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JBL SRX828SP, Danley DBH 218, Yorkville LS808, and QSC KW181: An Audience's Take

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Peter J. Curtis:

--- Quote from: Art Welter on August 31, 2020, 09:51:11 AM ---Peter,

Interesting comparisons, different strokes for different folks ;^).

The 112 dB sensitivity of the DBH-218 is referenced to 2.83V @1M 1⁄2 space, measured as 28.3V @ 10M.
To be a "one watt" sensitivity rating in to it's 2 ohm (1.8 minimum) nominal load, the drive voltage would have to be reduced to 1.41/14.14 volts.
Since 2.83v in to 2 ohms results in a 6 dB higher output than a 1 watt/1 meter rating, the "continuous" rating of 141 dB at 3600 watts reflects that calculated sensitivity, with no power compression considered.

The Orbit Shifter (available in 2, 4 or 8 ohms)is referenced to 1 watt/1 meter, and rated for 139dB, using an 8000 watt calculated peak of 142db 3dB power compression.


--- End quote ---

Eh, to be fair, I kind of just wrote the comment off the cuff and just used rudimentary knowledge I've learned over the years but I guess I didn't think it through all the way. Either way, I didn't mean anything by it; I still haven't heard a louder dual 18 than the DBH. I have heard one of better sound quality, that goes lower, and is almost as loud: JBL's G28. It's like -3dB from what I've gathered on paper, and in person it's only slightly less loud. Although I didn't directly A/B them, I've dealt enough with the DBH that I know it's a touch louder than when I heard the G28 except if you put EDM through it, then the G28 is the better box. Plus it's lighter and smaller, so there's the trade off. This is why I want to switch to the LC's, except for the fact that they're even bigger. Regarding spec sheets though, just the other day someone mentioned to me about the Electro Voice's X12-128. Its spec sheet has a 105 sensitivity with a 141 continuous output and 147 peak. EV typically does 1w/1m, which seems dang close to what the DBH218 actually does, I doubt it outputs as much though. Your math seems like a more educated comment than my one off but hey, my guess of 106-108 wasn't far off! I just knew for a fact that a true 1w/1m 112 sensitivity subwoofer, in conservative spec sheets, would definitely be much more than 141dB continuous.

Wall of text incoming!

For contrast purposes and to further my gripes with spec sheets, EV's spec sheets show the QRX subs being on par with the JBL VTX subs which is definitely not the case in the real world. This is also the case with some of Danley's gear too. I heard from a colleague this morning who did a real 1w/1m test on the TH412, found it has a 104 sensitivity. Those other numbers are just fluff that some people put in and I don't really care what they did to get their numbers, what I care about is the actual output, sound quality, and client satisfaction as that's what I get paid for. Danley's do output tremendous amounts of sound and definitely meet their continuous SPL's, but their sensitivity ratings just seem like fluff that could catch the uneducated off guard. I don't know why they started doing this because they didn't need to and they used to use the 1w/1m standard anyway. For instance, the TH215 was rated at a 1w/1m measurement and it puts out that much in my experience. If I had a choice, I'd stick with EAW spec sheets. Those whole space 1w/1m numbers are tasty. The half space 1w/1m conservative specs from JBL are quite pleasing to the palate as well. At least neither EV or Danley is as horrendous as Cerwin Vega though. I would legitimately pay someone just so I never have to see another Cerwin Vega spec sheet alongside its true response graph. Yuck.

Spec sheets aren't the only thing that Danley does that upsets me though. They do claim things like the TH115 is "lightweight" which it definitely is not. Maybe for its output compared to other cabs this could be valid, but honestly, this falls short when you realize that the SRX828 is lighter and louder (albeit minimally in both), but JBL does NOT advertise its low weight. because they know that no one in their right mind would consider anything close to 150lbs as lightweight. They focus on its portability and ease of transport. Danley has portability as advertisement for the DBH, which I mostly agree with though. However, the weight is the biggest issue I've had with Danley cabs over the years. Which brings me to my conclusion for this thread....

