Who are some of elite sub woofers?


Looking to replace Klipsch 12d

So many choices.
awooof
The problem with subs is it is impossible to get uniform, even and powerful deep bass with just one or even two subs. Also they cannot be located symmetrically the way the two main speakers are or you only make the inherent uneven response even worse. A minimum of three (and four is much better) located asymmetrically are required. The good news is using 4 allows them to be quite a bit smaller. The best solution seems to be here: http://www.audiokinesis.com/the-swarm-subwoofer-system-1.html
Post removed 
for music I like JL audio and Rel. Both would be a huge step up in quality. What is your budget and it is for just music or home theater too?

something with an active crossover is always nice. 


Jl fathom  amps seem to have a lot of issues, lots of people report them dying quickly.
Vandersteen 3 with 11 bands of EQ to address room issues below 120 hz singles start at $3k

or the very elite sub 9 in a carbon fiber wrapped low resonance enclosure, also w 11 band EQ, they come in pairs...for about $12k


Thank you all for insight.
Budge I'm guessing $1500 but thought about only one?Millercarbon suggested 3-4? That would change budget considerably.

I’m gonna plug SVS simply because I own two SB-2000s (sealed version, 12 inch driver, 500 watts RMS, continuously adjustable for volume, phase and low pass filter) run in stereo. Not only do they sound wonderful, but they are well built, low profile and are priced for high value. Bass quality is quick and powerful with very clear, defined and textured sub-bass notes. I should add you could buy two for $1400.
Another +vote for REL.

Happy Listening!
+1 for JL. Fathom v2 only. Earlier versions had issues but those been worked out in v2. Costly but worth it especially when dual duty, HT and 2Ch, is desired. It is the best small powerful and audiophile sub available. Do some homework and auditioning.
There are a lot of great sub manufacturers out there and almost any of them will be a huge step up from the Klipsch at the budget you mentioned. I'm partial to Rythmik. You could get a couple of  SVS SB 2000 subs and still have some money in your pocket. 
Thank you all for insight.
Budge I'm guessing $1500 but thought about only one?Millercarbon suggested 3-4? That would change budget considerably.

No, it doesn't have to be expensive. All the comments so far are people following the old method of using one, or sometimes two, really big and powerful subs. Using one or even two means they have to be big and powerful. Using 4 means they can be much smaller.

But that's not even the biggest benefit. 

The real problem with subs, which you will discover real fast if you try, is lumpy, uneven bass response. This is for every sub made and there is no way around it. This is why I said "impossible" above. Its simply a fact of physics. 

So here's what happens. You stick the sub somewhere. Does not matter where. You listen. You hear more bass. Great. You're so happy. But then you notice its one note bass. Above and below that one note it drops off real fast. So you move the sub. Now its a different note. Turns out there's a whole thesis research paper study done on this with exhaustive measurements proving it is impossible to achieve even bass response with just one sub.

Or even two. Or even three, but its getting closer. Four and you are there. More is even better, but not a lot. Four is the sweet spot. Nice even powerful bass from 4 not very big subs.

That's what you want. Read the papers. Save your money. 
Another vote for the Vandersteen sub 3. With eleven bands of EQ, you can conquer just about ANY room problem. Use 2 sub3's with EQ, and problem solved!
Gonna say REL here. It was a huge step up from the Hsu Research sub that I had (and that one was already pretty nice to me at the time). 
REL for audio. JL is better for home theatre. SVS is not "elite" (the OP's words), it's for the masses. 
Sure, JL is elite if you consider charging your customers $300 to repair virtually new subs with known quality problems the price of "elitism". The v2 fixed the problems, time will tell.

SVS has excellent cutomer service and 
I’ll speak up for SVS as well...whether "elite" or just for the downtrodden masses. They definitely improved overall sound quality of my system. I’m running a pair of SVS SB1000s (sealed, 12", 300 watts) each located just inside a floor stander (Totem Forests or Silverline Prelude Pluses). I hear none of the issues millercarbon mentions. Apart from the blue LEDs being on, you don’t know they are until switched off. The bass they support is seamless with the main speakers, nuanced and textured...hardly "one note" and definitely not boomy. With a 45 day in home audition option, a 5 year warranty and "free" shipping (even on the return if you don’t like them) they’re worth at least considering.
SVS subs are not "elite" because they are priced fairly and are of high value, something so-called elitists care nothing about.
The Audiokinesis Swarm is one of the best subwoofer systems out there. Most do things like 'bass in the room but not at the listening chair' due to standing waves in the room; the Swarm solves this problem (provides uniform bass at all frequencies) while at the same time being relatively unobtrusive.
Why sealed or ported? Personal preference or is there better sound?
I was not trying to be a snob by saying elite! I was afraid high end would get 4 figure costing subs. I don’t want cheap just to have a sub or two.

