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Thread: HSU versus SVS

  1. #1
    Forum Regular Canadia507's Avatar
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    HSU versus SVS

    Aside from all the wild reviews on their site, does HSU's variable tuning frequency really make that much of a difference, compared to non vtf subs, such as SVS cubes and cylinders? I've also heard rumors that HSU subs aren't as well made as others, having the tendency to screw up and cost a fortune to repair since they aren't exactly as main stream as other subs.

    Also, how about any preferences or recommendations for a nice music-oriented sub in general - Whats your favorite sub and why, and do non sub-only companies even have a chance?

  2. #2
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    I believe that Hsu's STF subs are now made in China, which probably leads to the perception that they aren't made as well as the U.S.-made SVS subs. But, even there, all of the components inside of these subs are manufactured by outsource partners, some of which might be outside of the U.S.

    The biggest issue with subwoofers is often the room integration, and the variable tuning profile on Hsu's subs can actually provide some benefit in this area because it changes the frequency response profile. But, whether or not you will benefit from the feature depends entirely on the room acoustics, your placement, and your listening position location. Rather than worry about Hsu vs. SVS, I would start looking at your room and assess potential acoustical problems that you need to remedy via room treatments and/or equalization.

    Since you're asking about music-oriented subs, a lot of audiophiles prefer sealed designs, which neither Hsu nor SVS use. Most subwoofers on the market are ported because of their higher output. Companies that make sealed subs include B&W, Martin Logan, ACI, Vandersteen, Paradigm (their Servo line only), Sunfire, Atlantic Technology, Rocket, and Acoustic Visions. A general rule of thumb that I've seen tossed around is that if your room is small to medium sized, then you should consider a sealed sub, and if it's large (400 sq.ft.+), then you're better off with a ported sub.

    This is because the room boundary will reinforce the lower frequencies. The smaller the room dimensions, the higher the frequency at which this reinforcement begins. Sealed subs have a more gradual dropoff at the low end, which matches the rate at which the room boundary reinforces the low frequencies. Ported subs have flatter frequency response down to the tuned port frequency, but their dropoff at the low end is much steeper. In a small room, this can create bass with an exaggerated boost in the low end and less extension than a sealed sub can deliver in that same room. In a large room, the sealed sub no longer benefits from the boundary reinforcement, and the higher and generally flatte (down to the tuned port frequency) output from a ported sub has a distinct advantage.

    But, no matter which sub you opt for, you should get up to speed with learning how to measure the in-room response on the subwoofer, and how to adjust for room-induced interactions that can create huge peaks and dips in the frequency response. If you don't own one already, get a SPL meter at Radio Shack, and then get a CD wth test tones on it. Those will allow you to measure the actual output of a subwoofer, and identify any problem areas that your room has created.

    Once you've identified the problem areas, then the next step is to make the room adjustments. This can be done with corner bass traps, repositioning the sub, changing the listening location, and/or equalizing the sub. In my room, I use a Behringer Feedback Destroyer as a parametric equalizer, and it has been absolutely vital to getting my subwoofer to sound right. IMO, correcting for the room acoustics makes a bigger difference in the quality of bass that you hear than which brand of subwoofer you go with.

  3. #3
    Forum Regular Canadia507's Avatar
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    I'm a college student in an apartment - so rather than focus on precise room acoustics, (as I can hardly say this is a permanent residence) something along the lines of an all-around versatile sub that would be able to perform well under different circumstances (as well as with differerent types of music) would be ideal. And from what you're saying, a closed sub probably would be a better idea, thanks for the advice. I'm more concerned with it being able to adequately keep up with faster paced rock and alternative and to not turn mahler into a 50 cent concert, rather than its proficiency annoying neighbors in the next county whenever I put in a mase cd.

    And as far as practicality is concerned, I know there's paradigm and wharfedale dealers nearby - any feedback on any of their models would be a great help - although I'd easily rather spend more and go the extra mile for a better piece of equipment.

    Although, I can buy a lot of pizza with the going rate of a decent sub these days.

