wondering out loud on subs

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by dave alan, Oct 25, 2002.

  1. dave alan

    dave alan Second Unit

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    these are the questions that plague me concerning the current 'state of the subwoofer art'. what do you think?

    1.) why is it that all active subs have the parameter adjustments in the REAR of the sub? (can you hand me that flashlight?)

    2.) why do all subs come in a 'cube or tube' design that pays no attention to how it looks sitting in your room?

    3.) why is it left to the consumer to painstakingly integrate a sub into their systems with add-on outboard equipment? ( and, if you don't, most of the cost of purchase is wasted)

    4.) since everyone who really cares knows that you need: parametric eq, low freq. high pass filter, 4th order crossover, phase control, proper test disc and metering, gain control, unbalanced/balanced i/o option, bass management instruction/options, acoustic room treatment, delay option and placement instruction...why is it that the manufacturers DON'T seem to know, or choose profit over education/options?

    5.) how much money does thx make every year for telling people to buy small speakers, high pass them @ 80hz and dump the remaining LF into your LFE channel?

    6.) am i insane to think that true bass management requires 1 sub for LFE channel and another sub for redirected bass from other channels?

    7.) why do people continually ask: 'what is the BEST sub for under $300?'....and get multiple answers, when the only answer is...there is no such thing?

    i've published my musings here, as i consider many of the htf members to be expert in this arena.
     
  2. Tom Vodhanel

    Tom Vodhanel Cinematographer

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    1) Some have at least the volume control in the front. The idea here is that once the subwoofer is properly setup...there should be no/little need to make any adjustments.

    2)There are all sorts of exotic shapes and sizes with subwoofers. Boxes and cylinders lend themselves to better cost/performance ratios for the manufacturer and consumer.

    3)Some subs have plenty of on-board controls for that now...Areial SW12, REVEL B15 are two example. Infinity has the ROBOS method which seems to work fairly well. Bose has a new easy-to-use room correction too. I think we'll see more of this. It will be very expensive to start....but in 5 years the trickle down effect might allow a quality subwoofer to have built in room correction and still be affordable to most of us.

    4)A lot of that stuff is already available...just fork over $5000 for the SW12.

    5)I don't know the net profits of THX but I believe their recommendations are performance driven...not profit driven.

    6)No,probably not.


    TV
     
  3. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    1) Mine are on the front, but I also have a remote control to adjust them, so I never actually have to go over there.

    2) Most consumers want a sub that produces BASS, not one that looks like art. Function over form, but as Tom pointed out, cost to manufacture is obviously a factor. Cubes and tubes are simple and PROVEN to work.

    3) A sub manufacturer cannot easily and inexpensively design in a system that will account for every configuration of equipment and room that their product will go into, so no matter what you WILL have to do some tweaking to get things to work right. This is to be expected, though again, as Tom points out, some manufacturers are starting to do this. "Most of the cost wasted" is a very poor choice of words. It is really not that hard to integrate a sub fairly well, into virtually any system, without any extra expensive gear (I don't consider an SPL meter expensive gear).

    4) Sounds like you need to start your own business providing these things at no profit to yourself.

    5) Tom answered that one.

    6) I have no issues with just one sub, but there is no reason why two would not work in that configuration.

    7) I think you are mistaken here. There ARE good subs in the $300 range. Maybe they wouldn't be considered "audiophole" or top dog, but not everyone is looking for a $5000 sub.
     
  4. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

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    2) Decor is so varied it would be a nightmare for a manufacturer to have enough finish options to suit even a portion of them. If how the sub looks is very important to you there are now a number of places that will build costum enclosures for you with whatever finish you want. Depending on how elaborate the finish gets it can become pricey though. They can do whatever veneer/laminate you want. Whatever color. Can disguise the sub as an entable, coffee table or some other furniture piece. If shipping is a problem then you could also get a local cabinet maker to build you a custom enclosure (if you do the DIY research to pick appropriate components and allignments this could work very well, although the cabinet maker definately won't be cheap).

