Subwoofer dilemma: Velodyne CHT-120 or SPL-800?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Javier_Huerta, Aug 19, 2002.

  1. Javier_Huerta

    Javier_Huerta Supporting Actor

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    Hi,
    I'm looking to add a subwoofer to the system described here:
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...threadid=89945
    (MartinLogan Scenarios, Adcom GFA5400 amp, Luxman D-375 CD player).
    I bought a Velo CHT-120, which sounds *very* good to me. Then again, all I'm used to hear is the bass of my rumbling Definitive Technology PF15, so it might or might not be very good bass.
    My dealer (a terrific guy) told me I could exchange my Velo for another one: an SPL-800 (and he would take the CHT-120 at the price I paid, even if I have used it for two months!!!). He told me the smaller sub would be a better match for the MartinLogans because of its speed and power.
    I listened yesterday to both. When he plugged in the SPL-800, I noticed how "light" the sound was. Not like a sub, but more like a normal woofer. Then, when he plugged the CHT, it sounded as if it had 2X the output power of the 800.
    But my dealer told me to listen closely to the bass notes. That's when I noticed the SPL-800 sounded *exactly* like the real thing, while the CHT-120 had a different signature - it sounded low, powerful, but indistinct. The 800 was fast, snappy, detailed, but it didnt' carry a lot of weight.
    So, my question is, anyone has any practical experience comparing both? I think the 800 is a better match for the Logans, but it could as well have been that the CHT tone controls were misadjusted (I didnt' have the time to check this).
    Thanks for your opinions!
     
  2. Michael R Price

    Michael R Price Screenwriter

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    Hi Javier,

    To be honest with you: IMO, Your system deserves better than the little Velodynes. However, you may be able to get by with the SPL-800 if you don't require a lot of output or depth. Say, less than 90db continuous.

    I know I'm sounding just like everyone else here, but you should consider the Adire Rava, or a custom built sealed Tempest/Maelstrom subwoofer from Kyle Richardson or Brian Bunge. These will combine the very accurate, light sound you noticed from the SPL-800, with significant undistorted output/dynamic capability.

    Actually, you might even want to consider a vented subwoofer such as SVS, VTF-3, or Dharman. Those should not have the relatively slow, rumbly feeling of the PF15 or CHT-120, and deliver impressive depth (20Hz) which I have found adds to the realism and impact of music. I haven't listened to a sealed subwoofer, but I will say that a good vented sub does not sound "slow" or "boomy" in any way as you found the CHT-120.

    Good luck with your subwoofer search. I apologize for posting without answering your initial question at all.
     
  3. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

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    What Michael said. 8" and 10" drivers producing the so called "musical", "faster", "tighter", "more defined" or whatever buzz word you want to use bass than 15" and 18" drivers is plain and simply not true.

    You can build a sub with an 8" driver that will be a one note wonder. Bose manages it with 5" drivers in their bass modules. A properly done 18" sub can be just as "musical" as an 8" sub. In a lot of cases more so, as the driver won't have to be flung back and forth several inches to produce the low stuff at a reasonable level. Cone size has very little to no effect on how "musical" a sub is. A combination of some other driver specs and the enclosure is what does determine how "musical" a sub is.

    This isn't to say you can make a driver as big as you want though. You run into some other problems when you try and make the cone too big. But up to 18" drivers can and do work very well.
     
  4. Javier_Huerta

    Javier_Huerta Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for your thoughts. If I could buy the sub I wanted, I'd definitely go for something like the SVS, tuned at 16 Hz. Sadly, living in Mexico limits my options. A lot. It's either Velo, Polk, Cerwin Vega! or Definitive Technology [​IMG]
    Dustin, it could be I've never listened to a high-performance 15-18" sub, but I was under the impression a smaller driver can be better controlled because of its lower mass and inertia. I'm sure it won't go as low as a big cone, but then again, it might be a lot more precise. I don't know. I haven't had the chance to listen to a good, big, fat sub. [​IMG]
    I was surprised to learn that the little Velo can only go to around 90 dB's continuous. According to an old review of the CT-120 (an older version of my sub) that one can play at around 100 something odd decibels from 28 to 80 Hz. So, in fact, the little 800 has less output power than the 120, even when it has 600 watts RMS and the 120 has 170 watts?
    Wow. I need to learn a bit more about subs. [​IMG]
     
  5. John Geelan

    John Geelan Screenwriter

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    The CT-120 is a great HT sub, no doubt. Very powerful with most DVD movies.

    Not as great on most music because it can be a bit boomy.

    The SVS subs are better with music.
     
