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Author Topic: JBL SRX828SP, Danley DBH 218, Yorkville LS808, and QSC KW181: An Audience's Take  (Read 2165 times)

David Sturzenbecher

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Hi Peter-

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


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.

Wasnt that myth that tapped horns have less harmonic distortion debunked in reply #20 here? (The link goes to reply 19... sorry)
https://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/topic,172686.msg1591151.html#msg1591151
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Peter J. Curtis

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The purpose of a tapped horn isn't to acoustically perform better than a front loaded horn.  Rather, it's to get the frequency response the same whether it's 1 box or 8.  You could bring 8 Lab Subs or Orbit Shifters or BattleAxes to a basement party, which would be a logistics nightmare - or a single TH118XL.  There are some acoustical trade-offs for the size convenience.

Really makes me want to hear a TH118XL now. I've been wanting to hear a TH221 for a long time and compare it to a G28, since they seem like they would make good competitors in SPL. Definitely no contest in size, price, and weight. JTR also has the Captivators that go down to 27hz and do not require coupling to get that low. I doubt they are as loud as a G28, but they're probably close and they're half the price. Same can be said about Bassboss units.

However, for down low, I'd still prefer a cab like the G28. With the given Itech processing it gets quite loud and goes very low. A G28 is definitely louder than a TH118 and quite close to a pair of TH118's. Logistically, since it's somewhere in between one and two TH118's that equal a G28, it makes it more or less the same. Not in efficiency though, since those G28's do suck up a ton of power. There are other subs than the G28 that you can say the same thing about too. In general, most horn-loaded and tapped-horn designs on the market sacrifice those last 10hz for more efficiency. E.g Danley replaced the TH215 with the TH115. The latter requires at least two to match one TH215 below 40hz. And from 50-100hz, you probably need two TH215's to match one TH115. Hence, the trade-off.

There's still no arguing that a tapped-horn or horn-loaded subwoofer has better efficiency from 40hz and up. And only horn-loaded subs have the advantage that they can go lower with more of them. Just for lower frequencies, Bassboss, JTR, and JBL present better options if you need less cabs.
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Jeff Lelko

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Really hurts that you walked over my experiment without even reading everything.
...
Kind of hurts that you glossed over the fact that this information was geared towards rental companies, in particular, the one I work for.

Peter, I did read the entire thread, but much of it is meandering around different topics with several contradictions.  I like the experiment but am not in agreement with some of your conclusions, which is why I chose to contribute my thoughts.  I'm just trying to emphasize that there is no one-size-fits-all solution on the market, and that the perfect product for one person might be the worst choice for another.  I'll take it easy since you're new and I don't want to come off as argumentative, but I do like a healthy debate.

A profitable investment that has its limitation. Besides, this was NOT for DJ's, corporate gigs, and so forth. Most of those gigs pay way less than anything we'd ever consider for a contract.

All products have their limitations, and part of owning a business is knowing how to maximize your investments.  Since pricing and pay rates vary by location I won't talk numbers, but upper end DJ and corporate can be very lucrative with an extremely high profit margin.  Sure the bigger events have bigger numbers on the invoice, but also have much higher overhead expenses to consider. 

I also said prior that all these boxes are good, but thanks, go ahead and keep thinking that comparisons of a DBH218 and even a Behringer aren't worth it. They are, because the money to SPL is a real and calculable comparison between the Behringer and the DBH218. My entire point was that, if you want the best system, the MI subwoofer game isn't worth it.

Again, adjectives like "good" and "best" are completely relative without any real bounding criteria.  If you want an actual dollar per decibel number for each subwoofer I'd wager that the Behringer sub would come out far ahead, as both volume and frequency range can drive a significant price increase for little numerical benefit. 

As a business owner and the one signing the checks, the "best" system is the one that I can turn profit on by providing it to customers who are willing to pay for it.  While a stack of DBH218s might be fitting at a large outdoor function, it'd be the absolute wrong choice to bring to a VIP corporate event where the system needs to be heard (at reasonable volumes) but not seen.  This is why many of us impress upon others the need for a business plan before spending any money.  It's too easy to buy the wrong thing all together without understanding the anticipated application - completely being agnostic to brand names or the number of zeros in the price.  The same argument can be made for a rental house - you typically stock what your customers need to rent to meet riders or play events - not what you personally like the most.  Sure, I've chosen to splurge on a few things here and there just to make life easier or because I really like the solution (such as Prolyte Verto Truss), but that's still in the minority when it comes to making large investments.  Just my two cents of course! 
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Tim McCulloch

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As the guy responsible for making money for my employer with the budget I get, I'm in favor of having as few different models and manufacturer's gear in the shop as possible, based on what customers are willing to pay for.  The rest is largely moot.  It's not my big-ass stereo, the rig is is a capitalist tool to make money for the owners and provide employment to the crew.

