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Discussion Starter #1
First off, I apologize for what is likely a repeat post. I'm sure this has been asked before, but I cannot think of a reasonable way to find previous posts on the topic. Obviously a search of "music" and "sub" would return almost every thread on subs.

After lurking for awhile, Wayne's sub reviews inspired me to join this forum. His reviews are the first place I have read anything about modern subs not properly providing bass detail for music.
He seems to solve this by using the high-pass filter to relieve the sub from the lower frequencies.

I would like suggestions on a music-only sub system. I say system because I consider the high pass filter (or equivalent) as part of the sub package.

Lets call the budget for the sub $800 - $1200. Less is better and I can go more if there is something truly significant to be gained.

PS - In Waynes review of the SB12Plus, he says the detain on Manhattan Transfer is not as good as he is used to. Does anyone know what it is he is used to?

Thank you for your help!
 

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In my experience with subs I built a 35lt box using 1" mdf tuned to 35hz with external 2x90mm ports and it was amazing for music using a Jaycar 12" profile sub and a 240w 4 ohm plate amp. It sounded great and hit hard but it could not play movies very well at all. With music no high pass filter was needed. I believe lower xmax drivers work really well for music in small ported enclosures but they are not suited to movies.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I believe lower xmax drivers work really well for music in small ported enclosures but they are not suited to movies.
I don't know the lingo. Is "xmax" maximum displacement? - so you are saying a driver which does not have a long stroke is probably better for music?
 

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My personal take on the music vs movies debate is that a sub that is tuned properly and is good for movies will do very well with music. I have never understood the reason for a person to state that a sub will or will not be good for music if it has a good frequency reponce (and again I say that it needs to be tuned and built properly).
I have a SVS PB13 Ultra and it not only sounds fantastic with movies but music is effortless and not at all overpowering. Music will not run a sub nearly as hard as movie soundtracks and if a sub is good at handling the frequencies down below 20Hz then there should be no issue.
 

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I agree with the good for movie, good for music, except if you are only building for music you may choose to obtain greater output at the expense of losing deep bass, ala movies. This can allow a builder to use a smaller sized ported enclosure, maximize a smaller amp, or both. Just be sure that you don't regret the choice!:duh:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Here is an explanation of the difference as provided via Wayne's review I referenced. To me, this is a big deal. The subwoofered systems I have heard cannot compare with my old AR 3a full-range speakers for providing good bass detail. They do dig deeper, but they do not pass muster for accurate music reproduction.

From Wayne's review of the PSB10-ISD:
SUMMATION
After my initial music listening I was feeling that if a clear winner had emerged, it was my humble DIY subwoofers, not the ones being reviewed. None of them compared well to my throw-down rig when it came to conveying low frequency detail – not even close. I didn’t know what to attribute this to except their ported designs vs. the Shivas’ sealed enclosures.

In my mind there are three characteristics that qualify a sub as "musical": Tightness (often labeled speed), detail and extension. Actually, a sub’s ability to render detail is directly related to its speed and accuracy, so I guess you could arguably narrow the requirements down to two characteristics.

Anyway you define it, the tightness and detail simply wasn’t coming through with any of these subs the way I’m used to hearing. None of them could resolve the subtle texture in Basia’s "Cruising for Bruising" bass line at all. They could only vaguely deliver the "growl" and texture of "Drunk on Love," a far cry from the clear distinction I get with my subs. With the difficult lines in Manhattan Transfer’s "Sassy," the subs all exhibited considerable "overhang" (although the SVS was better in this regard than the others), whereas mine are tight and concise.

The SVS’ superior extension, while certainly impressive and noticeably better than my own subs, seemed almost too much of a good thing with music – everything sounded "heavy." Considering that the EQ boost my subs have at 25 Hz also means they roll out pretty fast below that point, I wondered if that would make a difference with the PB10-ISD.

Conveniently, the AudioControl equalizer has an optional 18 dB/octave high-pass filter with available settings at 15 Hz, 25 Hz and 35 Hz. I switched it on to 25 Hz, and the effect on the PB10-ISD’s ability to render detail was simply astounding. Suddenly there was resolution and detail in spades!

I went back through my reference tracks one at a time and the resolution the PB10-ISD was now exhibiting was simply jaw dropping. Where there was none before, the subtle texture in Basia’s "Cruising for Bruising" bass line was all there, even better than with my own subs. The prominent low freq growl in the "Drunk on Love" track was more "growly," the texture more pronounced and tighter than I have ever heard. The staccato triplets and syncopated legato notes in Manhattan Transfer’s "Sassy" were also tighter and better defined than I’m used to hearing with my subs.

So, it seems when it comes to music the SVS may be a victim of its own success. Apparently its prodigious output at the lowest frequencies can obscure the amazing detail the sub is cable of rendering. In other words, the PB10-ISD's "problem" is being too good at what it does!
 