    And as mentioned above, for a lot of people function comes first, form second. And if great function can be had cheap in a bit of an eye sore, they don't care.

    7) There are a few subs in the under $300 price range that will work well enough for a lot of people. You or I wouldn't be happy with them, doesn't mean they can't be. But it is possible to build a sub for ~$300 that I would be content with (and my parents and roommate are very happy with subs I did build them on this budget).
     
  5. BrianWoerndle

    BrianWoerndle Supporting Actor

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    1) If they were in front it wouldn't look good, which is a problem for #2

    2) Lets see, square and round . . . Besides free form, that is about it. There are trapazoids and parallelgrams, but those are both deritaves of squares and wouldn't look very good.

    3) Because 90% of the public wouldn't know how to use onboard equipment. They make them as seperates for the 10% of people who want it. How many people do you know with 12:00 on their VCRs?

    4) Believe it or not, but a company only exists to make a profit.

    5) How much does Consumer Reports make to tell you what car to buy? If people will pay for you to tell them what to buy, then you have fulfilled #4.

    6)Not at all. I would love to 5 full range channels. But that is not very practical.

    7) There is an answer. The answer is not the best in the world, but even below $300, some subs are better than others. Very few people can afford audiophile quality gear.
     
  6. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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  7. Mike Ford

    Mike Ford Extra

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    1) Once it is set, leave it alone, or "what controls at the sub" its all in the rack. I don't plan on having any of my electronics in or on my sub box.

    2) What shape you want? My personal favorite idea was to use 60" diameter Sonotube and make a 14' tall rocket with fins and all for the corner of the room (just happens that would work well for 4 30" woofers).

    3/4) Different strokes, and simple marketing. We may know and accept that a budget of 50/50 for main speakers vs sub is about right, but Joe Sixpack needs to learn that lesson a step at a time.

    5) Its an idea that works, someplace between 80 and 120 cross to mains and sub, and the physics work.

    6) People may disagree, but I am a firm believer in having ONE and only one bass source in a room.

    7) Just about any sub is better than no sub, not because it makes the bass so much nicer, but because most main speakers sound MUCH better when they aren't struggling with the bass. I was at a swapmeet today where "decent" 12" BIC I think, subs were being sold new in the box for $100.
     
  8. dave alan

    dave alan Second Unit

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    ok, i think i've got it now...
    1.) set your sub and leave it alone, regardless of which (cd, dts music video, dd, dts, sacd/dvd-a, hdcd, digital cable, etc.) format you are playing.
    2.)bassbox was stupid to include 18 shapes in their software, with explanations as to why the cube is a poor choice.
    3.) although 90% of the public can purchase and connect and navigate a modern prepro/av receiver, they are too dumb to figure out onboard sub adjustment, so offer passive subs with an led clock set to 12:00.
    4.) don't tell anyone you need these things because ignorance will be bliss for them and profits for the sub makers.
    5.) the benevolent thx only charges a license fee to cover the cost of administration of the specs they decreed for the benefit of the public. (though this confuses me, if companies only exist to make profits). and, the itu standard for speaker setup of surround music, with and without picture, is impractical.
    6.) this subject requires a thread of it's own.
    7.) the best sub for $300 is one you have to build yourself. audiophile subs are $5000. and, though there are 100 million $20000 vehicle owners (because, let's face it, everyone HAS to have a good car), very few of them can afford a good subwoofer system.
    of course this reply is tongue in cheek. i mean no harm. i'm just offering food for thought so i can better understand this whole surround sound fiasco. i truly appreciate the responses. every one of your posts was helpful....thanx. [​IMG]
     
  9. Dan Lindley

    Dan Lindley Second Unit

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    1. The controls for my SVS ARE on the front of the unit. Thanks to thoughts provoked by this thread, I've just only now discovered that I installed it backward, however.

    I will soon install mirrors all around the sub, so all sides are visible simultaneously. Man, I'll do anything to avoid having to reset my VCRs....

