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  1. #1
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    Best Subwoofer for $500 or less

    Hello.

    I am putting together a budget A/V system and would like some input regarding which subwoofer I should buy for $500 or less.

    The receiver will be either the Denon AVR1705 or Yamaha HTR5750.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    a hell of an engineer
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    Quote Originally Posted by jschaudel
    Hello.

    I am putting together a budget A/V system and would like some input regarding which subwoofer I should buy for $500 or less.

    The receiver will be either the Denon AVR1705 or Yamaha HTR5750.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks
    My recommendation would be the SVS PB10-ISD. I have owned one since it first came out two months ago and I don't know of anything else in this price range that will outperform it. Some reviews on it are here and here.

  3. #3
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    I have to admit that my home theater direct sub level 3 is great and rumbles the house when needed and has many controls.

    www.hometheaterdirect.com just click on the level 3 and then sub.

  4. #4
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    Thank you

    Thank you both for your responses.

    Bargainseeker,

    Are there any other subs comparable to the svs (velodyne dsp10?) that I could compare it against?

    In general, how is the sound of an SVS cylinder sub different than the box? Is one better than the other?

    Thanks.

  5. #5
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Titanic MKIII 12" 500 watt RMS subwoofer from Parts Express...you'll have to build it yourself (a few hours, very easy), and she ain't pretty, but it comes with a parametric equalizer and will smoke any SVS or Hsu Research sub at double the price. It wipes the floor with my PW-2200.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    Titanic MKIII 12" 500 watt RMS subwoofer from Parts Express...you'll have to build it yourself (a few hours, very easy), and she ain't pretty, but it comes with a parametric equalizer and will smoke any SVS or Hsu Research sub at double the price. It wipes the floor with my PW-2200.

    The new PE sub kits have sparked my interest as well. Have you had a chance to do an in room frequency response on your 12" kit? Does it have good response down to 20Hz?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jschaudel
    Are there any other subs comparable to the svs (velodyne dsp10?) that I could compare it against?
    The closest competitor to the SVS PB10 is the Hsu Research VTF-2. Because of retail markup, I don't know of any subwoofers available from local brick and mortar (B&M) stores that are in the same league as these in terms of performance for the price. The closest I can think of is the Energy S10.2.
    Quote Originally Posted by jschaudel
    In general, how is the sound of an SVS cylinder sub different than the box? Is one better than the other?
    The cheapest powered cylinder subwoofers from SVS are the PCi series which run from $549 to $649. The woofer in the PCi series is larger than the one in the PB10 but not as technically advanced. The transient response of the PCi series is not as good as the PB10, so they are not as good for music. The 25-31PCi will play louder than the PB10 but will not go as deep. Now that the PB10 is out, I can see little reason to buy either the 16-46PCi or the 20-39PCi unless you need the internal crossover.

  8. #8
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WAF!
    The new PE sub kits have sparked my interest as well. Have you had a chance to do an in room frequency response on your 12" kit? Does it have good response down to 20Hz?
    I build the 12" for my folks, and only had it in my place for a about 8 days. In my old room I couldn't get below 23 Hz response, but that, I'm sure had more to do with my room acoustics (it was 24 X 24 square) than the sub itself. Which is fine, my tested hearing doesn't pick up much below 22Hz.

    My PW-2200 on the other hand cut out in the same room at 24 Hz, despite measurements to 19Hz or something.
    At 1/2 the price it is far, far better.
    To be honest, I owned the older Hsu Research VTF-2 model and it couldn't keep up with my PW-2200. I feel pretty confident extrapolating that the PE kit would destroy it.

    I've ordered the 15" Titanic MKIII woofer and 1000 watt plate amp for the larger model (building a box myself to match the speakers I built), for the money, no commercial subwoofer, on-line retailer or B&M store, can come close.
    For more measurements of actual in room performance, you should visit the PE forums. Lots testaments there from people who've owned the popular Hsu Research and SVS subs, Velodynes, Paradigm's, etc....

    Good luck

  9. #9
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    Talking How about a ..............Sony ?!? YIKES!

