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Which small sub? Kef, ProAc, other?

Discussion in 'Subwoofers' started by jrpavel, Mar 12, 2004.

  1. jrpavel

    jrpavel
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    I have a set of ProAc Hexa front/centre speakers, Kef 2005.2 surrounds and the Kef sub.

    While the Kef sounds good (ie, I cannot tell that the bass is not really coming from the other speakers) it does not seem to go particularly deep. Perhaps my ears are not down to it or perhaps it does not help to have the sub pointing down into a thick carpet (unavoidably).

    Options:

    (i) leave well alone;
    (ii) try the ProAc sub (although that seems to include a smaller speaker even though the box is bigger and so may not actually get me any deeper)
    (iii) consider another sub altogether. Which?

    Constraints: I don't want anything that is much bigger in footprint than the 12.6" Kef.

    Specs:

    Specifications PSW2010
    Design Powered Subwoofer
    Drive Units Closed box
    250 mm (10in.)
    Frequency range 30 Hz - 140 Hz
    Power Handling N/A
    Amplifier 250 W
    Sensitivity (2.83V/1m) N/A
    Maximum output (SPL) 108 dB
    Impedance N/A
    Internal volume 15.4 litres
    Weight 14.5 kg (31.9 lbs)
    Dimensions (H x W x D) 360 x 320 x 320 mm
    14.2 x 12.6 x 12.6 in.
    Cabinet finishes Silver, Black


    Technical Info for Hexa Subwoofer
    Recommended Amplifiers: Power output 200 watts 20hz to 120hz
    Bass/Midrange Driver: Bass; Heavy duty 8”long throw bass unit with four-layer voice coil and titanium former
    Crossover: Electronic adjustable crossover incorporated
    Dimensions
    13 1/2" (343mm) high
    14" (356mm) wide
    12" (305mm) deep with grille
    14 Kgs/cabinet
    Mode
    Floorstanding
     
  2. Andywilliams

    Andywilliams
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    Hi JR
    The b&wasw675 is a very good small sub,You dont say what your budget is but when i owned this sub i had couldnt fault it given its size.See if you can get a demo quite a few places stock them.
    Cheers Gonzo.
     
  3. jrpavel

    jrpavel
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    Thanks.

    The ASW675 seems to be 16" deep, so too big for me.

    The only other options that I have seen are:

    - Rel Quake
    - Velodyne SPL II 800 or 1000 (I heard the Mk I version in less than ideal circumstance: it was loud and deepish, but it did not strike me as very musical)
    - Anthony Gallo (small and flexible, but not v deep?)
    -Velodyne DD10 (appeals to the tweaker in me, but V expensive)

    Anyone with thoughts that might help me choose?
     
  4. Stellavision

    Stellavision
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    JR, size usually means a lot with subs. I get the impression that you are wanting the smallest sub with the lowest bass extension and the most power. Given the type of size you are looking at I suspect you will be lucky to get anything that goes below 30Hz.
    I second Gonzo's suggestion for the ASW675. I have just sold mine and it is a mighty fine sub. I think you would be lucky to find anything this compact which goes down to 17Hz like the B&W.
     
  5. Ian J

    Ian J
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    The problem you are facing is that it is an expensive undertaking to engineer a subwoofer that will play deep notes to a hifi standard. The B&W ASW675 has an excellent reputation but you have ruled it out as being too large.

    The REL Quake and Gallo subs are really midwoofers that won't provide you with much more depth (if any) than the KEF sub that you already have.

    That leaves you with the DD-10 which will presumably have the sort of performance that you are looking for at an acceptable size but it is £2,000

    Your choice is either stick with what you've got, spend £2,000 or decide that you can fit in something larger after all and open up the 90% of the sub market that you have presently excluded.
     
  6. jrpavel

    jrpavel
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    Hmmm. I really would prefer not to have to rearrange my house. What about the SPL II Velodynes in comparison to the DD-10? I heard the SPL Mk I (which, as I say, I had my doubts about); is the Mk II just a refresh or is it significantly better?
     
  7. Ian J

    Ian J
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    John E Johnson reviewed the mark 2 range for Secrets of Home Theater recently here and he seemed to quite like them although he said that the SPL-800 didn't have much depth.
     
  8. jrpavel

    jrpavel
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  9. Stellavision

    Stellavision
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    Why point us to reviews when you asked for the info?:confused:
     
  10. jrpavel

    jrpavel
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    I found the review after asking for the info and thought that it might interest others. It tells me that the DD-10 is fine (and the DD-18 better) but it doesn't help me compare to the SPL series.
     
