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Author Topic: Choosing the best sub for me  (Read 20523 times)

Alex Berry

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Choosing the best sub for me
« on: May 28, 2015, 09:06:43 pm »

First of all, I'd like to thank you all in advance for taking the time to help me out.

My company is currently looking to invest in some scalable, loud single driver subwoofers. Essentially, anything that can get as loud as or louder than the average dual 18 (average dual 18 defined as doing around 133db continuous) and is a single driver box is on the table. We do primarily EDM events, so the subs need to be well able to play to this demanding style of music. The single driver form factor is derived from the fact that we'd love to have a sub that we can take to smaller DJ events and put one on either side of our 6 foot table, but then could be easily scaled to provide for larger events.

I've currently been looking into specifically the dB Technologies S1521N, and the Danley TH-118, but the Danley has some things that go along with it that scare me. Like the fact that tapped horn boxes need to have the tops delayed a certain way to sound correct, and that every frequency has a different delay time, along with the fact that I don't currently have a way to delay my tops, so that piece of external DSP would need to be factored into the final cost. Also the fact that the Danley has almost no handles puts me off a bit. I get that the Danley isn't the correct form factor, but one under the table for small events would be absolutely perfect.

I also just in the past hour found the Wharfedale Focus-18S, which looks on paper to be promising. 35hz at -6db, an averaged sensitivity of 104db coupled with a 1000wrms rating would give it a continuous output of 134db. Although I'm very sceptical to how they were able to get 104db of sensitivity out of a simple bass reflex cab. Thoughts on this, the other subs I've listed, and any others that fit this critera are very much welcomed. I'm not afraid to be told that I've been looking in the wrong place and need to take a completely different approach ;)

I'd like to keep the price per box somewhere around $3k per box. Although like with the Danley, after amplification the total would be a bit higher than that, and that would be acceptable.
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Choosing the best sub for me
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2015, 09:30:23 pm »

First of all, I'd like to thank you all in advance for taking the time to help me out.

My company is currently looking to invest in some scalable, loud single driver subwoofers. Essentially, anything that can get as loud as or louder than the average dual 18 (average dual 18 defined as doing around 133db continuous) and is a single driver box is on the table. We do primarily EDM events, so the subs need to be well able to play to this demanding style of music. The single driver form factor is derived from the fact that we'd love to have a sub that we can take to smaller DJ events and put one on either side of our 6 foot table, but then could be easily scaled to provide for larger events.

I've currently been looking into specifically the dB Technologies S1521N, and the Danley TH-118, but the Danley has some things that go along with it that scare me. Like the fact that tapped horn boxes need to have the tops delayed a certain way to sound correct, and that every frequency has a different delay time, along with the fact that I don't currently have a way to delay my tops, so that piece of external DSP would need to be factored into the final cost. Also the fact that the Danley has almost no handles puts me off a bit. I get that the Danley isn't the correct form factor, but one under the table for small events would be absolutely perfect.

I also just in the past hour found the Wharfedale Focus-18S, which looks on paper to be promising. 35hz at -6db, an averaged sensitivity of 104db coupled with a 1000wrms rating would give it a continuous output of 134db. Although I'm very sceptical to how they were able to get 104db of sensitivity out of a simple bass reflex cab. Thoughts on this, the other subs I've listed, and any others that fit this critera are very much welcomed. I'm not afraid to be told that I've been looking in the wrong place and need to take a completely different approach ;)

I'd like to keep the price per box somewhere around $3k per box. Although like with the Danley, after amplification the total would be a bit higher than that, and that would be acceptable.
Danley boxes - at least on this forum suffer from a little TMI - too much information, that can actually cloud the issue.  The reality is that every subwoofer needs to be time aligned to the mains to work correctly, and unless you're buying subs that match your mains (what are those, by the way?), the Danley is not at a disadvantage.  That every frequency has a different delay time is also true of every speaker, but in practice this isn't a big issue if the subs are physically close to your mains.

The TH-118 is arguably the best subwoofer of its size on the planet.  The form factor is extremely convenient.  They roll very easily, and can easily be tipped on their side, into a van, etc.  Smaller subs in many cases are harder to move than the TH-118s. 

There are only three reasons I can think of to not get TH-118s:

- $$$
- If you already have a high-quality system, getting the matching subs can be a good idea
- rider acceptability (even this is becoming less of a problem as folks get more familiar with the product)

Other than those potential factors, the TH-118 should be at the top of your list.

