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Subwoofers: is bigger better??

 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 01 Aug 2011, 11:30 pm
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Default Subwoofers: is bigger better??

There has been much discussion on subwoofers lately. Mainly concerning size, power handling, and enclosure space. This has become a discussion of much debate. I am in the process of a new build that is going to include a couple of 8" woofers. I hope this thread helps partly explain why I decided on 8s.

If we were discussing systems and I said, " I have 1000 watt amp on a 15" sub" You would probably say something like, " man, I bet that is loud and hits hard." But... if I tell you I have 8" subs you probably wouldn't be impressed or interested in hearing it.

Let's do a little math with a couple of setups using these sizes. We will start with the 15".

It is being reccomended lately that you find subs that can handle at least 1000w rms (although i don'tknow why). So, we will use that as kind of a guide line. A 15" in a ported enclosure is going to need somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 cu. ft. Again, this is an average number. some will require a little less and some up to twice this amount. So, 3 is a good number to go with for our purposes. Now, let's look at the cone area of this 15" sub. The actuall cone area is going to vary on each model so we will just use 15" in our equation. The area of 15" = 176.625"

Now let's look at using 8s. I will use the rated numbers for the subs I will be using in my build. These are the sundown Audio SA-8. These subs are rated at 400w rms. They have been tested in many different enclosures and have been found to work well in .6 cubic ft. each (even less when multiples are used). And the area of 8" =50.24".Now, let's use these numbers to compare the 8s to the 15.

If you are willing to lose 3 cubic feet of space you could fit FIVE of these 8s. With 5 subs sharing the power the overall power numer just went up. 5x400w=2000w. In fact, with only 3 of the 8s you would be over the 1000w of handling from the 15 and only require 1.8 cu.ft. of space. Lastly, we will compare cone area. Using the 5 subs in 3 cu. ft. again. 50.24"x5=251.2". You would only need four 8s to exceed the cone area of 15. 50.24"x4=200.96". This would only require 2.4 cu.ft. of space and have a power handling of 1600 watts. Again, more power handling, in less space, with more cone area than the 15.

My point is when choosing a sub. take the time to think of every aspect of the speaker, not just price and rated power handling. Good luck in all your builds and I hope this info helps someone.
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Old 02 Aug 2011, 07:26 pm
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Default Re: Subwoofers: is bigger better??

I find this argument to be a red herring. You can not compare apples to oranges. And the above article does just that.

Size doesn't matter that much. But the devil is in the details. I will explain and give an awesome examples with links and pictures to clear up any mis information, or dis information in the article above.

RMS watts matters the most;

Then, the size of the Manufactures recommend Box Matters second most.

1 15" subwoofer may take up less room than 2 8" subwoofers; it all depends on the Box recommendations

If you look at 1 specific line of subwoofer the 8" vs. 10" vs. 12" vs 15" the 8 will be the weakest RMS wise; and the 15 will be the strongest.

Example:
Pioneer Pro 10" TS-W3002D2 -800 RMS
Pioneer Pro 12" TS-W3002D2 -1,000 RMS

That covers the most important issue; RMS WATTS.

1 Pioneer Pro 10" TS-W3002D2 800 RMS can prove you more power than 3 of these

This 15" subwoofer is 250 RMS

Kicker 07C154 15" Single 4 ohm Comp Subwoofer (C154, C15-4)


You would need 3 of them to equal the RMS watts of just 1 of these

Pioneer TS-W2502D4 (tsw2502d4) 10" Dual 4 ohm Champion PRO Series


So you can see; Size is relative to quality in terms of RMS watts.

3 15" subwoofers can be less powerful that 1 10" subwoofer
---

Next,

Each subwoofer's manufacture asks for various size boxes

This is a great example.


That 10" subwoofer that give you 800 RMS can take up VERY LITTLE ROOM. You need to go to the manufactures website for the enclosure recommendation.

http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PU...S-W2501D2%7CD4

Wow,800 RMS watts; the Manufacture must want a huge box right? WRONG

Air Suspension System allows use in extremely small enclosures

Recommended Enclosure : 0.35 ~ 0.7 Cubic Feet

Check the link above to verify; I know it's hard to believe

----------------------
This 12" 1,000 RMS 3,500 watt Max subwoofer's Manufactures Recommend enclosure is ONLY 0.50 ~ 1.0 Cubic Feet




http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PU...S-W3002D2%7CD4


And price? You can find this online for around $100!