    Quote Originally Posted by jschaudel
    Hello.

    I am putting together a budget A/V system and would like some input regarding which subwoofer I should buy for $500 or less.

    Thanks
    Hi everybody! This is my very first post here-and what I am about to recommend may not set me too well with my fellow audio enthusiast's. First impression's, eh?

    I have bought several subwoofer's over the past 6 week's. For under $500, beleive it or not, Sony has come out with an amazing dual 10" push-pull subwoofer called the SA-WX700. You get front firing and down firing in the same sub. I helped a friend of mine pick this one out, and I borrowed it for a couple day's to check it out. He didn't want to spend more than $200, but I talked him into this one ($259 @Circuit City- Print it off the web and the store will honor the price). It has amazing spec's, and it live's up to them. Zero distortion. "Tight and clean" as they say when describing great sub's.Loud and proud or soft and mellow-it is truly a fantastic sub. I know Sony speaker's as a hard and fast rule stink, but this sub is obviously designed in a whole different division. It is worth every penny-and if you don't like it Circuit City has an easy return policy. But I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

    Perhap's the following observation will redeem me:

    Now, if you are willing to spend another $100 over your $500 limit, the sub I settled on is the Martin Logan Dynamo. You can switch it to front firing or down firing, by moving the base around. When you use it in front firing, it comes with a grille you can attach. Although it is their "entry level" sub, Martin Logan doesn't make anything cheap. It sounds as good as their sub costing 2x as much (in my humble opinion).

  10. #10
    Forum Regular 46minaudio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    I build the 12" for my folks, and only had it in my place for a about 8 days. In my old room I couldn't get below 23 Hz response, but that, I'm sure had more to do with my room acoustics (it was 24 X 24 square) than the sub itself. Which is fine, my tested hearing doesn't pick up much below 22Hz.

    My PW-2200 on the other hand cut out in the same room at 24 Hz, despite measurements to 19Hz or something.
    At 1/2 the price it is far, far better.
    To be honest, I owned the older Hsu Research VTF-2 model and it couldn't keep up with my PW-2200. I feel pretty confident extrapolating that the PE kit would destroy it.

    I've ordered the 15" Titanic MKIII woofer and 1000 watt plate amp for the larger model (building a box myself to match the speakers I built), for the money, no commercial subwoofer, on-line retailer or B&M store, can come close.
    For more measurements of actual in room performance, you should visit the PE forums. Lots testaments there from people who've owned the popular Hsu Research and SVS subs, Velodynes, Paradigm's, etc....

    Good luck
    Kex check this driver out at only $329...
    http://www.ascendantaudio.com/Avalanche%2015.htm
    Same tech as the as the Adire..I bought one of the 500 watt amps from PE on the DOTD.This may be the driver i use.I modled a 8cubic ft box tuned to 17hz on winisd ported that looks good//..

  11. #11
    Sgt. At Arms Worf101's Avatar
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    Red face I've one other thing to look at...

    I know some folks are tired of me recommending them but I've used HSU subs and recommended them to folks for the last 3 years here and have made some folks quite happy. I've the both the VTF-3 and VTF-2 subs. The former is a 12 inch and the latter is a downfiring 10. I put both through their paces and couldn't be any happier... Hsureasearch.com

    Da Worfster

  12. #12
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    listen to Worf.....

    HA! I am one of the converts Worf was talking about. I just recently purchased the HSU VTF2 and it is amazing.... it's with in your budget ($499). I don't think you'll be disappointed. I've never heard a SVS sub though. Have read lots of good things about them too. I don't know how the cylinder sub is vs the box, but I just didn't look at them much simply because I didn't like the look (hey - I'm a girl, so I'm allowed to care about such things!)
    I did go listen to a Velodyne (don't know if it's the same model you mentioned) but the HSU topped it, easy.