I was not trying to be a snob by saying elite! I was afraid high end would get 4 figure costing subs. I don’t want cheap just to have a sub or two.
Good subs start at $1,000 and up .Elite subs cost a multiple of $K
The Vandersteen way provides great bass at the listening chair by analog EQ applied by using a microphone at the listening chair.
swarm is certainly good, especially if the War Department can tolerate 4 small subs placed around the room in addition to two ( or more ) main speakers...

for those of us with powered bass bass and EQ built into our mains, when adding a sub w EQ we get most IF not all the benefits of swarm... call me a Vandersteen fan boy....

elite should not be so so narrowly defined IMO
we have it really, really good with great quality subs right now, especially with value focused firms like SVS and Rhythmic 
i have no experience w JL

most people dial up the sub wayyyy to hot, .... give me quality over quantity 


I might point out there is an excellent and informative swarm thread also
search and you will find !
Tomic601 is correct. Many people crank sub volume to high. If the sub is dialed in correctly, you shouldn't even know it's in the room.

tomic601 wrote: "for those of us with powered bass bass and EQ built into our mains, when adding a sub w EQ we get most IF not all the benefits of swarm..."

Are you describing a system with two fullrange equalized main speakers plus an equalized sub, which overlaps and augments (rather than replaces) the main speakers down low? If so, then yes that can definitely be competitive with a four-piece Swarm.

Warning: The following three paragraphs go into some technical stuff. If you don’t like technical stuff, please skip them.

A single equalized sub can give excellent results in the sweet spot, but often makes things worse outside the sweet spot. This is because the room-interaction peak-and-dip pattern is specific to that sub location and that listener location. Thus in other listening locations the peaks and dips will have moved around, such that in those locations the EQ could be boosting a peak and/or cutting a dip.

With a distributed multisub system, the multiple dissimilar peak-and-dip patterns sum at any given listening position, and therefore tend to smooth one another out. The only way they could fail to smooth one another out would be if they were identical, and that won’t happen unless the subs are all in the exact same location. If there is still a significant residual peak or dip, chances are it’s present throughout the room, and therefore is a good candidate for correction via EQ. In other words, a distributed multisub system actually makes EQ more effective (though less likely to be needed), because its benefits are more likely to extend throughout the room.

And "smooth" bass is "fast" bass, because it is the in-room peaks which decay more slowly than the rest of the bass spectrum and therefore sound "slow". Yes we can hear the difference in perceptual "speed" between different types of subs, but that goes back to which is creating the biggest in-room peaks, and it will be the sub that is loudest in that region.

Anyway imo you are WELL ahead of the game with three distributed, equalize-able bass sources. Earl Geddes, whose ideas I use (with his permission) in the Swarm, later moved to using three independently-equalized subs, with the equalization settings generated by his own proprietary algorithm from in-room measurements. I’m no Earl Geddes, so I’m still using his first-generation four-piece distributed multisub concept.

I wish I had sufficient economies of scale to do a $1500 budget-Swarm system... alas, not even close.  The labor cost on the boxes doesn't go down significantly as the box size decreases, and labor is my biggest cost. 

Duke

There is one sub in a different class from all others, and that's not said pejoratively. The Eminent Technology TRW-17 Rotary Woofer is designed to be used from 30Hz down, a subwoofer for all other subwoofers.

I thought we went through this a few posts ago. Swarm was sold by a few with obvious interests.

OP, why ask for elite sub-woofers if you have a budget of $1500? Do some searching in the internet (search under subwoofers) or search A'gon for the same product so you have a better understanding of what you can get for your budget. Then you can ask here for advice on the targeted choices..

My Kinergetics SW-800 twin tower subs with active stereo crossover are might nice, but rarely come up for sale on Audiogon. Saw some from a dealer in the NE late last year. Response to 20Hz in my room, but very tight and fast. Typically around your price point. Obviously need a second amp as they are not self powered.
REL is my favorite, hands down, after going through several lesser brands over the years.   I'll never buy another brand...if anything, I'd upgrade within the REL lines of product.   
Rythmik, HSU, and PowerSoundAudio.

