Jump to content

Which sub(s), tops, divers, amps?


Recommended Posts

Dear dB forum,

Opening the question to the forum.

My wife (Nancy) and I want to create a dedicated soundsystem to reach out to our community and have indoor parties and outdoor doofs & teknivals; to guess, we will probably have under one hundred people showing up to our first community events, and then will grow quickly to about 500. Lots of music has been collected, including music that falls under the drum n bass and bass music genres.

We  are the initiators of this project, and we are just getting our feet wet in our knowledge about pro-audio. Our interest has peeked here because our hardware on our controller can play at 20Hz and no where else can we find subs that play those notes that low. 

Am I right in thinking that the Gjallarhorn v2 is the right option for parties ... I am tad confused because these seem to be home theatre speakers. What would be the right option for us for our build requirements of having 20 Hz tones played for DJ events?

I am sorry for the lack of great communication; I have a disability in my ability to communicate so it's kind of difficult to get the points across graciously, plus we're fresh and new to pro-sound!

We'd like to build a design from Ricci, but which one and which is the premium driver for that build? How many do we need for 500 people outdoors. Dimensions of the subwoofer don't matter. Plus, what is the best top to match with this sub? Combining the whole kit, what sort of amps, dsp, etc would be best? ... I'm in this way with these questions because we don't what's out there and I don't to know how to access this sort of information..

I'm just trying to go for the lowest, clearest sound, and the best matching gear, we've been dreaming to build something great in terms of community outreach over several years, and this extends to even before Nancy and I met. We are ready to embark to make this dream a reality in 2019/2020 but we need the right information.

We have finally come to the right website, that's  for sure. Everyone here shares openly and we are grateful to that.

Thanks and Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays, to everyone.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello Richard,

I figured I would reply here rather than in a PM.

Are you in the US?

I would forget about the GH...I'm not aware of any drivers currently available that truly match up to that cab except for a couple of $1000 each ones that I've never seen real test data on. That cab is best operated below 60Hz too and I think it would not serve you as well as the Othorn or Skhorn for loud outdoor music.

The Skhorn is what I would recommend with 21DS115,  21SW152, 21NLW9601 or perhaps 21NTLW5000 drivers. The Othorn can also work but it doesn't have the same amount of slam in the kick drum region that the Skhorn does and it isn't able to have the tuning altered by blocking ports. Both will produce a useful 25Hz outdoors. 20Hz for loud outdoor music is unneeded really. There is very little content that low at high level in music and you lose output and sensitivity at high frequencies when you go for extension to 20Hz. Most bass is above 35Hz in music with occasionally dips down to the 25Hz range on select tracks. Most of the pro level rigs that do DnB, electronica, or dub don't even really reach 30Hz. 35Hz if you're lucky. A real audible 25Hz will be a revelation. The Skhorn can be made to get down to 20Hz by blocking the vents and lowering the tuning too though so you could at least experiment with it. I'd suggest that cab for the subs for this type of application. Perhaps start with 2 to 4 begin with depending on how much bass you think you need. Out of the drivers I listed they all should be fairly close so go with the ones that fit the budget better.

If you want to build tops I'd recommend the DIY 90 or 60 by Peter Morris. https://soundforums.net/community/threads/new-diy-mid-high.11601/

If you want to buy it really depends on the budget and other considerations. The good pro speakers get very expensive quickly. Other things like amplification and DSP need to be considered and can also be very expensive. If you are relatively new to DJ events or outdoor large scale events in general it may be best to invest in active speakers from a reputable big name company which have protections built into the electronics to keep the speakers from being blown.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Ricci,

Yes, here is much better than pm. Thank you.

Nancy and I live in Canada.

I was looking at the various drivers you recommended. Is it accurate to say that the 21NLW9601 can play deeper notes while the plays louder 21NTLW5000? I`m a confused by the definitions of the specs:

Of course, I'll choose Skhorn by how you explained it. I am comparing these with the Tuba 60's/45's/30's. I

don't know if there's a pro-sound society. I'm not here to conspire, either. I don`t know if people know people, if there's friendships or rivalries made, so I am not sure if it`s okay to bring up another DYI builders data. His specs are for sale, and I already bought them, your's are free; somewhere in the psychology of semantics of business and passion I'm seeing two very different approaches, both respectable.



The TUBA 60 has three options: either a single Eminence Lab15, OR single Eminence Lab12 (which is what Tuba 45's/30's use as well but the boxes are different dimensions &/ shapes,) OR one Eminence Lab12.

