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Kyle

The case againts subwoofers

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https://www.cnet.com/news/the-case-against-subwoofers-for-music/ (watch the video)

I think there are 2 problems

  1.  people let subwoofers exaggerate low end and more or less ruin music. The same can be said about headphone bass boost (mostly just sounds like crap)
  2. lots of music does not contain subsonic content or even low end audible bass.

I don't fully agree we can omit a sub for all types of music, especially modern style music which often has subsonics, but then again, this is the right place to really find that out.
We know movies need subs but which songs need it too?

 

 

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The article largely misses the point and is mostly audiophool drivel.  The article it links to is substantially worse:

https://pitchfork.com/features/oped/9667-drop-the-bass-a-case-against-subwoofers/

 

The question of whether a subwoofer is needed really depends on the system design.  If the speakers and amps are adequate for reproducing the lowest frequencies and the room placement is not problematic, then music can be enjoyed without subs just fine.  For that matter, movies can be enjoyed without subs being that most AVRs will redirect LFE to the mains, especially using beefy speakers like JTRs.

But that's not what the articles are really talking about.  The articles are arguing that music doesn't need reproduction of frequencies in the sub range, particularly below 50 Hz.  That argument falls apart very rapidly when one considers the results of Harman's blind speaker listening tests.  Bass extension has a major impact on blind listener preferences of speakers.  Even though there may be very little content below 50 Hz in many sources of music, the content that's there has a substantial impact on the listening experience.  This is not limited to electronic music either.

That's not to ignore the fact that too much sub can harm the rest of the sound, but that's true of any frequency range.  I actually agree that the mid-range is most important for rock-and-roll music, as it is for almost every other genre of music.  Yet, that's no excuse to ignore the treble and the bass, which still matters for rock-and-roll and all other kinds of music.

The idiocy of these kinds of articles is that they dredge up anecdotes in which the subs or low-end was obviously mis-configured and out of balance to argue that low frequencies are inherently bad and don't belong as part of the reproduction.  The irony is that the kind of people pushing these arguments often use speakers that sound like garbage in the mid-range.  Zu Audio?  Perhaps they should just listen with the amps switched off to save them from hearing the dreadful mid-range!

And therein lies the sad truth, which is that the quality of sound when using subs depends substantially on the sound quality in the rest of the spectrum, especially the 50-500 Hz range.  A great many speakers have deficient output through most of that range, which is crucial for reproduction of a variety of bass instruments.  To integrate subs with such speakers requires turning the subs down so much that there's not much point in using them, or else one hears a lot of boom boom boom from subs that are unbalanced relative to the higher harmonics.

So by all means bring on the subs, but don't neglect the rest of the spectrum!  Sadly, most speakers simply don't cut it, and that's true of almost every offering targeted at the "audiophile".

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Don't read articles like this. The information presented is plain wrong and misleading.

Some statements from the article:

"music rarely has extremely deep, under-50Hz bass": 

Wrong. Most music has essential information below 50hz, and some music has content in the sub range below 20hz. In the 2-ch article I presented spectrograms taken from various music samples, which shows there is lots of low frequency information in various types of music.

" most speakers with 5-inch (127mm) or larger woofers can muster 50Hz bass":

No, a 5" driver can not even reproduce 200hz properly, if a realistic sound presentation is the goal.

" Achieving the perfect blend isn't always possible -- subwoofer crossover tweaking isn't an exact science":

Actually the integration part is science, and a manageable set of rules solves it. But you need the equipment and the knowledge to do it properly.

If the sound does not improve after adding a subwoofer/bass-system, you did not do it right.

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This Article is the HiFi version of this:
https://joeysturgistones.com/blogs/learn/why-your-studio-doesn-t-need-a-subwoofer

A very well respected studio engineer, known for mixing big Metalcore acts, such as Asking Alexandria.

And I'm sure the causes for writing such an article are the same in both cases: bad integration which lead to the descision of discarding subwoofers entirely.
Those are the people who cause the necessity for BEQ, by just filtering out the low-end which their system can't reproduce.

