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I know nothing about subs...

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As the title reads: I know nothing about subs...

My current setup as of yesterday - 
Fronts: RB-35

Center: RC-62

Surrounds: RS-52

 

Now, the hardest part is going to be convincing my wife that we NEED a sub... Whether this is true or not, she will not likely be receptive to spending another $300+ after I just picked up these RS-52 surrounds for $220 this week...

 

So.
Who is willing to educate me?

 

Here is what I want to know:

- Will a sub really make a difference? (my guess is yes, it will)

- I can probably get away with buying a Polk PSW10 on Amazon (under $100), but is it really worth it? Better than nothing at all?

- Ideally, what's the sub to help round-out my system? (I'm assuming RSW10 or RSW15 would be the suggestions?)

- Assuming my budget cannot allow the two subs mentioned above ^, what's the "next best thing" - doesn't have to be Klipsch, but preferrably...

 

More questions about subs in general:

What's the typical lifespan of a sub for HT? I'm guessing most people just leave them on 24/7?

Or is this something you turn on only when playing certain movies, games, albums,etc.?

Do you leave the sub on when watching the news?

 

I am happy with my current setup. I'm waiting to pick up the RS-52s this weekend so I'll get them mounted and see how that changes the sound in my room.

I'm at a 5.0 setup. Moving forward I think a 5.1 would make sense. I just need to "feel" the difference, and have a little help here with justifying the purchase! 

 

Cheers all!

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The 2 most important speakers in a HT are the center channel and the sub.  They can make or break your HT experience.  Yes, a sub will make a difference as right now there's a whole channel dedicated to LFE that you're missing.

Your sub does not need to be left on 24/7 and doesn't necessarily have to brand match the rest of your speakers.  Normally the sub is used any time you're using your other speakers, more so because your mains are bookshelf's.

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Where is your location, again(I forgot)?

 

Bill

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4 hours ago, CECAA850 said:

The 2 most important speakers in a HT are the center channel and the sub.  They can make or break your HT experience.  Yes, a sub will make a difference as right now there's a whole channel dedicated to LFE that you're missing.

Your sub does not need to be left on 24/7 and doesn't necessarily have to brand match the rest of your speakers.  Normally the sub is used any time you're using your other speakers, more so because your mains are bookshelf's.

CECAA850 gave  very some excellent advice.  The Polk sub is OK but, look for a used SVS/ PSA 12 inch subs .  

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Blended perfectly...which isn't all that hard to do....a subwoofer will make music sound much, much fuller.  

You should not be able to even locate where it is when you are listening, it should sound seamless with the fronts and the wife should love that because all her music will sound better.

 

For theater, there's a huge amount of content that comes in below 50hz, which is where I'm guessing the bookshelves begin to fall off

These sounds will be much louder with a lot of impact, and are often what the significant others complain about.

 

Size mostly determines how low it can play.  Any sub would improve that setup because the bookshelves are not designed to cover the full range no matter which they may be.

 

Want to get a completely capable sub for about $300 or less, you can get a used SVS (Derrick mentioned above) or even a really nice DIY sub with a built-in amp -- one you could build, or buy used in the local market easily.  They come up all the time, everywhere.  

 

ANY sub will improve bookshelves, certainly anything from Klipsch.  So if you want to start small or inexpensive, or both, a used Klipsch would be great, and cheap.  

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On 8/3/2017 at 1:35 PM, derrickdj1 said:

CECAA850 gave  very some excellent advice.  The Polk sub is OK but, look for a used SVS/ PSA 12 inch subs .  

The R-12SW is on sale right now through Klipsch for $359.

 

Would that pair well with my current equipment?
75% movies/gaming

25% music

 

The room is 15' x 19' with 12' vaulted gable ceiling.
Large 6' doorway entering room.

 

or should I consider a sealed instead of the ported for my room based on its size?

 

 

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A ported sub will give you more output especially around the frequency the box is tuned to.

