How much subwoofer output capability do you need in your system?

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Table updated to include the following subs:

View attachment 1579359

Amazing to see the original 300W 10" PB-1000 sitting one row below the SB-16 Ultra. It just shows what a port brings to the party at 20Hz. Still a few available at £449 I believe which is a great bang for the buck.

Yep mate it`s a beast there also in real life and for what price. However it`s bit lacking in the slam department. I don´t think the figures show that as clear, same for Mono 10". It`s been reported for years for PB1000 as in owners findings so that is important to think about too cause most real world program material is +30hz. Personally due to that alone i would sell something or save up few months to get PB1000 Pro which puts +3-4db where it matters and literally feels different product (feedback). Of course driver size has changed.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
It just seems odd that there is very little difference between the 1961 1s and the 1723 1s considering these are manufacturers figures. Using those figures as a guide, why would anyone pay considerably more for the 1723 when you can get nearly the same performance from the 1961?

Of course it is more than possible that I am misunderstanding what I'm reading: other threads may or may not prove this theory!!

Interesting table non the less and thank you for taking the time to compile it.

Sound quality and build quality should be higher on the 1723 flagship range. As per Arendal giving them 10year warranty (1723) and 5years for 1961. Both have 5y for electronics. I talked with them years ago about sound quality differences with these two ranges and Arendal said it was evident with the earlier legacy 1723 range and now they use beefier high excursion drivers with more powerfull amps. I think they mentioned dynamics one area where 1723 shines specifically over cheaper line. You can´t put a number on that. 2V data at Audioholics shows time domain measurements were superb also, i wouldn`t be suprised if Arendal 1723 would sound as good as some of the exotic brands with many times higher price tags (JL E/F, Velodyne DD+, M&K X, Paradigm, Ken Kreisel... ).
 

Mr Wolf

Well-known Member
Personally due to that alone i would sell something or save up few months to get PB1000 Pro which puts +3-4db where it matters and literally feels different product (feedback). Of course driver size has changed.
Agreed, I would still pay the extra for the Pro version's better performance plus the App's PEQs can have real tuning value to those not going the MiniDSP route.

I think they mentioned dynamics one area where 1723 shines specifically. You can´t put a number on that.
Yes, as I said I at the end of my first post (but worth repeating in case people are reading too much into this) these ratings are very useful for minimum specification purposes to avoid risk of distortion at 20Hz but that's about it.

For example, the best thing about my own PB-3000s is their near 120dB 50Hz chest slam output capability but that goes totally unrecognised in this analysis.
 

Mr Wolf

Well-known Member
CEA-2010 output testing results are at the heart of this thread. If you're in any doubt as to the value of this testing method and its relationship with real world performance then I suggest you should read this Brent Butterworth article published last month on the audio industry website, AudioXpress.


Here's an extract from it:

"I’d like to share an anecdote that shows the value of this [CEA-2010] measurement. In 1998, I conducted a blind subwoofer test for Home Theater magazine. The winner was a big subwoofer with a 15” driver, which the panellists praised for its deep-bass power. But when I measured the subwoofers, by summing near-field sweeps of the various radiating elements at low SPL, the subwoofer with the deepest measured response (-3dB at 18Hz) was a thin model with two unimpressive 8” drivers. Yet the listeners criticized this subwoofer for producing the weakest deep bass. Clearly it had been EQ’ed to deliver subsonic performance at low SPL; essentially cheating to get a better spec, but the device was not able to reproduce those frequencies at loud listening levels without substantial distortion and/or compression.

After much experimentation, I found a measurement that correlated with listener impressions: an SPL vs. distortion sweep at 20Hz. In this measurement, the 15” subwoofer could reproduce 20Hz at over 100dB, while the dual-8” model choked above about 85dB. This awakened me to the need for subwoofer output measurements, but fortunately, the work that evolved into CTA-2010 was already under way."


BB's observation here supports my view (and THX's) that a sub's maximum output level at 20Hz is the limiting factor on overall subwoofer output capability.
 