SVS if you are limited to BestBuy or want financing.

REL and Vandersteen don’t even come close to Rythmik and HSU in terms of bang for buck. JL Audio also isn’t as good for the money.

As for ported or sealed. Ported gives you louder output in the deep bass but cuts off below what it’s rated at, sealed gives you less output in the deep bass but extends deeper (meaning at 20Hz a ported may be louder but at 15Hz a sealed may be louder), transparent companies will post frequency graphs (all 4 I mentioned do).

Ported subs can be “looser” if they aren’t designed great (<$500 ones for instance, but that’s a budget constriction), high end ported subs are no less musical than ported, and they have less distortion usually as well.  
  
If you don’t have DSP/room correction nor tons of bass traps, I would go with sealed, as the room gain would help make that more neutral than ported speakers.
If you are building your own, try a pair of Hartley 24" woofers in custom cabs that you can find designs for all over...

http://www.hartleyloudspeakers.com/new_page_2.htm

file:///C:/Users/Richard/Downloads/hartley%20box%20(1).pdf

You need a big amp (>200 RMS) and a big-boy crossover...

Awoof, one possibility since you already have a sub, is to add a few more.  In a distributed multi-sub setup, the subs need not be identical.   It is perfectly fine to have one or two that go significantly deeper than the others.  

If you go this route, let me suggest that any subs which will be closer to the listener than the main speakers have a steep lowpass filter, something like 24 dB per octave, to roll off their top ends.  You don't want them passing audible upper bass/lower midrange energy and giving away their locations. 

Also, a phase knob or switch can be nice to have.   I usually end up reversing the polarity of one of the four subs in a Swarm setup, as I find that this usually helps to further smooth things out.

Duke

Duke, I understand the subs in a swarm design all reproduce a combined left plus right (monaural) signal, even on material containing stereo bass (rare, but not unheard of). Is that correct? Is there any out-of-phase (left minus right), very low frequency, info lost when doing so?
I regret using the word elite. Unintended consequences! I should have listed price points.

I had not thought of just adding more subs. Might be best idea.

Just trying to see what is popular in this price range.

Thanks for all the replies.

bdp24 wrote: "I understand the subs in a swarm design all reproduce a combined left plus right (monaural) signal, even on material containing stereo bass (rare, but not unheard of). Is that correct?"

That’s normally true of the system I make. The amplifier I use is the Dayton Audio SA-1000, part number 300-811 at Parts Express, normally one to drive all four subs. So you can get that amp and four passive subs connected in series-parallel and that’s pretty much what I do.

"Is there any out-of-phase (left minus right), very low frequency, info lost when doing so?"

Could be.

Some of my customers opt for using two amplifiers, instead of a single amp to drive all four subs. This way they can send the left channel signal to the left-side-of-the-room subs, and the right channel signal to the right-side-of-the-room subs.

I think most of my customers who are using two amps use the variable phase controls to set the subs roughly 90 degrees apart, in "phase quadrature". This synthesizes partially out-of-phase conditions at the left and right side, increasing the sense of envelopment or immersion. Credit to David Griesinger for this technique. Then if you have a recording that you know has true stereo bass information, you’re just a phase-knob-twiddle away from hearing it fully.

Duke

yes Duke for those of us running Vandersteen floor standers w built in subs and EQ adding more vanderyEq subs gets most If not all the swarm effect. There is some spatial info above the filter, so placement is still important.

what is amazing and should be celebrated are the amazing choices we have in high quality and affordable subs, elite or not so much...

as an aside for the OP and perhaps others...

buy, read and try out many of the tips in Jim Smiths excellent book - Get Better Sound

buy an SPL meter and a test disc or download Vandertones for free - see what your room is doing...and begin to correlate that to what you hear...

listen to just your sub......hm........not all much there..are ya sure you need it ? or need it that loud....

fun
I would go with REL.  They are less detectable and they create a 3 dimensional sound stage.  
I have one SVS SB16-Ultra and really like it.  I had the SB13-Ultra for about a year when the SB16 came out ... I simply traded it in for full purchase price and upgraded to the SB16.  Very good customer service / trade-up policy.  I'd add this one to your list if you are one of the "masses" or if your interested in a reasonably priced subwoofer on Stereophile's Recommended List "A".
@larry5729

It’s a subwoofer, impossible for it to have soundstage depth, unless talking stereo use with each sub playing either the left or right channel.
mzkmxcv"It’s a subwoofer, impossible for it to have soundstage depth, unless talking stereo use with each sub playing either the left or right channel."

