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Studio subwoofers - alternatives, measurements, recommendations

q3cpma

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#1
Hello,
after buying a pair of small 5" actives for nearfield, I just need a good subwoofer to finish to setup and I have a few general questions/topics.

Alternatives
It seems that a lot of people are using hi-fi subwoofers with an external crossover because you can get much more for your money. Especially in the US, where you have HSU or Rythmik; here in Europe, we still have SVS, at least.
So anything else than MiniDSP or Behringer to do this? Bonus if it can work without a computer, as few of us don't run Windows and need this. Apparently, Thomann has some rack units to compete with Behringer (e.g. https://www.thomann.de/intl/the_t.racks_dsp_204.htm) that seem promising.

Measurements
Any place where we can find measurements of subwoofers, especially studio ones? I've got
https://data-bass.com/
https://www.soundandvision.com/content/way-down-deep-i
https://www.soundandvision.com/content/way-down-deep-ii
https://www.soundandvision.com/content/way-down-deep-iii
and that's all. Genelec and Neumann give some useful specs, but I'd like more, personally.

Recommendations
I have a few requirements for my stuff:
* Studio subwoofer
* High-pass for the outgoing signal (duh)
* "Small" (you'll get it with the models I consider), it'll go under a desk
* Some degree of adjustable phase (at least what Genelec gives, which is 0 to -270° in steps of 90°)
* Made in Europe or USA and can be bought in France
* Robust, with drivers behind a grill. Handles are a nice bonus

So far, I'm considering:
* Genelec 7050C: the obvious choice when using the 8030; every box is ticked and the LSE technology is interesting. Sadly, I've heard some lone reports of port noise with the 7350A, which shares its body with it, and the maximum level is a bit low; most of their subwoofers also have a strangely low amplifier power. It has a longer warranty than other models, too.
* Neumann KH750DSP: pricier, but otherwise very nice. Even has a DSP, that can't be used without iOS, though (so useless). Same problem of "low" output, but it's still to be used in nearfield and boundary gain helps.
* Focal Sub 6 Be: seems a lot beefier, but, as usual for Focal, no relevant specs at all.
* Dynaudio 9S: except for the too coarse phase setting (0 or 180°) it seems very good. But paying almost 900€ for another vinyl wrapper MDF box isn't a pleasure (though I love the look of their woofers).

The problem is that once again, except Neumann and Genelec, I'm forced to consider models only based on marketing blurb and not hard data. So, right now, it's either a 950€ 7050C or an almost as pricy SVS SB-1000 (these are made in USA, right?) and Thomann/Behringer processor combo.

Any help concerning my choice and measurement websites is welcome.


PS: I haven't looked at the DIY route, but if there are some high quality complete kits with a competently designed enclosure (enough bracing) that can be bought here, I'm interested. Being in an appartement with no space nor tools, it's only idle interest, though.
 
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pierre

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#2
I would try to find a used 7060 or 7070. They are big and ugly but if you can hide them somewhere. I see 7070 from time to time around 700 USD (or CHF). They are built like tank so used is not an issue.

I had 2 focal sub 6 to go with my focal solo. They do the job but are nothing special (except they looks nice).

form the Crossover you can do it on Linux too (or Mac).
 
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q3cpma

q3cpma

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Thread Starter #3
I would try to find a used 7060 or 7070. They are big and ugly but if you can hide them somewhere. I see 7070 from time to time around 700 USD (or CHF). They are built like tank so used is not an issue.

I had 2 focal sub 6 to go with my focal solo. They do the job but are nothing special (except they looks nice).

form the Crossover you can do it on Linux too (or Mac).
Hmm, didn't think about doing the crossover in software, what can you use do so? There's http://rtaylor.sites.tru.ca/2013/06/25/digital-crossovereq-with-open-source-software-howto/, but it seems quite complicated, especially since ecasound doesn't have dither; one could use the Pulseaudio crossover rack, but I really don't want to mess with freedesktopware.
I'd need a sound card that can do it, anyway: my Audient only has two outputs (and doesn't even have hardware mixing; really thinking about a RME).
 

pierre

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#4
Hmm, didn't think about doing the crossover in software, what can you use do so? There's http://rtaylor.sites.tru.ca/2013/06/25/digital-crossovereq-with-open-source-software-howto/, but it seems quite complicated, especially since ecasound doesn't have dither; one could use the Pulseaudio crossover rack, but I really don't want to mess with freedesktopware.
I'd need a sound card that can do it, anyway: my Audient only has two outputs (and doesn't even have hardware mixing; really thinking about a RME).
yes you need a sound card with 3 or 4 channels. Software wise, use a convolver, you can do room correction at the same time.
 

