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I am talking of a SQ system, single driver, (slightly SQL maybe...), I always owned a 12" so I can't compare the 2 size... my question is: I will ear too much difference if I go with a 10"? Consider I mostly play rock and metal music. Sometimes 80's pop/rocks but maybe not more the 20%.
Thank you!

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The only difference you'd notice is, assuming we're talking same class of drivers, the 12" will have a little bit more total output due to more cone surface area. Otherwise, with any decent subwoofers, no way would you be able to hear a difference from just a size difference. But especially if you were comparing the same family of drivers and the only difference is cone size, you'd never be able to tell a sonic difference until you reached the limits of the 10" and even then the 12" would probably start to show distortion too. There is none of this 10" will hit faster because it is smaller, magnets today are too powerful for there to be much difference. Again, this assumes we're talking decent to high quality subwoofers.

So with that said, if you can fit a 12" sub, do it because that will give you the most bass.

And in my business, I design and build home theater subs based on 18" and 24" drivers. They hit just as fast and articulate but with so much more authority than any 12" or 15" on the market. Then again, it helps when your driver has a 1.5 lb cone being moved by a 75 lb magnet and 4,000 watts of continuous power. The amp tells the magnet which tells the cone what to do; go, stop, it just does it so of course sound quality is great.
 

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...
So with that said, if you can fit a 12" sub, do it because that will give you the most bass.
... The amp tells the magnet which tells the cone what to do; go, stop, it just does it so of course sound quality is great.
That has me in a flux.

Another consideration may be that a 10" in the right size box, could be better than the 12 in too small of box.
 

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That has me in a flux.

Another consideration may be that a 10" in the right size box, could be better than the 12 in too small of box.
Then the 12 doesn’t fit and 10 is indeed the answer. :D But then again, the SI BM MK V 12” sub can fit into a downright tiny (relatively) 0.6 cu.ft. sealed enclosure.

EDIT: And yes, I know I simplified the amp to magnet to voicecoil interaction but it gets the point across without pulling out the physics book. :) I just get annoyed by the whole subwoofer size and a larger woofer can’t possibly move as fast as a smaller woofer; another one of those infamous audiophile myths.
 

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Its funny, lots of people will say that a 10 and 12 should sound identical. To my ears they do not. If you play them in a narrow band of frequencies that both have similar responses, they sure do sound identical, but in real life the difference is definitely noticeable. Bigger drivers have better response down low and smaller drivers up high. I personally like rock and roll and punchy bass and cross over way higher than most here, so I like small drivers.

Don't believe me though, model your chosen speaker in your favorite software. Some are nearly identical, others, not so much.
 

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Its funny, lots of people will say that a 10 and 12 should sound identical. To my ears they do not. If you play them in a narrow band of frequencies that both have similar responses, they sure do sound identical, but in real life the difference is definitely noticeable. Bigger drivers have better response down low and smaller drivers up high. I personally like rock and roll and punchy bass and cross over way higher than most here, so I like small drivers.

Don't believe me though, model your chosen speaker in your favorite software. Some are nearly identical, others, not so much.
If you were to take a 10 and 12 inch sub from the same family and put them in optimal boxes, you should not be able to notice a difference at normal or even spirited volumes. Take an ABX test where you use a special device or someone else who changes the sub periodically without you knowing which sub is playing and then you have to say which sub/speaker is playing. There have been several ABX tests at home theater AVS GTGs (Get Togethers) where this and other items were tested and sealed people including myself had trouble picking the sealed sub vs ported. 15” vs 18” subs, it was impossible to tell and the results bore this out.
 

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If you were to take a 10 and 12 inch sub from the same family and put them in optimal boxes, you should not be able to notice a difference at normal or even spirited volumes. Take an ABX test where you use a special device or someone else who changes the sub periodically without you knowing which sub is playing and then you have to say which sub/speaker is playing. There have been several ABX tests at home theater AVS GTGs (Get Togethers) where this and other items were tested and sealed people including myself had trouble picking the sealed sub vs ported. 15” vs 18” subs, it was impossible to tell and the results bore this out.
Totally agree IF you are sticking to the 30-80hz range for a 15 and 18. Try 20-110 between an 8 and 15 and it'll pretty easy to tell them apart.
 

