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The Bargain Hunter's subwoofer ...

mpw

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#1
:;)

The title says it all doesnt it..

dont worry.... its not only the title that calls me a bargain hunter but someone implied it and i thought this is a good title to begin with..

We are all bargain hunters in our own right arent we ??

Its been a while since i started a thread on HFV anyways..

So as i go along the build.... maybe i will end up learning many more things....in the bargain !! :lol::lol:

this will be a meandering thread as invariably all DiY ( or semi DiY - in this case ) are subject to time, inclination and funds availability.

This subwoofer will be built jointly - with your views and opinions and practical advise. I hope to have your contributions.

I will try to split the thread into various stages and will moderate accordingly.

a. The perceived need for a subwoofer
b. Which subwoofer ?
c. My budget
d. My options
e. Driver Selection
f. Plate Amplifier selection
g. Cabinet
h. Some more cabinet aspects
i. Testing & Validation
j. Finishing
k. " In the bargain " :D - what did i / we learn ?

regards
mpw
 
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rpanand25

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#2
Well sound like a college tutorial:lol::lol:
I know it will be interesting and absorbing.
I hope it progresses in such a way to encourage DIY novices
All the (BEST)BASSSSSSS:D:D
 

linuxguru

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#3
Just a suggestion, which is not exactly fully DIY, but will save a fair amount of money: Get hold of a commercial 2.1 powered subwoofer kit and modify the plate-amp electronics (and maybe the subwoofer cabinet) alone. An F&D A-510 or A-520 powered subwoofer is a reasonable choice, with excellent sonics out of the box.
 

mpw

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#4
Just a suggestion, which is not exactly fully DIY, but will save a fair amount of money: Get hold of a commercial 2.1 powered subwoofer kit and modify the plate-amp electronics (and maybe the subwoofer cabinet) alone. An F&D A-510 or A-520 powered subwoofer is a reasonable choice, with excellent sonics out of the box.
thanks linuxguru..

but i have a proper sealed subwoofer build in mind..:)
 

mpw

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#5
The perception of the need for a subwoofer arose as i recently started listening to some Jazz and some western classical.

My Merlins - excellent as they are - do their duties in a room which is approx 380 sq ft. The room size is a challenge for Floorstanders as well.

The genre of music which one listens to also influences the perception of requirement of more lower notes.

I do listen to a lot of old Hindi music on LP in this genre there is not much need for a subwoofer - i believe.

The third thing is that i listened to 2.0 and 2.1 systems and i find a subwoofer having the potential to value add to the music.

In fact i am moving to a train of thought which is looking at 2.2 instead of 2.0 or 2.1 ( and this is despite many of us having floorstanding speakers )

I have posts about - integration and getting the placement right and things like that and i thought this build will be a good opportunity to tread those waters myself.

Maybe it is not as bad as many people say it is - maybe my experience will be different..

Maybe..

regards
mpw
 

rpanand25

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#8
Was wondering what plate amp and sub woofer driver would be good for music if brought from USA as baggage. Budget $300 max for both. lesser the better.
 

manniraj

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#9
Was wondering what plate amp and sub woofer driver would be good for music if brought from USA as baggage. Budget $300 max for both. lesser the better.
Look at the GR Research 12" subwoofer and the ApexJR plate amplifier. I think this was the combination that was brought during the GR groupby offer couple of years back and also very popular with the FMs. Not sure whether it would come within the $300 budget but you can check the prices on the sites.
 

ghatgepatil

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#10
If you are planning for 2 subs (in future) for this room, 10" drivers should be sufficient for sealed subs I guess, provided you are concerned about the bass tightness. 12" and above might bring in bit of looseness IMO.
 
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mpw

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#11
the build vs buy was a debate i mentally went thru and i did audition the Rythmik F12 in Mumbai.