  11. Ian J

    Ian J
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    I don't speak fluent enough French to read it all but I wouldn't call a score of 70% for Power and 70% for overall score, fine
     
  12. jrpavel

    jrpavel
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    The commentary seems gives a warm, if not over-enthusiastic impression of the DD10. This source does not seem to be quite as free in the dishing out of the *s as the UK mags are. The DD18

    The DD18, which according is supposedly unusurpassed, if only by reputation, only gets:

    Subjective dynamics: 4.5/5
    Grip/behaviour under power: 4/5
    Base extension: 4.5/5
    Ease of integration: 4/5
    Value for money: 4/5
    Overall: 5*

    The DD10 gets:

    Dynamique subjective : 4 / 5
    Tenue en puissance : 3.5 / 5
    Etendue du grave : 4 / 5
    Facilité d'intégration : 4 / 5
    Rapport qualité-prix : 3.5 / 5
    Overall: 5*

    By contrast the Mk I SPL 800 gets

    4* from Home Cinema Choice
    4* from WHF ("If you want a tiny subwoofer with massive muscle, look no further")

    Upshot: I'm not much closer to deciding between the DD10 and SPL II 1000 (or deciding to stick where I am, while waiting for something else to come along, such as the new Rels)
     
  13. installer09

    installer09
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    The only 2 subs there that get a 5 star recomendation if you read right to the bottom are Velodyne DD's.
     
  14. jrpavel

    jrpavel
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    Yes.

    Can you say a bit about why you have your DD-18?
     
  15. installer09

    installer09
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    I recently upgraded from a Rel Stentor 2, Ive listened to most of the top subs at one time or another ( I install homecinema for a living so get to hear a lot of gear) for my money no other sub comes close to the DD-18 , it has to be heard to be believed . Most people dont know what really deep undistorted bass sounds or feels like , the undistorted bit is the important part. Lots of subs go low , but not cleanly like the DD-18 , from what ive heard the DD-12 is at least on a par with the velodyne HGS-15 , one of only a couple of subs that are THX ultra 2 approved. It must be the best compact sub out there but obviously does'nt come cheap.
     
  16. jrpavel

    jrpavel
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    Thanks. That's helpful.

    Have you experience of the DD10 or SPL II 1000? How would they compare with the KEF (a) for music; (b) for movies?
     
  17. Ian J

    Ian J
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    Kent Home Cinema are not only forum sponsors but also Authorized Velodyne dealers. Their web page here deals with the Digital Drive range and I would suggest that it may be an idea to contact them and try and arrange a demo of both DD-10 and SPL-1000 models so that you can make your own mind up.

    My opinion without hearing either is that they would both be a significant improvement over your curent KEF subwoofer as they both cost significantly more to start with.
     
  18. jrpavel

    jrpavel
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    Thanks.
     
  19. pwiles1968

    pwiles1968
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    Is the BK XLS200 small enough?
     
  20. jrpavel

    jrpavel
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    Seems a similar size to the B&W above (ie, nearer 16" in depth than the 12" I would prefer).
     
  21. monkeyboy69

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    I've just purchased the spl 1200 but was originally going to go for the spl1000, I have heard both and can say without doubt they are fine subs.
    I upgraded from a paradigm pdr 10 and the difference is amazing. While the spl 1200 has too big a footprint for you benig 14x14x16 but the spl 1000 is about right in size.

    It has allowed my fronts to become far more detailed now and the bottom end is superb when used musically.

    Currently I'm only running this from a sony str 930 with b+w 602.2 fronts but it has made a world of difference to them. :D

    well worth a look
     
  22. Ian J

    Ian J
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    So I should hope as the Paradign was a "cheep n cheerful" at only £150 and was described by hifi Choice as "Hardly the last word in subwoofery". The Velodyne by contrast is over £1,000 at list price.
     
  23. monkeyboy69

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    Ian - there is no need to be rude, I was simply making a comparison because

    a) the PDR was my current sub and I could make a direct comparison
    b) the spl 1200 is no bigger than the PDR but produces a different completely sound

    yes I'll admit it costs more but only a fool pays list price.

    I could have gone for a cheaper yet larger sub which resembled a washing machine in my living room but myself and the originator of the thread wanted small subs with good output. I'd be more than happy to post a full review behind my reasonings for buying it should you wish , instead going for either a Rel, B+W, or another Paradigm.
     
  24. jrpavel

    jrpavel
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    Please do.
     
  25. monkeyboy69

    monkeyboy69
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    (warning long thread)

    Ok let me precede this mini review by stating I am not a hifi or home cinema specialist , I'm Joe Bloggs, John Doe the man on the street who likes to watch a good film in the comfort of his own home and listen to quality music. Neither do I work for any shop or producer of hifi components.