Final notes and statement from me on this thread: The biggest complaint I get for the DBH is that some clients think it's too heavy but I think after 150 pounds, if it's on wheels, it's like pushing the same weight, except the DBH has a better equilibrium than those two wheeled 160 pound TH118's. I like how the JBL SRX828 has the four wheeled caster and bag, plus it's lighter than TH118, goes deeper, costs roughly half the price, and is pretty close in spl. The VT4880 beats the TH118 by being louder, going deeper, and being lighter so there's that (this is from personal experience), but it is a dual cab that's slightly bigger and was more expensive new. If people actually used these subs or understood the spec sheets, they'd see this too. To be fair though, I've gotten more complaints over the years for the TH118's weight than any other box I've had in inventory, which is why we switched to the DBH and SRX828SP for larger gigs because if you say dual 18, they expect the weight (I presume anyway) but mainly the four wheels make it seem light, plus we give them a metal ramp most of the time when they rent the DBH or multiple quantities of the SRX, so they can just push it up and down stairs, into their trucks, etc. They usually only complain about lifting the DBH up and down, which does suck. Much easier stacking another on top than putting the first one down. Still, I enjoy not hearing complaints about the TH118 like "it took two of us to slide this sucker up and into the truck" and so forth. Maybe we should've given them the ramp for the TH118's.... We also just sold the Yorkie's and I'm glad to have them out of our inventory to be honest; I didn't like how often I'd have to recone them in comparison to the other cabs and I hate their sound. And the KW's weren't ours in the first place; they were borrowed. At least they have four wheels on them though! Albeit, it's a very small box compared to everything else that was tested. I think that is very appealing to a great many people though.

Long story short, I love Danley gear but there are compromises, like weight, less lower frequency response (from a price standpoint because you have to spend considerably more with Danley to get what a JBL rig already does down low, e.g. the price of 2 BC218's is equivalent to 8 JBL G28's but the G28's will be louder than the 2 BC218's), and they do not have what I consider conservative spec sheets. If I were a company just starting out, I'd pick up some cheap Vertec rigs and be done with it since they're much easier to find second hand than Danley gear, weigh less, go lower, and sound great. They're a touch less in spl, but honestly, going lower is a great trade off because it widens your range to more EDM genres which make use of those lower frequencies quite often. If you have the money for new though, then Danley or JTR are the best value BUT this only valid for certain Danley cabs and JTR is cheaper simply because of the manufacturer direct option. And, as an alternative to JBL, EAW, or other upper-echelon subwoofer manufacturers, Bassboss would be a good choice. QSC, Yorkville, EV, Peavey, Yamaha, Cerwin Vega, and many others just aren't worth the price to performance ratios in the long run. Just my two cents. Anyway, I've been rambling for too long and kind of got side tracked.

I think that's all there is to say in this thread. Plus, I'm getting tired of doing the research and making sure everything is 100% so someone doesn't complain about this or that. I don't get paid for this you know, so I'm not giving it 100%. The first review I got paid for and permission to post so I put all my effort into that. If there's any other unique questions, I'll try to answer, but otherwise I think that's all there is to say and you got added extras since I was up late and bored. I think I like lurking and learning better than posting, plus I don't like having accounts on many sites, but this was a fun change of pace and thanks for the conversations/input!

Edit: Before someone tries to defend Danley, realize I do prefer Danley and think about it logically for a second. The DBH spec sheet lists its continuous and peak ratings in WATTAGE and not in VOLTS. There is ZERO uniformity, despite what anyone what might tell you, other than within Danley's own brand and even then, there's still room for question. For instance, their DNA amps state wattage, not volts. Since Art extrapolated it backwards properly, Danley could do the same but they do not. EVERY single amplifier specs I've ever seen uses wattage rather than voltage, so there should be consistency in that regard. Hence, this is marketing fluff just the same as how the TH115 is "lightweight". That cracks me up everytime by the way. 152lbs, lightweight. LOL. Like the old adage goes, "a good product sells itself".. or, probably more applicable for Danley.. "The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself." - Peter Drucker.. And given how many mobile Danley rigs I've seen or "low-level" entertainers I've seen with Danley, it seems like the market is more than just big arenas and stadiums... so better specs go a long way and seem less manipulative of the ignorant. I'm sure this was not their intent at all to have fluff or wonky specs, and they probably thought they were giving people better information, but it doesn't change the fact that it has happened to a few people that I know and they still believe that the DBH has 112 sensitivity at the standard 1w/1m. So...

Tim McCulloch:
Hi Peter-

That's an interesting read, and I want half of my time back... ;)

How long have you been schlepping audio gear?  Long enough that you remember when real subwoofers were a rare commodity?  That they were the size of a refrigerator and twice the weight?  That's the perspective of "light weight" at work here.

