In Search of Lightweight Subwoofers or Someday, with Luck, you may be an Ol' Geezer like me!

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Handinon

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Oct 1, 2014
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Most of you have heard me refer to my DIY 15" Neo magnet subs. Here they are, all 48 pounds (each) of them -

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They are High-Passed at 40 Hz, and are driven by a 7 pound(!) Behringer iNuke NU3000. The NU3000 can swing 49 volts on it's outputs before the sine-wave starts to flatten (clip), which equates to a true 300 watts RMS at 8 ohms. I've heard lots of Behry stories - this amp has never let me down.

When I was younger, I was keeping my eyes out for a pair of Carvin LS1801N 18" passive subs being sold locally. 53 pounds (also neodymium magnet)!! I've never heard of a lighter 18, but too heavy now.

I use a hand cart to move them. However, there are always instances where they must be lifted, and I'm finding that even though only 48 pounds, my 73 year old body would prefer something lighter.

They go to every gig, and they sound wonderful. A quote from a Bose ad - "I'm going to buy two more B2's for max bass thump. Club owners like the great tone at Lower Volume Levels." Yup!! Bottom line, I'm not going to stop using subs.

For max sound quality, I built them from particle board, so I may first try 5/8" Birch Plywood. If they end up around 40 pounds and still sound good, I'll be golden - the tops I use are 20 pounds, so the tipping factor is not too high.

However, I'm open to other suggestions - active or passive - in the 35 to 40 pound range. Any ideas?
 
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steve149

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I really like the sound of the RCF 7xx series subs. The 705ASII (15") is a bit heavier at 63 pounds, but the 12" version (702ASII) is in at 43 pounds.
 

steve149

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The downside to too light of a sub means you need to be very careful if you pole mount tops of some weight. If I was to go to a very lightweight sub, I'd make sure it laid flat, with the pole mount on the side so the tops had a better chance of staying upright.
 

DJ Bobcat

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The downside to too light of a sub means you need to be very careful if you pole mount tops of some weight. If I was to go to a very lightweight sub, I'd make sure it laid flat, with the pole mount on the side so the tops had a better chance of staying upright.
Pole mounting looks good; certainly symmetrical, but that’s not necessarily the best way to deploy them, as I know you’re aware. But if @Handinon is set on smaller, lighter subs, he may need to couple them, and/or corner them, just to get the same kind of tone he got with his larger, heavier subs. I used some 15” subs for years (a brand Handinon would not likely buy), and I almost always coupled them to get the best BOOM!
 

Handinon

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Per feedback so far, I may go in a completely different direction - 10" Horn Loaded subs. Laid on their sides, they have a 24" x 24" footprint for stability, use an $80 driver, and weigh 35 pounds!
 

NightOwlDJs

Well-Known DJ
Nov 29, 2011
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What did you come up with as your solution? Just curious. I was fascinated with the Bill Fitzmaurice stuff about 10-15 years ago. I never worked up the courage to purchase plans and do a build. HOWEVER, I was able to find a local guy who had a functional Tuba24 and let me come by and listen and even do a side by side with my 15" bandpass sub. Honestly, it was okay, but definitely not a 'sell the farm' revelation, nor did it suede me into building. About 2-years later I booked this larger corporate event in a large space and ran into another guy who had a set of T39's that he built. I believe it was 6, but may have been 8 total. Properly dialed in these things were beasts! I really couldn't believe what I was hearing. In fact, one of the site's stage hands stopped what he was doing and came over and talked with me and the guy who brought the subs. He couldn't believe that they were loaded with 10" drivers.

Outside of your weight requirements, but I'm still enjoying my Yamaha DXS12 subs.



Per feedback so far, I may go in a completely different direction - 10" Horn Loaded subs. Laid on their sides, they have a 24" x 24" footprint for stability, use an $80 driver, and weigh 35 pounds!
 

steve149

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Sep 26, 2011
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What did you come up with as your solution? Just curious. I was fascinated with the Bill Fitzmaurice stuff about 10-15 years ago. I never worked up the courage to purchase plans and do a build. HOWEVER, I was able to find a local guy who had a functional Tuba24 and let me come by and listen and even do a side by side with my 15" bandpass sub. Honestly, it was okay, but definitely not a 'sell the farm' revelation, nor did it suede me into building. About 2-years later I booked this larger corporate event in a large space and ran into another guy who had a set of T39's that he built. I believe it was 6, but may have been 8 total. Properly dialed in these things were beasts! I really couldn't believe what I was hearing. In fact, one of the site's stage hands stopped what he was doing and came over and talked with me and the guy who brought the subs. He couldn't believe that they were loaded with 10" drivers.

