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  #1  
Old September 21st, 2011, 10:22 PM
Skye Skye is offline
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Speaker and Sub Talk

I've been reading about your products and am very impressed with the
straightforward specifications and outstanding reviews. However, I
have a few questions before I want to buy. I'm hoping these will be
answered with an enthusiast's curiosity and passion for accurate
knowledge rather than a salesman's drive to sell the most expensive
product.

1) I see your fanciest subs have 15" drivers. I know those cones get
very heavy, and are likely difficult to pull back once they are
extended. Unless I am mistaken, this translates to mushier bass. I'm
not saying it can't hit hard, but that it might not be as precise or
quick as a smaller driver. In other words, a 15" could be fantastic
for home theater, but perhaps a 12" (or even multiple 10") could be
better for music.

I'm considering a pair of subwoofers, likely a 2.2 channel system for
really good music listening and mid-field mixing that will double for
movie watching (although I care less about how my movies sound, since
I'm paying attention to the plot, the acting, the special effects,
etc). However, I'm not sure I can afford two subs.

Maybe you agree with all the above conjecture that 12" drivers are
better than 15" for listening room applications, or maybe you have
evidence to the contrary. From your knowledge, what sub size would a
music enthusiast prefer, if he is seeking for accuracy?

2) I'm also looking at your bookshelf speakers to be used (at least
for the short term future) in the same system (2.1 or 2.2, accurate
music a priority, occasional movies). I was wondering if it might be
advantageous to use two center channel speakers vertically on stands
instead of two bookshelf speakers.

That said, most center speakers I have heard sound very harsh, very
unfriendly for music. My guess is that most companies have to throw
delicacy out the window to design a competitively-priced speaker
capable of handling the high SPL and heavy demands given to the center
channel.

However, perhaps your center speaker uses the same drivers as the
bookshelf model? If so, then, the question is whether the bookshelf or
center channel would have better frequency response? Or would using an
MTM driver configuration cause comb filtering or other sonic
undesirabilities?

Would Dr Hsu say it is a more powerful version of the bookshelf
speaker? Or that it should never be used in that fashion for high
quality music reproduction since it is designed simply to handle more
stress from vocals and explosions?
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  #2  
Old September 21st, 2011, 10:23 PM
Skye Skye is offline
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Pete from Hsu's reply:

"At first glance, it would seem that a subwoofer with a larger driver will
not be as controlled nor as tight sounding as a subwoofer with a smaller
driver, but this is not necessarily true. If the subwoofer with the larger
driver has a sufficiently large and balanced magnet/motor structure, then
it can sound as tight or even tighter than a subwoofer with a smaller
driver. And a larger driver typically needs to move less to reproduce a
given sound pressure level vs. a smaller driver, which results in lower
distortion. So I would say that our 15" subs are every bit as good
sounding, if not even better sounding, then our 8/10/12" subs. That said,
there is no doubt that a dual subwoofer system can make for a substantial
improvement vs. a single subwoofer system in terms of smoother response,
better blending with the main speakers, potentially lower distortion, etc.
For a system that is used primarily for music, using two smaller subs
rather than one larger sub makes a lot of sense. The only tradeoff is
usually in terms of deep bass extension and deep bass output which is
usually in favor of the larger subwoofer.

Most music does not have much deep bass content below 30Hz, so even an 8"
subwoofer can suffice. I generally recommend going with the best
subwoofer(s) that one can comfortably fit into their budget and/or
enclosure size constraints. The larger subwoofers tend to give deeper bass
extension, higher output, lower distortion, and in some cases better
feature set too.

The HC-1 MK2 can be used vertically as front left/right main speakers if
the horn is rotated 90 degrees. This tends to work best when one is doing
most of their listening with their ear level in line with the center of the
horn tweeter. If one does a lot of listening standing up, then one would
be better off using the HB-1 MK2. Both the HC-1 MK2 and HB-1 MK2 do share
some driver/crossover technology, and both sound very nice and smooth
without sounding too harsh, and integrate well with our subwoofers. The
former has wider dynamic range with the dual 6.5" woofers, but the latter
is less expensive and more forgiving when moving around in the vertical
axis.

