Ron's Speaker, Turntable, Power and Room Treatment Upgrades

cjfrbw

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Apr 20, 2010
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I was looking at those Funk subwoofers again. That is some awesome cabinetry skills.
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
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I agree. And Nathan seems great.
 
Mar 28, 2017
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Ron,

I would like to offer a word of encouragement and give my experience regarding subwoofers. Like you, I built out a custom room with a LOT of acoustic treatment. I put my speakers in (Vivid Giya G1) and started playing music. It took me over a year to get them to a position that I feel works with the room. This is the part where I think Mike L. is right. It will likely take you longer than you think to get those big speakers where you are happy with them. (Even in a very good room).

Even before my speakers were where I was satisfied with them I started exploring subwoofers. My original thought was to implement a welti approach with one sub in the front and one in the back. After doing some research I bought two of the Funk 18.0's along with the JL audio CR-1. If you click on the link to the 18.0 on the funk website, the picture of the grey curly maple subwoofer is actually mine. Nathan does outstanding cabinetry work. The sub is lighter than I thought it would be and you can feel the cabinet vibrate. Your idea of an aluminum enclosure if on the right track (IMHO). I wish I had done more to ameliorate the cabinet rigidity, but at the time the subs were an experiment that I was not sure would work out well. My only nits to pick with Funk is the long lead time and he doesn't have a manual. (The long lead time can be forgiven as anything bespoke takes some time.) I will add that Nathan was always available and friendly when I called to help me work through some of the details of the software. If you are going to get the subs without the plate amp then you don't need a manual.

Although the Welti method worked, I was dissatisfied with the CR-1. I know reviewers claim it is invisible but when I did A/B testing with/without it in the signal path the sonic impact was clear as day to me. It is a subtle thing and at first I was willing to live with the trade-off. Luckily I came across the work by Geddes and started down the distributed sub path. So, I purchased two Rhythmic F18's as I didn't want to wait 4-5 months on two more Funk subs. I also purchased a Xilica 4080 controller to be the central "brain".

If you want really smooth bass then I feel you need independent control of each sub for crossover, delay and gain. There are other options but the Xilica provides this. It is programmable from your laptop and it runs on parallel outputs from my preamp thus not contaminating the signal path. This makes it super easy (push two buttons) to disable/enable the subs.

I am extremely pleased with the distributed subs. I believe they are very well integrated. The crossover point for each sub is a little different between 60-70 Hz. I point this out as a lot of people think this is to high and you can't get subs to integrate above 40Hz. All I can say to that is -- come and listen. Scott Warren has been over several times and could offer his opinion. He was not shy to tell me the 10 times that I didn't have them well integrated (mostly with the Welti method).

I am going to set up a distributed sub system at Lone Star Audiofest this year. If you want to come to Dallas May 4-6 then swing by for a listen and we can talk. I would also invite you up to my place for a listen. Duke is sometimes there too so you may be able to chat him up.

A couple of thoughts to ponder:

You don't really need 4 subs. 3 would work fine for the distributed model. I have two in the front corners and since the room is symmetric they are not independent. They visual symmetry of the two front subs is nice but overall one of the two is not contributing very much at all.

Since, with the distributed model, you have 3 or 4 subs the load on any one subwoofer is very much reduced to achieve a given SPL. Although the goal is not high bass output but rather smooth, integrated bass I assure you that I could blow up my 28'X22'X12' room with the 4 18" subs. I point this out as a "stack" of two woofers in the same cabinet are not independent sources. They will simply give more output.

You need to control the subs with something. Geddes uses the Behringer 2496. I use the Xilica. I am not sure how the Wilson controller works but I recommend staying out of the signal path to the mains.

Overall, I encourage you to explore subwoofers. I do not feel that it is a fool's errand at all. What well integrated subs do for soundstage is truly amazing.

~Todd
 
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Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
6,030
594
113
Beverly Hills, CA
Ron,

I would like to offer a word of encouragement and give my experience regarding subwoofers. Like you, I built out a custom room with a LOT of acoustic treatment. I put my speakers in (Vivid Giya G1) and started playing music. It took me over a year to get them to a position that I feel works with the room. This is the part where I think Mike L. is right. It will likely take you longer than you think to get those big speakers where you are happy with them. (Even in a very good room).

