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Subwoofers.. what makes a good one?, Is wattage everything?
post Jan 16 2004, 07:01
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I'm in the market for a subwoofer and I'm trying to get a handle on what characteristics I should be looking for.

It would seem to me that with subwoofers - as opposed to other speaker types - one can get a good idea about the quality based on the sub's specs. If a sub has bigger wattage, it will (or should!) kick out deeper, louder bass. However I realize the need for accurate, smooth bass reproduction also.

One sub I'm looking at is the VTF-2. I've seen some HA members praise it for its musicality. The only thing that makes me pause is that I've seen subs in the same 400-500 USD price range that have 300 watt internal amps as opposed to the VTF-2's 150 watt internal amp.

So am I wrong by relying too much on the sub's wattage? Can a 150 watt sub put out as much strong bass as one with a 300 watt amp? Or even if it can't.. does the quality of the bass matter more than the quality?

Thanks all...
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post Jan 16 2004, 07:08
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Other factors to include in determining "loudness" of the sub's:

1) Sub's sensitivity
2) Type of box
3) Box Tuning
4) Amp Type
5) Amps acutal output vs. "lab" output

"You can fight without ever winning, but never win without a fight." Neil Peart 'Resist'
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post Jan 16 2004, 07:32
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I don't know if this helps at all. But I dont think watts mean jack squat unless both competing systems are using the same type of driver. It's like comparing a klipschorn to a generic driver. the klipschorn can sound 2x as loud per watt, so a 150watt klipschorn can sound like a 300watt kenwood or whatever.

Just something to think about. I would look for a place to buy where they have a return policy so you can try it out and return it if it doesnt do it for you.
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post Jan 16 2004, 08:57
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If you want to buy a good sub you need to listen to it in the room you want to use it in. The room and the placement of the subwoofer and the listener affects the perceived frequency response (smoothness) much more than the subwoofer itself.

If you want to find the best place to put the sub-woofer put it in the listening postion where you head would be. Then, crawl round on the floor until you find a spot which sounds the best to you. After that swap the sub-woofer and your head back to where they should be.

Also, the low frequency extension of a sub has nothing to do with the power of the amplifier or the power handling on the actual speaker. The LF extension is determined by the driver and the box 'alignment'.

The difference in output between a 150Watt amp and a 300Watt amp is 3dB. Of couse differnt driver sensitivities and box alignments will change the actual SPL output of the subwoofer as well.

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post Jan 16 2004, 10:53
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The wattage quoted in the advertising will have little or no bearing on how a sub will sound. As the posters said it depends a whole lot on the drivers, the shape and type of box and many other factors.

The best way is to choose a shop that will let you listen, find a couple of examples in your price range and listen to them all. Remember to use a variety of types of music in your listening test. People have varying opinions about enclosure types and which drivers are best - the only way to know is to listen.

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post Jan 16 2004, 11:14
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A good sub will integrate well with your existing speakers. Normally they have controls to help you do that (Low pass filter cut off and level normally). If you can try a sub with your existing setup, do!

You'll know you've got it right when it just sounds like your speakers have better extension and bass. smile.gif I.e. you shouldn't be able to easily separate what your sub is doing from your main speakers.

:: danbee :: pixelhum.com ::
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