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Help me choose a subwoofer?

Discussion in 'Receivers and amplifiers' started by jeff-o, May 30, 2004.

  1. jeff-o

    jeff-o Member

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    So far, I've narrowed my choices to two models, but I'm willing to add another if it compares:

    [bold]SVS PCi 25-31[/bold]
    http://www.svsubwoofers.com/subs_pci_25-31.htm
    for $549 USD + lots for shipping and brokerage fees + 7% tax

    [bold]Paradigm PW-2100[/bold]
    http://www.paradigm.ca/Website/SiteParadigmProduct/ParadigmModels/SubWoofers/PW_Specs.htm
    for $750 CDN ($500 US) + 15% tax

    These are the specs:

    The SVS is a 12" cylinder-style sub with a built-in 320W Class-D amplifier. It is tuned to 25 Hz. It has a THD+N of only 0.01%. I've not read one review that is not glowing.

    The Paradigm is a 10" front-firing sub with a built-in 400W Class-D amp. It is tuned to 23 Hz. It has a THD+N of 0.1%. Reviews for this sub are equally glowing.


    Now, I think I'd snap up the SVS in a wink if it weren't for the cost of getting it over the border, which would probably add $150 CDN to the price. I tend to put a nasty mind-job on myself, so that if I find something I like I'm not happy until I get it. If anything, at least try to convince me that the Paradigm will make me happy!
     
  2. Oriphus

    Oriphus Senior member

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    I would go with the SVS, for two main reasons (i know its a good bit more epxensive, but there are ways around the customs).

    Firstly, Home Cinema tends to use deep rumbles, rather than quick succession low frequency sounds. With this in mind, a 12" Driver is more likely to give the better effect rumbles and "room shaking" sounds, as well as having the capabilities to output high driven quick succession low frequency sounds. The 10" will be able to output faster (move the speaker from its inner most position to its outer and back again) than a 12", basically due to its size, but this isnt as good for home cinema. I have a 250W RMS 12" Sub in my room.

    The second reason is that the SVS is down firing, which almost always gives you a better sound, even on wooden floors, than the front, rear and side firing ones. I was surprised that the SVS uses Class D amplification, i was expecting it to be Class A/B probably, not for any reason mind you, just the more expensive ones tend to be.

    Have a look at the Monitor Audio FB212, although it is around $1200 US, it is truely a room shaker to love.
    http://www.monitoraudio.com/products/sub_woofers/series/FB212.htm

    On a completely different thing, i always laugh at the people who love listening to dance music and that type of stuff, then they go and instal a 15" subwoofer in their car. They obviously aint got a clue, though they'll tell you otherwise of course, but for music, especially dance, a sub around 10" is whats needed, and 15" sub is only going to give you distortion while playing your dance type tracks lol.
     
  3. jeff-o

    jeff-o Member

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    Unfortunately, the price of the SVS after all the shipping brings it uncomfortably close to the $1000 mark, which is more than I care to spend (I know, I know, it's worth it to spend a little more...)

    Since the PW-2200 from Paradigm is also going to cost me that much, the next in line is the PS-1200 from Paradigm:

    http://www.paradigm.ca/Website/SiteParadigmProduct/ParadigmModels/SubWoofers/PS_Series_Specs.htm

    Unfortunately, it's half the power and has a THD+N of 0.9%, nine times that of the PW-2100. It's also about $150 to $200 less, but I feel like I'll be making some compromises if I choose this one.

    Are there any other 12" subs out there that match the SVS in specs, but at a lower price? I have the feeling the answer is NO, but I'll still ask...

     
  4. Oriphus

    Oriphus Senior member

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    Hi Jeff, the Paradigm PS-1200 is a pretty decent subwoofer. It has a 12" driver and 200 Watts RMS which wont quite give a room shaker type sound, but it wont be far off and it will be very impressive anyway. I had a 150 Watt RMS Yamaha with two 75 Watt RMS 8" Subwoofers, and ill tell you it sounded good. I only recently upgraded to the 250 Watt RMS sub and it does sound a lot better.

    I would have gone for the SVS over the Paradigm, but if we are talking around the price you mention, then the Paradigm is a very good subwoofer. The PW2100 looked very good, but the PW 1200 looks exceptional too. I would go for it if u can afford it.
     
  5. Sophocles

    Sophocles Senior member

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    The difference in distortion is irrelevant since both fall below the human threshold levels and the fact that the distortion measure is of total harmonic distortion, makes it even less of a concern. It’s IM or intermodulation distortion that is easy to hear, and it contributes to listener fatigue. I was a stereo consultant/salesman in the 1980s before I returned to college and Paradigm was then and is now a quality product with exceptional sound quality. The size of the woofers from 12 to 10 inches is irrelevant since it is the tuned port that determines its lower frequency range. I would bet dollars that in a listening test among knowledgeable professionals, the Paradigms would easily win the day.
     
  6. Oriphus

    Oriphus Senior member

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    I disagree with the irrelvancy of the Drivers, since it is known that a larger driver has a longer reflex time than a smaller driver, hence smaller drivers are more suited to fast bass movements like that of a dance song, as opposed to the larger drivers which tend to be the more "room shaker" systems.

