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Subwoofer shortlist

Discussion in 'Subwoofers' started by EvilDead, Jun 18, 2005.

  1. EvilDead

    EvilDead
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    Evening

    I'm thinking of upgrading the Strata III for something that will go lower and louder, it's far to easy to max it out and for me is the weakest link in my system (see below for details).
    What do you guys suggest I look at, I'm in a 22x14 room with high ceilings (converted chapel) and want something that will work equally well with music and movies.
    Shops have so far suggested M&K and REL, but I've been reading a lot about SVS on the forums, and also like the look of the B&W ASW850 (although that would have to be ex-dem/SH at the price). I wanted to get a better idea of what's out there as the shops seem to have limited ranges.

    Budget up to £1400, must be a nice wooden finish, and not too big! Ideally I'd like to demo beforehand as well.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Shaka

    Shaka
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    Try Velodyne too. I have the SPL-1000 II and it is fantastic and a great improvement over my previous REL Q150e.
    They're available in gloss black, maple or cherry.
    If you can stretch your budget a bit further, you might also want to consider the Velodyne digital drive series: Velodyne Digital Drive
    They're available in different driver size models starting from DD-10 at about £2k
    Here's a review for the DD-18 in Home Cinema Choice: DD-18 review
     
  3. Pulsar

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    Hi.

    If you have the space, and can put up with the poor looks, how about a couple of Paradigm Servo-15's? They go for about £350 - £400 each and are probably the best bang for buck available at the moment. With the spare money you could look at a EQ solution such as a BFD or Velodyne SMS-1 (if it ever comes out).

    I can give positive feedback on my Velodyne DD-15. It has masses of performance, nice looks, EQ and is not too intrusive. I also enjoyed owning a Velodyne SPl1200, but I don't think that would be sufficient in a room of your size.

    Good luck with your auditions and let us know how you get on.

    Cheers

    Rob
     
  4. Crustyloafer

    Crustyloafer
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    You might be able to find a second hand REL Stentor for that price. Mine's great I can highly recommend it.
     
  5. Crustyloafer

    Crustyloafer
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  6. EvilDead

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    Thanks for your replies.

    I'll certainly have a look at the Velodynes. I'm not sure that the wife would allow 1, let alone 2 Servo 15's through the door, though I appreciate they offer good value for money. I'll see if I can get a demo of the Stentor before the ebay auction closes.

    What other subs did you guys try when buying? How do you feel the ones you ended up with compare to the competition? And how much of an improvement over the Strata do you feel they would be?

    I'm also keen to get a feel for how they'd compare to the SVS PB12-Ultra which looks great value, but would be difficult to demo, and the B&W ASW850 which looks to offer what I'm looking for but at a price.

    Cheers.
     
  7. Shaka

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    I didn't think I'd notice much difference, if any, with the Velodyne over my previous REL Q150e. But the difference was instantly noticeable and impressive - the bass is just tighter, more controlled and faster. I absolutely love it.
    I want to demo their digital drive series next to see how much it improves on the SPL series. They are a bit pricey though ...
    I've also tried an M&K VX850 (I think !?), that was pretty good too, but personally I still prefer the Velodyne sound.
     
  8. u32t5645

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    You should be comparing the SVS PB-12 Ultra with the Velodyne HGS-12x. Between the two, I think the Velodyne is a better product, better driver control, tighter, but only available in a black finish. Bump up to the Velodyne DD series and you have different wood finishes to choose from…it also adds about $1k more for the digital controls.

    My room dimensions are a little larger than yours but with a 9-ft ceiling. Velodyne insists a 12-in sub is plenty. Perhaps you will need a 15-in, depending on ceiling height. I suspect 18-in sub will be way more than enough, but probably won’t hurt anything. I guess it depends on what you are going for. I don't know if SVS has anything bigger than 12-in drivers, but they do have some pricy models with multiple drivers in a single cabinet.

    SVS is a ported sub (bigger cabinet!), Velodyne is in a sealed cabinet. SVS has a 500w amp in the Ultra or Plus and a 320w amp in the ISD. Velodyne’s patented, digitally controlled class D amp is supposedly the most efficient amp in the industry, coughing up 1250watts/3000watts peak. Both Velodyne subs (HGS or DD) use the same amp.