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Wow!  What complete and utter rubbish.  I'm not going to question the author's reputation as a mixer, which may or may not be well deserved, but most of what's written there is embarrassingly wrong.  It's hardly unique to the author.  He's just perpetuating myths that are widespread throughout that community.  These myths come about because people are trying to relate their subjective experiences with sound to objective principles, without sufficiently understanding the latter.

One of the worst issues I see are that he blames "muddy sound" on rooms being too small for the wavelengths.  That's only true in a very ironic and roundabout way.  It ignores the fact that mud is at least as serious of a problem for frequencies in the 100-500 Hz range, whose wavelengths are also long enough such that the speaker/monitor interacts with nearby large boundaries from walls and in particular the mixing consoles (!!) in widespread use.  The picture even illustrates what appear to be a bunch of narrow EQ cuts, which while much less offensive than equivalent boosts, nevertheless are likely degrade the sound quality of the tracks substantially to the extent that they reflect problems in the monitoring system vs. the actual soundtrack.

Worst of all is where he suggests using a sub-harmonic synthesis plug-in to "boost [the sub frequencies]" *as an alternative* to installing a subwoofer into the monitoring system.  This is completely confusing the critical distinction between *adding more bass to the monitor system* and *adding more bass to the soundtrack*, which I would expect any competent mixer to understand and appreciate.   Yet, this confusion also is not unique to this author and seems to be widespread among mixers.  And because the mixers running these plugins can't hear what they are actually doing, this is actually a "worst of both worlds" solution.

To emphasize the wrongness there's this sentence at the end:

Quote

As a producer, I can name a handful of plug-ins I’d take before ever considering a subwoofer (even in a large studio).

And what exactly do plug-ins, used to alter the soundtrack, have to do with whether *your monitoring system* has a subwoofer?  Nuff said.

Now with that criticism out of the way I want to point out that I don't think the author is incompetent nor is he trying to deceive people intentionally.  He is correct that the mid-range is the most important part of the spectrum, even for "bass" instruments and "bass" music genres.  He is writing based on real lived experience of how systems with subwoofers sound and what it's like to work with them.  The reality is that good sub integration, with or without "auto EQ" tools, is quite difficult and is beyond the skill of many mixers such as himself.  For many such people, monitoring with *no* subs may be better than monitoring with *bad* subs.  It's hard enough to deal with the issues in the 100-500 Hz range that are common to every studio using "near-field" monitors and/or a large mixing console.  Throwing a sub into the mix is likely to only make things worse.

I also agree with his implication that soundtracks often have too much sub boost in them.  This is very common for movies which (surprise surprise) are mixed under bass deficient conditions, but it's also becoming quite common with music releases.  I get the feeling that excessive sub boost on soundtracks may be the major reason for him to write the article, yet his advice is essentially the opposite of what's likely to help.

At the same time, I feel sorry for him and many others like him because it's clear to me that he has probably never heard a good small-room bass system in his life, despite his professional pedigree.  They just assume that bass cannot be reproduced in small rooms like it is in large rooms or outdoors because they haven't heard it done before.  Perhaps if they knew what was actually possible, they would have a quite different opinion.

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16 hours ago, SME said:

Wow!  What complete and utter rubbish.  I'm not going to question the author's reputation as a mixer, which may or may not be well deserved, but most of what's written there is embarrassingly wrong.  It's hardly unique to the author.  He's just perpetuating myths that are widespread throughout that community.  These myths come about because people are trying to relate their subjective experiences with sound to objective principles, without sufficiently understanding the latter.

...

The disaster here is of course the writer of that article will never read you comment, not because he does not want to or does not want to learn how this really works, but because he will never see it.

The main problem with audio today seems to be more about communication - getting through with the message. We have the technical solutions, we know the theory, we know how to make this work in a practical audio system.

