Searching for a Sealed Sub to Go with My Maggies

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Q I want to add a subwoofer to my Magnepan MG12 speakers in a two-channel-only setup. I had an HSU sub over the years and found the sound very deep yet somewhat “bloated,” for lack of a better term. I am looking at sealed subs to keep up with the pace of the Magnepans. I can budget up to $1,000 but would prefer to spend less. The room is 380 square feet, with the listening area directly in the center. I’ve considered the RSL Speedwoofer Mk II (I know it has a rear-facing slot), a Rythmik L12, and the SVS 3000 Micro. Your professional insight would be appreciated. —Craig A.

A You’re on the right track focusing on subs with sealed designs. As RSL and Rythmik both specialize in selling directly to consumers, I haven’t had any experience with them, but I am quite familiar with SVS, which makes both sealed and ported subwoofers. I have an SB16-Utra in my system, and I’ve known the people inside the company for many years, so I reached out to them for some insight. According to Nick Brown, VP of marketing for SVS, “Sealed subwoofers ultimately result in more accurate frequency response and quicker transient speed than ported subs. In real world terms, this means the listener experiences tighter, more articulate and musical bass, with less perceived overhang, making them a natural choice for critical music applications.”

Unless a small footprint is paramount, the company recommends the SB-2000 Pro over the 3000 Micro for superior performance and output; both sell for the same price — $900. However, Ed Mullen, SVS’ director of technology and customer service offered up another option: “For this room size and application, I recommend a pair of SB-1000 Pros ($600 each). These will have plenty of dynamic output, excellent transient response, and musicality, and you’ll also benefit from stereo bass. For a smooth integration with the Magnepan MG12’s, start with a low-pass filter setting of 45 Hz with a 24 dB/octave slope and then adjust the volume for a level match.”

In truth, there’s nothing like hearing a sub in your room on your system. Fortunately, all three of these companies offer in-home trial periods. For RSL, it is 30 days with a flat $25 return fee; with Rythmik, it is 45 days and you pay return shipping. With SVS, you can try a sub for 45 days with no return fee and the company offers a 1-year trade-up policy.

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mars2k's picture

Man it's hard to get more bang for the buck than Monolith subs. I just bought a pair of 13" THX and holy cow. I have a large room with high ceilings and these just crush it. Their 12" will hit your budget and do well. They are ported but have plugs to seal the ports. I'm amazed with mine.

jmilton7043's picture

The Speedwoofer is ported in the front. For the price, you can buy 2 and still be under a grand! I have one working along side a SVS 3000 micro with Audyssey32XT EQing each and it sounds great.

jmilton7043's picture

Yes, I see the MKII is ported in the bad.

bstryd's picture

I agree about the speedwoofer. It is tighter and crisper than the sealed Totem sub I started with. Plenty of power for a medium room with high ceiling. I run it about 50% after doing the optimizing.

trynberg's picture

Seriously, in 2023, we're getting the old rehash about sealed subs being better than ported for music? I mean this quote is simply ridiculous and ignorant: “Sealed subwoofers ultimately result in more accurate frequency response and quicker transient speed than ported subs. In real world terms, this means the listener experiences tighter, more articulate and musical bass, with less perceived overhang, making them a natural choice for critical music applications.”

And then to add insult to injury, stereo bass? Running two subwoofers in stereo completely removes the benefits of being able to achieve better room response from two optimally positioned subwoofers (playing the same mono signal).

Seriously, this whole response reads like a letter in Stereophile from 15 years ago. I expect better from Sound and Vision.

Billm's picture

Ran Maggies for years- Used JL Audio 10'2 and 12's, integration is key for Maggies-

I have always gravitated towards sealed designs-Both sealed/ported designs have their minor strength/weaknesses. [power, integration with room, size, etc]

Running a pair of SVS16 Ultra's in the front and 2 SVS SB PRO3000's in the rear, both designs have a plethora of adjustments, but this is 4 dedicated HT room only. [Maggies no more]

SVS PRO good choice, you can use the APP and adjust from your listening position. I think the APP based SVS good choice, best chance for integration with the Maggies, that you would be happy with IMO-

Plenty of good subs out there, sealed and ported, so, go with adjustment flexibility to increase your chance of proper integration-


itsratso's picture

"we're getting the old rehash about sealed subs being better than ported for music?"


"Running two subwoofers in stereo completely removes the benefits"

also correct.

i generally like HT sites much better than stereo sites, because you get a lot less of the cult of audiophiles nonsense. but you still get some.

Homer Teatro's picture

The Hsu Subwoofers come with 2 ports and 2 port plugs. You can leave both ports open for deepest and loudest bass, but highest distortion. You can plug 1 port and leave the other port open for a compromise between deepest bass and lower distortion. Or you can plug both ports for lowest distortion, but least deep bass extension. If you have one of those subwoofers and haven experimented with placement and port plugs, you simply haven't solved your problem yet. There may well be no reason to use a different subwoofer AT ALL. Especially if the next subwoofer is going to be placed exactly where the HSU subwoofer is placed. Placement of the subwoofer for best sound can take months to sort-out. Never put the sub precisely in the center of any room dimension. In rooms with no good placement options near the front of the room, placing the subwoofer next to the main seat allows you to hear bass before it is modified by room modes--that's the lowest distortion and leased room-compromised location for a subwoofer.

Johnnyfly's picture

Ive been in the audio business for 45 years and and my own store for 30 one of my lines that i carry is rel acoustics in my opinion are one of the best subwoofers out there a tx7 or a pair of tx5s would do it for there fast and blend seamlessly with your Maggie’s

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