November 11, 2008
Have you heard the SVS subwoofers? Are the cylinders very
sturdy? What is your opinion of them versus older box designs? Thanks for your advice.
I have heard SVS subwoofers and they are, across the
board, very good. The primary advantage of the cylinder-type enclosure is that the
subwoofer has a smaller footprint compared to most box subwoofers of a similar internal
cabinet volume. This is due to their increased height and narrower shape. The other
advantage is that cylinders are inherently very stiff and nonresonant, which makes them
almost ideal enclosures for handling large bass drivers -- a really good thing! To build a
comparatively stiff box would make the finished product more expensive to manufacture and
ship. So if you can work the cylinder shape into your room décor, go for it.
Single or multiple subs?
November 7, 2008
Would I be better off buying one really good subwoofer
(looking at a Polk Audio sub) or buying two smaller subwoofers? The subs would be used
with Polk RM-series speakers and a Sherwood receiver in a living room. These would be
mainly used for home theater.
There are tradeoffs either way, but I would probably
say two subwoofers, and heres why: Although one larger subwoofer might play deeper
than two smaller units, you would probably get better overall bass response in your room
with two. Multiple subwoofers in a room typically tame room-response issues and generate
smoother overall frequency response throughout the bass range. What this means is that at
your listening position youll hear and feel more accurate bass -- there will be
fewer peaks and valleys and that means youll hear more of whats on your movie
soundtracks. I might flip-flop on my answer if the two subwoofers that you would buy are
extremely compromised in quality versus the one. Two really poor-performing subwoofers
would not outperform one really good sub. But if were talking about the same quality
with each scenario, but with the two subwoofers only being smaller and able to play less
loud than the one, then two is the way to go. Also, one other benefit: Two smaller
subwoofers might give you more placement flexibility in your living room as opposed to one
In-ceiling or in-wall?
November 3, 2008
I am planning a new home theater that I want to be totally
integrated into my living room. I will buy either in-ceiling or in-wall speakers in a
5.1-channel setup. What are the primary differences between the two types of speakers and
which would you suggest?
Other than the most obvious difference -- where they
are mounted in your room -- the difference would largely be the way they radiate sound
into the room. An in-wall speaker would more closely mimic the sound of a traditional
loudspeaker. If, for instance, you placed a set of in-walls on either side of a flat-panel
TV screen, with a center speaker below and surrounds just above ear height in the rear of
the room, youd get performance that would be similar to what you would hear with
five bookshelf speakers placed on brackets in the same locations. In-ceiling speakers
would be somewhat more difficult to make work in that their sound would originate from
high over your head. This may sound fine in that the sound would envelop you completely,
but it may also be a bit disconcerting if what youre used to is a more traditional
setup. If you go with in-ceilings Id investigate an Omnipolar speaker from Mirage or
perhaps one of several models that allow some adjustability of the tweeter itself. As long
as you know the performance limitations and can live with them, in-ceiling and in-wall
speakers can be a smart way to go for a living room. I can also tell you that this genre
of speaker has improved dramatically over the years, so your choices will be numerous.