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I'm very happy that I came across AVS and data-bass. The knowledge here is invaluable for me as a studio and live sound engineer. I'm a techie and I'm also obsessed with getting the absolute best out of my gear, so I could not live without a sub which isn't properly calibrated anymore. It's absolutely crazy that most of the guys on AVS (for example) do know more about the tech side and have better sounding systems than probably most (home) studios do. Like, if you have a good system to enjoy music on, you do profit. If the studio has a good system which they can mix on, everybody from the band over the studio engineer to the entire audience which will ever come across their tracks will profit from having a better mix (probably). Most of the time it's just lacking knowledge in the sense of "I don't know what I don't know", but a little research could quickly uncover many of the important topics.

SME, about the plugins he is talking about, I think it's more of a budget allocation thing. Like, "rather buy plugin XY instead of the sub, it'll be a bigger benefit to your production quality".

I could be wrong thou, I didn't read through his entire document again.

I did the mistake of buying a Genelec studio sub for 1 grand. 1 grand for an 8" sub which can't reach below 25Hz properly (oh wonder). I'll probably build like 4 sealed 12" subs to replace it, just don't know which driver to use. Our control room is the worst thou, and I have a ~40db spike at 30Hz ANYWHERE in the room (after doing a sub crawl with about 50 different measurements I gave up). Equalizer APO has to take care of that until I get a decent hardware solution (maybe a 10x10HD??).

I'm often doing masterings at home, where I can trust my SKHorn. In the lowest tuning it reaches down to about 14Hz where distortion gets out of hand. I just need to replace my Klipsch speakers with DIY ones and my home setup is complete (apart from the 7.x.6 system in the currently non-existing dedicated theater room), although I gotta say that I'm not unhappy with the Klipsch towers.

Well, I'm gear obsessed, but I think I have all the reason to. It's my (dream) job after all 😊

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5 hours ago, peniku8 said:

SME, about the plugins he is talking about, I think it's more of a budget allocation thing. Like, "rather buy plugin XY instead of the sub, it'll be a bigger benefit to your production quality".

That's an excellent point, thanks!

And now that I think about it, my post may have come off as a bit judgmental about use of plugins without the ability to monitor the result.  In practice, I believe this is done all the time and works out OK and sometimes can sound really good.  It's probably the case with most popular "unfiltered" movie soundtracks including those that have been subject to high quality custom BEQ to make them "unfiltered".  However, embarrassments do happen.  They are more likely to happen when processing is applied by the mixer blindly, or deafly as it were.

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15 hours ago, SME said:

That's an excellent point, thanks!

And now that I think about it, my post may have come off as a bit judgmental about use of plugins without the ability to monitor the result.  In practice, I believe this is done all the time and works out OK and sometimes can sound really good.  It's probably the case with most popular "unfiltered" movie soundtracks including those that have been subject to high quality custom BEQ to make them "unfiltered".  However, embarrassments do happen.  They are more likely to happen when processing is applied by the mixer blindly, or deafly as it were.

You have a point, but from my experience I can tell you that many mixing engineers also mix like they're not only deaf in a certain region due to their system's capabilities...

You wouldn't wanna hear some of the mixes I've already recieved to master. When 90% of the mastering work is correcting errors made in the mix, you just sometimes wonder if they didn't actually didn't hear it, didn't bother or just didn't care. Some wierd things in mixes are also requests of band members.

Once I had a mix where there was a very narrow EQ placed on the kick drum at 13khz. I had to pull it down by around 15db. Did so via M/S processing to not affect the cymbals too much.

Might've also been a mistake when a compressor made the tube distortion from a preamp get out of hand, you can get some nasty spikes doing so, but I can't imagine that the mixing engineer was "deaf" to not notice this.

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And then there’s the Lone Survivor movie where there is a 6.7 Hz signal (helicopter rotor artifact) that is 10 dB louder than the rest of the soundtrack.  Put a hurting on my 24s when we were pushing them at a GTG (GeTogether).  Really wish sound engineers checked their work before mastering millions of movie discs.

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9 hours ago, peniku8 said:

You have a point, but from my experience I can tell you that many mixing engineers also mix like they're not only deaf in a certain region due to their system's capabilities...

You wouldn't wanna hear some of the mixes I've already recieved to master. When 90% of the mastering work is correcting errors made in the mix, you just sometimes wonder if they didn't actually didn't hear it, didn't bother or just didn't care. Some wierd things in mixes are also requests of band members.