  6. Javier_Huerta

    Javier_Huerta Supporting Actor

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    How about getting stereo subs? I could buy another CHT-120...
     
  7. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

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  8. Michael R Price

    Michael R Price Screenwriter

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    Javier, can you get an SVS, or a custom DIY-type sub, shipped to Mexico? Unless it has a very large cost, I think the difference between that and your local options would be well worth it.
     
  9. Arron H

    Arron H Second Unit

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  10. Javier_Huerta

    Javier_Huerta Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for your thoughts. I'd definitely love to buy a servo-controlled Velo...
    ... but I'd have to pay $3,200 USD for the "privilege" of owning one. RIDICULOUS!!! [​IMG]
    Still, I have one other choice. I'd be grateful if you could help me out on this one. My sister lives in the States, so she can receive the SVS sub for me. I could basically order one, have it shipped to New Jersey, and I'd pick it up on September. Now, I'm assuming SVS subs are really what they are said to be, because I'd have to take it with me on the plane, which might be a nightmare.
    If I did this, what would you recommend? I'd assume I'd like to go for the 25Hz tuned model, since this way I'd only need one of them, it's the cheapest model, and it's the smallest one. Am I right?
    And will I be happier with it than with the SPL-800 (meaning, technically, it has better specs, higher output and it's more musical?)
    Sorry for so many questions, but I'd simply have to buy the thing without listening to it first... [​IMG]
     
  11. Arron H

    Arron H Second Unit

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    I wasn't recommending that you buy one, just go listen to what an 18 inch woof is capable of. Good luck with your search.
     
  12. Javier_Huerta

    Javier_Huerta Supporting Actor

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    Arron, as much as I wish to listen to one, the HGS series is sold on demand - meaning I won't ever get to listen to one around here. Sad, isn't it? [​IMG]
     
  13. Manuel Delaflor

    Manuel Delaflor Supporting Actor

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    Javier
    As you know, prices on good subs can be painful in here [​IMG] Still, I have to add Klipsch and Infinity to your line of subs, you can buy both right here.
    On the other side, Im finishing my own Tempest Sonosub ... FAR better than anything comercial around here! Tell me if you are interested in a custom DIY proyect.
    You can read the DIY area on the forum, to see how good are the Tempest based ones. [​IMG]
     
  14. Marcelo T

    Marcelo T Stunt Coordinator

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    Javier,
    DonĀ“t worry, SVS is everything people talks about. I'm from Brazil and I payed 300 bucks of shipping to get one (20-39 cs+), and I can garantee that you will not be disapointed. I had a velo ct100, and there is no comparision. The velo sounds anemic and bloated compared to the SVS.
     
  15. Javier_Huerta

    Javier_Huerta Supporting Actor

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    Manuel where did you get the drivers? Yes, I'm interested!
     
  16. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

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    You can look here:
    http://www.adireaudio.com/
    or here
    http://www.acoustic-visions.com/
    You could start your research for what sub you want to build. Then order the parts to your sisters place. When you come up it will be a lot easier to bring back a driver, amp and possibly some ports than to bring a finished sub back. A little work and you'll have a pretty big and stupid grin on your face.
     
  17. Michael R Price

    Michael R Price Screenwriter

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    Javier, if you can build it yourself, then do so by all means. I would suggest a Q=.577 sealed or Adire Alignment vented Tempest, which costs from about US $350 in parts to maybe $700 for a completed subwoofer. Otherwise, SVS can probably ship a sub to Mexico for a couple hundred bucks (in which case I would recommend the 16-46PC+). Recall that sealed and low-tuned vented subs are generally considered best for music.
     
  18. Javier_Huerta

    Javier_Huerta Supporting Actor

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    I already checked with SVS. Shipping would cost $100 USD (decent enough) but taxes are 100% around here.

    But if I go visit my sister in the States with my parents, each one of us can come back with $300 USD worth of merchandise without paying taxes. SO... I could buy the SVS, have it sent, bring it back to Mexico, and not pay one cent of taxes. Legally.

    The question is, is an SVS sub so superior to the Velodyne SPL-800 to warrant all the fuzz I'll have to go through?
     
  19. Marcelo T

    Marcelo T Stunt Coordinator

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    I bet it is [​IMG]
    121 dbs on the THX demo from TPM in my room.
    I was afraid to try to play it louder, but it still had plenty of juice to go.
     
  20. Javier_Huerta

    Javier_Huerta Supporting Actor

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    121 db's???

    I can barely get to 108 dB's with my PF-15 at 35 Hz!

    What does 121 dBs sound like, anyway???

    (Translation: I hafta get my hands on one!)
     

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