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  1. #1
    RGA is offline
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    Nov 2003

    Paradigm Subwoofer question

    Since I live in Canada I want to take advantage of the better deals often found from Canadian speaker makers. I was walking by a Paradigm retailer and popped in and saw several Paradigm Subs...none were over $900.00 Cdn and I believe it was the 2200. Whatever it was was tuly enormous and put simply incredible depth. I heard the $1999.00 Velodyne which was very tiny and not a lot of loudness there whatsover.

    The Rava SE is interesting because my room is smaller. This is primarily for music(and really 100% for music though would be nice to be able to do a competant job on movies too) and I know Richard Greene has already given me some excellent advice on the Rava...but I figure this is the Paradigm love board and frankly, it's a lot easier to go with one of these big ass subs. I'm looking for a sub to creat a total full range experience - my standmounts are solid to ~40hz.

    Bass traps I can get a hold of and an spl - I'd prefer not buying the Behringer feedback destroyer because I have no more inputs on my amp.

    Perfect integration with my standmounts is required and the sub should hit below 20hz wih ease.

    Paradigm subs I have always been impressed by since the mearly to mid 90s because they seem to be cheaper and offer a lot of welly - but I confess I usually have only heard them within a home theatr set-up and not music.

    Anyone know if you can get them in cherry wood or are they just black? No big deal but it would be nice.

  2. #2
    cam is offline
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    Feb 2004
    Surrey, British Columbia
    Yes the pw2200 comes in cherry. I just upgraded from the ps1000 v3 to the pw2200 v2 and I am extremely happy so far. I am not in a position to make a highly critical review because I need more time for it to break in, but so far compared to the ps1000 my new pw2200 slaps it silly. It is rated to 18hz but at -3db so it is probable not flat at 20 hz but pretty dam close to it. As far as the size of the box, it is big for a reason, BIG SOUND. I have noticed with the smaller versions of subs that produce huge output, you will no doubt pay a premium for the size to output ratio. All the really small subs with great specs have huge amps to get that big output with such a small footprint, hence the bigger price. Technology costs money. I live in the vancouver area and the pw2200 retails for $1100 and I worked them down to $1000 and if you saw it at $900 I'm sure you could get them to budge a bit but even at $900 that is a smokin deal for a sub that is equally good at music and ht.

  3. #3
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Dec 2001
    SF Bay Area
    The PW-2200 is a nice sub, and its in-room response can indeed go below 20 Hz. The 2200 costs $800 USD, and at $900 CDN it's definitely one worth considering. They also recently came out with the PW-2100, which uses a 10" driver, but shares the same 400 watt Class D amp as the 2200. On paper, its bass extension is just short of 20 Hz, and I'm not sure what the selling price on that model is. Both of them are ported designs, so there's a lot of competition in that range.

    The thing about auditioning subs at a dealer is that subs are more influenced by the room acoustics than main speakers, and the setup is trickier. So, you very well might have just heard something that was setup properly, since the location, the setup, the connection, all vary a lot by dealer. Most of the time, something is amiss with the setup (especially if other customers have tinkered with the settings).

    You can do the subwoofer connection several ways. You can high pass the connection using the speaker output, route it through the subwoofer crossover and over to the speaker. Or you can connect it with the subwoofer output on a HT receiver and let it handle the bass management. Or you can low pass the connection using a premain output, route it through the low pass crossover and back to the amp.

    The Rava SE is actually more designed to go with two-channel separates because it does not have a high pass speaker output. Its crossover configuration is recommended to connect between a preamp and amp. Dan Wiggins (CEO of Adire) uses the Rava SE with his tube systems (they also make 95 db sensitivity speakers designed to go with the Antique Sound Lab amps that they distribute). He also encourages customers who plan to connect the unit to a HT receiver or speaker outputs to stick to the regular Rava rather than the SE because with a receiver handling the bass management, the low pass crossover components in the SE would go to waste.

    Adire's based out of the Seattle area and they assemble their subwoofers there, so you could actually drop by and demo one of the Ravas if you wanted to. (though I would call ahead, since they're a fairly small company -- fewer than 20 employees) Or if you want something more maniacal, you could try and arrange a listen of their Parthenon driver, which can actually go down to 14 Hz with reference levels (105db) at 20 Hz out in the open with no box and no baffle.

    I mainly opted for the Rava because I wanted a sealed box, and at that time the Rava was the only game in town in the $500 price range. The sealed subs in the $500 range that B&W and Atlantic Technology now make weren't available yet. The measured in-room response I got with my sub (after equalization) was within 2 db down to 25 Hz, where it starts to gradually drop off with measurable output down to about 20 Hz. Paradigm's Seismic and Servo subs are also sealed designs, but unfortunately they're also much more expensive with the Servo-15 going for $1,500USD. The 2200 can maintain sustained deep output almost as well as the Servo-15, but the Servo's more gradual dropoff at the low end gives it better extension (and subjectively, a more natural sound).

    No matter what sub or connection option you go with, the room will ultimately dictate whether or not you need a parametric equalizer. Below 40 Hz in an untreated small to medium sized room, it's likely that you'll find at least one major peak that requires attenuating. Eliminating any problem frequencies like that will be critical to level matching the sub to the mains, since you don't want peaks like that to determine what level you use. The Rava SE does have a quasi-parametric filter built in, but I have no idea how it works or how effective it is. In my room, the Rava produced three huge frequency peaks (at least 10 db each), so the equalizer was a necessity to keep the bass from sounding boomy and monotonous.

    BTW, the PW-2200 is available in cherry and rosewood finish as well, so aesthetics won't be an issue. Comparing the Rava with the PW with regard to the cabinetry, I would say that the Paradigm is more polished looking and has more internal bracing, so it also weighs slightly more. The Rava has an Oak finish, and looks more like a well put together DIY project than something you would see at a store. The interior is unbraced, but the cabinet uses HDF rather than MDF, so it weighs only about 5 lbs. less than the PW2200.

    I wouldn't necessarily discount the Velodyne just yet (gotta home for them since they're built only a few miles from my home). I got a demo of one of those new compact servo subwoofers a few weeks ago, and it was impressive for such a small unit. Yes, it has a huge price, but it also comes with a digital EQ built in, along with a mic and software to do the calibration settings on a PC. I also heard one of the diminutive REL subwoofers (paired with Vienna Acoustics' new wall-mountable Schonberg speakers), and it too packed a pretty good punch, though I wasn't sure if it was a boost in the midbass or true extension that I was hearing.
    Last edited by Woochifer; 03-05-2004 at 10:21 PM.

  4. #4
    RGA is offline
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    Nov 2003
    Thanks guys.

    It's interesting you mention the ASL because I note they have now added a sub output to their newer integrated amps...among other upgrades. Since ass is a possible weak sopot for some tube amps this sub out makes a lot of sense wherein Rava can take over. A sort of hybrid set-up going on.

    The thing is this is a longer term plan. For the next 2 years I'll be in this room which 12X14 roughly - maybe slightly larger. Then it's off to Japan for a year or two to pay off the student loans then it's back to Canada, hopefully, for a job...and a new living space. SO ideally the sub can accomodate a bedroom and a typical apartment sized 14 X 25 kinda of living room.

    Perhaps I'm overthinking this and should hold off. I repositioned my speakers since this post into the proper corner placement and have gained significant bass depth and a better stereo helps to experiment.

    Soundhounds will let me try the subs at home of course but I don't have the behringer. My integrated only has one set of speaker outputs and no sub out. They have Paradigm so I'll see in the next few months.

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