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Old 02-01-2016, 02:11 PM   #1
ECrispy ECrispy is offline
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Default Why are subwoofers so expensive?

There are many choices for a <$300-500 speaker that sound much better than their price and offer incredible value for money. e.g. Pioneer AJ, Infinity Primus, and many Internet Direct companies.

On the other hand there are no subs in this price range that deliver real proper bass. The cheapest are ID and those start at $7-800 and just go up.

Speaker design is much more complicated, there are a lot of variables. Sub design is so much simpler - a driver, a box, WinISD, and an amp that doesn't need to have low THD or dynamics, just watts. The drivers used in most commercial subs are no mystery.

The fact that you can DIY a sub that canb beat commercial subs costing 2x proves this.

There used to be companies like ED that were offering good subs at lower prices, for various reasons they are no longer around. I just feel there should be more options.
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Old 02-01-2016, 05:08 PM   #2
ImPulSive ImPulSive is offline
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In order for a company to invest into making subs, there has to be a profit to be made. Shipping heavy subs is not cheap. Shipping those parts in for manufacturing is not cheap either, especially when there is thick, heavy MDF for enclosures. Even if the price says free shipping, you know that the shipping costs are built into the price. And you might save money by outsourcing electronic builds to China, but at what cost to the overall quality. I have seen enough of Chinese manufacturing to be weary about that. We have had a lot of trouble in past years because our customers decided to outsource the manufacture of circuit boards that we designed to China. Those offshore manufacturers decided to substitute cheaper parts where they could to be more cost competitive and/or better their margins. Only problem was those cheaper parts were not as good as the designed in parts and we had circuit board failures and unhappy customers. Plus the quality of soldering was not great at times. Quite a mess. I'm not saying that all Chinese manufacturing is like this, but when getting stuff made off shore you really need to be careful. Even though it might cost more, you may be better off building it locally, especially if there are issue, warranty returns and unhappy customers. Just ask Tom at PSV about why they switched over to build their amps in the US.

And not all sub drivers and amps are equal. You want a $300 sub, then go for it, order a kit or the parts from Parts Express or elsewhere - assuming that your time is worth nothing. I work 50-60 hours every week, so my free time is worth a lot to me and I would rather spend the money to get something done right and looks nice, rather than fooling around building a sub. If your time has value, then the hours you would put into building your own sub, getting it finished nice, and tuning it to make it right, will add up and the overall money spent will probably be comparable to those ID units.

When you buy finished units you are paying for their assembly and more. There are a lot of things that go into a making a good sub, including aesthetics and the spousal approval factor. I think you are over simplifying it, but if you want to disagree then this should be a good business opportunity for you, a niche that you could exploit and make lots of money. Just remember that you have to sell your finished product for less that those ID companies and still pay for shipping, labour, etc. and make a profit. It is not as easy as you might think.
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Old 02-01-2016, 06:45 PM   #3
ECrispy ECrispy is offline
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I agree with all of that, but a lot of the same things also apply to DIY speakers (except the amps, which I agree can be a major issue), which can also be better value.

I had considered a DIY sub but like you said there is value in a finished product with integrated amp, warranty, service etc.

I believe something like this can be done but would need economies of scale obviously.
I don't know what the profit margins are though in this business, but simply looking at driver prices from Eminence, SI, PE Dayton etc + amp prices you'd think a big company could get those at lower price points.

Maybe I am wrong. I don't think there is a big enough market for it, honestly. The ID companies like SVS, PSA, HSU already have enough demand from enthusiasts who are willing to pay the prices.
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Old 02-01-2016, 08:16 PM   #4
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Most subs have internal amplification, and it takes a lot more in terms of watts to drive a sub for the output needed, than it take watts to drive smaller 8 ohm speakers.
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Old 02-01-2016, 08:53 PM   #5
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SVS PB 1000 $500
HSU VTF 1 $507
Outlaw Audio Ultra X12 is on sale for around $560 sometimes.
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Old 02-01-2016, 09:10 PM   #6
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Power... just like speed, is simply a question of money. Want more? Pay more. Better subs do what they do more effortlessly. Better subs are smoother without bottoming out. They fill the room better, they drop lower in hertz so that you feel the bass as opposed to just hearing it.