Once I had a mix where there was a very narrow EQ placed on the kick drum at 13khz. I had to pull it down by around 15db. Did so via M/S processing to not affect the cymbals too much.

Might've also been a mistake when a compressor made the tube distortion from a preamp get out of hand, you can get some nasty spikes doing so, but I can't imagine that the mixing engineer was "deaf" to not notice this.

Thanks for your insightful comments.  I don't do work in either mixing or mastering, but my research into audio optimization has me doing a lot of critical listening.  I find peaks at 13 kHz to be very irritating (somewhere between piercing and grating), yet its absence can sound very dull indeed.  Perhaps that mixer was trying to get the treble to punch through a nasty mess of bass boom they heard on their system?  I believe it's often hard not to reach for the wrong control when wanting to fix a perceived imbalance in an audio track.

3 hours ago, dgage said:

And then there’s the Lone Survivor movie where there is a 6.7 Hz signal (helicopter rotor artifact) that is 10 dB louder than the rest of the soundtrack.  Put a hurting on my 24s when we were pushing them at a GTG (GeTogether).  Really wish sound engineers checked their work before mastering millions of movie discs.

This is a particular ugly example, in part because it is long duration, like ~30 seconds or something?  The sad thing is that despite the fact that so many movies are made with budgets that dwarf musical productions, the sound quality isn't necessarily better than what some people can mix and master in their spare bedrooms.  Budget seems to have little correlation with overall sound quality in a movie.  My perception is that many movie soundtracks are mixed from very high quality recordings but the mixes often suffer from a variety of level and spectral balance problems.

Also in general I don't think mastering practices really exist for movies like they do for music.  Mastering in cinema is just a technical step, creating digital (and possibly analog) master copies of the end product.  Much of the work that's done by music mastering engineers is done by the recording mixer(s) as part of the mixing process.  There is no "second opinion" of having a different engineer look at it like there is for music.  Likewise, I doubt most cinema mixes get heard on more than one system before they are finalized.  I believe a wide assumption in that field is that because all the different cinemas are calibrated to the same standard, the mixes will translate.  In contrast, I believe music engineers often test on a few different systems (such as their car), and I think this drastically increases the chance of hearing problems hidden by their main set of monitors.

 

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59 minutes ago, SME said:

Likewise, I doubt most cinema mixes get heard on more than one system before they are finalized.  I believe a wide assumption in that field is that because all the different cinemas are calibrated to the same standard, the mixes will translate.  In contrast, I believe music engineers often test on a few different systems (such as their car), and I think this drastically increases the chance of hearing problems hidden by their main set of monitors.

 

Can't speak for the cine guys (which usually work on the audio production as a team), but when I do a mix I usually do most of the part in the studio, but keep a pair of headphones close to review the mix there. Some extreme panning effects can sound good on a pair of speakers, but very distracting on headphones. Especially obvious when multi-tracking vocals and panning some to the extremes. I've done productions with some 20 vocal tracks layered, and when you get back into a segment with only 3 vocal tracks or so you definitely don't wanna have two sitting at 100% L and 100% R.

I do the entire mix in the studio and when I think I'm mostly done I'll listen to it at home and take notes. I'll then again make adjustments in the studio and either master there or make stereo exports and master at home. Haven't done anything in the car yet and I'm not planning to. I know what that system sounds like, very well (and it's not too shabby with a sealed 15 in the trunk) but I haven't seen any benefit in doing that yet. Often you do that because your ears get used to the sound and you start noticing bad things less. That's where comparing your work to others helps alot to get back on track.

I'm much more aware of sub 30Hz content thou since I got this monster sub here. Just recently I've checked out a new album of a band I like and noticed huge 17Hz spikes during a piano section in the song. Very funny that they didn't notice in the studio.

