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The Official "What Speakers or Subwoofer Should I Buy" Assistance Thread

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by Dave Upton, May 13, 2016.

  1. Dave Upton

    Dave Upton Audiophile
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    If you'd like a speaker or subwoofer recommendation for your home theater, listening area or living room, this is the thread to post in. We are going to have our reviewers, members and experts from sponsors like SVS standing by to offer helpful advice and assist however they can.

    Whether you are looking for guidance on what to buy, how to set it up, or how to get the most out of what you already have, HomeTheaterForum experts will be standing by to assist you.

    Please copy and paste the following format for your reply, to make assisting you as easy as possible. Note the below is just an example with answers:


    What are you looking for (Speakers, Subwoofer or Both)? Speakers

    Primary Use: 30% Music, 70% TV & Movies

    Desired Configuration: 5.1

    Room Size: 18x12

    Is the room open to other areas of your home: No

    Do you already have an AV receiver or amplifier? Yes

    What's your budget (low to high): $1500-2000

    Any special requirements (Wife Acceptance)? Nope
     
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  2. Dr Griffin

    Dr Griffin Cinematographer

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    I'd like to read some thoughts/ideas on truly powerful sub-bass. What you need to do to get <30 Hz output at 95+ dB when called for, even sub 20Hz content you can really feel. What would be the best driver size, amplifier power and sub-woofer design for the average HT to achieve equal output from the sub-bass.
     
  3. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    You need large drivers, large ported boxes tuned low and large professional amps. How many? That depends on how much room you can spare. It's basically about moving air.

    Back in the late 1990's we were excited with Dan Wiggins introduced a 12" sub driver with 16mm of excursion. In the last 20 years many guys have pushed the boundaries. We moved on to 15" drivers. Lately 18" drivers have been all the rage. I have a 22" driver to install in a box. There are 24" drivers readily available. Finally, one company is working on a 32" driver.

    Basically, you have to go fully custom/DIY because boxes to house these drivers are too big to ship and warehouse. Some guys build them just large enough to fit through the door opening when means we are talking refrigerator size.
     
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  4. ArmSC

    ArmSC Supporting Actor

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    I think I would just get a PSA T18HT depending on budget. This is a pretty nasty sub if you're looking for something that's already built for you.
     
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  5. Dave Upton

    Dave Upton Audiophile
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    There are a lot of subs that can go below 30Hz, below 20 is a lot harder.

    On the side of subs that are for sale/available commercially, the best contenders come from SVS, HSU and PSA.

    The SVS PB13-Ultra has tons of output down to below 20Hz. http://www.svsound.com/products/pb13-ultra

    Power Sound has their S3000i which is a lot more affordable than the T18HT and can still go really deep.

    If you are looking for truly ridiculous bass you can feel sub 15Hz, then you're down to JTR, Seaton and the top of PSA's lineup.
     
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  6. Message #6 of 207 May 16, 2016
    Last edited: May 16, 2016
    Dr Griffin

    Dr Griffin Cinematographer

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    Thanks for the input everyone. Ultra low bass is on my list. Lots to consider.
     
  7. Dr Griffin

    Dr Griffin Cinematographer

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  8. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    There are a few guys at another forum trying to create a DIY version of the rotary sub.

    Until then, if you don't go DIY then you need something like the Reaction Audio Gamma 21 or the Deep Sea Sound Mariana 24.

    As I mentioned earlier, big drivers. Mach 5 Audio is coming out with their 32" driver soon. Here is the owner of the company holding the cone of the driver.
    [​IMG]
     
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  9. Dave Upton

    Dave Upton Audiophile
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    The problem with drivers that large is you start to get into mechanical limitations. The mass of the woofer is so high that it can't be as easily controlled. A massive motor can only do so much - you're going to lose some "punch".

    I'm still a fan of 18" or less woofers.

    IMHO - the two contenders right now for best ULF sub you can buy easily are:
    JTR Orbit Shifter http://jtrspeakers.com/home-audio/orbit-shifter-lfu/

    OR

    Seaton F18+ http://www.seaton-sound-forum.com/post/new-f18-subwoofer-f18-f18-7829726
     
  10. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    While you are correct that you lose some punch, it is not because of the control from the motor - http://diy-audio.narod.ru/litr/WooferSpeed.pdf . A lot of these new motor designs implement inductance limiting technology so the "woofer speed" and "low power motors" really don't apply.

