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1 x Ported Box Subwoofer -vs- 2 x Sealed Box Subwoofers?


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Hello Everyone, and please go easy on me as this is my first ever topic started here :)

 

Which type of subwoofer would you recommend for my 2.1 (or 2.2) setup, given my priorities and listening space: one ported box, or two sealed boxes?

 

I'm looking to upgrade on my Velodyne SPL800, as it's sounding anemic in our new, larger place. Below you can see the setup.

image.thumb.png.76237213613a088765b3cb33233419e6.png

(Please excuse the photo, as we're still in the process of settling in and setting up the furniture. Soon those wires will be hidden, and the bookshelf speakers will actually be on the, erm... bookshelves!)

 

The new listening space has ~3m high ceilings, is ~5m x 4m, and opens to a kitchen that is ~3m x 3m. Some time in the near future it will also open to an office that will add ~4m x 3m. (Fingers crossed we can afford the renovation!) My priorities are, in order of, erm... priority:

1. Physically and visually fit in with the TV bench and shelves that we're customising for our living room. The main constraint is height: the subwoofer can stand no higher than 39.5cm

2. Ultra low bass extension (eg -3db point of 20Hz) at moderate listening levels (eg ~85db), primarily for movie watching

3. 'Fast' bass response and integration with my bookshelf satellites, primarily for listening to music (classical, jazz, pop country, and a bit of everything else) also at moderate listening levels (eg ~85db)

 

I figure I have room (and budget!) for either:

- One larger ported box sub, eg an SVS PB-1000, which will give me flatter bass response down to 20Hz. The PB-1000 is too high when standing, but I figure I can lay it down on its side. Or...

- Two smaller sealed box subs, eg two SVS SB-2000's, which will have bass roll-off at 20Hz, but will likely even out and 'fill' the listening space better. Two SB-2000's will be too wide for the bench, but I can narrow the drawer units underneath the TV to make room. (I have a power saw and I'm not afraid to use it!)

 

So what say you to my dilemma, dear best and brightest of these forums? One ported, or two sealed?

 

Thanks in advance for all your advice! -Quinn

 

 

Edited by QuinnInSydney
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I like sealed for music and ported for movies.  I run 2 SVS SB-2000's in a large room (and it fills it nicely) and I have 2 SVS PC-2000 Pro's in the theatre. I'd go with the SB-2000's

+1 for two SB-2000s.  Two subs will provide the ability to even out the bass in the large room.  The key is to integrate the subs properly.

No, you do not have to compromise if you set up this way.    For music,  use DAC and Integrated amp to mains, as well to the subs via DSP.  For movies, feed the L&R preout to the I

I like sealed for music and ported for movies. 

I run 2 SVS SB-2000's in a large room (and it fills it nicely) and I have 2 SVS PC-2000 Pro's in the theatre.

I'd go with the SB-2000's :)

 

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30 minutes ago, DSD_Fan said:

I like sealed for music and ported for movies. 

I run 2 SVS SB-2000's in a large room (and it fills it nicely) and I have 2 SVS PC-2000 Pro's in the theatre.

I'd go with the SB-2000's :)

 

I agree, the SB-2000's are a very good choice when it comes to music.

 

AFAIK the new version, named SVS SB-2000 Pro, has some improvements and it allows you to EQ the sub to suit either music or movie so maybe it is not a compromise at all. I do not know how much bass you need but with 550W rms/1500W peak one sub may be even enough for your room. The EOFY sale is still on ?

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+1 for two SB-2000s.  Two subs will provide the ability to even out the bass in the large room.  The key is to integrate the subs properly.

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3 minutes ago, hopefullguy said:

buying a sub based on a gap in a entertainment cabinet is ...

A common priority ....  aesthetics and practical considerations are usually very important for rooms that are shared with "normal people".

 

4 minutes ago, hopefullguy said:

.... is not going to give you better bass

Sure it will.   You can fit a 12" woofer in there... and that much displacement is going to wipe the floor with the existing speakers.

 

The only drawbacks are:

 

Size limit .... but you can fit a good sized woofer in there

Position ....  but any position for a single woofer is some sort of compromise  (hint: EQ is essential)

 

... but to say that, on balance, a well setup subwoofer in that position isn't going to provide "better bass" (than the two bookselves) is ridiculous.

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1 hour ago, QuinnInSydney said:

1. Physically and visually fit in with the TV bench and shelves that we're customising for our living room. The main constraint is height: the subwoofer can stand no higher than 39.5cm

Do-able.

 

1 hour ago, QuinnInSydney said:

2. Ultra low bass extension (eg -3db point of 20Hz) at moderate listening levels (eg ~85db), primarily for movie watching

A stretch.

 

One immediate issue is that at 85dB... 20Hz is barely above the threshold of audibility.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal-loudness_contour

 

If you have EQ, then you can dial in the bass extension of a subwoofer to be however low you want it to be.... at the expense of limiting the SPL that is reached before distortion is too high (or power available is exceeded).

 

A 12" high escursion subwoofer will be enough to do what you want  ie. solid SPL in the octave below 40Hz.... (ie. 20 to 40Hz)

 

1 hour ago, QuinnInSydney said:

3. 'Fast' bass response and integration with my bookshelf satellites

Forget "fast" .... it's marketing nonsense.

 

As for integration.   You will need something which can EQ the subwoofer.... and provid a low pass filter to the subwoofer, and a high pass filter to the main speakers.