That said, you get what you can afford and honestly, pretty much any sub is better than none.
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Old 02-01-2016, 10:28 PM   #7
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Currently i'm trying to justify to the misses why i need to spend so much on a sub, i was going to got for a Bic PL200 , now really considering the SVS PB-1000...
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Old 02-20-2016, 06:42 PM   #8
Krelldog1977 Krelldog1977 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jutty View Post
Currently i'm trying to justify to the misses why i need to spend so much on a sub, i was going to got for a Bic PL200 , now really considering the SVS PB-1000...
Hi Jutty and Crispy,

A quality sub or subs is the icing on the cake for movies. Why would you need justify the necessity for a quality subwoofer?...it's an essential part of everyone's system and they are not overpriced in my opinion. Just my feelings on it...enjoy the weekend!
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Old 02-20-2016, 07:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krelldog1977 View Post
Hi Jutty and Crispy,

A quality sub or subs is the icing on the cake for movies. Why would you need justify the necessity for a quality subwoofer?...it's an essential part of everyone's system and they are not overpriced in my opinion. Just my feelings on it...enjoy the weekend!

They cost a lot, but spending it is a subjective choice.


The larger the area's volume, the better the sub should be. Smaller areas don't need massive or expensive subs at all. Even a large area can do without them. I say this as someone with large, expensive subs.


For two areas in my home, I got Klipsch subs, at Fry's, for $200 each. The volume is fairly low, the speakers that accompany them are excellent, and the sound rivals my larger subs.


In my family room, I have one Martin Logan Depth I, a three-speaker sub that is truly great. It normally runs about $3,500. I managed to get it, new, for around $2,400. Superb delivery of sound.


Could I have done it with the Klipsch? No. Not for style, looks, or output, or placement. I probably could have gotten the sound, but I couldn't do it without buying several, and I'd have placement and power issues.


In the living room, I have two JL Audio F-113 units, and two SVS SB-13 units. They're a fashion statement as much as sound machines, and were very costly. They deliver heavenly sound, but were they worth the expense? Probably not - knowing what I know now, I'd have gotten four of those Martin Logans, although they're no longer made. To get equivalent, current subs, I'd have to go to Paradigm, which frankly is hideously expensive. I was lucky to get a new ML Depth I.

High end subs are great, and if you have them, you are looking for more than just the sound. Perhaps it's fashion, perhaps it's power issues, perhaps bragging rights (though friends and family often place other things as more valuable), or perhaps, like me, you've gone the do-it-yourself route and have seen where the value is.


Figure out where your factors are. I've heard (and own) solid subs that are very inexpensive. Those in the mid-price range - $400 to about $900 - can deliver truly great sound. To do more, get more subs when you need them, and stay in the same price range.


The real serious subs - the name brands we've all heard - serve other purposes. It's often the look, or a one-time purchase, or a bad experience with "lesser" brands. And, of course, many times it's the sound, without any compromise.


As a person who went with a name brand - Definitive - on speakers, then got their sub, a word of real caution. Name brands mean nothing. Their subs are incredibly clean, and incredibly weak, and very high in price. I kept it for a day, and sent it back. I felt bad, as I have a number of Definitive speakers. Money does not mean much.


With the aforementioned Klipsch, good value does not mean high expense. High expense does not mean good value. Sometimes you get high expense, and good value. It's not easy.


Good luck!
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Old 02-21-2016, 04:20 PM   #10
Krelldog1977 Krelldog1977 is offline
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sup blu-dog,

Awesome subs you have there! I have been running a 5.0 system for a couple years now....( only missing bass information around 20hz and below, mains are full range .)


My budget is $2500 and my room is 13x13. I just chose to go with the matching PBN Montana SSW, which is a showroom model, for 1/2 price[I[/I]...$2000. It was that or a used JL F12.....what's the most musical sub you've ever heard?
Sweet system by the way bro!