21NLW9601: Frequency Range 25-2000 Hz, 96 dB SPL 1W/ 1m average sensitivity, 3600W program power handling, Fs 37 Hz


21TNLW5000: Frequency Range 30-1800Hz, 96.5 dB SPL 1W / 1m average sensitivity, 4000W program power handling, Fs 31 Hz


Lab15: Frequency Range 20Hz– 1200 Hz, 88.5 dB SPL 1W/1m average sensitivity, 1200 W  Program Power Rating, Fs 28 Hz


Lab12: Frequency Range 25 Hz–1000 Hz Hz, 89.2 dB SPL 1W/1m average sensitivity, 800 W Program Power Rating, Fs 22 Hz 


When I suggested that we ought to use a Lab 15 outdoors, it was told that below 30Hz outdoors isn't feasible because cabin gain is needed below 30Hz. 

... the specs look weird to me, 

Lab15 has a range from 20 Hz but a Fs of 28 Hz 

21NLW9601 has a range from 25 Hz but a Fs of 37 Hz 

Lab12 has a range from 25 Hz but a Fs of 32 Hz 

21NLW5000 has a range from 30 Hz but a Fs of 31 Hz. 

Question#1: What is the relationship between frequency range and resonance when it comes to

To partially answer my own question: Fs means (from wikipedia):

The frequency range of a system is the range over which it is considered to provide satisfactory performance, such as a useful level of signal with acceptable distortion characteristics. A listing of the upper and lower limits of frequency limits for a system is not useful without a criterion for what the range represents.


Also called Fs, resonance frequency measured in hertz (Hz). The frequency at which the combination of the energy stored in the moving mass and suspension compliance is maximum, and results in maximum cone velocity. A more compliant suspension or a larger moving mass will cause a lower resonance frequency, and vice versa. Usually it is less efficient to produce output at frequencies below Fs, and input signals significantly below Fs can cause large excursions, mechanically endangering the driver. 


Q#2 Which cab plays the lowest tones? 

Q#3 Concerning sub cabs, is there anything else to consider?
It seems that the Lab15 plays the lowest tones if tone values are based on frequency range as well as resonance frequency. The guys on the board recommended, like you  did, four cabs: four Tuba 45's or two Dual Lab12's. Why not four/six (max.) Tuba Lab 15's? If Tuba's are the way to go, then they have matching tops.


Link to comment
Share on other sites


Don't take this the wrong way, but your questions indicate that you have a limited knowledge of sound and its reproduction. You also indicate that you are not experienced in providing large scale sound to crowds. Building/assembling and operating a quality DIY speaker system in a sound reinforcement setting is an advanced and broad topic.

The driver Fs is completely modified once loaded into a cab. It has no bearing on how deep in frequency the driver/cab system can play. This is irrelevant. Even the frequency response can sometimes be misleading if one of the systems has far less headroom than the other. I can show you tiny 10" sealed subs that measure flat to 20Hz but these would utterly fail at producing the amount of output needed for a crowd of 500 outdoors.

My sub designs and the others you mentioned are from 2 opposite ends of the spectrum. They are not equivalent on a cab vs cab basis and probably not a 2 vs 1 basis. I'm not that familiar with the details on them honestly other than occasional comments from users on other forums. There isn't much objective data on them that I've seen, but I never bothered to look. Anyway  there are plenty of people who have built them and been happy. They may be a better fit for you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ricci, no offense taken! I think it was Einstein who said that different animals have different intelligence, you can't expect a fish to climb a tree! Well, I am that fish and building/assembling DIY speaker systems in sound reinforcement settings is quite a high tree, without too many low branches to hang to, so I am grateful that you chose to reach-out and share your thoughts!

Question: how are your sub designs and the subs mentioned on the the opposite ends of the spectrum? 

What brought me here is to find an alternative. I'm trying to evaluate what's out there before finding who -- among friends and friends in my family who do have experience and talent constructing wooden cabinets - before choosing what's best. 

What factors ought I consider before deciding between models?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On ‎12‎/‎28‎/‎2018 at 11:52 AM, NancyB said:

Question: how are your sub designs and the subs mentioned on the the opposite ends of the spectrum? 

What factors ought I consider before deciding between models?

Those other subs you mentioned are geared towards being cheap and simple to build. They use decent 12 and 15" drivers in the $100-200 range. Nothing wrong with that philosophy and there are plenty of people who've been satisfied with them. Some of the claims of performance have been shown to be greatly exaggerated in the past though. They show sensitivity graphs exclusively. They appear to be smoothed which makes them prettier. Sensitivity is important of course but it does not tell you which speaker is the louder more powerful speaker, or which has better distortion characteristics etc...The sensitivity comparisons make it seem like these cabs are more powerful but this cannot be determined by a sensitivity measurement. Drivers have very real limitations and those may occur at just 30 volts or at 130 volts.

