Jeremy Anderson

    Jeremy Anderson Screenwriter

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    The Sony sub is a bit boomy out-of-the-box, but a lot of people have gotten some killer performance out of it by lining the walls of it with polyfill or other acoustic dampening. I say you should get it, give it a listen, and if it's too boomy for your tastes, $5 worth of polyfill and a little spare time will tighten it up quite nicely. Regardless, it's a great sub for cheap home theater.
     
  5. Jack Gilvey

    Jack Gilvey Producer

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    For ~$250, you can certainly make a sub (provided you've got, or have access to, the requisite tools already) that will be in another league from the Sony.
    I built this sub a short time ago. It seems to fit the description and budget of the project you want to try. I also owned the Sony for a while, and this sub is much better in all respects. Not surprizing, really, as it seems that every dollar put into a DIY sub is worth $5-$10 in the commercial realm. This is assuming, of course, that the project is well-researched and executed.
     
  6. BrianMu

    BrianMu Stunt Coordinator

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    Jack,
    How did you come up with the design for this sub enclosure? I guess my biggest problem with DIY (aside from time) is that I don't have the know-how to come up with dimensions of an enclosure based on the amp and driver. If I go with DIY, I'd probably have to use a cookie cutter design from someone else.
    Would you say that the difference between your home grown sub and the Sony would be obvious even to non audiophiles?
    Brian
     
  7. Jack Gilvey

    Jack Gilvey Producer

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    quote: How did you come up with the design for this sub enclosure? [/quote]
    Well, there's not much "design" per se. I just wanted to try a small sub, this driver fit the bill since it didn't need much space, and the volume was determined by the response I wanted, a Qtc of .7 or so (yielding the lowest -3db point), via shareware design programs.
    quote: Would you say that the difference between your home grown sub and the Sony would be obvious even to non audiophiles?[/quote]
    Since I am a non-audiophile myself (at least by most of the definitions I've read), I'd say yes. [​IMG]
    The DIY seems to go lower (sealed has a much shallower roll-off), is subjectively much "tighter", and goes quite a bit louder. This is to be expected,as the parts of the DIY are likely far better than those in the Sony. The amp has at least twice the wattage, and you're unlikely to find a driver the quality of that PE 12" DVC in a sub under $1000 (probably much more than that).
    [Edited last by Jack Gilvey on November 08, 2001 at 12:25 PM]
     
  8. BrianMu

    BrianMu Stunt Coordinator

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    Jack,
    Just out of curiosity, I looked around at some design information. From what I found, in order to Achive Qtc of 0.7, the volume needs to be 1.65 cubic feet. This was based on the formulas on http://www.diysubwoofers.org and the information about the 12" DVC driver at http://members-http-2.rwc1.sfba.home...ive/Index.htm. Am I doing something wrong? How did you get 1.05 cf for a volume?
    If I am to actually consider building my own sub for $250 instead of just buying one for $135, I'd want to have an enclosure design that I know would sound good. I'm still really on the fence with this one... I'm half tempted to get the Sony sub to take it home and try it knowing I could return it.....
    Brian
     
  9. Brian Bunge

    Brian Bunge Producer

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    Brian,
    Knowing a little about Jack and also having him state that he's had the Sony and prefers the DIY sub more is a great endorsement in my book. There is no way a commercially available sub can touch a DIY sub that's within $100 or so of the price. And as Jack said, you'd have to look at $1K+ subs to find one with a similar quality driver as the DVC 12" that he used.
    You've already got the hard part covered. You can do the woodworking. That's the major drawback for most people. There are plenty of us here (especially in the DIY forum) that can help with all the details. So let us help push you over the fence. But I must warn you, once you build a DIY sub there's no going back! The standard offerings from most manufacturers just won't do it for you any more! [​IMG]
    Brian
    P.S. If Jack says this sub sounds good in a 1ft^3 enclosure then I believe him! (Jack, I'll email you with my address so you can send the endorsement check!)
    ------------------
     
  10. BrianMu

    BrianMu Stunt Coordinator

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    Ok, you guys are doing a good job of convincing me that I should go DIY. The one and only glitch left with that is that I just told my wife that I didn't want to spend $350 in materials to put a hardwood floor in our kitchen. I could probably get away with a $135 sub, but $250 is close enough to $350 that I'll hear "you didn't want to spend $350 on the kitchen floor, but you'll spend $250 for a submarine speaker thingy? Why do you need that, anyway?" So I'm left with either going with the el cheapo sub now or waiting until after I put a new floor in the kitchen (which is nowhere near as exciting as HT equipment!) to be able to build one.
    If I go the DIY route, is the $125 250 watt PE amp and the 12" DVC driver my best bet in the $200-$250 driver+amp price range? If I spent slightly more (which I might be able to do since I'd have to wait for the DIY route anyway), could I build something that would be even better? Or is there an alternative route for the same price that's even better?
    One last question: Given my lousy speaker setup (don't laugh, but my mains are Bose 301 Series III I bought for exactly what they are - bookshelf speakers - nearly 10 years ago), am I going to be able to utilize a good sub over a mediocre sub or a really good sub over a good sub? Would it be like putting a finely tuned racing engine in a milk truck?
    Thanks for all your help,
    Brian
     
  11. Jon_R

    Jon_R Stunt Coordinator

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    Brian,
    I am running a Denon 1601 with an entire polk audio setup, lower end mostly. R40/ CS175 / R10. I don't find the sub to be punchy, boomy perhaps rarely but I can't do much with placement now. I'm moving soon anyway, so its not worth investing lots of time to tweak the room.
    FWIW, the DIY sub would be more fun overall, a good experience, and would likely yield a better sound, but it is more expensive. Its all about priorities.
    Good luck,
    Jon
     
  12. Brian Bunge

    Brian Bunge Producer

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    Brian,
    Look at it from this point of view, if you go with the DIY sub you'll be less likely to want to upgrade as soon is if you went with the Sony. That way you'll be saving $135 up front! Also, keep in mind that you'd probably have to spend $1K+ to get the same quality as this DIY sub. So that's even more money saved vs. trying to buy a commercial unit of this calibre. Don't you just love my logic!
    And I definitely think this particular design is the best way to go for a small, powerful sub. If you ever decide you want, or have room for, a larger ported enclosure you can use the same amp and driver and just build a new box.
    That's the great thing about DIY...flexibility!
    Brian
     
  13. BrianMu

    BrianMu Stunt Coordinator

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    OK, you guys have convinced me. I guess now I need to start up some more intensive research on DIY subs and maybe start a thread in the DIY forum. If anyone has any links they think I should see for DIY subs that could utilize this driver and amp, let me know. I would even be up for a ported design if that would give me better performance and if I had a design I could more or less steal.
    Thanks for all your help!
    Brian
     

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