SUBWOOFER questions out the wazoo!

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by eddieZEN, May 14, 2005.

  1. eddieZEN

    eddieZEN Second Unit

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    1. Are most subs either better for music or for HT, rather than being equally good for both?

    2. What qualities/specs/features would you look for in a music-oriented sub?

    3. What qualities/specs/features would you look for in a HT-oriented sub?

    4. I get the impression there is some sort of rivalry between SVS and Hsu on many audio forums, and that the SVS is said to be better for HT and the Hsu better for music. Agree/disagree?

    5. Comparing specific models and pricepoints, it does appear that SVS offers subs that are bigger, heavier, more powerful, and go lower than Hsu within the same pricepoint. For example, the SVS PB-10 ($429, 20Hz, 60lbs, 300w) seems like a much better value than the Hsu STF-2 ($400, 25Hz, 44lbs, 200w) esp. if one accepts the conventional wisdom of weight being an indicator of quality in most things electronic. Or am I missing something here?

    6. For a 80% music (jazz, classical, vocals) and 20% HT user like myself, just how good of a sub do I really need? My HT is 80% low-LFE stuff anyway such as "Sideways," "I Heart Huckabees," "Eternal Sunshine..." dramas/cult/foreign films, for which I often won't even bother plugging in the surround speakers (long WAF-related story on that which I won't go into, LOL).

    7. Given #6, also factor in that my listening space is fairly cavernous (700 sq. feet) with 18 foot vaulted ceilings and the sub cannot be placed in any corner. So would the PB-10 or STF-2 suffice, or should I increase my budget?

    8. Are there any other subs you'd recommend in this price range, given #6 and 7? I'm currently running Ascend 340s across the front, on a Marantz 5400, with an atrocious JBL e150 sub.
     
  2. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    This thread has the makings of an SVS vs. HSU fiasco. We have seen that before and it goes nowhere. Just creates hard feelings.

    Your room is 12,600 cubic feet. Huge. Now, the question is how loud do you play your music and more important how loud do you run your HT?

    It seems that you don't need a sub that can plumb the depths. If that is the case, you might want to take a look at the Outlaw LFM-1. 12 inch driver, 325 watts, 58 pounds, crossover. It is fairly similar to the HSU STF-3. Outlaw may still have some of the B Stock units left for $399 (A Stock $580). With your listening preferences, this might be ideal. It can play quite loud from 30HZ up (with a lower limit of 23Hz). From 30 HZ up it is louder than the PB10.

    The PB10 does not have a crossover. If this is not a problem for you it is hard to go wrong with the PB10 and you can always upgrade to a larger SVS if the PB10 doesn't meet your needs.

    If you don't find the Outlaw appealing, why don't you give Tom or Ron a buzz and let them advise you on the best SVS for your needs?
     
  3. SVS-Ron

    SVS-Ron Screenwriter

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    EZ,

    I noticed that Dennis Erskine (who's one of the premier custom HT installers in the country in case you didn't know) answered your question on AV Science thusly:

    There are only two types of subs: good ones and not good ones. Music and/or HT has no bearing on the equation.

    Dennis is quite familiar with SVS, and many other top brands, and frankly you can take what he says on this to the bank.

    I can promise you his statement, our own testing, and the feedback of tens of thousands of customers would pretty much obviate no. 4 above. You might make an argument that one brand is better than another (of course I have strong feelings about this, but I'm biased), but it's not going to be valid if you give much credence to the imaginations of a few folks that will have you believe otherwise with regards to the "music versus home theater" debate.

    I only know of one carefully conducted blind listening test which focused on music performance of similarly priced products in question. A few folks rail against the outcome (it should be only a few minutes before some show up) but had the outcome been otherwise I promise you it'd be hailed as the second coming of your favorite deity:

    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...hreadid=190398


    Ron Stimpson
    SVS
     
  4. eddieZEN

    eddieZEN Second Unit

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    Arthur,

    thanks for the feedback. Yes I was a little afraid of creating "a Hsu vs. SVS fiasco" as you put it but they do seem to be the two biggest names in Internet-direct subs, so comparisons would seem inevitable.

    > Now, the question is how loud do you play your music and more important how loud do you run your HT?

    Music: usually -15 to -20 db, and HT: -12 to -22 db depending on the DVD.

    > It seems that you don't need a sub that can plumb the depths.

    Where would you say the "depths" are, in term of Hz? As I understand it the human ear can only go down to 20Hz which is more likely to happen with HT than music. So do think 30Hz is as low as I'd ever need for music listening?

    > The PB10 does not have a crossover.

    I have my receiver's crossover set at 80Hz so I don't think the subwoofer's lack of a crossover would matter.

    I didn't know Outlaw made subs, I've only heard of their amps. Interesting...will look into that.
     
  5. eddieZEN

    eddieZEN Second Unit

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    Ron,

    thanks for the link, I did read that a long time ago and noticed that the SVS had edged out the Hsu. The models being compared are about one notch higher than what I was looking at, though.

    How would you personally describe the difference between that PB-12 and the PB-10 that's closer to my budget?
     
  6. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    Eddie

    Unless you listen to CDs of pipe organ music, solid response to 25 Hz (which the LFM-1 will do) is fine.

