Can subwoofers be too large for a room? Output, rather than physical size.

Conrad

Moderator
As others have said, this is not standard practice at all afaik. By all means work around the room, but I've never ever seen it recommended to essentially 'give up' on sub-bass; rather the typical idea is to fight the room with bass traps and multiple subwoofers and eq.
Not only is the advice given here very defeatist (give it up, it can't be done), not putting a sub in a corner is the opposite of the usual suggestions from SVS, Floyd Toole, etc. on how to get the best out of your sub.

Very odd.
 

Goodmane

Active Member
Not only is the advice given here very defeatist (give it up, it can't be done), not putting a sub in a corner is the opposite of the usual suggestions from SVS, Floyd Toole, etc. on how to get the best out of your sub.

Very odd.
I'm not sure whether you're referring to the link I posted or my post, or the post I was replying to...:)

For myself I've not had much luck fighting boom in corners and figured it was the same as regular speakers get boomy in corners, but because subwoofers are expensive, people often prioritize volume over quality, and to get volume on the cheap, you're better off in the corners.

I always intended to measure using REW, but never did, so I'm not going to argue with you as it sounds like you have more experience. I do remember reading that a study found middle of the walls front back and sides for four subs resulted in good eq, but lowest output vs corners. But take it with a very large pinch of salt cos I can't name the study or even the size / shape of the room. I guess measurement is going to beat this anecdotal stuff every time due to room differences...
 
Last edited:

Conrad

Moderator
I was agreeing with you and expanding on your point. The advice being given by @Branislav is pretty unorthodox to say the least. That doesn't always mean it's wrong of course, but you'd think that if it was correct it would have come up before now in Toole's research or HTGuru's videos or something.

As for corner loading, it doesn't always work but it's often a good start. It puts the sub next to three surfaces (two walls and the floor) so it gives the most boundary reinforcement and can give you the most output and extension. It can need taming with EQ though, unless you can use phase from multiple subs to deal with it. If not corners then mid/quarter/third wall lengths can give good results, with the mirror image on the other side of the room. Reflections are predominantly symmetrical so symmetrical subs can help to cope with the build up of standing waves.
 

Harkon321

Well-known Member
@Harkon321 which sub models are now on your list at top?

In the short term, I’ll use the MK V12 I have here. That will eventually ne ext to the sofa in the open plan kitchen area (it’s white) but it’ll be fine for the time being.

Then SVS SB3000 or cylinder equivalents or a pair of 15” PSA maybe, although I’ve still not understood their model numbers. Monolith another possibility, if there is ever UK stock, but might be too deep.

@Conrad. Ive bought a UMIK and downloaded REW. Have tried the room sim and when I’ve finished decor ill learn how to do some sweeps.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
In the short term, I’ll use the MK V12 I have here. That will eventually ne ext to the sofa in the open plan kitchen area (it’s white) but it’ll be fine for the time being.

Then SVS SB3000 or cylinder equivalents or a pair of 15” PSA maybe, although I’ve still not understood their model numbers. Monolith another possibility, if there is ever UK stock, but might be too deep.

@Conrad. Ive bought a UMIK and downloaded REW. Have tried the room sim and when I’ve finished decor ill learn how to do some sweeps.

S1512 you mean probably. :) Now 1400£ and in-stock too. I wonder would Ricky have any demo units for you to try at your room first?
 

Goodmane

Active Member
I was agreeing with you and expanding on your point. The advice being given by @Branislav is pretty unorthodox to say the least. That doesn't always mean it's wrong of course, but you'd think that if it was correct it would have come up before now in Toole's research or HTGuru's videos or something.

As for corner loading, it doesn't always work but it's often a good start. It puts the sub next to three surfaces (two walls and the floor) so it gives the most boundary reinforcement and can give you the most output and extension. It can need taming with EQ though, unless you can use phase from multiple subs to deal with it. If not corners then mid/quarter/third wall lengths can give good results, with the mirror image on the other side of the room. Reflections are predominantly symmetrical so symmetrical subs can help to cope with the build up of standing waves.
Thanks, I have put off getting a rew microphone for 4 years to measure my room. Although I'm happy with the receiver's efforts, I'd like to know how well the room is performing generally. The better part of me knows the knowledge will result in me trying to blend in more subs, probably badly...:)
 

ONEDGE

Novice Member
My new room is 3.8m x 3.5 x 2.3m. Dedicated room, sealed, literally seating and an AV cab in the room. Plan is two subwoofers, loads of placement options.