 

This might be an "AVR" .... an amplifier that has "subwoofer output" ..... or it might be a subwoofer, which has speaker output terminals (ie. you can connect you main speaker to the sub, and the sub provides the high pass filter).

 

1 hour ago, QuinnInSydney said:

One ported, or two sealed?

I would go for two, if that's in budget.    Especially as your stated SPL requirements are low.

You will also get the nice bonus of visual symmetry.

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@DSD_Fan Thanks for the thoughts. I'm jealous that you have separate spaces for music and movies :) I unfortunately don't have that luxury, and feel I may have to prioritise one over the other. I spend more time listening to music, but I don't pay much attention to low bass because the bulk of what I listen to doesn't have much content below ~40Hz. However, when I'm watching movies I pay a lot of attention to the thuds, implosions, and sine waves when Sauron loses his finger. Therefore for low bass content I want to buy whatever works best for movies. I appreciate what you say about how your two SB-2000's fill your music room, but if you were forced to choose between two SB-2000's or _one_ PC-2000 for your movie room, which would you choose?

 

Having said that, maybe I don't have to compromise. Thanks @spottie for reminding me about the SB-2000 Pro's built in EQ which should have the low bass extension I'm seeking for movies, but the ability to level things down for music. Given your guys' advice I'm leaning more and more towards taking the plunge and buying two SB-2000 Pro's. Cheapest price listed online I've found is $1799 each. If you're aware of some lower EOFY prices lower, please let me know! :)

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5 minutes ago, QuinnInSydney said:

@DSD_Fan Thanks for the thoughts. I'm jealous that you have separate spaces for music and movies :) I unfortunately don't have that luxury, and feel I may have to prioritise one over the other. I spend more time listening to music, but I don't pay much attention to low bass because the bulk of what I listen to doesn't have much content below ~40Hz. However, when I'm watching movies I pay a lot of attention to the thuds, implosions, and sine waves when Sauron loses his finger. Therefore for low bass content I want to buy whatever works best for movies. I appreciate what you say about how your two SB-2000's fill your music room, but if you were forced to choose between two SB-2000's or _one_ PC-2000 for your movie room, which would you choose?

 

 

 

Good question. My PC's are pro's and my SB's are not. I am looking at upgrading my SB's to JL's soon. 

When I ordered my 2 PC pro's only one was in stock and I had to wait almost 3 months for the next Oz shipment. But one was great. I was thinking I didn't need the 2nd. Until I got it and now I am over the moon lol

$1799 for SB pro's is a good price. 

 

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20 minutes ago, QuinnInSydney said:

 I'm jealous that you have separate spaces for music and movies :) I unfortunately don't have that luxury, and feel I may have to prioritise one over the other. I spend more time listening to music, but I don't pay much attention to low bass because the bulk of what I listen to doesn't have much content below ~40Hz. However, when I'm watching movies I pay a lot of attention to the thuds, implosions, and sine waves when Sauron loses his finger. Therefore for low bass content I want to buy whatever works best for movies. I appreciate what you say about how your two SB-2000's fill your music room, but if you were forced to choose between two SB-2000's or _one_ PC-2000 for your movie room, which would you choose?

 

Having said that, maybe I don't have to compromise. 

No, you do not have to compromise if you set up this way. 

 

image.png.4c67b3a3ac51ba0b84dedc05d2433d45.png

For music,  use DAC and Integrated amp to mains, as well to the subs via DSP.  For movies, feed the L&R preout to the Integrated (which acts as the amp for movies).  It does take some setting up, but it works well.  The mains and subs are shared for music and movies.  You will get the best of both worlds.

 

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@davewantsmoore Thank you for your understanding the importance I place on practicality and aesthetics. I wish I had the luxury of sound quality above all else but I don't (sigh) and I have to keep my living space, you know... livable. Visual symmetry then becomes a big bonus!

 

And also thank you for linking me to the article on the equal loudness contour! Super interesting, even though it's a bit over my head and I only understood 25% of what I read :P The upshot is that I now feel less 'guilty' having occasionally boosted lower octaves when listening, especially at low overall volume levels. It's not because I'm getting old and losing my hearing - it's because we're all born this way! :)

 

As mentioned above I feel like I'm heading towards two SVS SB-2000 Pro's. I assume their inbuilt EQ will let me compensate for their natural roll of below 40Hz? And because I'm only listening at moderate levels there should be enough headroom for the subs' high excursion drivers and 550W RMS / 1500W peak power to make up the difference?

 

And finally thank you for your reminder about integration. The SB-2000 Pro's have an inbuilt, adjustable LPF and EQ. For bookshelves I have a pair of KEF LSX's incoming which have an inbuilt, adjustable HPF and EQ. Having said that I'm prepared for all that being not enough, so fair warning as I'll likely soon start a topic asking for beginner's advice on room correction and more 'advanced' equalisation!

 

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dave.. relax, take things out of context. i should have said it wont give better bass vs the correct room placement even with eq.

 

find the best place in the room and forget how it looks or get 2 subs. if not accept a compromise which is most ht rooms anyway.

 

but thats just me and if others do different thats their choice.

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50 minutes ago, QuinnInSydney said:

And also thank you for linking me to the article on the equal loudness contour! Super interesting, even though it's a bit over my head and I only understood 25% of what I read

No need to understand deeply except two big things.

 

1.   LF needs to be loud to be audible.   20hz at 85dB is almost too faint to he heard.

 

2.   As the frequency gets lower, our ear becomes more sensitive to changes in level.    You will often see people (who don't understand) saying things which boil down to the opposite of this.     The reality is that having a flat response at LF, is even more importan than at higher frequencies, but it's exponentially harder to achieve as the frequency goes down  (you get big peaks and dips in the response due to the room dimensions, and position within the room).    This is why EQ can make or break a setup.