And density of construction has an audible and measurable effect, too.  I'm from a JBL shop and there's a significant difference in the cabinet resonance between a G28 (or an older 4880a) and an SRX828, let alone a long term output different in favor of the G28/4880a.  The additional 4-6dB of output comes at +3dB/$ to +6dB/$.  Right now if I were buying subs based on output and price, there are a lot of 4880a out there right now, but G28 are showing up as Covid kills off the local and regional audio biz...

Here's my take:  for acts playing <2000(ish), SRX828 is fine if the rest of the JBL rig is up to the genre and audience geometry.  Above that the expectations usually start rising and in order to leave some real estate for monitor beach, GTR techs, etc, having a box with 3dB more output cuts the footprint considerably, along with savings in transportation and labor.  I don't care about the sensitivity so long as I can safely drive it to full output, and that the long term acoustic output is +3dB or more of whatever it replaces.

I'll let Ivan explain why Danley handles their measurements the way they do, but I recall it making sense.

I heard my first Danley sub, the TH115, in NYC back in 2007 at a sub shootout.  What I liked about it then - tight and responsive, went low enough, size/weight - I still like 13 years later.  When compared to a bass reflex box with matched levels, it didn't sound as loud because it lacked the harmonic distortion of the reflex cab.  It was still impressive.

It's a great time to be in audio.  We have more choices of better gear than ever before.

Peter J. Curtis:

--- Quote from: Tim McCulloch on September 12, 2020, 06:01:53 PM ---That's an interesting read, and I want half of my time back... ;)

--- End quote ---

Hey Tim, so I'll try to keep it shorter this time:

--- Quote from: Tim McCulloch on September 12, 2020, 06:01:53 PM ---How long have you been schlepping audio gear?  Long enough that you remember when real subwoofers were a rare commodity?  That they were the size of a refrigerator and twice the weight?  That's the perspective of "light weight" at work here.

--- End quote ---

I've been in audio for awhile but I didn't start working with pro gear until the 2000's. I worked on L'Acoustics rigs for a long time at the Irvine Amphitheater before it closed. Loved the mids and highs but abhorred the subs. Ever since then, I've become more interested in subs, since I've found that most pro audio mid-hi range is great for most any application. Some bands and performers would bring in different gear, which led to basic involvement with a wide variety of gear, except I never got a chance to work with Danley on that job. I heard that elsewhere. I've heard the Jericho and TH812 setup at the BYU stadium before and, while I liked it, I didn't feel like it was unbelievably better than the L'Acoustics, EAW, db, or JBL rigs I've worked with before. It was a touch louder except I did not like the lack of subs (might have been due to where I was).

For me, I'm a little cynical now. I used to be a man of numbers, calculations, and equations to the point where I would obsess ever little detail. Now, I still love math, but for audio I don't really care as much anymore. I care about price. I want the best gear for the least amount of cash. And as long the gear sounds great with your material and gets loud enough, then it's great. No need to switch. Working with rentals limits this though. Like you, we use the MI SRX boxes for smaller gigs, but we use the Danley for bigger gigs. The mentality is that the SRX has enough protection that we don't need an engineer and if the gig is big enough for Danley, we'll most likely require that one of our engineers attends. There are exceptions, like people who must have the Danley's and are willing to pay the price. The company I'm working for is in a transition period right now, but we'll be back to full and have our inventory fully reorganized by 2021.

The TH115 is not my cup of tea. I'd choose the DBH218 or the TH215 over it anyday. The TH115 and TH118 just doesn't get low enough for some of the EDM clients we have (no experience with the TH118XL). Sure it works fine for rock, hip hop, and rap but as a rental, we need the lower extension for those heavy EDM raves. I personally enjoy a pair of TH215 over a pair of TH115's or TH118's. For a rental though, the DBH really floors the TH215, TH115, and TH118 for initial cost to performance though. If the TH115's were $1500-1750 a pop or the TH118 was $2000-2500 a pop, maybe it'd be a different conversation. But they're not, so.. Get a JTR Orbit Shifter Pro for basically the same performance as the TH118? It's less money and the horns couple..