I've bought a huge amount of my equipment as ex demo or second hand for the new room. Currently all boxed ready to fit - MK IW150, MKIW95s, MKIW85s.

It's not a big room so shouldn't be hard to pressurize, but how big is big enough? I imagine at some point, if you're running a pair of huge PSA 18" subs or the pair of SVS PC4000s (that I've just been looking at in the classifieds), that you are only running them at a small amount of their potential. Loads of headroom (no distortion), but will it ever be used?

In my current living room set up (similar size) I've run Dali E12-F, Monolith+ and, currently, a MK V12. The MK V12 I've got in there at the moment is a capable sub, really good for music. The EQ needs redoing on since I've moved it, but it doesn't scare me. That's what I'm after... The explosion, or gunshot, or score that pins you to your seat.
But how big do you go to achieve that.... I'm guessing a pair of SVS PC4000 would certainly do it, but do I need to go that big? Is a pair of ported subs that big going to be a nightmare to EQ... I had planned on going sealed given the room dimensions.
I've got 2 x SVS PB3000, room is 8M x4m 2.7 . These subs are plenty for the room mostly for HT but sound great for music as well , but take up huge real estate. Judging by your room I would probably go the PB2000 pro & even audition the sealed version. One may even be enoughpositioned correctly
 

Ultrasonic

Well-known Member
That is what in the books. Too hard to read, I know. Most people here who pretends to be an experts does not even know what is resonant frequency of the room. Sad.
I'm going to have one stab at what you might have misunderstood from what you've read in case it helps you.

It is not uncommon for the lowest frequency room mode to be the most problematic. It is in my own room, with the measurement below demonstrating this for one of my main speakers with no acoustic room treatments present and psychoacoustic smoothing applied to best demonstrate what will be heard. For music with frequency content close to the mode at around 35 Hz the dominant low frequency peak makes this sound horribly boomy and distracting from everything else. This can mean that other frequency content at the same time will be less noticeable (be 'masked') and might be what you had in mind about not being able to hear below such a peak. If lower frequencies are played in isolation of that of the lowest mode then there will be no such masking effect though and they will be heard.

R Shearwater No Absorbers Psy.jpg


Speaker positioning, and where the listening position is, can be used to mitigate the effect of room resonances but for the lowest mode it would generally be necessary to have either the speakers or listening position at the center of the room to achieve much, which isn't usually practical and introduces issues at other frequencies anyway. As a consequence behaviour like in my graph tends to lead traditional audiophiles to conclude that the speakers are 'too big for the room' and they typically end up with smaller speakers with reduced bass extension, since if they don't go low enough to excite the room mode then it will remove the obvious problem. It will though also deprive them of genuine audio content at the lowest frequencies and so is a definite compromise. My best guess is that you may have read something with this approach in mind.

However, none of this really relates to modern home cinema setups with subwoofers and crucially digital signal processing (DSP) to allow signal levels at room resonance peaks to be reduced so that they no longer dominate what is heard. As example graphs already posted in this thread show it is perfectly possible for people to achieve a fairly smooth bass response to well below the lowest room mode frequency. Everyone who has achieved this also knows from personal experience that they can unquestionably hear frequency content below the lowest room resonance frequency peak too. The Edge of Tomorrow example mentioned above being a simple demonstration of this in any system capable of playing low enough.
 

Ultrasonic

Well-known Member
For myself I've not had much luck fighting boom in corners and figured it was the same as regular speakers get boomy in corners, but because subwoofers are expensive, people often prioritize volume over quality, and to get volume on the cheap, you're better off in the corners.

The increased output achieved from corner loading is also about quality improvement rather than just being louder as the two are not independent. With any subwoofer the harder it is working (the more cone travel) the higher the distortion will be. So for any subwoofer, no matter how high quality it is, you will get lower distortion for the same output level if it is placed in a corner.

Without EQ corner loading will though generally lead to the highest room mode peaks which will sound boomy. Once these are tamed with EQ this problem is removed though.

