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Is there a better bass option?

formula 977

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I have diy 8 cu. ft. bass reflex enclosures with 2-12” paper cone woofers in each tuned to about 50 hz. I have used them forever and only remember that the manufacturer of the drivers was Northern something or other, spec wise who knows but, they sound okay. Are modern subwoofers enough of an improvement that I should think about an upgrade?

p.s. the surrounds look ok.
 
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formula 977

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Measure what?
They are crossed over at 200hz with 2 pioneer center channel type speakers used as L/R. A surround receiver used as source for stereo listening.
 

DVDdoug

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You should be able to tune lower (probably) but without knowing what you're dealing with and with no Theile-Small parameters it's hard to know.

"Modern" speakers haven't changed much except most modern home subwoofers are active and yours may be passive. AVRs don't have a "powered" subwoofer output so most home theater setups have an active subwoofer or a separate amplifier for the bass. And once you have active circuitry, the manufacturer can build-in some frequency-response correction to tame a bump, or to extend the low end a bit. (You can't extend the lows too much with this kind of "trickery" because you run-out of amplifier power and start clipping or risk over-driving and distorting the woofer, etc.)

Paper cones are OK, but is there some kind of compliant surround?

Have you opened the cabinet to see if there is a manufacturer & model number? If so you might be able to find the specs.

If you want to replace the drivers, and/or add a port or change the port dimensions, you can use WinISD (free speaker design software) or similar to predict performance. But, you can't use the software to evaluate and compare the existing design without knowing the driver parameters.
 

kthulhutu

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Measure what?
They are crossed over at 200hz with 2 pioneer center channel type speakers used as L/R. A surround receiver used as source for stereo listening.
The room response at the listening position(s).
Also 200hz crossover suggests to me they don't integrate very well, no offense.
 
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formula 977

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You should be able to tune lower (probably) but without knowing what you're dealing with and with no Theile-Small parameters it's hard to know.

"Modern" speakers haven't changed much except most modern home subwoofers are active and yours may be passive. AVRs don't have a "powered" subwoofer output so most home theater setups have an active subwoofer or a separate amplifier for the bass. And once you have active circuitry, the manufacturer can build-in some frequency-response correction to tame a bump, or to extend the low end a bit. (You can't extend the lows too much with this kind of "trickery" because you run-out of amplifier power and start clipping or risk over-driving and distorting the woofer, etc.)

Paper cones are OK, but is there some kind of compliant surround?

Have you opened the cabinet to see if there is a manufacturer & model number? If so you might be able to find the specs.

If you want to replace the drivers, and/or add a port or change the port dimensions, you can use WinISD (free speaker design software) or similar to predict performance. But, you can't use the software to evaluate and compare the existing design without knowing the driver parameters.
I used the recommended box size for the woofers I had and made up a resistor network on a piece of wood and my voltmeter with a signal generator to tune the box by plugging an oversized port with pieces of wood until I got the right response.

They are passive and the receiver has a powered, filtered low pass setting.

It's a paper cone with a black, shiney surround with concentric ridges. Treated paper?

This is more than I want to get involved with in any case.

Yes, the woofer specs are unavailable. Modifications to what I have seems to be more effort than what it's worth.
Can I just go out and buy a couple of decent subwoofers 1/10 the size of what I have and be done with it?
 

Dal1as

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I used the recommended box size for the woofers I had and made up a resistor network on a piece of wood and my voltmeter with a signal generator to tune the box by plugging an oversized port with pieces of wood until I got the right response.

They are passive and the receiver has a powered, filtered low pass setting.

It's a paper cone with a black, shiney surround with concentric ridges. Treated paper?

This is more than I want to get involved with in any case.

Yes, the woofer specs are unavailable. Modifications to what I have seems to be more effort than what it's worth.
Can I just go out and buy a couple of decent subwoofers 1/10 the size of what I have and be done with it?
Depending on your budget you can easilly get a huge upgrade over what you have. A lot of good subs out there, hsu, monolith, svs, Rythmik,...
 

Rednaxela

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Can I just go out and buy a couple of decent subwoofers 1/10 the size of what I have and be done with it?
No. Unless you are willing to get two things right:

1) Speaker integration
2) Room integration

Any plans on how to do this?
 

voodooless

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I have diy 8 cu. ft. bass reflex enclosures with 2-12” paper cone woofers in each tuned to about 50 hz.
That is really high tuning for a subwoofer, and the box is massive. That usually indicates not very good woofers.
Measure what?
Your in-room response. It will be wildly different from a box simulation or near-field measurement.
They are crossed over at 200hz with 2 pioneer center channel type speakers used as L/R. A surround receiver used as source for stereo listening.
Unless they have separate amps and are located near to L and R respectively, they will not integrate well. 200 Hz is very locatable.

