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xr3tf

Basic "sub woofer shootout" setup

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Posted (edited)

Myself and a few friends want to do a "sub woofer shootout" to compare the performance of about 10 sub woofers, which include Bose, B&W, Klipsch and Yamaha units of various specifications and sizes.

 

This is not intended to be audiophile standard testing, but rather just playing around with some units to see which appeal most to us, who are definitely non-audiophiles but do share a keen interest in home audio.

 

Any guidelines would be greatly appreciated in terms of creating an environment that put all the components on an equal playing field, which variety of sound tracks provide best range for testing, and what to listen for to determine which is the preferred (as opposed to best) sub woofer.  Content will have to be streamed via YouTube or perhaps Tidal or similar.  The balance of the system will be either Yamaha NS555 or B&W683 as mains and Yamaha NS444 or B&W HTM62 as centre speakers, driven by Yamaha Aventage 830 receiver.

 

The focus would probably be 75:25 towards home theatre use.

 

 

Edited by xr3tf

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The key is positioning them at the same location, even 0.5 m can change things.  And calibrate all of them to have the same volume and settings (phase, cross over, switch off PEQs etc.)

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Try and source a copy of the Dolby demo disc which has some great tracks you can use to test your subwoofer. An audio dealership might be able to lend it (they won't sell it though). I find if I increase the distance to MLP by another meter after calibration, the effect is dramatically improved as it changes the timing/delay of when the signals arrive at the MLP.

 

Given your use case movies:music 75:25 In order for to test the subs effectively for movie content I'd feed LFE content that dips below 20Hz - stereo music rarely does that - and see how the sub performs. 

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Before you begin, throw the Bose in the trash

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I respectfully disagree about worrying about sending sub 20Hz content to subs of the mentioned manufacturers - unless you are looking to see if any of them completely drop their bundle?

 

Is there any intent in the test to measure the SPL and frequency response or will it just be a matter of letting whatever onboard calibration system on the receiver do it's thing?

 

 

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35 minutes ago, Pieface said:

I respectfully disagree about worrying about sending sub 20Hz content to subs of the mentioned manufacturers - unless you are looking to see if any of them completely drop their bundle?

  

Is there any intent in the test to measure the SPL and frequency response or will it just be a matter of letting whatever onboard calibration system on the receiver do it's thing?

 

 

Could you please elaborate why that is not desirable? I would like to understand. In my case, I did not want to miss frequencies below 20Hz that is quite common in movie tracks. You may not hear it but certainly you do feel it and it most certainly enhances the experience. I would also add I would not consider a subwoofer if it didn't have a 12" or 10" driver. I've read that pipe organs are absolute torture for subs, sometimes going even below 17 Hz. If you want to truly reproduce and feel those frequencies for movies you would need a sub that dips below 20Hz. That being said OP, what is the full short list of subs you have? I would bet some on your list would most certainly dip below 20 Hz.

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4 hours ago, xr3tf said:

Myself and a few friends want to do a "sub woofer shootout" to compare the performance of about 10 sub woofers, which include Bose, B&W, Klipsch and Yamaha units of various specifications and sizes.

 

This is not intended to be audiophile standard testing, but rather just playing around with some units to see which appeal most to us, who are definitely non-audiophiles but do share a keen interest in home audio.

 

Any guidelines would be greatly appreciated in terms of creating an environment that put all the components on an equal playing field, which variety of sound tracks provide best range for testing, and what to listen for to determine which is the preferred (as opposed to best) sub woofer.  Content will have to be streamed via YouTube or perhaps Tidal or similar.  The balance of the system will be either Yamaha NS555 or B&W683 as mains and Yamaha NS444 or B&W HTM62 as centre speakers, driven by Yamaha Aventage 830 receiver.

 

The focus would probably be 75:25 towards home theatre use.

 

 

Depending where and when this is (my work schedule is crap), I could potentially help out by bringing my measurement rig (CSL calibrated Umik-1 microphone and laptop with REW)

Even if you didn't want to run FR sweeps, REW's tone generator, SPL meter and RTA may be useful.

 

I also have a 1 TB portable HDD with 100's of 1-3minute  movie scenes and music with uncompressed HD audio which makes demoing very quick and easy

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11 minutes ago, MaxPlumage said:

Could you please elaborate why that is not desirable? I would like to understand. In my case, I did not want to miss frequencies below 20Hz that is quite common in movie tracks. You may not hear it but certainly you do feel it and it most certainly enhances the experience. I would also add I would not consider a subwoofer if it didn't have a 12" or 10" driver. I've read that pipe organs are absolute torture for subs, sometimes going even below 17 Hz. If you want to truly reproduce and feel those frequencies for movies you would need a sub that dips below 20Hz. That being said OP, what is the full short list of subs you have? I would bet some on your list would most certainly dip below 20 Hz.