    I’ll throw in as another vote for Velodyne, either HGS-x or DD, same drivers and amps in both. The digital controls in the DD subs are only needed of you need/want to tweak the sub’s performance for the room. Keep in mind most subwoofers on the planet don’t have anything like that. I look at it as a lot of money for something that I won’t use often, if ever after setting up. On the other hand, the latest Velodyne DD software update wipes out the memory (and your settings!) so you would have to go thru setup again after updating a Velodyne DD.

    Look at the Velodyne HGS if you are are willing to rethink a black cabinet. Don’t think you will be disappointed.
    :)
     
  9. Ian J

    Ian J
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    The Velodyne model isn't available in the UK
     
  10. EvilDead

    EvilDead
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    Is it fair to be comparing the SVS PB12-Ultra to the Velodyne DD12 (as HGS-12x is unavailable in the UK), the SVS is £1k, the Velodyne £2.5k? For that difference you'd expect a big jump in performance, so the fact they're being mentioned in the same sentance.........

    Has anybody compared the SVS to the Velodyne? Where would the ASW850 fit in on this comparison?

    I'm keen to hear peoples opinions, especially on the SVS which would be difficult to demo. Equally if the Velodyne is that much better I don't mind coughing up the extra.

    Thanks again for your input.
     
  11. the thing wnn

    the thing wnn
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    Where do you live m8?

    I live in Banstead near M25/M23 area south of london.
    I have a PB12-Ultra in rosewood finish. I haven't properly EQ'ed the beast yet, but you are more than welcome round for a demo as it is. It'd give you an idea of the range etc and general sound.
    drop me a pm if you want a demo :thumbsup:
     
  12. Ian J

    Ian J
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    According to a couple of friends that have heard them, the SVS PB12-Ultra/2 is similar in performance to the Velodyne DD-18 although it lacks the equalisation facilities of the Velodyne but is about £2,300 cheaper. By that token I suppose that one could reasonably expect the SVS to be far superior to the mere 12" version of the DD as well as still being significantly cheaper.

    I can't speak for the ASW850 but Smurfin owns one and has had a couple of different SVS models in the past so his input may be useful for you.
     
  13. Smurfin

    Smurfin
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    Lots of interesting opinions here...but not many of them seem to fall into the "not too big" category...however you're a little vague on your own definition of "not too big".

    The PB-Ultra is huge, in fact all of the subs mentioned are big with the exception of the DD-12 which is out of your price bracket anyway.

    If you can compromise on size then the PB-Ultra is well worth looking at, plenty of clean extension and it goes low. Don't be put off by the amp rating (compared to the Velodyne)...the subs work completely differently. Brand new in a wood finish would set you back in the region of £1000.

    Alternatively, you could try the PB-12 Plus/2 in a wood finish; will cost a little more than the single-driver Ultra, however you may wish to look at this option if your room is on the large size...the Plus/2 will offer more headroom than the Ultra (and it packs a 900watt amp).

    The B&W ASW850 - which I currently own - is a lovely sub; looks a bit different to some of the others as it has a curved cabinet, but it again plays low and loud with little distortion. This packs a 1000watt amp (actually, 2 x 500 watt amps) and will be sufficient to be driven in a large room. However, you're forced into the second hand market going this route, I just sold mine for a silly £1200...trouble is they don't come up very often.

    The servo-15....bargain sub and can compete with the big boys...sadly they only come in black so effectively this is ruled out.

    The DD-12 is certainly alot smaller than the others...if you can stretch your budget then it's well worth looking into (especially if space is a big concern). I wouldn't agree that anyone should suppose the SVS to be "far superior" to the DD-12....far from it. I doubt there'd be much in it at all, there are different pros and cons to each of them. Although I've never compared a Velodyne to SVS side by side, having heard both (and I'm about to be on my 3rd SVS sub :eek: ), I would describe the Velodyne (dd-18) as possessing more of a "dry" sound....however this could be as much down to the room as anything else (so take that comment with a pinch of salt...it also depends on what type of sound you like).