 

50 minutes ago, QuinnInSydney said:

As mentioned above I feel like I'm heading towards two SVS SB-2000 Pro's. I assume their inbuilt EQ will let me compensate for their natural roll of below 40Hz? And because I'm only listening at moderate levels there should be enough headroom for the subs' high excursion drivers and 550W RMS / 1500W peak power to make up the difference?

Yes.

50 minutes ago, QuinnInSydney said:

And finally thank you for your reminder about integration. The SB-2000 Pro's have an inbuilt, adjustable LPF and EQ. For bookshelves I have a pair of KEF LSX's incoming which have an inbuilt, adjustable HPF and EQ.

?

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2 hours ago, QuinnInSydney said:

@DSD_Fan Thanks for the thoughts. I'm jealous that you have separate spaces for music and movies :) I unfortunately don't have that luxury, and feel I may have to prioritise one over the other. I spend more time listening to music, but I don't pay much attention to low bass because the bulk of what I listen to doesn't have much content below ~40Hz. However, when I'm watching movies I pay a lot of attention to the thuds, implosions, and sine waves when Sauron loses his finger. Therefore for low bass content I want to buy whatever works best for movies. I appreciate what you say about how your two SB-2000's fill your music room, but if you were forced to choose between two SB-2000's or _one_ PC-2000 for your movie room, which would you choose?

 

Having said that, maybe I don't have to compromise. Thanks @spottie for reminding me about the SB-2000 Pro's built in EQ which should have the low bass extension I'm seeking for movies, but the ability to level things down for music. Given your guys' advice I'm leaning more and more towards taking the plunge and buying two SB-2000 Pro's. Cheapest price listed online I've found is $1799 each. If you're aware of some lower EOFY prices lower, please let me know! :)

WestCoast Hifi over here in Perth can do it for $1599. I've just ordered mine (SB-2000 Pro in gloss black). I can't wait to see how dual subs go ?

 

https://www.westcoasthifi.com.au/?post_type=location&p=2364

 

Either you can order through them (because mine needs to be shipped from Melbourne anyway - Sydney might be even cheaper for them to ship), or mention the price to the local hifi store maybe they can price match. If you order two, I'm sure you can negotiate even a better deal.

 

 

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I find this thread confusing.  You've said that you mostly listen to music at moderate levels above, if that's the case why would you target a purchase decision for subs around ultra low bass extension for occasional movie watching?  Surely it makes most sense to set up your system for the way you use it most!?

 

Also, why are you limiting yourself to SVS?  There are other excellent options for music centric systems.  I personally use a KEF Kube 8b with my LSX in my office.  I previously had the LSX in a pretty large bedroom and ran with a KEF Kube 12b and found this to be really excellent match.  I use LS50W in my second system at home and have trialled KEF, SVS, and REL subs with the LS50W in my system and room and have settled on the REL T7i.    Folks do realise that SVS have not unlocked some kind of magic formula with sub production right?

Edited by POV
missed a vital word!
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9 minutes ago, POV said:

 Folks do realise that SVS have unlocked some kind of magic formula with sub production right?

I find this statement confusing.

What does it mean?

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4 minutes ago, pwstereo said:

I find this statement confusing.

What does it mean?

 

Apologies I missed the 'not' from that, have edited it in.  Should have read:

 

14 minutes ago, POV said:

   Folks do realise that SVS have not unlocked some kind of magic formula with sub production right?

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30 minutes ago, POV said:

Folks do realise that SVS have not unlocked some kind of magic formula with sub production right?

 

Having owned a LOT of subs over time, Velodyne, Energy, B&W, Klipsch, Earthquake, M&K, SVS, and some custom made subs. I do find value for money, SVS can keep up with the more expensive subs. I had 2 other Velodyne F1500 subs. But the SVS's PC range perform better in my room. 
While I am looking at replacing the SB-2000's in my music system with JL Audio (pure preference) I can't see much (other than DIY) doing better for the money and mainly the size. 

 See for me, I don't like Rel (I only 'heard' them when they were in the UK and now they're US I believe?) and Kef Kube 12b, doesn't go as low as the SB-2000. But see, it's personal preference. But value for money and performance, you can't really beat SVS (I'm not a fan of the 1000 series though) 

Just my 2 cents..... Now, where is Rythmik and JTR ;)

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48 minutes ago, POV said:

I find this thread confusing.  You've said that you mostly listen to music at moderate levels above, if that's the case why would you target a purchase decision for subs around ultra low bass extension for occasional movie watching?  Surely it makes most sense to set up your system for the way you use it most!?

 

Also, why are you limiting yourself to SVS?  There are other excellent options for music centric systems.  I personally use a KEF Kube 8b with my LSX in my office.  I previously had the LSX in a pretty large bedroom and ran with a KEF Kube 12b and found this to be really excellent match.  I use LS50W in my second system at home and have trialled KEF, SVS, and REL subs with the LS50W in my system and room and have settled on the REL T7i.    Folks do realise that SVS have not unlocked some kind of magic formula with sub production right?

I hope you've realised that the question being asked is a sub for both music and movie. We are talking about a large room at 5m x 4m x 3m so we need a quality sub to fill the space.

 

Small subs like REL T7i with only 200W rms and 30Hz at -6dB cannot compare with 550W rms and 19Hz at +/- 3dB. They are not qualified for movies. I do not think small subs will work in the room. I have learnt hard lessons with smaller subs like this from B&W and Focal. I ended up throwing them away.