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Dobbyisfree

Well-known Member
I've ordered two Monoprice 10" THX (number 28 on the chart) for a room that falls at approx. between 2,750 and 3,000 cubic feet.

I have to confess that, yes I am excited, but also nervous. I realise all of the technical advantages over my current subwoofers, you could make a long list, but when it comes to it they are a big box with a same size woofer, similar sized port. So, I have to be honest and say I'm a bit worried.

If I was upgrading from the Polks in number seventy something in the chart, it would be obvious but, when it comes to it, there are no comparative figures for the Storms.

I'd appreciate it if you could give input to the following I've posted on the Monoprice THX owner's thread if you have any ideas please:


Or post it here, if you feel it could benefit others that make changes/upgrades.
 

Mr Wolf

Well-known Member
That's the beauty of CEA-2010 testing, it's measuring actual performance whereas specs can be a very poor indicator of expected performance.

Ultimately SPL is about shifting air. In that regard, the Mono 10" THX's driver will have far higher excursion capability than the Storms and 500W of efficient Class D amplification to make use of it.

The chart indicates one Mono 10" THX should be about -4dB capable in a 3,000Ft3 room so a pair should be good for 0dB i.e. cinema references level. As you listen at about -20dB that's 20dB dynamic headroom at 20Hz and, allowing for the +5dB uplift factor, 25dB headroom at the more widely used 31.5Hz. You certainly shouldn't be getting any compression or distortion.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
I've ordered two Monoprice 10" THX (number 28 on the chart) for a room that falls at approx. between 2,750 and 3,000 cubic feet.

I have to confess that, yes I am excited, but also nervous. I realise all of the technical advantages over my current subwoofers, you could make a long list, but when it comes to it they are a big box with a same size woofer, similar sized port. So, I have to be honest and say I'm a bit worried.

If I was upgrading from the Polks in number seventy something in the chart, it would be obvious but, when it comes to it, there are no comparative figures for the Storms.

I'd appreciate it if you could give input to the following I've posted on the Monoprice THX owner's thread if you have any ideas please:


Or post it here, if you feel it could benefit others that make changes/upgrades.

Mono 10" got the Large room rating by tiny margin (3000-5000cuft), however James said: I wouldn’t advise using it in a room much larger than 3,000 cubic feet, but of course as you have two then it should be plenty.

The 10” THX Select subwoofer is named after the ‘THX Select’ certification, which means it should hit 115 dB peak pressure levels in a 2,000 cubic foot room with a 10’ to 12’ viewing distance from the screen.


  • 10" THX Select subwoofer isn't quite able to produce chest-punching mid-bass alone


    That again applies for one so two will hopefully feel better. PB1000 was quite similar that 10" driver was beast in deep bass region, but sadly didn`t have the slam higher up what most owners commented.

    So you got the pair for 800£, that is not bad! The output looks similar to Monolith Plus which costs nearly 600£ each and the Monoprices should be built better (HDF cab) with modern technology and longer warranty without those humm/buzz issues BK often suffers.
 

Dobbyisfree

Well-known Member
So you got the pair for 800£, that is not bad! The output looks similar to Monolith Plus which costs nearly 600£ each and the Monoprices should be built better (HDF cab) with modern technology and longer warranty without those humm/buzz issues BK often suffers.

There's a cashback site with an offer, so the pair were £754.

If the BK breaks, it is no doubt ten times easier to sort it out, whether in warranty or after. But that's the main risk I've taken really.
 

Dobbyisfree

Well-known Member
Ultimately SPL is about shifting air. In that regard, the Mono 10" THX's driver will have far higher excursion capability than the Storms and 500W of efficient Class D amplification to make use of it.

The chart indicates one Mono 10" THX should be about -4dB capable in a 3,000Ft3 room so a pair should be good for 0dB i.e. cinema references level. As you listen at about -20dB that's 20dB dynamic headroom at 20Hz and, allowing for the +5dB uplift factor, 25dB headroom at the more widely used 31.5Hz. You certainly shouldn't be getting any compression or distortion.

