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Thread: Good vs Bad Subwoofers

  1. #1
    Senior Member Ducatista47's Avatar
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    Good vs Bad Subwoofers

    If this has all been done here, just tell me and post a link or two, but here it goes.

    In response to my suggestion to use a sub with all but giant cabinets flat to 30hz, Bo correctly pointed this out:
    Which in my opinion, sound far less musical. They got "thump", but nothing else...
    I responded with this:
    I mean a really nice, musical sub, like a good Canton or a 2245H large box powered by a first class amp. I have two 2245H cores on hand, so I may get there eventually. The Cantons, like the Vento AS 850 SX, are out of my price range. I totally agree that most subs are better left in the store.
    Well look at this :
    The VMPS program includes Subwoofers, all passive (i.e. no builtin amplifier), all quite substantial size and weight (the "Dedicated" Sub is the baby at 38kg), all requiring no equalization to pump out bass in the teens and twenties, and all easy to add to any system via the existing main amplifier and our optional Passive Crossovers, or via the biamp route with an outboard Electronic or Passive Crossover and a separate drive amplifier. Typically, the distortion of our Subs is an order of magnitude lower than the competition. We invented the slot-loaded passive radiator in 1979. It remains a feature in all our Subs and Towers, a push-pull, high efficiency means of generating first octave bass with high input sensitivity. Look at the competition, particularly the "powered" subwoofers, and see why we point with pride to our products. The amplifiers in virtually all "powered" woofers are dreadful Class B or (even worse) Class D designs which no self-respecting audiophile would tolerate anywhere else in his system. Indeed, the high power Class D amps in some very expensive subwoofers, which we have examined and tested at length, are the worst measuring, worst performing (unable to reproduce even a good sine wave), worst sounding amplifiers we have encountered in the past 30 years. Cheap, bad amps combined with equalization (which robs the sub of dynamic range), limiters (100dB to 104dB max SPL), and high moving mass (up to two pounds in some subs) make most modern powered subwoofers little more than a joke, suitable only for reproducing sound effects.
    From here http://www.vmpsaudio.com/aboutVMPS.htm

    Bearing in mind advertisement hyperbole, this still sounds like a pretty accurate assessment of the products usually found in stores. Does anyone have a sub as good as it should be, beside the vintage big B series JBL's? Does the Performance Series, for instance, boast a sub that is HiFi worthy, not just for movies? And does it have high sensitivity like all good speakers should?

    I am running an old home built (not in my home) 10 inch sealed box passive sub, and it sounds better to me than anything I have heard in stores, excepting those pricey Cantons. It has a half roll foam surround, very compliant.

    Clark
    Information is not Knowledge; Knowledge is not Wisdom
    Too many audiophiles listen with their eyes instead of their ears


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    HTPS400, 91dB sensitivity, 1kW class D amp, solid to 25Hz, cast frame 12" Aluminum cone driver, rubber rolled surround, 16x16x16 sealed cube, Aluminum cone feet, sold as THX Ultra sub, but I use one in my music-only Performance Series set up, and it's a wonderfully musical, adept performer.

    It's a discernibly better performer than my B380, and far less boomy.
    Out.

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    BTW, the best sub I ever heard is the Revel Ultima Sub30, but it costs $6k.
    Out.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Tom Brennan's Avatar
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    The Edgar Titan basshorn is a damned good commercial sub. A couple of pals have DIY Tom Danley style tapped horn subs and they perform VERY well.

    I used to use a pair of 4648s as subs; with wall placement and 6db of boost at 30hz (yeah, I know it's a no-no to EQ vented systems below resonance) they were flat to 25hz. They were very clean and could track the dynamics of the Altec A5s they were used with.

    With my Altec Nineteens and JBL CS-3115s I feel no need for subs, none at all. Yesterday when my wife went out for groceries I played "Barbie Girl" by Aqua at VERY high levels through the 3115s and the damned things thumped like billy-be-jiggers, I thought it was gonna shake the house down. Those 2226s are killers, I'd rather hear them doing 40hz than hear most other things going deeper.

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    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ducatista47 View Post
    Does anyone have a sub as good as it should be, beside the vintage big B series JBL's? Does the Performance Series, for instance, boast a sub that is HiFi worthy, not just for movies? And does it have high sensitivity like all good speakers should?
    Array 1500 which uses the updated version of the JBL Sub1500 woofer? I use the JBL Sub1500 for music in one system and tuned differently for movies in another... I have no need to look further.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Brennan View Post
    The Edgar Titan basshorn is a damned good commercial sub.
    I have only heard it once at a friend's house... I guess it doesn't work in every room... it was one noted and not very deep.