Even before my speakers were where I was satisfied with them I started exploring subwoofers. My original thought was to implement a welti approach with one sub in the front and one in the back. After doing some research I bought two of the Funk 18.0's along with the JL audio CR-1. If you click on the link to the 18.0 on the funk website, the picture of the grey curly maple subwoofer is actually mine. Nathan does outstanding cabinetry work. The sub is lighter than I thought it would be and you can feel the cabinet vibrate. Your idea of an aluminum enclosure if on the right track (IMHO). I wish I had done more to ameliorate the cabinet rigidity, but at the time the subs were an experiment that I was not sure would work out well. My only nits to pick with Funk is the long lead time and he doesn't have a manual. (The long lead time can be forgiven as anything bespoke takes some time.) I will add that Nathan was always available and friendly when I called to help me work through some of the details of the software. If you are going to get the subs without the plate amp then you don't need a manual.

Although the Welti method worked, I was dissatisfied with the CR-1. I know reviewers claim it is invisible but when I did A/B testing with/without it in the signal path the sonic impact was clear as day to me. It is a subtle thing and at first I was willing to live with the trade-off. Luckily I came across the work by Geddes and started down the distributed sub path. So, I purchased two Rhythmic F18's as I didn't want to wait 4-5 months on two more Funk subs. I also purchased a Xilica 4080 controller to be the central "brain".

If you want really smooth bass then I feel you need independent control of each sub for crossover, delay and gain. There are other options but the Xilica provides this. It is programmable from your laptop and it runs on parallel outputs from my preamp thus not contaminating the signal path. This makes it super easy (push two buttons) to disable/enable the subs.

I am extremely pleased with the distributed subs. I believe they are very well integrated. The crossover point for each sub is a little different between 60-70 Hz. I point this out as a lot of people think this is to high and you can't get subs to integrate above 40Hz. All I can say to that is -- come and listen. Scott Warren has been over several times and could offer his opinion. He was not shy to tell me the 10 times that I didn't have them well integrated (mostly with the Welti method).

I am going to set up a distributed sub system at Lone Star Audiofest this year. If you want to come to Dallas May 4-6 then swing by for a listen and we can talk. I would also invite you up to my place for a listen. Duke is sometimes there too so you may be able to chat him up.

A couple of thoughts to ponder:

You don't really need 4 subs. 3 would work fine for the distributed model. I have two in the front corners and since the room is symmetric they are not independent. They visual symmetry of the two front subs is nice but overall one of the two is not contributing very much at all.

Since, with the distributed model, you have 3 or 4 subs the load on any one subwoofer is very much reduced to achieve a given SPL. Although the goal is not high bass output but rather smooth, integrated bass I assure you that I could blow up my 28'X22'X12' room with the 4 18" subs. I point this out as a "stack" of two woofers in the same cabinet are not independent sources. They will simply give more output.

You need to control the subs with something. Geddes uses the Behringer 2496. I use the Xilica. I am not sure how the Wilson controller works but I recommend staying out of the signal path to the mains.

Overall, I encourage you to explore subwoofers. I do not feel that it is a fool's errand at all. What well integrated subs do for soundstage is truly amazing.

~Todd
Thank you very much, Todd, for conveying your experience with subwoofers! Your room dimensions are fantastic! (My room is a pre-existing, suboptimal, space.)

I am looking forward (I think) to a very leisurely and long process to position the speakers by themselves, before I consider any subwoofer set-up.

I don’t like that your Funk cabinets vibrated while playing!

I agree completely about not running the full-range signal through a crossover. I didn’t do that with my REL Stentor III, and I would not do it in the future. I do not want to give up 100th of 1 iota of transparency by running the full-range signal through any crossover.

I appreciate the distributed subwoofer concept, and it makes sense to me. But I have a (likely irrational) thing about the low frequencies not coming from low down on the floor (I realize <30Hz is largely non-directional but I don’t want to look at short boxes right on the floor). I realize that four boxes of single 18” drivers makes more sense than two boxes of pairs of 18” drivers, but the latter is how I would start if I proceed.
 
