An added question, given the above -- would a pair suit better (a couple of Sunfire Jrs or something)?
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I paid $1100 for a used pair of Velodyne ULD-12 powered subs a few years ago. These work so very well in a Home Theatre application. Having two of these allows for better bass balance around the room. My only complaint is that they are walnut which does not match well with the maple speakers in the room but it's often tough to have it all. At least they look more like end tables as they are down firing.
I have an HSU Reseach 12v down-firing sub that looks like a table aswell, but it is my opinion that in your case a front firing sub may be easier to place, like in a corner "toe-in" a bit....or a few feet in front of speakers on side of room again toed in a bit, down firing subs are more tricky because the sound fires down and spreads out, making walls more fussy with ideal bass response...good luck and have some fun with tweaking the placement! Chad
Yeah, placed up agains the back wall YOU WILL HEAR nothing but boomy "non-flat"/accurate sound! BAsically, it will sound like a small room boom box.
However, if you can't move things around, you should consider something with a parametric EQ to cutt your inevitable nasty peaks!...this will help.
Infinity makes some "RABOS" subs with EQ's in them, or you could add a parametric to a good sub. Servo 15's are super good, and can be had under $1k used.
Still, where are you planning on sticking the sub? That will have huge impact on choices as well.
Anyway, there are tons of choices of course. However, your best results, by far, are going to be not so much in what sub you get, but in how well you set it up!....GARANTEED!
With bass, the room/setup/calibration/placment/tweaking of the sub is 90% of the sound...NO JOKE!
You might just want to check out the subs from NHT. I own the SubOne(i) and I think it is terrrific in my room for either movies or music (although I don't use it with my 2-channel system, just the HT system).
The one I have is a front firing unit in Piano black finish. It has a separate contoller unit that will allow you to control the sub without having to reach around to the inaccessable plate amp on the back of the sub. You can also connect it to an HT system and a music system (at the same time) as it has independent controls for "subwoofer input" and "LFE Input".
It's a great sub for a great price. Heck, these things generally go for less than $500 used.
A used Paradigm Servo 15 and a Behringer "Feedback Destroyer" parametric EQ ought to just squeak in under your budget. The former go for $800-1000 used and the latter $100-150 new at pro music shops. Details on how to use the "BFD" EQ to control standing wave problems can be found at the AVScience, Audio Asylum, and Cult of the Infinitely Baffled forums. This combination of a real sub (no teensy chuffing distortion machine here!) and up to 12 bands of precisely adjustable EQ ought to work in all but the tiniest rooms... On one provision- That you spend som e time finding the best spot for the sub BEFORE applying EQ.