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Subwoofer Recommendations for 4900 cubic foot room (1 Viewer)

Marc_Sulinski

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I am looking to upgrade my pair of Atlantic Technology PBM 350. These are 20+ years old, have a 12" driver, and a 200 watt built-in amp. I believe I paid $450 each. It looks like subwoofers have come a long way in the last 20 years, so I was looking to upgrade. I feel that these are only able to produce muddy bass rumbling, but cannot do punchy mid-bass and are not clean sounding at all.

I read through several threads on this, and am going to look into bass traps and the REW app (already ordered the mic). But given the room size and the relatively small size of the amps, I think I still need more.

My room is in the basement, and has variable ceiling height of 7-8 feet (there is a 1 foot soffit for half the room). The room itself is 24' wide by about 20' deep. There are other rooms in the basement as well. The most significant is a 12x12 room with a wide opening that sits off the back corner of the theater, with roughly an 8' opening.

That gives me about 4000 cu. ft. of space in the main listening area with an additional 1000 cu. ft. in the other room. The SVS rep I spoke to told me that the additional room should count even though it sits outside the main listening area.

I will be using these exclusively for TV and movie viewing.

The SVS rep recommended a pair of PB-3000, which puts me a bit outside my budget ($2600 for the pair), while my budget is about $2000. He said the PB-2000 would not be enough for the space.

I looked at some other options, and here are my top contenders:

SVS PB-3000 pair at $2600
HSU VTF-3 pair at $1550
HSU VTF-15 pair at $1750
Rythmik LV12F pair at $1200
Power Sound Audio V1512DF?

I see a lot of recommendations for the PSA TV1512, but a pair of those is over budget. How is the V1512DF? A little over budget but not too much.
The sweet spot seems to be the HSU, which is reportedly better than the PB-3000 and much cheaper for a pair. Even the VTF-15 comes in cheaper than the SVS. How much better is the VTF15 than the VTF3?It is quite a bit larger and getting close to the space limits I have.

Thanks for the help.
 

Marc_Sulinski

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Have you considered dual Monoprice THX 15 inch for around $1680?
I haven't looked at that one. 2 of those still takes me over budget, but in the range of the dual PB-3000s. How does this sub compare to the PSA TV1512 or the HSU VTF-15?
 

JohnRice

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I've been contemplating a sub upgrade for some time. My room is a similar size to yours. The layout of my room doesn't really accommodate dual subs, unless I stack them. I've been inclined toward the dual 15" models. Have you considered any of those? Power Sound and Rythmik have models at the top of your budget, and Seaton has their Submersive at $2,500. What I like about those is they still have significant output, but sealed subs don't gets sloppy when driven to their limit like ported ones can.
 

Marc_Sulinski

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I've been contemplating a sub upgrade for some time. My room is a similar size to yours. The layout of my room doesn't really accommodate dual subs, unless I stack them. I've been inclined toward the dual 15" models. Have you considered any of those? Power Sound and Rythmik have models at the top of your budget, and Seaton has their Submersive at $2,500. What I like about those is they still have significant output, but sealed subs don't gets sloppy when driven to their limit like ported ones can.

I've been looking exclusively at ported, as this will be for home theater only, and that seems to be the recommendation. To get the output I need from sealed subs, it looks like I would have to spend considerably over my budget, as most recommendations say that, ideally, I should be looking at 18" ported, which is still over my budget.

I am leaning toward 2x HSU VTF-15H, which puts me right at the budget and seems to be a solid performer. I am also considering some other recommendations to go with a single 18" sub for now and get a mate for it later. The recommendation for that is the PSA TV1812, which maxes out my budget completely. Still not sure which way to go.
 

JohnRice

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The nice thing about the HSU sub is they're tunable. So, you can at least try sealed, just to see if you like it.
 

Clintster75

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I am looking to upgrade my pair of Atlantic Technology PBM 350. These are 20+ years old, have a 12" driver, and a 200 watt built-in amp. I believe I paid $450 each. It looks like subwoofers have come a long way in the last 20 years, so I was looking to upgrade. I feel that these are only able to produce muddy bass rumbling, but cannot do punchy mid-bass and are not clean sounding at all.

I read through several threads on this, and am going to look into bass traps and the REW app (already ordered the mic). But given the room size and the relatively small size of the amps, I think I still need more.

My room is in the basement, and has variable ceiling height of 7-8 feet (there is a 1 foot soffit for half the room). The room itself is 24' wide by about 20' deep. There are other rooms in the basement as well. The most significant is a 12x12 room with a wide opening that sits off the back corner of the theater, with roughly an 8' opening.

That gives me about 4000 cu. ft. of space in the main listening area with an additional 1000 cu. ft. in the other room. The SVS rep I spoke to told me that the additional room should count even though it sits outside the main listening area.

I will be using these exclusively for TV and movie viewing.

The SVS rep recommended a pair of PB-3000, which puts me a bit outside my budget ($2600 for the pair), while my budget is about $2000. He said the PB-2000 would not be enough for the space.

