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  #1  
Old 01-08-2015, 05:00 AM
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Default My test: 12" sub roundup.

There is/was just no way to include every sub that should have been in this one. So, for that, I apologize. I know there will be grumblings about why such and such wasn't included, but... I did the best I could.

The contestants...
I wanted to keep this one on a "budget" and to use lesser known companies/subs. We all know the usual suspects so I wanted to see what was up with some of the others. The budget was $300 per sub.

(Left to right) Under Pressure Audio... FU Audio... Ampere Audio... DSS Ethos... RD Audio Sonance... Sinister Soundz



The method...
I pulled the TSP myself using Smith & Larson Woofer Tester. I then modeled them in WinISD and Bagby's software and settled on a half ass smooth response. I started out building each of them their own box, but after three boxes, I wasn't happy with any of them. They were just too different from one another. So, I settled on an "adjustable" box that I could alter airspace and tuning. Everybody gets the same box and port area in the same location in the car. It's about the best I could do as far as eliminating variables is concerned.

Two piece adjustable box. Not pictured is a Psychoacoustics adjustable port.


In 1 cubic foot position


2 cubic feet.


3 cubes. (wasn't needed)


Using the respective airspace and tuning, I used pink noise and RTA (actually FFT) to compare the predicted model to the actual in-car response. I then ran sweeps to determine each sub's respective peak in their "daily" alignment. Which, incidentally, happened to be 34hz for every one of them. After that I ran USACi Street Beat track 9 and did a music run. This is a 30 second SPL average on music centered around 31hz. The burp was done on 1,000w (measured separately each time). The music run was done two clicks higher (-5db track).

The FU in the adjustable box in the car.



After that I threw them each in my trusty old burp box and gave them each a 500w, 1,000w and 1,500w burp at my car's resonant frequency. Every sub was SPL tested on the same day.

My burp box. (Zv.4 10" pictured. Old pic, but same deal).



Before ANY of the above started... I spent at least a week with each sub in my daily in a variety of boxes and listening to a wide range of material. This was to gather subjective data and to break them in prior to pulling TSP. I'm going to try to give some listening impressions, but I'll also try not to go on and on like I have a tendency to.

Blah blah blah... tl;dr. I tested a bunch of subs and stuff.
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  #2  
Old 01-08-2015, 05:03 AM
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I am terribly ill prepared with pics and particulars on each sub. I'll edit these later with relevant specs and info, but I need to get all of this down while I can. Most of that stuff y'all can find if you search though.


RD Audio Sonance
Price - $200
2.5" coil


Pictured on the right next to the big ass DSS.


TSP...


That's some wonky TSP, but I don't know what to tell ya. I pulled them several times.

Model and in-car response. Let me apologize to RD and the little Sonance here. It's the only one I didn't adjust the range and smoothing on the FFT. So, it looks different (worse) than the others. I also clipped off the dang frequencies, but the scale is 5hz to 2khz. If you concentrate on the sub bass region, it's just fine.



Top is the 1,000w burp at 34hz. Bottom is the 30 second average.



SPL burps (not pictured)

500w - 148.5db
1,000w - 151.0db
1,500w - 152.2db

Subjectively... B-
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Welcome to the world of SPL.

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Quote:
Music and movies are art. Audio is a science.
- Floyd E. Toole

Last edited by TaylorFade; 01-08-2015 at 05:18 AM.
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  #3  
Old 01-08-2015, 05:03 AM
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Sinister Soundz
Price - $220ish?
3" coil

Next to the strangely similar looking UPA.





TSP...


Model and in-car response.



1,000w burp and 30 second average.



SPL burps (not pictured).

500w - 149.4db
1,000w - 152.0db
1,500w - 153.7db

Subjectively - C-
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Welcome to the world of SPL.

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Quote:
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- Floyd E. Toole

Last edited by TaylorFade; 01-08-2015 at 05:53 AM.
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  #4  
Old 01-08-2015, 05:03 AM
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DSS Ethos

Price - $325 ($285 preorder)
3" coil

Same picture from above. I know... I'm slackin.