 

In Australia, AFAIK no other brands offer better value for money than SVS. I would  challenge anyone to find a better price for the same specs/quality/resale value in Australia.  I've owned an early version of the SB-2000 for more than 10 years now and it is still good like day 1.

 

In my opinion, investing in a good sub will be actually more economical in the long term when it comes to upgrading your main speakers in the future - another convenient truth.

 

 

 

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32 minutes ago, spottie said:

I hope you've realised that the question being asked is a sub for both music and movie. We are talking about a large room at 5m x 4m x 3m so we need a quality sub to fill the space.

 

Small subs like REL T7i with only 200W rms and 30Hz at -6dB cannot compare with 550W rms and 19Hz at +/- 3dB. They are not qualified for movies. I do not think small subs will work in the room. I have learnt hard lessons with smaller subs like this from B&W and Focal. I ended up throwing them away.

 

In Australia, AFAIK no other brands offer better value for money than SVS. I would  challenge anyone to find a better price for the same specs/quality/resale value in Australia.  I've owned an early version of the SB-2000 for more than 10 years now and it is still good like day 1.

 

In my opinion, investing in a good sub will be actually more economical in the long term when it comes to upgrading your main speakers in the future - another convenient truth.

 

 

 


Yes I realise but in a subsequent post OP notes that system is used primarily for music at moderate listening levels, and that would utilise two smaller subs (so therefore use of 2 T7i subs was my assumption)

 

So I have an SVS SB-2000 and a REL T7i here right now and have actually compared them extensively in my second room.     This room is 4.2m wide by 6.7m long with standard ceiling height.  Yes the SVS digs deeper and louder, but the REL integrates more easily and evenly with my main speakers and generally sounds cleaner and more linear across the majority of the frequency range.  On balance, music sounds better and more enjoyable with the REL in my system and room.  2 of them even better and I’ll almost certainly add a second one once I sell the SVS.

 

Obviously it’s room, system, and use dependant but I just don’t agree that SVS subs are somehow a vastly superior value proposition than options from other quality manufacturers is all.

 

Anyhow, am not looking for a flame war with SVS fans, just advocating that the OP keeps options open and doesn’t limited choice to one brand.

Edited by POV
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5 hours ago, QuinnInSydney said:

Therefore for low bass content I want to buy whatever works best for movies.

 

44 minutes ago, POV said:

Yes I realise but in a subsequent post OP notes that system is used primarily for music at moderate listening levels

For movies I would look for bass extension, and 'stereo' subs. I don't think a 30Hz sub is going to cut it for movie priority.
 

Op, does your AVR or stereo amp support dual subwoofer EQ? Does it have room correction?

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1 hour ago, POV said:


Yes I realise but in a subsequent post OP notes that system is used primarily for music at moderate listening levels, and that would utilise two smaller subs (so therefore use of 2 T7i subs was my assumption)

 

So I have an SVS SB-2000 and a REL T7i here right now and have actually compared them extensively in my second room.     This room is 4.2m wide by 6.7m long with standard ceiling height.  Yes the SVS digs deeper and louder, but the REL integrates more easily and evenly with my main speakers and generally sounds cleaner and more linear across the majority of the frequency range.  On balance, music sounds better and more enjoyable with the REL in my system and room.  2 of them even better and I’ll almost certainly add a second one once I sell the SVS.

 

Obviously it’s room, system, and use dependant but I just don’t agree that SVS subs are somehow a vastly superior value proposition than options from other quality manufacturers is all.

 

Anyhow, am not looking for a flame war with SVS fans, just advocating that the OP keeps options open and doesn’t limited choice to one brand.

We are all here to share and to learn so no "war" at all. I've looked at subs from REL, Velodyne, etc. but I am unable to find anything better than SVS purely in terms of specs. I'm more than happy to learn if indeed there is something that offers better value for money.

 

I totally agree with you that integrating sub is not an easy task, and especially integrating a big sub with small main speakers due to high cross-over point.

 

I do not own a REL to say about its "linearity" but the frequency response curve from SVS says everything needed about the SB-2000's linearity.

 

From your description and the specs of the REL T7i, I would say that you prefer a target curve with an early roll-off for music (by target curve I refer to Fig. 1 of this guide https://www.hifizine.com/2011/06/bass-integration-guide-part-1/)

 

With the early version of SB-2000, this can be achieved by EQ your sub. If you have access to an external 31-band digital graphic equalizer (such as Behringer DEQ2496) that can be done with a bit of learning and measurement. If you were in Perth, I would be more than happy to show you in person.

 

However, the newer version SB-2000 Pro comes with an on-board EQ, so the target curve can be achieved in a fairly similar manner. You can switch between movie and music modes quite easily and you can fine tune the roll-off to your taste (and, probably, your room).

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I have a minidsp with Dirac Live and have measured and tweaked EQ extensively with both units.  End of the day specs and measurements only take you so far...

 

The proof is in the listening and musical engagement.

 

Anyhow, doubt any of this is helping the OP.

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Active speakers and powered subs. Sounds perfect for minidsp/dirac! Or more upmarket with deqx. There is a premate in thd classifieds. 

Use your existing sub, then add another sub if needed (any brand - see what comes up cheap in the classifieds).

 

 

 

 

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15 hours ago, Snoopy8 said:

For music,  use DAC and Integrated amp to mains, as well to the subs via DSP.  For movies, feed the L&R preout to the Integrated (which acts as the amp for movies). 