I looked at some other options, and here are my top contenders:

SVS PB-3000 pair at $2600
HSU VTF-3 pair at $1550
HSU VTF-15 pair at $1750
Rythmik LV12F pair at $1200
Power Sound Audio V1512DF?

I see a lot of recommendations for the PSA TV1512, but a pair of those is over budget. How is the V1512DF? A little over budget but not too much.
The sweet spot seems to be the HSU, which is reportedly better than the PB-3000 and much cheaper for a pair. Even the VTF-15 comes in cheaper than the SVS. How much better is the VTF15 than the VTF3?It is quite a bit larger and getting close to the space limits I have.

Thanks for the help.

Tough to beat HSU for the money. A pair of either VTF-15 or VTF-3 MK5 is going to be outstanding and a huge upgrade from what you have now. If size isn’t an issue then I would go with the VTF-15, but I think the VTF-3 MK5 performs very nearly as well in a smaller package.
 

ManW_TheUncool

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Given your situation, I'd probably max out the budget and go at least w/ the dual Hsu VTF-15H Mk2.

Do note though that you have to add nearly $350 for shipping those -- dual VTF-3 Mk5 shipping costs ~$190 OTOH.

And SVS includes free shipping (apparently even for their free trial returns), so the final price gap between dual SVS PB-3000 and dual Hsu VTF-15H Mk2 is not quite as big as it first appears.

FWIW, I have a roughly year-old Hsu VTF-3 Mk5 (running sealed) in a modest size livingroom HT myself, and will probably add a 2nd one when I move the HT into a dedicated ~18x18x8 room. But I'll probably keep them sealed and see if I can integrate them well w/ my Thiel CS5i's for a good deal of music listening as well (at fairly high fidelity)...

_Man_
 
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Dave Upton

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From a raw output perspective, I think you'll be best served by the SVS subs, as they have a beefier amp than the HSU's. In reality, not a huge difference.

That said, the SVS does include a lot more technology.

I have a pair of SB3000's in my office setup (Overkill, I know) and the app control is nice
 
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theJman

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My room is in the basement, and has variable ceiling height of 7-8 feet (there is a 1 foot soffit for half the room). The room itself is 24' wide by about 20' deep. There are other rooms in the basement as well. The most significant is a 12x12 room with a wide opening that sits off the back corner of the theater, with roughly an 8' opening.

That gives me about 4000 cu. ft. of space in the main listening area with an additional 1000 cu. ft. in the other room. The SVS rep I spoke to told me that the additional room should count even though it sits outside the main listening area.

SVS PB-3000 pair at $2600
HSU VTF-3 pair at $1550
HSU VTF-15 pair at $1750
Rythmik LV12F pair at $1200
Power Sound Audio V1512DF?

Is that 4000 ft^3 all open or are the "other rooms" closed off by doors? If they're self contained than they don't count toward the cubic volume of space, but if they're part of the main area they likely would (depending upon the size of the opening). Also, does the word basement mean a concrete structure? If so, a rigid substrate all but neuters any physical sensation from a subwoofer. You'll still hear the bass, you just won't feel much of it.

If you do have 4000 ft^3 of open area and it's concrete I'm afraid there isn't a pair of subs on your list that will overcome both of those circumstances. If you want what most people do from a HT - an interactive experience - you'll need quite a bit more than you can get with anything from your list, a pair of ported 18's likely at a minimum. If you're OK without the tactile sensations than the VTF-15 is probably a very good option. If you want that physical interaction you can always look into tactile transducers like the ones from Crowson. They're not inexpensive but since they attach directly to your furniture you can get as much vibration from the deep bass as you'd like.
 

Marc_Sulinski

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Is that 4000 ft^3 all open or are the "other rooms" closed off by doors? If they're self contained than they don't count toward the cubic volume of space, but if they're part of the main area they likely would (depending upon the size of the opening). Also, does the word basement mean a concrete structure? If so, a rigid substrate all but neuters any physical sensation from a subwoofer. You'll still hear the bass, you just won't feel much of it.

If you do have 4000 ft^3 of open area and it's concrete I'm afraid there isn't a pair of subs on your list that will overcome both of those circumstances. If you want what most people do from a HT - an interactive experience - you'll need quite a bit more than you can get with anything from your list, a pair of ported 18's likely at a minimum. If you're OK without the tactile sensations than the VTF-15 is probably a very good option. If you want that physical interaction you can always look into tactile transducers like the ones from Crowson. They're not inexpensive but since they attach directly to your furniture you can get as much vibration from the deep bass as you'd like.
The 4900 ft^3 includes the one other open space that has a roughly 9-10ft opening. This is all behind the main listening area. There is also a 3' wide hallway that I am not including. The main listening area is about 3900 ft^3.

The basement is concrete, but there is sheetrock on the walls and ceiling over metal studs, and tile for the floor.