Outside of your weight requirements, but I'm still enjoying my Yamaha DXS12 subs.
Hey Ed .. good to see folks stop by ..
 

Handinon

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Oct 1, 2014
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What did you come up with as your solution?
Not a darn thing - I've had ZERO gigs since Covid, so I haven't had to move my current subs one stinking inch! I will consider it again if and when I start DJ'ing on a regular basis.

The other issue, as you inferred, is not just the quantity of bass, but the "quality" of bass. My current subs really sound good, they are not boomy or "one note" wonders, and I have not had the opportunity to hear any of Fitzmaurice's designs in person. I know he uses a lot of EQ on them using a DriveRack or Behringer DCX/DEQ.
 

DJ Bobcat

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Not a darn thing - I've had ZERO gigs since Covid, so I haven't had to move my current subs one stinking inch!
LOL... I can’t say the same, but I keep moving systems in and out of the minivan and into my house. Haven’t had a gig since COVID either, but I’m keeping my systems updated, and only have room to set up one system plus my experimental Linux/Mixxx system. This is the downside of having computers built into the racks. With laptops, they take up little space and are easily set up and put away. I have to set up my small system to extend the AIO PC, and the top section of my large large system to update the two computers inside. I love the ease of setting up at a gig, but having to load and unload those things to update them is a PITA.😂 ... No subs to move though. I’m pretty sure I’ll never own a pair of subs again.😊
 

Handinon

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I am keeping busy - I'm constantly on the prowl for new music. Our local radio station 104.9FM is 100% Latin, and I always have Soundhound/Shazam ready to identify a good sounding song. I'm pretty picky, and like any other genre, there is plenty of bad salsa/merengue/bachata out there! I also hang out on https://www.salsaforums.com/ for the same reason.

I've also been doing some serious personal testing of the new Beta releases of Traktor and Mixxx.
 

sawdust123

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Nov 10, 2006
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I'm waiting for someone to create a sub that comes apart into easily transportable pieces. You can get some really tight seals using cam action hold down bolts. If the cabinet broke apart into 2-3 pieces, the weight of each piece would be pretty reasonable even if the overall structure weighed more. You would gain back most of the empty space inside a sub during transport too. This may have limited commercial appeal but the design challenge is very interesting. Keeping the seems sealed and vibration free would not be trivial.

The other interesting approach to a lightweight sub would be the use of a composite (e.g. graphite) cabinet that was 3D printed. The reason for using 3D printing would be to print lightweight cross braces between walls to prevent their flexure. You could get a lot of rigidity with minimal amounts of material this way. If only I had a 3D printer big enough...
 

steve149

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Sep 26, 2011
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I'm waiting for someone to create a sub that comes apart into easily transportable pieces. You can get some really tight seals using cam action hold down bolts. If the cabinet broke apart into 2-3 pieces, the weight of each piece would be pretty reasonable even if the overall structure weighed more. You would gain back most of the empty space inside a sub during transport too. This may have limited commercial appeal but the design challenge is very interesting. Keeping the seems sealed and vibration free would not be trivial.

The other interesting approach to a lightweight sub would be the use of a composite (e.g. graphite) cabinet that was 3D printed. The reason for using 3D printing would be to print lightweight cross braces between walls to prevent their flexure. You could get a lot of rigidity with minimal amounts of material this way. If only I had a 3D printer big enough...
For many of us, there are some lighter weight boxes that do a credible job of bass .. at least for a wedding type situation. Alto (cough, cough), RCF (love those Sub 705/708 boxes) and even the smaller Yamaha DXS type boxes are readily moveable by 1 person. The RCF 705 is about 50 pounds.
 

DJ Ricky B

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Mar 9, 2015
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Alto has a new 12" light weight sub that only costs $299. Only like 17" x 21" in size, and 44.29 lbs in weight. They made it out of MDF...that and it's amp is not as powerful as the Trusonic line of Subs to keep the cost down.




I have an original Alto TSUB12 I am planning on selling. 300 watts RMS, and 600 peak. This sub weighs only 41.5 lbs, but is bulkier than that new TX212S Sub they recently came out with. I would sell it for $125 plus whatever shipping is. Might be able to get it shipped for like $60 - $70 ground shipping my best guess.
 

Handinon

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I could have made my subs lighter - but remember - they need to hold your tops up SAFELY (if you don't use tripods). If I ever do the lighter TUBA 24 horns, I'll build them so the 24" x 24" dimension is the subs footprint, for maximum stability.