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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This feel that I have read the very thread I am starting a countless number of times; my problem is that I have been planning an LLT for a few years now and during that time have selected several favorite drivers--only to see the manufacturer go out of business time after time! Avalanche, Sound Splinter, and Exodus all seemed like the way to go...but sadly they all went before I could. Finally, though, the stars have aligned (or as close as can be) and it is time to make this happen before I accidentally start another all-consuming hobby!

This (these?) will go in a dedicated media room--mostly theater use but also for listening, so low freq SPL and cleanliness are both very important. There's room to put a large sonotube behind the screen, so I'm not too worried about hitting optimal size. Mains/center will be large WMTMW Statement Speakers... still under construction, but I anticipate that these will handle much of the low-end for musical purposes (still, don't want a gap matching these to the sub). The room is pretty small--9x23x8 (with closed doors), but some sledgehammer remodeling in the future may expand it to 13x23x8. I've figured that one sub in this size room will be plenty; but I'd be open to dual 15's or even dual 18's if folks think more than one might be necessary to satisfy the desire for the "real theater" experience. I'd love to get down to 13/14 hz. Planning to use a behringer EP4000, as it seems to be widely used, respected, and the price is right.

I have been considering the Ficar Q 18 or the Mach 5 UXL 18--or something in that price range. The LMS Ultra is a great idea except for the cost; I am interested in the renowned clean output, but it seems like a waste anyway since enclosure size isn't a significant restriction. I am thinking Q or UXL over the SSD or IXL, because I assume they will have the lower distortion output that I want for music. (If I hadn't mentioned yet, I'm a newbie at this; still trying to figure everything out, so let me know if I'm off track anywhere.)

Can anybody recommend the best driver and/or build for my situation? Will the UXL offer cleaner output over the Q? Is one enough? Targeted volume/tuning?

Thanks very much for all the information I've gained from the forum!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Re: Top drivers currently available for a clean-output LLT/EBS Sonotube Subwoofer?

Hi Mike, thanks for jumping right in. As far as cost goes, I am up for the UXL-18, which I believe to be about $540 shipped (to me in Seattle, WA). If the Q-18 would be just as good a choice, then I wouldn't spend the extra just for the cool carbon fiber look of the UXL-- I DO have to talk my wife into these purchases, so it's not like cost isn't a concern. I WOULD say that I'm willing to save and spend what it takes to get the results I'm after, if that sounds like an answer.

For example, if the answer is "you should definitely do TWO UXL 18's," then I might do one at a time and the 2nd driver would have to wait until next year.
 

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(green) Fi Q18 rated at 1000 watts, shown with 1500 watts wouldn't be my first choice due to the sloping frequency response.

(white) UXL-18 rated at 1200 watts, shown with 1500 watts.

(orange) Fi SP418 rated at 2500 watts, shown with 2000 watts, it will take the EP4000 all day long.

At $494 it's in your price range.

http://store.ficaraudio.com/sp418/

fi sp18.JPG
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yes, cost-wise it looks like the SP4 comes in almost the same as the UXL (which includes $90 shipping from CA). They call the Q-series their "Sound quality reference line", which is what talked me into that model... and I haven't heard much about the SP4. Who's using it out there, and how does it line up for SQ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks Mike, I did find and read through that thread after you suggested this as an option. He does state that his impression is not relative to any other DIY candidates, so I will still be interested to hear if anybody has comparison experience. Not a lot of mentions of this driver yet searching the forums, unlike many powerhouses of the past... I will keep looking. Again, thanks for your time to reply and model those drivers up-- I really appreciate it!

Anybody else with opinions for further consideration?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I was almost talked into the SP4... alternatively, however--and for just a bit more money (well ok, $200) I could build TWO of the Q18 Sonotubes. I seem to recall reading several posts to the tune that two lesser drivers could be often preferable to a single more expensive (and better) driver. It seems that with two in my little, closed room (13x22x8), I will probably never even need to push them close to capacity. What do you think of this idea for sound quality and output?