    Widget

  6. #6
    Administrator Robh3606's Avatar
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    Hello Widget

    I have only heard it once at a friend's house... I guess it doesn't work in every room... it was one noted and not very deep.
    Wow I am surprised. I heard one in a large room and it was really nice and tight and not one note at all. I have to agree though that if you want bass to 20Hz it won't due but for music in the room I heard it in it was really quite good. Just goes to show you how important the room is down there in the mud.

    Hello Clark

    Good question

    If you are going to DIY from drivers you can obviously avoid much of what they are taking about. I considered 2245's but don't have the room for the boxes. I have a B380 clone running as an LFE and it kicks the crap out of the original 12" packaged subwoofer I had there. That was a one note box in comparison.

    To me the LE-14's are damn hard to beat as you can easilly get to 30hz and they simply sound great. They also work in small 4 cubic ft boxes so it's easy to set up multiples if you want. I think the Le14 subs have the edge over the B380 although I really enjoy both.

    Rob
    "I could be arguing in my spare time"

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    I'll reiterate my thoughts on the subs that I own. The Velodyne HGS-12's I have are a pair of very well-behaved, but musical subs that perform very well. You'll get deeper, tighter bass that has a wide range and depth to it, without being intrusive. The volume and crossover levels are user-set, so you can get as much or as little as you want (better yet, set it as realistically as possible, where you still get the bass, but can hear the details clearly).

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    I'm using a 2242H in one home application.

    I would prefer not to use a sub, however, as a result of the way recorded music is mixed by studios these days, it is no longer an option to go without since the really low freq. material is directed to the sub channel.

    Not having a sub means you are missing a considerable amount of LF material in the recordings.

    One thing I do not like about subs is the sound localization. I can close my eyes and feel the sub music comming from sub. location. To me, this does not sound natural.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Tom Brennan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robertbartsch View Post

    I would prefer not to use a sub, however, as a result of the way recorded music is mixed by studios these days, it is no longer an option to go without since the really low freq. material is directed to the sub channel.

    How so? When listening to a 2 channel stereo source there is no sub channel.

    And if listening to Dolby Digital you can send the sub channel info to the mains.

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    Hi Tom,

    If you are running an active setup you would split the feed for the sub of your main channel. I would normally take a feed from the left and the right channel, run it to an active crossover, sum the two channels and feed it to the subs. Then you can tell your HT amp to feed the sub content to the left and right channels and get good solid bottom end on movies and music.

  11. #11
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robertbartsch View Post
    One thing I do not like about subs is the sound localization. I can close my eyes and feel the sub music comming from sub. location. To me, this does not sound natural.
    If you have a sub set up properly with the correct placement and crossover frequency, you should never realize that the sound is coming from the sub... for example, if the sub is creating the fundementals of the lowest keys of the piano... the sound should be coming from the virtual piano in the sound field.

    Of course in the real world, most systems that I visit are not setup correctly due to operator error or physical limitations of the listening room, but when correctly implemented, you should never even realize that there is a sub or are subs in the room.


    Widget

  12. #12
    Heather [Senorita member] hjames's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Widget View Post
    ... when correctly implemented, you should never even realize that there is a sub or are subs in the room.

    Widget
    Now, where's the braggin' rights in THAT??


    Ya mean, maybe it IS all about the music??
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    Originally Posted by Mr. Widget
    ... when correctly implemented, you should never even realize that there is a sub or are subs in the room


    The 4315-Velodyne HGS-12 setup is pretty seamless. The Subs sit inside of the 4315's and are only about a four-six inches from the 4315 cabs. I can't tell where the 4315's end and where the subs pick up the LF. The range is very smooth, linear and transparent. There is no LF bump or dip between the two sets of speakers. All in all, very happy with how it came out...

    Many of the smooth jazz recordings have some seriously deep bass to some of the tracks. Bob James, David Benoit, Boney James "Seduction" all have some deep reaching tracks. The trick is to set the volume level on the sub where you can still enjoy the bass, but yet have the details shine through on the rest of the frequencies.

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    Anyone have any "tricks" that they use to set the sub output levels relative to the mains? I use a RS sound level meter but I'm not always happy with the results.

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    The best trick is to use your ears. You will know when there is too little or too much. Can there really ever be too much?

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