    DVDs, on the other hand have content below 25HZ. How critical it is to have flat response to below 20Hz is hard to say. For example, the SVS PC 25-31 is tuned to 25Hz, same as the Outlaw LFM-1. A lot of people are completely satisfied with their 25-31s. A lot of other people want to go even deeper.

    Considering that you are going from the JBL E150, I think the Outlaw would be a great improvement. On the other hand, if you want to be sure you can reproduce the 15Hz-25Hz range with authority, the PB10 will do that and the Outlaw won't.
     
  7. SVS-Ron

    SVS-Ron Screenwriter

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    EZ,

    I think Art has it about right, we do tend to sell more of our fixed tune 25hz subs to music lovers (where flat in room response can be expected assuming the sub in question is fairly "linear" to 25hz). Subsonic bass is rare on music and deeper capacity is just not that important. If somone told me they "only" wanted a sub for music, the 25-31PCi, 25-31PC+ etc would be the first models I'd recommend.

    But there's little mistaking the fact that subs that are fixed or variable to a 20hz "tune" (with in-room 16hz extension to be expected) are more popular today, and all because of DVD/Movies, as Art further notes. Frankly, if you haven't got a sub that's strong at least to 20hz, preferably to the mid to high teens, you are not getting all of the deep bass on today's movies. Titles like The Incredibles have subsonic content in spades. We are of the mind that you don't weigh your audio content like fruit at the store.

    Take a look at some of the recent additions to our 3D waterfall charts here to see what you are lopping off if your sub isn't capable into the 15-20hz range.

    For that reason we marvel at discussions sometimes trotted out for weak bass performers that start: "sure, but what percentage of a soundtrack is below 20hz??". Such a line of reasoning is as suspect as asking "what percentage of on screen action is on the sides of your widescreen movie???" (the part cut out if you have a 4x3 movie "edited for TV"). Or, maybe folks should argue that dropping all words with the letter "Q" is fine too. Heck, what small percentage of dialogue would you miss as a movie lover if you just dropped those few silly bits of script?

    Sorry, if you like to watch movies at ALL, in my opinion you want to troll down to at least below 20hz (and this is not to infer than any brand mentioned here or elsewhere does/doesn't do well down low, it's simply a counterpoint to the hypothetical we often see tossed out to muddy the waters where "what sub is best?" is asked).

    The point above made by Dennis Erskine is simply that you don't give up "musicality" by having such deep bass capability. This is determined by whether a sub is "good" or not (and I would hazard a guess he subscribes to the idea a sub has to remain "flat" (linear), play cleanly to the output limits a customer desires, and capture the program material you intend to play back (with the extension inherent in the model in question).

    It's not like a sub good for deep deep bass is going to make up bass that's not on your CD or DVD. If it's there (we think) you should want to hear it, and if it's NOT on the disk, it's not going to get reproduced anyway.

    The PB12-ISD is going to be quite powerful into the 18hz range with corner placement in a small to mid-sized room. So it's certainly perfectly adequate for movie use, even if its going to give up a bit to a sub like the PB12-ISD/V or 20-39PCi in the lowest octaves.

    Relatively speaking the PB10-ISD will run a bit deeper/flatter, but it'd be quite close, and there's little contest on the quantity side of a comparision. From 20-25hz and up the PB12-ISD will have roughly 75% more output. If you aren't ever pressing the PB10-ISD to its output limits then I'd not feel compelled to get "more" sub myself. For larger rooms, or very bass heavy appetites the PB12-ISD is going to be perceived as the better all-around performer (since it has substantially more output overall, giving up only the barest bit of extension to the PB10-ISD).

    Hope that helps some.

    Always feel free to drop us an e-mail if you want more detailed explanations.

    Ron
    SVS
     
  8. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Most musicphiles want a sub that has a very flat/linear response so it does not alter the accuracy of the music.

    People who have gone from a lower-end sub to something like a SVS have been initially disappointed. For movies, they miss the over-enhanced boom caused by the other sub. After a few weeks with the better sub, they hook back the old unit and are shocked at how rough/course/boomy the sound was.

    A salesman once told me the difference between speakers for Music vs HT:

    Music is about accuracy, but HT is about Impact

    Subs seem to follow this observation. You can get away with a lower-end subwoofer with rough, boomy sound for HT because you like the impact it gives. But for music you want a smoother, more linear sound.

    Does this help?
     
  9. Max F

    Max F Second Unit

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    You just need to ask yourself whats important to you:

    1. How low do you want to go?

    2. Do you prefer a ported (can go louder and maybe lower) or sealed (which can work better with room gain and no EQ).

    3. Do you plan to EQ (see #2)?

    4. Does size matter to you - if a big box or tube doesn't bother you, then things get easier.

    5. How much money you have to spend.

    Once you figure this all out, you just build your own according to your own specs: big or small (more powerful amp), seal or ported, square or round, 15 or 18 inch driver. [​IMG]

    Don't be afraid to get a big, bad, loud, low, ported sub (SVS or DIY or whatever) and EQ that thing flat to sound great for music. If music is really that important to you and you don't want to EQ, then a sealed sub may be for you.
     

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