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m_ms

Othorn - HT capable?

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15 hours ago, SME said:

As I said, the question of whether horn subs have a "unique sound" that can be heard indoors is debated.  Actually, that discussion assumes quality drivers and a competent build to begin with.  Ideally, a sub shouldn't have a distinct sound at all beyond that which can be adjusted using EQ, but it's not hard to get a distinct (bad) sound from a sub that's poorly designed or poorly built.  That goes for sealed, vented, and horn subs alike.

From what I can assess lilmike's MicroWrecker is a competently developed tapped horn (easily the equal of the F20, it seems), and the driver I intend to use here, the B&C 15TBX100, is said to model very well in named horn, apart from being a quality driver in itself. The Wrecker sports a sensitivity of some 96dB's (like the driver), has decent bandwidth, good power handling and an expectedly potent bass "footprint" that far exceeds what a similarly sized driver could do as a typical stand-alone direct radiator, all of which should bode well for ample headroom in my case, not least using two of them. With some extra plywood for a bigger sized enclosure and free plans for a TH readily supplied by lilmike it seems quite some money is saved compared to buying bigger and more expensive drivers, in multitudes (incl. amps), for smaller enclosures for DR use. As I've pointed out I don't mind the extra size of horns, and there is room for them in a variety of positions. 

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As for what integrates best with your horn speakers, the question of sound characteristic is not especially relevant here.  The sound depends far more on the effects of the room on the chosen placements for the sub(s) and listeners, any EQ or crossovers that are used, and the linear response of the sub at its upper limits.  As I said, horn subs have more limited upper frequency capability, which makes them less flexible in small rooms.  This means that you may be able to achieve better integration with the mains by *not* using a horn sub.  It's really a minor thing, but I believe it's a lot more important than sound characteristic.

As I intend to low pass the Wrecker at some 60-65Hz I don't see how that should pose a problem? I'm not trying to be willful, I just don't see how it applies in my situation. 

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In terms of sub design choice, the relevant questions are how much SPL you want with what kind of extension, how much space you have, how much effort you are willing to put into the build, and much money you are willing to spend.  A pair of decent sealed 18"+ subs will give you plenty of SPL and extension for the modest listening levels you indicated.

Sealed subs with 18"+ drivers has certainly been on my radar as well and I suspect they can even approach single digit performance (Hz), but by all accounts this will be a more expensive path if going for the same level of headroom. I've hired a cabinet maker to build my subs, and I have a good bearing on the expense for this purpose which, added to the fair priced B&C units mentioned earlier, should make for a cost effective sub solution. I don't know how much one should push for sub 15Hz capabilities, but of course it obviously drives some more than others to achieve this. It certainly comes at a price, one way or the other, and I'd rather have my focus on the 20Hz range and up and have higher SPL capability and headroom than pay dearly for the infrasonics. A 20-25Hz TH should be able to reach close to 15Hz in-room, which is fine by me. 

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It seems to me that you've already made up your mind that horns are the only way to go.  If so, then there's likely nothing any of us can say to convince you otherwise.  And to be fair, you'll probably do just fine with horn subs like the  F20. However, if you are serious about getting best integration with the mains  or with choosing a design that fulfills your needs while better fitting your budget for money and space, you should definitely consider other design types.

In effect, yes, I have made up my mind, but it's not that I won't reach for the hand brake if it seems what I'm after is running at a collision course. Concerning budget it seems the MicroWrecker will be a great bang for the buck, likely even very capable in more absolute terms, and to reiterate: space considerations, while not of no importance, is not an issue. 

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FWIW, I'm running 4 x high performance sealed 21" cabinets which get pushed to 125-130 dB from time to time.  I chose them because I was space constrained, wanted a lot of extension, and was willing to spend the money.

That appears to be one heck of a capable sub-setup you've implemented. Would love to hear it, but I reside in Europe.. 

By my monetary range and needs I believe the horn approach to be the most appropriate, but obviously I'll have to create some sawdust and trial and error process to see whether it's actually the case.  

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To be clear, @lilmike 's horn designs appear to be very good.  I just wanted to point out that there's a lot more to good sub performance and good integration than what type of alignment is used.

15 hours ago, m_ms said:

As I intend to low pass the Wrecker at some 60-65Hz I don't see how that should pose a problem? I'm not trying to be willful, I just don't see how it applies in my situation.

As I detailed above, you might want experiment with different (higher) crossovers.  You emphasized integration with the mains as a high priority, and I'm arguing that good integration with mains has more to do with working around room effects.  I didn't explicitly mention it, but phase match between the mains and subs is also crucial.  This is partly addressed by optimizing the sub delay, but that only insures a good match at one (usually the crossover) frequency.  Phase match can be tricky to get right when the mains roll-off rapidly near the XO frequency as yours do.  I believe front-loaded horns like your mains exhibit 24 dB/octave roll-off below their lower limit, similar to vented cabinets.  A lot of people try to cross vented mains at least half-an-octave higher than the point that they roll-off.  So for example, you might consider crossing at 90 Hz instead of at 62 Hz.  I personally cross at 100 Hz, even though my vented mains are tuned to ~45 Hz, because anything lower than 100 Hz just sucks in my room.

