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Thread: Upgrade to F18, or second LV12R?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    Default Upgrade to F18, or second LV12R?

    I have a 20 x 10 x 7.5 (1500 cu ft) room. I (will soon) have Sierra-2 LCR, and HTM-200SE surrounds. This room is for both 5.1 HT and 2.1 music.

    Today, I have a single LV12R. I love it, and it adds a lot to both movies and music. I don't have much flexibility in placement, unfortunately. There's room for subs behind my L/R speakers, no bigger than an F18 each.

    Factors that matter to me:

    1) Capability below 20Hz for ambiance and dynamics in music. The LV12R is good enough to let you "hear the room" with the right recording. But I can't help but wonder if there's more I'm missing.

    2) More slam and awe. I want accurate reproduction, but sometimes, who doesn't want to just giggle like a kid?

    3) Address room modes. Bass response varies greatly depending on where you sit in the room.

    4) Think long-term. I'm prone to upgradeitis. If I get another LV12R I bet I'll love it, and yet still wonder if I shouldn't go bigger.

    I'm not sure if any of these are higher priority than others. Talk sense into me!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Just outside Pearland, TX
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    55

    Default Re: Upgrade to F18, or second LV12R?

    Second LV12R. Getting a bigger and more powerful sub is cool and all, but it won't do anything to address room modes. Given that your room isn't huge, I think two smaller subs will give you much better real results than one bigger one.
    .
    Very pleased Sierra-1 NrT and Sierra-1 owner

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Upgrade to F18, or second LV12R?

    Thanks SunByrne.

    I'm not sure what I prioritize higher. Also, since I'm pretty limited in sub placement, a second LV12R isn't a sure thing for addressing modes. Gotta admit, my heart is with the bigger sub. Just can't help but wonder what that beast can do!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Upgrade to F18, or second LV12R?

    I pored over some details on Rythmik's site, and now I wonder about a third option.

    What about upgrading to dual LVX12s? These are designed to be able to reach lower than the LV12R, which is one of my objectives.

    I'm having trouble finding impressions of the LVX12 vs other options in Rythmik's lineup. Anyone have first-hand experience?

  5. #5
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    Dec 2016
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    Central NC
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    Default Re: Upgrade to F18, or second LV12R?

    Quote Originally Posted by kdaq View Post
    I'm having trouble finding impressions of the LVX12 vs other options in Rythmik's lineup. Anyone have first-hand experience?
    I've got a pair of LVX12s running in a system with Sierra-2s (LCR) and Sierra-1s (surround), with an old Denon AVR-4000. Room in 13.5 x 20 x 8 feet. Probably 80% HT, 20% music.

    I went through more or less this same thought process years ago, coming to the conclusion that I wanted a pair of subs to help handle room modes. And I wanted servo subs because of the accuracy and low distortion. When Rythmik finally produced the LVX12s, I bought a very early pair (first two? IDK). With my restrictions the bigger subs would not physically fit, but the LVX12s do (one barely).

    I couldn't be happier. These subs really work well. Interestingly, they make the other speakers sound better in the bargain -- off loading the heavy lifting below 80 Hz really makes the Sierra-2s shine.

    Here's the thing. What you get from a bigger sub is higher max. levels, and lower min. frequency. Unless you tend to listen to things at very high levels, the higher max levels thing is pretty meaningless to you. And there's some studies that show that people just aren't comfortable listening at reference levels (0 dB master volume) in small rooms. I know I'm not. About the loudest I can stand is -10 dB, most movies I listen at -20 dB. So having the ability to play even louder would be completely wasted on me.

    As to playing lower, humans in general have great difficulty hearing down to 20 Hz. Hardly anyone can actually hear tonally down to 16 Hz (the 32 foot pipe in a conventional pipe organ). By that point the fundamental is perceived as vistibular disturbance. That is, it generates in your body that feeling of awe or dread. What most people get from that bottom note of a pipe organ then is the 32 Hz first overtone, plus a feeling of awe. Which is... the point. Yes? That's why they churches have them.

    Below 16 Hz, it just gets weirder. Vistibular responses continue, but mostly what you get is shaking of the environment. Lots of guys are really impressed that they can shake the pictures on the walls, dishes in the kitchen, etc. But really, is this important to you? And again, you'll only get this if you're playing really loud.

