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Author Topic: Ultra compact powered subwoofers  (Read 1756 times)

Steve O'Connor

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Ultra compact powered subwoofers
« on: March 04, 2014, 11:19:20 am »

Hi all,
I'm looking for a pair of powered subs that would be able to provide low end extension for live rock music in very small venues that may have small staircases, I'm aiming for the likes of smaller bars/pubs with an absolute upper limit of 80 -100 people.(i.e. if I knew there would definitely be over 80 people at one of these gigs i'd bring something bigger).
I would use it for drumfill on larger gigs.

Each Sub must be very compact, Ideally no more than ~ 150 Liters (5.2 ft^3) and less than ~35 Kg (80lbs). Lighter if possible. If the Sub could hit -3dB @ 50hz I would be very happy but ~60Hz would suffice. I'd like to keep budget as low as possible but I would like to consider all options, but I don't have Meyer money to spend.

It would be used underneath a Yamaha DXR10.

I Would like to be able to quote an exact SPL level at the appropriate speed, weighting and distance but I currently have no means at attaining such an accurate reference point. And I understand that the majority of quoted SPL figures on spec sheets are meaningless because of lack of information provided.

Excuse my somewhat abstract attempt at giving you an idea of what I'm trying to accomplish:
I Currently have a pair of 570mm externally wide versions of Cubo 18s (Diy cab found here http://www.freespeakerplans.com/plans/14-plans/basscab/11-cubo-18) loaded with 8ohm Eighteensound 18NLW9400 .
Currently For the gigs where i would like to use a pair of small powered subs I Use only a Single Cubo18 powered by a PKNXE6000 (http://www.pknc.com/xe_eng.html). The amp provides realtime average and peak voltage output levels, For these particular gigs the Kick drum is the loudest instrument  being reinforced by the sub, On the loudest of peaks it has hit 50V. I Do not have an impedance curve for the Cubo sub so I am not sure what meaningful conclusions can be drawn from this but I would hope it may give you experts a better idea.

I have little experience with powered subs, I currently have a single Alto Sub 15 on loan.
First impressions from testing and comparing it to the Single Cubo18 at 50V peaks are that one Alto Sub15 does not do the job but a pair of them May come close although they would be running at their limit.
In the coming weeks I will get some rough FR response measurements done which should give me a better idea of the relative SPL difference but for now the Irish weather is my biggest obstacle from that happening.


My first choices are obviously the Yamaha DXS12:
as it fits the size/weight bill and would have been designed to work with the Yamaha DXR series.
As of yet I have not had the opportunity to try these out, On paper the Yamaha DXS12 quotes 5dB higher Peak SPL but again who's to know what to believe there? My main concerns with this sub is sound quality of it's band-pass design and would it provide much of an SPL increase over the ALTO? The alto does sound good when it's operating well within it's limits which isn't that loud.

The other Subs in the Yamaha range are above the size and weight limits i've set as anything above them i'd sooner stay passive and use what I already have.

Thanks very much for any input

Keep in mind I'm based in Ireland so there may be American based products that might not be available here to me


Thanks
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Scott Olewiler

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Re: Ultra compact powered subwoofers
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2014, 12:50:18 pm »

Hi all,
I'm looking for a pair of powered subs that would be able to provide low end extension for live rock music in very small venues that may have small staircases, I'm aiming for the likes of smaller bars/pubs with an absolute upper limit of 80 -100 people.(i.e. if I knew there would definitely be over 80 people at one of these gigs i'd bring something bigger).
I would use it for drumfill on larger gigs.

Each Sub must be very compact, Ideally no more than ~ 150 Liters (5.2 ft^3) and less than ~35 Kg (80lbs). Lighter if possible. If the Sub could hit -3dB @ 50hz I would be very happy but ~60Hz would suffice. I'd like to keep budget as low as possible but I would like to consider all options, but I don't have Meyer money to spend.

It would be used underneath a Yamaha DXR10.

I Would like to be able to quote an exact SPL level at the appropriate speed, weighting and distance but I currently have no means at attaining such an accurate reference point. And I understand that the majority of quoted SPL figures on spec sheets are meaningless because of lack of information provided.

Excuse my somewhat abstract attempt at giving you an idea of what I'm trying to accomplish:
I Currently have a pair of 570mm externally wide versions of Cubo 18s (Diy cab found here http://www.freespeakerplans.com/plans/14-plans/basscab/11-cubo-18) loaded with 8ohm Eighteensound 18NLW9400 .
Currently For the gigs where i would like to use a pair of small powered subs I Use only a Single Cubo18 powered by a PKNXE6000 (http://www.pknc.com/xe_eng.html). The amp provides realtime average and peak voltage output levels, For these particular gigs the Kick drum is the loudest instrument  being reinforced by the sub, On the loudest of peaks it has hit 50V. I Do not have an impedance curve for the Cubo sub so I am not sure what meaningful conclusions can be drawn from this but I would hope it may give you experts a better idea.