And I agree, Those paradigm subs are ridiculously priced, I called up a dealer and the best they can do is 5% off )

Bri
PBN Montana Loudspeakers: EPS-2s, SPC-3, M2 monitors, mains: XPS Sigs from '05
Wyred 4 Sound: MMC amplifier and ST-1000mkii
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Sub: PBN SSW
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Old 02-25-2016, 09:26 PM   #11
Auditor55 Auditor55 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ECrispy View Post
There are many choices for a <$300-500 speaker that sound much better than their price and offer incredible value for money. e.g. Pioneer AJ, Infinity Primus, and many Internet Direct companies.

On the other hand there are no subs in this price range that deliver real proper bass. The cheapest are ID and those start at $7-800 and just go up.

Speaker design is much more complicated, there are a lot of variables. Sub design is so much simpler - a driver, a box, WinISD, and an amp that doesn't need to have low THD or dynamics, just watts. The drivers used in most commercial subs are no mystery.

The fact that you can DIY a sub that canb beat commercial subs costing 2x proves this.

There used to be companies like ED that were offering good subs at lower prices, for various reasons they are no longer around. I just feel there should be more options.
What is real proper bass?
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Old 02-26-2016, 12:58 AM   #12
Blu-Dog Blu-Dog is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krelldog1977 View Post
sup blu-dog,

Hey, 'sup. Sorry I didn't get back sooner, my post went haywire and I've been off-line a couple of days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Krelldog1977 View Post
Awesome subs you have there! I have been running a 5.0 system for a couple years now....( only missing bass information around 20hz and below, mains are full range .)

You're probably not missing much except volume. If full-range still gives you good sound, and the crossovers are doing the job, don't sweat it.


Sometimes adding a sub has it's own headaches. After you run full-range for a while, then add a sub, you start muttering to yourself. You should get a sub, but not just for the heck of it - make sure you really need it first.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Krelldog1977 View Post
My budget is $2500 and my room is 13x13. I just chose to go with the matching PBN Montana SSW, which is a showroom model, for 1/2 price[I[/I]...$2000. It was that or a used JL F12.....what's the most musical sub you've ever heard?
Sweet system by the way bro!

Thanks,'dog.


I haven't heard the PBN - but the Fathoms are the most musical I've ever heard - at volume. The Martin Logan is great across all ranges, and terrific at modest volume. The budget Klipsch is great, too, but only at modest levels. The JL Audio is the best at everything, especially LOUD, it misses nothing.


With the JL, there is a kind of cliff - down at low volume, it's clean, but as you increase, it gets very loud - very fast - and sounds so good, you don't realize how loud it is. Depends on the source material, too. That's why I started off with one, then got two, then got two SVS PB-13's to match them.


Like you, I was running full range on some speakers. Definitive ST's, suposedly they have subs which is a joke - they're really good as full-range speakers, not speakers with built-in subs. It all sounds ver nice. Up front (as I write) are two Sonus Faber Domus in gloss black, and they're quite respectable as full range speakers themselves, but I run them "small".



Quote:
Originally Posted by Krelldog1977 View Post
And I agree, Those paradigm subs are ridiculously priced, I called up a dealer and the best they can do is 5% off )

Bri

They won't discount Paradigm, at gunpoint, even if you fire off a couple of rounds at the ceiling to show you're really serious. They won't even flinch. Begging doesn't work, either, even if the gun is still smoking. I can't believe those guys.
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Old 02-26-2016, 04:57 AM   #13
Krelldog1977 Krelldog1977 is offline
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Sup Blu,

Since the PBN sub is on its way, I'll give it a fair shot. I enjoy watching movies more than music at this point.....so a sub should complement the overall speaker setup. If it proves to be overkill, it will go back into the crate, and possibly for sale.

But this sub has a mint piano black finish....might want to keep it just for looks! )

We'll see how it pans out, arriving next week, should be interesting!

I had a def tech trinity and it was punishing on the eardrums...total overkill, great for a disco or pipe organ simulations....other than I couldn't get it to blend in ( previous rig )

cheers!
B
PBN Montana Loudspeakers: EPS-2s, SPC-3, M2 monitors, mains: XPS Sigs from '05
Wyred 4 Sound: MMC amplifier and ST-1000mkii
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Sub: PBN SSW
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Old 02-28-2016, 08:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krelldog1977 View Post
Sup Blu,

Yo, homes,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Krelldog1977 View Post
Since the PBN sub is on its way, I'll give it a fair shot. I enjoy watching movies more than music at this point.....so a sub should complement the overall speaker setup. If it proves to be overkill, it will go back into the crate, and possibly for sale.