I posted this before I ran the MCACC program on the Pioneer receiver (don't really know why I waited). It actually made a huge difference in terms of sound, especially in the bass area. The bass is much less muddy/rumbly now. I played a few bass-heavy scenes, like the opening of Blade Runner 2049, and I could feel a rumble in the seat, though it wasn't massive. I suspect others are feeling more. My existing subs are on the crappy side though, so maybe that is expected. I can definitely feel the bass in my head, as I can in Fellowship when Sauron explodes or in the Edge of Tomorrow opening sequence.
 

theJman

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The 4900 ft^3 includes the one other open space that has a roughly 9-10ft opening. This is all behind the main listening area. There is also a 3' wide hallway that I am not including. The main listening area is about 3900 ft^3.

The basement is concrete, but there is sheetrock on the walls and ceiling over metal studs, and tile for the floor.

I posted this before I ran the MCACC program on the Pioneer receiver (don't really know why I waited). It actually made a huge difference in terms of sound, especially in the bass area. The bass is much less muddy/rumbly now. I played a few bass-heavy scenes, like the opening of Blade Runner 2049, and I could feel a rumble in the seat, though it wasn't massive. I suspect others are feeling more. My existing subs are on the crappy side though, so maybe that is expected. I can definitely feel the bass in my head, as I can in Fellowship when Sauron explodes or in the Edge of Tomorrow opening sequence.

That's a big room so think big when it comes to subwoofers. If the sheetrock is over concrete than the substrate is what you need to be concerned with, not what's covering it. Like the floor, a rigid wall structure has the affect of muting bass waves. You mention "feeling bass in your head" which is pretty much what I was referring to; the construction is mitigating the deep bass - mostly from the lower 20Hz range and down - but you can still hear it. Concrete is tough to overcome, physics won't be denied I'm afraid.
 

Marc_Sulinski

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That's a big room so think big when it comes to subwoofers. If the sheetrock is over concrete than the substrate is what you need to be concerned with, not what's covering it. Like the floor, a rigid wall structure has the affect of muting bass waves. You mention "feeling bass in your head" which is pretty much what I was referring to; the construction is mitigating the deep bass - mostly from the lower 20Hz range and down - but you can still hear it. Concrete is tough to overcome, physics won't be denied I'm afraid.
One issue I am concerned about is that some of the bass-heavy scenes can create a somewhat unpleasant pressure in my ears/head. If I get something much more powerful, I am concerned this will become worse.
 

Dave Upton

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One issue I am concerned about is that some of the bass-heavy scenes can create a somewhat unpleasant pressure in my ears/head. If I get something much more powerful, I am concerned this will become worse.
It's possible you are getting a peak at a frequency that is causing this problem. I would strongly advise picking up a UMIK-1 from MiniDSP and running a couple of quick measurements using REW. This will let you see exactly what is going on in your room today and might point out the root cause. A massive peak at a given frequency could be easily tamed and solve your problem without having to give up bass.
 
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Marc_Sulinski

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OK so I ran this, and my output looks like this. I really don't know if this is bad or not.

Sub.jpg
 

Marc_Sulinski

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Made a few tweaks and ran again. This time I selected L+R output.

MACAAC tried to set my crossover to 150Hz, but I don't think my subs can play it. You can see in the first graph a massive drop. I moved it down to 100Hz (the next setting), and it looks better (second image). I also set my subs about 6dB higher than MACAAC suggested, but I guess that is why there is a sharp drop at 100 Hz. I still have no real idea what I am looking at.

Sub_THX_150_LR.jpg


100 Hz crossover at the receiver:
Sub_THX_100_LR.jpg
 

theJman

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OK so I ran this, and my output looks like this. I really don't know if this is bad or not.

View attachment 85522
One issue I am concerned about is that some of the bass-heavy scenes can create a somewhat unpleasant pressure in my ears/head. If I get something much more powerful, I am concerned this will become worse.

Dave hit the nail on the head; you have a huge kick between 45Hz and 70Hz, a range that encompasses a large portion of what most refer to as "mid-bass". Such a heavy emphasis in that part of the frequency range is almost certainly the basis for the sensation you're describing. If you drag that down your problem will likely be resolved.
 

Marc_Sulinski

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Dave hit the nail on the head; you have a huge kick between 45Hz and 70Hz, a range that encompasses a large portion of what most refer to as "mid-bass". Such a heavy emphasis in that part of the frequency range is almost certainly the basis for the sensation you're describing. If you drag that down your problem will likely be resolved.

Ok thanks. How is that typically done? Through EQ? I will check if my receiver has an adjustable curve. If not, I guess MiniDSP?
 

Dave Upton

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Ok thanks. How is that typically done? Through EQ? I will check if my receiver has an adjustable curve. If not, I guess MiniDSP?
You can likely apply basic EQ in your receiver, or you can re-run MCACC after adjusting sub and couch positioning slightly, and you'll likely get a flatter response.
 

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