  4. #4
    Nobody Special LeoFenderBender's Avatar
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    I'm liking my Hsu VTF-3 Mk2 - it is adjustable to just about any space. If you plan on living in that apartment forever you probably want something less. If you want room for growth, you might look no further...
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    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    I think Wooch summarized it very well.
    Generally, sealed subs are said to be more "musical" than ported subs (at the expense of higher output, and some low extension). If you're buying the sub for music purposes only, I'd recommend going that route. There's several technical reasons why this is...I won't get into those now.

    If you use a sub for both home theater and music (many of us do) than it's a job of balancing trade offs. You can get super low bass extension in a ported design (5 Hz or so lower) and much better power handling and output ability - this is great for home theater. To get the same performance from a sealed sub, you have to spend more money, or buy a much bigger sub (probably a 15" woofer).

    All this isn't to say that a ported sub won't sound good for music, or a sealed sub good for home theater, just that each have their own design advantages

    Depending on your budget, sealed subs might not be much of an option though. If we knew roughly how much you were budgeting for this, we could probably make a few recommendations for some of the more popular subs here.

  6. #6
    Forum Regular Canadia507's Avatar
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    I'd be willing to spend up to 700; the VTF-2 MK-2 runs about 500 according to the HSU site (which is what I had been leaning to prior to this post) and i'd probably be able to get one a bit cheaper - but a decent sealed would cost more, no?

    And yeah, the emphasis is on music - I'd rather have a sub that would short change my cinematic explosions rather than make non-rap sound overly boomy. I had hoped through reading reviews that the VTF-2 would be able to switch hit fairly well between music and HT - and Leo, i'm curious as to how the VTF-3 keeps up with faster paced stuff seeing as its HSUs next step up from the smaller 2, and I'm sure both would be more than adequate in terms of a movie sub for my tastes.

  7. #7
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canadia507
    I'd be willing to spend up to 700; the VTF-2 MK-2 runs about 500 according to the HSU site (which is what I had been leaning to prior to this post) and i'd probably be able to get one a bit cheaper - but a decent sealed would cost more, no?

    And yeah, the emphasis is on music - I'd rather have a sub that would short change my cinematic explosions rather than make non-rap sound overly boomy. I had hoped through reading reviews that the VTF-2 would be able to switch hit fairly well between music and HT - and Leo, i'm curious as to how the VTF-3 keeps up with faster paced stuff seeing as its HSUs next step up from the smaller 2, and I'm sure both would be more than adequate in terms of a movie sub for my tastes.
    Can you do a little work with you hands? If you can assemble things without too much trouble I would suggest one of the kits available from Parts Express. Here is a link to a nice one, but they have more kits. They also have all the parts you need to design and build what you want if you don't like the kits.

    http://www.partsexpress.com/projects...ake/index.html
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  8. #8
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canadia507
    I'd be willing to spend up to 700; the VTF-2 MK-2 runs about 500 according to the HSU site (which is what I had been leaning to prior to this post) and i'd probably be able to get one a bit cheaper - but a decent sealed would cost more, no?

    And yeah, the emphasis is on music - I'd rather have a sub that would short change my cinematic explosions rather than make non-rap sound overly boomy. I had hoped through reading reviews that the VTF-2 would be able to switch hit fairly well between music and HT - and Leo, i'm curious as to how the VTF-3 keeps up with faster paced stuff seeing as its HSUs next step up from the smaller 2, and I'm sure both would be more than adequate in terms of a movie sub for my tastes.
    I liked my old VTF-2. When I moved up in room sized I upgraded to a Paradigm PW-2200, which was a bit better, but in hindsight, probably not worth the extra money I paid.

    For $700, look no further -
    http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/showd...number=300-762
    This is a fabulous subwoofer for the money, exceptionally well designed. You'll need to assemble it (20 minutes, very easy).

    Sometimes you can find them on their auction site at e-bay a bit cheaper. The Titanic I built my parents was much better sounding than my PW-2200. Not even close. There aren't many sealed subs in this price range available right now, but you might try Adire Audio as well (have they brought the Rava back?)

    There are other options, but I can't find my list at the moment.

  9. #9
    Forum Regular Canadia507's Avatar
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    So far I've been a bit skeptical of the part kits, but I'll definately look into it. I see that they offer a 10'' version of the 12'' titanic as well; options are good. I've built a computer before, so I don't think I'd have much trouble with the sub in general, although I have absolutely no experience working with speakers. The general rule of thumb though is greater overall value for the money with a kit, assuming that you assemble it correctly?