    I'm thinking owning huge subwoofers that require dedicated 20 amp circuits is like owning a muscle car. For the three or four times a year you can actually open it up it's fun (for a few seconds), but for the rest of the year you're stuck in traffic and in stop light hell with everyone else. What's this really worth to ya?

    Anyway, I put my money where my mouth is and bought the pair of LVX12s. And I have to say, I was right. For me. That doesn't mean I'll be right for you. Because with subs, it's really clear that YMMV.
    "If it sounds good, it is good." -- Duke Ellington

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Upgrade to F18, or second LV12R?

    Really great and thorough response, thanks Bruce!

    I like the feeling of awe from sub-audible stuff, such as 16Hz. It sounds like the LVX12 can pull off a little of that though, no? Beyond that point, I have no interest in shaking stuff just for the sake of being able to.

    It's easy to get lost in wondering, would a sealed 18" aluminum sub be tighter and more musical in audible frequencies? Or maybe the smaller 12" paper cone, with its lower moving mass would be tighter, despite the ported enclosure. It would be awesome to be able to audition a bunch all at once!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Upgrade to F18, or second LV12R?

    Quote Originally Posted by kdaq View Post
    I like the feeling of awe from sub-audible stuff, such as 16Hz. It sounds like the LVX12 can pull off a little of that though, no? Beyond that point, I have no interest in shaking stuff just for the sake of being able to.
    Yes, they can (I've got a pair). It does a creditable job with a 32' organ pipe. And a noisy movie like Deep Water Horizon, the back half of which is a serious sub workout.

    But what they (and by that I mean servo subs in general) seem to do really well are the everyday sounds, like car doors slamming, a book dropped on a counter from a couple of cm up, thunder, etc. The things that make the sound emersive, that help suck you into the narrative on screen, that's what the LVX12s (and all of Rythmik's subs) do really well.

    But then, I bought a pair and want to believe I was smart about it, so you know I'm hopelessly biased, right? No way can I be objective, so you've gotta take what I say in that light.

    Quote Originally Posted by kdaq View Post
    It's easy to get lost in wondering, would a sealed 18" aluminum sub be tighter and more musical in audible frequencies? Or maybe the smaller 12" paper cone, with its lower moving mass would be tighter, despite the ported enclosure. It would be awesome to be able to audition a bunch all at once!
    This is the reason to go with servo subs. The answer is substantially no. From what I can tell, the Rythmik line sounds basically the same from the LVX12s up to the LV18s. They all seem to integrate just as easily with existing speakers, etc. What you're buying when you buy the more expensive subs is the ability to dig deeper, and the ability to play louder. If you buy them and don't use those things, they'll still sound just fine. But if you need those things and don't buy them up front, you end up in the upgrade cycle.

    Me, I've had mine for a couple of years without any desire to upgrade at all. But clearly, YMMV.

    EDIT: That said, if you're only going to listen to music you may want a sealed sub. But a ported servo sub with high damping does a creditable imitation IMHO. But talk to Rythmik's Enrico Castignetti if you want help deciding on a particular model -- he's helped hundreds of Rythmik's customers and has gotten lots of feedback from them too. He knows what he's talking about; there's a lot of confidence in his recommendations.
    Last edited by Bruce Watson; 12-21-2017 at 03:35 PM.
    "If it sounds good, it is good." -- Duke Ellington

  8. #8
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    Oct 2010
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    Default Re: Upgrade to F18, or second LV12R?

    Awesome. Appreciate the help Bruce!

    The more I think about it, and considering impressions I've read, I'm feeling pretty confident that dual LVX12s are going to be just the ticket for me. I feel a little silly selling my LV12R to make the small hop up to LVX12, but I think it's worthwhile to make my two subs identical.

    That said, it does sound like a good idea to ping Enrico before I do anything.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    Default Re: Upgrade to F18, or second LV12R?

