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Sub for music when using full-range speakers? ($600-$750)

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  • Sub for music when using full-range speakers? ($600-$750)

    Knowing that the testing numbers from Craigsub & team are a starting point and that the right choice will vary by situation, I would welcome input on which factors are most likely to affect my situation. [Not asking you to choose for me, just to help me know what I should consider]

    My use is 95% music and I use full-range speakers (Paradigm Studio 100 v.2, biamped with Emotiva LPA-1s). Music style is classic rock, folk rock, roots/world-beat. Not extreme bass heavy music such as techno or pipe organ. Room is 15' x 25' (closed) and ceiling slopes 8' to 12'.

    My concern is that the majority of subs seem to be optimized for home theater and are designed to be combined with "monitor" speakers (i.e. the sub needs lots of boom and it has to cover 20Hz up to 80Hz).

    Based on reviews, I'm considering:
    - Hsu VTF3-HO ($759 with shipping based on clearance rate for Maple)
    - AV123 MFW-15 ($830 with shipping)
    - Anything else I should consider that is under $850 shipped)?

    So given my focus is music and that I only need the sub for the lower bass, what factors might make a sub best for my situation?
    - Would the 12" vs. 15" woofer be better for music articulation? I've always heard that smaller drivers are able to move quicker and therefore have more articulation -- but not sure if that is really an issue at the lower bass level.

    - Does bottom fire vs. front-fire have better ability to blend musically?

    - Other factors?

    Thanks for any insights you can provide.

  • #2
    How low do your speakers go? How much are you trying to fill in?

    Poisonally for music I would go with a small sealed jobber, 10-12". It is not that the ported subs cant do the job if built correctly, but you are right in your assumption that most are built for home theater.

    I think this is a project I would do myself, though I am sure others will give you suggestions.

    Seems to me you only need response to about 30hz, but you want something tight and with impact.
    Regular guy.
    Tubey or not tubey, that is the question :smoke1:


    • #3
      I do not have measure equipment, but specification and reviews indicate the 100 v.2's will handle down to 20-30Hz. And with bi-amping the speakers, there is enough power to drive them in that range.

      I'm primarily interested in filling in the lower end for piano, guitar, bass and drum.

      For the past decade, I've been primarily 2 channel (running in "pure audio" on pre-processor) and have not felt a need for subwoofer. But now I'm moving to multi-channel music and the electronisc in pre-processors has reached the point where setting crossovers on the pre-pro to direct some lower bass to a sub makes sense.


      • #4
        In your situation, I would definitely look at a good sealed sub or a sub designed for music. Unfortunately most will be well above your price range, but there are some out there.

        I would consider crossing over the paradigms well above whare they CAN go because you may very well find that the sub can handle the 30-80hz range better than the speakers can. I would expect both the HSU and MFW will outperform the studio 100's in that range, and a good sealed could be even better. Another benefit is with the crossover higher up the woofers in the mains are relieved of their most tortuous duties and have more excursion left over to handle the midbass duties.


        • #5
          I have not seen a information on sealed subs -- are there any ratings anywhere on those beasts? Or, any suggestions of sealed subs that should be considered within (or reasonably close to) my desired price range?


          • #6
            The problem is finding any in current production given the popularity of HT subs with better extension numbers. The AV123 UFW-10 and UFW-12 would be good bets but they are both currently out of production and both have been through long waits to get upgraded and "fixed". If you can wait a few months the UFW-10 is coming back into production or you may be able to pick up a used one. The upgraded UFW-12 HR is going to be one heck of a sealed sub, but again you will either need to find a used original and then send it in for the upgrade, wait and buy a used upgraded one, or wait until they return to production. I expect a new production UFW-12 to be a bit north of your price range though.


            • #7
              I recommend the Epik Valor for a sealed subwoofer or the MFW-15 or Epik Caliber for a ported design.


              • #8
                +1 on Epik...I have not heard their sealed designs, but Thorcorps' Caliber is like a mini earthquake.
                Regular guy.
                Tubey or not tubey, that is the question :smoke1:


                • #9
                  Only other sub I can think of is the SVS SB12.


                  • #10
                    Not to hijack the thread, but would the sealed Epik be better for music or a ported for a good size room. I want that nice tight bass that I can feel.


                    • #11
                      I have in the new GR Research Servo Sub in a sealed cabinet to test drive and it is a fantastic sub. It has been compared against a Vandersteen 2W (sealed) and an Audire xbl^2 sub (sealed) and is a step up from both of them. The cost would be around $850-875 depending on shippind and veneer.

                      Danny and Bryan (Rythmik Audio) have put together a 2-CH player's dream sub because the plate amp incorporates several adjustments not found on any other plate amp (to my knowledge). If you ever venture to Steel Town, you are welcome to stop by for a listen.


                      PS If you would like some info about the plate amp, please PM me your email address and I'll send you a Word file that has information copy and pasted from GR and Rythmik's website.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by laserman
                        If you ever venture to Steel Town, you are welcome to stop by for a listen.
                        If you include Steelers/Giants tickets in with the offer, I might come see you next Sunday! :D :D


                        • #13
                          The review of the wonderful little HSU HBI MK2 speakers in (I think it was) Stereomojo or Affordable Audio (you can link to the reviews on the HSU web site) recommend the HSU model 3 (I forget the exact model number... there is model 1, 2, 3 and 3 modified). I'm thinking about the smaller model 1 ($449), however, in the model 3 customer comments someone said they got a model 3 on sale for $299. However, I didn't see any information on the HSU web site about any current Sales.

                          Have you checked the Hawthorne Audio web site? They sell full range open baffle speakers and have bass unit. Also, I can't think of the name right now, but it's the guy in South Carolina (I think it is who makes the wonderful Hornshoppe speaker... he added a special lovely subwoofer to compliment his full range speaker. You should check that out. Maybe it will compliment your speaker, too. I've read that he is a very helpful, good guy to call up and talk to and ask for advice.

                          Let us know what you decide to try. I think there are a number of people in your situation with full range speakers that we wouldn't trade for anything but could benefit from the addition of a musical affordable subwoofer.

                          Believe it or not, even the little Tivoli subwoofer adds a lot to a small room (bedroom), dorm room, desk top, kitchen, etc. musical system.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Larry D
                            Also, I can't think of the name right now, but it's the guy in South Carolina (I think it is who makes the wonderful Hornshoppe speaker...



                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Larry D
                              However, I didn't see any information on the HSU web site about any current Sales.
                              It was probably for sale in their Clearance Center.