For movies, it's really nice to have a sub. They put a lot of material in the sub track for 5.1, 7.1, and that stuff - unlike regular 2.0 music. It will benefit them both in the long run. Good for you!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Krelldog1977 View Post
But this sub has a mint piano black finish....might want to keep it just for looks! )

It will work. You will be happy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Krelldog1977 View Post
We'll see how it pans out, arriving next week, should be interesting!

It's gonna get loud, up in there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Krelldog1977 View Post
I had a def tech trinity and it was punishing on the eardrums...total overkill, great for a disco or pipe organ simulations....other than I couldn't get it to blend in ( previous rig )

DefTech has gone the "subtlety" route. Their new subs are very nice in sound - and totally soft. I liked the Klipsch cheapies much better. Yeah, they're smooth...but just too quiet.


I tried to find a new Trinity (they're legendary) and wound up with my first Fathom when I found out they were gone. I like the Velodyne 1812, too...but I'm happy with what I have. You will be, too, I bet.

cheers!
B[/QUOTE]

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Old 02-29-2016, 11:58 PM   #15
Krelldog1977 Krelldog1977 is offline
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Thanks Blu-Dog! I can see that you're a cool customer, with a great personality! I enjoy your optimism!

I'll keep you in the loop as soon as it arrives...may take a tad bit of shuffling, but we'll get it to blend in...

talk to ya soon

B
PBN Montana Loudspeakers: EPS-2s, SPC-3, M2 monitors, mains: XPS Sigs from '05
Wyred 4 Sound: MMC amplifier and ST-1000mkii
Yamaha CX-A5000 pre/pro. AQ Red River xlr's
Sub: PBN SSW
Player: Oppo UHD-203
TV: Samsung 9000 model ( 2016 )

Last edited by Krelldog1977; 03-01-2016 at 12:36 AM.
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Old 03-02-2016, 11:03 PM   #16
Blu-Dog Blu-Dog is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krelldog1977 View Post
Thanks Blu-Dog! I can see that you're a cool customer, with a great personality! I enjoy your optimism!

I'll keep you in the loop as soon as it arrives...may take a tad bit of shuffling, but we'll get it to blend in...

talk to ya soon

B
Man, it's been two days, what's the holdup. Can't wait around forever for good news. Don't play with these people, gotta have that sub, man.


You have more patience than I do.
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Old 03-03-2016, 02:16 AM   #17
Krelldog1977 Krelldog1977 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blu-Dog View Post
Man, it's been two days, what's the holdup. Can't wait around forever for good news. Don't play with these people, gotta have that sub, man.


You have more patience than I do.
I'm an old dog now.....and have built up tremendous patience over these years! Its coming via Saturn Freight from Cali....I will call tmro for an update.......hey, now ya got me all anxious!!!!

Bri
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Wyred 4 Sound: MMC amplifier and ST-1000mkii
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Sub: PBN SSW
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Old 03-03-2016, 02:27 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krelldog1977 View Post
I'm an old dog now.....and have built up tremendous patience over these years! Its coming via Saturn Freight from Cali....I will call tmro for an update.......hey, now ya got me all anxious!!!!

Bri
hey krell, check your inbox, I sent you a PM.
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Old 03-07-2016, 11:19 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Krelldog1977 View Post
I'm an old dog now.....and have built up tremendous patience over these years! Its coming via Saturn Freight from Cali....I will call tmro for an update.......hey, now ya got me all anxious!!!!

Bri

I live in California, and could have dragged it there by now, barefooted, through the desert. Just give me a heads up, if you need it done.
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Old 03-08-2016, 01:46 AM   #20
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Easy, home make. Looking a box and super glue and cut sharp razor...etc

Buy subwoofer crossover 80Hz is THX credited and subwoofer speaker.

Save a money. Cheap!!

Why you spending $500 to $2,000 on subwoofer? Idiot!
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