16 hours ago, m_ms said:

Sealed subs with 18"+ drivers has certainly been on my radar as well and I suspect they can even approach single digit performance (Hz), but by all accounts this will be a more expensive path if going for the same level of headroom. I've hired a cabinet maker to build my subs, and I have a good bearing on the expense for this purpose which, added to the fair priced B&C units mentioned earlier, should make for a cost effective sub solution. I don't know how much one should push for sub 15Hz capabilities, but of course it obviously drives some more than others to achieve this. It certainly comes at a price, one way or the other, and I'd rather have my focus on the 20Hz range and up and have higher SPL capability and headroom than pay dearly for the infrasonics. A 20-25Hz TH should be able to reach close to 15Hz in-room, which is fine by me.

Yes.  Sealed subs are expensive for the headroom.  How horns factor in depends on how much it costs to build the cabinets.  They are complex enough that they could be a substantial part of the overall cost.

For home theater, I think flat response with strong output to 15 Hz is a good sweet spot, and it's not difficult to achieve in most instances.  While 15-20 Hz is not as substantial as the content above 20 Hz, I believe it still contributes a lot.  Below 15 Hz, returns diminish rapidly as price and/or complexity also rises rapidly.  Below 10 Hz seems to be hit or miss as perception of that content seems to primarily depend on how the floor responds.

A 20 Hz TH can maybe make some sound at 15 Hz, but it won't play flat to 15 Hz unless your room has a big bump there.  A 25 Hz horn has no business even trying.  Keep in mind that unlike FLHs like the F20, a TH *requires* a high pass filter to protect it from unloading and avoid heavy distortion and/or permanent damage.

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@SME  Thanks, you're too kind...

Only thing I might discuss is this claim:

"Keep in mind that unlike FLHs like the F20, a TH *requires* a high pass filter to protect it from unloading and avoid heavy distortion and/or permanent damage."

This is not always true, and it is all based on the characteristics of the driver used. If you have a driver with a sufficiently stiff suspension and a motor where there's an abrupt drop-off of BL with excursion as the coil leaves the gap, and you have a driver designed with ample mechanical clearances, you have a case where the driver can't be bottomed in free-air, regardless of the power applied. If it can't be bottomed in free air, it likely won't bottom in a tapped horn, regardless of what the simulations say. Large-signal models based on small-signal parameters that don't scale linearly are often not 100% valid in predicting the actual results. 

Only way to discover cases like these is to build and test things to the driver's limits. I've not had nearly enough time or folding money to do much of that lately.

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To be 100% clear, I absolutely recommend highpassing horns due to their out-of-band distortion performance. 

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To be clear, @lilmike 's horn designs appear to be very good.  I just wanted to point out that there's a lot more to good sub performance and good integration than what type of alignment is used.

Duly noted, but I believe I need to stress that a horn sub could as well and in some regards even better a sealed, ported or otherwise solution in filling in the duties in this "equation.," space permitted. I'm convinced that sheer headroom is one of the core parameters where "sound quality" from a sub (and main speakers) goes, and that having loads of this is determining in supplying the ease and relaxed presentation that I've grown so fond of. From what I can understand a horn sub will not easily go below 15Hz unless size and efficiency takes a hit (i.e.: size enters cubic meters), let alone hit 10Hz with brute force, and tapped horns in many iterations I understand are marred by "ringing" artifacts in their upper spectrum, calling for careful and elaborate filtering here. However, a good tapped horn or FLH should cover 20-100Hz from a some 600 liter volume (some 20 cu. ft.?) with a relatively flat response, and let's not forget that honest, high-ish efficiency 20-25Hz bass is deeeep.  

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As I detailed above, you might want experiment with different (higher) crossovers.  You emphasized integration with the mains as a high priority, and I'm arguing that good integration with mains has more to do with working around room effects.  I didn't explicitly mention it, but phase match between the mains and subs is also crucial.  This is partly addressed by optimizing the sub delay, but that only insures a good match at one (usually the crossover) frequency.  Phase match can be tricky to get right when the mains roll-off rapidly near the XO frequency as yours do.  I believe front-loaded horns like your mains exhibit 24 dB/octave roll-off below their lower limit, similar to vented cabinets.  A lot of people try to cross vented mains at least half-an-octave higher than the point that they roll-off.  So for example, you might consider crossing at 90 Hz instead of at 62 Hz.  I personally cross at 100 Hz, even though my vented mains are tuned to ~45 Hz, because anything lower than 100 Hz just sucks in my room.

Important points raised here. One of the main goals of mine initiating the upcoming sub project was to go dual. The easy solution would be simply buying an extra sub similar to the one I have now, the SB16-Ultra, but here in Denmark it retails for some $3,000 - a steep uptick over its US price. I'm sure two of those in my listening room would be a very capable sub setup with more than fair amounts of headroom, certainly for my needs, by I feel it to be an opportunity to go look for a pair of horn subs and see how two of those would blend in and perform in my setup - not least in light of my main speakers being all-horns. The folks over at the Klipsch forum are by and large quite adamant in their recommendation to go for a horn sub, not least when the mains are all-horns, and since many of them use such main speakers (contrary to most "audiophiles") my interest was and still is sparked. 

