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Author Topic: Best lightweight powered sub  (Read 52193 times)

Sherman Johnson

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Best lightweight powered sub
« on: February 11, 2011, 10:00:24 pm »

I apologize for the double post but it looks like the first thread has been locked and I would really like some input/advice.  Thanks!

I'm looking for a powered subwoofer for my wife to use at her karaoke and DJ gigs.

I've been researching powered subs for her for several days now.  The gigs are in small to medium size rooms.  I've looked at dozens of subs and spec sheets and have narrowed the list down to a few:

1) Mackie SRM1801
2) JBL EON518S
3) Mackie HD1501
4) Samson dB1800a
5) Samson dB1500a - discontinued
6) JBL PRX618S
7) JBL PRX518S
8) RCF SUB 705-AS - OEM mfr

The list above is by no means complete.  I'm open to any and all suggestions.  I'm sure there are options I'm not aware of.

Some considerations are:

1) Weight.
    A couple of the above may be getting too heavy at about 80 lbs (if my info is correct) -- #3, 4, and 6.  The lightest is the JBL EON at 65 lbs, the others are about 70 lbs.

2) Quality (not quantity) of sound.
   Having high SPL capability is great, but not if it comes at the expense of accuracy and musicality.

3) Freq. response.
    If we can believe Samson's specs, both of their subs are capable of 20>200 Hz, +/- 3 db.  The max SPL is not specified.  Of course, they may fall apart in 6 months, I don't know.  I can't find any customer reviews or info on them in the online forums.  The claimed freq. response of all the other subs is nowhere close.  Needless to say, all else being equal, I'd go with the sub that has the best response.  I know mfrs sometimes "stretch the truth" so I'm taking max. SPL and freq. response numbers with a grain of salt.  I'm more interested in the opinions of those who know good sound.  Has anyone heard either of the Samsons?

4) High pass outputs.
    Some subs only have full range (parallel/pass-thru) outputs.

5) Price.
    I hesitate to put a hard limit on the price, but the subs above are in our price range -- say less than $1,000.  The RCF is a bit over that (new anyway).

6) Versatility.
    The more inputs and outputs the better.  Variable crossover freq.  Level control.  Phase switch.  XLR and 1/4" inputs and outputs.  Etc, etc.  More = better.

Please keep the above in mind -- particularly weight.  In fact, I'm tempted to eliminate #3, 4, and 6 for that reason.  That said, I would consider buying one of them if it was really good in every other regard, but 80 lbs is stretching it.

Thanks for your help!
« Last Edit: April 25, 2011, 11:21:42 pm by Sherman Johnson »
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Mike Pyle

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Re: Best lightweight powered sub (first thread has been locked)
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2011, 04:52:59 am »

What kind of tops are you using?
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Tim Talbot

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Re: Best lightweight powered sub (first thread has been locked)
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2011, 02:37:38 pm »

Got some of thoese Mackie and there crap... utter crap hence why am trying to shift mine on lol.
Go JBL Eon or PRX and maybe RCF if you can. I Love the JBL kit but the RCF's are very very good ;)

Whatever you do DONT buy the Mackies, just loook online to the pages and pages of people writing about just how bad they are and how often they fail. Amp blows & takes the driver out with them at the same time.

Sherman Johnson

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Re: Best lightweight powered sub
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2011, 12:05:04 am »

Mac, thanks for cleaning things up.

Mike, I hesitate to even say what she's using for tops because I don't want this thread to get off track.  I'd really like to remain focused on powered subs but since you asked she's using some old Bose 802s and she's happy with them.  Yes, I know, many people think Bose is junk.  I'm more familiar with home theater A/V gear and it's the same in that world.  People either love 'em or hate 'em.  In this case, she likes them and they work for what she's doing.  I'd like to see her get something else but I need to take it one step at a time.  Right now, at least she has something that sounds ok for the tops.  Regardless of what she eventually replaces them with she will need a sub.  That's my thinking anyway.

Tim, I've heard the same bad things about Mackie -- that ever since they were bought by some large corporation their service and product quality has gone downhill.  I've also heard that the quality issues only affect some of their products, not all.  I suppose the safest thing to do would be to stay away from them entirely but their subs are supposed to sound good.  There's a used SRS1500 for sale on Craigslist that we're looking at.  I don't know whether it's post or pre buyout but that model has been discontinued so it's a few years old at least.  I've read nothing but good things about it.  Still, if we need service or parts we may be SOL.

Thoughts?

PS: I wish I could edit my first post.  Should be _locked_, not looked.

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Aaron Talley

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Re: Best lightweight powered sub
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2011, 01:47:56 am »

What do you consider small to medium size rooms?

Have you considered the QSC K Sub? It has casters on it and would be pretty easy to get around.
There is one on ebay right now.

Just a thought.