TSP is different here. The DSS includes large signal parameters that are much more accurate. Basically that means the specs are pulled while the sub is in motion...





Model and in-car.



1,000w @ 34hz and 30 second average.



I should mention here that the DSS was the only sub that had to be wired in series. It's difficult to nail down exactly how much of an output disadvantage it is, but suffice it to say that it is. I mentioned this to the owner of DSS and he wasn't worried about it. So take that for what its worth.

SPL burps

500w - 148.5db
1,000w - 150.5db
1,500w - 152.3db

Subjectively - A-
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Quote:
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- Floyd E. Toole

Last edited by TaylorFade; 01-08-2015 at 06:45 AM.
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Old 01-08-2015, 05:03 AM
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FU Audio (Frank You, in case you're wondering)

Price - $180
Oversized 2.5" coil

Same damn pic again. This time on the left.



TSP...



Model and in-car



1,000w @ 34hz and 30 second average.



SPL burps.

500w - 1497.db
1,000w - 152.6db
1,500w - 154.0db

Subjectively - B+
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Quote:
Welcome to the world of SPL.

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Quote:
Music and movies are art. Audio is a science.
- Floyd E. Toole

Last edited by TaylorFade; 01-08-2015 at 05:53 AM.
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Old 01-08-2015, 05:04 AM
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Under Pressure Audio.

Here it is again next to the Sinister Soundz. Obviously it *looking* so similar doesn't mean it is the same exact sub, so I can't confirm anything other than cosmetics. They might have different spiders and coils or something. I don't know.




I was extremely interested to see if these two subs spec'd out the same. Which would confirm my suspicions, but that's where the trouble started...

The woofer tester couldn't reconcile the parameters. This happens sometimes if it's too noisy or maybe the suspension is too stiff or a loose lead or any number of things. So I went about trouble shooting it... to no avail. Maybe the coils are backwards? I tried it every which-a-way. It's not locked up. The coils read fine on the DMM. What the hell?

I decided to pop test them. Nothing. Tried a bigger batt. Nothing. I put it free air on an amp. Nothing. I was scratching my head when it hit me.

I put a screw on the magnet and it didn't stick. Ugh. The damn motor isn't charged. I have never seen this before. To cover all my bases I put it in a box and hooked it up and turned it loose on the TFE. The sub didn't move but bye bye coils.

I tore it apart to get a gauss reading.



I'm told this should be at least 5,000.

Subjectively - F (and I'll explain why)
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- Floyd E. Toole

Last edited by TaylorFade; 01-08-2015 at 06:10 AM.
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Old 01-08-2015, 05:04 AM
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Ok, wrapping this shit up...

Testing subs, by it's very nature, is messy. There are a lot of variables and you can't account for them all. As with all testing and reviews... your mileage may vary. I'm also not a golden eared professional SQ reviewer so take my subjective impressions for what they're worth.

RD Audio Sonance - this is RD's "SQ" woofer. I'm not sure if that's just because it's a small one and that's what people call their little woofers or if it's actually designed differently than the rest of their stuff, but it did sound great. It's perhaps undermotored in this roundup and it showed. NOT an SPL woofer by any stretch and NOT underrated like some 2.5" coil subs we're used to. It did well in every box I tried it in; even small sealed. It's a versatile sub and more in line with something you'd find at a brick and mortar than an "underground" boutique sub like we use. It's not very sensitive at all for a small sub though. I was rooting for this little guy as I'm an RD fan, but I'm sad to say that it underperformed in my opinion. I actually like this little sub, but depending on your goals, there may be better options for the money.

