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Discussion Starter #1
I'm currently running a 7.0 system and wanted to add a sub(s). I have a HT room measuring 20'L x 11'W x 7.5'H. In the past I had a sub but never liked the sound so it remained unhooked for years until I finally sold it. The issue, it wasn't nice sounding, more of a one note kind of thing. It was a big ol' ported design that went loud but no finesse, texture or detail. Mind you that was almost twenty years ago when I got it and sub design has come a long way. After reading many reviews, here included, ie: the SVS SB13 Ultra I think it's time I revisted subs again.

My current HT setup is a far cry above that old system. Great sound even the bass from my Axiom M80's shake the room. I've had these for 2 years and I still do not really miss bass that much, however I know that a sub not only helps the bass it aids the rest of the system by allowing better headroom in the rest of the speakers. My usage is mostly HT and a little music, 95/5. I'm looking at sealed because their small...WAF...and while I do more HT, music is still important.

The real question is do I get the SB13 ultra or dual SB12's. For my space getting reference SPL's is easily achieved. Given my past experience with subs I'm looking for smooth articulated sound more than LOUDNESS ;) I've read that multi sub setup's offer better integration and smoother bass response over single setup's. However the reviews for the SB13 are hard to ignore.

As you can see I'm not sure which way to go. Any advice or experience you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
 

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For that space I think the one Ultra would work just fine. How many seating positions do you have? If it's just a couple I know you would be ok. If someday your HT is moved into a larger space with more seating positions you can always add a second Ultra.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Jeff

I know the Ultra is a very nice piece of gear. We'll be retiring (hopefully) in a few years and downsizing is probably a more realistic option. So if the space is the same or smaller would the advantages of duals over a single (beast) be negated?

Has anybody gone from a large sub to 2 or more smaller subs? What was the result and was it worth it?
 

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You know, SVS has the best customer support I've seen. My suggestion is to call them, they will go over your rooms needs from start to finish & give you an honest recommendation that you can bank on.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks Quenten

I've already contacted SVS and they recommended the SB13U for obvious reasons...it's their best sealed sub period. We also talked about their dual SB12 too and either way I'd be very happy.

Most of my system wasn't an overnight buy. I spent months researching each component to ensure it was the right piece for my setup. They, like SVS, were an on-line companies also, ie: OPPO, Outlaw and Axiom. I love the fact that these companies produce great gear at great prices and top-of-the-line customer support. The big-box stores don't hold a candle to the quality and service offered by these companies.

Since I've researched every piece before purchase, SVS is easily in my top pick for subs. I know I want a sealed design. HTS and it's members offer great advice and informed reviews. I look forward to any questions, advice or observation you care to share.
 

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Zuter,
You're very smart to put in the time and effort to research everything before making your purchases. I couldn't agree with you more about Internet direct companies offering outstanding value. It sounds as though you have put together quite a system and I also agree either route taken will leave you satisfied. Utilizing HTS only enhances your time and effort in research.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks Jeff

I'm having alot of fun putting my system together.

I learned to do research because of others...I'm that guy, like many here, my friends ask to help with this sort of stuff. Why, I don't know but I've learned that internet forums and professionals are an absolute must when researching or problem solving. I've used this from getting deals on cars to renovating my home.

Gotta love the information age ;)
 

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That room is only 1,650 cubic feet, so either option should work really well. In my opinion, I'd recommend dual SB12-NSD's over the larger SB13U. Your post seems to indicate that you aren't really stressing your existing system much or seeking much of an increase in SPL/output, so headroom/output are not high priorities. Also, duals allow for greater set up flexibility both now and if you do end up downsizing in the future. Room shape/size play a big role in frequency response, especially below 200hz or so, and being able to set up multiple subs can help smooth that out, while added headroom/extension from a larger sub doesn't address/fix that issue at all.