This is a Statement of Faith and for that reason, logic, and explanation by definition there is no arguing, disputing, or challenging the poster’s Faith or his Belief. However it is easily contradicted, invalidated, and rendered false by actual science, engineering, and experience but some people like to reference a "Book" to explain, justify, or rationalize their Beliefs, Convictions, and Practices. Say Hallelujah!
For music I run 2 subs. Both have 2 12s Dunlavy brand, .  Recently For movies I add in I bought  6 15 woofers and. Built boxes and got a mini Dsp to help with standing waves and get placements better.   Without it some areas have insane bass while others non bass.   Didn’t realize how it worked till added in the low bass movie subs   Can get a lot of bass with diy     I’m pretty happy with the Tannoy woofers running off crown amps for movie lfe 
I'm guessing this subwoofer is to be used in a two channel music system?

Multiple subs will defiantly load or pressurize and reduce or eliminate room nodes within a listening environment better than one. With proper placement and equalization you should find very enjoyable performance at your listening position.

Regarding your budget I suggest you look into Syzygy Acoustics.

http://syzygyacoustics.com/#

Unfortunately, their site doesn't seem to offer their manual for the possibility of slaving your current 12d from the remote controlled room corrected Syzygy or running two of their 8" models. I'm sure they'ed be happy to answer your questions. 

In my opinion room correction is far more valuable than giant driver size. 
Good luck with your search and have fun.
Wow, Duke in the house! This is pure gold!

Warning: The following three paragraphs go into some technical stuff. If you don’t like technical stuff, please skip them. 

A single equalized sub can give excellent results in the sweet spot, but often makes things worse outside the sweet spot. This is because the room-interaction peak-and-dip pattern is specific to that sub location and that listener location. Thus in other listening locations the peaks and dips will have moved around, such that in those locations the EQ could be boosting a peak and/or cutting a dip. 

With a distributed multisub system, the multiple dissimilar peak-and-dip patterns sum at any given listening position, and therefore tend to smooth one another out. The only way they could fail to smooth one another out would be if they were identical, and that won’t happen unless the subs are all in the exact same location. If there is still a significant residual peak or dip, chances are it’s present throughout the room, and therefore is a good candidate for correction via EQ. In other words, a distributed multisub system actually makes EQ more effective (though less likely to be needed), because its benefits are more likely to extend throughout the room.

And "smooth" bass is "fast" bass, because it is the in-room peaks which decay more slowly than the rest of the bass spectrum and therefore sound "slow". Yes we can hear the difference in perceptual "speed" between different types of subs, but that goes back to which is creating the biggest in-room peaks, and it will be the sub that is loudest in that region. 

Anyway imo you are WELL ahead of the game with three distributed, equalize-able bass sources. Earl Geddes, whose ideas I use (with his permission) in the Swarm, later moved to using three independently-equalized subs, with the equalization settings generated by his own proprietary algorithm from in-room measurements. I’m no Earl Geddes, so I’m still using his first-generation four-piece distributed multisub concept.

I wish I had sufficient economies of scale to do a $1500 budget-Swarm system... alas, not even close. The labor cost on the boxes doesn't go down significantly as the box size decreases, and labor is my biggest cost.  

Duke

Three paragraphs I wish could be pinned to the top of every subwoofer thread. This is like one of those puzzles, where everything seems impossible until you learn the trick, and suddenly its easy. Don't brute force it with one. Finesse it with four. 

High on my upgrade list for this year. Very high!
Maybe outside of your budget, but I personally love my dial JTR Captivator 2400s. They are port tuned to 10Hz, so you get the high output of ported, but with the benefits of sealed. They are very fast and sound great for both HT and 2 Channel music. Check them out.

http://jtrspeakers.com/captivator-2400.html
+1 for Rythmik.  Exceptional value, highly adjustable, very musical.  I love my FG12.  With its own adjustability, it integrates seamlessly with my Maggie MMGs through a Parasound P5 preamp. 
For music it is Rel, Rel, Rel.  They're not amazing home theater subs as they don't scare the heck out of you when something explodes on screen.  But they're awesome for music - they don't make the room shake, they make vocals sound real.  I also agree that more than one can even out the room response tremendously..