PERFORMANCE COMPARISON TABLE
IMPORTANT NOTE: The performance table below is provided to give potential buyers a rough idea of how the various Cabinet/Driver/Amplifier combinations will work. Please don't use this table for comparisons to other performance tables, measured or modeled results, or other manufacturer's claims. Testing conditions, methods, and gear can impact results greatly, in some cases by 10dB or more! For additional details, please see the notes below the table.
|Cabinet||Driver||Extension (Hz)||Low Bass Output, dB*||Mid-Bass Output, dB*||Bass Quality||Mid-bass Rating|
|Full Marty||SAF184.03||14||116||125 (128)||Excellent||Excellent|
|Full Marty||NSW4018-8||14||117||125 (128)||Excellent||Excellent|
|21-BTS Series||SAN214.50||17||120||127 (132)||Excellent||Excellent|
|21-BTS Series||NSW6021-6||17||121||127 (129)||Excellent||Excellent|
|21-Full Marty||SAN214.50||15||121||127 (132)||Excellent||Excellent|
|21-Full Marty||NSW6021-6||15||121||126 (127)||Excellent||Excellent|
|21-MBM||SAN214.50||26||124 (127)||128 (130)||Excellent||Excellent|
|21-MBM||21DS115-4||26||127 (127)||130 (133)||Excellent||Excellent|
|Devastator||SAN214.50||17||121 (124)||132 (136)||Excellent||Supreme|
|Devastator||NSW6021-6||17||122 (126)||133 (137)||Excellent||Supreme|
|G-Sub (Devastator 15)||WAF154.00||21||117 (122)||127 (130)||Excellent||Supreme|
Low Bass Output (low 20’s Hz range) and Mid-Bass Output (70-100Hz range)*
These are rough limits based on usable driver excursion and/or amplifier voltage limits of the Behringer NX lineup or in the case of powered subs, the included plate amplifier. With higher voltage amplifiers, greater output may be possible in some cases. With a more powerful amplifier, the maximum output is the number in parentheses.
* “Low Bass” ratings for MBM’s is output in the 30Hz region.
Bass Quality and Mid-bass Rating
These are subjective ratings independent of the output level.
Where is the frequency response of each sub?
GSG does not provide a “frequency response” for each subwoofer because a simple frequency response provides virtually no information about the capabilities of the subwoofer. By applying EQ, the frequency response can be easily manipulated into just about any shape desired.
What really matters is where the driver runs out of excursion capability (which tends to be the limiting factor on the low end) and where the driver runs out of power handling (which tends to be the limiting factor on the upper end). Sometimes, the amplifier will be the limiting factor. In our revised table, we have attempted to show the limits for each driver/sub combination as well as provide some insight into where the amplifier may be the limiting factor.
In some cases, what matters even more than the actual output is the efficiency of the subwoofer; this is particularly true for the Devastator, which has tremendous mid-bass efficiency in addition to its extreme potential output and contributes to its “kick in the chest” capability.
Most folks EQ their systems for a relatively flat response, or a somewhat rising low bass. This means that in almost all cases the sub will hit its limits on the very low end first, such as may be experienced with some low end effects in movies. For music and most other movie bass, a higher output upper end means more potential output and a more “dynamic” sounding system.
So, as can now be seen, subwoofer performance isn’t as simple as a frequency response. We wish it were!
Reading the Table
Output levels in the table above are estimates in "2pi space", which is roughly the output that the subwoofer will provide outdoors at a distance of one meter. SPL in a room will be higher (see Room Gain).
Differences of 1-2dB are not really significant, neither are differences of 1-2Hz in extension.
In room, SPL will be higher depending on room size. Some rooms have a lot of room gain, others do not.
For a small room, room gain is typically around +3-5 dB at 30HZ, and +6-8dB at 20Hz.
For a medium size room, room gain is typically around +2-3 dB at 30HZ, and +5-6dB at 20Hz.
For a large size room, room gain is typically around +1-2 dB at 30HZ, and +2-3dB at 20Hz.
Two co-located subwoofers provide roughly +6dB, two non-co-located subwoofers provide roughly +3dB.
Four co-located subwoofers provide roughly +12dB, four non-co-located subwoofers provide roughly +6dB.
Eight co-located subwoofers provide roughly +18dB, eight non-co-located subwoofers provide roughly +9dB.
Multiple subwoofers have the added advantage of smoothing out peak and dips in the frequency response caused by room modes.
It is almost always better to use two medium subs vs. one mega-sub if space and placement allows.
Reference Level movie output is approximately 125dB at 31.5Hz according to Dolby Atmos specifications.
GSG recommended Reference Level movie output is 125dB at 18Hz (after room gain is included).
Overbuilding a system by approximately 6dB will make it sound stronger and cleaner.
Any system that achieves reference level for movies will be sufficient for video games.
"Highly Compressed Pop Music" has peaks of approximately 110dB SPL even at a Very High Level.
"Orchestral Music Concert" has peaks of approximately 116dB SPL.
"Very Loud Music" has peaks of approximately 120dB SPL.
"Extremely Loud Music" has peaks of approximately 126dB SPL.
"Rock Concerts" have peaks of approximately 130dB SPL (front row Metallica show for example).
In room, subwoofers will provide a couple of Hz extension below the tuning frequency of the cabinet.
Examples of required extension:
- 32-foot pipe organ (16Hz)
- Some digital effects in synthetic bass tracks (16Hz)
- Lower limit for just about all Dubstep, EDM, Trance (20Hz); very little content from 20-27Hz
- Lower limit for just about all music as well as the lowest note on an 88 key piano (27Hz)
- Lower limit on a 5 string bass guitar (30Hz)
- Lower limit for most other music (38Hz)