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On 8/5/2017 at 7:33 PM, AccessDenied said:

Eastern shore Maryland

 

Then you must know Al Klappenberger. :-)

 

Seriously,  any sub will help.  A good sub will help more.  IMO, the key is to integrate it so that its presence is undetected, but it's sudden absence is immediately apparent.  For example, I do most music listening while working at the computer.  I'm frequently amazed by the near field SQ of the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 with the sub at it's lowest setting, anything more sounds exaggerated; off and the sound is poor.  That substantial enhancement comes from a tiny little powered sub.

 

Imagine the improvement a real sub can bring to your system.  As others have said, consider used or DIY, if you're so inclined.

 

WARNING, don't read the next sentences.  One sub is good, two or more are better.  Four DIY tapped horn subs serve my needs. Now forget what I warned you to not read, and just get the best used sub you can afford.

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, CECAA850 said:

A ported sub will give you more output especially around the frequency the box is tuned to.

Maybe I have a misconception of ported subs.

When that guy/gal driving down the street thumping and bumping, but you can't understand any of the music coming out... Is that ported?

Again, apologies for my laughable ignorance of subwoofers!

 

I want bass guitar, not lowrider bass. 
Does that make any sense at all?

 

EDIT:
Perhaps my experiences with those who have subs really just turned me off to them by not setting them up properly?

The last house I went to that had a sub sounded awful. 

He had a ported sub, not sure on model or brand, but you couldn't understand anything in the movie. All the voices were muffled by the sub and the scenes where you expected it do shine through it just sounded like a monotone deep tone throughout.

 

I asked him to turn off the sub and got looks around the room like I was crazy...

 

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The problem isn't ported vs. sealed vs. horn; the problem is set-up and implementation.   Each type can sound good or bad.

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2 hours ago, DizRotus said:

The problem isn't ported vs. sealed vs. horn; the problem is set-up and implementation.   Each type can sound good or bad.

This^^^^^^^^

 

The knuckleheads bumping on your street have boxes tuned for SPL not sound quality.  Once you have your sub dialed in, you shouldn't even know it's there,  It'll sound like your mains have a better bottom end than they really should have.  The last house you went to did NOT have their sub calibrated or integrated properly.  You can't just buy a sub, plug it in and expect it to sound right although a lot of people do just that.  Placement, phase and gain all need to be addressed when you're setting it up.

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On 8/8/2017 at 2:02 PM, CECAA850 said:

This^^^^^^^^

 

The knuckleheads bumping on your street have boxes tuned for SPL not sound quality.  Once you have your sub dialed in, you shouldn't even know it's there,  It'll sound like your mains have a better bottom end than they really should have.  The last house you went to did NOT have their sub calibrated or integrated properly.  You can't just buy a sub, plug it in and expect it to sound right although a lot of people do just that.  Placement, phase and gain all need to be addressed when you're setting it up.

 

So buy the ported, plug it in, come back to these forums for assistance with calibration/integration?! :lol:

 

I'm looking at the SVS SP1000.

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31 minutes ago, AccessDenied said:

 

So buy the ported, plug it in, come back to these forums for assistance with calibration/integration?! :lol:

 

I'm looking at the SVS SP1000.

Yup

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1 hour ago, AccessDenied said:

So buy the ported, plug it in, come back to these forums for assistance with calibration/integration?! :lol:

You've already gotten expert advice ^^^ so I don't need to repeat anything.  FYI I have a Paradigm 10" ported, a Klipsch RW 12d ported and a DIY 15" sealed.

 

I wanted to share a video that was helpful to me in understanding how to calibrate my sub.  I'm not recommending the Dayton Audio subs although they may be fine, but I don't own one.  The recommendations for a specific brand or type (ported vs sealed) by others in this thread seem just fine. 

 

 

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On 8/8/2017 at 11:11 AM, AccessDenied said:

Maybe I have a misconception of ported subs.

When that guy/gal driving down the street thumping and bumping, but you can't understand any of the music coming out... Is that ported?

Again, apologies for my laughable ignorance of subwoofers!

 

A perfect example of a misadjusted subwoofer.  Porting is just a technique for getting another half octave of output from the low limit of some woofers.  Done well, it is transparent.  Instead, you should look at frequency response, response flatness, max output and distortion at 90 to 100 dB, if you can find it. 