Still, Danley is hands down better than others. Those MI subwoofers from Yorkville, QSC, EV, EAW, Yamaha, db, and so forth just aren't worth it in the long run. Even certain pro cabs aren't worth it for their price to SPL, looking at you Meyer/L'Acoustics/Clair/McCauley! If you can splurge a little more, I think $500-1500 if memory serves, the next up beyond the G28 would be the Nexo RS18. It's also a great sub. The only subs I haven't heard yet that I want to hear is the Megaton NDB218 and Turbosound TFS-900B. Spec wise, both look to be on par with the DBH218. The NDB218 looks like it's half the price of the DBH218, at 1600-1700 euros before shipping, from what I've been quoted before online, but who knows if that's actually true (or if it actually performs like it says) and the TFS-900B is about the same price as the DBH218. But hands down the DBH218 is still Danley's best price to SPL and performance ratio. They just have some spec sheet discontinuities and other non-sound related issues, plus all their cabinets are fridges. When renting out the cabs it's basically "do you want a mini-fridge with two wheels or do you want a full-sized fridge with four wheels?"

Also, if anyone has experience with the NDB218 or TFS-900B, I'd be curious to know your thoughts. Especially when compared to Danley. They both look to be extremely close to the DBH218 in SPL on paper.

--- Quote from: Tim McCulloch on September 12, 2020, 06:01:53 PM ---It's a great time to be in audio.  We have more choices of better gear than ever before.

--- End quote ---

But it's been 13 years since the TH115. There is new and better technology out there, waiting to be unraveled and put into boxes. I'm waiting for something new to come down in price and/or become feasible, like Powersoft's M-force. That sub could be a real game-changer for transient (it just uses so much power and isn't that efficient at the moment, especially for heat dissipation). Still need some kind of dual 18 for resonance though, which the DBH218 or G28 is my pick since you're more likely to get bigger contracts with dual 18's. I guess since the industry has been stagnant for awhile, I've become more and more focused on price since there are tons of subs within the same category. Still, I have to agree with you, it is a great time to be in audio. There are tons of choices and I don't think the prices would be this low on certain brands if it weren't this competitive at the moment. I just want more newer tech to come down the pipe, like the M-Force. The old servo's were great innovation too. Just something new to break the mold would be nice. The constant horn loaded, tapped horn, front loaded, and so forth have been around for decades. It's old tech. The woofers themselves have gotten better, which is great though. But who knows what will be the next great innovation, will it be a new kind of box? A new kind of woofer? Some combination? That's what I want. I want one box, with few drivers, lighter weight, and massive sound. You'd think this would violate physics, but hey, you just need to find a way around the physics. It's not like I'm asking for a perpetual motion machine; I'm pretty sure louder subwoofers are possible, and that we just haven't found the solution yet.

Peter J. Curtis:
Just wanted to note that, despite getting sidetracked, if you have any questions about the testing itself or anything at all, you can post it here or message me. I'll still keep that option open.. I just get too sidetracked.

My problem is that once I get talking, my love for conversation just takes over... I tried so hard over the last few days to not reply and just be done with it, since I said everything I wanted to.. It's just so addicting to talk about audio.. Please take my keyboard away before I develop withdrawals.

Jeff Lelko:

--- Quote from: Peter J. Curtis on September 17, 2020, 10:16:45 PM ---Those MI subwoofers from Yorkville, QSC, EV, EAW, Yamaha, db, and so forth just aren't worth it in the long run.

--- End quote ---

I suppose it would depend on your definition of "worth it", but otherwise I'd have to disagree.  Comparing a Danley DBH218 to a QSC KW181 is nearly as polar opposite as you can get short of bringing in a $199 Behringer sub.  The DBH218 and KW181 are two completely different boxes with completely different uses and users in mind.  Compact powered single 18" subs are far more versatile and applicable for a much wider variety of jobs compared to something like the 218, which by size and weight alone is going to restrict it to larger jobs with the space and handling logistics to accommodate.   

Additionally, top end MI-level gear tends to be extremely profitable for bands, DJs, and corporate use alike.  I've used a variety of QSC HPR Series and Yorkville Unity Series for my audio needs over the past 11+ years, and they are by far the most profitable investments I've made to date.  No, they're not Danley, but they're also only a fraction of the price and perform "well enough" to be acceptable for professional use.  You're not going to play an amphitheater with 10,000 people at rock concert volumes with them, but I've done crowds in the 2-3000 range without issue for the average corporate or municipal event.  Others here have also had excellent results with this level of equipment to build a business around.


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