One of the main features for which I'm looking in an upgrade is DSP and adjustable EQ built into the powered bookshelf speakers, and the same built into the subs. Hopefully my system will look like this... (In fact, the KEF LSX bookshelves I have coming in supposedly have a high quality, onboard DAC. I'll do the requisite listening comparison, but that means I may even get rid of the separate DAC in the below diagram)...

image.thumb.png.a1abb4be05a4007e2c149f977350145e.png

 

But am I missing something here? @Snoopy8 Is there some advantage to be gained by having a separate DSP unit feeding the subwoofer(s) that I'm not getting with my plan above?

 

I'm mentally preparing myself to spend many hours listening, measuring, and adjusting once I have the hardware in. Thus far I envisioned doing this with the aid of a calibrated mic and software on my PC (which also happens to be the source of all my audio) and/or the EQ software built into the mains and subwoofers themselves. (I'm also mentally prepared to come back to these forums to ask for help in how to best do this!) @POV @AudioGeek @gwurb Will I suffer a significant loss of quality or adjustability by relying on the speakers' onboard DSP's and EQ's instead of introducing a separate DSP / EQ unit into the audio path?

 

Apologies to everyone if my questions here seem naive. I've only ever had a 'dabblers' level of experience in this stuff thus far, and my pace of learning can rightly be classified as 'turtle' ? And thanks in advance for your continuing education of Quinn!

Edited by QuinnInSydney
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@spottie Thanks for the tip. But for me WestCoast HiFi comes up as $1999 for the SB-2000 Pro's. Maybe I missed the sale, or they adjust prices according to location ? Not a huge problem as I feel it may be a bit premature to commit to a pair of subs anyway - everything I'm learning on this thread has me diving back into researching my options and I foresee the need for an audition or two before I buy.

 

Congrats on your purchase though! I eagerly await your report on how well going dual has gone for you ? 

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There is often limited DSP within subs, hence my suggestion to get a seperate DSP. Yes, you can use a PC to do DSP as an alternative. 

 

Regarding your sketch, how will you switch between music and movies?  Also, as you progress along your music journey, you may want to look at improving your PC as the source. There are many tweaks that can be done, including improving the operating system, power supply etc. Also, consider using a dedicated streamer. 

 

My diagram was meant to encourage you to think about your setup and how you can have both music and movies in a setup sharing mains and subs.  There are other ways of course...

 

P/s no need to apologise, no such thing as naive questions... All of us are here to learn from one another.

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42 minutes ago, QuinnInSydney said:

@spottie Thanks for the tip. But for me WestCoast HiFi comes up as $1999 for the SB-2000 Pro's. Maybe I missed the sale, or they adjust prices according to location ? Not a huge problem as I feel it may be a bit premature to commit to a pair of subs anyway - everything I'm learning on this thread has me diving back into researching my options and I foresee the need for an audition or two before I buy.

 

Congrats on your purchase though! I eagerly await your report on how well going dual has gone for you ? 

The website is not helpful, you probably need to give them a call (probably the Cannington store where I got mine from). But I agree, you need to understand what you need first. They have 20% off all stocks twice every year so if you can still buy it cheap at the end of the year if it is what you want.

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13 hours ago, POV said:

I find this thread confusing.  You've said that you mostly listen to music at moderate levels above, if that's the case why would you target a purchase decision for subs around ultra low bass extension for occasional movie watching?  Surely it makes most sense to set up your system for the way you use it most!?

I understand how this can be confusing (as I confuse myself plenty often!) as I do spend more time listening to music. But when it comes to reproducing low bass, I place a higher priority on doing it well for movie watching. Here's my attempt at a quasi-quantified explanation...

 

...Why I feel I need low bass output for only 20 minutes of music listening a week:

- Take the system pictured in my original post, in happier days past when it was set up and positioned properly. In one given week I'd have music playing on it for a total of 10 hours

- Of the 10 hours of music listening, I'd spend 9 of those hours doing other things at the same time (reading, chopping up food for dinner, stretching after a run, etc) and therefore not completely paying attention to the music, and definitely not noticing the depths of bass being plumbed

- In that 1 hour of music listening in which I'm attentively _listening_ I'd say 40 minutes of that is listening to stuff that doesn't have much, if any at all, ultra low bass content below ~40Hz. Even in my larger space, my little Velodyne SPL800r does an admirable job of reproducing driving basslines with decent rhythm and impact above that point

- It's only in that last 20 minutes a week of listening to music where I'd say to myself "gee I wish I could _feel_ Beethoven's contrabassoon" or "John William's timpani player has weak arms today"

 

...Why I feel it's more important to have low bass output for 2 hours of movie watching a week:

- The same system in the same week would have movies/TV playing for a total of 6 hours

- Of the 6 hours of movie watching, I'd still spend 3 hours doing other things at the same time, but because the medium requires my ears AND eyes it's harder for my attention to stray

- In that remaining 3 hours of attentively watching movies, I'd say 1 hour of that is spent watching quieter fair like British murder mysteries (I'm old I know)

- Which leaves me attentively watching 2 hours a week of escapist, action-driven fair (even worse because I'm old) where I really want to feel the thud of T-Rex's steps as he walks across my screen or the impact when the X-Wing gets torn apart by an explosion

 

...TL;DR I'm a chronic multitasker who doesn't pay enough damn attention, thus investing in new subwoofers purely for the few moments of joy when listen to music isn't enough. I need them to spend more time making my movies go 'boom' ?