I'd actually cherish, certainly as an option, to low-pass a pair of subs in the 80-100Hz range while high-passing my mains as well in freeing them from half an octave here (i.e.: even more headroom!), but there's one problem: the quality of the high-pass filter for the mains. I dare say my main speakers are very high quality (honestly they bowl over a pair of JBL K2 S9900's, who retails for 4x the price of the Uccello's, sans the lowest octave being they roll off below some 60Hz), and there's no way I'm going to let anything other than a VERY high quality high-pass filter get in between here. Period, end of story. If you know any that are fairly priced and, again, VERY high quality, I'm all ears - most certainly. Regarding the phase match I'm glad you brought this up. I intend to place my upcoming subs against the opposing side walls, so that sitting in the listening chair/sofa they're to my left and right and hereby closer to me than my main speakers. This is not the only placement option, but as an outset how would you regard the viability of it? Would I have to delay the signal to the subs this way? Lastly I must point out that the bass horn of my main speakers stop acting like horns below some 100-125Hz, or so I've read over at said Klipsch forum, and that being so I'm thinking whether the roll on the bass isn't 12dB's/octave?

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Yes.  Sealed subs are expensive for the headroom.  How horns factor in depends on how much it costs to build the cabinets.  They are complex enough that they could be a substantial part of the overall cost.

Still it's cheaper with horns than going multiple large diameter drivers in sealed cabs.

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 For home theater, I think flat response with strong output to 15 Hz is a good sweet spot, and it's not difficult to achieve in most instances.  While 15-20 Hz is not as substantial as the content above 20 Hz, I believe it still contributes a lot.  Below 15 Hz, returns diminish rapidly as price and/or complexity also rises rapidly.  Below 10 Hz seems to be hit or miss as perception of that content seems to primarily depend on how the floor responds.

Interesting observations - duly noted. I have wondered whether the MicroWrecker/F20 performance envelope in the deep bass would be sufficient for HT-duties. My own SB16-Ultra easily digs below 20Hz in-room, and singlehandedly can shake my whole listening room with some Blu-ray - quite a thrilling effect. Question is how deep it takes to create this effect? I may compromise here with the MicroWrecker, but I'm not sure. If I do I suspect conversely there are gains in the more audible spectrum of the horns.

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 A 20 Hz TH can maybe make some sound at 15 Hz, but it won't play flat to 15 Hz unless your room has a big bump there.  A 25 Hz horn has no business even trying.  Keep in mind that unlike FLHs like the F20, a TH *requires* a high pass filter to protect it from unloading and avoid heavy distortion and/or permanent damage.

Yes, and I have no qualms high-passing a sub that low. Lilmike has also let the importance of this come to my attention, if mostly for the reason to avoid distortion artifacts down here. 

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Crossovers done right (section 2.3 and onward):

http://www.grimmaudio.com/whitepapers/speakers.pdf

But few options for implementation with off-the-shelf products.

Here is one all in one box solution:

https://www.linea-research.co.uk/asc48/

Its LIR filters are similar to Grimm's solution, except using all IIR filters but with one running in 'reverse' to implement the inverse allpass, hence the time latency depending on Xover Freq.  for music, latency is not a problem, and a good AVR will have adjustments to sync audio to video for film.

Unless a manufacturer comes up with a better FIR/IIR solution (Powersoft has some terrific options built into their amps), the LIR appears to be a decent and robust product, and even used by Danley and others to control some of their loudspeakers

JSS

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6 hours ago, m_ms said:

I'm convinced that sheer headroom is one of the core parameters where "sound quality" from a sub (and main speakers) goes, and that having loads of this is determining in supplying the ease and relaxed presentation that I've grown so fond of.

headroom is always good of course but, as far as I can see, you are not talking about challenging listening levels ("occasional bursts to 110dB"). This may be worth bearing in mind as you decide on what to build.

re the HPF, I assume you're talking about a passive high pass filter. Of course such filters are expensive and/or impractical so the question is why use a passive filter?

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5 hours ago, maxmercy said:

Crossovers done right (section 2.3 and onward):

http://www.grimmaudio.com/whitepapers/speakers.pdf

But few options for implementation with off-the-shelf products.

[...]

This doesn't solve the phase match problem.  If one uses a textbook electrical LR4, then the phase shift of the high pass and low pass filter will be identical vs. frequency.  However, unless the speaker and sub(s) are ruler flat throughout the crossover region and co-located, they likely won't be phase-matched to begin with.

The THX crossover was developed assuming the mains were sealed and had a natural Qtc=0.707 (Butterworth) 2nd roll-off.  Two cascaded 2nd-order Butterworths makes an LR4, so the THX crossover applied a single 2nd order Butterworth to the mains and a full LR4 LPF to the subs.  Provided that the subs didn't roll-off anywhere within the crossover region, that the mains behaved precisely as specified, and that they were co-located such that room effects applied to each equally, the result was ideal.

