Having researched a lot about subs before I built mine, I found that acoustic stuffing in a subwoofer is not as critical as you might think. The cabinet may have been left empty by design of REL. Adding acoustic stuffing can change/reduce the volume inside the cabinet and affect the subwoofer frequency response (if you add too much).
If you want to improve things on your subwoofer (and you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty), I would apply as Dynamat Xtreme to as much of the inner walls as possible. In a subwoofer like this, cabinet resonance is more critical than internal standing waves. You can see that it doesn’t really have much internal bracing to resist flex/vibration, so reducing the resonance of the cabinet walls will be an improvement.
If you really want to add stuffing, then first apply the Dynamat. Then use spray glue to coat the inner walls one at a time. Then immediate apply a 1-2" layer of acoustic stuffing to the wall you are working on. A good product is Acousta-Stuf Polyfill from Parts Express. It is not fiberglass, so you can handle it with bare hands. It is easy to pull apart for any thickness. The spray glue is available from any hardware store or Home Depot. I have used products such as 3M Super 77 or Loktite spray adhesive.
I do not have any acoustic stuffing in my vented subs and they sound great. Instead, I built very extensive bracing internally, so that there is not one section of wall greater than 8" that is not braced.
Keep in mind that adding/removing stuffing also affects the tuning of the cabinet. That cabinet looks REALLY clean, so not sure it ever had any. Stuffing will raise the effective volume, lowering the Q and lowering the tuning frequency. This Another way to put it is it will damp the response at the bottom.
Also, woofers get hot. The more stuffing, the hotter they will get and the more compression, I’m not entirely sure this cabinet ever had any stuffing at all, it looks way too clean. I would reach out to REL and ask if it used any first.
If you decide to add fill, Acousta-Stuff is a pretty good fill but for damping panels I much prefer the multi-layer Sonic Barrier to any thin membrane stuff. Comes with PSA already applied. I would start by playing music and feeling the cabinet for resonances. Apply the thickest possible Sonic Barrier there.
Then, if appropriate, lightly fill the cabinet. Make sure you do not insulate any hot areas such as internal heat sinks, metal surfaces, and leave room around the woofer for it to breathe. Woofers get hot when used, the better cooling, the less compression.
"Stuffing will raise the effective volume..."
Well, imo, yes and no. Stuffing will increase system damping, but the measurements I've seen, and the professional-level modeling programs I use, indicate that its effect on low frequency extension is insignificant. So we can't buy "free bass extension" by adding just the right amount of our favorite stuffing material.
Ime the slight softening of "impact" from adding stuffing to a subwoofer usually outweighs any benefits (assuming the system is well designed to begin with), BUT not necessarily...
For example, in a situation where room + sub = boomy, aggressive stuffing of the cabinet can be a net benefit.
If it's a ported box in our "room + sub = boomy" scenario, often we can make a greater net improvement by lowering the port tuning frequency, which may call for some ingenuity.
Almost all speakers have too much stuffing. More than say a grapefruit size amount strangles the sound and muffles the bass. I know what you're thinking, "but everyone does it."
As auxinput states, internal bracing is the best and first way to combat enclosure resonance. Braces stiffen the enclosure walls, raising their resonant frequency above the frequencies the sub is asked to produce. Internal stuffing "tricks" the box into thinking it’s internal volume is greater than it actually is (by slowing down the sound), and needs to be matched to the driver’s needs in relation to that volume. Both too much or too little for any given application are possible.
Sonic Barrier is a fair enclosure wall damper, but a superior product to achieve that end is NoRez, sold on the GR Research website.
Braces also decrease the internal volume.
Honestly, if you start thinking that just put the speaker back together and make your own subwoofer. You'll be happier that way.
Thanks for all the information from everyone! Sorry for my
slow response. All great points and I do have another quick question regarding replacement
woofers I’d like to ask
AUXINPUT—You are correct, I did some more research and
contacted other owners, took me a while, but you are right. There was no
stuffing from the manufacturer. GREAT INFO on how to modify the cabinet. I appreciate
ERIKSQUIRES—Excellent point about the heat of the woofers. I
have owned all the infinity intermezzo speakers including the 1.2s subs. They
almost ALL had problems from heat build up exactly as you describe.
KINESIS & GEOFF—I agree with your experience. And you
are right it’s the old “everyone is doing it”
QUESTION—I need a replacement 12” woofer for this large
volume enclosure. I know the T/S parameters of the old driver which is helpful.
I have been shopping and see a huge range of prices from $40-$1000. Seems like
a suitable replacement is $400+ if I were to go with a home audio driver.
What I was wondering is what about CAR stereo woofers? I see
a ton of 12” car stereo woofers that are extremely well built (sometimes better
than home audio), have good parameters, and are at a lower price. The only
downside is that they are DUAL VOICE COILS, DVC. I know a DVC would have to be
wired in series thus taking 2 ohm to 4ohm for example. Is there any downside to
a car audio woofer? Any downside to merely connecting the 2 voice coils?
Thanks for your thoughts!
There could be several subwoofer drivers that may work well in this cabinet. The most important T/S parameter to look at is VAS. I would avoid car subwoofers because they are designed to operate in a smaller box than normal subs. Your box is 4+ cubic feet (or about 120-130 liters). So look for a subwoofer that has a VAS larger than 4 cu.ft or 130 liters.