This is not to say that subs should always be in corners, with positioning to avoid significant dips in the response at the listening position being key.
 

Rickyj at Kalibrate

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
In the short term, I’ll use the MK V12 I have here. That will eventually ne ext to the sofa in the open plan kitchen area (it’s white) but it’ll be fine for the time being.

Then SVS SB3000 or cylinder equivalents or a pair of 15” PSA maybe, although I’ve still not understood their model numbers. Monolith another possibility, if there is ever UK stock, but might be too deep.

@Conrad. Ive bought a UMIK and downloaded REW. Have tried the room sim and when I’ve finished decor ill learn how to do some sweeps.

Just a quick post to explain the model numbers.

  • There are 3 variations, S, V, TV, which stand for Sealed, Vented (Ported), and Tall Vented.
  • These are followed by driver size: i.e. 15 = 15 driver, 18 = 18" driver, 30 = 2 x 15" Driver.
  • The penultimate number is the amp variation. The original amp (which did not have XLRs) was 0, current amp has XLRs and trigger connections, and is 1.
  • The final number relates to the driver. There have been 3 variations of the 18" driver, but only 2 for the 15", so the original was a 0, and the current is 2 (1 is not used for 15", only for 18" which had an intermediate change).

The current 15" sealed subwoofer is the S1512, which basically breaks down as Sealed 15" subwoofer with current amp (with XLRs) and latest B&C driver. I hope this helps?
 
Last edited:

Conrad

Moderator
It’s going to get very confusing when there’s a sealed 24” and a dual opposed 12”! :D
 

Rickyj at Kalibrate

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
@Rickyj at Kalibrate
Final question. When did the models change from 0 > 1 > 2 or 0 > 2?
If we look at the 15", the driver changed in 2019. This was a move from Emminence to B&C, so a major change.

The 18" driver went 0 to 1 (tweak on the eimminence driver) in 2017, and moved to the B&C drivers (like the 15") in 2019.

We do not expect this to change again soon (hence the release of some different models).
 

Harkon321

Well-known Member
Spoke to SVS Today with regards to what they would recommend.

Based on your room size, listening levels, and usage, I would recommend Dual PB-1000s even, but if you wanted our current best technology, impressive levels of output, and even better accuracy and punch, Dual PB/PC-2000 Pros would suit those needs. I do recommend going ported for movie watching as they hit deeper and pressurize the room better which movies take advantage of.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Spoke to SVS Today with regards to what they would recommend.

Based on your room size, listening levels, and usage, I would recommend Dual PB-1000s even, but if you wanted our current best technology, impressive levels of output, and even better accuracy and punch, Dual PB/PC-2000 Pros would suit those needs. I do recommend going ported for movie watching as they hit deeper and pressurize the room better which movies take advantage of.

Intresting. There is PB1000 Pro coming at some point and definitely the 2000 Pro series would be in another level many ways over old 1000 range. But can you fit such large boxes?
 

Harkon321

Well-known Member
Intresting. There is PB1000 Pro coming at some point and definitely the 2000 Pro series would be in another level many ways over old 1000 range. But can you fit such large boxes?

Only place space is tight is front left corner (door opens towards that corner). There is about 45-50cm of depth there, but unlimited width - so could always but larger sub side on, although wouldn’t look as good.

PC2000 would fit but might struggle with a PB2000 if facing front on.
 

Smithster

Standard Member
Hi, I read this thread looking to answer this question:

Do big subs (say a 15” driver) or multiple subs, become bad at low volumes, or when playing music?

I’m wondering if their high mass (or combined mass for mutliple subs) makes them less agile for the delicacies of music, especially at low volumes.

I suppose I’m asking, can you really achieve a setup that gives both excellent room-pressurising bass for movies, but also the speed and agility for music?

I tend to listen to movies loud, but music quieter.

Thanks
 

Mr Wolf

Active Member
Hi, I read this thread looking to answer this question:

Do big subs (say a 15” driver) or multiple subs, become bad at low volumes, or when playing music?

I’m wondering if their high mass (or combined mass for mutliple subs) makes them less agile for the delicacies of music, especially at low volumes.

I suppose I’m asking, can you really achieve a setup that gives both excellent room-pressurising bass for movies, but also the speed and agility for music?