 

Quote

I want bass guitar, not lowrider bass. 
Does that make any sense at all?

 

Properly adjusted, you can have both, if the recording is made to have low rider bass. 

 

Quote

 

EDIT:
Perhaps my experiences with those who have subs really just turned me off to them by not setting them up properly?

The last house I went to that had a sub sounded awful. 

He had a ported sub, not sure on model or brand, but you couldn't understand anything in the movie. All the voices were muffled by the sub and the scenes where you expected it do shine through it just sounded like a monotone deep tone throughout.

 

I asked him to turn off the sub and got looks around the room like I was crazy...

 

 

Another miscalibrated sub.  I used to hate subwoofers.  Now, I have several high quality subs, properly setup, and they are great.  First trick is, if you can "hear" the sub, it's TOO LOUD.  Having worked my way from 1 to 2 to 4 subs, I'll always have 4; less distortion, more even in room response (no places with no bass) and enough output to pace La Scalas.  Most rooms should have 2 subs placed about mid-wall on opposite walls.  Use a sound level meter to calibrate your subs. 

 

Get the best subs you can afford that go down to at *least* 25 Hz.  Parts Express has several viable alternatives from assembled to you build the box from their plans.  My brother built one that goes well below 20 Hz, in room.  I use a PE SUB-120 in my music playing room with either KG2s or Auratone 5CTVs. 

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JA so well said, thank you very much for that excellently written comment :)

 

The OP mentioned car subs and also a friends house that is calibrated where the subs muffle everything else

To illustrate the opposite of these situations, I'll use my upstairs theater as an example --

 

front subs are behind the tv, about 10 feet from the MLP.  the back subs are 30 feet back from that front wall.

Yet, you can sit almost anywhere in the room and you will never know where the subs are.  They sound best at the MLP, but very good everywhere.


Unless someone was looking, they wouldn't know there are subs.  And they shouldn't.  You can sit at the back right in front of the back subs and unless you are about 1 foot away, you cannot hear those subs directly at all. It's really cool when you get them setup like that. 

 

Although multiple subs can be complicated, one sub setup is actually very easy and I'm 100% sure this group here can make your sub sound better than that car or your friend's house.  Your friend will come over, hear your setup and go OOOOOOO what did you do that sounds amazing?  OR, since he's used to hearing his own setup, he may actually hate yours at first because he won't hear the bass he is used to.  

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2 hours ago, RoboKlipsch said:

Unless someone was looking, they wouldn't know there are subs.  And they shouldn't.

This^^^^^^^^

 

I have four 18" drivers in an IB.  If I covered them up where you couldn't see them, you'd never know where they were. 

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On 8/3/2017 at 7:59 AM, AccessDenied said:

As the title reads: I know nothing about subs...

My current setup as of yesterday - 
Fronts: RB-35

Center: RC-62

Surrounds: RS-52

 

Cheers all!

Hey, that's me too, and I don't even have a setup yet.

 

I somewhat look at the specs, having majored in math, and start to wonder a few things.

 

1) From the research, it seems that it is possible for a smaller 10" sub to output a lower frequency than a 12" sub, however, what also seems to be a guiding factor is the "bigger is better" philosophy, so I'm wondering about that.

2)  Now, I can believe there is a noticeable difference if one sub goes to 30Hz or so compared to another one at 15Hz, but what about 24Hz to 20Hz to 18 Hz?  Are they huge steps, or just slightly better, or maybe hardly better at all?

3)  The "in room extension" specification seems to indicate that everything will work in the real world unless you're in a mansion, although others dismiss this as a gimmick.

4)  The dreaded one spectacular one, vs. two pretty good ones.  Some say it makes a world of difference, usually the ones selling the subwoofers, while others say once again it will help some but in the real world the difference is small, and definitely not by a factor of two.

5)  Is the SVS PC-2000 somewhat of a gimmick with the cylinder design vs. the usual box? 

6)  Is there any loose guideline of the percentage of a system's cost should be spent on the subwoofer?

 

Thanks.

 

Edited by ksquared

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