 

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4 hours ago, peniku8 said:

I'm much more aware of sub 30Hz content thou since I got this monster sub here. Just recently I've checked out a new album of a band I like and noticed huge 17Hz spikes during a piano section in the song. Very funny that they didn't notice in the studio

 

I think studios should standardize on the Mariana 24 just so they wouldn’t miss those sorts of issues but I might be biased.  :D

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35 minutes ago, dgage said:

I think studios should standardize on the Mariana 24 just so they wouldn’t miss those sorts of issues but I might be biased.  :D

I would certainly be up for that, but we'd be running into space issues very quickly 😅

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On 8/3/2019 at 9:36 AM, peniku8 said:

I would certainly be up for that, but we'd be running into space issues very quickly 😅

You mentioned you are considering 12"s.   Is that really as large as you can go?  How big is the room?  How well contained?  How low do you want to go?  Do you need to monitor multichannel content with LFE?  Or just 2 channel content?

If you want low, loud and small, be prepared to spend some serious money.

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33 minutes ago, SME said:

You mentioned you are considering 12"s.   Is that really as large as you can go?  How big is the room?  How well contained?  How low do you want to go?  Do you need to monitor multichannel content with LFE?  Or just 2 channel content?

If you want low, loud and small, be prepared to spend some serious money.

I agree, I think of 12s or even 15s as midbasses for home theater rooms.  It takes roughly 2 sealed 12s to equal the output of a single sealed 15. 2 15s to equal the output of a single 18.  2 18s to equal the output of a 24.  So a single 24 has more and deeper output than 8 12s.

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1 hour ago, SME said:

You mentioned you are considering 12"s.   Is that really as large as you can go?  How big is the room?  How well contained?  How low do you want to go?  Do you need to monitor multichannel content with LFE?  Or just 2 channel content?

If you want low, loud and small, be prepared to spend some serious money.

20Hz at roughly 85dbC. That's my guideline. Headroom is always good, but we have never mixed at a higher level than the 85db. Ideally ~18Hz 100db. It must be at least 4 cabs since I want to have a smooth room response to begin with and the FR should be decent anywhere in the control room. The space itself is about 3000cuft. It'll be DIY so the cabs are basically free, finish will be rattle can paint. Budget for the drivers is 1000€ max, but preferably within half of that. I have two B&C 12BG100 on order for a PA project, but might also test these in a sealed cab in the room to see how loud it would play. I've got plenty of leftover MDF anyways. That'll be something like a 14" cube.

We're only doing stereo mixes and the room is basically a bunker with a single door and a tiny window.

We're currently running a vented 8" sub, which is good down to about 25Hz. The single vented sub was more expensive than 4 of the aforementioned drivers, but back then I didn't know any better.

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7 hours ago, peniku8 said:

20Hz at roughly 85dbC. That's my guideline. Headroom is always good, but we have never mixed at a higher level than the 85db. Ideally ~18Hz 100db. It must be at least 4 cabs since I want to have a smooth room response to begin with and the FR should be decent anywhere in the control room. The space itself is about 3000cuft. It'll be DIY so the cabs are basically free, finish will be rattle can paint. Budget for the drivers is 1000€ max, but preferably within half of that. I have two B&C 12BG100 on order for a PA project, but might also test these in a sealed cab in the room to see how loud it would play. I've got plenty of leftover MDF anyways. That'll be something like a 14" cube.

We're only doing stereo mixes and the room is basically a bunker with a single door and a tiny window.

We're currently running a vented 8" sub, which is good down to about 25Hz. The single vented sub was more expensive than 4 of the aforementioned drivers, but back then I didn't know any better.

Can you clarify what you mean by 85 dBC?  Is this a calibration target?  And if so, using what kind of test signal?  Also, have you considered that a more neutral sounding "house curve" may require in-room SPL that's quite a bit higher than a flat in-room response?  This "house curve" should arise naturally when using an anechoic flat monitor.  As calibrated/optimized and while listening at an overall level appropriate for monitoring typical "loud" music tracks, my system can theoretically hit ~106-108 dB RMS (at the seats) in the (roughly) 20-50 Hz range if full-scale sines are playing in both channels.  With more dynamic content like movies and tracks that haven't been crushed, those numbers can be a lot higher.