Google
Pioneer Pro 10 or 12" " TS-W3002D4

That takes up very little space, but provides MAX performance.
Recommended Enclosure : 0.50 ~ 1.0 Cubic Feet

http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PU...S-W3002D2%7CD4


That is a very small box; but the subwoofer still delivers 1,000 RMS, 3,500 watts MAX!

---

In Conclusion; Size does matter. Size of the Manufactures Box; and power of the RMS watts .

The Devil is in the details.

1 10" subwoofer can provide more power than 3 15" subs in watts.

And that very same, powerful 10" subwoofer can fit in a .35 cubic foot box, when the 15" subwoofer needs to be in a 2.5 cubic foot box.

Last edited by SergeantPtCruiser; 02 Aug 2011 at 07:36 pm.
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Old 02 Aug 2011, 07:34 pm
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Wink Re: Subwoofers: is bigger better??

Quote:
Originally Posted by lowpt View Post

Now let's look at using 8s. I will use the rated numbers for the subs I will be using in my build. These are the sundown Audio SA-8. These subs are rated at 400w rms. They have been tested in many different enclosures and have been found to work well in .6 cubic ft. each

.

The Pioneer Pro 10" subwoofer is recommended to be in a box 1/2 the size of the Sundown Audio.

Also, the sundown is 400 RMS; the Pioneer is 800 RMS.

So let me break that down;

1/2 the size, but double the power.

O, 1 more thing; It's Costs less than the sundown. 35% cheaper

Now that is some Value. 200% stronger; 1/2 the size box; and 35% cheaper.

Pioneer is a more recognized brand than sundown as well.

That is why the argument above is comparing apples to oranges in a 15" subwoofer smear campaign which is not based on factually honest.


So to answer the question; Is bigger better?

Bigger savings; Pioneer $100 vs. $135
Google

SA-8 D2 - Sundown Audio 8 Dual 2-Ohm Sa Series Subwoofer

Better use of cargo space; takes up 1/2 the space of the 8".

More RMS for Less money is Better.

The Value is better.

*I am just doing as I always do; providing facts.


TS-W2501D2|D4 - Premier 10" Champion Series PRO Subwoofer with 2500 Watts Max. | Pioneer Electronics USA

Air Suspension System allows use in extremely small enclosures

Recommended Enclosure : 0.35 ~ 0.7 Cubic Feet

Last edited by SergeantPtCruiser; 02 Aug 2011 at 09:35 pm. Reason: forgot to highlight how the 1st article is a red herring
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Old 02 Aug 2011, 11:28 pm
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Default Re: Subwoofers: is bigger better??

Sgt. You said " debate is healthy". I agree. As long as you keep this a debate and not a pissing match we can go back and forth as long as you want. I started this thread to provide some information that hopefully someone will find useful in some way. So far there has been 86 views to this thread and you are the only one to post a response. I hope it was not to bash or try to discredit me. So, let the debate begin.

You say RMS is most important. How or why?? Please elaborate.

I have always been taught that the "goal" was the most important factor in a build. By this I mean what does the user want to get out of the system. i.e.do they want spl or sound quality? Is it a daily or for competition?How much room to they want to give up and how much do they want to spend? These are the reasons the goal or desired end result is the most important factor.

You say the manufacturers reccomended enclosure size is next of importance. Why?? Again please elaborate. If the manufaturers suggested size is so important why don't competitors just put their subs in the suggested size box with the suggested power? The reson is even though you can use all kind of equations and formulas you really never know how an enclosure is going to perform in a vehicle 'til you try it. Serious (even some not so serious) competitors will try multiple configurations to find out what works best in their particular vehicle.

I don't feel I was making an apples to oranges comparison. I was using a constant in every situation. The numbers for a generic 15" sub. I then compared cone area, power and enclosure space using this constant. I could just as easily use the ten you specified as the variable vs. the 15 and the ten would come out victorious. I could also use the ten you specified as the constant vs. The SA-8 and the 8 would be victorious.

