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Author Topic: Single-18" Subwoofers  (Read 8420 times)

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Single-18" Subwoofers
« on: August 30, 2004, 09:41:52 am »

Hi. I am a member of a Christian organization here at Purdue University. Currently, the sound guy is looking for some new subwoofers and mains. I have recommended that since he is going to use subwoofers, he should switch to mains that have 12" woofers for greater midrange clarity. I wanted to go and build him a new system (since I have a good deal of experience designing and building speakers for hi-fi as well as a fair knowledge of what is different about designing a pro sound speaker system) but he was not very receptive to the idea. But I have been given the task of searching out potential candidates on the internet and comparing them side-by-side to see which one will provide the best value. So far, here are the models I have lined up:

JBL JRX118S
JBL MP418S
JBL SR4718X
Yorkville LS608
Yamaha SW118V

BHFProfessional SXP118
>>This is a subwoofer of my own design, which uses a Selenium WPU1807QCF woofer. I'm including it in the comparison just to show how what I could do compares to what they'll spend on a commercial product.

Are there any other really good single-18" subwoofers I have missed? Please let me know so I can have the most complete comparison possible.
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Mac Kerr

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Re: Single-18" Subwoofers
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2004, 11:52:30 am »

What is the music the sub will be used with? What is the rest of the system it will have to integrate with? What kind of venue will it be expected to fill? Will it have to be moved around? Are there size or weight constraints? What is the magic of a single 18"?

If you want a complete informed answer, ask a complete, informed question.

Are any of those you chose great subs? No. Will they suffice in some instances? Yes.

If you think bass only comes out of 18" drivers check out the LAB Subwoofer forum. Also check out the EAW SBX220. The LAB Sub is a dual 12" horn loaded sub that goes WAY lower than any of these and gets louder and is less distorted by design. The SBX220 is a dual 12" front loaded compact sub that goes lower and gets louder than any of your choices.

Mac Kerr
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Re: Single-18" Subwoofers
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2004, 12:21:19 pm »

The room is a large lecture hall seating over 400 people. The music is basically contemporary Christian music played by our worship band, plus some stuff from CD, DVD, and VHS sources. The bass guitar and the kick drum will also be fed through the system. With all these considerations in mind, I wanted to build for them a pair of double-18" subwoofers using that Selenium driver I said earlier. I know that for this application, we really need dual 18s to get great sound, or a good bass horn like the LAB. Our sound guy doesn't really place all that much stock in what I have to say, though, especially when what I say is necessary costs more or is more complicated to do than what he thinks is necessary. He's not a professional sound guy, though. He also said that home-built products are not suitable for this application because they are not backed by any warranty, and they are difficult to insure, though my friend's father, who is in charge of sound equipment for Keynote Communications, the music ministry arm of our Christian organization (Campus Crusade for Christ) has many enclosures that were built by them. The Selenium woofers I wanted to use were backed by a 5-year limited warranty, and I gave him all these reasons whyt what I would build him would be superior for the price but he wouldn't budge. He wants single 18" woofers on each side, and he wants a reputable name. That's why I am researching single-18" subs for him.

Transportation is a big concern. Right now, we have a pickup bed to work with. I think they need a covered trailer, but we have a very limited budget. Our current subwoofers are Peavey dual-15" in bandpass enclosures. They are very boomy and indistinct, which led our sound guy to the conclusion that the room was being "overpowered" by them, which is why he wants to step backwards to single 18s when we buy new subs. I think that idea is dumb, dumb, dumb, but as I said before, our sound guy doesn't really place that much stock in what I have to say. The reason why the room seems to sound so bad is because the mains we were using are Crate brand, with cheap 15" woofers and made from 1/2" particleboard material with no inner bracing, thus boomy, indistinct midbass, further exacerbated by the subwoofers' poor transient decay and majorly not-flat frequency response. I have advised him that our new mains need to use 12s instead of 15s for better midrange clarity, and that they need to have better build quality. He said that made sense.

If I could get some expert opinions saying that we need dual 18" bins instead of single-18s, and that a home-built project really is not as bad as he says it is, then perhaps I could get our sound guy to change his mind.

Addendum - yes, I do realize that bass does not only come out of 18" woofers. It's all in the driver's design and the enclosure's loading, and the SBX220 is just an example of that. However, I fear that anything from EAW is just going to be out and out too expensive even for consideration.
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Kevin Maxwell AKA TheMAXX

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Re: Single-18" Subwoofers
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2004, 01:13:13 pm »

I have had to work with equipment that wasn’t the best and I make it sound the best that I can. Are you or this other guy capable of that? Are you trying to take it to the next level? Have you gotten the most out of the equipment you now have? It sounds like you don’t have the money to do it properly. So you are going to spend some money one way (yours) or the other (his) and maybe still not be what everyone is looking for.

From what you have said regarding construction it sounds like you might make some nice sturdy home made cabinets. If you are capable of doing that, how about making a LAB sub for them? And if you are really confident of your capabilities offer them a money back guarantee. If they don’t like it they don’t pay you.  

What are you using for a crossover / DSP now and how is everything feed. What amps (how much power) are being used and how? Are you using what is called Aux fed subs? Do you know what that is?

If the guy in charge is open to it can you find someone to come over and show you how to get the most out of what you have now? And then you can figure out where to go from there.