I have little experience with powered subs, I currently have a single Alto Sub 15 on loan.
First impressions from testing and comparing it to the Single Cubo18 at 50V peaks are that one Alto Sub15 does not do the job but a pair of them May come close although they would be running at their limit.
In the coming weeks I will get some rough FR response measurements done which should give me a better idea of the relative SPL difference but for now the Irish weather is my biggest obstacle from that happening.


My first choices are obviously the Yamaha DXS12:
as it fits the size/weight bill and would have been designed to work with the Yamaha DXR series.
As of yet I have not had the opportunity to try these out, On paper the Yamaha DXS12 quotes 5dB higher Peak SPL but again who's to know what to believe there? My main concerns with this sub is sound quality of it's band-pass design and would it provide much of an SPL increase over the ALTO? The alto does sound good when it's operating well within it's limits which isn't that loud.

The other Subs in the Yamaha range are above the size and weight limits i've set as anything above them i'd sooner stay passive and use what I already have.

Thanks very much for any input

Keep in mind I'm based in Ireland so there may be American based products that might not be available here to me


Thanks

I can only comment on what powered subs I personally own. I have one DXS-12. For the size of the box, it gets plenty loud enough for one cab to handle small rooms with 80 people. I have pushed mine very hard and have yet to see the peak light come on, however, it does seem that the more you push this cab the muddier the sound gets, which may be a result of the bandpass design, as it sounds like strictly an acoustics issue rather than an amp/gain issue. It's not a terrible sound but If I was using it all the time I would get 2 of them.

For my own personal 4-piece Blues band, with the option of using any piece of equipment I own, I usually just take the one DXS-12 out for our shows, most of which are in smaller rooms.  Why use 2 cabs is you can get away with one?

I also own 2 EV ZXA-1s. These cabs sound great. I mean really great. Tone is very tight and smooth, however, you will not get a lot of volume out of one before clipping. I run mine with a narrow frequency range of 50-80hz and do OK, but I have 3 way 15" tops that can cover down to 80hz.  I'm not sure one of these under a DXR-10 would be enough since it would probably have to run to 100hz.  Takes two of these to match the output of 1 DXS-12.

Amazingly enough I have already used the 2 EVs on one side and the DXS on the other out of necessity and they actually play well together. Very little cancellation, but that's not for this thread.

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Paul G. OBrien

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Re: Ultra compact powered subwoofers
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2014, 01:50:03 pm »

Each Sub must be very compact, Ideally no more than ~ 150 Liters (5.2 ft^3) and less than ~35 Kg (80lbs). Lighter if possible. If the Sub could hit -3dB @ 50hz I would be very happy but ~60Hz would suffice. I'd like to keep budget as low as possible but I would like to consider all options, but I don't have Meyer money to spend.

The Mackie SRM1801 would pretty much fit your requirements, these boxes are about as small as it gets for an 18" sub(about 6 cu/ft) and they are an easy 1-man move at just over 70lbs. There have been some noisy former owners of these boxes all over the web that complain about it's lack of reliability but I have 2 that have been nearly flawless going on 3 years so I'm somewhat skeptical. These boxes don't go extremely low.. rated -3db at 50hz but they do get quite loud particularly at upper bass kick drum frequencies.
If you were to relax your requirements slightly the current class of super portable powered subs is the JBL PRX618XLF, the cab is a bit larger at about 9cu/ft but it's still only 80lbs and is unmatched in output SPL and extension. It's recently been replaced with the new PRX700 series but copies can still be found and sometimes at clearance prices.
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Art Welter

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Re: Ultra compact powered subwoofers
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2014, 02:27:27 pm »


Each Sub must be very compact, Ideally no more than ~ 150 Liters (5.2 ft^3) and less than ~35 Kg (80lbs). Lighter if possible. If the Sub could hit -3dB @ 50hz I would be very happy but ~60Hz would suffice. I'd like to keep budget as low as possible but I would like to consider all options, but I don't have Meyer money to spend.

I Currently have a pair of 570mm externally wide versions of Cubo 18s.

Keep in mind I'm based in Ireland so there may be American based products that might not be available here to me.
The Danley Sound Labs TH-Mini would be the commercial choice to go with, at 77 lbs and 4.66 cubic feet (116 liter) with a 45 Hz F3 it has the output of many 18" boxes almost twice the size. Not cheap, and may be even more expensive in the UK if you can get them.

Since you own the Cubo, you probably are not adverse to DIY, here are many options that would also do what you are looking for.