    A sub is like any other speaker and can only reproduce a few octaves accurately. When you start trying to play in the single digits then you loose power in the upper bass where you get the punch. That's why a few companies have come out with Mid Bass Modules (aka MBMs). Hsu on the retail side, DIY Sound Group on the assemble it yourself side and there are a few DIY plans for them. I've even looked into it using a 40hz crossover. Have an MBM cover 120hz or 80hz down to 40hz and then have a massive sub or an IB sub for 40hz and below.
     
  11. Dave Upton

    Dave Upton Audiophile
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    Thanks - an interesting paper. I'd like to see some more detailed measurements with larger mass changes and cone sizes. Let's also not forget, cone size is a problem in terms of AQ when it comes to the underlying support structure also. This is probably getting a bit OT, but I think the fact that a lot of very smart and respected sub designers steer clear of 21" woofers says a lot.
     
  12. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    The author of that paper, Dan Wiggins, used his patented Parthenon motor structure connected to a 2' by 2' piece of plywood to be used as a cone.

    [​IMG]

    The motor actually running.



    Dan posted most of his finding here at the forum when there was a very active DIY section. I learned more in the those few years that I ever did reading speaker design books.
     
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  13. llamaattack

    llamaattack Auditioning

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    Hello! I've decided to finally get my first home theater system and I'm looking for advice! I know car audio fairly well but I'm totally lost when it comes to home audio!

    Info below:

    What are you looking for (Speakers, Subwoofer or Both)? Both + Receiver

    Primary Use: 95% TV and Movies. 5% music.

    Desired Configuration: You tell me.

    Room Size: 15x15

    Is the room open to other areas of your home: Yes, it opens to the kitchen. Link to floorplan:

    http://alexaneav.com/floorplan/amherst/

    Do you already have an AV receiver or amplifier? No

    What's your budget (low to high): $4000 max.

    Any special requirements (Wife Acceptance)? There's not too much room up front with the TV stand and DVD cabinets, so either bookshelf speakers or freestanding speakers which aren't very wide would be ideal, if that doesn't compromise sound quality too much.
     
  14. ArmSC

    ArmSC Supporting Actor

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    I have a few more questions for you to help narrow some of this down.

    1. Do you need a TV with this setup or do you have that covered?
    2. What wall do you have the TV on?
    3. Do you have an attic or crawlspace/basement that you can pull wires into?
    4. How important is not seeing wires to you/wife?
    5. Can you wall mount the speakers or do you need stands/tower speakers?
    6. If you don't have too much room up front for speakers do you have room enough for a subwoofer?
    7. How in the world do you get into the bedroom?
     
  15. llamaattack

    llamaattack Auditioning

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    Fantastic questions! Answers in-line. I really appreciate your help btw.

    1. I have the TV covered. Just ordered a new 65" LG E6.
    2. The TV is on the wall shared with the bedroom.
    3. Nope. :(
    4. Fairly important, at least that they not be visible from the front. My floor has white molding and I was considering getting some white cable channel to go along the molding. Obviously if I didn't need to do that it'd be great, but from what little I've read it's my impression that wireless can be a pretty big sacrifice.
    5. Three of the speakers could sit atop the DVD cabinets. One would need a stand. Or for symmetry's sake the two in the rear could have stands.
    6. I can probably make about a 10"-12" of room total. If that's not wide enough I was considering putting the subwoofer against the back wall. Would that be bad?
    7. LOL! there's a small hallway which leads to the bedroom door.
     
  16. ArmSC

    ArmSC Supporting Actor

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    Ok lets recap.
    • The TV is on the "west" wall assuming the couch is in the middle of the living room or against the "east" wall.
    • HT focused system with very little music
    • $4000 budget to include AVR
    • Wire sensitive, no crawlspace or attic to run wires.
    • Very little room for a sub but could be located on the "east" wall opposite of the TV
    • Going for small/thin towers or speakers on DVD cabinets

    Few more questions:
    • Are you ok with running wires to the rear of the room or is that a no go? I'm thinking two surround speakers and a sub cable at minimum.
    • How tall are the DVD cabinets?
    It sounds like you have a unique set of challenges to consider. The lack of space up front is certainly one and these DVD cabinets concern me. If they are too high putting speakers on top of them will no sound as good as it could. Your budget certainly allows for nice speakers but I'm not sure that you have space for large towers. You can still get a killer system but you might have to go with smaller books/sats to fit in the space.
     