Anyway, the good news is that small sealed rooms have a lot of LF gain, so you'll get plenty of mileage out of small sealed subs.  However, your room is not tiny, and that budget won't go very far to get good performance out of cabinets that are so small.  To do so requires a lot of motor strength, which usually means expensive magnets and extra shorting rings to keep the upper part of the response clean.  One fit for purpose sub would be this one: https://stereointegrity.com/product/hst12-12-subwoofer/, but I don't know that you could afford even one of those on your budget.  You also need a lot of amp power to use the excursion capability of a sub like that, and to overcome its very high mass which gives it only ~80 dB sensitivity.  A pro sub like the 12BG100 is kind of the opposite situation.  The mid bass capability is *much* better (93 dB sensitivity), but it only has maybe 1/3 the excursion, meaning -10 dB max capability in the deep and ULF bass compared to the HST12.  The HST12 also has more motor strength, and so will output more deep/ULF frequency using the same power.

Is the need for a 14" cube form factor a limitation of width, depth, height, footprint, or all of the above?  If you could step up to an 18" driver, you'd have a lot more good options and get a lot more value for your money.  I personally think pro-style 21" is a very nice sweet spot.  Compared to four HST-12s, four B&C 21DS-115s stuffed into "tiny" 575x575x350mm (ish) cabinets should cost less, have more output at the bottom, and provide *way better* overall efficiency above 30-40 Hz or so.  The Lavoce SAN214.50 gives similar performance to the DS115 and may be less expensive.

Anyway, it's something to consider.  I've seen a few conversations around here wishing for better 12" sub options, for either pro or small room usage.  If you have to stick with 12", then the driver you really want probably doesn't exist.  :( 

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2 hours ago, SME said:

Can you clarify what you mean by 85 dBC?  Is this a calibration target?  And if so, using what kind of test signal?  Also, have you considered that a more neutral sounding "house curve" may require in-room SPL that's quite a bit higher than a flat in-room response?  This "house curve" should arise naturally when using an anechoic flat monitor.  As calibrated/optimized and while listening at an overall level appropriate for monitoring typical "loud" music tracks, my system can theoretically hit ~106-108 dB RMS (at the seats) in the (roughly) 20-50 Hz range if full-scale sines are playing in both channels.  With more dynamic content like movies and tracks that haven't been crushed, those numbers can be a lot higher.

Anyway, the good news is that small sealed rooms have a lot of LF gain, so you'll get plenty of mileage out of small sealed subs.  However, your room is not tiny, and that budget won't go very far to get good performance out of cabinets that are so small.  To do so requires a lot of motor strength, which usually means expensive magnets and extra shorting rings to keep the upper part of the response clean.  One fit for purpose sub would be this one: https://stereointegrity.com/product/hst12-12-subwoofer/, but I don't know that you could afford even one of those on your budget.  You also need a lot of amp power to use the excursion capability of a sub like that, and to overcome its very high mass which gives it only ~80 dB sensitivity.  A pro sub like the 12BG100 is kind of the opposite situation.  The mid bass capability is *much* better (93 dB sensitivity), but it only has maybe 1/3 the excursion, meaning -10 dB max capability in the deep and ULF bass compared to the HST12.  The HST12 also has more motor strength, and so will output more deep/ULF frequency using the same power.

Is the need for a 14" cube form factor a limitation of width, depth, height, footprint, or all of the above?  If you could step up to an 18" driver, you'd have a lot more good options and get a lot more value for your money.  I personally think pro-style 21" is a very nice sweet spot.  Compared to four HST-12s, four B&C 21DS-115s stuffed into "tiny" 575x575x350mm (ish) cabinets should cost less, have more output at the bottom, and provide *way better* overall efficiency above 30-40 Hz or so.  The Lavoce SAN214.50 gives similar performance to the DS115 and may be less expensive.

Anyway, it's something to consider.  I've seen a few conversations around here wishing for better 12" sub options, for either pro or small room usage.  If you have to stick with 12", then the driver you really want probably doesn't exist.  :( 

85dbC was what I measured during one of our mastering sessions, to get a general idea. This was with the sub measured to flat at the MLP and a house curve bumping it to +10db below 60Hz. We're a studio for music and our content is absolutely crushed.