The graph below shows actual measurements of a 2x10" Keystone tapped horn of 5.2 cubic feet (145 liter) that also is comparable to many single 18" cabinets upper output, but is -3 dB at about 55 Hz. It is compared to a JBL SRX 728 dual 18" 22.2 cubic feet (622 liter) and an Eminence 4015LF in an undersized 3.9 cubic feet (109 liter) box with a 36 Fb (box tuning), all at the same drive voltage, all with BW 25 and 125 Hz filters.

At 65 Hz, the 2x10" is +4 dB over the 15", and only -3 dB below the big JBL 2 x18". The Cubo 18" is probably close to the SRX 728 output in that range but my guess is it rolls off below 50 Hz.

Post # 55 here shows the plans:
http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/subwoofers/216701-midbass-tapped-horns-6.html
As I mention in that thread, the design is not optimal, but it does kick like a little bastard.

Ander's "Tham" is even smaller 3.4 cubic feet (96 liter), but quite potent, a 1x 12" with similar output as the DSL TH Mini:
http://www.martinsson.cc/blog/index.php?m=03&y=12&entry=entry120315-210219

The bottom line is tapped horns and variants like the Cubo can do around +3 to +6 dB more output than bass reflex cabinets given the same voltage. TH need to be a bit larger than BR, but in small enclosures with relatively high tunings can kick serious ass.

As always, Hoffman's Iron Law prevails: Low, Loud, Small- pick two.
With more expensive, high excursion drivers in TH enclosures you can cheat the law a bit :^)

Art
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Steve O'Connor

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Re: Ultra compact powered subwoofers
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2014, 03:08:20 pm »

I can only comment on what powered subs I personally own. I have one DXS-12. For the size of the box, it gets plenty loud enough for one cab to handle small rooms with 80 people. I have pushed mine very hard and have yet to see the peak light come on, however, it does seem that the more you push this cab the muddier the sound gets, which may be a result of the bandpass design, as it sounds like strictly an acoustics issue rather than an amp/gain issue. It's not a terrible sound but If I was using it all the time I would get 2 of them.

For my own personal 4-piece Blues band, with the option of using any piece of equipment I own, I usually just take the one DXS-12 out for our shows, most of which are in smaller rooms.  Why use 2 cabs is you can get away with one?


Of all the powered subs that look any way up to the task the DXS12 appears to be the cheapest, A Pair have popped up for sale 2nd hand as part of a system, if the seller decides to split then I may consider these as a possible option,
Do you have any larger passive subs that you use with your band also or is 1 DXS12 and 2 EV subs your low end?

The Mackie SRM1801 would pretty much fit your requirements, these boxes are about as small as it gets for an 18" sub(about 6 cu/ft) and they are an easy 1-man move at just over 70lbs. There have been some noisy former owners of these boxes all over the web that complain about it's lack of reliability but I have 2 that have been nearly flawless going on 3 years so I'm somewhat skeptical. These boxes don't go extremely low.. rated -3db at 50hz but they do get quite loud particularly at upper bass kick drum frequencies.
If you were to relax your requirements slightly the current class of super portable powered subs is the JBL PRX618XLF, the cab is a bit larger at about 9cu/ft but it's still only 80lbs and is unmatched in output SPL and extension. It's recently been replaced with the new PRX700 series but copies can still be found and sometimes at clearance prices.

Thanks Paul,

The Mackie you suggest is only 30 liters less than the Cubo 18 that I have so From that perspective it would make sense for me to just stick with a fully passive rig with the cubo,
The Cubo is on castors and is easy to move around as long as there is no stairs involved, So I am looking for a powered sub or multiple powered subs that are significantly small than the Cubo.

While JBL is not really popular this side of the pond The PRX715XLF looks interesting, Would you or anybody else have any experience with this unit?


The Danley Sound Labs TH-Mini would be the commercial choice to go with
Hi Art,
The TH Mini has always interested me, although as far as I'm aware they don't make a powered version?

Since you own the Cubo, you probably are not adverse to DIY, here are many options that would also do what you are looking for.

I've read quite alot of your posts on diyaudio over the last 2 years and appreciate your input to the diy community.

If I was going to go passive then DIY would definitely the way I would go, A variation of the Tham 12 and a small 50L net 15" reflex B6 Assisted design are 2 I am also considering If I was to stay all passive, Both boxes come in just shy of 100L external volume each.

While I could go down the route of Diy powered I think there are too many pitfalls with this hence my decision to look at commercial boxes for powered.