    Also, THD of 0.1% isnt as good as some. Generally ).05% is considered a good mark to go by, anything <0.05% is very good, anything more is liveable up until about 0.5%

    The Paradigms are excellent units, however, as a Audio/Visual salesman for 3 years with a Reference company i tend to view that subwoofers that are floor driven directed tend to perform better throughout the ranges than that of front-driven. Expecially when on carpet, or on a rug on a wooden floor.
     
  7. Sophocles

    Sophocles Senior member

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    Oriphus, I used to live in London Ontario, where I was a consultant for a high-end audio store called the Power Station. Most people over estimate their bass needs because they don't understand the acoustic principles that drive them. For a bass wave to be effectively reproduced it must have a physical space equal to its wave length to allow it. For instance if we were to take the speed of sound at 1132 ft per second and then divide it by the frequency of 25 Hz, we would have a bass wave that is 45.28 feet in length ( a single cycle). A room’s length that is less than the actual wave length would prevent an audible frequency in that range to occur. In fact to hear it at all the room has to be, at least half that size in length because low frequencies can fold (folded horn). Also bass waves because of their long waves, require greater amplifier power than does HF, hi frequencies.

    The tuned frequencies provided by jeff-o are port frequencies, or the holes in our subwoofers that allow certain frequencies to escape. Because bass waves can fold they can also turn back on themselves at180 degrees and in effect cancel themselves out altogether. This means that if the port is tuned to either 23 or 25 hertz it allows those undesirable frequencies below that range to escape and purposefully be cancelled out (eliminated) by the direct emissions from the subwoofers speakers. The higher frequencies above the ports tuned frequency, are isolated from coming into conflict with each other which results in a cleaner sound. Paradigm is a long time quality manufacturer , I still use a pair of their minis in my recording studio for mixing.
     
  8. jeff-o

    jeff-o Member

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    The room I'm in is roughly 11 feet by 24 feet. The TV is placed on the longer length, roughly in the middle. The sub would, of course, be placed in a corner, on the same wall as the TV.

    Anyway, for the sound wavelength that Sophocles gave, I'm looking at 1/4 and 1/2 wavelengths at 25 Hz. Heh, I'm sure that I'll still be feeling every explosion and bass drum hit, though!

    I've also thought a bit more about which is more important to me, music or movie performance. I've chosen music, which given advice I've received from a number of people, would lead me to choose a 10" sub. I mostly listen to (classic) rock, like stuff from Led Zeppelin, Rush or The Rolling Stones (if that matters).

    I'm starting to sway towards the Paradigm now...
     
  9. Sophocles

    Sophocles Senior member

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    It's kind of a moot point because if you look at the specs you published the 10 inch paradigm has a 2 hertz advantage bass response and an 80W advantage in RMS power. The most important part is the quality of sound or musicality and paradgim has the experience there too.
     
  10. The_OGS

    The_OGS Active member

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    Yes, the package is the combination of the coupling of the driver with the enclosure, the tuned-port and the room. Bose 901s are flat to 20Hz, with 9 little tiny drivers/channel (and equalization); it's the package.
    Yes, people overestimate their bass requirement. Subwoofers are best served subtle, only the lowest octave with little overlap to the main speakers. Do you get any bass out of your L&R, jeff-o?
    Yes, all these THDs are acceptable - it is not particularly audible within this frequency range.
    Yes Paradigm is good stuff, I know the owner. His father owns Cycle World in Toronto, and my friend started Paradigm because he was wealthy and bored. He is now far richer than his father, but can still drive whatever bike he wants...
    You will be happy with the more modest unit. You do not have a gymnasium-sized basement, and it will be fine for movies.
    You will find it can be very easy to make your music sound 'tubby'. Good bass reaches way down, but should be 'flat' and again, should pickup where your L&R leave off and not overlap with them, giving too much mid-bass between 40-80Hz.
    The best subwoofers do fire down, though. Firing down is omni-directional and helps the bass to couple with the room. If the driver faces forward it works though, because the package still couples with the corner and with the room.
    I used to be a technical sales rep, Pioneer Electronics Canada head office staff.
    You from The Forest City, Sophocles? Me too! Go Mustangs.
    Later
    _X_X_X_X_X_[small]IT Technician BSc MCSA
    XP2500+Barton 512MB PC3200[/small]
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2004
  11. jeff-o

    jeff-o Member

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    I have a pair of Paradigm 5se mains that I got from my parents (actually, it was a trade, they wanted smaller speakers, so I gave them the speakers from my AIWA mini system... ), and they are good down to maybe 120 Hz before they start to lose their punch. Explosions in ID4 are loud, but they don't shake the room and you can't feel it in your butt. ;)

    Also, I won't be in this room (or house) for more than a year, I'll be moving someplace different next summer so I want to make sure that what I get will last no matter where I go.
     
  12. Oriphus

    Oriphus Senior member

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    Jeff, i am still a firm believer in larger drivers for room shaking experience. Either way, the 12" ones in the Paradigm are more than sufficient with the RMS output. If you can, i would tend to set a cross-over for the frequencies at around 120Hz for the main speakers and sub. Limit the subs upper frequencies to 120Hz or just slightly over it using the cut-off option, and you should get a far cleaner sound from the system. It also has a good polypropylene cone, some of the shitty ones have a paper cone lol, does not sound good at all.

    When placing the sub, put it at angles to any walls or solid objects as this will help the sound field. Try and put a rug under it or in front of it also. I hope you enjoy your system.

    Chris
     

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