First let's look at volume.The Pioneer you listed had .7 cubic ft listed as the max recommended enclosure. The max Jacob @ Sundown reccomends is .6 cubic ft. with 12 in.^2 of port area. He has done extensive testing and has learned when more speakers share a common chamber, even less air space per sub produces higher db numbers.

Next. let's look at rms and cone area. The reason you would look at the rms would be to make sure your amp is not over powering it. Since the pioneer is 800w that is the nuber we will use. I would assume that the amp one would have to power it would be in the 800 watt neighborhood. The Sundowns are 400w this means using the 800w amp we could safely power two of the 8s. the cone area is the next part of the equation. We have an 800w amp so we know that we can power one of the Pioneer 10s or 2 of the SA-8s. Area of 10
" = 78.5" We already learned that the area of 8"= 50.24". 50.24"x2=100.48"


If I were looking for a sub or subs to suit a specific need, I could do just what you did. Shop around and find one that meets the requirements of my "goal". The requirements would be, to achieve a desired spl or sound quality, while handling a desired amount of power, in a desired space all at a desired price.

Please feel free to respond with knowledge and information. Please don't just copy and paste a response. Particularly, if you are only going to post sale listings for speakers.

Anyone else that has a thought or knowledge on this subject, please post a response as well. I consider myself a student of the world and try to learn something new everyday. I love grabbing bits of info at every opportunity I get.
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Old 03 Aug 2011, 12:28 am
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Default Re: Subwoofers: is bigger better??

Tell you the truth; I don't even care enough about your BS to read this novel
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Old 03 Aug 2011, 12:44 am
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Default Re: Subwoofers: is bigger better??

I've skimmed over the majority of everything that has been said and thought I'd offer some input (I'm doing alot of homework so bare with me).

First off, I will agree with a few things to a certain extent. Personal experience differs from one person to another and though I've put together quite a few high-quality mobile setups, my area of expertise is in home audio. Although in a different environment, the basic concept is the same.

Let's start with sub sizes. Larger subs have always been sought after as an end-all-be-all type sub, or as a remedy to the cure for the need to have massive amounts of SPL.

Sgt says that said-15" sub will suffice. Well, with the right sub I'm sure it'll work for a variety of people. Lowpt's approach is an alternative one, where he decides to use smaller subs in conjunction to achieve the same result.

I'll spare you the mathematics behind all this but the question isn't whether the smaller subs working together is a better solution but rather does it give the much needed SPL and frequency response needed that a single 15" can provide? Of course!

Have you heard a single 10"? How did it sound when you added an identical 10"? How did it compare to a single 12" of the same brand/model? How did 3 identical 10" subs compare to a single 15" of the same brand/model? You will be surprised at how small the differences are.

Now the real question is, what is the builder's intent/goal? And the real difference between what I used an example above is found just below......................

If the builder's intent is to achieve lightning-quick, tight, accurate bass with the SPL/depth a 15" can provide then 2-3 8"s or even a pair of 10"s can easily achieve this and even sound better than a single 15".

We're forgetting simple physics here; an 8" driver will play much quicker and with better accuracy than that of a larger driver.

Many of those that build a system aren't often considered an audiophile. No, an audiophile isn't someone that spends ridiculous amounts of money for a sound system in order to achieve 'near-perfect reproduction of a live performance' but rather a good ear for a quality-reproduction, in order to achieve what sounds like a live performance.

With that said, if you have the ear for it and sound quality is your goal in this case then several 8" subwoofers would be my suggestion.

Most people can't even tell the difference between an MP3 or a store bought CD, or even a FLAC audio file so let's not take them into consideration. And if you are one of those people, or with a slightly better ear then I can understand why one would argue that a 15" sub would be the better choice rather than multiple subs. I'm pretty sure they can't hear the difference between a sloppy 15" and a tight and accurate 10".

As far as RMS watts go, who cares about what the power rating is. I can blow the socks off someone's 15'x 18' living room with a pair of full range Fostex drivers in a slot-loaded enclosure powered by an EL34-based tube amp at 10 watts per channel and your jaw will drop. Yes, I said only 10 watts and yes I said full-range.