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I think if Mike P were to get in on this discussion, he'd be asking to find out more about your listening area and habits, including music preference and spl, to get a feel for your expectations. Also, how low you need to go for music will be influenced by your content. I probably would be much help, but we'll see who else gets in the discussion. BTW did you say if this was a diy or otherwise? A couple of major decisions on your sub will depend on the above questions to satisfy your need for clean solid output so you're sure to :bigsmile:
 

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I personally have two of the same Audio control EQs he references to (very high quality) and can not really figure out why turning on the HP filter would create such a dramatic increase in bass in the musical range of the PB10. That does not make any sense the only thing I can think of is that the sub was running out of power when outputting the below 25Hz range and by engaging the HP filter he allowed the sub to concentrate on the higher frequency's.
Although the PB10 is a nice sub for your budget you could get into something that would probably not exhibit the same "problem" Wayne encountered.
 

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Higher freq bass, aka mid-bass is going to sound 'tighter'. Perhaps engaging the filter actually deemphasized some content that he simply doesn't prefer? Coupled with a 'limited' amp, sound quality may have been compromised before cutting some freq out. Wayne did state that all of the tested subs' sound quality 'improved'.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
...why turning on the HP filter would create such a dramatic increase in bass in the musical range of the PB10.
He doesn't indicate an increase in the bass (as in SPL). It is an increase in bass detail and articulation which is obtained.
I certainly do not pretend to know the physics, but as a simplification, I suspect it is easier to vibrate a driver accurately at 40Hz than it is to vibrate a driver at 40Hz while it is also being vibrated at 18Hz at near its maximum extension.
 

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He doesn't indicate an increase in the bass (as in SPL). It is an increase in bass detail and articulation which is obtained.
Yes, I do understand that poor wording on my part.
I certainly do not pretend to know the physics, but as a simplification, I suspect it is easier to vibrate a driver accurately at 40Hz than it is to vibrate a driver at 40Hz while it is also being vibrated at 18Hz at near its maximum extension.
Yes but there is very little music that goes that low 30Hz is usually the lowest recordings go (yes I know there are some exceptions).
 

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Where is that Wayne guy anyway? :bigsmile:
I'm sure he'll pop in and shed some light on his review.
 

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Sorry guys - been TV shopping today... :D


After lurking for awhile, Wayne's sub reviews inspired me to join this forum. His reviews are the first place I have read anything about modern subs not properly providing bass detail for music.

He seems to solve this by using the high-pass filter to relieve the sub from the lower frequencies.
Not all subs, just the SVS PB10 I reviewed.

My personal take on the music vs movies debate is that a sub that is tuned properly and is good for movies will do very well with music. I have never understood the reason for a person to state that a sub will or will not be good for music if it has a good frequency reponce...
Funny, I’ve always felt just the opposite. Movies are more about “boom” than anything else. Just because a sub can do that, it’s no guarantee it’ll have good detail and resolution. Get a good music sub and it should be fine with movies too, as long as it has the extension and power handling capabilities.

Here is an explanation of the difference as provided via Wayne's review I referenced. To me, this is a big deal. The subwoofered systems I have heard cannot compare with my old AR 3a full-range speakers for providing good bass detail. They do dig deeper, but they do not pass muster for accurate music reproduction.
I personally have two of the same Audio control EQs he references to (very high quality) and can not really figure out why turning on the HP filter would create such a dramatic increase in bass in the musical range of the PB10.
There wasn’t an increase in bass with the filters, but an increase in low freq detail. The reason, I surmised, was because of the peculiar and rather severe rise in response I was getting below 30 Hz. Probably just something weird with my room, or perhaps the fact that it was a prototype and maybe something was a bit “off” with it. I’ve never seen anyone else have this problem with the PB10. In fact, IIR someone on that thread took me to task about that because they thought it wasn’t normal.




Wayne did state that all of the tested subs' sound quality 'improved'.
Actually no, it was only the SVS that sounded better with the filter. The others in the comparison could barely get down to 25 Hz as it was, so a 25 Hz HP filter on them would have been redundant.

PS - In Waynes review of the SB12Plus, he says the detail on Manhattan Transfer is not as good as he is used to. Does anyone know what it is he is used to?
”Used to hearing,” meaning from my own subs. I had moved to a different house by the time I reviewed the SB12, so I’m reluctant to say definitively that it wasn’t as detailed as the PB10, since the two tests were conducted in different rooms.

Not sure how it would hold up to your ARs, but if you’re looking for a good music sub you might want to give the SVS PB12-Plus/2 a look. I got a chance to hear Sonnie’s when I visited his place a few years ago and I was blown away by the detail, not just in the low freq, but the mid bass as well. It was simply astounding. I'd have one myself, except that I don't have a place for a big box in my living room.