Admittedly, I am a sucker for dual (or more) subs and have been for more than 20 years. Every time I have tried to go back to one sub, regardless of quality, I end up just buying a second within a year. My wife has just accepted this and reminds me about it when I go back out on the hunt for new gear.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks snowmanick

That's what I was wondering about duals. I wanted to know how they'd perform in my current and future spaces. The SB13U is a great sub, no doubt. I just wasn't sure if it was the right choice.

And you're right, my system isn't even close to being over burdended. While sound quality, not quantity, remains my goal. The last sub was my only foray into full range sound and for me the results were less than stellar. It was only recently I read that my issue might be solved by adding another sub. With proper placement and EQing/calibration it's possible to acheive near sonic nirvana!

Any insights to placement for duals, ie: front/back walls, side by side, opposite corners... My room is closed off with only one door about mid way along the right 20' wall. I read that placing the sub in your listening position then doing the 'crawl' till you find the sweet spot works but what about duals? I know this is premature but I might borrow some and do my homework before hand.

Oddly, when I was upgrading our system I wanted bookshelf's like we had before. My wife wanted towers because she hated dusting the speaker stands. I wanted a wood finish, she wanted HG piano black...she won, go figure!
 

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Sub crawl is one way to start. There are also higher probability spots to try to maximize the liklihood of good even response...mid wall on the sides or front and back. Corners will boost bass, but usually in an uneven response way. Every room is different and even different subs will result in different placement optimization. REW is a good program to do some final placement tweaking as well, but takes a little time to implement and also get used to using.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hi TK

Thanks for the info. While my layout is fairly open I still have only a few spots to put a sub/subs. I'll have to see if I can get a couple subs to play with before I can confirm which setup is best. I've been playing with REW and purchased a UMIK mic but am still pretty novice with it's use. So far I've used it for SPL balancing only. I'll have to do much more reading before I understand the concepts, analysis and solutions. But then I have plenty of time and I'm in no hurry to purchase until I'm ready.
 

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The bad thing about subs is it seems to depend on your room as to what the best recommendation is. Some rooms need more than one sub to sound good throughout the room and some rooms work great with one sub.

I was in your same situation and decided on just one better sub, the PB13/Ultra. It works great for me and I don't second guess my choice because it plays so clean. I don't need the second sub, and somehow I will still probably end up buying a second just because I am addicted. I guess not enough plaster is falling off of my walls already.:D I was already going to purchase my second by now, but instead I bought the entire SVS line of M series speakers instead.

My wife realizes that my second sub might be coming soon, and I don't need it at all. I think she is tired of my poor excuses as to why the room needs a second sub. For instance, Honey, the room looks funny with just one sub because it doesn't look uniform. Or if we have a second sub it would look like we have matching end tables. Or Just think how much more this room would shake with a second sub. You get the picture. Just buy the Ultra and plan on the second one later, even if it takes you 10 years because the single Ultra will be more than enough until then.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
If I were get a single it'd be the SB13U for sure but I don't think I'd need a second one these for my space. I've never had a dual setup so I have no experience with the sound, nor how it'd do in my room! Therein lies the rub!

I guess the single vs the dual is a personal preference for many here. Some have multi-sub setup's while most rely on singles. Budget, space, WAF are but a few considerations for deciding on their setup's. Mine is lack of experience. I'm still waiting to get a couple subs on loan to try out and see/hear what I'm missing. Once that happens I'll have a better idea as to where I'll end up.
 

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I don't think that the question is whether duals sound better or not. I would much rather have one sub that sounded cleaner and deeper. The question is if your room has a bunch of dead spots that the second sub would improve. I do think you would be happier with the Ultra if your room is decent because nothing sounds cleaner than the Ultras. One thing that needs to be pointed out is that even though dual subs gives you more ability to limit dead zones, they are also not a free lunch. Sometimes it is hard to get dual subs to play well together. Audyssey really helps the subs to play nice together.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I don't think that the question is whether duals sound better or not. I would much rather have one sub that sounded cleaner and deeper. The question is if your room has a bunch of dead spots that the second sub would improve. I do think you would be happier with the Ultra if your room is decent because nothing sounds cleaner than the Ultras. One thing that needs to be pointed out is that even though dual subs gives you more ability to limit dead zones, they are also not a free lunch. Sometimes it is hard to get dual subs to play well together. Audyssey really helps the subs to play nice together.
"Better" is a relative term.

