Subwoofer Quandary

Hello forum members. I'm in search of a good subwoofer driver for a potential DIY project.

For the last 4 years I've been using an NHT SW3 12" passive subwoofer at times with an NAD 214 amp bridged and more recently with the companion NHT SA-3 amp. This has been used for both my music system and home theater. Up 'til now the results have been satisfactory, but I am now in search of something better.

I'm in the process of buying a Bryston 7B to use as the new amp to drive whichever driver I choose, but I've also entertained the possibility of getting the active Revel B15 or REL Stadium instead. I thought of getting the passive Revel Sub 15 to use with the Bryston and a Paradigm X30 crossover I have lying around, but Revel tells me I won't get the most out of the sub without using their $7000 LE-1 crossover/amp. I'm wondering if this is all marketing or if there is some substance to the claim. I was told that the Sub 15 besides the amp and crossover needs equalization which the LE-1 provides, and that authorized Revel dealers have equipment to fill these needs. What equipment I don't know.

I'm open to the idea of a DIY, especially if I can find a driver better than the NHT 1259 for the project. But should I be looking into the Revel and REL options more carefully?

Thanks for your opinions.
Boy did I run into the right thread. I would like to direct you to a few sites but I'll give you some advice here and now.

First off, you said that you want something better than what you had before. I would imagine that you want deeper bass but not at the expense of speed and accuracy. Right?

The Rel subs are very good subs but if you build a sub with quality parts and technical accuracy, you should be able to build you one hell of a sub that not only does music well but will rattle a few pictures on your wall.

Go to the following sites: (DIY section)Search for Adire Audio (Speaker section) Search for Adire Audio (speak to Dan Wiggins the owner)

I have more but I have to go. I'll continue once I get home.
You can also look up great companies like HSU, SVS as well as Adire if you want a turn key sub. I personally went 1/2 & 1/2 when it came to my 214L 15" Adire Audio Tempest based sub. I had a wonderful company by the name of build a DIY type sub for me for next to nothing but mind you, they used high quality parts through out.

A sub that's often compared to to some of the REL offerings is the Adire Rava sub which is a very good sub for music but at a fraction of the price of the REL. I would go to and speak to Kyle Richardson for some indepth information about your choices. Good Luck.
Ahh, thanks so much Martice! Yes, you're correct, I should have been clearer on what qualities I was looking for in a sub, but you hit it exactly. I'll definitely look into these sites. I've never heard of Adire subs, but if they're that good this may turn out to be a fun DIY. Thanks a bunch.
Gunbei -

There is a trade-off relationship between efficiency, bass extension, and enclosure size (some money gets traded off as well).

Most people want the maximum bass extension and loudness in the smallest possible enclosure, which means you have to trade off lots of efficiency. Since very powerful amplifiers are relatively inexpensive, that makes sense, right?

Well, maybe not. You see those compact, ultra-long-throw, low-efficiency woofers suffer much more from dynamic compression than a higher efficiency woofer does. Which doesn't really matter on movie soundtracks, but it does matter on music. In my opinion, for music you need a sub with a fairly efficient woofer to minimize dynamic compression. The only way to get deep extension and good efficiency is to use a big box. This is what I've gravitated towards after years as an amateur speaker builder.

Also, sealed boxes are almost universally considered to have better transient response than vented enclosures, but there are vented alignments that rival the transient response of a Qtc = .5 sealed box, yet give you better extension for a given enclosure size.

And the thing is, higher efficiency woofers (for minimal dynamic compression) naturally have parameters that are best suited to vented enclosures.

OF course, if you want a sub primarily for movies, then you'd want a bass alignment that maximizes output rather than transient reponse.

For music, if at all possible, I suggest stereo subs. The reason is, very low frequency out-of-phase information is present on many recordings, and gives a sense of the size of the hall the recording was made in. This is picked up by the widely-spaced microphones. When the bass is summed for a single subwoofer, that out-of-phase information is cancelled and lost.

I'm a dealer for a very musical line of woofers, namely Lambda Acoustics ( I've been building speakers as a hobby since the late 70's, and these are the best-sounding large woofers I have found. They are fairly expensive and tend to be of higher efficiency than most woofers, which means a bigger box for a given -3 dB point, but their dynamic impact is very lifelike.

If you're interested, let me know what you can live with in the way of box size, and I'll let you know what Lambda might have to offer you.

Best of luck with your project!

If you are in to DIY I recommend the Titan II. I built one and love it. Or if you just want to buy it built you can do that too.


Good luck, the Titan II is awesome. Search online for reviews.
Thanks for all the help guys. I'll definitely study up on all your suggestions and hopefully lot's of quality bass will be the result.