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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    How do I select a second subwoofer?

    I am perhaps finally ready to add a second sub (upgrading my 7.1 HT to a 7.2 HT) and, quite frankly, I could use some help. The set up mechanics, I can probably handle (connections, e.q. and power leveling) but selection criteria seems a bit of a mystery, leaning toward a crapshoot.

    Basic criteria - Brand chosen will most likely be Hsu, as my mains, center and existing sub are all Hsu. It is for a Home Theater so movie effects are important but I also listen to a lot of music, some compressed like Pandora as well as CD, Blu-Ray, SACD and vinyl. My room is 12 x 22 x 8 feet, open at one end, with a carpeted floor and numerous room treatments (bass trap, corners, ceiling and wall hung panels).

    Limitations - I have but one location available to accommodate a second sub, which is "end table" to the main seating position (sofa). My condo has a solid concrete floor and drywall over concrete block wall construction. No current complaints from neighboring condos, which is good. The point is, setting off car alarms in the parking lot outside is not good.

    Additional - I plan to keep my older model VTF-2 down firing sub, which is great but perhaps a little under powered at 150W RMS compared to many newer subs at 600W RMS or more and does not have Hsu's proprietary "Q Control". I have heard general recommendations of "go big or go home" and the like but is that really the only consideration? I want to eliminate or minimize null points, have a more involved movie experience and a more immersive base for music listening but I don't want to jump or spill a cup of coffee whenever an unexpected kick drum starts up.

    Questions - Would I be better off staying with a sub similar in power and extension to what I am already using or simply add as much power as I can afford and find space for? Should I add another down firing sub or would a front firing be better, so close to the main listening position?

  2. #2
    Senior Member David Vaughn's Avatar
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    Jul 2002
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    Dave,

    What the second sub will do is even out the bass in your room, but what I'm concerned with is your limited placement options. What if this isn't the best spot in your room. For example, a friend of mine added a second sub and his "preferred" placement (the one his wife approved), created a null in his sweet spot----there was literally zero bass response where he liked to sit. If you unplugged the second sub, boom, the bass was back. If you left the second on and turned the first off, you got bass (although, not as pronounced). Needless to say, he needed to move the second sub to get the response he wanted.

    If I were in your shoes, I'd send off an email to HSU and see what they have to say as far as what will mate with your current subwoofer. I'm using a HSU and an older SVS PC-Ultra cylinder and they play nice with each other (one downward firing, the other front firing), so that shouldn't be an issue.
    David Vaughn
    Technical Writer/Blu-ray Reviewer
    Sound and Vision Magazine

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Florida
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    Thanks David. The single location issue is a very big concern and demoing a new sub the only reliable way to know for certain. B Stock is, therefore, not an option for me but no matter. Since coast to coast freight cost necessarily limits the number of demos that I may try, I was hoping for some rationale to narrow sub selection criteria and perhaps only require a single demo. I had planned to speak with the nice folks at Hsu but your email suggestion may be better, at least to get the ball rolling prior to a subsequent phone conversation. The fact that you placed a huge forward firing sub next to your sofa alleviates at least one of my concerns.

  4. #4
    Senior Member David Vaughn's Avatar
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    Dave,

    Here's an idea...buy a sub from Best Buy (any will do) or borrow one from a friend and place it in the spot where you want it and give it a quick calibration and listen to see if it has the effect that you want. That way you can ensure it isn't in a null.
    David Vaughn
    Technical Writer/Blu-ray Reviewer
    Sound and Vision Magazine

  5. #5
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    David,
    While I realize that your suggestions are well intentioned, there is an ethical issue and a practical reason why I need to find another solution. I have never subscribed to the belief that it is alright to exercise a vendor, when I have no intention of keeping that vendor's product. Various web posts indicate that this faux "try out" process happens all the time but I just believe that it is unfair to the vendor and, most of the time, costs the vendor money since the product must be discounted as used or as "open box" merchandise. The practical issue is that all my friends with HTs have moved away to find work following the demise of the Space Shuttle Program. None of the friends that remain have a HT or a subwoofer.

    I have considered temporarily relocating my existing VTF-2 to the "end table" location but, since only one sub would be in operation, the resulting information regarding nulls and performance would be incomplete and possibly misleading. BTW, I did send an email request to the Hsu sales team and await their response.

  6. #6
    Senior Member David Vaughn's Avatar
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    I wouldn't do the Best Buy routine either (personally), but I know a lot of people do.

    Sorry to hear about so many people/friends vacating the area. Not sure what other advice to offer.
    David Vaughn
    Technical Writer/Blu-ray Reviewer
    Sound and Vision Magazine

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    Mar 2013
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    You have bought from HSU before, so I would order one and see if you like it. If you don't - return it (not sure what HSU's return policy and shipping costs are). I wouldn't feel guilty at all. Your intent is to buy a second sub, you have bought from them before and if it doesn't work out - no biggie.

    Or, call SVS and explain to them your situation. My guess is they say order one and no biggie if you return. I wouldn't think twice about it. It's their business model, it's built in.

    The SB-13 is AWESOME BTW. I bought a blem (had a "scuff" on the rubber surround of the woofer). It's tremendous.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    Florida
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    Thanks green giant, that is the current plan. Yesterday I emailed Hsu Research with the particulars of my room, equipment and preferences and I am waiting to hear their recommendation(s). Have heard wonderful things about SVS but, as you said, I have prior experience with Hsu.

  9. #9
    Banned!!!
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    Dave: years prior to HSU going to internet sales, we were resellers of HSU Subs. As you know, they are quite good. I know Dr. HSU. I have met him at a few shows (Cedia/ CES). He is a really smart gentleman. I still have my share of HSU Subs, etc in my own home. I also have a VTF-2 in our bedroom (still an excellent Sub. Soon I will add an Earthquake Quake 10 tactile Driver under the bed mounted to plywood. Connected to an Earthquake 500 watt rack mount Sub amplifier. I don't know if I can have that on when my wif is up there (WAF). Beyond that, in my Theater, I am proud to say that I have the HSU TNN- 1220 system with matching 500 watt rack mountable Sub Amp. These two cylindrical Subs play loud & clean and they go down to 16 Hz. What more could I ask for. Dr. HSU told me that this design which he developed is one of his favorite systems.

  10. #10
    Senior Member David Vaughn's Avatar
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    I've had Dr. Hsu in my home (along with his wife). He's a true gentleman and definitely knows his bass!
    David Vaughn
    Technical Writer/Blu-ray Reviewer
    Sound and Vision Magazine

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