What is the most musical, fast and accurate subwoofer you have heard?

treitz3

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Dec 25, 2011
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#1
Hello all and good evening to you. I am thinking about improving the lower octaves in my system once again and I could go with the tried and true I have had before. That was a Velodyne SMS-1 hooked up in the loop with a hefty amplifier just for the VMPS Larger. In my system, this was the most musical sub setup I have ever had. I made the mistake of letting that go and getting two subs that were custom built that had plate amps and no DSP. Yeah, it's good but it is definitely one of those "seller remorse" stories you hear of from time to time in this hobby.

Well, I am now in the position to go back to the tried and true.......or.........actually look at other options. I have heard some subs that get rave reviews and when I get my ears on them, they are "boomy", slow, sloppy, as far from "musical" as one could get or you could detect exactly where they were in the room and while they "enhanced" the rig they were in, they didn't exactly round out the lowest of octaves in a realistic way that blended well with the mains. My biggest gripe are those subs that utilize woofers that travel upwards of two inches or more. Gawd awful lower reproductive effort IMO/IME. The subs that have impressed me the most are those in which the woofer barely moves but will move your jeans on a good drum kick when you stand close enough to the sub. I know there are words to describe each type of driver but those descriptions escape me at the moment.

Does anybody have a suggestion for a musical, fast and accurate subwoofer or subwoofer setup? If you do and you have experience with what you are thinking about, I sure would like to know so that I can possibly check the options out. The VMPS/Hefty amp/SMS-1 combo to date was the most musically integrated subwoofer setup I have heard but I'd like to explore other options that I may not know about.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and I look forward to reading any experiences you may have had that you are willing to share that may fit my criteria.

Tom
 

es347

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Apr 20, 2010
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#3
I have a pr of optimum 12s that are very tuneful. I've added weight to each cabinet to deaden things. These subs may surprise you..
 

treitz3

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Dec 25, 2011
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#4
Hi Don. I did hear a servo sub a couple of weeks ago. It was as ugly as a GMC Gremlin but performed and integrated surprisingly well with no DSP to a pair of Apogee Centaurus speakers. This was the first servo sub I had heard and I will say that I left after a week of straight listening for at least 3-4 hours a day with a positive impression.

Thank you both for your suggestions.

Tom
 

garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
Sep 6, 2010
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#5
If you are in search for accuracy in bass, servo-control is almost mandatory. Don's suggestion of Rythmik also gets my vote. Stick with their sealed box designs though. The other is Velodyne. I have not heard the Velodyne Optimum 12 es347 mentioned, but their HGS series were excellent.
 
Feb 8, 2011
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#7

Ronm1

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Feb 21, 2011
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#8
A Revel B110, 10b no slouch either.
Superbly integrated. Impact and musical when those needs were called for. I've setup and or heard with diff rooms and speaker make, models. Tends to make the hi price spread superfluous IMHO
 

RayDunzl

New Member
Jun 26, 2014
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Tampa
#9
Rythmik. Servo control to control the ringing and overshoot that can muddy the sub, dig very deep for their size, reasonably priced.
Rythmik has been on my list (my list is really really short) for a while.

But with DSP to eliminate the humps (no boost applied), and a measurement that insinuates I'm pretty good with my mains to 7Hz in the room (is that real?), I'm fairly resistant to thinking about whipping out the wallet for a pair of subs at the moment.

My woofers are 12" sealed.

I have a dip at 50hz when both speakers play, a phase anomaly at the measurement poition that I haven't figured out what to do with. It's not noticeable with music.

Left, right, and both speakers, unsmoothed, at a -20 sweep level, loudness calibrated to a comfortable late night 75dB with -20dB pink noise.

2016-10-04_0152.png
 

JackD201

WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
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#10
I love that the Rythmiks have a bonus/secondary F and Q section. IMO all analog controlled subs should have this feature. It makes DSP unnecessary for all but the most OC. It makes life so much easier.
 
#11
Yes, I agree. Get a Rythmik sub. The other major sub player with servo control is Velodyne.

Just as important as your choice of sub is how you plan to integrate it into your system. If you do a bad job of this, then even the best sub in the world won't help. Do you have a plan to get your subs dialled in?
 

es347

VIP/Donor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
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#12
..besides being great performers the Optimum 12s aren't insanely priced...luv em
 

ack

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May 6, 2010
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#13
Sealed with servo control would be my priority as well - as an example, my sealed/servo Entec from the 1980s in another system offers tighter bass than my ported/non-servo REL currently in the main system, except that the REL's cabinet is extremely better-built than the Entec's. So far, the best sub I have heard is the Magico S-Sub, with the software controlled curve, offering a real cut off (I mean total cutoff) above the configured frequency.
 

DonH50

Member Sponsor & WBF Technical Expert
Jun 23, 2010
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#14
I have four Rythmik F12's (sealed 12") in my media room (for flatness, not output, bad room dimensions). The -3 dB point measured with a CSL-calibrated mic and REW or my Earthworks M30 and R+D is about 7 Hz. Room gain can be good...