Sincerely,

Pete"
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  #3  
Old September 21st, 2011, 10:48 PM
Skye Skye is offline
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Thanks for your helpful and insightful reply.

As far as I can see, the ideal system would be a many truly full range speakers as there are channels, be that two or seven. Second to that, each speaker would be properly integrated with its own dedicated subwoofer. And further still down the chain (but still desirably) is to have stereo subs properly time aligned with the left and right speakers, positioned to get a balanced frequency response, and to have the rear speakers' low frequencies routed accordingly and the LFE channel routed to both subs.

I had an internship with mastering engineer Bob Katz in Orlando, Florida. He used a pair of JL Audio Fathom f112 subs, and he spoke very highly of them. One part of what makes them so exceptional is their massive excursion (two inches, I believe). They did sound good, but he was having trouble filling in a 50 Hz hole based on the shape of his room, and that octave contains some of the frequencies I enjoy the most from a sub, since they still contain quite a bit of musical content, but they are so sorely missed by all the poorly tuned cabinets designed to over-emphasize 80 Hz because they can't reach 50 Hz.

I would really like to hear a pair of the Fathom f112's compared to an Hsu offering. And I'd certainly enjoy hearing the impressions of someone else who has compared them both. I'm well aware that the f112 is about double the price of Hsu's most expensive sub. I have no doubt that Hsu is better value, but I wonder how they'd stack up against each other. I'm really not sure which would be superior. Does anyone have any thoughts?

JL Audio also makes the same sub with a 13" cone, and a 2x12" variation too. But Bob wouldn't have either. He didn't explain himself clearly on it, and I'm honestly not sure if his qualms were that the drivers would be too heavy to damp, or that he simply wanted to feel good about the purchase he made. His entire system cost was about $50,000, including speakers, amps, subs, stands, DACs, and calibrated volume control. He told me he considers his system one of the top ten in the world. Don't get me wrong, it was quite nice, but I'd probably put it in the top 2,000 systems, not the top ten. Perhaps maybe I'm being too optimistic about the state of the hi-fi community and how well outfitted studios are.

He previously used Lipinski 707's (first generation) as his mains, and those use a woofer-tweeter-woofer design. So certainly some systems out there find a way around comb filtering from the woofers.

I'm planning on doing my listening from a sitting position. If I buy speaker stands at the height that brings the tweeters to ear level, will I have any issues using the HC-1 as my mains? Will there be any perceived benefit? Has anyone on the forums tried this?

Also, since most of us are on a budget (we're here because Hsu is exceptional value), where do we find appropriate speaker stands. Target and Sound Anchors are expensive...

Last edited by cacihome : September 22nd, 2011 at 7:16 AM.
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  #4  
Old September 22nd, 2011, 7:16 AM
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cacihome cacihome is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skye View Post
Thanks for your helpful and insightful reply.

As far as I can see, the ideal system would be a many truly full range speakers as there are channels, be that two or seven. Second to that, each speaker would be properly integrated with its own dedicated subwoofer. And further still down the chain (but still desirably) is to have stereo subs properly time aligned with the left and right speakers, positioned to get a balanced frequency response, and to have the rear speakers' low frequencies routed accordingly and the LFE channel routed to both subs.

I had an internship with mastering engineer Bob Katz in Orlando, Florida. He used a pair of JL Audio Fathom f112 subs, and he spoke very highly of them. One part of what makes them so exceptional is their massive excursion (two inches, I believe). They did sound good, but he was having trouble filling in a 50 Hz hole based on the shape of his room, and that octave contains some of the frequencies I enjoy the most from a sub, since they still contain quite a bit of musical content, but they are so sorely missed by all the poorly tuned cabinets designed to over-emphasize 80 Hz because they can't reach 50 Hz.