But forget all of this. THX certification, Audioholics recommendations/guidelines, CEA-2010 figures. The important thing is, @rccarguy2 with two of these in my lounge, will we be able to watch films that are not just rom coms or the news? Perhaps maybe we can upgrade to Coronation Street? But that does have some occasional explosions 🤣
 

ariek

Novice Member
MrWolf,

First of all, thank you for your nice overview. It gives me a lot of overview on what to get related to rooms size.

I still have some questions related to these numbers, perhaps someone is willing to explain to me.

I am thinking of buying either the Arendal 1961 1S or the 1V.
Both should be sufficent for my 118m3 room at a more moderate listening level of around -15db.

Does the 20hz CEA2010 figures mean both subs can equally deliver at the lower frequencies or is there still some difference to to expect in the lower frequencies?

Arendal says below 40hz the ported model is more powerful, but if the CEA values can meet my listening level, what makes the difference here?

Will the rolloff be there anyway or can the 1S play linear all frequencies to 20hz at eg 95db in room?

Please someone enlighten me, highly appreciated.

Thanks in advance for your time
 

Mr Wolf

Well-known Member
Does the 20hz CEA2010 figures mean both subs can equally deliver at the lower frequencies or is there still some difference to to expect in the lower frequencies?
The CEA-2010 output figures represent a maximum SPL output below a specified low distortion threshold i.e. maximum clean output. This does not mean that two different subs that can both support maximum clean in-room output of 100dB (i.e. -15dB listening level) will sound the same in your room. All things being equal, a sub with more SPL output headroom is likely to sound punchier and more dynamic. Subs will also sound different according to their designs so a sealed 1961 1S is likely to sound different to the ported 1961 1V, especially at frequencies close to the 1V's port tuning frequency.

Arendal says below 40hz the ported model is more powerful, but if the CEA values can meet my listening level, what makes the difference here?
As I said above, having more SPL headroom can make a difference as can the design. I suggest you choose the sub that sounds best to you. Most people have a strong preference towards sealed or ported. Personally I much prefer the sound of ported subs for movies but many do not. For music I have a slight preference for sealed. If you know which you prefer your decision here should be easy.

Will the rolloff be there anyway or can the 1S play linear all frequencies to 20hz at eg 95db in room?
CEA-2010 maximum output is different to frequency response. A sub can have a steep roll-off of its maximum potential output under CEA-2010 testing but remain flat to the listener provided it is operating within its limits. The CEA-2010 maximum volume settings in the table effectively estimate what that flat limit is for movie soundtracks with 20Hz content. The 1S should be -12dB capable in a 113m3 room so at your -15dB listening level is capable of playing flat to 20Hz. In practice a single sub almost certainly won't be flat due to room modes and nulls. The route to a flat response is to have at least a pair of optimally located subs and to level match, time-align and EQ them.

Something worth pointing out here is that subs will be capable of higher maximum output at 20Hz than that indicated in the table but it will be at a higher distortion level than the CEA-2010 standard allows. At their lowest frequencies subs break the CEA-2010 distortion threshold before they run out of power because the driver's motor cannot maintain sufficient control of the cone at very high excursion levels. At higher frequencies lower excursion is required and the limiting factor becomes outright power, not distortion, and subs reach their point of compression before they hit the distortion threshold.
 
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Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
1961 1S hit 96db at 20db outside from 2meters in the Arendals data with THD inside CEA2010 protocol (not shown). If you bring it home and corner load it sub being 2meters away from MLP you should get +9db in best scenario.

So we now know that simply adding +12dB to our outdoor 2 meter peak groundplane SPL data (+9dB for RMS data) will give us an equivalent corresponding corner-loaded room output at 2 meters.