There are a number of niche markets out there - the EDM and fine arts segments in particular - that have pretty specific desires regarding what gear is expected.  If you don't have it, you'll have a harder time pitching your service.

But in general entertainment and corporate work, it's about not using too much space in the venue, weight in the truck, and making the client happy with the result.  At any given level of db$, gear is more similar than it is dissimilar and to an extent, it's brand-interchangeable.  The top end of almost every manufacturer represents very good product with complete 'families' of products and accessories.  Unless dealing with an artist engineer or production manager that won't accept substitutions, it's about having the right level of gear and less so the badge on the gear.

Back to the original listening eval.  What I got from that is the variety of expectations and desires.  Not every auditioner is listening for the same things and there's no real way to scale their responses without having some knowledge of the subs being used.  None of this is surprising nor a whine about the process, I know how these things get done - they're set up to answer some immediate questions and curiosities, not designed as research projects.

Ultimately it's the customer acceptance to the solutions you offer that will determine the future of your product choices. 
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"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

Peter J. Curtis

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100% agree with you Tim.

I was just about to mention how QSC and Behringer do not provide the SPL desired by many clients unless you have many many more cabs. SPL is heavily dependent on the initial sensitivity. I'd rather not pay employees to lug around something like sixteen QSC boxes when I could have less employees move four boxes that give the same output. Plus, it's unreasonable to consider billing a large event with a boat load of QSC KW181's. The client is mostly likely going to fuss about that.

It is client satisfaction that gets more money overall, but it's also nice to cut costs whenever quality isn't sacrificed. This is why buy once, cry once is vital. Initial costs are usually high regardless, but you'll make more in the long run by getting the best gear for your money.

To be fair Jeff, you're right about corporate gigs. In my experience, I've found that it's easier to just use tops and forget the sub. It's less money and usually just one or two people can get the entire thing up and running for 90% of the large scale corporate events that come our way. On a related note, the expense of having more of a cheaper cabinet manifests not only in SPL but in employee fees. Thus, it's easily argued that less SRX or DBH cabs are better than having eight or sixteen QSC KW181's. Strike time is less, meaning you don't have to pay employees as much. You might not think this is much, but I assure you it's a 5-6 figure savings for most rental companies over a year. Even for larger DJ's that do big weddings or school dances, they generally need helpers, and having less people to pay is important. Being able to have two Orbit Shifters for a moderately sized student prom will set you apart from the other DJ's that need eight MI boxes to adequately provide enough bass. And they could set it all up by themselves, rather than needing significantly more time or some helpers.

I also mentioned the substitution too, where a client must have x brand, so you're kind of screwed if you don't have it. This is the nature of the game though. The overall outcome of my listening tests were that clients did have different takes. However, the Danley gear came out on top in most tests. Thus, statistically, we'll have an easier time pushing the Danley's as rentals than the others. Still, as Tim said, at pro levels, the gear is similar enough that you can get by. I just want to eek out the most benefits in initial costs as possible, since this looks better on my part; I spent less for gear that fits our clientele and so my boss is happy.
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Mark Wilkinson

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The purpose of a tapped horn isn't to acoustically perform better than a front loaded horn.  Rather, it's to get the frequency response the same whether it's 1 box or 8.  You could bring 8 Lab Subs or Orbit Shifters or BattleAxes to a basement party, which would be a logistics nightmare - or a single TH118XL.  There are some acoustical trade-offs for the size convenience.

That's one way to look at it. (Keeping the frequency response the same, one box or eight)
My way, is who would not want an extended low end from adding boxes.....
especially when a single front loaded horn goes as deep as a single tapped horn to begin with?

I mean, a single Orbitshifter goes as low as a single TH118XL, and a single Labhorn goes a little lower still.
All gain, and no loss i think.