I would really like to hear a pair of the Fathom f112's compared to an Hsu offering. And I'd certainly enjoy hearing the impressions of someone else who has compared them both. I'm well aware that the f112 is about double the price of Hsu's most expensive sub. I have no doubt that Hsu is better value, but I wonder how they'd stack up against each other. I'm really not sure which would be superior. Does anyone have any thoughts?

JL Audio also makes the same sub with a 13" cone, and a 2x12" variation too. But Bob wouldn't have either. He didn't explain himself clearly on it, and I'm honestly not sure if his qualms were that the drivers would be too heavy to damp, or that he simply wanted to feel good about the purchase he made. His entire system cost was about $50,000, including speakers, amps, subs, stands, DACs, and calibrated volume control. He told me he considers his system one of the top ten in the world. Don't get me wrong, it was quite nice, but I'd probably put it in the top 2,000 systems, not the top ten. Perhaps maybe I'm being too optimistic about the state of the hi-fi community and how well outfitted studios are.

He previously used Lipinski 707's (first generation) as his mains, and those use a woofer-tweeter-woofer design. So certainly some systems out there find a way around comb filtering from the woofers.

I'm planning on doing my listening from a sitting position. If I buy speaker stands at the height that brings the tweeters to ear level, will I have any issues using the HC-1 as my mains? Will there be any perceived benefit? Has anyone on the forums tried this?

Also, since most of us are on a budget (we're here because Hsu is exceptional value), where do we find appropriate speaker stands. Target and Sound Anchors are expensive...
I have heard several HSU subs and JL subs. Both are excellent for their target market. Both are tight, fast, have great output, great build quiality, etc.
There is no doubt that the value goes to HSU, and the output advantage at the entire FR, in some cases too.(like when you compare it against say... VTF-15)

The F113 feels more powerful than the F112, no doubt. It is like the difference in output that you experience when you go from a VTF2-Mk3 to a VTf-3 Mk3 more or less...The F113 has great mid/upper bass output, it feels like a Vtf2mk3 + MBM or so...The F112 is more like a plain VTf3 mk3 in "output felt" with the edge in low bass going to the VTF, of course...

For their size, JL subs sound very impressive, but the price tag is impressive too. The materials used are top notch, the size to performance ratio is excellent, but yet again, I can't see myself paying 2-3k for a sub that has a performance at least comparable with some bigger ported subs on the market of less than a grand...My humble opinion.

At the end, if you want a musical sub, the ULS is the cleanest sounding sub of the line.
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Last edited by cacihome : September 22nd, 2011 at 10:40 AM.
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  #5  
Old September 22nd, 2011, 12:10 PM
shadyJ shadyJ is offline
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I use the HC-1's for my entire front stage, and it works very well. I upgraded from HB-1s, and I would say while their isn't that much of an extra gain with the HC-1s, I do prefer them over the HB-1s. I am, however, only in one listening position with tweeters right at ear level, so whatever comb-filtering there is, I am not getting it. I have them mounted on shelfs, sorry I don't know of any inexpensive speaker stands for something as tall and heavy as the HC-1s. I think that if you went with the VTF-15h subs, they are tall enough to use as speaker stands themselves with the tweeters be at ear level. The VTF-15h is 25" high and the center of the tweeters on the HC-1s are 12" high, so you have about 37", which is where your ears would typically be if you were sitting on a sofa or couch.

Also, in regards to another remark, I think the top 10 system would have more to do with the room than the speakers themselves. I am thinking of a room that has zero influence on the sounds produced by the speaker, ie something like an anechoic chamber.
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  #6  
Old September 22nd, 2011, 4:07 PM
Pete_Hsu Pete_Hsu is offline
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Hi Luke,

I think that dual ULS-15 would compare just fine with dual F112 (in fact, one could have quad ULS-15 for the price of dual F112 ) The ULS's would play significantly deeper and sound a bit cleaner in comparison, whereas the F112's would sound a bit punchier in the mid-bass. Dual ULS-15 with dual MBM-12 MK2 would more than make up for this difference, and should offer a better experience in both the mid-bass and deep bass frequencies.