As Wolf mentioned the 1V will sound quite different when the sloth port is open. Arendal site also has review where they tested both and only the 1V could create the real earthquake feel with rumbling bass. Is that something everything wants? Not necessarily. However the 1V can be still driven sealed and due to larger cabinet it would still have performance edge (vs 1S) due to massive cabinet! This was one reason quite many early Arendal customers went with Sub 3 (vented) model to run it sealed, you got big washing machine sized box. 200€ difference, but price hike coming in week for Arendal products..
 

ariek

Novice Member
Thanks for your extensive feedback to this noob guys, appreciated :)
As I only know how a quality sealed subwoofer sounds, I need to find out how a good ported one sounds.
If I go listen to a XTZ or SVS locally, will that give a good impressions on the character of a ported sub,or do I really need to find out on the Arendal itself?
 

Mr Wolf

Well-known Member
As I only know how a quality sealed subwoofer sounds, I need to find out how a good ported one sounds.
If I go listen to a XTZ or SVS locally, will that give a good impressions on the character of a ported sub, or do I really need to find out on the Arendal itself?
I think it would help you decide.

My personal view is that sealed subs have a cleaner, more accurate sound signature which I really like with music as they blend more seamlessly with the main speakers. The reason I prefer the sound of ported subs for movies is that I find that crushing, noise based LFE effects sound far more realistic e.g. an explosion actually sounds and feels like a real explosion is happening in my room whereas with sealed subs it sounds more like a speaker is simply reproducing the recorded sound of an explosion.
 

rccarguy2

Well-known Member
I agree with wolf regarding sealed and ported subs my experience also.

The other benefit of sealed is they're smaller
Two sb4000 aren't too bad in size but two pb4000 are much much bigger and I'd have issues placing them. I'd rather have the speed of a good sealed sub than be bit ponderous for music which would annoy me (or I'd switch the sub off)
 

Dobbyisfree

Well-known Member
So, last Friday, I set up my new Mono THX 10" subwoofers in the front corners of our lounge. I wanted to post some comments here, rather than in the Mono thread, because I wanted to thank @Mr Wolf publicly for his recommendation!

Conclusion, what a difference :) for £754 the pair, this has been an immense upgrade.

The subwoofers are in front corners in a (currently) 5.2.0 system, with a jumbled mix of bizarre speakers but the speakers are well located to give good left/right separation. FL and FR are amplified by the x4400 with centre and surrounds from the Rotel power amp.

I ran Audyssey XT32, with sub EQ HT, using four positions (yes, criticise, but I've never seen a benefit running more in my room). We sit either side of the MLP on the sofa. So, post calibration, I:

  • Lowered surround channels by 1.5dB (accounts for us both being closer than MLP).
  • Raised centre channel by 1.5dB (done this for a long time now, works optimally for us).
  • Put a curve, peaking at 20Hz at 2.5dB, on the subwoofer channel. The curve still has an effect roughly 12Hz each way. This is what I have decided to do through experiment instead of DeQ (only use that with really bad programmes/films).
  • Raised crossovers to where it left Audyssey with a maximum band +/-9dB of calibration. Which meant 80Hz FL/FR, 150Hz C and 100Hz SL/SR (they are corner placed, so awful response).
  • Lowered subwoofer EQ filter down to 200Hz, as at around 240Hz there was a huge null (probably due to the RH one directing into a sofa?) to enable Sub EQ HT to better EQ.

Good things that I can see why they have happened:
  • The bass extension to lower frequencies is clearly audible. Another Life 2nd series (at -22dB MV) got them rumbling big time.
  • Previous subs rolled off at not much over 100Hz, so you can tell that these are capable well upwards from that. With the raised LCR crossovers, the subwoofers clearly do a much better job of that bass.
  • Adjusting crossovers upwards has meant that Audyssey has done the best sounding EQ that I have ever heard on the 5 speakers. I mean to a "get goosebumps with some adverts" kind of level. As such, I will take up @Jase idea of saving my AVR settings to a USB stick (so that I don't risk Audyssey calculation not being as good next time!). I call this the Audyssey random factor.

