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Thread: 20Hz

  1. #1
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    20Hz

    Is 20Hz the absolute necessity in achieving a great HT? I've narrowed down my sub search to Hsu Stf-2 or the Vtf 3. The Stf-2 is tuned to 25Hz and the Vtf-3 is tuned to 20Hz (+/-2). I can purchase the Stf-2 for ~$550cad (before tax) or the Vtf-3 $1000 (before tax). Hsu has an outstanding reputation for their subs but im wondering if it's justifyable to pay that extra $450 for the little extra extension. I just don't want to get a case of the "what,if...". Is that extra 5Hz going to make that much of a difference?

  2. #2
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    Um, no. It won't make a difference. Get a test tone cd, and listen to what 20 hz actually sounds like. I think you'll be surprised. Most subs will absolutely reproduce 20 hz, it is just that they will be at a reduced level. Say down like -10db or -20db at 20hz. The frequency responses you cite are not particularly useful in predicting the sub's performance in your room

    But, it is not wise to rely on the numbers you cite. That more expensive sub may sound better to you, and if it does it is almost certainly not because of a tad deeper bass extension, but because of better performance throughout all the subbass frequencies.

  3. #3
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    The other consideration is the size of your room. If you have a small room, then a sub that can extend down to 20 Hz will likely sound overpowering. That's because the room boundaries reinforce the low frequencies, and this reinforcement starts at a higher and higher frequency as the room dimensions get smaller. If the sub is somewhat flat down to 20 Hz, you'll likely have a huge bass boost at the low end in a small room.

    The Hsu VTF-2 is very well regarded and generally recommended for rooms less than about 300-400 sq.ft. The VTF-3 is more suited to larger rooms.

    For a lot of home theater sources, the difference between 25 Hz and 20 Hz is significant. But, getting that extra bass extension requires the sub to move a lot more air, and presents notable design challenges. Whether you want that those lower octaves depends on what you're looking for and how much you're willing to pay.

    My sub is rated down to 27 Hz, but because my room's not big, the sub benefits from the boundary reinforcement. This means that the bass does not begin to roll off until 25 Hz, and goes to -3 db at 22 Hz.

    Another consideration for smaller rooms would be to go with a sealed sub. Because the sealed sub design rolls off more gradually at the lower end, it integrates with the room boundary reinforcement more smoothly than a ported sub would. This is because the room reinforcement occurs at roughly the same rate as the low end dropoff on a sealed sub. The Hsu subs are all ported.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by wayner86
    Is 20Hz the absolute necessity in achieving a great HT? I've narrowed down my sub search to Hsu Stf-2 or the Vtf 3. The Stf-2 is tuned to 25Hz and the Vtf-3 is tuned to 20Hz (+/-2). I can purchase the Stf-2 for ~$550cad (before tax) or the Vtf-3 $1000 (before tax). Hsu has an outstanding reputation for their subs but im wondering if it's justifyable to pay that extra $450 for the little extra extension. I just don't want to get a case of the "what,if...". Is that extra 5Hz going to make that much of a difference?
    I think most people would be hard pressed to tell the difference between 20 Hz and 25 Hz in an explosion or special effect sequence on the fly. It'll still sound lound and rumbly...This has always been a major beef with me about speakers and subs for both stereo and home theater.

    Lower extension is not really that big a deal when you're talking just a few Hz. As previously mentioned, most subs will continue to play frequencies below their spec rating, just at a reduced level, -10 dB anechoic or whatever...so you're still getting a lot of bass out.

    Even today, if you were to calculate the actual percentage of total movie time that used below 25 Hz, I still think it'd be incredibly small (though it's much more common) most of the time.
    I would much rather a sub that sounded better from 25-90 Hz than a sub that played 18-90 Hz just because it played lower. Those low frequencies aren't very musical at all.
    Like everything, you have to weigh the benefits against the costs and decide if that's good for you.

    I remember back when I had a PW-2200 (12") and PW-2100(10") in my last home for a few months. You'd be very hard pressed to tell the difference 95% of the time. The larger woofer didn't pull ahead until ear bleeding loud volumes. To be honest, I actually liked the smaller woofer 's sound in my room, the roll-off/room gain relationship probably jived better (though I didn't understand that at the time).

    I had an older version of the VTF-2. I thought it was a great sub for the money. My room was about 400 sq ft. (20 X 20 with a high cathedral ceiling). It wasn't enough for me in that room so I upgraded to a used PW-2200, which went a bit lower and played a bit louder, but wasn't all that great for music. It wasn't really much of an upgrade actually.

    That's quite a price difference between the two HSU subs you're looking at. If your room is less than 300 sq ft, I think you'd be much better off with the VTF-2 and a parametric equilizer. Use the money you save for some acoutsic treatments so you can get the most out of the VTF-2, rather than have a more expensive sub that's performing below optimal. Just my opinion. If you're room is much bigger than 300 sq ft or so, you migth be safer to go with the bigger sub.

  5. #5
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    98% of the time i think 20Hz for HT is fine and 25Hz for music. My 20-39 works great for everything i throw at it.
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    Forum Regular Mike Anderson's Avatar
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    Well yeah, but hey, what about the difference between 20,000 Hz and 20,005 Hz?

    Makes a HUGE difference in my system. I can really hear that extra 5 Hz on the high end.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Anderson
    Well yeah, but hey, what about the difference between 20,000 Hz and 20,005 Hz?

    Makes a HUGE difference in my system. I can really hear that extra 5 Hz on the high end.
    That's because you are a cat with super accute hearing. I start to fade off around 18,000 Hz, and then it's gone. I'm told most males will lose hearing everything above 12,000 Hz by age 50.
    Might not be a bad thing, really.

    FWIW, the difference between 20 and 25 Hz is about as much as the difference between 9,000 and 12,000 Hz. 3 or 4 notes or so.

  8. #8
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Bet my dog can outhear your cat.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Anderson
    Well yeah, but hey, what about the difference between 20,000 Hz and 20,005 Hz?

    Makes a HUGE difference in my system. I can really hear that extra 5 Hz on the high end.
    Yes but frequency is perceived on a logarithmic scale, so the difference between 20 and 25 is many many times that of 20,000 and 20,005

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