 

But at the end of the day as @Snoopy8 mentioned, I don't think I need to compromise between movies OR music. From what I'm learning from this thread, with enough extension, power headroom, and EQ adjustability, I can set up ideal listening curves for both movies AND music ?

 

And I don't have my heart set on SVS subwoofers yet. They just happen to be familiar examples that I can compare in my 1 x ported box vs 2 x sealed box quandary. (Admittedly I agree with @spottie. In my own research and auditioning thus far I've found SVS to have the best specs / features / adjustability for the price.) So thank you @POV for your suggestions on the KEF's and REL's. I'm looking into them now, which means more research and auditioning before I commit... but that's half the fun of this hobby, no? ?

 

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24 minutes ago, spottie said:

The website is not helpful, you probably need to give them a call (probably the Cannington store where I got mine from). They have 20% off all stocks twice every year so if you can still buy it cheap at the end of the year if it is what you want.

That advice is awesome. Thank you!

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1 hour ago, Snoopy8 said:

Yes, you can use a PC to do DSP as an alternative. 

 

Regarding your sketch, how will you switch between music and movies?  Also, as you progress along your music journey, you may want to look at improving your PC as the source. There are many tweaks that can be done, including improving the operating system, power supply etc.

On my PC switching between music and movies is done purely through software: Video LAN player and streaming services like Disney+ for movies, and Winamp, WMP (old school!) and Spotify Premium streaming for music. All audio is currently output via USB to an Audioengine DAC.

 

In my reading, I may have an issue with running DSP on my computer, as the USB audio may bypass any sound adjusting software. At which point I may switch to audio being output via Toslink optical. (But that may very well bypass DSP software too!) I won't really know until I try...

 

And yes, agreed I can look into other upgrades to the PC itself. (But my first order of priority at the moment is still getting the speakers into place first.) Endless, this hobby is... ?

 

 

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I don't know how well KEFs would do with being the EQ and filter for the system as I never tried. They wouldn't give you individual control of each speaker and sub for room correction.

 

For the best effect you would want to do room correction.

 

Have you considered

Arcam AVR20/30 or AV40?

It has DIRAC Live with dual subwoofer support from DIRAC. Would be spot on for room correction.

 

Another alternative that would work with existing AVR/preprocessor

https://www.minidsp.com/products/dirac-series/ddrc-24

 

I think the Arcam would be a better option as there would not be an ADC/DAC conversion but MiniDSP is cheaper.

 

The alternative is one of the Audyssey products but I would recommend bypassing Audyssey for music, which means that you wouldn't have room correction for music.

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11 hours ago, QuinnInSydney said:

One of the main features for which I'm looking in an upgrade is DSP and adjustable EQ built into the powered bookshelf speakers, and the same built into the subs. Hopefully my system will look like this... (In fact, the KEF LSX bookshelves I have coming in supposedly have a high quality, onboard DAC. I'll do the requisite listening comparison, but that means I may even get rid of the separate DAC in the below diagram)...

@POV @AudioGeek @gwurb Will I suffer a significant loss of quality or adjustability by relying on the speakers' onboard DSP's and EQ's instead of introducing a separate DSP / EQ unit into the audio path?

 

Apologies to everyone if my questions here seem naive. I've only ever had a 'dabblers' level of experience in this stuff thus far, and my pace of learning can rightly be classified as 'turtle' ? And thanks in advance for your continuing education of Quinn!

 

So there's a lot of questions being asked simultaneously and lots of advice being given.    I think I am in a reasonable place to offer some assistance since I actually have hands on experience with the gear you are considering purchasing.  With regards to the above quoted section:

 

I have experimented heaps with external DACs vs onboard DAC in both the KEF LSX and LS50W with a variety of results.  In general will say that the onboard DACs in both units is very well sorted and highly resolving regardless of content.   Also it's certainly worth keeping in mind that the LSX you are considering will do an ADC (analogue to digital conversion) for any signal input via the analogue in (note it's an aux in 3.5mm). This can't be defeated or bypassed as the speaker does it's crossover and DSP in the digital domain.  Where this is somewhat complicate for the LSX is that it does not have an asynchronous USB input, and most PCs do not have an optical output.  If your PC situation lacks optical then this means that you'll either need to invest in a box to USB to Optical (Matrix Audio X-SPDIF 2 as an example); or utilise a USB DAC and connect via analogue in.  I currently use a set of LSX nearfield on my desk in the office and utilise an Audioquest Dragonfly USB DAC.  I compared this and the Matrix Audio unit and preferred the sound via the Dragonfly and Analogue in....

 

With regards to the LSX onboard DSP and EQ; it is very basic regards sub integration, even in expert mode you will only have settings for:  Phase Correction, high pass mode, sub out low-pass frequency, sub gain, and sub polarity.  Whilst this set of options is most likely suitable for the average punter (particularly if combined with a sub that has some degree of DSP/EQ onboard) ; it's not going to go near what's possible via a separate DSP unit like a minidsp as example.

 

But...and imho it's a BIG but:

 

I don't want to create total confusion for you, but I just have to tell you I really think your entire plan want's revisiting!  You are talking about spending circa $3200 on two very powerful, high output subwoofers to run with a very small pair of active bookshelfs where you are essentially spending a total of circa $1800 on DAC; Preamp; Amplifier; and Speaker....and all of this to utilise in a pretty large room.