Good things that I can't see why they have happened:
  • I thought when I put the plinths under my old subs it made the bass sound non-directional. These subs are even better at that. With music, still crossed over at 80Hz, I genuinely can't tell the sound is not from the front speakers it has so well integrated. I don't understand why the subs are doing such a good job of this?
  • My wife pointed out (seriously) how the massive sound peaks from the speakers, particularly LCR are so much better. In her words, they make you 5h1t your pants. And I'm talking about the higher frequency stuff (not the subs). I can't explain why this would be better, but she's right?
  • The general low frequency with normal TV is much more present. The humming music in the ad before Emmerdale starts. The booms in Tipping Point. It just seems the whole world of low frequency is very present in everything just 2 channel TV. Not in your face too much, but present. I don't know why, unless it's just EQed better? Or the 20Hz peak I put in actually works with these subs!
  • Finally, there is a pronounced "background and foreground" in the soundstage. With Another Life, things going on in the background and/or music it was like it sat backwards from the front speakers (behind them) leaving sound you needed to hear more in front of them. Weird, and no idea why.

What I haven't tested yet:
- Another Life or a film called "The Guilty" (p.s. don't recommend, worst film ever) didn't have any real subwoofer dynamics. Either that or the subs are rubbish... no I don't think it's that. So looking forward to something on soon that shows the LF dynamics have improved. When the grandson is round to stay may put on the Nemo film where they bang on the fish tank!

What was comical:
  • So it takes about 3 months to get the subs out of the two boxes. Then, warning to dog owners, little bags of silica gel fall out of everything!
  • It says to plug the RCA into "one of the connections on the back". It doesn't tell you that one of them doesn't work! I swigged my whole pint of lager off, panicking that they were both broken and I would have to lift them back all over again. Can't remember if it was left or right you need to use... but I can easily see it if anyone needs to know.
  • What's with the gloves? I'm putting some subs in, not replacing someone's kidney. Can I sell unused Monoprice installation gloves on ebay?
 
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rccarguy2

Well-known Member
Told you!
 

Mr Wolf

Well-known Member
That's really good to hear and just shows what adding a pair of high quality subs can do for a system and at that price it really was a no brainer. It will be interesting to get more feedback from you once you've had a chance to run some high octane LFE demo material through it.

With music, still crossed over at 80Hz, I genuinely can't tell the sound is not from the front speakers it has so well integrated. I don't understand why the subs are doing such a good job of this?
I suspect this may be down to the Monos having a far superior transient response compared to the Storms due to them having 5x the amplifier power which enables them to exert far greater control over the same sized 10" cone. The port tuning frequency is also likely to be much lower which will reduce its contribution at musical frequencies which will be >40Hz.

What's with the gloves? I'm putting some subs in, not replacing someone's kidney. Can I sell unused Monoprice installation gloves on ebay?
Did they not tell you? All Monoprice sub owners are expected to train to be reserve referees for major snooker tournaments - The Crucible should be in touch with you shortly. :laugh:
 

AndreNewman

Active Member
So, last Friday, I set up my new Mono THX 10" subwoofers in the front corners of our lounge.
I've been wondering why you have been slacking, good to hear they are out of their boxes.


Conclusion, what a difference :) for £754 the pair, this has been an immense upgrade.
Excellent.


Good things that I can't see why they have happened:
  • I thought when I put the plinths under my old subs it made the bass sound non-directional. These subs are even better at that. With music, still crossed over at 80Hz, I genuinely can't tell the sound is not from the front speakers it has so well integrated. I don't understand why the subs are doing such a good job of this?
I think this is down to less distortion.

When the sub amp or driver distorts this is often harmonics which are multiples of the intended signal, these frequencies are high enough to be locatable.

Maybe there are other things as well but I had some clipping in the audio path and I was having trouble with locatable subs, now the clipping is gone I don't know where the subs are anymore and sometimes I'm convinced they are somewhere where there's no speaker at all!



  • My wife pointed out (seriously) how the massive sound peaks from the speakers, particularly LCR are so much better. In her words, they make you 5h1t your pants. And I'm talking about the higher frequency stuff (not the subs). I can't explain why this would be better, but she's right?
I'm still learning exactly what different ranges of frequencies are really, they aren't quite what I used to think.