Sincerely,
TJ Cornish
Danley TH-118 owner/lover
Compact Line Array Enthusiast
Occasional Danley Employee Forum Behavior Criticizer
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Alex Berry

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Re: Choosing the best sub for me
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2015, 09:41:45 pm »

Danley boxes - at least on this forum suffer from a little TMI - too much information, that can actually cloud the issue.  The reality is that every subwoofer needs to be time aligned to the mains to work correctly, and unless you're buying subs that match your mains (what are those, by the way?), the Danley is not at a disadvantage.  That every frequency has a different delay time is also true of every speaker, but in practice this isn't a big issue if the subs are physically close to your mains.

The TH-118 is arguably the best subwoofer of its size on the planet.  The form factor is extremely convenient.  They roll very easily, and can easily be tipped on their side, into a van, etc.  Smaller subs in many cases are harder to move than the TH-118s. 

There are only three reasons I can think of to not get TH-118s:

- $$$
- If you already have a high-quality system, getting the matching subs can be a good idea
- rider acceptability (even this is becoming less of a problem as folks get more familiar with the product)

Other than those potential factors, the TH-118 should be at the top of your list.

Sincerely,
TJ Cornish
Danley TH-118 owner/lover
Compact Line Array Enthusiast
Occasional Danley Employee Forum Behavior Criticizer

What I meant by delaying the Danley box was that I was under the impression that tapped horns have an inherrent delay, and that if the tops were lined up right next to the subs, you'd have to delay the tops to have them be aligned properly with the subs. As compared to bass reflex boxes, you don't have to do this.

My tops currently are EV ZLX-12P's, although I'd be using whatever subs we end up purchasing with a wide variety of tops. Be it QSC KW153, EV ETX-35P, and down the line we're looking at investing into a dB Tech T8 array, so we would use the subs with them as well.

Another factor worth considering would be that for the foreseeable future the sub(s) will be stored in a basement and in turn need to be carried up and down a flight of stairs. If I were to go with the Danley, I would probably just buy a stair dolly or something to deal with this.
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Mac Kerr

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Re: Choosing the best sub for me
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2015, 10:04:43 pm »

What I meant by delaying the Danley box was that I was under the impression that tapped horns have an inherrent delay, and that if the tops were lined up right next to the subs, you'd have to delay the tops to have them be aligned properly with the subs. As compared to bass reflex boxes, you don't have to do this.

All subs have an inherent delay. It is caused by the phase shift in the low pass filter in the crossover between the subs and the mains. If you use an 80Hz crossover the wavelength is about 14ft. A 12dB/octave filter will have a 180 phase shift, which at 80Hz will be half a wavelength, or about 7ft. That is just the crossover, so it happens with all speakers that you use a 12dB/oct crossover with.

This a very simplistic explanation of a more complex phenomenon, but maybe it helps make clear that lining up the fronts of front loaded boxes does not mean the output of them will match in phase.

Mac
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Choosing the best sub for me
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2015, 10:11:42 pm »

What I meant by delaying the Danley box was that I was under the impression that tapped horns have an inherrent delay, and that if the tops were lined up right next to the subs, you'd have to delay the tops to have them be aligned properly with the subs. As compared to bass reflex boxes, you don't have to do this.

My tops currently are EV ZLX-12P's, although I'd be using whatever subs we end up purchasing with a wide variety of tops. Be it QSC KW153, EV ETX-35P, and down the line we're looking at investing into a dB Tech T8 array, so we would use the subs with them as well.

Another factor worth considering would be that for the foreseeable future the sub(s) will be stored in a basement and in turn need to be carried up and down a flight of stairs. If I were to go with the Danley, I would probably just buy a stair dolly or something to deal with this.
If you're getting into boxes the size of 3-way mains or T8s, you'll have other issues getting boxes upstairs.

I have owned single-18 subs, and carrying them up stairs isn't any fun either.  With a second person, the TH-118's aren't a big deal to go up stairs - one person grabs the handles, the other grabs the casters.

In addition to delay (all subs require time alignment), you're going to need a crossover and EQ, so you're into a DSP or DSP amp anyway.
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Alex Berry

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Re: Choosing the best sub for me
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2015, 10:31:29 pm »

All subs have an inherent delay. It is caused by the phase shift in the low pass filter in the crossover between the subs and the mains. If you use an 80Hz crossover the wavelength is about 14ft. A 12dB/octave filter will have a 180 phase shift, which at 80Hz will be half a wavelength, or about 7ft. That is just the crossover, so it happens with all speakers that you use a 12dB/oct crossover with.

This a very simplistic explanation of a more complex phenomenon, but maybe it helps make clear that lining up the fronts of front loaded boxes does not mean the output of them will match in phase.

Mac

Taking the phase shift of a crossover out of the equation, does a tapped horn box have an inherrent delay due to the physical design compared to a bass reflex box which doesn't?

I was actually unaware that crossovers added that much phase shift.

