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  1. #1
    B@RT0K Registered Member
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    Question Looking for Subwoofer

    Hello to all,
    I am looking for a subwoffer in the $600 - $1500 range to add depth to my Paradigm 100 v2s. I mainly listen to classical (I like pipe organ music so I'd like to get as much bass extention without compromising the overall sound quality) and Jazz, but also like to Rock n Roll from time to time. My preamp is a Conrad Johnson PV-14 and the Power amp is a Bi-wired Musical Fidelity A308CR.
    I am considering auditioning the following:
    Rel Strata lll or 5
    Paradigm Servo 15
    HSU VTF3-MK-2
    SVS

    Is this a good start?
    I would highly value any thoughts from the wise members of this board.

  2. #2
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Oh no! Now its musical vs movie sub. A good sub is SVS. E-mail them and give them your setup and room size and see what they suggest.
    Look & Listen

  3. #3
    Sgt. At Arms Worf101's Avatar
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    Talking Here he goes again.... (groan) LOL!!!

    You've got a good list there. HSU is hte brand I'm most familiar with though I've also heard some SVS subs. I've put 5 HSU subs in various systems over the last 3 years and couldn't recommend them more highly. Great product, superior customer support. Many of the folks here have their own fave for their own reasons... and HSU's mine.

    Da Worfster

  4. #4
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Since you're using two-channel separates, keep in mind that most subwoofers are not designed to filter the bass content out of the two-channel line level signal. This decreases your options for integrating the mains with the subwoofer, especially if you're looking to let the subwoofer take over at a higher frequency than where the Studio 100s start to tail off.

    The Servo 15 I believe comes with Paradigm's X-30 bass management controller, which serves as a line level crossover. For two-channel separates, you definitely want some kind of high pass filtering on either the line level or speaker outputs. But, since most subwoofers nowadays go into home theaters systems, where the receiver handles the bass management, a lot of them are low pass only, and redirect the output with no filtering of the low bass content.

    The SVS and Hsu subs do not have full line level crossover functions built-in, but you could buy something like the Paradigm bass management controller to perform that function. REL has pretty good crossover functions, but I believe that they only work at the speaker level and not at line level.

    Also keep in mind that the SVS and Hsu subs are ported designs, while the REL and the Paradigm are sealed. Ported subs are efficient and give you higher SPL, but they also have a much steeper dropoff at the low end and can "unload" below the tuned port frequency, producing undampened cone movement in the process. Sealed subs have a more gradual rolloff and quicker transient response, but they are also less efficient, their bass tends to start dropping off sooner, and the distortion increases as the frequency goes lower.

    In general, the smaller the room, the better off you are going with a sealed sub. This is because the bass is reinforced by the room boundaries, and this reinforcement increases as you go lower into the bass range. Also, the smaller the room, the higher the frequency where the reinforcement begins. Sealed subs work well with the room gain because their dropoff at the low end occurs at roughly the same rate as the room gain.

    All things considered, I would probably opt for the Servo 15. The external bass management controller and the sealed design are pluses IMO.

  5. #5
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shokhead
    Oh no! Now its musical vs movie sub. A good sub is SVS. E-mail them and give them your setup and room size and see what they suggest.
    Shoky, I can only assume by your comment that you don't understand the physics involved in a sub and therefore don't understand why a sub might be better at one application.
    This is one area unlike other comonents where there is very simple truth to why we use the word "musical" to describe something.
    A sub might be better suited for music rather than movies by any number of its characteristics. The choice to port the cabinet or not is just one of them.

    I liked my HSU sub just fine, I've only heard one SVS sub and it was decent. The Servo 15 is a pretty dynamite unit as well.
    Either of these would work well.
    There are other options to stretch your dollar a bit further, but it might involve a bit of assembly on your part

  6. #6
    B@RT0K Registered Member
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    Thanks for the quick response

    Thank you all for your help.
    The Paradigm sounds like a good choice for the reasons mentioned by Woochifer although it is in the higher end of my price range. It also seems like a good match with the Studio 100's.
    My room is 15x24 which probably ranks as mid-size. The HSU also looks good (and cheaper). I wish there was some way to compare them in an A - B test but I'm an hour and a half from the nearest upper end audio retailer and even they don't carry both brands.

  7. #7
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    Shoky, I can only assume by your comment that you don't understand the physics involved in a sub and therefore don't understand why a sub might be better at one application.
    This is one area unlike other comonents where there is very simple truth to why we use the word "musical" to describe something.
    A sub might be better suited for music rather than movies by any number of its characteristics. The choice to port the cabinet or not is just one of them.

    I liked my HSU sub just fine, I've only heard one SVS sub and it was decent. The Servo 15 is a pretty dynamite unit as well.
    Either of these would work well.
    There are other options to stretch your dollar a bit further, but it might involve a bit of assembly on your part
    Well from my very little understanding, imo,its either a good sub or a poor sub and if i ever buy another,it will be a good one again and that way it will be great for everything as a good sub should be. Imo,musical vs movie is,to quote somebody else, hogwash and i'm being nice. I guess we differ. BTW,maybe i've missed it but i dont remember ever seeing an ad for a sub that states its a movie sub or a music sub or a combo sub but maybe i've missed that.
    Look & Listen

  8. #8
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Shoky buddy,
    I think the issue is in the terms "musical" and "movie" as you and I are using them now...When we say a sub is more "musical", or better for "movies", we're not implying that a "movie sub" isn't good for music, or vice-versa.
    But rather that the sub was designed with characteristics that enhance certain performance aspects, and, that based on these aspects (what the designer chose) we can infer what the goal was.

    The most obvious is ported vs. sealed cabinets. A ported cabinet produces deeper, lower bass, and more volume, requiring less power. This is excellent, the port helps the woofer produce bass for free. You'd have to buy a bigger or better woofer in a sealed cabinet to get the same low bass (all things equal). The downside to this is the control and accuracy the woofer plays at. I can explain further if you want, but basically, the backward resistance in a sealed cabinet allows the woofer greater control, whereas in a ported design, there's less braking force and the woofer takes as much as 4 times longer to come to rest...That's where we use the words "tighter" and "more accurate"...it's also a big contributor to the transient responses of the sub.

    Sealed subs will sound better (all things equal) but will not go as loud, or play as low as a ported sub.
    For music, we are rarely concerned with frequencies below 35Hz so one can choose to buy a sub that sounds the absolute best a sub can from 35Hz and over. For movies, we aren't as concerned with fast attack and decay of musical instruments, but rather the rumbling explosion special effects...so low and loud is what we're after.

    The good news is both designs should do well for either. I wouldn't bother owning a 10" sealed sub because it wouldn't be low enough to be used for both music and home theater effectively. And I see no need to own a 18" ported subwoofer either...18" should go low enough even in a sealed cabinet.

    It's in the middle where we can pick and choose our preferences.

    And that's just 1 aspect of the design that might make a sub better for music than movies, or the other way around.

    That being said, of course there are some subs that are ported that sound better than sealed subs. A $1000 ported sub probably handles music better than a $200 sealed sub, and a $1000 sealed sub is probably better for low frequency special effects than a $200 ported sub.

    A good sub is a good sub. A good vehicle is a good vehicle, but you wouldn't use a compact car to tow a boat, and you shouldn't expect a big Chevy 1/2 ton to minimize fuel costs in busy city. Point here is a good sub might be better for one application than it is for the other.

  9. #9
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    The paradigm servo 15 is from what I have read and herd incredible if your looking for a new sub. I got lucky and found a used velodyne fsr-18 that I think is awsome.

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