I can see why he would want dual F112 rather than F113 or F212. By having two separate subwoofers that he can separate in his room, there is potential for flatter in-room response. Also, the 112 model has better upper bass extension than the 113 model, so that may have been a consideration too.

Sincerely,
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  #7  
Old September 22nd, 2011, 9:50 PM
Skye Skye is offline
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Good to know that people have heard the f112 (or others) and still like the Hsu.

Bob's room was mildly treated, but I think he could have done a whole lot more. Keep in mind that what some people consider to be a great room is one with even decay across all frequencies or an even sloping drop-off in decay across the frequencies. Other people like a live sounding room, others a very dead sounding room. I've heard that anechoic chambers are scary, because people aren't used to being able to hear their pulse and other bodily sounds that are otherwise masked.

Personally, I think a very dead listening space could sound phenomenal, although I know many would disagree with this. I've considered covering all my walls and ceiling with 12" fiberglass and putting 2" foam diamonds on top of that, to absorb all frequencies. I've heard that very dead listening spaces have the detail and precision of headphones while having the imaging and soundstage of speakers. However, the risk would be adding too much reverb when mixing (or if you just listen, feeling that most bands don't use quite enough reverb).

By the way, Bob had me replace some speaker stands for him and fill them with sand. The old ones were expensive ones, brand name Lipinski. They had seven or eight support pillars on each side of the stand, all round. They would ring when knocked or tapped, even when filled with sand. The replacements, brand name Sound Anchors, were square and didn't ring at all when filled with sand. A speaker stand should never ring...

I consider speaker stands a must, but I've never had a system good enough to warrant them yet. I'll definitely be purchasing stands for my Hsu speakers when I get them. Does anyone else have an opinion on better value stands?

ShadyJ, what do you prefer about the HC-1 over the HB-1? Are there any aspects you like more about the HB-1?
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Old September 23rd, 2011, 12:33 PM
shadyJ shadyJ is offline
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I didn't A/B them very closely, to be honest. From what comparison I did, they sounded very much alike, except the HC-1s almost sounded a bit warmer, but that could very well be my imagination. Obviously with two 6.5" woofers they are capable of stronger bass and mids up to their crossover, but I didn't push either of them that hard to see the real difference. I hate to sound shallow, but I bought the HC-1 front stage more for the looks than anything. I wanted my speakers to look as ass-kicking as the music I was listening to. Well, the HC-1 are that, but I am just not sure how much more so than the HB-1s.
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Old September 25th, 2011, 2:40 PM
Skye Skye is offline
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Interesting. I appreciate the response.

ShadyJ, are you using a subwoofer?

Has anybody else used thr HC-1 as mains?
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Old September 25th, 2011, 5:33 PM
shadyJ shadyJ is offline
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The system I had them hooked up to was using a ULS-15 dual drive.
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Old September 26th, 2011, 5:52 AM
Skye Skye is offline
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Pete, would you recommend decoupling the sub from the floor, using something like the Auralex SubDude?
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Old September 26th, 2011, 6:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skye View Post
Pete, would you recommend decoupling the sub from the floor, using something like the Auralex SubDude?
What are you trying to accomplish?
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  #13  
Old September 26th, 2011, 10:01 PM
Skye Skye is offline
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Cleaner bass notes, fewer vibrating things in the room, less noise for neighbors. In general, more sound and less feel.
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Old October 21st, 2011, 12:46 PM
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If large cone drivers were slow, meaning they don't accurately follow the signal delivered to them, this would show in distorsion measurements. But in real life, larger drivers tends to measure better because of less excursion needed to acheive a given acoustic output. So much for the "speed" theory!

What is happening is this : larger subs produces more, lower frequency content, which tend to make the room and its content to vibrate more. Hence an impression of drag or unwanted sustain in low sounds. An 8 inches driver would not excite so much room mode, hence would pass as tighter. But it's not, and you're missing on some low frequency content.

Try playing loud music with nothing but the sub operating, you'll be appaled at all the rattles you hear in the room. This is a room problem, not a driver problem. I know that my two 15 inches subs *do* shake the closet louvered door a lot!

Regards.
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