Soniclife

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#5
I'm sure Adam and Eve both have products to look at, not sure they are any better than what you are already considering.
 

jhaider

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#6
Subwoofers are pretty simple devices. You could look to local companies that use known good drivers in closed boxes. BK Electronics in the UK advertises a few subwoofers with the excellent Peerless XLS or XXLS drivers. Their 12" one (similar to SVS SB12/SB2000) is listed as sold out, but the 10" version is available: http://www.bkelec.com/HiFi/Sub_Woofers/XLS200.htm

You might have a local maker that uses these drivers as well. Look for the bevel on the basket rim. There are other excellent drivers, but because of that unique bevel XLS/XXLS are the easiest to spot from the front at a glance.




As an alternative, are the Andrew Jones ELAC subs with their app available to you? The app is smarter than most. It uses your phone and is self calibrating. Drivers and cabinets are not beautiful but they work.

Lastly I would highly recommend keeping all signal processing outboard. Who knows what junk is stuffed on the back of a plate amp.
 

Promit

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#7
I did mine based off a sealed 12” Dayton HF and an SPA250DSP amp, with full onboard DSP as the name suggests. This allows me to stay balanced through the whole chain and didn’t cost much. I built mine from scratch, but no shortage of sealed kits if you want.
 
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q3cpma

q3cpma

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Thread Starter #8
I'm sure Adam and Eve both have products to look at, not sure they are any better than what you are already considering.
I've looked at their offerings without being impressed. If Adam replaced their 15 year old subs, maybe they could offer some nice things.
Subwoofers are pretty simple devices. You could look to local companies that use known good drivers in closed boxes. BK Electronics in the UK advertises a few subwoofers with the excellent Peerless XLS or XXLS drivers. Their 12" one (similar to SVS SB12/SB2000) is listed as sold out, but the 10" version is available: http://www.bkelec.com/HiFi/Sub_Woofers/XLS200.htm
That BK sub looks quite nice. Still no measurements, though. Might be better than the SVS SB-1000 (though SVS has a nice 5 year warranty).

As an alternative, are the Andrew Jones ELAC subs with their app available to you? The app is smarter than most. It uses your phone and is self calibrating. Drivers and cabinets are not beautiful but they work.
Well, the idea of needing a smartphone disgust me, to put it mildly.

Lastly I would highly recommend keeping all signal processing outboard. Who knows what junk is stuffed on the back of a plate amp.
Well, but I don't know the quality of those Behringers too. Found that they have exactly what I need: the CX2310 is a very nice 2.1 active crossover for 80€.

I did mine based off a sealed 12” Dayton HF and an SPA250DSP amp, with full onboard DSP as the name suggests. This allows me to stay balanced through the whole chain and didn’t cost much. I built mine from scratch, but no shortage of sealed kits if you want.
Well, but where do you find such kits in Europe? Don't even know where to search.

Thanks for the recommendations, but really, I need more some manufacturers giving useful specs about SPL and THD (or third-party measurements) than good subs recommendations. Because good subs aren't that hard to find; at least, SVS is a known value that's selling here.
Now that I think a bit about it, having to use a rack mounted crossover is probably not really a good idea in my tiny desk setup, I'll probably settle for a studio sub. But I'd take the long road if I had the space.
 

Promit

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#9
Well, but where do you find such kits in Europe? Don't even know where to search.
Here? https://www.soundimports.eu/en/diy-kits/diy-kits/subwoofer-diy-kits/
https://www.soundimports.eu/en/dayton-audio-spa250dsp.html

Thanks for the recommendations, but really, I need more some manufacturers giving useful specs about SPL and THD (or third-party measurements) than good subs recommendations. Because good subs aren't that hard to find; at least, SVS is a known value that's selling here.
Now that I think a bit about it, having to use a rack mounted crossover is probably not really a good idea in my tiny desk setup, I'll probably settle for a studio sub. But I'd take the long road if I had the space.
You've gotta remember that in the subwoofer region, we're talking about acceptable distortion levels of 10% or more before hitting audibility. There's no particular reason to separate the crossover from the sub amplifier in this type of setup (whether that amp is onboard or rack), and nearly any amp is perfectly adequate when operating within its power output abilities. There's a camp that says quite simply, any decent subwoofer is effectively linear at "low" output levels, so get a high output sub and keep it where it doesn't have to work hard. Unfortunately there's not a ton of data covering real world output - Data-Bass is really the only place. The only annoyance is finding a sub/amp that can do the bass management properly on both sides of the signal, with inputs and outputs. Using something like the DSP amp above gives you the ability to do that properly, as well as address any more egregious room issues, if you have a measurement mic.
 

direstraitsfan98

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#11
Is your budget $1K or $2K? Also KH sub are made using cheap labour in east europe (it can be cheaper to manufacture in east europe such as poland/romania/czech republic nowadays) and SVS made is made entirely in China for last 5 years now.