If you're getting into boxes the size of 3-way mains or T8s, you'll have other issues getting boxes upstairs.

I have owned single-18 subs, and carrying them up stairs isn't any fun either.  With a second person, the TH-118's aren't a big deal to go up stairs - one person grabs the handles, the other grabs the casters.

In addition to delay (all subs require time alignment), you're going to need a crossover and EQ, so you're into a DSP or DSP amp anyway.

I'll always have a second person to help me carry the sub when needed, and after your simple explanation I've come to the realization that carrying the Danleys would be much easier than I previously thought. So thanks for that! Sometimes I miss the really simple things.

All of the amps I've been looking at so far at the very least have crossover control built in. Why would I need EQ though, AFAIK I could just low pass the Danley and let it run and it'd be fine. Especially after looking at the published frequency response for the box.

Although a big concern about the Danley would be that if I just got one now, if it broke I wouldn't have a backup. If I got two smaller subs, if one broke I would have a backup.

Lets throw another sub onto the chopping block. What about the Martin Audio WS18X, that thing looks promising as well.
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Lee Buckalew

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Re: Choosing the best sub for me
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2015, 10:58:27 pm »

Lets throw another sub onto the chopping block. What about the Martin Audio WS18X, that thing looks promising as well.

I like the WS18X but have never compared it side by side to the TH118.  Who is your rep for each of these?  Ask them for a demo so you can judge for your use.

Lee
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Lee Buckalew
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Mac Kerr

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Re: Choosing the best sub for me
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2015, 12:11:10 am »

Taking the phase shift of a crossover out of the equation,

How do you do that? Do you not have a crossover between the subs and mains? It can be an external line level crossover, or a passive high level crossover inside the speaker cabinet, but it will do the same thing. Getting subs and mains in phase through the crossover region involves more than lining up the front of the boxes.

Yes, because of the path length of a horn type sub there will be additional delay involved in lining up a horn sub, but who cares once you have made the effort to do an alignment at all.

Mac
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Alex Berry

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Re: Choosing the best sub for me
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2015, 12:48:23 am »

I like the WS18X but have never compared it side by side to the TH118.  Who is your rep for each of these?  Ask them for a demo so you can judge for your use.

Lee

After doing a bit more research I'm starting to consider investing into a Martin H3+ rig down the line instead of a dB Tech T8 rig. This would push me much further towards wanting to get the WS18X because not only would it go great with the H3+, but it could easily be paired with the WS218X. As attractive as the Danley is, having a full Martin system is more attractive. And even further down the line I'd probably invest into their line arrays too.

I haven't talked to my dealers in my area yet, but the dB Tech/Martin dealer that covers my area is Audio Associates, and the Danley dealer is Lienau AV Associates. I'm kinda new to this, but I'm not exactly sure how OK both companies would be with demoing speakers for me at the same time.

How do you do that? Do you not have a crossover between the subs and mains? It can be an external line level crossover, or a passive high level crossover inside the speaker cabinet, but it will do the same thing. Getting subs and mains in phase through the crossover region involves more than lining up the front of the boxes.

Yes, because of the path length of a horn type sub there will be additional delay involved in lining up a horn sub, but who cares once you have made the effort to do an alignment at all.

Mac

I never said that I was going to not run a crossover in an actual real life scenario, you were missing the point. I've run many bass reflex subs before, and never delayed them to the tops to compensate for phase shift in the crossover, and never thought the subs sounded out of phase from the tops. At the same time, wouldn't the tops be experiencing the same phase shift due to their crossover as well? If the Danley box has MORE delay due to its design even on top of the delay caused by the crossover, that's just something else that I have no idea how to deal with. That's something that bass reflex cabs don't have.
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Mac Kerr

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Re: Choosing the best sub for me
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2015, 01:08:42 am »

I never said that I was going to not run a crossover in an actual real life scenario, you were missing the point. I've run many bass reflex subs before, and never delayed them to the tops to compensate for phase shift in the crossover, and never thought the subs sounded out of phase from the tops. At the same time, wouldn't the tops be experiencing the same phase shift due to their crossover as well? If the Danley box has MORE delay due to its design even on top of the delay caused by the crossover, that's just something else that I have no idea how to deal with. That's something that bass reflex cabs don't have.

You are missing the point. Due to the phase shift in the crossover your subs did not have a good phase alignment even though you lined up the fronts. If you want to do a phase alignment using delay to get the subs and mains corrected through the crossover range it hardly matters whether you are adjusting for 7ms or 15ms. On the other hand, if you don't care about the phase alignment, and for years hardly anyone was even aware of it, it won't sound terrible with either type of speaker. Choose a speaker type for its performance characteristics, not its latency.

Mac
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Choosing the best sub for me
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2015, 01:08:42 am »


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