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Apr 20, 2018
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This is great for myself as am in a similar situation and point with consideration of woofer(s) with Wilson X1s and have made beginning communications with both Duke and Nathan (both are very open and helpful).
Ron is asking all the questions I'd need and with better experience so I'm following this part of the thread with great interest before bothering Nathan until I'm ready to commit.
 

Folsom

VIP/Donor
Oct 26, 2015
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Eastern WA
Another guy from another forum doesn’t feel vibrations from the cabinet. But he uses iso stands for his, perhaps what you feel has to do with feedback from the floor? If a floor is astoudning solid then it will reflect sound.
 

marty

Well-Known Member
Apr 20, 2010
1,255
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63
Far Hills, NJ
Yes; I am looking forward to set-up help from several dozen WBF members.

Everyone is welcome to focus on the component of greatest interest to him.

Alcoholic rewards will be inversely proportional to difficulty of assignment. People merely pushing speakers around will receive beer. Marty, who will be comparing the sounds of different metallurgy AC outlet covers, will receive the very best wine.
You're too funny Ron. FIrst, I have never compared, nor would ever attempt to compare, the sonic effects of various metal AC cover plates. I'm delusional, but not delusional enough to think I could nail any differences here with a p<0.05. That said, my preference is anything non-magnetic and durable. Some brands of plastic work just fine and of course there's carbon fiber for the "leave no stone unturned" crowd. Second, I'm a cheap date. Some inexpensive wines works very well to put a smile on my face. It's all about what food is being served! Let's keep it simple and go with Thai or Chinese and just have some beer!
 
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LL21

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Dec 26, 2010
10,798
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48
This is great for myself as am in a similar situation and point with consideration of woofer(s) with Wilson X1s and have made beginning communications with both Duke and Nathan (both are very open and helpful).
Ron is asking all the questions I'd need and with better experience so I'm following this part of the thread with great interest before bothering Nathan until I'm ready to commit.
Hi DBeau,

Looking forward to what you decide to do. I have been a big fan of big Wilsons with Subs...yes, they have to be meticulously well set up. Big rooms or small...set up is always key. But I do prefer it...and mine is cut off above 40hz with a steep rolloff (36db) by the Velodyne adjustable software.
 
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LL21

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Dec 26, 2010
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Thank you, David!



"Phase quadrature" refers to a rather specific phase relationship: Ninety degrees of shift, between the two signals.

This 90 degrees of phase shift can be looked at as a time delay, if we're talking about a single frequency. But the amount of time delay increases proportional with the decrease in frequency, and vice-versa, so it's not a constant time delay. That's clear as mud, right?

Lemme try again. Here is an image depicting two sine waves in "phase quadrature" relative to one another. View attachment 49443

The two sine waves are offset from one another by 1/4 of a cycle. One-quarter cycle corresponds to 90 degrees of "phase rotation" (360 degrees being one complete cycle).

So if those are 100 Hz sine waves, the time difference between the two is 1/4th of 1/100th of a second. If those are 20 Hz sine waves, then the time difference between the two is 1/4th of 1/20th of a second.



When using two amps to drive my four little subs, the two on the left-hand side of the room are driven by one amp and the two on the right-hand side of the room are driven by the other. So the two subs in each pair are "synched", or in-phase, with one another.

Then what I do is, take the phase knob on one amp, and rotate it to "90 degrees". So now the two subs on one side of the room are 90 degrees apart in phase from the two subs on the other side of the room. See the image above. Thus far, this has all been deliberate, not random.

Here is where the "randomness", or more precisely "semi-randomness", or more precisely still "de-correlation" comes in: Assuming asymmetrical distribution, each of the four little subs is a different distance from all four of the room's boundaries in the horizontal plane. So when the output of each sub reaches, for example, the rear wall, the wall bounce occurs at a different point along the sine wave for each sub. Having the left and right pairs of subs in phase quadrature introduces yet more de-correlation. The net effect of all this jumbling up of the reflections in time and phase is that the reverberant field of our small room now starts to behave more like the reverberant field of a much larger room (longer reflection path lengths relative to the wavelengths also equals more de-correlation, which is why big rooms generally have more natural-sounding bass than small rooms). And because in the bass region we cannot hear the first-arrival sound as a distinct event (because it happens faster than our ears can register bass energy), from a PERCEPTUAL standpoint what matters the most IS this reverberant field.