    And Worf - I'm not tired of you recommending the HSU's.... in fact I think I'm on your bandwagon. I can't shut up about them! Good luck jschaudel. Let us know what you get.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Worf101
    I know some folks are tired of me recommending them but I've used HSU subs and recommended them to folks for the last 3 years here and have made some folks quite happy. I've the both the VTF-3 and VTF-2 subs. The former is a 12 inch and the latter is a downfiring 10. I put both through their paces and couldn't be any happier... Hsureasearch.com

    Da Worfster

    I agree with Da Worfster here. Own both VTF-2 MKI and VTF-3 MKII and couldn't be any happier...

  14. #14
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    I had the opposite experience...

    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    I My PW-2200 on the other hand cut out in the same room at 24 Hz, despite measurements to 19Hz or something.
    At 1/2 the price it is far, far better. To be honest, I owned the older Hsu Research VTF-2 model and it couldn't keep up with my PW-2200. I feel pretty confident extrapolating that the PE kit would destroy it.

    Interesting, Kexodusc

    I had quite the opposite experience between my VTF-2 MK1 and the Paradigm PW-2200. In both my HT/Music systems, the VTF-2 outperformed the Paradigm PW-2200. I had similar reads in outputs from 25Hz-60Hz in both subs at 109dB, but in both rooms, the PW-2200 rolled off quickly below 25Hz. On the other hand, the VTF-2 played louder with more authority and pitch definition down to 20Hz at 93dB. In music, the PW-2200 tended to "bloom" a little too much even after properly calibrating it, the VTF-2 simply trounced it.

    In the end, I sold the PW-2200 and bought the "superb" VTF-3 MKII

    Go figure...

  15. #15
    Forum Regular mjon99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    I build the 12" for my folks, and only had it in my place for a about 8 days. In my old room I couldn't get below 23 Hz response, but that, I'm sure had more to do with my room acoustics (it was 24 X 24 square) than the sub itself. Which is fine, my tested hearing doesn't pick up much below 22Hz.

    My PW-2200 on the other hand cut out in the same room at 24 Hz, despite measurements to 19Hz or something.
    At 1/2 the price it is far, far better.
    To be honest, I owned the older Hsu Research VTF-2 model and it couldn't keep up with my PW-2200. I feel pretty confident extrapolating that the PE kit would destroy it.

    I've ordered the 15" Titanic MKIII woofer and 1000 watt plate amp for the larger model (building a box myself to match the speakers I built), for the money, no commercial subwoofer, on-line retailer or B&M store, can come close.
    For more measurements of actual in room performance, you should visit the PE forums. Lots testaments there from people who've owned the popular Hsu Research and SVS subs, Velodynes, Paradigm's, etc....

    Good luck
    Kex,
    I'm always reading about DIY subs and have checked out the kits on PE. Other than the amp, box and driver what else is included? Are there any other wires/hookups that need to be purchased when you decided to buy the amp and driver and build the box yourself? Or is it as simple as out from amp in to driver and that's it. That seems just too easy and if that's all that's needed I don't see why more people don't do this instead of paying for a name. Although, I assume that it's more complicated to build mains myself opposed to a sub.

  16. #16
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    mjon99:
    The woofers just use your basic spring posts, no soldering required. Haven't seen the 15" woofer, but I'm pretty sure it'd be the same, take a look at some pics at PE's website.
    Yep, it really is that easy...you'll need a knife some glue or spray adhesive and some screwdrivers and wrenches...way too easy.

    I look at it like building computers...I know a million guys that have assembled some or all of their own personal computers with the same parts they'd get from Dell or whoever, but saved a bundle...same thing with DIY speakers and subs.

    And building mains isn't nearly as hard as you'd think if you can solder...buy a soldering iron and practice soldering paper clips or finishing nails and in a few hours you'll be more than ready to assemble any kit with pre-fab enclosures. If you can build your own, even better...it's way more work, but far more rewarding.