Since i wanted to keep the costs to around to 60k mark.. i found the build option better..

reasons are :-

a. Conceptually a sealed subwoofer is amongst the easier ones to build.

b. The quotes i got for JL Audio and a fully built Rythhmik subwoofer were beyond my budget. That does not mean they are not good but they are simply out of my budget.

c. The REL subs had become more costly than last year when i had taken a quote.

d. Also the weight of the subwoofers was an issue with some brands and i have come to the conclusion that heavier speakers sound better ( invariably )

e. I know ( at the moment ) that the Naim Nait 5i matched very well with the Merlins and after listening to a 2.1 setup i was convinced a subwoofer makes sense even with floorstanders

f. Bobby at Merlin recommends a subwoofer with the TSM especially in large rooms. Please keep in mind that my hall is XXL and its unfair to expect and standmount to pressurize the room.

So i decided to let the Merlins do their thing above 55 Hz and i only needed to work at things below that frequency.

regards
mpw
 

mpw

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#12
Look at the GR Research 12" subwoofer and the ApexJR plate amplifier. I think this was the combination that was brought during the GR groupby offer couple of years back and also very popular with the FMs. Not sure whether it would come within the $300 budget but you can check the prices on the sites.
One size does not fit all...
 

Flash

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#13
In fact i am moving to a train of thought which is looking at 2.2 instead of 2.0 or 2.1 ( and this is despite many of us having floorstanding speakers )

Spot on

2.2 all the way .. With stereo on your mind ... a 2.1 just wont cut it .Infact the entire idea of a summed mono channel for bass in my opinion is wrong especially for a audio aficionado

Look at it this way , as You mentioned you would probably cross your Merlins at 55hz and 55hz - 40hz (or lower - depending on the music genre) from Left and right channel would be summed into a Mono channel aka the Subwoofer.

Even in theory something seems amiss . Frequency from 2 channels summed to a single channel and a single driver playing both the channels feeq

There are other benefits as well as have 2 subs ... i.e Room nodes , Even bass throughout the room etc
 

SatMumbai

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#14
A very good thread!

I am sure every one has their own experience when it comes to DIY / Self-build. To me DIY is more of a hobby / activity to enjoy the whole build process and possibly enjoy the performance of the final product that is built with your own hands. I had great fun making things like soldering circuits for those serial LEDs (good old times) or building bamboo stand lamps with varnish and all to painting the home to etc etc! There is a charm in things when you do it yourself but that is about it. I never was able to reach a stage where I could compete with mass manufacturing be it in performance or in price. Well that shows how bad I am at these things!

Now that is out, 2.2 is the way to go (especially compared to 2.1) but again IMO it is 2nd way to go and the first being still just 2!

I had my share of experience with various subs, some are easy to dial in and some are tricky but it still is an after market turbo in a car. You have to chose the right one, then you have to tune the right way, make sure it integrates the right way with the right speakers etc. So, I would sit peacefully, identify the frequency range that I want to listen to and then select the speaker from that subset.

Now that is also out, If the target is the performance of the subwoofer, then try to have a listen to B&W ASW610 which is IMO very nice affordable sub and easier to get an audition. If the solution that you can think of is beating this one price/performance, then it might be a good benchmark!

OK.. now let us say we have reached this stage, that it has to be built absolutely, then
1. for Plate Amp I would think about Hypex module (like the DS8.0 site Hypex Electronics BV - DS8.0),
2.woofers from JL Audio car audio (ex W7 series or what fits the budget Car Audio - Subwoofer Drivers)
3. Cabinet many builds / aprroaches are a google away. I had my custom made ported sub made out of MDF and they can be made pretty heavy!
4. For finish, you can pick your choice of color in automotive paint and it would look like a master piece!

All the best to which ever choices you make, and me on the other hand, am hoping for the Santa to drop one (or two, even better) Devialet Phantom!

PS: If you have some time, please do read about S.A.M from devialet. It is one of the most innovative and groundbreaking things in HiFi in recent past.
 

mpw

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#16
satmumbai,

i remember you has the ASW 610 not too long ago.

For a DiY project - one never competes with mass manufacturing. Its all about the value you get at a particular price point for the effort one puts in.

Manufacturers have the advantage of testing equipment and testing chambers etc... which a DiY person would not.