Yesss! The thinking behind multiple subs scattered around the room is focused on quality, not quantity. Convincing audiophiles of this is a bit of an uphill battle, but nothing compared to the subsequent battle they have convincing their wives that they need three more subs! That's why my subs are small.
Wow...i think i understood this after the second complete read-through...probably not! ;) Thank you. Fascinating.

For those [many] of us who have 1 sub...and have all of these function (0-180 phase in any number of increments in between), along with 8-bar EQ settings, and all manner of other things...i have to admit, the bar EQ and boosting, suppressing as well as roll-off above 40hz, etc....all work well.

However, i have to admit...i have not spent as much time playing the phase adjustments which are evidently important. How do you suggest i start from an amateur standpoint? Any guiding principals?
 
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Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
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Beverly Hills, CA
. . .

Nathan does outstanding cabinetry work. The sub is lighter than I thought it would be and you can feel the cabinet vibrate.

. . .
Hello Todd,

Maybe the Funk subwoofer was on a surface that allowed the whole subwoofer to wiggle, on carpet or the like without proper support under it?

If so, this is not the cabinet walls vibrating due to insufficient stiffness and damping; it is the whole mass of the cabinet reacting to the mass of the cone moving.
 
Last edited:
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marty

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Apr 20, 2010
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Far Hills, NJ
I’ve followed the subwoofer discussion with interest. Most of this has been covered previously. Admittedly, I am not a swarm person and also think that as good as the JL-1 crossover is it does in fact corrupt the high pass signal therefore a separate pre-amp line out for subs only is preferred, no matter how the subs are configured.

For me, there are two aspects of this discussion. The first is achieving some configuration that sounds pleasing to the listener for any given system. I have no doubt this can be done with any number of techniques or "tricks", most of which have been known for years. Phase adjustments, room placement of subs, and the swarm technique etc might be satisfactory solutions for many. Most of these techniques rely on achieving the objective of a smooth frequency response and elimination of major room nodes that account for the beneficial sound obtained. However I have yet to see the single metric which tells me that any of these yield correct time alignment of the subs with the mains; namely impulse measurements. Show me an impulse time measurement that tells me the leading transient from your subs arrive at the listening position at the same time as that from the mains (at the crossover point), and I’ll be satisfied. Where is the data? Sadly, very few devices or home gear allow such measurements. The TacT I used years ago did in fact allow this and it taught me a lot. Most important of these learnings was that subs that are placed behind the mains simply cannot achieve time alignment with the mains unless the signal to the mains is retarded by dsp filters. I ultimately moved away from dsp for several reasons, but regrettably had to sacrifice perfect sub time alignment with something that was less ideal (but had other inherent advantages partial to analog signal transmission.) As with almost anything in audio, there are usually engineering trade-offs which forces one to accept that “perfect is often the enemy of good”. Yet good sound can indeed be achieved with a variety of solutions. In the end, it’s what we find pleasing in our own system that matters.
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
6,030
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Beverly Hills, CA
Thank you very much for this summary, Marty!

Why do you think we always see Wilson Audio subwoofers in the corners behind the main speakers? Does the continuous phase adjustment in the Watch Controller solve some of the problem of the time mis-alignment between the main speakers and the subwoofers?
 
Oct 26, 2015
3,091
144
63
Eastern WA
I’ve followed the subwoofer discussion with interest. Most of this has been covered previously. Admittedly, I am not a swarm person and also think that as good as the JL-1 crossover is it does in fact corrupt the high pass signal therefore a separate pre-amp line out for subs only is preferred, no matter how the subs are configured.