I totally agree with the point about acoustical tradeoffs for size and convenience.
I think that's what tapped horns represent, a tradeoff giving up deeper bottom end, to gain maximum SPL in the more often used frequency range.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2020, 02:54:27 pm by Mark Wilkinson »
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Peter J. Curtis

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especially when a single front loaded horn goes as deep as a single tapped horn to begin with?

Mark, this box is more or less the same as the TH118XL but goes lower and should be louder dB wise at some frequencies (based on spec sheets it should be +2dB, and they'd be even at other frequencies): https://www.jtrspeakers.com/jtr-captivator-218pro

This was compared using this spec sheet: https://www.danleysoundlabs.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/TH118XL-Specs-V0.03.pdf

JTR measured the box with 2.0v, so the sensitivity of the Captivator 218 Pro is more than the TH118XL. The TH118XL should be about 102dB at 2.0v (I actually did the math this time instead of just guessing). You could also get the active version for the price of the TH118XL passive. The drop off of the TH118XL on spec looks like it's still relatively smooth till 30hz, so they should actually be really close to each other but the JTR should still be louder. From data-bass, JTR has proven themselves to be very honest with their spec sheets too, so I'd be willing to believe that 27hz at -3dB. So 101dB sensitivity at 27hz is quite good. And even if it ends up being -6dB at 27hz, that's still louder than the TH118XL at 27hz cause 98dB at 2.0v would be 95dB at 2.0v for the TH118XL.

This is not just deeper but noticeably deeper and louder on most of 20hz-120hz. I don't know what cutoffs most people use, since I typically use an 80hz or 100hz for gigs, but if someone cut at say 120hz, you might get slightly more performance with a tapped or folded horn.

By spec sheets only, it looks like the TH118XL only has a chance of being louder from 70-120hz and only by an upper limit of 2dB, provided that the +/-3dB holds for the Captivator. It should given JTR's reputation, but still, this is why I don't like spec sheets or response curves. They just don't tell the entire story, even with the TH118 vs the Orbit Shifter Pro, since they do sound different, albeit minimally in their case. This is further expanded when you start shifting through cabs and even with a perfect "levelling" of their frequencies, they'll still sound different than each other due to the nature of how their sound is propagated. Because of this, I always want to have the cabs in front of me to do a proper test and it's why listening tests mean so much more to me than spec sheets because if the Captivator is able to do this, it kind of invalidates the Orbit Shifter Pro since the Captivator is only slightly bigger. However, the way the Orbit Shifter Pro produces sound might make it sound "better" than the Captivator to certain listeners. Again, this part is subjective and difficult to gauge without actually testing the boxes. Also, regarding distortion, it seems like David cleared that part up about horns vs other cabs by referencing another person's actual tests. Depending on the distortion, this could sound better or worse to some as well, which is also important to note.

What I really want is another subwoofer shootout. Get a few companies or rental companies to work with a group and really test the cabs. You know, really let the engineers get the feel for each cab right next to each other. The TH215 was in that test and, while it wasn't as loud as the Tripps or TH115 for instance, it also got some great reviews despite having subpar SPL. And I got a similar vibe from non-audio when I tested it for them. I wish I could have done this test with audio engineers too, but, sadly, I don't have many engineer friends with enough time (and the ones that do are generally lacking in experience) to do a legitimate test and shootout with lots of subs. Nor do I have access to the all the cabs I would like to test. I tried to though, but many of the engineers I had fell through. Maybe people with more pull and experience could get it all together but I certainly cannot and so I resorted to audio tests with people that fit within the demographic of potential clients. I could provide several cabs though, if anyone ever decides to attempt another subwoofer shootout. I'm sure my employer wouldn't mind since the results could be used for our businesses purposes.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2020, 01:01:43 pm by Peter J. Curtis »
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Mark Wilkinson

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Mark, this box is more or less the same as the TH118XL but goes lower and should be louder dB wise at some frequencies (based on spec sheets it should be +2dB, and they'd be even at other frequencies): https://www.jtrspeakers.com/jtr-captivator-218pro

This was compared using this spec sheet: https://www.danleysoundlabs.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/TH118XL-Specs-V0.03.pdf



Yes, very familiar with data-bass and JTR's products tested there.  Awesome resource from Josh....and I admire Jeff for participating in such full disclosure.
I look forward to seeing the Captivator-218pro tests show up.