Does the guy in charge think that he knows everything? If he does (know it all) just tell him if he needs any help to call and then just walk away.
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Dave Rickard

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Re: Single-18" Subwoofers
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2004, 01:28:27 pm »

Hi Rory,

I replied to your question on the PE board.  If you have decided on Selenium, then also consider the 18SW1P.  Again, model the Peavey 18 Low Rider, you'll find it very similar to the SW1P.

daver
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Dave
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"The wrong piece of gear, at the right price, is still the wrong piece of gear."

"If you don't have good stuff at each end of the signal chain, (mics and speakers) what you use in between is just turd polish."--Dave Dermont

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Re: Single-18" Subwoofers
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2004, 02:36:47 pm »

The reason I'm so stuck on this particular Selenium driver is that it's inexpensive, but seems very durable, with the power handling and the bass extension that's most appropriate for our application. The other Selenium sub is significantly more expensive. I haven't researched the price of the Peavey Low Rider 18 but our sound guy doesn't think Peavey has a very good reputation. This sub doesn't need to go ocean-deep, just deep enough to provide the power from the kick drum and the bass. It needs to be efficient and loud, fill the room appropriately, and last a long time.

Right now, we have a DBX DriveRack PA that is taking care of the room EQ and crossover functions. We used a real-time analyzer to make sure that the EQ was set properly for the room. The sub amp is a big 400w/channel Peavey which looks like it's almost as old as I am. It weighs a ton. As far as I know, our subs are not fed from an Aux Send. That is something to try, just to clean stuff up a bit. Wouldn't that make it a bit more complicated to cross over? We use a dbx DriveRack and that handles all the crossover stuff as well as the room EQ. So we basically get to choose between having room correction, adjustable crossovers, and real-time analysis, and keeping the vocals out of the subs.

I don't want to build a LAB sub because those are extremely complicated and we'll never use those in big enough numbers to realize their full potential, like the recommended 4/side. In addition, I don't know how their size compares to the dual-18" bin that I've designed.
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Dave Rickard

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Re: Single-18" Subwoofers
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2004, 03:45:49 pm »

http://srforums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/m/7113/503/?SQ=69b 12b2b9843cbffb587a13fcd37d6ea

may help with some answers.  

What impressed me about the Low Rider was the nearly identical specs to the big Selenium at a very affordable, locally available, price.  My local Peavey guy quoted me $175.  Run that past your sound guy.

Also, 400 watts seems pretty small for a sub amp.

Good luck,
daver
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Dave
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"The wrong piece of gear, at the right price, is still the wrong piece of gear."

"If you don't have good stuff at each end of the signal chain, (mics and speakers) what you use in between is just turd polish."--Dave Dermont

Kevin Maxwell AKA TheMAXX

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Re: Single-18" Subwoofers
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2004, 04:42:53 pm »

I have used some of the other DBX DriveRack units but not the PA version. So I don’t know if you can easily do “Aux fed subs” with a DRPA. With some of the other units I use 1 input for the subs and the other for the rest of the house speakers (mono system) including font fills and delay. I wish the DR260 would let you route the RTA mic input as a 3erd in for subs. I usually feed the subs from a matrix or from the right out (and use the left for house) and leave the auxes open for other things.

When you say “We used a real-time analyzer to make sure that the EQ was set properly for the room.” That kind of puts up a big red flag in my mind. Was it just an RTA or something more sophisticated? How was it used?

400 watts seems kind of small to me for a sub amp if you really want a lot of kick.

Do you have one of these subs that you have designed to try it out with the rest of this system? I personally would shy away from something home made unless it was proven to me that it was better. Now I used to work with proprietary speaker cabinets made by a sound company that I used to do some freelance work for and they were a very nice design. And in the right hands they sounded great. But there is a bit of a difference between home made and proprietary boxes. These same people tried to make a trap box but they gave up because they could never get it to sound the way they wanted it to.

What is wrong with the present subs? Is it the design, the construction, the components the implementation or and or all of these things? Can you fix them cheaper then buying new? We all like new things but it isn’t always necessary.  
BTW I also have worked with some nice subs that weren’t 18s. I have never heard the LAB sub (I would love to) but I think the multiples would probably knock down the size room you are talking about. I know that is an exaggeration but my point is I don’t think you want that much kick for your application. Maybe someone who has some experience with them could tell you how many you would need for your applications.
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Kevin Maxwell
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Re: Single-18" Subwoofers
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2004, 07:24:42 pm »

I have a lot of experience designing homemade cabinets for my hi-fi projects. I have all the tools, and experience with both MDF and Plywood, and I understand the latter is better for pro audio because it is lighter and easier to carry. I have computerized design simulation tools for both enclosures AND crossovers.

I'm going to advise our sound guy that unless he is prepared to spend $1,000-2,000 on the subs, that he'd better just forget it and stick with what we have and just get some better main speakers.
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Brian Adams

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Re: Single-18" Subwoofers
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2004, 11:59:19 pm »

I don't own a Driverack, but one of the main differences between the DRPA and the 260 is that the DRPA is stereo, but not individually controllable.  If you change the EQ on one channel, it changes the other.  The 260 has independent channels.  Apparently.  So, the 260 is the only one that would work for aux fed subs.

BTW, I use Yorkville LS800P's, and I love them.  I don't know how they would work in your specific situation, but they're perfect for medium sized clubs (150-300).
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