As always, Hoffman's Iron Law prevails: Low, Loud, Small- pick two.
With more expensive, high excursion drivers in TH enclosures you can cheat the law a bit :^)

Art

Arrgh Physics be a harsh mistress! (In my best pirate voice) :)
« Last Edit: March 04, 2014, 03:14:39 pm by Steve O'Connor »
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Scott Olewiler

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Re: Ultra compact powered subwoofers
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2014, 04:31:55 pm »

Of all the powered subs that look any way up to the task the DXS12 appears to be the cheapest, A Pair have popped up for sale 2nd hand as part of a system, if the seller decides to split then I may consider these as a possible option,
Do you have any larger passive subs that you use with your band also or is 1 DXS12 and 2 EV subs your low end?

I have a pair of LS808s that I use for sound rentals only. They get LOUD. The powered EVs still sound better though, IMHO,( if you can hear them). People that pay me for sound always want a bigger/louder system than I ever use for my own band. Go figure. Sometimes I use the EVs for rentals as well in small rooms.

Since I also have to set-up my guitars/amps and lights for my band I go with the fastest/easiest system to set up: 1 DXS. (BTW, we do mic everything)

  If money were no object and there was no such thing as cancellations from using multiple cabs, I'd just use a wall of the EVs.
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Steve O'Connor

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Re: Ultra compact powered subwoofers
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2014, 05:07:25 pm »

I have a pair of LS808s that I use for sound rentals only. They get LOUD. The powered EVs still sound better though, IMHO,( if you can hear them). People that pay me for sound always want a bigger/louder system than I ever use for my own band. Go figure. Sometimes I use the EVs for rentals as well in small rooms.

Since I also have to set-up my guitars/amps and lights for my band I go with the fastest/easiest system to set up: 1 DXS. (BTW, we do mic everything)

  If money were no object and there was no such thing as cancellations from using multiple cabs, I'd just use a wall of the EVs.

Thanks Scott,

I'm also in your situation where I play guitar and Have to setup amp, pedals, lights and we also mic everything too.
A Compact Powered rig would simplify that somewhat too, although I have the passive rig racked and setup so that It is quicker to setup than a powered rig (less cables) but a compact powered rig would make loading in very tight venues that much easier as there is a few upstairs venues we play where the 10U rack is just disheartening and impractical to think about lifting up tight staircase, So I would really like to have that option.

Have you ever ran into a gig where you wished you had the 2nd DXS12? It sound like from what you are saying that 1 DXS12 reinforces a live drumkit quiet well in a small bar sized venue?

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Art Welter

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Re: Ultra compact powered subwoofers
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2014, 05:50:36 pm »

Hi Art,
The TH Mini has always interested me, although as far as I'm aware they don't make a powered version?

If I was going to go passive then DIY would definitely the way I would go, A variation of the Tham 12 and a small 50L net 15" reflex B6 Assisted design are 2 I am also considering If I was to stay all passive, Both boxes come in just shy of 100L external volume each.

While I could go down the route of Diy powered I think there are too many pitfalls with this hence my decision to look at commercial boxes for powered.
The TH Mini does not include a powered option, probably too small to cram in the box.

However, the SpeakerPower SP14000 could be put in your own DIY cabinets, one would power up to four 8 ohm cabinets and deliver 4000 real watts, and add only 7 lbs.
4000W/2 ohm, 2400W/4, 1300W/8.

I have mine mounted in the back of a rack rather than a speaker cabinet, and put it in a little "lunchbox" for rentals, it has blown away the renters who have a hard time believing the output until they find it makes speakers louder than their "big" amps.

SpeakerPower has an even more powerful version available for you guys across the pond taking advantage of 240 volt power.

The DSP versions of the amp require a large order, but the non-dsp units are available to DIY guys.

Other than needing some external limiting if the speakers you choose can't handle it's power, there are no pitfalls to the SP14000.  I am impressed by the amp every time I use it.

Art
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Steve O'Connor

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Re: Ultra compact powered subwoofers
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2014, 06:13:34 pm »


SpeakerPower has an even more powerful version available for you guys across the pond taking advantage of 240 volt power.

The DSP versions of the amp require a large order, but the non-dsp units are available to DIY guys.

Other than needing some external limiting if the speakers you choose can't handle it's power, there are no pitfalls to the SP14000.  I am impressed by the amp every time I use it.

Art

It's been a while since a checked them out, I think the last time I looked into them they did not have the 240V version, they are mighty impressive looking amps, For me though If the modules did not have DSP available I may as well have an amp in the rack with the LMS,
But that said their 2 Channel rackmount amps look impressive for the price.

Food For thought down the road  8)
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Jay Barracato

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Re: Ultra compact powered subwoofers
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2014, 07:56:07 pm »

It's been a while since a checked them out, I think the last time I looked into them they did not have the 240V version, they are mighty impressive looking amps, For me though If the modules did not have DSP available I may as well have an amp in the rack with the LMS,
But that said their 2 Channel rackmount amps look impressive for the price.

Food For thought down the road  8)

Vue audio has some new and interesting small subs.
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