 

End of the day, the way you spend your money is your prerogative, but I fear that the plan you are constructing is not a path that will lead to you being satisfied across the longer term, and most likely lead to a degree of tail chasing upgraditis!  I really think you should consider a different distribution of the $5000 to develop a more balanced system that is more room appropriate.  I really think you are going to find the LSX a bit lost and hollow sounding in that large room.

 

As one example; you could take your $5000 and upgrade from LSX to LS50W (Circa $3000); IISO Acoustics isolation stand (since you are using on a entertainment unit circa $400); and a single subwoofer (circa $1600).   That room is still big for LS50W but can tell you from experience it's much more able to fill a larger space, with a more rich and wholesome mid bass, and midrange.  It is a much better fit for your needs than the LSX.  You can experiment with placement and EQ of a single sub first, and see if it is satisfactory and then worry about adding a second sub across the longer term if see fit.  This is just one example mind you there's many ways you could spend $5000 on a 2.1 stereo system....

 

Sorry for the epic post, but please have a think before you spend your hard earned.  I have torn up literally tens of thousands of dollars by spending first and thinking later over the years!

 

 

Edited by POV
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23 hours ago, POV said:


Yes I realise but in a subsequent post OP notes that system is used primarily for music at moderate listening levels, and that would utilise two smaller subs (so therefore use of 2 T7i subs was my assumption)

 

So I have an SVS SB-2000 and a REL T7i here right now and have actually compared them extensively in my second room.     This room is 4.2m wide by 6.7m long with standard ceiling height.  Yes the SVS digs deeper and louder, but the REL integrates more easily and evenly with my main speakers and generally sounds cleaner and more linear across the majority of the frequency range.  On balance, music sounds better and more enjoyable with the REL in my system and room.  2 of them even better and I’ll almost certainly add a second one once I sell the SVS.

 

Obviously it’s room, system, and use dependant but I just don’t agree that SVS subs are somehow a vastly superior value proposition than options from other quality manufacturers is all.

 

Anyhow, am not looking for a flame war with SVS fans, just advocating that the OP keeps options open and doesn’t limited choice to one brand.

I would add that Rel T7i has been design and build primarily for music.

For HT purposes Rel has HT serie that is similar to SVS.  

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Hi Quinn,

 

I agree with @POV but would also add that I find my Paradigm Seismic 110 sub (about $2,100) an aesthetically good looking sub of small stature that produces great results from a sealed enclosure. 
 

Good luck!!

Edited by KRSDarwin
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On 28/06/2020 at 9:10 PM, spottie said:

I hope you've realised that the question being asked is a sub for both music and movie. We are talking about a large room at 5m x 4m x 3m so we need a quality sub to fill the space.

It may be a small room as far as "what most people have" .... but in accoustic terms this is very very much a "small room".   ie. the principles of "small room accoustics apply".   This means:

  • A decent amount of "room gain" at VLF
  • A high "schroeder frequency" .... meaning "bass issus" extend high(er) in frequency (ie. more likely to have holes at frequencies at and above subwoofer to main crossover frequency)
  • Less room to accomodate multiple subs or positioning of sources and listeners.

The room size (unless (very) "large") is not relevant to the size/capability of the subwoofer .... what is relevant is how loud and low the subwoofer will be asked to play.

 

On 28/06/2020 at 9:10 PM, spottie said:

I do not think small subs will work in the room.

Depends on max SPL.

 

EQ can take the subwoofer very low, if the maximum SPL is limited.    Although that statement doesn't so much apply to small ported subwoofers.

 

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22 hours ago, QuinnInSydney said:

In my reading, I may have an issue with running DSP on my computer, as the USB audio may bypass any sound adjusting software.

No... it will work fine.

 

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20 hours ago, POV said:

So there's a lot of questions being asked simultaneously and lots of advice being given.  

Yes, this thread has gone down some rabbit holes and I'm getting waaay more (valuable!) advice then I bargained for. Like listening to Keith Urban, I kinda hate it but I kinda love it ?

 

20 hours ago, POV said:

Sorry for the epic post, but please have a think before you spend your hard earned. 

I really appreciate you, along with everybody else here, taking the time and sharing your experience and expertise. That's why my reply is going to end up being more epic (epicer?) - not because I'm trying to defend my decisions, but because I figure the more you know about my situation the more applicable your advice can be. So are you ready for a long one...? Strap yourself in, Gladys!

 

20 hours ago, POV said:

I have experimented heaps with external DACs vs onboard DAC in both the KEF LSX and LS50W with a variety of results.  In general will say that the onboard DACs in both units is very well sorted and highly resolving regardless of content... Where this is somewhat complicate for the LSX is that it does not have an asynchronous USB input.

It's encouraging to hear that the KEF's have decent onboard DACs!  Fortunately my PC does have optical out. So the plan is to do some A/B testing between connecting the LSX's via optical -vs- via my Audioengine DAC and analog cable, and I'll keep whatever sounds better.

 

20 hours ago, POV said:

With regards to the LSX onboard DSP and EQ; it is very basic regards sub integration... Whilst this set of options is most likely suitable for the average punter (particularly if combined with a sub that has some degree of DSP/EQ onboard) ; it's not going to go near what's possible via a separate DSP unit like a minidsp as example.

Acknowledged re my dependence on the sub(s)' onboard DSP/EQ. This is again one of the reasons I'm drawn towards the SVS SB-2000 Pro's above its peers, as it _seems_ to have a more granular amount of adjustability. (Hopefully I can confirm this the next time I head to the store and do some auditioning and comparing.) Regardless, I may find whatever sub(s) I bring in won't have enough adjustability to sound 'correct' in my space. So I'm very willing to subsequently bring in some sort of mic + measurement and dsp hardware/software about which you, @gwurb, and others in this thread are starting to educate me.