    Dan
     
  10. Tom Vodhanel

    Tom Vodhanel Cinematographer

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    DA,

    1)if you have the processor flexibility, yup.

    2)bassbox is a joke...so what if they gave you 1018 shapes? What was the problem with the cubes btw?(too lazy to find my BB manual).

    3)90+% of the public want a plug/play system like Bose. If you did a little research you'd realize how inaccurate your assumptions are getting now.

    4)(see my initial response)

    5)THX was founded in an attempt to realize consistant performance goals from a HUGE mish-mash of component manufacturers and room environments. I'm not sure what you "tongue in cheek" responses are looking for at this point...but it is clear you aren't looking for accurate infomation about the topics.

    You'll take the "bassbox" manual as gospel...but frown on Tomlinson Holman's work in this field?

    That is just too scary for me...


    TV
     
  11. Scott Simonian

    Scott Simonian Screenwriter

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    6) Ahha. I have been a beliver of this for a long time now. Since the time I got my very first 5.1 receiver(about 3-4yrs ago), I always had been swapping around the settings in my bass managment peramiters. I always kept my mains on large, because they kind of are. They can hold their own to about 40hz. Hey, that is quiet a load of the sub I think! Anyway, right there is about what I am talking about. On my old receiver, I had a "bass re-mix" mode. Which just redirects bass that would go to speakers with a large setting to the sub and whatever speaker they were going to. I was about 14yrs old at the time and was still learning about "good" sound. I also did not have any experience with 5.1 at all but what I read about in my HT magazines.

    Im rambling. Okay, whenever I would switch between Bass remix or put my fronts to small (eck!) I would notice an enormous change in bass fidelity, headroom, and a huge change in extension. It was something that really bothered me.

    With todays soundtracks, subwoofers are getting too much of a workload of bass. Many movies have full extension to past
     
  12. Scott Simonian

    Scott Simonian Screenwriter

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    Forgot.

    5) I used to not like THX very much. Now, with Ultra2, they are getting much, much better. I wont get into that now.

    But really THX just had that as their standard. THX is standard. Thats all it is.
     
  13. ben_fowler

    ben_fowler Extra

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    I'll take a stab at a couple of the question points.
    1. For nice and clean look, the sub amp is placed on the back panel of the sub. Unfortunately the controls are all connected to the amp. It's a cost thing. It just costs a lot to put the controls on the front, but then again, even if you do put them on the front, it's going to look less clean and neat. Another general idea is that once you initially calibrate your sub, you don't need to fiddle any more with the controls. But I do feel your pain.
    2. Subs are ugly. Yes they are. Well most of them. Some companies try to make real pretty boxes that still perform real well. Most companies make ugly subs because, 1. the idea is to "hide" the sub. 2. it costs money to make them look nice. 3. people will still buy them. [​IMG]
    cheers,
     
  14. James Edward

    James Edward Supporting Actor

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    Sounds like you should be out in the world designing subs, Dave. You seem to have all the answers.
     
  15. dave alan

    dave alan Second Unit

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    tv: "...it is not generally desirable to proportion the enclosure to a symmetrical cubic form. where volumes of cubical form must be used ... it is necessary to provide a lot of internal padding...and internal shelf bracing...to reduce the internal standing wave condition and minimize the normal resonances of the box...general practice has shown that good results will be obtained if the height-to-width-to-depth ratio is 4 to 3 to 1." (loudspeakers and enclosures, copyright 1956).

    this book references all the pioneers of bass boxes, among whom was mr. klipsch, whose library was astounding and whose knowledge on the subject, incomprehensible. and, you bet your rug covered water heater i took what he said as gospel.

    to condescend to me as though i don't know who holman is, is presumptuous.

    scott: what receiver did you have with bass re-mix, if you remember? ...you were 14??

    ben: #2...that was a great answer...i think you're right on.
     
  16. Dan Lindley

    Dan Lindley Second Unit

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    Dave,

    How can someone thinking you frown on something be consistent with someone thinking you don't know about the thing being frowned upon?