Sinister Soundz - This is a very average sub. I like the guy in charge over there, but there is nothing ground breaking or innovative here. It's a budget 3" coil woofer smack dab in the middle of competing with established subs like the American Bass XFL. It sounds average with average low end extension and average linearity. It HATES small sealed but did ok in larger vented boxes. By no means an SQ sub. This is a pretty crowded spot in the market and it's *just* another option. You might choose this sub if you prefer the personal customer service of a smaller company and need a budget banger. Would make a decent SPL sub as evidenced by the burp scores. Decent power handling. Decently sensitive. I have to note that they sent me the wrong coils, but offered to take care of it immediately. I didn't take him up on it and dealt with it, but it's a good indication of two things... first that the communication and customer service is there. And second... that it's still a small company prone to making mistakes like that.

Under Pressure Audio - Ok, I'm not sure exactly how to word this to not sound like an ass, so I'll just say it... I was told the sub was tested before shipping. I just can't see how this is true. It would not have passed any test you could have done on it. It's been claimed the demag happened during shipping since the package was beat up. I also can not see how this is true. He did offer to take care of it, but never followed up on it- which is why I didn't have a functional sub to test. Bottom line... shit happens but I don't like being bullshitted. Do not recommend. Sorry.

DSS Ethos - What can I say about this sub... it's a beast. It's over budget as is, but it was $285 at the time and I kinda wanted to see how much more sub you could get for a few bucks over budget. It's super smooth, super linear and has low end for days. The owner is knowledgeable and has an incredible team behind him. It underperformed in the pure SPL portion, maybe. But it made up for it in the "daily" settings. It sounds great other than some suspension slap at very high excursion. I never did figure out if it was spider stretch or tinsel slap but both are likely candidates since both have been addressed with the v.2. These power levels were a walk in the park for this thing. Very few subs (if any) can offer this kind of performance at this price point. Very average sensitivity means you may need some power to get it moving, but that's the tradeoff you make for it being able to excel in small boxes. Overall... highly recommend.

FU Audio - It's very difficult to find something bad to say about this sub. It was the least expensive, the loudest and was subjectively second best only to the Ethos. But that's the nature of smaller subs (usually). They get louder on less power. It didn't surprise me that it kliled it in SPL, but it did surprise me how well it did in the daily portion. To compete with the likes of the Ethos down low is an accomplishment. The Ethos would definitely start stretching it out past 1k or so, but it hard to argue with how well it did. I don't know who "Frank" is or where he came from as it seems it's a bit of a mystery, but he's got a winner on his hands. I'm not ready to crown it as an "SA Killer", but if you're in the market for a $200 sub, this one most definitely needs to be in the conversation. Fantastic value here.

To recap...

SPL (500w, 1k, 1.5k)
- FU Audio - 149.7 - 152.6 - 154.0
- Sinister Soundz - 149.4 - 152.0 - 153.7
- DSS Ethos - 148.5 - 150.5 - 152.3
- RD Audio Sonance - 148.5 - 151.0 - 152.2
- UPA - N/A

34hz (1k)
- DSS Ethos - 145.7
- FU Audio - 145.5
- Sinister Soundz - 144.2
- RD Audio Sonance - 142.9
- UPA - N/A

Street Beat Track 9 (31hz, 30 second average)
- FU Audio - 138.9
- DSS Ethos - 138.7
- Sinister Soundz - 137.2
- RD Audio Sonance - 136.4
- UPA - N/A
__________________
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Quote:
Welcome to the world of SPL.

Where nothing makes any fucking sense.
Quote:
Music and movies are art. Audio is a science.
- Floyd E. Toole

Last edited by TaylorFade; 01-08-2015 at 10:01 AM.
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Old 01-08-2015, 05:31 AM
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taylor i see u r from la. im in natchitoches we dont have nothin here (that i kno of) . where do u have all this fun at?
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Old 01-08-2015, 05:43 AM
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I think his own place. I see a garage in the background, inside as well of some of the tests he's done.
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Old 01-08-2015, 05:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boomintahoe View Post
I think his own place. I see a garage in the background, inside as well of some of the tests he's done.
just wondering wat part of louisiana. we have no stereo shops here no shows id like to kno if theres any shows or things to do close to my area to see new products in action im a old basshead i still thout kickers were the sh## lol these forums and youtube is where i get my info as of now my friends and i love this stuff it just seems to be obsolete in my area
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