The only dead spot (null) in my room, for bass, is where we sit. Unfortuneatly I can't move my setup so I'm forced to find a solution that's the best for my situation. My old sub provided better low end but it was easily located during use. Would better EQing and placement have helped, possibly. Would I still have gotten that distracting directional burst of sound, probably. Will duals allow me to get a "better" mix with less directionality, very possible. While having 2 SB12-NSD's wouldn't give me the same quality in overall sound, compared to an SB13U, it might allow me to get a "better" blend in my main listening area.

I hate when a disconnection occurs in then action and sound. These should work together, where and when they happen. This is more important for my experience than getting that extra "thump"...getting both is ideal! Again it's all relative to my situation and expectations. Once I have a couple loners I'll get a chance to find out. Till then I appreciate all your comments and personal experiences...keep them coming ;)

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Update

I'm only able to snag a single sub for my testing thus far but the results are a real eye opener...or rather ear opener ;) I placed the sub in the main listening area and did the walk/crawl until I found a few good spots for placement. Adjusted the speaker setup to include the sub and went to town on music and movies.

First, the increase in bass defination was very noticeable. Since I had several spots to play with I did quick testing from both of my listening positions while articulating the subs position and orientation. The sound was fuller in both positions with only subtle differences with each change. I narrowed this down to two spots that gave the best SQ. Either or, or both would be perfect. I therefore have two distinct spots to place a sub or subs.

Second, I discovered that the null in my room for bass isn't in my main listening area, rather it's where my I've placed my mains. This has been the problem all along. Thankfully the mids and highs aren't negatively effected by the mains position. Unfortuneatly I can't reconfigure my setup but can add sub(s) to eliminate this issue.

Both positions are identically located on each side of the room behind the seats. They are just back and to the outside of each seat. Orientation only changes the sound slightly for each seat, ie: forward firing vs sideways. If I had two subs I'd probably have to face them forward...I'll test this later when I get a second sub. However using one sub still gives me the needed bass and defination it's not ideal for both seats but far better than what I have now.

Happily I now know the answer to my problem. Unfortuneatly I'm still no closer in deciding which way to go. Once I get a second sub to test with I'll be able to make a more informed decision. Isn't this always the case with this hobby!
 

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I feel your pain. It sounds like 2 Ultras is your best move, except for that little thing called money. My wife has been pretty good about my obsession, but I notice that she gets irritated with me every time I start spending too much time on these forums. She says that it always leads to me spending money. I really can't say that she is wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
^

LOL

My wife has agreed to a sub(s)...for my birthday. Only that's not until October!

I've taken 4 - 5 years to get my current setup, with the OPPO 103 and Marantz 7005 being the latest additions. I can wait a bit longer. Maybe she'll consider dual Ultras :) ...not :( No, the best I'll do is the dual SB12's or a single SB13. Till then my research will continue...and who knows something else may come along before then!?
 

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Time and restraint is your best friend in the audio hobby. I remember reading and lusting after things that I think are a waist now. I would read all the reviews when I was just a teenager. I never spent any money back then. I have saved my whole life until just recently, and now I have lost my marbles. I have bought the entire M series line from SVS, a PB13-Ultra, and an insanely clearanced Sunfire TGR-3. I need a mean wife, but she feels bad to say anything since I have never bought anything for myself until recently, and it is hard for her to say much since I paid off her car, college payments, and etc. when we got married many years ago. I have just gotten extremely tired of saving everything. I will be dead and will not have anything to enjoy if I never spend anything. Good luck on everything.
 
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