    *EDIT* I've been reading some other similar posts regarding subs and Velodyne is brought up quite a bit as well, and they also seem rather inexpensive. Reading reviews on their models I'm running into the all-too-familiar bipolarity of "this is simply the best sub ever, tight, clean, low bass, five stars" contrasted with a "this sub SUCKS, it looks cheap, sounds boomy, has a three inch power cord and it kidnapped my children."

    Besides, I heard people mentioning that they bought their velodyne sub at circuit city, and personally, i'd rather be mauled by a tiger than shop there.

    I'm narrowing it down to one of the recommended kits or the VTF-2, although any info on velodyne would be sweet, especially compared to some of the other models mentioned in the thread.
    Last edited by Canadia507; 10-06-2005 at 09:05 AM.

  10. #10
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canadia507
    The general rule of thumb though is greater overall value for the money with a kit, assuming that you assemble it correctly?
    Well, better value, and performance. I replaced an $800 sub with a $240 sub (including real wood veneer). In my case not only was it cheaper, it plays lower, louder, tighter, cleaner etc. It is a far superior subwoofer (despite having less power - shows you power isn't everything).

    With building speakers, there's a lot to consider, and some skills required - soldering, woodworking. The hardest part is driver selection and crossover design.

    With a sub, it's just cabinet size and alignment. Way easier than speakers. There's alsoe the choice of ported or sealed. Then get the woofer you want, the power you need, and enjoy. The kits are rediculously easy. I build my own cabinets, but these are pre-made (cheaper if you can build your own box out of MDF). The holes are cut. You screw the amp in. Attach the cable leads to the spring post terminals (no soldering) and screw the woofer in. Feet too.
    Oh, and line the inside of the box with the provided stuffing. Might need a bit of hot glue or 3M adhesive spray.

    Subs are too easy.

    The 10" version is the only Titanic I wouldn't recommend unless your room is smaller than 160 sq feet or so. And probably not for Home Theater. For music apps it's not a bad unit.

    The 12" Titanic is a serious and versatile subwoofer.

  11. #11
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    You linked the wrong one

    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    I liked my old VTF-2. When I moved up in room sized I upgraded to a Paradigm PW-2200, which was a bit better, but in hindsight, probably not worth the extra money I paid.

    For $700, look no further -
    http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/showd...number=300-762
    This is a fabulous subwoofer for the money, exceptionally well designed. You'll need to assemble it (20 minutes, very easy).

    .
    This one is $700.

    http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/showd...number=300-764

    Probably give my velo's a run for their money eh?
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  12. #12
    Forum Regular Canadia507's Avatar
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    See my edit in my last post regarding velodyne, it was done a little out of synch with the rest of the thread

  13. #13
    Sgt. At Arms Worf101's Avatar
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    Both are good subs but...

    I'm a HSU Head. I've used both the VTF-2 and VTF-3 for years now and I've put some in other folks systems as well. The VTF-2 is small, versatile, loud as s**t and won't break your back or bank.

    You could do much worse.

    Da Worfster

  14. #14
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Not really

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoffcin
    This one is $700.

    http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/showd...number=300-764

    Probably give my velo's a run for their money eh?
    I assumed our good friend was from Canada, and accounted for currency conversion...
    But yeah, the 15" is the way to go if you can spring it...

  15. #15
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    I don't know about the Velodyne's, I haven't done a head to head. But I for a sealed 15" option, the Titanics numbers are impressive.

    The Titanics are quite versatile. They're not the last word in sound quality, or high output and extension though, more like a good blend of both. There are cheaper woofers that sound better but won't play as loud (you'll have to live with 110 dB, oh the horror), or more expensive ones that can do both better.

    Daytons new Reference line and the Adire Tumults are quite popular...Advances in subwoofer over the past few years are as great as anything in the audio industry, including digital processing. A few years back, $700 USD wouldn't get you a half decent 12" ported sub. Now companies have figured out how to give you more for less (I think mass production has benefited the industry in this case). Competition is good!