Regards,
Wayne
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I think if Mike P were to get in on this discussion, he'd be asking to find out more about your listening area and habits, including music preference and spl, to get a feel for your expectations. Also, how low you need to go for music will be influenced by your content. I probably would be much help, but we'll see who else gets in the discussion. BTW did you say if this was a diy or otherwise? A couple of major decisions on your sub will depend on the above questions to satisfy your need for clean solid output so you're sure to :bigsmile:
Thanks! Knowing what the questions are is half of the process!
Room is 18' X 27' X 12' vaulted ceiling.
Music is progressive rock, jazz, classical, and pop (generally avoid rap, opera, and hip-hop).
Casually listen at 65dB with peaks in the low 70's. The loudest I would listen is with peaks in the low 90's.
I would guess that one of the reasons I perceive this as fairly loud is my room is acoustically live (think upholstered missionary decor - not stuffed furnishings). At higher volumes the reflections of treble get jumbled and if you are actually listening, sound quality degrades quickly.
I don't have the reference or experience to say how low. Some of the music I listen to has pedal tones (the 6th track of Focus- Moving Waves comes to mind. On the other hand Clapton - Unplugged and Yes - Yessongs "The Clap" both have places where there is overbearing bass content which was not part of the true music. I guess the ideal would be adjustable filter frequency.
I have a SVS SB12-Plus. It has a high WAF rating, but I can put it into service elsewhere if it is a poor choice.
My objective is to do this, get it right, and enjoy it for the next 20+ years!
 

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Thanks! Knowing what the questions are is half of the process!
Room is 18' X 27' X 12' vaulted ceiling.

I have a SVS SB12-Plus. It has a high WAF rating, but I can put it into service elsewhere if it is a poor choice.
My objective is to do this, get it right, and enjoy it for the next 20+ years!
Given the room dimensions The SB12 Plus is a great sub for the job. Your not going to get much better than that for music or movies. The PB13 Ultra or PC13U is about the only subs that would do better but its a bit out of your price range.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for posting, Wayne!
Sorry for the confusion of interpreting your comments as valid for all subwoofers. I have certainly heard a few that just muddled their way through what should have been some nice bass riffs!
I plan to get my SB12 hooked up by this weekend and will see how it compares to my AR's.
With my AR's (which are soon to retire assuming I get the new system working well), I use an old Sansui amp which has a subsonic filter which can be set at 16Hz or 32Hz. I use it at 16Hz and don't really notice a difference in the music, but it does eliminate some errant "hops" of the woofer.
 

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Interesting discussion. I think I have read in the past that some people prefer the sound of subs that don't go as deep for music, because they think it is tighter. In reality, they are not used to hearing the deepest bass. Unless for some reason the PB10 does not perform well below 25, which I don't think is the case, I am surprised by Wayne's findings.

I agree with Tony, that in most cases, won't matter much for music, because there are virtually no musical instruments that play below 30hz, which is why you can get away with a sub that does not go as deep for music vs. movies.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Interesting discussion. I think I have read in the past that some people prefer the sound of subs that don't go as deep for music, because they think it is tighter. In reality, they are not used to hearing the deepest bass.
That would be me! As a purist, I suppose I should crave flat response all of the way down, but the truth of the matter is there is not much music content that low... which introduces the concern of my system faithfully reproducing sounds which were not intended to be part of the music.
I mentioned it earlier in brief, but there is one place in Eric Clapton's Unplugged where you can hear a low bass pounding. It may be Clapton tapping his foot on a resonant stage with a poorly placed mic for all I know, but it is way too dominant with a full range sub. The same is true where Steve Howe is playing The Clap on Yessongs. I'm not sure what caused it, but there is a low frequency thud every time he pushes his finger down on the fret (not a rare event!) It totally ruins a great song! Both of these are live albums. Maybe that is a factor-perhaps recording the lowest bass in a large room and reproducing it a smaller room creates a problem. I have heard plenty of live music, but the bass there never sounds "wrong".

In any case, I guess I am looking for a sub with a fast roll-off at around 30Hz. I may miss some pedal tones, but I don't need to "feel" the truck cranking up outside the recording studio.

I hooked up my SB12-Plus and compared it to my old AR 3a's. The 3a's each have a single 12" woofer (sealed in design). Deep bass is indeed missing, but the 3a's are more articulate. In fairness, I have not properly set up the SB12-Plus (locating and EQ), which could be the issue. The nice thing about the old speakers is that this issue didn't exist - at least not so much as to be a major issue.
Any ideas on a good high pass filter or maybe an Aperion Bravus 8D or other sub of quality, but a relatively high roll-off frequency?
 
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