We're not really limited in space, it's just due to the looks of it. I could probably fit 3 SKHorns behind the desk, but it wouldn't be pretty. I like the 12BG100, the only thing that's bothering me is the Xmax. 21" would get me further with less money, I've realized that a few times already, but I don't think I could justify the footprint.

Keep in mind that there will be 4 sealed cabs and that our single 8" is basically (almost) enough already in terms of SPL. I doubt that 4 sealed 12" would perform worse than a single vented 8"

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Something like 4 Ultimax 12's or 15's would probably do what you are looking for, but I don't know the costs over in Germany. Probably far higher than here in the US. Peerless XLS-12's might be an option as well. With 12's you will need some excursion and the BG's just aren't going to have it. 

B&C 15DS115's? 

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1 hour ago, Ricci said:

Something like 4 Ultimax 12's or 15's would probably do what you are looking for, but I don't know the costs over in Germany. Probably far higher than here in the US. Peerless XLS-12's might be an option as well. With 12's you will need some excursion and the BG's just aren't going to have it. 

B&C 15DS115's? 

The Ultimax 12's look pretty good, I could get 4 for just under 240€ each. Peerless has much lower power handling, 7mm less Xmax and costs the same. 15ds costs the same as the 21ds so uhh... I'd rather build more SKHorns :P

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On 8/8/2019 at 11:25 AM, Ricci said:

Something like 4 Ultimax 12's or 15's would probably do what you are looking for, but I don't know the costs over in Germany. Probably far higher than here in the US. Peerless XLS-12's might be an option as well. With 12's you will need some excursion and the BG's just aren't going to have it. 

B&C 15DS115's? 

I forgot that Ultimax come in 12s and 15s.  I so rarely see the smaller versions get used in builds.  Most probably don't see a point when 18s only cost a bit more, unless they really need something small.

On 8/8/2019 at 3:41 AM, peniku8 said:

We're not really limited in space, it's just due to the looks of it. I could probably fit 3 SKHorns behind the desk, but it wouldn't be pretty. I like the 12BG100, the only thing that's bothering me is the Xmax. 21" would get me further with less money, I've realized that a few times already, but I don't think I could justify the footprint.

Is this a mixed-use room?  If not, why the concern about looks?  Very small subs generally provide poor performance to cost ratio, so you give up a lot for looks.  Given your budget, I'd suggest going with vented enclosures.  A lot of details would depend on your room behavior.  If your room is like mine (which is slightly bigger, albeit open to a hall), you'll have a huge amount of room gain in the 20-60 Hz area, in which case you could probably get away something fairly small (but limited in output at the low end).  Using a smaller 12" or 15" driver and a "tower" form-factor you might be able to keep the footprint especially small.

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4 minutes ago, SME said:

I forgot that Ultimax come in 12s and 15s.  I so rarely see the smaller versions get used in builds.  Most probably don't see a point when 18s only cost a bit more, unless they really need something small.

Is this a mixed-use room?  If not, why the concern about looks?  Very small subs generally provide poor performance to cost ratio, so you give up a lot for looks.  Given your budget, I'd suggest going with vented enclosures.  A lot of details would depend on your room behavior.  If your room is like mine (which is slightly bigger, albeit open to a hall), you'll have a huge amount of room gain in the 20-60 Hz area, in which case you could probably get away something fairly small (but limited in output at the low end).  Using a smaller 12" or 15" driver and a "tower" form-factor you might be able to keep the footprint especially small.

The UM18 is almost twice the price here as the UM12. The UM18 is more expensive than one 21DS115 even. And no, it's just a control room in the studio, but we will probably move to a different place next year, which I don't yet know the size of. And I get the impression that for tuning a 12" cab to 18Hz you'd need to go quite big. Also, the vented design tuned to 18Hz might not be quite as punchy in the 60-120Hz octave (?), which was why I just wanted to go sealed (along with the fact that I can build all cabs within an hour if I wanted to).

I guess I can just get 4 drivers, build small sealed cabs and whenever I feel like I want more I'll go with a different design. I'm thinking about buying a CNC too, so projects in that size would be a breeze

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