The other part is the port tuning. It's a 4.75" port and not that long. Depending on the subwoofer, it could cause a slight peak just before the frequency response rolls off (probably in the 25-35hz area). It really depends on how the driver rolls off the lower frequencies and how the port comes in to compensate for those rolled-off frequencies. It may be difficult to get something exactly, but you could get a very good performer. Madisound has Morel and Scan-Speak subs that are nice. I wouldn't worry about trying to get the super expensive massive subs, like RE Audio or Stereo Integrity. Those are for the nutsos. JL Audio makes a very nice product, but watch for the VAS being too small.
Take out your current subwoofer and make sure of the exact diameter of the hole. Subwoofer sizes can vary slightly, even though they are marketed at 12".
Madisound has dimension drawing on all drivers. You could also check out Parts Express.
Depending on cabinet volume and tuning frequency, some drivers may want a port that is 25-35" long (based on 4-3/4 diameter). That's what I really mean. A shorter port means the tuning will be at a higher frequency, which could mean a bump/increase at something like 35hz where the port and the driver are working together. This may not be really bad at all. It's up to you, but the goal would normally be to engineer a flat response with a controlled roll-of.
Do you have a copy of Bass Box Pro?
It might be good just to buy at $129. Then try to measure/calculate the actual interior volume of your cabinet. Then select a driver at random (say ScanSpeak 30W/4558T) and then play with the Fb port tuning frequency until you get a 4.75" port close to the 17-18" length. Then do a frequency response graph to see how it looks. I did a few, and some may have a very slight bump at about 40hz.
Great advice, that was actually going to be my next step down the rabbit hole!! LOL
I that worth $129 versus some of the free software out there?
My experience with any type of stuffing on a ported or vented box is closer to Dukes. It isn't always about the slight changes in effective cabinet volume as much as it is the dampening effect and the amount of output or cancellation because of wave front cancellation inside the box. On a ported box, I personally like 1.5 to 2 inches of unfaced fiberglass glued to the paralleled walls. It does a great job. Some of the foam type products mentioned do a very good job for dampening also, but be aware the more dense or hard the surface is, things start to change from effectively enlarging the box to effectively making the volume less.
Good luck with all of this.
I haven't used other software, but if you are serious about building your own subwoofers, Bass Box Pro is really the best. You don't have to buy anything. It's up to you if you are really picky about how a sub performs.
You could just buy a SanSpeak or Morel subwoofer. Then do dynamat damping on the interior walls, and then spray-glue some Acousta-Stuf Polyfill on the inside walls. Like timlub said, the stuffing will damping some of the peak that happens right before frequency roll-off. This might help work with some of these other subwoofer drivers.
If you're still looking for possible drivers, the Rythmik Audio appears to be very nice:
The specs say the DS1200 works fine in a 3-4 square foot vented cabinet. I don't know the pricing, but you can contact them. They are in Texas.
Yup, Rythmik woofers are very good. The 12" is offered in two versions---with an aluminum cone, or a paper one, your choice. For really high performance, the Rythmik woofers can be used with the company's dedicated servo-feedback circuit plate amp, 370w or 600w. For use in a sealed enclosure, 1.5-2.0 cu.ft. is recommended. A lot of Maggie users are very happy with their Rythmik subs. Jim Salk offers his top model speakers with Rythmik subs built in.
I have 2 REL subs from the same era (Q150e and Q108II) and both are unstuffed, sound fabulous, and never overheat or get particularly hot at all.
Thanks AUX-- I have narrowed it down to 2 options, I will look into that rythmik driver as well.
Out of curiosity, which 2 options are you looking at?
My experience is that speakers almost always have waaay too much stuffing. The only thing that does is decrease the effective volume. For best results use only a grapefruit size amount of pure hollow fiber wool. The sound will be more open, more detailed and have better bass performance. Why are most speakers filled with stuffing? Most likely it’s just a case of monkey see, monkey do. 🐒
The two I am considering are:
The rhythmik and the AD12-300 from BKELEC in the U.K.
I ruled out an NHT 1259, simply too old, want to go with new.
The problem with the RHYTHMIK is that they are NOT selling the driver separately. They want you to buy the whole sub. It even states that on their website. So I wrote them to see if they will sell one separately. Waiting to hear back.
The problem with the BKELEX is that I had written them in the past, got no response. Gave it one more try last week, they actually responded, but have not sent me an invoice. Still waiting on that too!
Might need a 3rd option after all the hassle!
I'll check out all those, heard good things about eminence.
Let you know what I decide when I hear back from all the companies
Faital Pro makes some good stuff. However, this woofer would not be a good choice for your REL box. For one thing, the resonance frequency is very high at 45hz - making this a general woofer instead of a subwoofer. Subwoofer drivers typically have a resonance frequency between 17hz and 25hz. The second thing is the VAS on the Faital is only 1.06 cubic feet. This woofer would not perform well at all in your 3.5 cubic foot REL B1 box. I modeled the Faital in BassBox Pro and it really wants a 0.7 cubic foot box for vented, and it still would not give you deep bass like a normal subwoofer. The Faital stuff is designed to have very high efficiency for pro audio sound - to be very loud for live sound concerts.
Both the Scanspeak and the Peerless would be highly superior choices. I don't know about the Eminence, but I suspect it would be fine The eminence is not in the BassBox library and I didn't have time to enter in all the T/S parameters.
I just did the model on the Eminence and it would work out just fine in your REL B1 box. So, ultimately, any choice of the ScanSpeak, Peerless or Eminence subwoofers I suggested would work great in your REL B1 cabinet.