 

Or maybe the speakers' onboard adjustments will end up being enough for me, and I don't need to bother with any of that. If it means I'm satisfied with the sound, I'll count myself lucky and wear my "average punter" colours with pride ?

 

(By the way I've had junior chipmunk experience with this type of room correction, as my current Velodyne SPL800r has a built-in mic input and room correction function. It's been very useful, and fun to play with!)

 

20 hours ago, POV said:

I don't want to create total confusion for you, but I just have to tell you I really think your entire plan want's revisiting!  You are talking about spending circa $3200 on two very powerful, high output subwoofers to run with a very small pair of active bookshelfs where you are essentially spending a total of circa $1800 on DAC; Preamp; Amplifier; and Speaker.

Trust me I confuse myself and revisit my plan every minute or three! It did dawn on me that I risk spending a disproportionate amount of money on the sub(s).

 

First, remember that a good part of that $3200 on sub(s) is paying for their dedicated preamp and amplifier too. And if they have a decent enough EQ (a big if I know!) than the $3200 is also paying for the DSP. 

 

Second, ~$3000 seems like the price I have to pay to get that last half-octave of bass, as evenly distributed as possible, in my listening space. Even though I only listen at moderate levels, I'm learning that it takes a lot of driver + amp + enclosure capability (aka $$$) to play 20Hz at the same perceived, moderate level as the rest of the spectrum. (This is me flexing my newfound knowledge on equal loudness contours. Thanks again @davewantsmoore for the tip!) My own lived experience with my current set up kind of proves this 2:1 (subwoofer:bookshelves) spending ratio to be true. Over the past many years I found the best 'balance' for my Audioengine A5 bookshelves is my Velodyne SPL800r subwoofer, which cost twice as much.

 

We're talking here like I'm set on buying a pair of SVS SB-2000 Pro's. I most definitely am not. If I had the time today (alas I don't, sigh) I'd go out to audition and compare/contrast:

- a pair of the SVS's

- a pair of KEF Kube 12b's (thanks to your tip, POV)

- a pair of REL HT-1205's (thanks @Irek for the tip!)

- whatever single ported box sub the salesperson can recommend, that fits my size constraints

The advantage the latter three have over the SVS's is that they cost less, and therefore would afford me more money to spend on things like better mains, room correction, etc.

 

20 hours ago, POV said:

I really think you should consider a different distribution of the $5000 to develop a more balanced system that is more room appropriate.  I really think you are going to find the LSX a bit lost and hollow sounding in that large room... As one example; you could take your $5000 and upgrade from LSX to LS50W (Circa $3000); IISO Acoustics isolation stand (since you are using on a entertainment unit circa $400)... That room is still big for LS50W but can tell you from experience it's much more able to fill a larger space, with a more rich and wholesome mid bass, and midrange.  It is a much better fit for your needs than the LSX.

My shiny, new LSX's arrived yesterday ? I know they're not the ideal speaker for my space, but below is the reason why I bought them. Keep in mind, as mentioned in my post, that my needs are (in order of priority):

1) Aesthetics and fit with the visual order of my living space

2) Listening to movies and music at moderate levels

 

So why did I buy the KEF LSX's?

- I covet the way KEF's latest bookshelves / standmounts sound. I know their signature sound is divisive, but I enjoy their warm, resonate-y tone. (At least I do in auditions at the store with its ideal listening environment. We'll see if I still feel this way in my more challenging space...)

- Looks-wise, the LSX's in green and gold are the perfect size and fit for my living space. They're the first _ever_ bit of modern electronic kit to get a "Oooo those are cute. Why can't we put those on our shelves?" response from my wife

- I'm already quite satisfied with how my Audioengine A5's fill my listening space, at my moderate ~85db listening levels. (I admit if I crank it above that the audio starts to fall apart. Tones get shrill, voices become harsh, cats run away screeching, etc.) Size-wise I expect the LSX's to do equally well at filling my space. (But again, we'll see...)

- Most importantly, to make up for stuffing me around, a store here offered me a deal on the LSX's at a price I couldn't refuse ?

- Once I hook up the LSX's I'll do some A/B comparison with the Audioengines. Hopefully they're a worthy upgrade and I'll hang on to them and eventually swap them for a pair of green and gold ones. (I could only get a deal on a white pair.) If they're not a worthy upgrade I'll sell them used and end up at break-even.

 

Having said all that I'd _love_ to bring in a pair of LS50W's. I totally agree they'll give me more quality sound, at higher volume levels (should I ever want to go that high) in my space. So why haven't I bought them yet?

- None of the colours in which they're currently offered excite me. The white and gold ones could kinda work in my space, but meh

- They're too deep to fit in my bookshelves. I'd have to sit them on top of the TV bench which would somewhat violate aesthetics (but something I could overcome if they were in the right colour)

- And sitting them on the TV bench may compromise audio quality (I'd have to angle them 5 to 10 degrees towards ears seated on the couch.)

- Most importantly, nobody's yet offered me a pair at a price I can't refuse ?

- But seriously, if after comparing them to my Audioengines I decide to get rid of my LSX's, the LS50W's will be the next candidate on the 'buy' list

 

20 hours ago, POV said:

I think I am in a reasonable place to offer some assistance since I actually have hands on experience with the gear you are considering purchasing. 

I see your experience and thoughtfulness, POV. And your input is very much appreciated!

 

 

Edited by QuinnInSydney
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