  17. Message #17 of 207 Aug 1, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2016
    Cbomb101

    Cbomb101 Auditioning

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    Hey! So I know next to nothing about audio systems. I'm trying to learn more at the moment but I'm hoping you guys can help me out. I'm a fairly poor college student and I want to pick up something that can be used for parties for 10-50 people.

    What are you looking for (Speakers, Subwoofer or Both)?
    I'm starting from scratch so I have nothing at the moment. I assume having a sound system without a subwoofer would be fairly disappointing so I'm gonna say 'Both'.

    Primary Use: 75%-100% Music. If it can hook up to the TV via HDMI that would be cool too, but its not entirely necessary.

    Desired Configuration: Not sure. I have been thinking about maybe getting a HTIB just because they are cheaper.

    Room Size: ~30x15. Its a Kitchen and living room separated by a bar.

    Is the room open to other areas of your home: Kitchen and Living room are open and would have people in both.

    Do you already have an AV receiver or amplifier? No

    What's your budget (low to high): $150-$250


    The low budget is a pretty big deal breaker for a lot of my options but its the biggest constraint I have. I'm willing to not have a sub, not be able to hook up to TV, and have it be a HTIB. It doesn't have to be incredible or anything obviously. I'm just kinda going for something where the music will trump all other noise and doesn't get drowned out. I've found a couple options but I am not sure if these are worth it.

    Phonic Powerpod 410/S710 PA Package
    and
    LG - 700W Mini Shelf System - Black

    I have a buddy that works at Best Buy and I am pretty sure I could get his discount for a set of speakers if I were to buy it from there so that may help. Thanks for any help you guys can lend me. I'm clueless.


    Edit: I also have two of these that are just gathering dust that I could use if necessary. I know Polk is pretty crummy but I also have no money so this might be useful.


    [​IMG]

    Also, how does compatibility work? If I were to get an A/V receiver from Ebay would it have to be the same brand as the speakers or would it work with anything or what?
     
  18. ArmSC

    ArmSC Supporting Actor

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    OK lets recap what we have. You want an audio system for music use, you have $250, you don't have to have it hook to the TV and you have a set of vintage Polks that you can use. I have some questions.

    • What are your sources going to be?
    • Do you already have your sources or are you going to want to have them included in the budget? HTiB(terrible waste of money) systems have some kind of disc players integrated so if you want a BRP or DVD player...
    • How loud do you like your music?
    • What kinds of music do you like?
    If you were to shop from Ebay you don't need to match the speaker brand with anything else. For instance if you used the Polks, which is not a bad idea, you can't get a Polk AVR. As long as you don't get some kind of mini system or HTiB you should be ok as they use proprietary connectors a lot of the time.
     
  19. ZMG006

    ZMG006 Auditioning

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    Hows it going! New guy here and try be somewhat educated on forums before i ask a question. About to do some remodeling and want it to include a new HT system. Ill try to give the required info to get some good rec's. Currently i have an onkyo HT system from ~2004, 5.1 system that sounds fairly good and also will run a pair of speakers outside but am looking to upgrade. Thanks in advance!
    Looking for 5.1
    Room is 18x18
    Prob bookshelves in the front would be better than towers (not as bulky)
    Budget ~1400-1600
    80% tv/movies 20%music
    Room will be open to kitchen with a half wall in the back and to the right side open to sitting area/dining room
    10 ft ceiling with adequate crawl space to run wires (already have my two satellites run/mounted)
    Currently have a decent samsung TV but will possibly upgrade later to 55" 4k something
     
  20. ZMG006

    ZMG006 Auditioning

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    Thinking i'm going in wall, thoughts on this setup, not sure what amp yet:
    R/L- axiom m22s
    C- vp100 or 150
    Surrounds- m3s
    Sub- EP350
     

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