Well glad you weren't left thinking, h'mm sounds the same as I had before... Due to not wanting to listen at reference levels.
 

IWC Dopplel

Distinguished Member
I recognise the effects of good bass, that's more than just 'good bass notes'

If its genuinely good it
  1. will add weight and scale to midrange requencies
  2. underpin the foundations of most scenes
  3. add a sense of space and realism to everything
  4. Add to the feeling of being there and scene immersion and tension
Hitting sub 20Hz adds no volume at all but adds all of the above
 

Dobbyisfree

Well-known Member
That's really good to hear and just shows what adding a pair of high quality subs can do for a system and at that price it really was a no brainer.

It completely changes the dynamics and quality of the whole system. I think it would an interesting idea on AVF for there to be a guide to newcomers on suggestions of how to spread the budget on AV. The active subwoofer needs to be right up there as one of the most important components!

It will be interesting to get more feedback from you once you've had a chance to run some high octane LFE demo material through it.

Did UHD BRs of Potter 1 and 2 (both in DTS:X). Sadly, the soundtrack had far, far too much surround output. And, also, not enough LFE (which the BEQcatalogue confirms). It took some experimentation to confirm (by the 2nd film) that it needed DeQ switched on with offset 10dB. This, for some bizarre reason as it normally does the opposite, quietened the surround to a decent level and upped the LFE. MV was -22dB.
Anyway, the subs were awesome. The capability of IMPACT is immense. We actually went back to the 1st film and watched the chess game scene again!
 

Dobbyisfree

Well-known Member
I'm still learning exactly what different ranges of frequencies are really, they aren't quite what I used to think.

Yes, I think you're spot on. The peaks incorporate a wide frequency band, so that the part of the sound that is being reproduced by the subwoofer though it isn't the mostly audible part (the higher frequencies are what you hear more) is actually the bit (i.e. the feel) that makes you fill your boxer shorts.

Well glad you weren't left thinking, h'mm sounds the same as I had before... Due to not wanting to listen at reference levels.

And, funnily enough, the success of the overall EQ means all of the sound seems so immensely clear that we are now typically listening at lower master volumes. Potter (as above) at -22dB to us was loud!
 

Mr Wolf

Well-known Member
I have an old B&W AS1. Any specs on that as it's 27 to 75 hz?
Just looked up the key specs on this sub:
  • 85 watt amp
  • 6.5” driver
  • low end extension of 27Hz at -6dB
That extension spec is a bit misleading. -6dB at those frequencies is about a 50% reduction in perceived loudness. The normally quoted -3dB point would likely be well over 30Hz which makes this more of a woofer than a subwoofer and any CEA-2010 measurements, if they were available, would make very grim reading.

Subs like this are designed for low level bass supplement on 2-channel music, not LFE on movies. The good news is you’re going to experience for one hell of an upgrade at some point if and when you move to a larger, more powerful sub.
 

JKRsega

Standard Member
Just looked up the key specs on this sub:
  • 85 watt amp
  • 6.5” driver
  • low end extension of 27Hz at -6dB
That extension spec is a bit misleading. -6dB at those frequencies is about a 50% reduction in perceived loudness. The normally quoted -3dB point would likely be well over 30Hz which makes this more of a woofer than a subwoofer and any CEA-2010 measurements, if they were available, would make very grim reading.

Subs like this are designed for low level bass supplement on 2-channel music, not LFE on movies. The good news is you’re going to experience for one hell of an upgrade at some point if and when you move to a larger, more powerful sub.
Aww, my little sub helped my Kef Concerto 2s and Cresta 30s out quite nicely! A certain dnb tune called Lost in this World by Netsky used to blow my mind when I first got it a couple of years ago off ebay for £70. Replaced it today with a SVS PB 1000 and yes, the depth its given all content is amazing! Not bad for £386 next day delivery.
 

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