Sub 20Hz capability is great but I would be very surprised if the subs on test are going to perform in that zone. I may be mistaken but it sounds like they are going to look at a few of the commonly available 8-10-12" big brand subs. 

 

If you want meaningful output at and under 20Hz you are likely going to need to look at 15"+ subs that are ported and tuned low, multiple driver arrays or some sort of pretty esoteric (aka big and/or expensive) 12". 

 

Maybe if they have one of those Klipsh 15" subs to test they will get there...but we are talking about a 140L, 35kg box at this point. 20Hz and under bass is no joke. 

 

 

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8 hours ago, xr3tf said:

Myself and a few friends want to do a "sub woofer shootout" to compare the performance of about 10 sub woofers, which include Bose, B&W, Klipsch and Yamaha units of various specifications and sizes.

 

 

 

 

I guess your budget should determine the size of the contender list ( and size of the contenders on it!!!)

 

For around the $1K mark I suggest the Whatmough Tornado.......a sealed design that is tight and clean.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Pieface said:

 

If you want meaningful output at and under 20Hz you are likely going to need to look at 15"+ subs

 

Absolutely!  :thumb:

 

Quote

 

that are ported and tuned low, multiple driver arrays or some sort of pretty esoteric (aka big and/or expensive) 12". 

 

 

Not necessarily.  The subs that @Paul Spencerconcocted for me are not 'esoteric' - simply:

  • sealed boxes about (OD) 900H x 400W x 600D
  • with a 15" Dayton 'Ultimax' driver, and
  • an 800w Hypex plate amp.

I have an LP of Bach organ music which has a 'test track' filler, with 8Hz, 12Hz and 16Hz tones recorded.

 

My subs enable me to hear the 16Hz track quite clearly.  :thumb:

 

Andy

 

Edited by andyr

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4 minutes ago, andyr said:

 

Absolutely!  :thumb:

 

 

Not necessarily.  The subs that @Paul Spencerconcocted for me are not 'esoteric' - simply:

  • sealed boxes about (OD) 900H x 400W x 600D
  • with a 15" Dayton 'Ultimax' driver, and
  • an 800w Hypex plate amp.

I have an LP of Bach organ music which has a 'test track' filler, with 8Hz, 12Hz and 16Hz tones recorded.

 

My subs enable me to hear the 16Hz track quite clearly.  :thumb:

 

Andy

 

I don't think your sub is playing in the same sandbox as the subs the OP is testing :) 

 

How many dB down are you at 16Hz? I reckon the same level signal at 30Hz would be upsetting the neighbors!

 

I could hear 16Hz with my dual 12" but the same signal was 110dB at 30Hz and prompting a please explain from the boss 😂

 

 

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  If you want meaningful output at and under 20Hz you are likely going to need to look at 15"+ subs that are ported and tuned low, multiple driver arrays or some sort of pretty esoteric (aka big and/or expensive) 12".  

 

 

 

 

 Thanks for the input default_smile.png Just wanted to point PB 2000s sporting 12" drivers go below 20 Hz - they play loud down to 17Hz ... and taper down to 14 Hz. 

To the OP, I would refer you to the excellent website Subwoofer 101 (http://www.subwoofer101.com) which I found invaluable when I was researching my potential subwoofer buys. There's also a corresponding YouTube channel for the website, plenty of great information.

 

I would specifically refer you to the 'list' at least to be aware of options. Please see:

 

 

http://www.subwoofer101.com/best-subwoofers

 

Good luck :)

 

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A word of thanks to all the contributions to this.  I will digest (and research some unknown acronyms) and see where we go from there - want to plan it as properly as possible.

 

In terms of a shortlist of subs (which are all 10"), the Yamaha units are YST-SW216, YST-SW100, YST-RSW300 and another older Yamaha unit with 10" driver as well (this unit came out tops during previous shootout without the RSW300 being in the mix), a B&W ASW610 and unknown model numbers of the rest.  

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Pieface said:

I don't think your sub is playing in the same sandbox as the subs the OP is testing :) 

 

Yes, probably.  But I was commenting on your statement that you needed 'esoteric' subs to get down to 20Hz.

 

Quote

 

How many dB down are you at 16Hz? I reckon the same level signal at 30Hz would be upsetting the neighbors!

 

Not sure (it's a couple of years since I did the measurements).  But it's clearly hearable ... so, maybe, -6dB?

 

But I don't listen at 110dB!  :)

 

As a stand-alone, multi-storey house, the only 'neighbour' I have to worry about is sound leakage through the floor to the main living room underneath, on the 1st floor.  There is no leakage that can be heard.

 

Andy

 

 

Edited by andyr

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just saw you're in Brisbane - I could add my T20 tapped horn sub to the mix of test subs (dual 12" tapped horn) - but it would require a trailer and helping hands to move it...it's 2400x300x400mm

I also have a measurement rig (unfortunately not impedance though).

Happy to participate.

 

cheers

Mike

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