    Jeff would be a good person to ask, as he actually owns both a DD-12 and a PC-ultra (the cylinder version of the PB-Ultra)...

    If size becomes a real kicker, then I'd also suggest looking towards the B&W ASW750 in a wood finish. Although it doesn't extend as low as the others I've mentioned, it's compact and remarkably powerful (steep rolloff below 20hz though). I compared it side by side with the massive SVS PB-12 Plus/2....and there was little in it aside from extension.

    You have lots of options, if it's performance for the £ that's the highest priority, then look no further than SVS. If you want to go down some of the other routes you may be waiting a while as I've only seen a handful of Velodyne DD's being sold second hand (most owners don't ever want to sell them:) ), and the B&Ws are equally rare.

    I'm sure there are other options also, but I can't think of any right now (hangover doesn't really help!)

    Cheers
    Matt
     
  14. Ian J

    Ian J
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    I was referring specifically to the PB12-Ultra/2 which is the model closest to the budget limit quoted (although I didn't make that clear) and which is not only a step up the ladder from the models that you and Jeff owned but also 50% more expensive. When Secrets of Home Theater reviewed this particular model here they said that:-

     
  15. EvilDead

    EvilDead
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    So it seems the concensus is the Velodyne DD12 and SVS PB12 Ultra are indeed in the same ballpark, despite the cost difference.

    Smurfin- You characterise the Velodyne as "dry" sounding, did you hear any other subs in the same room? I'm just trying to get an idea of what sort character you'd say the B&W and SVS have?

    We could fit something the size of a PB12 Ultra in without any problems, its not like I've got an area that will fit a box of X x Y x Z in, its about perceived size (easy now!) and this is where the nice finish comes into play, I could get a box that looks like a piece of furniture in with far fewer complaints than one half the size that doesn't appeal to the missus. Having said that the PB12 is at least twice the size of the Strata, maybe they do a camoflage one to order?!

    The budget could also be reviewed, I don't mind waiting to save up a few more pennies or waiting for ex-dem/SH to come up. What I'm after is a sub that will blow the Strata away (all those mentioned should do this comfortably) and gives the sound/level of performance I'm after with the lowest outlay. If this means coughing up £2.5k then fine, I'll just have to wait a bit.

    Thanks for the offer of a demo the thing wnn, unfortunately I'm over in Gloucestershire so its not easy to pop over, don't suppose there is anyone else out there with a PB12-Ultra who wouldn't mind demoing who's a bit closer?

    Thanks again for all your input.
     
  16. Smurfin

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    Errr...


    :confused:
     
  17. Ian J

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    I had edited my post as I realise that I hadn't made that point obvious - but obviously not quickly enough.
     
  18. spiver

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    I`m with Crustyloafer on this one. The REL Stentor is superb. Its just pulled my whole system together after years of living with cheaper/smaller but ultimately frustrating subs. It might be a bit big but theres loads of gorgeous real wood veneer and a glass top. Not that easy to find and you may have to fork out around £1000 for a good 2nd hand one.
     
  19. u32t5645

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    If a smaller footprint is a criterion, a ported sub may not be the best choice.

    Too bad the Velodyne HGS-x series isn’t on your side of the pond. It’s the same as the DD series w/o the digital control…at about 60% of the price. Oh well, guess you can’t expect to have all the really good stuff.
    :)

    You should have access to Axiom subs, from Canada. The EP-500 and EP-600 has several different wood finishes available. They are also very well regarded, in the same class as Velodyne and SVS.

    http://www.axiomaudio.com/ep500_main.html

    Do you have subs by Hsu Research on your side of the pond? I have never read where someone has replaced their Hsu sub with something else. I haven’t heard one, not may places carry them, mostly mail order sales. Somewhere on the Hsu website they state that making a subwoofer is about designing trade-offs. Hsu’s goal is to make high-end audio performance available at a reasonable price. They claim it can be done. Color me stupid, but the lower prices of the Hsu products scare me.

    http://www.hsustore.com/vtf3.html
     

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