The Skhorn and Othorn subs are designed for maximum performance from a minimum amount of space or cabinets. They are designed around the top tier 21" pro drivers on the market because this is what it takes to hit my goals. The tradeoff is cost. Detailed measurements of the performance of these systems are posted here.

To reach the same amount of headroom you will likely need to compare on a 3 to 1 basis. Keep in mind that the Tuba 60 is much larger than the Skhorn. The Titan 48 is comparable in size to an Othorn.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for writing back, Ricci. You have made the Skhorn's sound more impressive than the Tuba 60's, size and performance do matter. Skhorn seems to win out! Cost doesn't matter at this time, we might as well invest in quality drivers instead of cheaper drivers if they outperform. Which is the choicest of all the four drivers you have listed. Is it that question not as easy to answer/are there other factors ought I weigh even if cost is negated?

Wishing you a very happy New Year.

p.s. ... I have attached the genres/styles of music will be used for outdoor parties. They will played off a Pioneer DDJ SX's mixer. With this list I hope this will help inform your choice of driver. I may not be necessary, but it might well be. I think it's just an interesting read. It took a day to organize this document. We're looking for the best as my wife and I live simple existences but our ambitions to be the best by providing the best is at the core of what we do. The best music through the best sound system. A passionate investment, a commitment, and well worth striving for. I see your crew talks shop about other subs out there on the Skhorn build thread, if there are other subs to consider that have the excellence of Skhorns', since we're in Canada, please help us by letting us know. Respect, man. And where should we purchase the equipment ... we really don't know. If this is all to much for you, answering all these noobite questions, all well and good. Cheers.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

The ultimate Skhorn performance would be with 21Ipal drivers. These are very expensive and require equally expensive amplifiers though. I would suggest the B&C 21SW152 or 21DS115 as a lower cost but still highly performing option which will be a bit easier on the amplifier choice and cost as well. There are 2 drivers per Skhorn cabinet. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Ricci, cruising the forums, I've seen several people say that the OtHorn is the most "musical" sounding sub they have heard.  I have never heard them myself, and was wondering if this is still the case in 2019?


The best sounding short range subs I have personally heard were JBL SRXs, but I am out of touch with the latest developments, and currently using C-V EL36C honk box's which don't go nearly low enough...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A lot of people like the sound of the Othorn. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive over the years. Personally I think the Skhorn sounds a bit better than the Othorn even, but not near as many people have used or heard them yet. Those that have report very positively. Both sound really good to me but which one to choose comes down more to budget, size and preference.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 hours ago, Ricci said:

A lot of people like the sound of the Othorn. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive over the years. Personally I think the Skhorn sounds a bit better than the Othorn even, but not near as many people have used or heard them yet. Those that have report very positively. Both sound really good to me but which one to choose comes down more to budget, size and preference.

Thank you for your reply, Ricci. 

"Budget" is always an issue in the real world, but large size is actually a benefit to me, as I prefer my systems to have an imposing appearance.  And from my own subjective experience, I have found larger cabinets to produce a more natural sound. 

For bass horns, anything not exceeding 4'x8'x32" is good for me.  Therefore, even though the "Skhorn", from what I can tell, seems to be a fine feat of engineering... something akin to the Othorn would probably much better suit my needs.

I read somewhere that you had designed an "improved" version of the Othorn.  If this is true, are those drawings currently availible?  And what are your own thoughts regarding the revisions you have made?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, DemoMan said:

Thank you for your reply, Ricci. 

I read somewhere that you had designed an "improved" version of the Othorn.  If this is true, are those drawings currently availible?  And what are your own thoughts regarding the revisions you have made?

The drawings available are the most up to date. V2 was an incremental improvement not a radical upgrade. Minor changes and some additional bracing.

Trying to improve the Othorn led to the Skhorn. Make of that what you will.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On ‎1‎/‎24‎/‎2019 at 8:31 PM, DemoMan said:

I like the looks of the Skhorn, but it's a little too small for my Neanderthal taste. 

I realize that you designed it to be as small as possible on purpose... but let me ask you this; can it be made more efficient by scaling to a larger size?

Of course...With bass going bigger usually helps efficiency. I wouldn't call a cab that's 24x32x54" and almost 300lbs small though! Othorn is 24x36x36 and about 240lbs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...