In reality of course, "bass management" is a stinking mess.  The whole point of it was that one could put the subs somewhere better for sub bass, but often the "better" locations are not so good for integrating with mains, especially where multi-listener is a priority.  And of course, very few mains are sealed with perfect Qtc 0.707 and Fb 80 Hz.  Any significant deviations from there substantially influence the phase response in the critical crossover region.  Most mains these days are ported and tuned well below 80 Hz, so they have only slight phase shift at that point.  They would do better with a full LR4 HPF, but few AVRs / processors seem to offer more than one XO type.  My Denon AVR has the THX 2nd order 0.707 HPF baked in, which totally destroys the bass-managed mid-bass response with any speakers I've owned.  The LFE response may measure picture perfect, but the mid-bass response of the other channels looks like trash.  Also, how many subs are actually flat through the XO?  Most of the beefier drivers are already dropping off from inductance effects.

Sad to say, home theater "technology" is still stuck in the 90s in many respects.  Great sound pretty much requires extensive customization, as I've learned over the years, and the affordable options for doing so leave a lot to be desired.

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52 minutes ago, SME said:

In reality of course, "bass management" is a stinking mess.  The whole point of it was that one could put the subs somewhere better for sub bass, but often the "better" locations are not so good for integrating with mains, especially where multi-listener is a priority. 

Damn. That is refreshing to hear...read.

 

Keep it up!

 

I agree btw.

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12 hours ago, 3ll3d00d said:

 

headroom is always good of course but, as far as I can see, you are not talking about challenging listening levels ("occasional bursts to 110dB"). This may be worth bearing in mind as you decide on what to build.

You're not the first here to (implicitly) suggest I should look for another sub solution than horns.. Look, if I don't mind the space a pair of horn subs take up, and I'm mostly aware of some of the "pitfalls" or drawbacks using them (as I believe I have made clear above), then what's the remaining rub? What's sufficient headroom to you - 10, 15dB's? I'd like to aim for 20dB's on up. What would you suggest I build instead of horn subs? Let's not kid ourselves into believing sealed and ported subs are potentially trouble free either, and bear in mind that the OP of mine was inquiring on the Othorns.. I appreciate the well-meant support across the board, but reiterating my preference for horns subs becomes tiresome after a while. 

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re the HPF, I assume you're talking about a passive high pass filter. Of course such filters are expensive and/or impractical so the question is why use a passive filter?

I was referring to a passive solution, yes. If I'm to remove the cross-overs from my main speakers and go all-active then that's a rather elaborate undertaking with new amps and more channels, and with the sensitivity at play of those speakers noise issues are readily exposed with the filtering process. I'm actually interested in going the active route, but that's a second "rocket stage" I've yet to delve into, and for now I've only considered implementing a pair of subs with the remaining setup. Suggestions are certainly welcome going active though, so please fire away anyone.  

 

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IIRC some people have used https://dbxpro.com/en/products/driverack-venu360 with high sensitivity (horn) based designs without noise issues so that might be one choice. If you intend to use a PC for the DSP then interfaces from the likes of motu, RME, lynx should do the job.

re headroom, it depends what you take as the baseline so it's hard to say. Clean output at 20dB peaks above average level is probably a not unreasonable figure. I would be inclined to say that the ability to integrate the subs with the mains will be more important than headroom though obviously you really want both. 

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20 hours ago, SME said:

This doesn't solve the phase match problem.  If one uses a textbook electrical LR4, then the phase shift of the high pass and low pass filter will be identical vs. frequency.  However, unless the speaker and sub(s) are ruler flat throughout the crossover region and co-located, they likely won't be phase-matched to begin with.

In a perfect world knowing what I know now and starting from scratch, a DBA for subwoofer duty and floor-to-ceiling lines for LCRS would be what I would choose for a rectangular room.  It would use the room for its purposes instead of trying to absorb/diffuse it away.  No need for any floor/ceiling absorption (except overhead speakers), main problem would be time alignment for more than one listening row at Xover freq.  Sidewall absorption still needed above and just below sub crossover and for first reflections.

It is hard for me to think of a better solution unless it involves a lot of absorptive volume in the room, as multisub approaches really only cover a limited area with similar freq response per my experience.

JSS

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5 hours ago, m_ms said:

You're not the first here to (implicitly) suggest I should look for another sub solution than horns.. Look, if I don't mind the space a pair of horn subs take up, and I'm mostly aware of some of the "pitfalls" or drawbacks using them (as I believe I have made clear above), then what's the remaining rub? What's sufficient headroom to you - 10, 15dB's? I'd like to aim for 20dB's on up. What would you suggest I build instead of horn subs? Let's not kid ourselves into believing sealed and ported subs are potentially trouble free either, and bear in mind that the OP of mine was inquiring on the Othorns.. I appreciate the well-meant support across the board, but reiterating my preference for horns subs becomes tiresome after a while.