For me, there are two aspects of this discussion. The first is achieving some configuration that sounds pleasing to the listener for any given system. I have no doubt this can be done with any number of techniques or "tricks", most of which have been known for years. Phase adjustments, room placement of subs, and the swarm technique etc might be satisfactory solutions for many. Most of these techniques rely on achieving the objective of a smooth frequency response and elimination of major room nodes that account for the beneficial sound obtained. However I have yet to see the single metric which tells me that any of these yield correct time alignment of the subs with the mains; namely impulse measurements. Show me an impulse time measurement that tells me the leading transient from your subs arrive at the listening position at the same time as that from the mains (at the crossover point), and I’ll be satisfied. Where is the data? Sadly, very few devices or home gear allow such measurements. The TacT I used years ago did in fact allow this and it taught me a lot. Most important of these learnings was that subs that are placed behind the mains simply cannot achieve time alignment with the mains unless the signal to the mains is retarded by dsp filters. I ultimately moved away from dsp for several reasons, but regrettably had to sacrifice perfect sub time alignment with something that was less ideal (but had other inherent advantages partial to analog signal transmission.) As with almost anything in audio, there are usually engineering trade-offs which forces one to accept that “perfect is often the enemy of good”. Yet good sound can indeed be achieved with a variety of solutions. In the end, it’s what we find pleasing in our own system that matters.
That's because time alignment is a myth when it comes to bass (well, and in general, it's a marketing tool).

Impulse doesn't count in the lowest octaves. But if you want impulse correction you need DSP, as you say. There's no way around that, as you know. Now if you were in the situation where your subwoofers played any appreciable octaves above low bass, this could matter. But I haven't seen any indication that impulse response from DSP is better, just different, since it has a trail.
 
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Mar 28, 2017
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I agree with Marty and Folsom.

+1 to the CR-1. Most easily noticable to me on guitar string attack.

Being a physicist I appreciate the desire for data to validate that something does or does not work. However, the impulse response really can't be used in this frequency range. When I measure the subs or my speakers and window to say less than 80 Hz you get a very, very broad peak. This is an unreliable method of determining time alignment of sub-woofers.

In terms of time alignment being a myth at bass frequencies. Well, I guess more research is needed or I need to read more research on th topic. I have read (and I believe is accepted science) that at bass frequencies the human ear takes 3-5 cycles before it can register level or pitch. So at 80 Hz one cycle has a length of 14 feet. So in a typical room that we all live in the 80 Hz sound wave has passed my ears and bounced off the walls several times before I even know what I am hearing. As the frequency goes lower then it has to bounce around even more. Given there are phase shifts every time the wave bounces (side wall, rear wall, ceiling etc). It would seem that we hear the average (in time) of the sound field at our listening position at these frequencies. Given this, I am not even sure what phase means at 40 Hz.

It is true that if you want to "time align" the subs then they need to be positioned closer to you than the mains. (unless you use DSP to delay the mains which I think most of us want to avoid). However, three issues would pop up. One: it is not very asthetically pleasing to most people. Two: The sub may not be positioned to maximize it bass output capability. Three: if the sub is very big then diffratction effects may detract from the midragne frequency response.

100% agree that there are always tradeoff's in engineering.

~Todd
 

marty

Well-Known Member
Apr 20, 2010
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Far Hills, NJ
Ron, Todd, Folsom
I'm going to opt out of further discussion on this subject after this post because most of these issues have been addressed in detail elsewhere, so no need to derail this thread. See post #13
https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threads/time-aligning-subs-to-main-speakers.24316/#post-481218

For me, the leading exponent on this subject is Barry Ober, who has forgotten more about this subject than I will ever know. For setting up subs, I found Barry's Sound Doctor disc a must have. Reading his white paper addressed many of the subject raised in this thread. Briefly then, 2 specific points:
1) Ron, Wilson does what they do because they find the sound satisfactory. That doesn't mean it is accurate from a time alignment perspective. It can't be. At least not without dsp. Period.
2) Todd, I respectfully disagree about the usefulness of impulse measurements. Of course a 30Hz square wave is wider than a 10KHz square wave, but the leading edge is quite valuable because it tells you when the sub driver starts to move, and that is the key. Admittedly, even with accuracy that's as good as possible, the final arbiter should be one's ear. One can easily play with timing within a few milliseconds to get the best sound possible, even though the timing delay to the mains may be 15 to 20 milliseconds overall. So you are correct, there are limits to what the data is telling you to do, but I do think its an invaluable tool, as does Barry Ober.
 