(Bill 3 got talked into dual Sonotube Q-18's in this thread; "625 liters with one 8" diameter port 26" long, yielding ~13.6hz tune" --this was a few years back, however, and the driver landscape may have changed a bit.)

Another less expensive driver option to do two might be the Mach 5 IXL 18, if the new version comes out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ok, I haven't started yet, but I am heavily leaning toward the Q18 (x2). I did order an EP4000; can I comfortably drive two of these with the one amp? I understand that the Behringer may output significantly less than advertised.

I was hoping to pick a driver/build which would end up tuning a bit lower-- closer to 12 hz has more appeal to me, for some reason. I'm not sure what the practical difference would be between 12hz and 15hz, but it would be nice to avoid the need for a high pass filter, for one. Somebody in one of these debates (on hitting <10 hz) stated that, although the "shake" at 10 hz is similar or indistinguishable from 15hz, if the content is there on a BD, you will be missing out if you don't reproduce it.

Is there another current driver which would enjoy a larger enclosure tuned lower (like the older Q18, the Avalanche, Sound Splinter etc)? Or would it be advisable to tune the Q18 a little lower than is "optimal"? (Mains will be Statements with an F3 at 30 hz, and it is a small room (say 2200 cubes sealed), so I wouldn't anticipate mid-bass problems. But I also have no actual idea what I'm talking about... :neener:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Been awhile but this project hasn't died; I am planning to order a driver next week and I seem to be settling on the UXL18. Mark has been exceedingly available and helpful answering emails, Mach5 has a great history, and the driver seems to be the most well-suited and capable for what I am after. The longer term plan is to have two of these, although the finances might just support one now and the 2nd down the road.

I am looking for any last hints or input re tuning etc as I firm up the design. As the plan is for two, I am quite willing to give up some upper-end output for lower extension. Stereodude over at AVSForum modeled the UXL with Data-Bass specs with 1000W in 720l tuned to 11 hz:



How does this look to everybody? (I get slightly different results running this in Unibox myself, maybe because I don't know what to do with Port end correction, Qa, Ql, Qp etc.
 

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It's a personal choice going that big with a low tuning frequency. I personally wouldn't tune much lower than 15 hz, there isn't much happening down there in most movies to justify a cabinet that's over double the size. With a 15 hz tuning you gain in the 16 - 22 hz range where it counts. But that's just me.

uxl.JPG
 

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I'm biased, but I would aim for a sub design right between the two of those, something like 520 liters and a 13hz tune. I don't have modeling software any longer, so you may need to fine tune the volume, I'm just guessing 520 liters. 720 liters is VERY large, as my monsters are "only" 650 liters, and they are 28" diameter and 7' tall assembled. I'd go for just enough in that 500+ liter range to ensure you can comfortably use a 8" diameter port, meaning at least a port's diameter clearance between the internal opening and the back of the driver, and a first resonance >=190hz.

13hz will keep your driver safe in almost all situations, get you fairly solidly to 10hz assuming some room gain, and not forfeit too much up top.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Here it is in 570l at 13 hz, which gives a 1st port resonance of 199 hz according to Sonosub and 189hz according to Unibox. Looks like I could use 26" Sonotube, if I can find it, which gives an overall height of 6' 7". Clearance to the ceiling is ok if I have at least 8", right? Anything I'm missing?

 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I wish I could step down to 24" tube, as that is available locally... however to keep the height at 6'1 cap to cap (and I don't think I could go much taller with lowish ceilings), volume is only 475 liters, which gives a 1st port resonance of ~160 hz. Too low?

520l with 26" tube gives ~175 hz 1st resonance, 5'7" cap to cap height. (I continue to see a discrepancy between unibox and sonosub for 1st port resonance of 2 to 10 hz; is this not an exact formula?)
 

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The difference is that one is probably assuming a port flare and the other isn't, and the flare adds length. No big deal. 520 liters sounds better - you want to flatten that bump around tuning a little bit, it will decrease the demands on the port and mesh better with room gain - less enclosure volume achieves that, and without seeing it modeled, 520 liters sounds about right.
 
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