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They will sound the same until the output advantage of the larger cone kicks in.
Why you think 8s don’t play as low, they have less output. Lower the frequency gets the harder for us to hear it. It’s still playing the same thing. Take 2 8s and 1 12. You won’t hear any difference.
 

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I had always used 12's in sealed boxes for 3-4 cars in the past.

My current ride won't fit a 12 in the right box, so I went with a 10.

Totally satisfied for SQ. Not unhappy with SQL either. It works fine for me.
 

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They will sound the same until the output advantage of the larger cone kicks in.
Why you think 8s don’t play as low, they have less output. Lower the frequency gets the harder for us to hear it. It’s still playing the same thing. Take 2 8s and 1 12. You won’t hear any difference.
I don't think its that simple. Modeling one 8 vs a 12 for one driver model I had loaded was a 5.8 db difference at 45hz. It would take more than two 8's to make up that difference. Over 80hz the 8 starts building up an advantage of up to 3db at 100-110hz.

Again, it all depends on the speaker and the box...model what you are looking at versus listening to some internet crackpot like me :laugh:. Even better, go listen to some stuff. :cool:
 

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I don't think its that simple. Modeling one 8 vs a 12 for one driver model I had loaded was a 5.8 db difference at 45hz. It would take more than two 8's to make up that difference. Over 80hz the 8 starts building up an advantage of up to 3db at 100-110hz.

Again, it all depends on the speaker and the box...model what you are looking at versus listening to some internet crackpot like me :laugh:. Even better, go listen to some stuff. :cool:
But now we’re mixing metaphors. 12s of similar design will have an output advantage over smaller drivers, simple physics dictates that. But sonically, they should sound the same when driven at volumes where the smaller driver is not stressed.

I sell 18” sealed and 24” sealed (same driver design and magnet motor) home theater subwoofers, they sound the same until the 18 gets pushed too hard. 2 of the 18s with twice the amplifier capability (8,000w vs 4,000w) still don’t quite equal a single (one of my) 24 in terms of total output or depth. The 24 is usually flat in-room to 7Hz in the many customers rooms I’ve measured where the 18s are normally flat to 9-10Hz.
 

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12in is better than 10. Just as 15 is better than 12in. Less excursion for the same SPL means less nonlinear distortion.

Only downside is space constraints.
One other advantage of the larger driver, especially midbass is you feel the bass more. Meaning for those effects that can sometimes be felt in the chest, like a .50 caliber gun firing, a larger midbass will make you feel it more than a smaller midbass at the same volume. I’ve asked multiple times but haven’t heard a physics reasoning for it but I assume it is similar to what you said, the larger driver doesn’t need to move as far as the smaller driver for the same volume. Almost like a towel snapping, the shorter snap of a larger driver equals more felt in the chest. But usually you have to have the bass pretty hot to get this effect.
 

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If you only have room for a proper sized box for the 10 then go with the 10. Yes you may get more output out of the 12 but in a box that is too small it will be for a very narrow bandwidth. Do you want a sub that hits hard for 1/5 of your music or one you can enjoy for all of your music? As for surface area it is a tradeoff that favors low frequencies more. You have to use less movement to hit an spl but you also increase moving mass and thus the gains on higher frequencies are not proportionally equal to thoseon lower frequencies. As for hit you in the chest effects you want bandwidth for that. Just like in data transmission, how fast you can accurately produce a pulse of a frequency is determined by the bandwidth of the system itself. A wide bandwidth sub setup will have greater ease with fast pulses and similar effects. Sure if you compare a 10 and a 12 in proper boxes the 12 will win but it has a bigger box. The smaller you make your box and you will have to sacrifice either spl or low frequency extension.

The main problem with going with a 10 vs a 12 is that the 12 will usually have a lower resonant frequency. Below the resonant frequency you will get reduced output and increased distortion. Considering you listen to mostly rock and metal I think the 10 is still a more balanced option for you. But if you do go with a bigger box than you planned then the 12 will surpass it.

Main thing is consider your box size and go with a sub that works well in it.
 
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