I would go for the Genelic if I were you. It's at least made in Finland. I saw a zeos pandera review for it a few months ago and they seem like beastly subs.
 
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q3cpma

q3cpma

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Here? https://www.soundimports.eu/en/diy-kits/diy-kits/subwoofer-diy-kits/
https://www.soundimports.eu/en/dayton-audio-spa250dsp.html


You've gotta remember that in the subwoofer region, we're talking about acceptable distortion levels of 10% or more before hitting audibility. There's no particular reason to separate the crossover from the sub amplifier in this type of setup (whether that amp is onboard or rack), and nearly any amp is perfectly adequate when operating within its power output abilities. There's a camp that says quite simply, any decent subwoofer is effectively linear at "low" output levels, so get a high output sub and keep it where it doesn't have to work hard. Unfortunately there's not a ton of data covering real world output - Data-Bass is really the only place. The only annoyance is finding a sub/amp that can do the bass management properly on both sides of the signal, with inputs and outputs. Using something like the DSP amp above gives you the ability to do that properly, as well as address any more egregious room issues, if you have a measurement mic.
Thanks, this looks very nice. Do you know if the computer software is needed or if everything can be done with the tiny screen behind (Windows only software, once again)?

Thanks, every little bit counts.

Is your budget $1K or $2K? Also KH sub are made using cheap labour in east europe (it can be cheaper to manufacture in east europe such as poland/romania/czech republic nowadays) and SVS made is made entirely in China for last 5 years now.

I would go for the Genelic if I were you. It's at least made in Finland. I saw a zeos pandera review for it a few months ago and they seem like beastly subs.
Is Czech labor that cheap? Didn't know SVS was made in China, couldn't find any official information. Yes, Genelec is still the best candidate, even if those 8" Dayton subs are kind of attractive. Budget is really nearer to 1 than 2 k€.
 
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maverickronin

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#13
Well, the idea of needing a smartphone disgust me, to put it mildly.


Thanks, this looks very nice. Do you know if the computer software is needed or if everything can be done with the tiny screen behind (Windows only software, once again)?
Depending on how often you're going to tweak things and how much Windows disgusts you there's always VirtualBox with its USB pass through feature.
 

TimVG

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I'd go for a BK. They make good stuff and have good service. I've owned one (XLS200) that served in my main and secondary systems since 2004. When the amp failed last year I inquired about buying a new amp, instead they asked me to send it in for servicing (cheaper). It was tested by Ilkka R. (now Genelec) in his subwoofer test series, but it seems most of the graphs are now missing on hometheatershack. Here's the SPL sweeps that I could find. It's exactly what you'd expect out of a 10" small sealed sub.

 
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q3cpma

q3cpma

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I'd go for a BK. They make good stuff and have good service. I've owned one (XLS200) that served in my main and secondary systems since 2004. When the amp failed last year I inquired about buying a new amp, instead they asked me to send it in for servicing (cheaper). It was tested by Ilkka R. (now Genelec) in his subwoofer test series, but it seems most of the graphs are now missing on hometheatershack. Here's the SPL sweeps that I could find. It's exactly what you'd expect out of a 10" small sealed sub.

Looks good, but after thinking about phase/delay, I don't think going the external crossover without a miniDSP as an option and with space issues is a good idea. But I'm happy to now know a subwoofer brand to recommend to others.
 

TimVG

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Looks good, but after thinking about phase/delay, I don't think going the external crossover without a miniDSP as an option and with space issues is a good idea. But I'm happy to now know a subwoofer brand to recommend to others.
Not exactly sure what you mean, but the XLS200 has a a built-in variable crossover and adjustable phase, which are both defeatable when using an external DSP unit.
 
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q3cpma

q3cpma

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Not exactly sure what you mean, but the XLS200 has a a built-in variable crossover and adjustable phase, which are both defeatable when using an external DSP unit.
Well, it has phase settings, but I'd still have to get one of those big Behringer units to do the crossover, since it doesn't do the monitor high passing. As I said, if I had the space for it, I'd probably do this; not a fan of the lack of handles and metal grill, though.
 

TimVG

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Well, it has phase settings, but I'd still have to get one of those big Behringer units to do the crossover, since it doesn't do the monitor high passing. As I said, if I had the space for it, I'd probably do this; not a fan of the lack of handles and metal grill, though.
Oh okay, I understand now. Which active monitors did you purchase btw?
 

LDKTA

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#20
If you're adamant on using a studio subwoofer, I would look no further than the Genelec's, however, you should know that you could get far more subwoofer for your money.
 
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