    I'm in the middle of replacing my Paradigm Studio 40's and 20's with none other than the audioreview.com DIY kit by Ed Frias. These are the 2nd speaker design I've built myself, and the 3rd project I've completed (first was a vifa/scan-speak tower combo I had much help with).
    The ar.com DIY's are just better at everything than the 20's and have almost as much bass as the 40's, but the bass is more accurate and tight, IMO...the soundstage is much wider, deeper and the imaging is equal if not better...The midrange and high end detail is where the DIY's really move ahead of the Studio's, I really can't think of a commercial speaker under $1200 I like better than these...sure I'm biased now, but it took alot of nerve for me to replace $900 and $1200 speakers with $250 worth of parts.

    Warning, the DIY think is dreadfully addictive...I'm on my 3rd speaker project, and about to start my 2nd sub project. I don't think I've really "saved" any money, just learned a lot, picked up a relaxing, enjoyable hobby, and achieved much superior sound.

    DIY is a great way to get the most for the least, but keep in mind I haven't designed any of these (that's next after the 15")...designing from scratch, the trial and error etc, would consume a bit more time...the DIY community is great and there's tons of info available though.

    Good luck.

  17. #17
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    First off, how big is your room? If you have a small to medium sized room, and you intend to listen to a lot of music through your system, you might also want to consider going with a sealed box sub.

    The advantage of a sealed sub is that dropoff at the low end is more gradual than with a ported sub, they are easier to design properly, they are easier to place, and they have a quicker transient response. If you go DIY, sealed subs are also more forgiving than ported subs if your woodworking skills are less than precise. The disadvantages are that they are less efficient, the low end dropoff begins sooner, and they tend to distort more as they go towards the lower limits of the driver. Subjectively, some people say that sealed subs sound tighter or more musical.

    The others have given you a good list of options to consider and they are mostly ported designs. I would add the following sealed subs to your list: the $400 Adire Audio Rava, the $450 Acoustic Visions MRS-10, the $600 Rocket UFW-10, the $600 Martin Logan Dynamo, and the sealed subs from B&W and Atlantic Technology. All of these options have slight differences in how they're configured, how big they are, and how they look.

    http://www.adireaudio.com/TextPages/...eFrameText.htm
    http://www.acoustic-visions.com/~aco...ed/mrs10.shtml
    http://www.av123.com/products_produc...rs&product=1.1

    Three years ago when I started shopping for subs, the only sealed sub in this price range I found was the Adire Rava, so I bought one. Now, the options have expanded tremendously. If you have a small room, the room gain will boost the low frequencies, and IMO this benefits sealed subs more because of their more gradual rolloff at the low end.

    Regardless of which model you opt for, keep in mind that with subwoofers, your room acoustics are every bit as important as which sub model you opt for. This is also why IMO subwoofer comparisons are invalid unless they are all done in the same room using identical positioning and settings. Subwoofer listenings done in different rooms are pretty much useless because the room variation makes all the difference in what you hear, and the room effect gets progressively larger as you go into the lower frequencies.

    The room acoustics are especially important if you have a small to medium sized room, because they will tend to develop more problem frequencies where you get huge boomy peaks and/or wave cancellations where the bass disappears. You can remedy this with careful placement, and by using room treatments such as bass traps and a parametric equalizer. Regardless, I think you should at least budget for a SPL meter and a test disc with low frequency tone on it, and a parametric EQ is highly recommended. Together, those items will run you about $170, but they are IMO a crucial investment if you're serious about getting the best possible bass performance. (Not just loud, but extended, and well integrated with the rest of your system)

    I use a parametric EQ with my sub, and it made a huge difference in my overall bass performance. Out of the box, it was unbearably boomy, but with some fine tuning on the parametric EQ, the bass is now extended and subjectively tighter sounding because those peaks no longer dominate what I hear and measure. The chart below shows the before and after in-room response on my Rava (you can also see that the Rava has very capable bass all the way down to 25 Hz).


  18. #18
    Forum Regular mjon99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    mjon99:
    The woofers just use your basic spring posts, no soldering required. Haven't seen the 15" woofer, but I'm pretty sure it'd be the same, take a look at some pics at PE's website.
    Yep, it really is that easy...you'll need a knife some glue or spray adhesive and some screwdrivers and wrenches...way too easy.