A modern sub usually goes below 30 Hz, is used below 100 Hz, and will probably be a lot cleaner than what you have now. Two distributed over the room is even better, but will need more bass management to properly integrate.

The most important question is: what exactly do you want to improve in your current setup?
 

alex-z

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50Hz box tuning is extremely high. Either the response is going to be super peaky, or it is a high sensitivity design which lacks deep bass output.

An 8ft box with a pair of Dayton Ultimax 12" plays flat down to 22Hz with 20Hz port tuning, if my memory is correct. Naturally of course, a 20Hz tuned port will be quite long. I would consider a pair of 15" passive radiators instead, to keep the cabinet smaller, and avoid any port compression concerns.
 

Rednaxela

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Either the response is going to be super peaky, or it is a high sensitivity design which lacks deep bass output.
Yes. What the OP has now, and especially in their current role, cannot really be called subwoofers. In all fairness the OP doesn't call them subwoofers himself either. Also, not everybody needs sub bass (I for one am fine without), and these high-crossed big boxes may be just what his main speakers needed.

Thing is, nobody knows what the OP means by

improvement

and


Maybe it’s bass extension, maybe it’s bass quality, maybe it’s both. Maybe he (or we!) think(s) it’s extension but in fact it’s quality, or vice versa, who knows? My suspicion is though that the OP just wants to downsize and is in search for a couple of additional justifications. :)

Which may exist! For this it would be nice if the OP could reformulate his question towards a concrete problem statement. One that ASR members can work with the ASR way. It will open the door to probably the best online advice possible.

Sorry for the rant.
 

Digby

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Sounds like a PA bass box, rather than a home sub. If the driver & design is good, might have some benefits over typical hi-fi subs in mid bass (slam feeling), but lacks at the very low frequencies.

BTW this is my favourite kind of bass:
 
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formula 977

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That is really high tuning for a subwoofer, and the box is massive. That usually indicates not very good woofers.

Your in-room response. It will be wildly different from a box simulation or near-field measurement.

Unless they have separate amps and are located near to L and R respectively, they will not integrate well. 200 Hz is very locatable.

A modern sub usually goes below 30 Hz, is used below 100 Hz, and will probably be a lot cleaner than what you have now. Two distributed over the room is even better, but will need more bass management to properly integrate.

The most important question is: what exactly do you want to improve in your current setup?
If I can use my existing receiver it would help. I do want the boxes gone. That means powered subs. What about the room integration and xover? If the sub has hi pass outs for the stereo pair that would solve one problem. It's this room integration thing that seems expensive.

Sorry about describing the boxes as if I wanted to fix them somehow. I thought that telling everyone what I knew about them it would be easier to replace them with a similar performing sub. I now realize that they are quite poor in relation to modern equipment.
 

voodooless

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If I can use my existing receiver it would help.
What receiver is that?
I do want the boxes gone. That means powered subs. What about the room integration and xover? If the sub has hi pass outs for the stereo pair that would solve one problem. It's this room integration thing that seems expensive.
Speaker-level high-pass is really a no-go. If they are available at all, they are usually only 1st order (just a big cap), which gives a suboptimal result at best.

My guess would be that a current relatively inexpensive commercial active 12" sub would best your current dual setup on SPL and quality. Something of the SVS 1000 Pro line for instance might be of interest. They also have DSP built-in, so you can do room correction already.
 
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formula 977

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A pioneer vsx1014

The SVS covers all the bases and it looks like 2 of them would cost only about $800.
This would be part of an incremental uphrade to all my stuff.

thanks
What receiver is that?

Speaker-level high-pass is really a no-go. If they are available at all, they are usually only 1st order (just a big cap), which gives a suboptimal result at best.

My guess would be that a current relatively inexpensive commercial active 12" sub would best your current dual setup on SPL and quality. Something of the SVS 1000 Pro line for instance might be of interest. They also have DSP built-in, so you can do room correction already.
 
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formula 977

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Re. room integration of multiple subs, you may like Earl Geddes' talk on the subject.




Edit: at second thought it's about integration in general - room and system.
Thanks. I do need system integration and this could offer sme tips since for now the pioneers will sit on top of the subs.
However Voodooless points out the features available should allow for that to be taken care of through the SVS dsp.

I will look at the SVS 2000 as well to see if I can save some money. This is the downstairs system, not often used so not deserving of a lot of cash for now.
 

voodooless

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They are passive and the receiver has a powered, filtered low pass setting.
I just scanned your receiver's manual, I can't find such a setting. Is it a hidden feature? In any case, it has a normal sub-out as well, so any sub you buy should be easily hooked up.
 
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