You show a strong bias towards using horn subs based on the assumption that more headroom is always good.  Of course more headroom is better, all else the same, but beyond a point, the differences are extremely minute.  There are many factors that influence sound quality.  Distortion and headroom are only a part of the picture, and in fact, they are barely relevant in a small room at the levels you are operating at.  This is further supported by experimental evidence involving blinded listeners.

In addition to headroom, horn speakers have other characteristics that give them their unique sound vs. other types of speakers.  Key among them is the controlled and limited dispersion of sound.  In contrast, horn based subs don't offer much more dispersion control than their sealed and vented brethren do.  At low-to-moderate levels, the difference in sound between different types of subs is *much* more similar than the difference in sound between horn and direct radiator speakers.

Intuitively, it may seem that use of horns on the bottom end will provide a better "sound match" to the mains, but this is not at all true.  I already outlined the factors that come into play, which are of far greater importance than the level of distortion at the levels you are playing at.  The importance of room modal resonances can't be emphasized enough in your case, given your brick wall construction.

Look, horn subs should work just fine for you, with the caveats you are already aware of.  It's just that, without giving attention to other aspects of the system, replacing your sealed sub with a horn or two (assuming they are co-located) is unlikely to have much impact on your sound quality.  Maybe that doesn't matter to you.  It's remarkable how many people listen with their eyes rather than with their ears.  The saying goes, "seeing is believing", and experiments shows that most audiophiles are strongly influenced by the visual sense when evaluating the "sound quality" of equipment.

If you really want the best sound quality, I suggest you start by investing in measurement system so that you can see what the bass response is doing in your room.  I would also say that EQ capability for the sub is a must.  Maybe the SVS SB16 has that built in.  Knock down the worst room resonance or two, and you'll likely hear a very different sound, which could be a game-changer.

Here's another thought.  If you want to maintain more controlled dispersion into the lower frequencies like your main speakers have, why not build some sealed sub arrays?  If you give you them a lot of volume, you could probably use fairly inexpensive drivers.   You could stack the subs on top of your mains or maybe invert the mains and put some drivers underneath and some on top.  For inspiration, check out @Infrasonic's system here.  By spreading out the bass radiators, he is able to reduce room interaction considerably, and the sheer number of drivers gives him enormous headroom.  FWIW, I bet he plays his system well above 110 dB.  :)

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4 hours ago, SME said:

You show a strong bias towards using horn subs based on the assumption that more headroom is always good.  Of course more headroom is better, all else the same, but beyond a point, the differences are extremely minute.  There are many factors that influence sound quality.  Distortion and headroom are only a part of the picture, and in fact, they are barely relevant in a small room at the levels you are operating at.  This is further supported by experimental evidence involving blinded listeners.

In addition to headroom, horn speakers have other characteristics that give them their unique sound vs. other types of speakers.  Key among them is the controlled and limited dispersion of sound.  In contrast, horn based subs don't offer much more dispersion control than their sealed and vented brethren do.  At low-to-moderate levels, the difference in sound between different types of subs is *much* more similar than the difference in sound between horn and direct radiator speakers.

Intuitively, it may seem that use of horns on the bottom end will provide a better "sound match" to the mains, but this is not at all true.  I already outlined the factors that come into play, which are of far greater importance than the level of distortion at the levels you are playing at.  The importance of room modal resonances can't be emphasized enough in your case, given your brick wall construction.

Look, horn subs should work just fine for you, with the caveats you are already aware of.  It's just that, without giving attention to other aspects of the system, replacing your sealed sub with a horn or two (assuming they are co-located) is unlikely to have much impact on your sound quality.  Maybe that doesn't matter to you.  It's remarkable how many people listen with their eyes rather than with their ears.  The saying goes, "seeing is believing", and experiments shows that most audiophiles are strongly influenced by the visual sense when evaluating the "sound quality" of equipment.

If you really want the best sound quality, I suggest you start by investing in measurement system so that you can see what the bass response is doing in your room.  I would also say that EQ capability for the sub is a must.  Maybe the SVS SB16 has that built in.  Knock down the worst room resonance or two, and you'll likely hear a very different sound, which could be a game-changer.

Here's another thought.  If you want to maintain more controlled dispersion into the lower frequencies like your main speakers have, why not build some sealed sub arrays?  If you give you them a lot of volume, you could probably use fairly inexpensive drivers.   You could stack the subs on top of your mains or maybe invert the mains and put some drivers underneath and some on top.  For inspiration, check out @Infrasonic's system here.  By spreading out the bass radiators, he is able to reduce room interaction considerably, and the sheer number of drivers gives him enormous headroom.  FWIW, I bet he plays his system well above 110 dB.  :)

(just a quick reply - more tomorrow)

Wait a minute, why do you automatically assume I don't have a keen eye (i.e.: mind and ear) on the contribution of room resonances/modes, and how to possibly work around them - at least partially as much as efforts, equipment and circumstances permit? I'm not getting at you, but let's not resort to the lowest dominator here; I'm quite aware of the (other) issues you point to, and a friend of mine who's very well versed into sub-integration and the importance of acoustics, indeed integration as a whole, will assist in implementing said subs. Measuring the response is no doubt a big help, and will possibly be done with the upcoming sub solution (my friend has all the gear to use here), but that will only do so much if the trained ear won't be accompanying. That's just our approach. The SVS app has been used extensively in my existing setup, as has a range of small bass traps of different sizes and in different places, fine tuning the placement of the sub with the use of bass sweeps (Nordost CD), phase correction, PEQ and what not - all by ear. Having two subs will likely make integration easier if the intended symmetrical placement against the opposing sidewalls (the long-wall sides) is anything to go by. We're not completely lost on the importance of integration; it's a core parameter indeed. 