    I look at it like building computers...I know a million guys that have assembled some or all of their own personal computers with the same parts they'd get from Dell or whoever, but saved a bundle...same thing with DIY speakers and subs.

    And building mains isn't nearly as hard as you'd think if you can solder...buy a soldering iron and practice soldering paper clips or finishing nails and in a few hours you'll be more than ready to assemble any kit with pre-fab enclosures. If you can build your own, even better...it's way more work, but far more rewarding.

    I'm in the middle of replacing my Paradigm Studio 40's and 20's with none other than the audioreview.com DIY kit by Ed Frias. These are the 2nd speaker design I've built myself, and the 3rd project I've completed (first was a vifa/scan-speak tower combo I had much help with).
    The ar.com DIY's are just better at everything than the 20's and have almost as much bass as the 40's, but the bass is more accurate and tight, IMO...the soundstage is much wider, deeper and the imaging is equal if not better...The midrange and high end detail is where the DIY's really move ahead of the Studio's, I really can't think of a commercial speaker under $1200 I like better than these...sure I'm biased now, but it took alot of nerve for me to replace $900 and $1200 speakers with $250 worth of parts.

    Warning, the DIY think is dreadfully addictive...I'm on my 3rd speaker project, and about to start my 2nd sub project. I don't think I've really "saved" any money, just learned a lot, picked up a relaxing, enjoyable hobby, and achieved much superior sound.

    DIY is a great way to get the most for the least, but keep in mind I haven't designed any of these (that's next after the 15")...designing from scratch, the trial and error etc, would consume a bit more time...the DIY community is great and there's tons of info available though.

    Good luck.
    Kex,

    Thanks for the info. If I went the route of building my own box could you recommend a website that would explain the needed dimensions (cubic feet) depending on the size driver I use. Also, would you use the Dayton MKIII or is there a different brand you prefer or would steer me towards? And in terms of sound is there much of a difference between a 12" and 15"? My room is 15' x 18' and it would be mostly used for HT.

    Thanks

  19. #19
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    All good questions...You can download a few design options by clicking "project ideas" on the woofer page at the PE website, or you can just copy the Titanic MKIII cabinet dimensions and build it yourself. If you're really keen, you could hit the PE forum and ask for some advice...there's lots of people who ask this same question for other woofers, and people would be glad to help you choose dimensions.

    I would think for your room the 12" would be more than enough, but for the price, fun factor, and extra performance, you could go all the way with the 15"...the difference is about 10 dB max volume output, double the power, and the ability to go below 20 Hz vs. about 22 Hz in room. The 15" goes below 20 Hz and is tight and accurate. Check the DIY forums, I think Sealed did a review on the 15" a few months back here.

    There's alot of guys who've built that and compare it to $2000-$3000 servo models and the latest and greatest popular internet retailers prime models....even if it falls short a bit, the price is right. As I said, my PW-2200 is outperformed , enough to warrant selling it and replacing it with the 12" MKIII. The 15" would be a massive upgrade, so that's what I'm doing.

    Here's my take...if you build the 12" and love it, but still feel like you need a bit more, you could end up driving yourself crazy wishing you went with the 15". If you build the 15" and still aren't happy, you just have unrealistic expectations for DIY sub in this price range.

    I can't say the MKIII's are the best woofers or best kit out there because I haven't heard them all, but in the last 14 months I have yet to find anything that's received as much praise from the knowledgeable DIY community and non DIY-ers who took the plunge (myself included). I know there's lots of popular kits out there, but these seem to stand out. The next step up in kits will cost considerably more. The option exists to design your own cabinet and elect to use a port (or not) and just use the woofer and plate amp, but the Kit's design is tested and proven. Dayton makes awesome drivers for the money, great value and solid performance. Good reputation among DIY-ers too, which means you can probably sell the sub, or the parts used if you ever get ambitious and want something more.

    The only downside is the 15" will require more space and money...she ain't small.
    When were you thinking of starting it?