    So now a little background, I'm gradually upgrading my kit which currently consists of the following
    Arcam Dv27, sony str930, B&W 602.2 front, paradigm c350 centre, mission 77ds, paradigm pdr10

    Ok so the arcam was my first upgrade and now I was looking for a new sub. My current paradigm did an ample job and I was very pleased with it for the first 6 months it certainly gave a good output for the price, but I found it sometimes overshadowed films or music with its boominess. Even with tweaking and re-placing I just couldn't get it sounding right. So the mission was to get a better sub that had to fill certain criteria, be good for home cinema but also be able to handle fast bass for music, not too big in size and to have passed the WAF, and not break the bank. This had to fill a room 17 x 12 x 7.2. As money is an issue I also have no intention to upgrade too after this purchase so it'd better be good

    While searching around the forums there were a couple of brands that kept coming up. Paradigm, Velodyne, Rel and B&W

    Rel I ruled out due there being a 50:50 split on whether or not they were good or not, I an handle some people not being happy but that was too high a percentage.
    I really love the B+w series and even currently have fronts by them so I went and saw the new B&W subs as I'm looking at the 700 series as my next purchase, While they might of sounded good I didn't even bother trying them as they were too big for the room and I knew I'd be kicked into touch by the wife anyway.
    I then looked further at the velodynes and originally was opting for the CHT-12 or CHT-15, the CHT-15 seemed again too big for the room while comments on other forums have said the CHT-12 is good but jump straight to the CHT-15 for a better experience. Then I was made aware of the spl range. It seemed to tick most of my boxes and I plumped for the spl-1000, unfortunately there weren't any in stock but they did have a spl-1200, after measuring the dimensions it was no bigger than my current PDR-10 and as I wanted this to be my last sub upgrade I then knew if I bought the spl 1000 I'd wonder what the 1200 sounded like. So the 1200 it was then.

    So far I've only view / heard a couple of films and while comparing the PDR-10 with the spl 1200 is maybe an unfair comparison, it's a true reflection of the changes I found.
    Films tested
    Starship trooper – chapter bug clean – I like the way Pdr -10 plays this with explosions going off everywhere and when the extra large bug comes out of the ground the footfalls shudder things (great) , it's a very loud piece and gives you a good sense of their size. At first I was slightly disappointed as the velodyne didn't' sound as large a sound, but after playing more it was distinctly different as the boominess had been eliminated and all you got were punchy footfalls from the bugs.
    Daredevil – first fight scene in the bar – This is a great test as there are many different aspects of sound being played here, when you hear from the person in the bar perspective you hear loud rock music and gunshots but from daredevil perspective the mood changes entirely. With the PDR it sounded very muddled and you couldnt' distinguish this at all. Swapping for the 1200 was the first time I noticed this perspective change within the film which seemed to open up my fronts more and give them better clarity

    Music – groove armarda – vertigo – This album is just full of lovely bass and I'd seriously recommend it to anyone as a test disc. This is where I felt the biggest differences between the 2 were and it was a night and day scenario here, The PDR does give a lot of bass out but it often strangles whats coming out of the fronts. With the SPL the B&W have never sounded so good and these are a few years old now running from a sony str 930, not top of the range by any margin, but they really came alive

    By far the best track to test with was Track 8 -A private interlude – this has bass going in all directions and really has to be heard with the SPL in fact I heard several lower frequencies I never knew existed on that track before. The PDR had the track generally right but missed so much of it out . This was the definitive track to put a smile on my face.

    Now I've heard the phrase clean bass before but didn't totally comprehend it meaning and don't think I'd ever experienced it. Yes I've heard good setups and loud ones but I guess you're best at judging your own kit in your own home. Now I clearly understand this phrase,

    Bear in mind I haven't tweaked with the spl 1200 at all, just unpacked it set the cross over at 80hz and suitable volume for the room.

    In summary it produced a tighter far more accurate representation with HC and had a far greater frequency spectrum with music. It allowed the fronts to breathe more and sound much stronger in the setup instead of being stifled by boom. Lastly and it's a very minor point the PDR had a very slight hum and I was the only one in the room who could hear it unless they got nearer to the sub, the velodyne it absolutely quiet, ahh bliss at last
     
  26. jrpavel

    jrpavel
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    Thanks to everyone above for their input.

    I have a Velodyne DD-10 on demo at home and here is what I have discovered so far.

    The DD-10 has a microphone and display that is intended to help set it up. I used it first off to profile my existing sub. Sure enough, the Kef was reasonably well-behaved down to 40Hz, but then dropped to 0 output from 35Hz down. Since signals around 35Hz are said to be particularly important for meaty bass, it is no surprise that the sub-woofer sounds light.

    Substituting the DD-10 showed that my room absorbs 35Hz output; it had a deep notch there. After some fiddling with the equalizer settings, I was able to get a gently-undulating curve down to 20Hz, tailing off to 0 output at 15Hz.

    In doing this, I noticed that the DD-10 has a non-linear response to volume: I can turn the sound up on the sub-woofer from 10 to 15 and the output above 40Hz doesn't change much, although that below 40Hz does. It is not clear to me yet what overall effect changing volume using the receiver, rather than the sub itself, has.

    I should say that my initial impression is favourable. I would second all the comments about hearing "deep clean bass" for the first time; the effect is not so much making the windows rattle, but making the system sound much more substantial overall.

    I have no doubt that I can get more out of my Kef (fiddling with phase, volume, cinema/music, etc), but I would only contemplate doing so with the help of the Velodyne's spectrum analyzer. That is tedious enough: to try and do it without would be too laborious for me at least.
     

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