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Let me see if I got it right: You found a suitable horn (lilmike's F20?), a suitable driver for this horn (pro driver), the size is not an issue, you have cabinet builder ready to make them for you, and you have a friend willing to assist in calibration & setup.

Build it. If you go for anything else, you will regret because you will always wonder how those horn would sound.

Integration of these horns will be no more problematic than the sub you already have, the worst case scenario is that you achieve a similar result. It can be solved. But first - build the horns. No need to go deep into all potential problems up front.

Now I am looking forward to read about how this turned out, how it sounds.

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3 hours ago, Kvalsvoll said:

Let me see if I got it right: You found a suitable horn (lilmike's F20?), a suitable driver for this horn (pro driver), the size is not an issue, you have cabinet builder ready to make them for you, and you have a friend willing to assist in calibration & setup.

Build it. If you go for anything else, you will regret because you will always wonder how those horn would sound.

Integration of these horns will be no more problematic than the sub you already have, the worst case scenario is that you achieve a similar result. It can be solved. But first - build the horns. No need to go deep into all potential problems up front.

Now I am looking forward to read about how this turned out, how it sounds.

Thanks for your reply, @Kvalsvoll - indeed much appreciated :)

Actually @lilmike's F20 was among the first batch of horn subs I considered (including Mr. @Ricci's 2. runners-up, the Othorn, and Mr. Fitzmaurice's THT), but I have ended up settling on lilmike's MicroWrecker:

http://www.avsforum.com/forum/155-diy-speakers-subs/1514504-my-lilmike-microwrecker-lilmike-s-plans-thread.html

The chosen driver (recommended by lilmike along with a sibling driver) will be the B&C 15TBX100, which should model very well in named horn, and be sufficiently powerful as well. By all accounts an excellent driver in itself. 

I think you're absolutely right, that if I don't try out the horn route I'll regret it at a later juncture. Being that I intend to build two Micro Wrecker's I hope, and even suspect integration will be a bit easier compared to my single SVS SB16-Ultra. But, that will obviously have to be verified in-use. 

When a pair of speakers I have (not the Uccello's) are sold I'll initiate the build of two MicroWrecker's, and will gladly report on the progress/process and eventual impressions once they're finished and setup. 

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Hello, everyone --

Time for an update. 

I haven't yet initiated my proposed sub build, but could be about to soon. My old main speakers were sold about a month ago, and I have allocated some funds for the sub project. My initial plan was to build two of lilmike's Microwreckers, but I fear my 20 sq. meter listening room will be too crammed with a pair of those, so I'm considering only one sub. Being that the overall physical imprinting of the Othorn is about equal to the Microwrecker and that it houses a bigger driver for more "impact," I strongly consider the Othorn instead - even though it may sacrifice a few hertz at the bottom end.  

Now I know some here would rather have me looking into a non-horn solution, vented or otherwise, but I'm on a horn mission, so please bear with me in considering the following:

The Othorn is build around the B&C 21SW152 (4 ohm version, I guess?), but at a downtick in price the sibling model 21DS115-4 has been mentioned as a viable alternative as well. I gather even with the 21DS115-4 I'll have loads of headroom, but is it worth saving some bucks to go with that driver instead of the 21SW152? Here in Europe the 21WS152 is only about €100 more expensive, so not a deal breaker as such, but I'm still considering the 21DS115-4. It's also 3dB's more sensitive, not that it might matter at all. 

If money isn't an issue I take it the recommendation is for the 21SW152. However, is the 21DS115-4's only drawback that it has a disadvantage at extreme outputs where its smaller voice coil will start heating up more rapidly, or is there a more general disadvantage, irrespective of SPL, that would have people favor the 21SW152?

In principle price is not an issue for me; I just want the most capable solution. The being said I might as well save €100 if for all intends and purposes the 21DS115-4 will do just as well in my situation (and invite my girlfriend out for dinner for the saved bucks). I mean, I wouldn't use the Othorn in an outdoor rig at >75% of its performance envelope. 

Please chime in. 

 

/Mikael

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A Microwrecker in a room of that size will blur your vision and modulate your voice when running at full throttle. I know, because that's where I have mine, and currently, I am only running the one sub, not even placed optimally. Still, I've measured peaks of 120 dB at the MLP. 

Be honest with yourself. How capable do you really need? Will you have mains that can keep up? I currently don't, not by a long shot, but I am working towards that. No matter which direction you go, there will always be a bigger, badder sub out there, always. There will be even bigger and badder ones right on the horizon.

I am working on several...

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3 hours ago, lilmike said:

A Microwrecker in a room of that size will blur your vision and modulate your voice when running at full throttle. I know, because that's where I have mine, and currently, I am only running the one sub, not even placed optimally. Still, I've measured peaks of 120 dB at the MLP. 

Be honest with yourself. How capable do you really need? Will you have mains that can keep up? I currently don't, not by a long shot, but I am working towards that. No matter which direction you go, there will always be a bigger, badder sub out there, always. There will be even bigger and badder ones right on the horizon.

I am working on several...

Thanks, @lilmike, for trying to keep me at a level of sanity :) I'm glad that you point this out, as I'm obviously not very well versed into the capabilities of these tapped horn bass beasts (I imagine the ones here mentioned are somewhat more impactful compared to direct radiating 15" subs), and moreover the Microwrecker build would save me some money (cheaper B&C driver and, it seems, a slightly less complex enclosure). 

How capable do I really need? Good question. To begin with I believe I have the mains to keep up with the Microwrecker: Simon Mears Audio Uccello.

They're 105dB sensitive (actually measured 1dB or so higher), and without too much effort I'm sure they could turn out 120dB's - at the listening position. A 15" bass in a folded horn, 2" exit (B&C) midrange compression driver in a Tractrix horn (w/5" diaphragm) + 1" (B&C) tweeter comp. driver - that's part of a recipe comfortable at high SPL's. I take it they'll come up short next the Othorn when it really starts to stretch its legs well beyond 120dB's (I wouldn't go there anyway), but other than that it strikes me as a perfect pairing (just like with the Microwrecker). The Uccello's also, and importantly, have a rather large air radiation area, so in that regard as well I believe they're a good match with these tapped horns. Oh, and not least: they're all-horns and dynamic like few. I don't much care for most horn-hybrids, and I've heard a bunch..

Next, I guess my main goal is subscribing to the "bucket load of headroom" mantra, not least inspired by you guys, and how this translates sonically to more moderate and typical listening levels at 80-90dB's or so. I'm guessing at some point more headroom becomes irrelevant - like, when exceeding 30dB's - and it has been pointed out to me already that the Othorn may qualify in that regard in light of my specific needs and circumstances, like blowing those poor sparrows out of the sky with ship cannons. Occasionally I do go to somewhere between 100-105dB's at the listening position, and so if we strive towards no less than 20dB headroom the Microwrecker is not "shooting above the goal," as I see it - actually it just meets it (as if it weren't enough). 

However, if we look past max. SPL's the question could be posed, again, as to how the bass is actually perceived at more "normal" listening levels. How would a 21"-fitted tapped horn sound compared to a 15" ditto? Would one be able to register the increased size in driver diameter (and better power handling) via the Othorn as something that would create an even more effortless and impactful "feel"? I don't know. Maybe I'm asking the wrong questions. 

I do look forward to your upcoming builds! I'm tempted to halt my decision to see what's coming from your hands..

Thanks again for the feedback :) 

/Mikael

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I've stayed out of this conversation since I'm not a ported or horned guy and haven't heard a horn in an optimal setup yet.  But for me, multiple smaller subs is preferred and recommended to get more even bass response in the room.  Regarding how bass is perceived, if we compare an 8" midbass driver with a 12" midbass driver at the same volume, the impact of the 12" is noticeable over the 8".  I'm not sure what the physics are but I liken it to a towel being snapped, maybe the 12" snaps quicker because it doesn't have to move as far as the 8" driver to reach the same volume.  However, I haven't noticed a difference in impact between my 18" and 24" sealed subs so maybe the impact doesn't translate at (much) lower frequencies or I'm not doing it right.  :)

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Room response matters far more than sub response. We're not listening to the cabinets out in a field or in an anechoic chamber, we're listening in a room. I know very little about this aspect of acoustics, but I am working on learning about this.  

There are lots of ways to make bass, none are totally right, but none are really wrong, they're all just varied in their types and degrees of compromise. Certainly, multiple cabinets bring benefits, no matter the alignment selected.

Last thing I am trying to do is oversell tapped horns, specifically my designs. I know the guy that designed them, and I know the grades he got when he was studying engineering. 

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On ‎7‎/‎22‎/‎2018 at 4:47 AM, dgage said:

[…]  But for me, multiple smaller subs is preferred and recommended to get more even bass response in the room.  Regarding how bass is perceived, if we compare an 8" midbass driver with a 12" midbass driver at the same volume, the impact of the 12" is noticeable over the 8".  I'm not sure what the physics are but I liken it to a towel being snapped, maybe the 12" snaps quicker because it doesn't have to move as far as the 8" driver to reach the same volume.  However, I haven't noticed a difference in impact between my 18" and 24" sealed subs so maybe the impact doesn't translate at (much) lower frequencies or I'm not doing it right.  :)

The "multiple smaller subs" solution seems quite popular to attain smooth response, but if by 18" and 24" you're referring to the actual driver diameter of the subs in your own setup, I'd say "smaller subs" is a rather relative term ;) I'd be glad to go with two subs, that would indeed be preferable, but more subs than that I might draw the line and say 'stop.' Reason: with direct radiating subs I wouldn't want to go below 18" diameter units, and with horns say 15" is minimum, all of which points to rather large subs, direct radiating or horns, and having more than two of those in my room is not an option. Weird conjecture? Perhaps, but to hell with it. Others are having fun with their multiple +18"-fitted subs; why shouldn't I crave for a pair :) I'd like to try out more subs, but again, space limitations..

Quote

I've stayed out of this conversation since I'm not a ported or horned guy and haven't heard a horn in an optimal setup yet. 

You're welcome either way :) I'm not a ported guy either, and truth be told I don't know if I'm a sub-bass horned guy at all. I suspect I am, though, being that my main speakers are all-horn..  

It's interesting you didn't notice a difference in impact going from 18" to 24." Maybe this is where the "point of diminishing (headroom) returns" sets in?

Thanks for chiming in.  

(EDIT: Is there a tendency here for the people-in-the-know to recommend a downscaled version of what one seeks, when they themselves, certainly some of them, have setups in moderately sized rooms - with multiple, large diameter driver subs - that would be structurally challenging even in large cinema auditoriums? Just strikes me as a bit odd, but I could be wrong in my observation..)

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2 hours ago, lilmike said:

Room response matters far more than sub response. We're not listening to the cabinets out in a field or in an anechoic chamber, we're listening in a room. I know very little about this aspect of acoustics, but I am working on learning about this.  

There are lots of ways to make bass, none are totally right, but none are really wrong, they're all just varied in their types and degrees of compromise. Certainly, multiple cabinets bring benefits, no matter the alignment selected.

Last thing I am trying to do is oversell tapped horns, specifically my designs. I know the guy that designed them, and I know the grades he got when he was studying engineering. 

Room response is of great importance, indeed, and it's an area I as well try and gain more knowledge about. Poster @SME seems to be quite well-versed here, among others. 

It would also be interesting going for a pair of 21" direct radiating subs - like, fitted with the B&C 21DS115-4 unit - but that would be a different challenge again. Depending on their implementation they'd likely go deeper than a horn solution, while needing little cone movement to set things in motion, so to speak. Economically a sub like the Microwrecker would be able to produce great output and impact for less money, it seems, safe perhaps for some compromise in ULF compared to direct radiating solutions. I gather, and wonder, and bla bla bla..

You're not overselling your designs or tapped horns. You're almost not "selling" them at all, so no worries. For all I know tapped horn subs are a relative rarity in the home audio department, and I don't see why they shouldn't gain some popularity or simple acknowledgement. 

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7 hours ago, m_ms said:

The "multiple smaller subs" solution seems quite popular to attain smooth response, but if by 18" and 24" you're referring to the actual driver diameter of the subs in your own setup, I'd say "smaller subs" is a rather relative term ;) I'd be glad to go with two subs, that would indeed be preferable, but more subs than that I might draw the line and say 'stop.' Reason: with direct radiating subs I wouldn't want to go below 18" diameter units, and with horns say 15" is minimum, all of which points to rather large subs, direct radiating or horns, and having more than two of those in my room is not an option. Weird conjecture? Perhaps, but to hell with it. Others are having fun with their multiple +18"-fitted subs; why shouldn't I crave for a pair :) I'd like to try out more subs, but again, space limitations..

You're welcome either way :) I'm not a ported guy either, and truth be told I don't know if I'm a sub-bass horned guy at all. I suspect I am, though, being that my main speakers are all-horn..  

It's interesting you didn't notice a difference in impact going from 18" to 24." Maybe this is where the "point of diminishing (headroom) returns" sets in?

Thanks for chiming in.  

(EDIT: Is there a tendency here for the people-in-the-know to recommend a downscaled version of what one seeks, when they themselves, certainly some of them, have setups in moderately sized rooms - with multiple, large diameter driver subs - that would be structurally challenging even in large cinema auditoriums? Just strikes me as a bit odd, but I could be wrong in my observation..)

Haha.  Yes my definition of a smaller subwoofer is completely asinine. I think my skewed definition took hold when I first heard the SI HS24.  Lol!  Now I often have customers contacting me wanting a single 24 and I’ll often try to steer them toward a pair of “smaller” 18” subs for more even bass response.  But really, a pair of 18” sealed are really impressive with output easily in the 120s with the ability to play down to 10Hz flat in room.  Of course the room and more importantly, the floor have a huge impact on how impressive the sub system.  Large sealed subs on a wood floor are oh so impressive but not nearly as impressive on a concrete slab.

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Just a small update:

My horn sub project in the form of @lilmike's MicroWrecker tapped horn has been initiated. I've ordered two B&C 15TBX100 15" drivers for a pair of Micro's, so plenty of headroom should be available. They'll be build in 11-layer Russian birch ply by a cabinet maker I know. 

Amp and DSP solution as of yet not determined..

/Mikael

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