  16. #16
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    I assumed our good friend was from Canada, and accounted for currency conversion...
    But yeah, the 15" is the way to go if you can spring it...
    I forgot you guys are using monopoly money!
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  17. #17
    Forum Regular Canadia507's Avatar
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    Decisions, decisions...

    Thanks for all the advice, it seems like the VTF-2 and the Titan are the top contenders. Now its time to see if I can't arrange any test listens.

    And for the record, I only pay in gold doubloons. Spanish, circa 1566. Anything else would just be uncivilized.

  18. #18
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoffcin
    I forgot you guys are using monopoly money!
    I only wish that were true...when I took my job here, the $Cdn was trading around $0.70 USD. It's climed 20% to around $0.85 or $0.86, and forecasters suspect it'll approach par in the next year or two (oil and energy prices mainly, but Canada's a few years ahead on debt managment and productivity gains)

    That sucks for me, I elected to be paid in USD for my first year. My bonus this year is still going to be paid in USD. At the time most economists predicted a fall back down to the $.65 range. That was basically a 20% pay cut for me because the greenback sucked.

    Doh!

  19. #19
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    I only wish that were true...when I took my job here, the $Cdn was trading around $0.70 USD. It's climed 20% to around $0.85 or $0.86, and forecasters suspect it'll approach par in the next year or two (oil and energy prices mainly, but Canada's a few years ahead on debt managment and productivity gains)

    That sucks for me, I elected to be paid in USD for my first year. My bonus this year is still going to be paid in USD. At the time most economists predicted a fall back down to the $.65 range. That was basically a 20% pay cut for me because the greenback sucked.

    Doh!
    You do know that, if you had chosen to be paid in $Cdn, it would have gone the other way? You'd still have gotten that 20% cut.

    Murphy's rules, rule everywhere.

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    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  20. #20
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    I had a 1K Klipsch sub that was pretty darn good and sold it to a co-worker that says it just blows him away. My under $600 SVS 20-39 KILLS it all around and up side down. SVS and HSU are good subs for the money. Dont think you can find as good of deals in any b&m store. Many a person has bought either to much of a SVS sub or too many of them by mistake.
    Look & Listen

  21. #21
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMichael
    You do know that, if you had chosen to be paid in $Cdn, it would have gone the other way? You'd still have gotten that 20% cut.

    Murphy's rules, rule everywhere.

    The odds of a dropped piece of toast landing jelly side down are directly proportional to the cost of your carpet.
    Hmmm, there must be a way to use derivatives to financially hedge myself against Murphy's law...

    I've since switched to CDN dollars....makes more sense....my bills are all in $Cdn now anyway. Painful lesson though. Canada's different from the USA...they're by a far a net exporter, so there's advantages to the lower dollar. Who'd a thunk it?

    Oh well.

  22. #22
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    Hmmm, there must be a way to use derivatives to financially hedge myself against Murphy's law....
    Don't forget to carry the cow's tail...

    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    I've since switched to CDN dollars....makes more sense....my bills are all in $Cdn now anyway. Painful lesson though. Canada's different from the USA...they're by a far a net exporter, so there's advantages to the lower dollar. Who'd a thunk it?

    Oh well.
    More colorfull at least.
    Hmmmmm... does this mean that it's time for it to swing the other way?
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  23. #23
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Funny paper

    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    I only wish that were true...when I took my job here, the $Cdn was trading around $0.70 USD. It's climed 20% to around $0.85 or $0.86, and forecasters suspect it'll approach par in the next year or two (oil and energy prices mainly, but Canada's a few years ahead on debt managment and productivity gains)

    That sucks for me, I elected to be paid in USD for my first year. My bonus this year is still going to be paid in USD. At the time most economists predicted a fall back down to the $.65 range. That was basically a 20% pay cut for me because the greenback sucked.

    Doh!
    Yes, I miss the days of a strong dollar too. The American people have lost a lot of buying power these last 4 years.
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  24. #24
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    The good thing about a low US dollar is it encourages domestic manufacturing and purchasing. Sucks for those of who love European speakers though.

  25. #25
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Not just speakers

    I've got a couple of components here that are British made. I think the DarTZeel amps are traded on the commodities market too.....
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