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I’m building a music/HT system (60/40 split) and down to deciding on the processor, subs and amps. Looking at somewhat higher-end and slightly less high-end equipment. If you were to compromise or cut corners in one of these categories in order to save money, which would it be? My last system lasted 15 years and I expect this one to, as well.

New speakers are SF Venere family all the way around: S, 2.0 and Center. Coming off Paradigm Studio 80s, 20s, C with Servo 15 that I thought sounded muddy. Bear in mind that yes, I am a noob at this, and although I can appreciate good sound I'm really going to have to spend some time learning to tune this stuff. Simplicity of the processor and subs will be a big factor.

Room is a 20x20x20 living room with large openings on two walls - not dedicated HT. The lack of impact from the Servo 15 is my main reason for considering 2 subs. My thought was that I'd use the front sub while listening just to music and turn on the second in the back of the room for movies.

My potential comparisons:

Processors: McIntosh MX122 v. Marantz AV8802A v. Anthem AVM 60. Potential savings of $4,000

Amp: Planning on getting a MAC 2-ch for the mains, but as a supporting amp for the surrounds and Zone 2, looking at McIntosh MC8207 v. Outlaw 7700. Potential savings of $3,750.

Subs: 2) JL Audio Fathom F113 v. 2) SVS SB16-Ultra v. 2) SVS SB13-Ultra. Potential savings of $6,000.

Or the converse, in which of these three categories would you definitely not compromise?

I really appreciate the feedback.
 

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First of all welcome aboard the HTS :wave:

You have a good list of items above. Given your room is large and open into other rooms your going to need to invest in the best subs you can afford if you want to be able to pressurize the space. I would go with the two SVS PB16u's.
For amps save some money and look at the Outlaw or even Emotiva. there will be little preformance difference between the Mcintosh and those as you pay largely for the name.
Again for a processor the Marantz would be just as good as the boutique brands and as you mention save some cash.
 
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Room is a 20x20x20 living room with large openings on two walls - not dedicated HT. The lack of impact from the Servo 15 is my main reason for considering 2 subs. My thought was that I'd use the front sub while listening just to music and turn on the second in the back of the room for movies.
A Servo 15 struggling in a room that's 8000 ft^3 is certainly understandable - there's not a 15" sealed subwoofer made that stands a chance in that volume of space (maybe if it was horn loaded perhaps). Add in the fact there are two open walls and your sub will have even more to deal with.


Subs: 2) JL Audio Fathom F113 v. 2) SVS SB16-Ultra v. 2) SVS SB13-Ultra. Potential savings of $6,000.
I owned an SB13-Ultra for a while, just reviewed the SB16-Ultra and did an eval of the JL Audio E112, so I have either direct or indirect experience with all 3 of those.

The first thing that jumps out at me is the fact they're all sealed, which I doubt is a coincidence. Is there a reason you aren't considering ported subwoofers? You don't mention anything about aesthetics, price range or size restrictions though, all of which are key factors when deciding on a subwoofer. If you could add those that would help - because other options might be available - but let's start with the 3 you mentioned...

I'd skip the SB13. Great sub, but a pair of them may not do a whole lot more than the Servo 15 did. It sounds like you want a noticeable difference instead. The F113 will have better sound quality than the SB13, and perhaps a touch more output, but probably not enough to justify the difference in price between them. The SB16 will have more output than the other two, and come real close to the sound of a JL Audio product. It would cost less as well.
 

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Thanks, and yes, aesthetics and room are significant factors pushing me away from the PB16 and toward the SB16. The PB would be too big for the living room (aesthetically). They're almost out of the question (wife).

And no, not a coincidence. I may be giving too much credence to the belief that sealed subs are 'crisper', 'cleaner' or whatever description one uses, than ported. I'm concerned that the ported will be too 'boomy', I guess. I certainly understand, though, the ability of the ported to produce more output. Price wise, I could suck up the cost of the F113s when justifying over years of use and I'm sure they are 'world class subs' as many reviewers state, but not sure that they're 2.25x better than the SB16 ($9,000 v. $4,000 for two) and can't imagine that they could output the volume of the SB16s.
 

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And no, not a coincidence. I may be giving too much credence to the belief that sealed subs are 'crisper', 'cleaner' or whatever description one uses, than ported. I'm concerned that the ported will be too 'boomy', I guess.
At one point in time that was true, but it's not really the case now; high-quality drivers/amps and DSP have all but negated the differences between the alignments.


I certainly understand, though, the ability of the ported to produce more output. Price wise, I could suck up the cost of the F113s when justifying over years of use and I'm sure they are 'world class subs' as many reviewers state, but not sure that they're 2.25x better than the SB16 ($9,000 v. $4,000 for two) and can't imagine that they could output the volume of the SB16s.
You should consider the Seaton Submersive line of subwoofers. It's likely those would satisfy your needs as well.
 

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As was mentioned elsewhere I saw this, you would definitely not calibrate your system to use one sub for music and two for movies. It would be easier to trim accordingly or have a processor/avr with presets. Also agree with Jman. Sealed on has an advantage in visual appeal, but that's about where it ends. Don't forget JTR subwoofers, and JIm, I wonder about a pair of FV15HP's. (I'm sure you saw that coming lol!!!)
 

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Don't forget JTR subwoofers, and JIm, I wonder about a pair of FV15HP's. (I'm sure you saw that coming lol!!!)
Since I own a JTR S1 - and use it as my personal reference subwoofer - I can see why you mentioned them. But wait, there's more! (does that sound like an infomercial?) :T

Brian Ding (Rythmik) is putting the final touches on both an F18 and FV18 (sealed and ported, respectively) so there is another pair of heavy hitters in the offing. The FV15 is already a benchmark product, so I can only imagine what an 18" version would be capable of.
 

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Oh yeah. The 18's!!! That's gonna be exciting!!! I'm officially volunteering to review one. I thought it was due about 6mo ago?
 

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Brian now has everything he needs for the single driver 18's (he's designing dual driver versions as well) so my guess is Rythmik will have shipping product within 3 months. Given the fact I own an S1, I can only image how many times I'll be asked how the F18 stacks up against the JTR. I may have no choice but to review one of them. There are worse things I suppose... :p
 
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