FWIW I listened to some fairly high-end Paradigms (forget the models) and Velodyne DD-series subs before (and after) getting my Rythmik. I find comparing good subs difficult at best. I think these offered comparable performance but at a cost point of from $3k to $5k vs. around $1k for my Rythmik. The lower models did not sound as clean to me nor was the measured transient response as good (had a heckuva' time getting a dealer to let me run a quick pulse test with my notebook!) I listened to a handful of others but nothing stood out from the crowd except most of the $2k and under crowd did not have the performance of the ones over that line. My friend had just bought a B&W to go with his 803D's and I was a little surprised that the sub was not up to the standards set by other high-end subs (IMO, and B&W has completely redesigned their sub line since that time). I did not listen to some highly-regarded ID designs and some I could not find, and that includes REL and Seaton, a couple I would like to audition just for fun someday.

I don't know anything about Optimum so can't comment on how they might compare.

Full disclosure: Dr. Brian Ding (Rythmik) and I share similar day jobs, and his servo design is similar to the servo I implemented about 30 years ago in my first subwoofer design (using the driver from an Infinity IRS and my own servo design). I have been biased toward servo subs for decades, and went to the dual voice coil approach (vs. Veldyne's accelerometer-based design) for the same reasons Brian did, plus he's a nice guy to speak with and has a great rep.

My experience, dated it may be, is that where good subwoofers shine is in not ringing and corrupting the attacks and decays of percussive sounds as well as in simply having low distortion. Far too many subs IME have high enough distortion that people think they sound "richer" or "fuller" or just "louder" due to all the higher (and thus much more easily heard) harmonic distortion. And many subs ring a bit at the start and especially end of things like drum and hammer (piano) strikes, causing the sound to get a bit muddy and filling in what should be clean decay and silence. Something fairly easily measured, but at least for me another of those things much easier to hear the absence of than the presence. You don't recognize it as distortion until it is gone.

For a higher-end version of the Rythmik, Jim Salk takes Brian's design and puts it into a much heavier/stiffer cabinet.

All FWIWFM/IME/IMO/my 0.000001 cents (microcent)/YMMV/etc. - Don
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
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#15
My only significant experience has been Velodyne, and i admit i have been a happy owner of a Velodyne since 1993...first upgrading in 2010 to the DD18 and quite recently to the DD18+. The intuitive but fairly comprehensive (to my anyway) software has certainly allowed me to measure a flat 2-3db +/- flat response to 20hz, but as importantly i have found the ability to take it from that point and keep refining by my personal taste over a period of several weeks after getting to 'roughly flat'.

Because it also has the ability to save up to 8 settings, i use 2: music and video. For video, i move the cutoff point of the sub from 40hz for music to around 65hz for movies and crank the volume as well to ensure gun shots and explosions have excessive kick just for some fun. Plus, i think movies actually seem very differently mastered...plus volume even on main system goes WAY up on DVD/Blu-Ray vs CDs.
 
Feb 8, 2011
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#16

treitz3

Super Moderator
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Dec 25, 2011
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The tube lair in beautiful Rock Hill, SC
#20
Cerwin Vegas, dude
No, thanks.

Good evening gentlemen. Thank you for your responses. I will say this...If you have no experience with a sub you have mentioned or offer links to a sub you have no experience with, I will ignore your responses. I am looking for a certain criteria for the lower octaves based upon observation from folks who have heard the sub they mention. To me, that holds much more weight than a link to the latest and greatest or reviews from folks I do not know from Adam. With that said, thank you to those who have responded thus far.

So far, the honorable mentions have been;
Rythmik - 5 mentions
Velodyne - 4 mentions
Rel - 2 mentions
Revel and Entec - both had 1 mention

It seems that the most mentioned sub that fits what I am looking for is a Rythmik sub based upon the responses so far. A sealed box is a must for me. IME, they offer a more pure reproductive effort. I should also note that while some folks do not find frequency information lower than 15-20 Hz relevant in the reproductive effort, I do. So, any sub under a 12" sub or subs that can not faithfully provide sound to 5Hz would be a sub that might not make the list of considerable contenders. The VMPS Larger would do 5Hz faithfully at loud SPL's and while I could not hear it, I sure could feel it (to the point of nausea if really loud) and to me, it does make a difference in the sound stage and experience. One that I would like to experience once again.

I love that the Rythmiks have a bonus/secondary F and Q section.
Hi Jack, thank you for mentioning that. The Infinity servo sub I heard a couple of weeks ago served us well with the Apogees but it would have been nice to have had this option. We only had frequency and volume to tune in.....but I will say, it did well. My guess is that it was a servo-controlled woofer as it was rather easy to me to dial in compared to many, many other subs. In fact, that was the #1 praise we got from that system....the sub being dialed into the system so well. I was honestly a little surprised at that, given the two options the sub provided and we did not use DSP in that particular rig for the event.

es347, have you by chance compared your Opitimum 12's to any of the other subs mentioned so far? Maybe a servo based sub? If so, what are your observations?

Gary, you say that a servo type sub would be almost mandatory. Is there a type of plate amp or amp I should be looking for that pairs well with a servo sub? Would a class D amp do the lower frequencies justice and out of curiosity, what do you use for your big boys? Servo controlled I take?

Tom
 

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