What's most important as far as power goes is CURRENT. This places a vital role in terms of amplifier circuitry/design as well as the efficiency of said-amp and not to mention the driver/subwoofer's sensitivity rating.

PS I'll compare my tube-based setup vs someone's $2k+ system and bet that my system has much better synergy, depth, soundstaging and imaging. And no, that setup did not cost anywhere near $2k. The system that is is reserved for the living room. I say this because watts aren't everything.
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Kawi is a friggin genius!
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Old 03 Aug 2011, 12:51 am
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Default Re: Subwoofers: is bigger better??

you two again!!!!!!!!!!!!

HAHAHA

I love it

Last edited by SergeantPtCruiser; 03 Aug 2011 at 01:17 am.
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Old 03 Aug 2011, 01:02 am
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Default Re: Subwoofers: is bigger better??

Quote:
Originally Posted by SergeantPtCruiser View Post
you two again.


hahaha


I LOVE IT.

I merely commented on something that peaked my interest.

The fact that a bigger sub is always better is a subject that's been misunderstood for quite awhile now.

Like I said above, a single 15" will suffice for many people and you can quote me as such in the above post. This agrees with your view on said-subject.

However, you need to analyze the situation and figure out what the intent/goal is here. There may just be a better alternative rather than just say, "no, a bigger sub is always better no matter what."

You give alot of members here alot of advice and I commend you for that. You're able to do so because many if not all the members you've come to help aren't looking for a sound-quality based system. They want an upgrade from stock, or slightly better. It would only help to have an open mind about things so you can better learn from others' experiences rather than bash on them and publicly ridicule others. There is no consequence in that, in fact you have everything to gain here. I've learned alot not from just personal experiences, but from others through healthy debates or just simple discussion.

To Sgt, I highly recommend -> MECA > Home

You'll learn alot going to one of those, I guarantee it.
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Kawi is a friggin genius!
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Old 03 Aug 2011, 01:06 am
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Default Re: Subwoofers: is bigger better??

I already understood what you were getting at, no need to reiterate.

To summarize what I said a smaller sub will yield better results in terms of sound quality than that of a larger sub. To achieve the needed SPL that a larger sub can provide (that a single smaller sub can not), you use multiple small subs to maintain tightness/accuracy and achieve that needed SPL.
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Old 03 Aug 2011, 01:15 am
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Thumbs up Re: Subwoofers: is bigger better??

k9 you didn't read the simple facts I wrote.

NP though.

You both suggested that I am not in favor of a 15" subwoofer vs anything else.

I gave a CLEAR distinction between 2 vs. 1 in a cost; RMS, and space analysis.

I know that is getting into 'big boy talk"


2 x 8" sundown subwoofer vs. 1 10" pioneer subwoofer.

The pioneer takes up 1/2 the cubic feet; costs 35% less; and is 200% more powerful.

2 8" sundown would take up 1.6 cubic feet, and 800 RMS and cost at lest $260.
1 10" Pioneer would take up .35 cubic feet (400% less) with the equal RMS; and cost $100 (160% less).

It's really 2nd grade math.

Here is a remedial lesson in the basics of math.

so K9; if your saying I am only advocating for 15" subwoofers; you are straight up wrong.

The argument is if BIGGER IS BETTER. I gave an example of a subwoofer that is 1/2 as SMALL in enclosure space; 160% SMALLER in the POCKET, with twice as KICK ASS.


that is twice the power; 1/2 the space, and less 160% less money.


hahaha


I am glad to see the Joker and the Riddler back at it again.

you guys are more than entertaining


PM ME IF YOU NEED SOME Tutoring.

Numbers don't lie.

these are apples to apples, because they are both CEA approved equipment



400 + 400 = what? 400? no sorry; it's 800.


$100 + 0 = what? $260? nooooo it's $100

ok next one.

$135 + $135 = what? alot correct; but how much $270, awesome!

last one.

.6 cubic feet + .6 cubic equals what? a foot in the but? nooo, 1.2 cubic feet. right!


OK I LIED

.35 cubic feet + 0 = huuuuumm, that's a tough one. = .35 cubic feet.

Last edited by SergeantPtCruiser; 03 Aug 2011 at 01:19 am.
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