Also think the 218pro, being a double 18, kinda validates the idea the easiest way to dig real low is with bass-reflex.

Sub shootouts are always fun.  Although i do think it's often really hard to make fair apples to apples comparisons. 
Me and my buds always get over zealous thinking we can try/test too many things at the same time. Mistakes get made, memories blur, etc.
Nothing like living with gear for a while, huh?
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Tim McCulloch

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Yes, very familiar with data-bass and JTR's products tested there.  Awesome resource from Josh....and I admire Jeff for participating in such full disclosure.
I look forward to seeing the Captivator-218pro tests show up.

Also think the 218pro, being a double 18, kinda validates the idea the easiest way to dig real low is with bass-reflex.

Sub shootouts are always fun.  Although i do think it's often really hard to make fair apples to apples comparisons. 
Me and my buds always get over zealous thinking we can try/test too many things at the same time. Mistakes get made, memories blur, etc.

Nothing like living with gear for a while, huh?

Yepper.  And using a shoot out to make *meaningful, repeatable measurements* requires lots of space and strict adherence to the measurement protocol.  This is what we found in NYC in 2007.  Any variation can introduce unknown errors in the measurement and small-ish spaces mean moving subs around (Helmholtz resonators...) and introducing numerous reflections into the measurements.

"We" kind of presumed that any anomalies that were present in all measurements could be mathematically subtracted from measurements and the practicality of that proved us wrong, so we had a bunch of TEF plots that were valid only for each unit, in the acoustic space the measurement was taken.  So no universal 'truths' were uncovered, other than there are some really good subs built by non-multinational companies...

For the last 30 years or so I've made my living running other people's companies.  Incremental savings - the kinds that come from buying more efficient, higher output products - are difficult to pitch to the equity side of the biz.  These savings don't have a direct, positive impact on cash flow and the savings are very much economy-of-scale things.  If one needs only 2 or 4 subs and the SRX will do, there's little reason to spend 3x the cash for 6dB more output, especially if having a big pile of subs impresses clients and results in more work.

At scale, though, the difference between, say, an SRX828 and a similar size unit with 3dB-6dB more output is a smaller warehouse, less space in the truck, and less labor... but it takes owning more than most small operators will need in order to realize those incremental savings.  And is there a perceivable difference between those two products in the use ones own shop might give them?  One needs, as you say, Mark, to live with them for a while.
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"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

boburtz

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Yes, very familiar with data-bass and JTR's products tested there.  Awesome resource from Josh....and I admire Jeff for participating in such full disclosure.
I look forward to seeing the Captivator-218pro tests show up.

Also think the 218pro, being a double 18, kinda validates the idea the easiest way to dig real low is with bass-reflex.
We purchased 16 of the Captivator 218Pro boxes last winter (pre-pandemic). We actually took delivery of the final four after the shelter in place imposed by the California governor, so sadly, no real world reviews of the package yet, although we did get to squeeze a couple of smaller gigs in with them before the lockdown. Prior to the Cap218P, we were using QRX218 subs. We do all sorts of stuff and frankly, with enough quantity, the QRX is a solid box. The Cap218P is physically larger, handles more power, and is more efficient in the lowest registers, by a lot. The driver has more than twice the xmax, and almost three times the power handling, so higher output than the QRX is a given. I measured them both outdoors with a calibrated interface and calibrated microphone. The only processing was a 21hz, LR 24db hi-pass and a 100hz, 36db butterworth low-pass. Measurement source was the same and conditions were identical for each. Microphone on the ground at 1m, no boundaries within 30' and we moved the subs that weren't under test completely out of the area. I'm sure there were things we could have done to get more accurate results, it was on an asphalt parking lot. Maybe that matters, maybe it doesn't. Anyhow, the results are below. Black is Cap218 Pro, Orange is QRX218s. The QRX trace is pretty close to its published spec, so it's probably fair to say that the measurements are reasonably accurate. However accurate they may or may not be, it's certainly an accurate like for like comparison. As you can see, the Cap218P is very solid below 30hz. Bear in mind, our Cap218P is a modified version, the box dimensions differ from the production version. We had them customized to fit into our 16' box truck, so 30"x22.5"x45", and no tilt back wheels. Jeff says the internal box volume is close enough to the stock design that the specs shouldn't really stray. I'm sure he's right, I just thought it would be prudent to mention.
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