Aaron Talley
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Mike Pyle

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Re: Best lightweight powered sub
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2011, 02:29:11 pm »

The main reason I ask about the tops is to determine if you plan to use a crossover or rely on the sub having a full crossover built in.
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Mike Pyle  Audiopyle Sound  707-315-6204
Dealer For: JBL, Soundcraft, Crown, dbx, AKG, Yorkville, EV, QSC, RCF, FBT, Danley Sound Labs, Tannoy, Lab Gruppen, Powersoft, VTC, EAW, Allen & Heath, Ashly, APB, Denon, Rane, Audix, One Systems, OnPoint Audio, Presonus, K&M, Ultimate, Global Truss, Road Ready, SKB, Gator, Radial Engineering, Turbosound, Midas, dB Technologies, American DJ, Odyssey, ProCo, Rapco, CBI, Elation, Mipro, Chauvet, Blizzard, Shure, Whirlwind, BenQ, Bassboss, Yamaha, Line 6, Behringer, Whirlwind, On-Stage, more...

Tim Talbot

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Re: Best lightweight powered sub
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2011, 06:39:31 pm »


Tim, I've heard the same bad things about Mackie -- that ever since they were bought by some large corporation their service and product quality has gone downhill.  I've also heard that the quality issues only affect some of their products, not all.  I suppose the safest thing to do would be to stay away from them entirely but their subs are supposed to sound good.  There's a used SRS1500 for sale on Craigslist that we're looking at.  I don't know whether it's post or pre buyout but that model has been discontinued so it's a few years old at least.  I've read nothing but good things about it.  Still, if we need service or parts we may be SOL.

Thoughts?

PS: I wish I could edit my first post.  Should be _locked_, not looked.

They don't sound good when you compare them to the JBL or the RCF. If your after a one note party bin then it will do but order in some spare parts for when it goes bang. I wish i never brought ours but at the time i had very little time to get things sorted and we brought a job lot of them cheapoo....

Mackie did use RCF drivers in some of there older cabinets but now its all ''OEM'' stuff ;) Some say the SRM 450v1 sound better than the V2 but we own 12x SRM450v2 and to be fair theres not much (if anything) between them, there a great dry hire box / cheap monitor and just keep on trucking = very good product for the money

Sherman Johnson

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Re: Best lightweight powered sub
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2011, 05:20:43 am »

What do you consider small to medium size rooms?

Have you considered the QSC K Sub? It has casters on it and would be pretty easy to get around.
There is one on ebay right now.

Just a thought.

Aaron Talley

She plays mostly restaurant/bar type places that I consider 'small'.  I haven't measured them so any dimensions I give you will just be a guess but say 20'x30' to 30'x40'.

Then there are some larger rooms like American Legion halls, places like that.  One place I saw might be 40'x70'. 

The very first sub we saw was the KSUB.  I've heard good things about it, it's relatively light and has the casters like you said, but it does not have high pass outputs.  That's not a total deal killer but I'm really trying to keep things simple.  It's just a lot easier to let the sub take what it wants and pass the mids&highs on to the mains.  Also, it's a bit pricey at $1,050 new (I haven't checked eBay).

Good suggestion though, thank you.
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Sherman Johnson

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Re: Best lightweight powered sub
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2011, 05:22:17 am »

The main reason I ask about the tops is to determine if you plan to use a crossover or rely on the sub having a full crossover built in.

Yes.  See #4 on my list.  I think having a full crossover built in makes the most sense.
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Sherman Johnson

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Re: Best lightweight powered sub
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2011, 05:36:56 am »

They don't sound good when you compare them to the JBL or the RCF. If your after a one note party bin then it will do but order in some spare parts for when it goes bang. I wish i never brought ours but at the time i had very little time to get things sorted and we brought a job lot of them cheapoo....

Mackie did use RCF drivers in some of there older cabinets but now its all ''OEM'' stuff ;) Some say the SRM 450v1 sound better than the V2 but we own 12x SRM450v2 and to be fair theres not much (if anything) between them, there a great dry hire box / cheap monitor and just keep on trucking = very good product for the money

Thanks for the advice Tim.  We're supposed to go audition that Mackie SRS1500 tomorrow.  Now I'm not sure what to do.  I definitely do NOT want a one note party bin (see #2 on my list).  If we're going to spend several hundred dollars on a sub I expect it to sound musical and tight -- not just pump out blasts of air.  I guess we'll just have to judge for ourselves -- I plan to listen to some Dire Straights and some Steely Dan.

Question -- which Mackie subs do you (or did you) have?  In my list I mentioned the most recent model 1801 and 1501.  The used one we're going to check out is a SRS1500, which I believe was made in Italy.  I know is has a 18mm Baltic Birch cabinet.  I've read mixed reviews of the 1500.  Most people seem to like it and say it sounds good and has been reliable (used for 10 years with no trouble, etc).  But I've read some negative reviews as well.

From what I've been able to tell, since Mackie was sold their products and service have gotten worse, but the products made before Mackie was sold seem to hold up very well.  Again, that's just based on what I've read in online forums.  The owner of our local music store did tell me that he's had trouble with Mackie recently which isn't a good sign (if they treat store owners badly then I guess we can't expect much). 
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