  20. #20
    Forum Regular mjon99's Avatar
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    I wasn't planning to do this anytime soon. Maybe with in the next year or so. I'll probably upgrade my mains or receiver first before I do this. If and when I do, I'll probably try to build my own cabinet so I can make it more pleasing to the eye instead of having large bland cube. Thanks for all your input.

  21. #21
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    Svs Pb10

    Bargainseeker,

    You are either a salesman for SVS or you know what you are talking about

    I am going to give the PB10 a shot; if I don't like it I can always send it back. SVS sells bettercables on their website. Should I go with these, or should I consider some other cables?

    I am going to buy a new receiver. Any thoughts on one under $400. The room is 14x17 with a vaulted ceiling. Movies/Music is probably 50/50, but if I had to choose the sound of one over the other it would be music over movies.

    I will go listen but thought you might have some good input on narrowing my choices.

    Thanks.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by jschaudel
    Bargainseeker,

    You are either a salesman for SVS or you know what you are talking about

    I am going to give the PB10 a shot; if I don't like it I can always send it back. SVS sells bettercables on their website. Should I go with these, or should I consider some other cables?

    I am going to buy a new receiver. Any thoughts on one under $400. The room is 14x17 with a vaulted ceiling. Movies/Music is probably 50/50, but if I had to choose the sound of one over the other it would be music over movies.

    I will go listen but thought you might have some good input on narrowing my choices.

    Thanks.
    Well, I am not a salesman for SVS nor do I have any other business relationship with them. I am just a happy customer who feels that SVS is a class act. I believe you will be happy with the PB10 once you get it setup correctly. If you don't already have them, I would strongly consider getting a Radio Shack SPL meter and Avia setup DVD. If I remember right, I ended up buying my Avia DVD from Amazon.com because they had a lower price at the time.

    As to a subwoofer cable, I have never been big on exotic cables. However, subwoofer cables carry a low level signal that must be well shielded from electrical noise. Unlike other interconnects, subwoofer cables are often very long, which increases the likelihood of such noise occurring (the long wire acts as an antenna). So if you are planning a fairly short run from your receiver to your subwoofer, I think you could use a decent quality, modestly priced cable such as an NXG NX-0134. I would also recommend a longer NXG cable for use while you are trying out different subwoofer locations. If you end up with your subwoofer a long way from your receiver, I would seriously consider one of the subwoofer cables offered by SVS.

    For a receiver, do you want to buy locally or online? Also, are you willing to consider a factory refurbished receiver with a manufacturer's warranty or would you rather buy new?

  23. #23
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Wait and look and you'll find a $1000 sub for 500 bucks somewhere.
    Look & Listen

  24. #24
    Forum Regular Olivertmc's Avatar
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    Bargainseeker recommended the SVS PB10 about a week and a half ago. I received it this past friday and cannot believe how great it is. I think you'll be pleased with the results. I'm actually more impressed with its performance with respect to music than movies (not that it doesn't perform exceptionally well for both), the bass lines, kick drums and toms just seemed to "come alive" with the addition of the SVS. I was using the Energy S8.2 before, admittedly a small sub, but I still can't get over the effect the SVS has had on my audio enjoyment. Just beware, the thing is huge.

  25. #25
    Can a crooner get a gig? dean_martin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olivertmc
    Bargainseeker recommended the SVS PB10 about a week and a half ago. I received it this past friday and cannot believe how great it is. I think you'll be pleased with the results. I'm actually more impressed with its performance with respect to music than movies (not that it doesn't perform exceptionally well for both), the bass lines, kick drums and toms just seemed to "come alive" with the addition of the SVS. I was using the Energy S8.2 before, admittedly a small sub, but I still can't get over the effect the SVS has had on my audio enjoyment. Just beware, the thing is huge.
    Olivertmc,

    Have you completed your upgrades? If I remember correctly you had a budget of $1000 and decided to go with a 2channel amp (the Parasound) for your front right and left speakers and a new sub. Did everything turn out ok? Were you able to stay within your budget? Are you satisfied or are you now on a mission to upgrade everything?! Don't mean to pry - just curious as to whether you have a good report.

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