Therefore for me - the testing will be more by the ear and maybe thats a huge advantage because then i would not be replying on graphs to tell me how it sounds but on my ear alone. I do not have nor propose to purchase any testing equipment save for what Mumbai area FM's would kindly lend me in terms of time or expertise or their equipment.

I perceive an advantage with sealed front speakers as their roll off would be sharper and so a sealed subwoofer would find it easier to bed with them.

:))

However - it is not any sealed subwoofer that would do. There are selection parameters here as well.

One of the purposes of this thread is to document the dilemmas and decisions which i am facing and hoping to get valuable comments and help my progress and indeed that of others who may choose to follow this road.

PS : are you back in Mumbai ?

PS2 : I have heard the Devialet and the SAM you refer too - had an extensive listen. The SAM module speaker was made by Devialet as well. It was a standmount. I forget the name. Possibly the GT1 - now that i look at Googlebaba.

regards
mpw
 
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Fantastic

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#17
Why don't you guys buy the Eminence Lab 12 sub ( available right here !)? You can use it in a small sealed box. It's large and very heavy. You couldn't possibly cart that all the way from the US easily ! I have one in a 15 inch cube.
 

mpw

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#18
The Naim Nait 5i does not have a sub out and so it was important for me to get a plate amplifier that would accept speaker level inputs from the Naim Nait 5i.

For music only applications - this is the way to go - as the subwoofer plate amplifier would get exactly the same signal as would the front speakers.

It is also important for the front speakers to run full range and this means that there is no possibility of taking speaker level signals from the integrated amplifier ...feeding it to the subwoofer plate ... separating the bass frequencies and again pumping the signal to the fronts.

Merlin was very clear on selection of the plate amplifier :-

The TSM must run full range. ( It cannot be fed a signal from anywhere apart from the speaker terminals of the integrated amp )
Crossover to be set at 50 - 55 Hz ( this will be the cut off point for the subwoofer )
Slope adjustment ( 12 dB / 24 dB ) on the plate amplifier. This will set the cutoff slope roughly similar to the roll off from the Merlins.

From what i have read and researched - a sub out function on the integrated amplifier is good for HT with AV bypass applications. On the internet there is debate about this as to weather a sub out provides the exact signal to the subwoofer vis a vis speaker level inputs.

Now the time had come to finalize a few things. I wanted a quick start and so i tapped a good DiYr for his thoughts on the driver.

a. The Seas L26ROY - is a fantastic driver. Highly recommended by someone who has done a lot of DiY and who knows the Morel woofer on the Merlin TSM very well.

The Seas L26ROY is available with BBW distributors ( Gunbir ) in Delhi.

b. The Rythmik F12 kit - with the driver and the A370PEQ amp

c. The Hypex plate amps ( the DS 4.0 ). The DS 8.0 is very powerful but then my budget would have been compromised. Once that happens then buy is better than build.

d. The Keiga plate amp ( from Madisound etc.. )

I wanted to maximize purchases from India - to keep the hassles of logistics and to not trouble my friends sitting abroad too much in this hobby of mine.

In my search for a good subwoofer driver and plate amplifier - i found the Indian DiY market to be very weak in terms of the availability of good drivers and amplifiers. It is possible it is a chicken and egg situation.. More DiYrs in the market and more would be the goods available i suppose.

Peerless - Makes in India - exports it and we import it back thru Madisound didnt make much sense to me. I did not want to go for the ones availble here locally for the fear they maybe export "surplus ".

But i discovered another contender .. a subwoofer driver... which is available in India in INR payment. The specs are high quality as well and compares well to the Seas L26ROY though the Seas L26 ROY is in a different league i understand.

more ... as i get time to pen.

regards
mpw
 
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Fantastic

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#19
"..........But i discovered another contender .. a subwoofer driver... which is available in India in INR payment...."

Better than the locally available Eminence Lab 12 ?
 
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mpw

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#20
"..........But i discovered another contender .. a subwoofer driver... which is available in India in INR payment...."

Better than the locally available Eminence Lab 12 ?

better or not ... will come out only when it starts singing.. ;)
 
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