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I agree with Marty and Folsom.

+1 to the CR-1. Most easily noticable to me on guitar string attack.

Being a physicist I appreciate the desire for data to validate that something does or does not work. However, the impulse response really can't be used in this frequency range. When I measure the subs or my speakers and window to say less than 80 Hz you get a very, very broad peak. This is an unreliable method of determining time alignment of sub-woofers.

In terms of time alignment being a myth at bass frequencies. Well, I guess more research is needed or I need to read more research on th topic. I have read (and I believe is accepted science) that at bass frequencies the human ear takes 3-5 cycles before it can register level or pitch. So at 80 Hz one cycle has a length of 14 feet. So in a typical room that we all live in the 80 Hz sound wave has passed my ears and bounced off the walls several times before I even know what I am hearing. As the frequency goes lower then it has to bounce around even more. Given there are phase shifts every time the wave bounces (side wall, rear wall, ceiling etc). It would seem that we hear the average (in time) of the sound field at our listening position at these frequencies. Given this, I am not even sure what phase means at 40 Hz.

It is true that if you want to "time align" the subs then they need to be positioned closer to you than the mains. (unless you use DSP to delay the mains which I think most of us want to avoid). However, three issues would pop up. One: it is not very asthetically pleasing to most people. Two: The sub may not be positioned to maximize it bass output capability. Three: if the sub is very big then diffratction effects may detract from the midragne frequency response.

100% agree that there are always tradeoff's in engineering.

~Todd

Hey Todd! Welcome to the forum.
 
Mar 28, 2017
31
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Hey Skip. Thanks for the welcome. I hope I will see you at LSAF but if not then at AXPONA.

I have read Barry's (the sound doctor) white paper a few years ago and did get his CD. There are some useful tracks on it. I probably should dust it off and give it a re-read. I would suggest anyone interested in subs to find and read it.

I guess it all comes down to what a person is hoping to achieve with the subs -- more bass output or flatter bass response. Although not completely mutually exclusive the approach used in setting up subs suggests one or the other as the goal.

Ron, you definitely has a lot think about. one can spend a great deal of time experimenting with just the subwoofer aspect of the sound field.

~Todd
 
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LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
10,798
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Hello Todd,

Maybe the Funk subwoofer was on a surface that allowed the whole subwoofer to wiggle, on carpet or the like without proper support under it?

If so, this is not the cabinet walls vibrating due to insufficient stiffness and damping; it is the whole mass of the cabinet reacting to the mass of the cone moving.
I have found mass damping mine worked well...but it took A LOT of weight to still the sub during high-excursion (action flicks)...however now when we play them, we have photographs on top of the sub, and they do not move even a 1/16th of an inch...we have left a post-it notes distance between objects and the post-it still slides through after the movie.

But it took nearly 200lbs of weights on top of proper damping plates...but it really works...and yes, the bass is tighter with better definition between low bass signals.
 
I have found mass damping mine worked well...but it took A LOT of weight to still the sub during high-excursion (action flicks)...however now when we play them, we have photographs on top of the sub, and they do not move even a 1/16th of an inch...we have left a post-it notes distance between objects and the post-it still slides through after the movie.

But it took nearly 200lbs of weights on top of proper damping plates...but it really works...and yes, the bass is tighter with better definition between low bass signals.
You hit that point right on, to actually make a difference in this aspect you need massive amounts of extra weight, the difference in weight of something like our 18.0, 115lbs vs your DD18 at 142lbs, makes no difference whatsoever. You have to get into the several hundred pound class to be worth adding mass for the sake of mass, and the difference that can be had with this is much smaller than what happens if the cabinet itself is not solid. Interestingly in the case of 18.0 and DD18 the entirety, if not more, of the weight difference is in the driver magnet, neo vs ceramic, so the cabinets themselves weigh about the same.
 
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