    And what is the "surround sound fiasco"? Are you attempting to ask the serious question of what 5.1 adds to a center channel or a 2.0 setup?

    I am unclear as to which parts of your inquiry are serious or not.

    Dan
     
  17. Mike Ford

    Mike Ford Extra

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    The box shape only matters if you have some signals with 1/4 wavelength near the dimensions. Also if you have a sub box that has a moderate amount of stuffing it gets more like 1/2 wavelength.

    Selling more than two big speakers for HT should be a known crime. OK maybe 4 big speakers, L C R and sub, and all the bass needs to go in the sub.
     
  18. dave alan

    dave alan Second Unit

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    the surround sound fiasco. thx spec of all 5 speakers high passed @ 80hz, with all information below that summed and sent to the subwoofer. itu standard of 5 identical full range speakers set equidistant from the listening position and set to large. double bass from some prepros in some modes. 5.1, 6.1, 7.1. do you listen to music or movies, and what percentage of each. calibration of a sub using a radioshak spl meter that costs $30. full range program mixed into the lfe channel and sent to 'height' speakers, but not announced on the disc case. don't connect the lfe output of your pre, run an outboard 2-way x-over between your l+r mains out and high pass the main speakers and send the low pass info to your sub, in which case it's summed with the lfe program. dipole, direct radiator, bipole, bidirectional, down-firing, rear ported, side-firing. phantom center. analog bypass. dsd sacd dvd-a, hybrid, multichannel. crank your sub's x-over all the way up and use your prepro x-over, phase differences from one mode to the next. cascading filters. filter slopes.

    i could go on til the computer runs out of virtual ink. THAT surround fiasco.

    one million posts. zero answers. i like to find those answers. they are in here. no one seems to really care. it's as though each person says: this works for me, so it's good enough, and you should do it my way.

    i've read literally hundreds of posts complaining that this or that prepro has double bass because the low freqs to the mains are also summed and sent to the sub and this mistake of a feature cannot be defeated. if you take the sub out from a player's 5.1 analog outputs, run it into a mono preamp ($70), then into your sub amp/sub speaker...no double bass.

    taking that scenario a step further, now connect your sub out from your preamp to a second sub. if you then select the 80hz high pass in digital surround modes, the info below 80hz is summed and sent to the second sub, but no lfe, because it's not connected to your pre. it's decoded in the player and sent analog to sub #1, which is isolated from the 5 speakers and sub #2. you now have total control of low freqs, with no possibility of double bass or summed bass mixed with lfe in the same channel. THAT is bass management.

    this is only one example of a simple solution to a problem that thousands of posts could not conclude. the answers are here. not in a post that chides a simple question. simply answer the question or choose not to and move on. most members do just that. quite a few don't.

    i simply want to know if a sub should manage itself or should it be passive and be managed by the processor and/or outboard processing and should 2 subs be the standard and does it or do they have to look, as ben said, 'ugly'. is the thx standard correct without the above scenario to manage the low end, or is the itu standard the best all around for ht and movie soundtracks. i didn't want to be obvious because i ain't lookin' to be preached at. i simply want to know what everyone else thinks.
     
  19. Tom Vodhanel

    Tom Vodhanel Cinematographer

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    Dave sez,


    >>>"...it is not generally desirable to proportion the enclosure to a symmetrical cubic form. where volumes of cubical form must be used ... it is necessary to provide a lot of internal padding...and internal shelf bracing...to reduce the internal standing wave condition and minimize the normal resonances of the box...general practice has shown that good results will be obtained if the height-to-width-to-depth ratio is 4 to 3 to 1." (loudspeakers and enclosures, copyright 1956).>this book references all the pioneers of bass boxes, among whom was mr. klipsch, whose library was astounding and whose knowledge on the subject, incomprehensible.
     
  20. Todd_Petersen

    Todd_Petersen Stunt Coordinator

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    LOL Dave got Owned[​IMG]))))))))))))))))))))))
     

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