I tend to listen to movies loud, but music quieter.

Thanks
A sub with a larger driver can be as agile (or more agile) than one with a smaller driver. It simply needs more motor strength to maintain agility, a design parameter known as "BL". Having a high BL factor is what allows a sub to start and stop quickly.
 

Smithster

Standard Member
That’s interesting Mr Wolf, I’ve not heard of this.

Is this something you can obtain from manufacturers and compare? Would you know what a good BL factor is?

Thanks
 

Mr Wolf

Active Member
I think there are so many interdependent factors that go into a sub's design that it's probably not a good idea to try and determine SQ performance from specifications. That's best done with reviews and testing.

BL is probably much like power (or torque) to weight ratio in a car and how it correlates with acceleration. So, all other things being equal, decreasing cone size (i.e. weight) and increasing power all should improve a sub's agility and vice versa. I don't know if it's a reliable Rule of Thumb but the best rated subs all seem to have at least 4 watts of RMS power per square inch of cone area but, as I said above, I would let ears be the ultimate judge of a Sub's sound quality, not specs.

I think the power to driver size ratio probably also has a lot to do with the "explosiveness" quality that some reviewers talk about in relation to subwoofer performance. The "Youthman" guy on Youtube talks about this a lot in his sub reviews and it's the main reason I recently chose a pair of SVS PB-3000s over PB-2000 Pros. The PB2Ks would certainly have had enough total SPL output but Youthman (who runs PB-16 Ultras himself) said that the PB3Ks were the lowest model in the SVS range that had an "explosive" quality about them in their delivery. The PB3Ks and PB2Ks have 6.0 and 4.9 watts of RMS power per square inch of driver area respectively.
 

Liammonty123

Well-known Member
To add to the explanation above, larger drivers are also more efficient than smaller ones, requiring less XMAX to reach the same spl as a smaller driver, which equates to less distortion.
 

Smithster

Standard Member
Thanks guys.

I don’t reaaally have the money for a new sub right now, but I’m window-shopping for something that ticks all boxes with movies and music, and also isn’t too big.

I’ve concluded a sealed 15” is the way to go.

I think it’ll be ample output for my room, but just not sure about their agility for music.

I’ve been watching Youthman’s vids on YouTube, they’re good aren’t they! He loved the PB3000, but that’d be too deep for my small living room. It’s bigger than my BK monolith!
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Thanks guys.

I don’t reaaally have the money for a new sub right now, but I’m window-shopping for something that ticks all boxes with movies and music, and also isn’t too big.

I’ve concluded a sealed 15” is the way to go.

I think it’ll be ample output for my room, but just not sure about their agility for music.

I’ve been watching Youthman’s vids on YouTube, they’re good aren’t they! He loved the PB3000, but that’d be too deep for my small living room. It’s bigger than my BK monolith!

SVS SB3000 or PSA S1512? While the SB3000 has smaller 13" driver it performs more like 15" woofers at least in the 40-80hz range so if looking that slam.. Check out the Audioholics review if you haven´t yet.

PSA is quite small, similar size to BK XXLS400 almost. But yeah these ain`t cheap. Can always try your luck for used one with warranty or if Ricky has ex-demo/trade in PSAs.

 

Ultrasonic

Well-known Member
Do big subs (say a 15” driver) or multiple subs, become bad at low volumes, or when playing music?

You've had lots of good replies above that cover why the answer to this is essentially 'no'.

One point I just wanted to add is that the biggest limitation of listening at low volumes is probably how our hearing sensitivity falls off, meaning that bass may well sound 'bad' but this has nothing to do with what a subwoofer itself is doing. A low-volume specific EQ curve that proportionally boosts low frequencies more is one way to address this, although it may not be practical if it ends up reversing a key objective of listening at low volumes in the first place!
 

The latest video from AVForums

Oculus Quest 2 VR headset + Rotel A14 MkII Amp Reviews & Best of the Month
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Latest News

Hisense increases Laser TV sales following Euros
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Samsung Smart Start offer grants access to premium TV apps
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
DS Audio launches third generation DS003 optical cartridge
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
JBL announces L52 Classic speaker and L75ms all-in-one
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Sony Bravia XR X95J TV range gets 65-inch model in August
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom