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jay michael

Best option for high impact home stereo subs in a small-ish room.

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Hey guys. Hope everyone is staying safe right now in these crazy times.  I was previously using a pair of Skram subs in my living room matched up with a pair of small Danley Sm60f's. My patience was wearing thin moving them in and out of the house anytime I had mobile gigs for my pa so I've decided they are going to stay at our studio full time.  They were also insane overkill for the space so now I am looking to build something that's a more reasonable match for my little Danleys.  Considerations: As with many I am watching my spending right now so I want to limit the cost of building a pair of subs to around 1k max.  I am open to any sort of design, horn, ported, sealed etc.  This will be specifically for a 2 point stereo system only for music.  I like rock, and a lot of techno and electronic music and want to build something that has impact and punch as the highest priority.  My space is not very big, 12 feet wide by about 18 feet long. The listening position is about 12 feet from the speakers.  I don't need these subs to be pro audio loud, just looking for clean and punchy sound up to reasonably fun levels.   I'm about a week into research at the moment, at first I was looking at tapped horns with smaller 12" drivers.  I thought something similar to the Danley Th-mini might be a good fit but they really don't have good response much lower that 45 hz or so.  I would be happy with something that could go as low as around 35hz or so as that would easily cover most of the music I'm into. 

I've felt like I've hit a wall with horns so perhaps I need to consider something else. From my reading it sounds like larger sealed subs get a lot of love for tight punchy bass but they are in a world I know nothing about.  Could anybody shed some light on this?  What should I focus on, keep digging into horns? maybe sealed or vented options?   I've got a couple sheets of 15mm and 18mm baltic on hand.... I just need a plan, help! 

For power I have a crest prolite 7.5.

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Buy 8 pa460s for a sealed DO design? Would be under your 1k by far and can fit in a small space. 

4 DO per enclosure? Can run them with the danley as a 3way and in stereo or just cross them over. 

Bassthathz over on AVS runs 16 of them IIRC. He showed how sealed was better than ported. 

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1 hour ago, klipsch said:

Buy 8 pa460s for a sealed DO design? Would be under your 1k by far and can fit in a small space. 

4 DO per enclosure? Can run them with the danley as a 3way and in stereo or just cross them over. 

Bassthathz over on AVS runs 16 of them IIRC. He showed how sealed was better than ported. 

Thanks for the comment Klipsch. I do like the idea of this as each cab would be relatively cheap and it would be easy to just scale up until I'm happy.  Sorry, what does DO stand for?

 

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I think you'll want extension to at least 30 Hz if not lower.  Either vented or sealed probably makes sense for your setup rather than horns.

What placement locations are available in the room and how much space is available in each?  Will you have any kind of DSP available for EQ?

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1 hour ago, SME said:

I think you'll want extension to at least 30 Hz if not lower.  Either vented or sealed probably makes sense for your setup rather than horns.

What placement locations are available in the room and how much space is available in each?  Will you have any kind of DSP available for EQ?

Yeah I would agree extension to 30hz would be sufficient. I'm hoping to have them also act as stands for my Danleys in a typical left right stereo placement. I have a dbx pa2 and a dbx venu360 available for dsp

 

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4 hours ago, klipsch said:

Buy 8 pa460s for a sealed DO design? Would be under your 1k by far and can fit in a small space. 

4 DO per enclosure? Can run them with the danley as a 3way and in stereo or just cross them over. 

Bassthathz over on AVS runs 16 of them IIRC. He showed how sealed was better than ported. 

Hey Klipsch. Is there a build thread for Bassthathz has for his pa460 build? The guy posts millions of times Haha, having trouble finding anything other than him mentioning he has 16 of them lol

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Is $1k the budget for just drivers or the whole subs?  Amps are expensive, so hopefully you have that covered.  If you already have the amps, what are their power specs?

Here's a possibility:  Build a pair of wedge shaped sealed cabinets, i.e. with a 45-45-90 triangle footprint.  Make them about 36" tall and just wide enough to fit a LaVoce SAN214.50 (21") on the front.  Install one in each corner and stack the SM60fs on top.  Maybe add some custom wood trim pieces to go between each front edge of the SM60f and each wall.  Use EQ to tweak for the room and to shelve deep bass up to taste.

Recommended amp power: 1500W @ 4 ohm each or 3000W @ 2 ohm with both in parallel.  You should be able to get bass that goes as low as you want for music at moderate levels, especially if the room is closed off.

Edit: So I guess the SM60f too deep for the above design, so just make the cabinet wider and deeper until everything fits into the corner with the horn front flush with the sub cabinet.  I think this design is hard to beat because both the speaker and sub will probably do well corner loaded like that, and you'll get an attractive clean / space-saving look.

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9 hours ago, jay michael said:

Hey Klipsch. Is there a build thread for Bassthathz has for his pa460 build? The guy posts millions of times Haha, having trouble finding anything other than him mentioning he has 16 of them lol

Found at least a half dozen threads of dispersed info from his pa460 builds.  I think these 2 threads are the best representation without needing to weed through lots of noise:

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/155-diy-speakers-subs/3018180-how-good-could-we-have-inquiry.html - posts 13 through 25

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/155-diy-speakers-subs/3022174-4-dayton-pa-460-sealed.html - posts 8 through 11

It looks rather tempting!  He models how sealed are better than ported ... looks like the current 7% or 10% coupons off at partsexpress plus the pa460 4+ volume discount does make these things in the low $80s each...

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I was also thinking of adding some sealed cabs to compliment the skhorn below 20hz, but I can‘t find any useful drivers with a lot of displacement and strong motor for an undersized cabinet within a reasonable budget. And to match the skhorn it would probably take like a dozen sealed cabs idk. I can get the 21ds115 really cheap but its distortion below 15hz is appaling for that use.

Alibaba seems to be a decent option, but then you notice the 250$ shipping cost per driver...

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41 minutes ago, peniku8 said:

I was also thinking of adding some sealed cabs to compliment the skhorn below 20hz, but I can‘t find any useful drivers with a lot of displacement and strong motor for an undersized cabinet within a reasonable budget. And to match the skhorn it would probably take like a dozen sealed cabs idk. I can get the 21ds115 really cheap but its distortion below 15hz is appaling for that use.

Alibaba seems to be a decent option, but then you notice the 250$ shipping cost per driver...

Over at avs forums there seems to be a movement of people breaking up “sub” duty to ultra low Freq boxes and midbass cabinets... similar to how some pa companies approach the problem. I don’t need a ton of output, my Danleys will only do 128db and truthfully I would never run them that hard in my smallish room. I should probably dig into learning a modeling program to spec out sealed cabinets. I like the idea of doing multiple sealed cabinets like suggested above, seems like the most economic choice and easy to build and scale as needed, I just don’t know how to approach it. Any recommendations on a software platform for doing such a thing? 

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Many in here are leaps and bounds better than I for modeling.  However, I think sealed is something I can share with some sort of accuracy.  Using Winisd makes it simple for a quick ballpark.  The below are the driver parameters used.  Hopefully they are right and real.

image.png.379b2197b827e67ab424563f5da087a0.png

 

Winisd seems to have the Ql and Qa off for sealed cabinets.  Assuming the cabinets are well sealed, I adjusted the Ql to 15 and the Qa to 15 (under "Advanced->") in the Box tab.  8 PA460s in 17 cubic feet sealed with around 2000 watts shows the below.  It seems like the PA460s can handle about 300 watts each.

image.thumb.png.0489a9f569f5b503b7d0f39ff33a97b8.png

image.thumb.png.d2dab37f1c821450b6ddfd6ee759548f.png

Or 4 sealed in 8.5 cubit feet (not ft^3 like winisd shows - metric vs SI translation did not work out so well there) with 1200 watts = 

image.thumb.png.19a16885876c39266592b22040c06ee8.png

 

image.thumb.png.f456b53ab386e858851237156df30cf2.png

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Don't think I am breaking any rules here, but if I am, please delete this post and I apologize ... "parts" that can be gotten "express"ly here in the States for the PA460s has two 10% coupon codes that are working right now:

 PECART1

 PECART2

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5 hours ago, peniku8 said:

I was also thinking of adding some sealed cabs to compliment the skhorn below 20hz, but I can‘t find any useful drivers with a lot of displacement and strong motor for an undersized cabinet within a reasonable budget. And to match the skhorn it would probably take like a dozen sealed cabs idk. I can get the 21ds115 really cheap but its distortion below 15hz is appaling for that use.

When you find an inexpensive high displacement strong motor driver, let us know.  Also if let us know if you find any unicorns.  ;)

I think the 21DS115 is one of the better choices if you're looking for "affordable", compact sealed ULF and don't want to compromise mid-bass or use separate sets of subs.  Is its distortion below 15 Hz uniquely bad?  Almost all sealed subs have bad distortion under 20 Hz, and IMO the Data-Bass measurements look pretty good in the ULF compared to alternatives.  I think the 21DS115 and the LaVoce knock-off actually hit a kind of sweet spot.

5 hours ago, jay michael said:

Over at avs forums there seems to be a movement of people breaking up “sub” duty to ultra low Freq boxes and midbass cabinets... similar to how some pa companies approach the problem. I don’t need a ton of output, my Danleys will only do 128db and truthfully I would never run them that hard in my smallish room. I should probably dig into learning a modeling program to spec out sealed cabinets. I like the idea of doing multiple sealed cabinets like suggested above, seems like the most economic choice and easy to build and scale as needed, I just don’t know how to approach it. Any recommendations on a software platform for doing such a thing? 

Multiple sealed cabinets are most useful if you intend to spread them out in the room.  If you only have two locations for subs, then building only two cabinets will probably save on materials, labor, and weight and will also make slightly more efficient use of the available space.

If you go with the wedge cabinet design I suggested, you need something deep enough for the SM60fs to fit.  They are 16" deep, but still have some width at their back-ends.  I'm not sure how much.  I'll take a wild guess that they need 18" depth.  So build 18" deep corner cabinets which are 36" wide and 36" tall.  External volume: 6.75 cuft.  I'll make a rough guess that you end up at 4.75 cuft internal volume or 135 liters.  This is what that looks like in Hornresp with a SAN214.50 with 77.5 V (750W @ 8 ohm / 1500W @ 4 ohm) applied and simulation with complex inductance:

sealed-4-75cuft-SAN214-50-21-inputs.png

sealed-4-75cuft-SAN214-50-21-output.png

sealed-4-75cuft-SAN214-50-21-excursion.p

One SAN214.50 21" isn't quite as good as 4xPA460s in the deep bass.  For mid-bass, the 460s are a lot better.  However, I doubt you'll actually use that extra mid-bass output.  Also realize that the 4xPA460s were simulated in ~8.5cuft internal volume vs. 4.75cuft for the SAN214.50.  That's a much bigger cabinet.  If you want the same deep bass output from the 460s in the smaller cabinet size, you'll need a lot more power---probably more like 2-2.5kW @ 8 ohm for each set of 4.  The SAN214.50 makes better use of less cabinet space.  Lastly the SAN214.50 has better build quality with a cast frame vs. stamped frames on the PA460s which may have practical performance consequences as their limits are pushed, but I don't know.

The price on the 460s is hard to beat, especially if you don't pay any additional shipping charges per driver.  If you have a bigger amp and/or don't mind making bigger cabinets, they look like a good choice.  Otherwise, I think the SAN214.50 looks like a good choice.

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3 hours ago, SME said:

When you find an inexpensive high displacement strong motor driver, let us know.  Also if let us know if you find any unicorns.  ;)

I think the 21DS115 is one of the better choices if you're looking for "affordable", compact sealed ULF and don't want to compromise mid-bass or use separate sets of subs.  Is its distortion below 15 Hz uniquely bad?  Almost all sealed subs have bad distortion under 20 Hz, and IMO the Data-Bass measurements look pretty good in the ULF compared to alternatives.  I think the 21DS115 and the LaVoce knock-off actually hit a kind of sweet spot.

Multiple sealed cabinets are most useful if you intend to spread them out in the room.  If you only have two locations for subs, then building only two cabinets will probably save on materials, labor, and weight and will also make slightly more efficient use of the available space.

 Yea if I had no budget concerns I would've put a dozen RF19's in the room already. After thinking about it again, the 21DS115 might not be such a bad choice after all. Its distortion is super gross under free air conditions, which means they're not useful for IB or large sealed cabs. But since I'd have to go with tiny cabs anyways (similar to Ricci's test cube), that could make it work quite nicely. I will think about it the next time I'm dropping an order at B&C. Prices went through the roof now because of the crisis, so I'd wait at least another year anyways.
I'll be going through an interesting passage of life soon so I don't even know if I'll be able to keep anything above my 12" sub with me over the next couple years.

 

10 hours ago, jay michael said:

Any recommendations on a software platform for doing such a thing? 

I think all apps are good for sealed enclosures. I've used winisd in the past, but nowadays I just use hornresp for basically anything since I'm familiar with it. The programs are basically just limited in how many parameters you can list. WinIsd doesn't model horns at all afaik and hornresp is limited to 4 segments, which makes it hard to do complex horn folds or even compound horns.

 

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This may be a concern or not but the SAN214.50 will have more resale value than the many PA460 option and if your needs change IMO is the more flexible option.  This is assuming that you only have two locations to place subs, if you have lots of locations for subs making many PA460 subs would be the best option for even bass throughout the room.  I would recommend Hornresp for simulating sub performance, its quite easy to use once you are used to the weird interface.

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Thanks for all of your thoughts everyone. I really wish a distributor would pick up Lavoce up here in Canada.  That SAN214.50 is still going to run me likely in the 1600-1700 dollar canadian range for a pair which is out of my intended 1k budget for this project.  I can get the 460's delivered to my house for 150 a piece... not that I am fully settled on this driver, just a consideration.  I am also looking at the output of my sm60f's, 125db continuous so I am using that as a bit of a yard stick for the output I am looking for, and honestly I wouldn't ever run them up to full power in the house. I am only powering them with a XLS 2502 and even with that meagre power I never crank them as loud as that amp can push them.  Truth be told I have options like the skrams that I can put back in here but even under the loudest situations I was hitting those with such a small fraction of their output to be pleased.  My goals are really to just have a nice bumping little living room system without the need to tear my house apart, but I am looking for punch and felt impact as a priority over deep bass extension.

Klipsh, thank you for plotting out those graph's they are super helpful.  Im going through some winisd tutorials right now to get myself up to speed.  If I am understanding correctly, you are showing an input of 1200 watts, but from what I am reading the pa460's like about 300 watts... so i must assume the graphs you posted are showing a higher amount of output than 300 watts?  I do have some space to work with in the room, I have 36" inches wide on either side of my tv stand as well as space on each side of the room approx 3-4 feet away from the front wall that could be used for more boxes.  A pair of 460's on each side up front would be easy to deal with, with the possibility of another pair not being out of the range of possibilities.   

I'm posted a graph that bassthathz posted over AVS to also help with reference at this link

https://imgur.com/gallery/vvHJAKl

To possibly look at another option, what would be the pro's and con's of considering a vented box vs a sealed box?  In that graph that Bassthathz posted moving into a vented box would probably achieve my goals with just a pair of boxes rather than 4 or even 6?

I've seen some really positive reviews of a vented cabinet called the flex 12, or what is sold as the MBM-12Lx over at DIYSG. They are now offering a 15" module called the 15lx, and from a convo with Erich this morning over at DIYSG, he is just about to put a 18" version of the same vented box on the site within the week.  These designs can be found here.

 https://www.diysoundgroup.com/home-theater-speaker-kits/home-theater-extras/midbass-modules.html            

A pair of these would be well within my budget, with the ability to add another pair down the road would be easy.

 

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The sealed wedge cabinet I suggested could be built using 2 x PA-460s each with the drivers in a diagonal orientation.

The PA-460 doesn't appear to do vented well unless it's tuned higher than you want.  Any vented cabinet will tend to take a lot of space vs. displacement of the drivers installed, especially if you tune lower.

The MBM options from DIYSG are definitely worth a look, and that MBM-15XL driver looks real nice and provides a little more displacement than 2 x PA-460s.  I'd probably opt to build bigger cabinets and/or make the ports longer in order to tune though lower.  I believe the 30 Hz bottom end spec assumes a lot of roll-off by that point.  IMO, you should tune lower so that you don't roll-off at all until you're under 30 Hz.  Lots of psy/ambient/bass music I have goes to 30 Hz if not lower, and I notice extension to 30 Hz and below is becoming a lot more common with popular music as well.

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3 hours ago, SME said:

The sealed wedge cabinet I suggested could be built using 2 x PA-460s each with the drivers in a diagonal orientation.

The PA-460 doesn't appear to do vented well unless it's tuned higher than you want.  Any vented cabinet will tend to take a lot of space vs. displacement of the drivers installed, especially if you tune lower.

The MBM options from DIYSG are definitely worth a look, and that MBM-15XL driver looks real nice and provides a little more displacement than 2 x PA-460s.  I'd probably opt to build bigger cabinets and/or make the ports longer in order to tune though lower.  I believe the 30 Hz bottom end spec assumes a lot of roll-off by that point.  IMO, you should tune lower so that you don't roll-off at all until you're under 30 Hz.  Lots of psy/ambient/bass music I have goes to 30 Hz if not lower, and I notice extension to 30 Hz and below is becoming a lot more common with popular music as well.

I like the idea of the wedge cabinet but I dont have the tools at home to pull this off, ill likely stick to a traditional square cabinet.  I've dug through a bunch of the MBM threads and by all accounts they sound like the real deal, especially for music applications. I do have a US mailbox service in Montana so getting the parts up here should be somewhat painless, all though with this covid thing that may not fully be the case.  I am definitely going to wait for them to publish the specs on the MBM-18 kit before I make any decisions, that might really be a winner as they also worked with eminence on a custom driver for that cabinet.  And yeah I hear you on the cabinet size, I think I would be 98% satisfied with 30ish performance of that cab.   

Another option I came across this afternoon is this VBSS design that again uses the stupid cheap pa460 driver in a vented cabinet that can be tuned to 15, 20, or 31hz by playing with the ports. There was a shoot out on AVS between the VBSS and the DIYSG MBM-12 and the results showed they sounded very similar but the VBSS had a bit of an output advantage over the MBM-12. 1 sheet of 4x8 and a 150 dollar driver makes for a super cheap option, plus they will be cheap to drive well.  I could build 4 of them for probably around the same prices as a pair of the MBM 15 after shipping and duty etc.  The reviews for this cabinet sound really promising for music applications.... Decisions decisions.

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6 hours ago, jay michael said:

 thank you for plotting out those graph's they are super helpful.  Im going through some winisd tutorials right now to get myself up to speed.  If I am understanding correctly, you are showing an input of 1200 watts, but from what I am reading the pa460's like about 300 watts... so i must assume the graphs you posted are showing a higher amount of output than 300 watts?  I do have some space to work with in the room, I have 36" inches wide on either side of my tv stand as well as space on each side of the room approx 3-4 feet away from the front wall that could be used for more boxes.  A pair of 460's on each side up front would be easy to deal with, with the possibility of another pair not being out of the range of possibilities

Sorry for any confusion.  The examples above were for 8 and 4 drivers respectively.  I just dumped them all in one big box each for simplicity.  Making 2 boxes with 2 drivers each (4 total drivers) should be the same / similar enough as the 4 drivers in one bigger box (assuming phase and such are all aligned).

300 watts x 8 drivers = about the 2400 watts

300 watts x 4 drivers = about the 1200 watts

Each PA460 supposedly does best in about 2.1ish cubic feet sealed.  These drivers are really shallow so putting 2 dual opposed or wedged as suggested should open up multiple different box sizing opportunities.

I've experienced many of the MBM equivalents.  It has been my experience that, generally speaking, those that love them have bad room nulls or nodes.  They set the modules up closer to the seats (or behind the seats) to attempt at overcoming the room issues.  Setting up their room in the room simulator of REW and spending 5 minutes demonstrating the basics in the software usually shows them the issue(s) in their rooms quickly.  Some have moved their couch 10 inches forward and problem solved without needing the MBM. Those that like them usually are starting out earlier in the hobby / early DIYers / are used to commercial subs / etc..  That all sounds negative after I just re-read it, and that was not my intention.  The MBMs work as designed.  Coming from skrams, I'll be curious to see what you think and how things work out in your room.

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Oh, I forgot about the VBSS, and when I was looking at vented PA460s, I was looking at the outcome of using 2 x PA460s in a single small vented box.  No wonder it didn't work.

If you don't mind the size and footprint, VBSS may be a great way to go.  Four of them at the 20 Hz tune will probably handle just about anything you throw at them, and they don't need much power at all.

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