    A single F18 has about +5dB more output than a single LV12R. Basically you will need 2 x LV12R to get the same output as one F18. In terms of extension, the LV12R goes down to 18Hz while the F18 down to 12Hz but because your room is 1500 cu ft, you will get a lot of room gain so for sure you will get flat response down to at least 8Hz. I get flat response down to 7Hz with my pair of F12SEs in a 2700 cu ft room. If you have the budget, my vote and recommendation is to move the LV12R to your bedroom and get a F18 or dual F18s. BTW, did I mention that THD% for the F18 is single digits almost on every frequency above 25Hz and less than 20% down to 10Hz?

    http://data-bass.com/data?page=system&id=145
    Enrico Castagnetti @ Rythmik Audio
    Media Room: Ascend Acoustics Sierra Towers w/ RAAL, Horizon w/ RAAL, Sierra 2s & Lunas | Rythmik F12SE (x2) | Emotiva XMC-1 | Emotiva XPA-3 & XPA-200 | Oppo 105D | Bluesound Node 2 | Sony HW40ES |
    Desktop: Dynaudio BM5 mkIII | Rythmik L22 | Apogee Quartet | 27" iMac|
    Bedroom: B&W 685 S2 | Rythmik LVX12 | Marantz NR1606 | Emotiva XPA-200 Gen 2 | Samsung UN50JU6500 |

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Upgrade to F18, or second LV12R?

    Ah, audio. We all want objective criteria to compare on, but it's never straight-forward what that means in the real world, is it? I suppose that's half the fun.

    I appreciate the response Enrico! But I must admit, I find myself again a bit hesitant about what the right move is. Cost is a factor, but a clearly superior result would be my priority.

    What I find really tricky just reading around, is trying to aggregate and weigh different factors into a real-world end result.


    Here's a non-exhaustive list of factors I'm thinking about. In particular, with dual 12" paper cone vented LVX12s vs. a single 18" aluminum cone sealed F18.

    Distortion. Reading responses like Brian's discussions of THD vs. other sources of distortion here, it seems to me that distortion modeling is difficult to accurately measure, chart, and interpret. Presumably, all Rythmik subs are as well-optimized as they can be, cost-savings factors aside?

    Driver size. All else being equal, smaller drivers should be capable of better transient response, no? I've noticed some discussion around the F8 talking about this, with its 8" drivers. Is this noticeable between a 12" and an 18" driver when playing music at the same (say, moderate) output level, in the same (say, 16-60 Hz) frequency range?

    Driver material. All else being equal, paper drivers have less mass than aluminum, and thus are capable of "slightly better dynamics at low to moderate volume levels".

    Enclosure type (sealed or vented). On the one hand, "[Rythmik's] recommendation for a subwoofer for music are [their] sealed Direct Servo subwoofers. If your interest is also home theater as well, one or a number of [their] sealed subwoofers will still be an ideal choice. If you are a home theater enthusiast on a modest budget and donít listen much to music, you might consider one of [their] vented subwoofers.". But on the other hand, "Don't be fooled by typical comments about vented subs lacking accuracy. [Rythmik's vented] subs are tight and musical." So there's a difference. But it's not huge?

    Frequency response and masking effect. Perhaps the biggest advantage of bigger subs is lower frequency reproduction. But how often does that matter? "Due to the masking effect, deeper bass will often not be noticeable, unless at very high in amplitude as a special effect. Of course, there is music with high amplitude bass that will mask very low bass." But on the right recording, low response is necessary to capture all ambiance and dynamics. Does the F18 accomplish this noticeably better than dual LVX12s?

    Amp type and power output. Rythmik offers class A/B, class H, and class D (Hypex) amps. Not much to say here, as the LVX12 and F18 both use Hypex, and are both sized similarly to their driver size (unlike the LV12R, which uses less power for its size to cut back on cost).

    Room modes, etc.. There is no end to discussion around how the room itself affects what we hear, and it's plainly very important (here is a short bit from Rythmik about it). One frequent bit of advice I see is that multiple subs, when placed carefully, can help with evening-out frequency response (room modes) at different points in the room. This is of course not the only factor, but it's an important one.

    Perception. Brian makes some good points about this. My experience over the years with trying various headphones and building amp and DAC kits is that I prefer neutral reproduction overall. But do I feel differently about bass reproduction? I want things that may be opposed, like more "slam", but also more room ambiance. One thing I can definitively say is that the LV12R made all other subs I've heard (which includes nice commercial movie theatres, but not much else for home stuff) sound like boomy crap to me, so clearly I value transient response. Maybe I won't know what sub(s) I prefer until I live with them for a bit...

    It all comes down to this: Would a single F18 (or eventually duals) really be noticeably superior to two LVX12s for me?

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