Passive or Active Sub???


I need help in deciding which way to go. I have a 6 channel amp (Elektra Reference) delivering 180 WPC and I am not using the sixth channel so I thought about getting a quality passive sub and drive it with the Amp. My room is small-medium sized (about 17 X 13) and I am interested in a very musical and quick sub. I don’t want to shake the house I just want something very tight and punchy for both 2 channel and HT. My gear includes JMLab electra (920, 905 and cc-30) and the processor is RDC-7 (Integra).

I would greatly appreciate any input or suggestions. Should I go passive? If so, which sub is recommended? (I guess I need a 10' or 12'). Price range is up to 1000$.

Feel free to suggest any ideas/ recommendations.

Thank you.
Find a used Bag-End Infra-sub 18 inch subwoofer which retails for $1600. One of the tightest most musical subs you'll find in most any price range. I had one in my home for about 2 weeks. I couldn't believe any 18-inch sub could be so tight. Almost too tight. It's not the best fit'n finish you'll find but ...

I am using a Triad Platinum 18-inch sub which musically is a little step down from the Bag-End but has more features for dialing in a bit better. If you can find one used, it should also be around $1000.

Both subs are active at about 450 wpc. In this price range, you're probably better off not even trying to find a passive sub.

If you have an extra channel, try the Hsu passive tube sub for only about 350 dollars. They even have a fre 30 day trial period. What have you got to lose ?
I'd also say it is a good bet to try the HSU subs. for the money they are as good as you'll find......for the money. Can be boomy and tough to integrate without a quality XO though. The good thing about powered (active) subs is that they generally have a variable XO and, almost more importantly, a phase control. For a grand you can step up into a powered sub (used) that will better HSU subs handily, but then again you start a new VS. used debate. Good luck!
Thank you guys. I have decided to go active. I would love to try the bag-end but it seems that an 18 sub will be just too big for my small room. I am currently thinking about the Velodyne HGS10. Anyone has any experience with this sub?

Thanks for the help.
A word of caution about any 10 inch subwoofer driver. In almost every case, a 10 inch driver cannot properly reproduce the two lowest octaves which is the entire purpose of a real subwoofer's existence. They end up distorting, popping, compressing, and just plain poopin' out. Therefore, some companies add a second 10 inch driver as in the case of NHT's Sub Two and then they call it a tight musical sub. I've heard the Sub Two in two different home applications, one home theater, one music with the JMLab Electra's. The sub's retail for about $1200, but after hearing them and trying to configure them for optimal bass reproduction, I wouldn't pay more than $100 for it. Just boomy and they do nothing more than what a cheap full range speaker already does except that now the entire room is filled with a boomy sound that has no musical definition whatsoever.

The cabinet size of a 10 inch sub is still three-quarters the size of an 18 inch sub. I believe the very smallest size one should consider should be 12 inches and even then unless it's the top of the line(i.e. Aerial's SW12), you will still experience much the same cheap affects I mentioned above.

Might I suggest you locate a used Bag End Infra-Sub on audiogon, purchase, and try for a few weeks? If it's too big or you simply don't like it, then you should have no trouble selling it for what you paid as long as you got a decent deal for about $900 or so.

IMO -John

I appreciate the info and thanks very much for the detailed answer. I think what your suggestion makes sense. While I am not a bass freak I would like to enjoy the deepest bass in HT (or music). Your recommendation also makes sense since the Jmlab 920.1 have a 10’ woofer and thus maybe a 10’ sub would not go lower anyway. I guess that I could try to find one of these (the price seems decent) on audiogon. I just need to see one to make sure that I (i.e., my wife...) can live with the size.

Thanks for the help. If I buy one I’ll let you know what I think about it.

You're welcome. You will discover that there is so much musical info way down under, whether classical, pop, etc., that you'll be amazed how rich and full the sound in your room with be if you get the sub-sonics right. It just so happens that there are two Bag End Infrasub's for sale on audiogon right now.

Yes, I would be very interesed to hear your response after you've demo'ed such product.

I have Aerial Acoustic 10T's full range speakers with 10.7" woofers that reproduce the bass wonderfully down to about 25Hz. Even so, I would not want to give up my 18inch sub because of what it does for reproducing the bottom octaves. My sub is as much a part of my system as any other component.

Please keep me posted.