Poor Man's Sub Addition

(Topic ID: 28496)

Poor Man's Sub Addition


By boogies

6 years ago



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  • 56 posts
  • 18 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 5 years ago by turbo20lbs
  • Topic is favorited by 9 Pinsiders

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3406366_ra.jpg
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There are 56 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
#1 6 years ago

Best Buy has a 70w (guessing Max, not RMS) 6.5" Powered Insignia sub for $19.99

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Insignia%26%23153%3B+-+Rocketboost+6-1/2%22+70W+Wired/Wireless-Ready+Subwoofer/2337715.p?id=1218321951816&skuId=2337715&st=NS-RSW211&cp=1&lp=1I

Picked one up this AM, and brought it home and already got it wired.
Wifey came home for lunch, so I gotta spend a little time with her - Will post installation pics in about an hour.

For $20, I got a better sounding BK2K - Awesome!

#2 6 years ago

So the sub is either On or Off - No autosensing self turn off - that would be too easy.

I checked the service outlet, and verified that it was constant on, and then went ahead and changed that to only on when machine is on. This gives me the ability to leave the sub turned on, and it will be basically "unplugged" by means of the power being cut when I turn off the machine.

To change the outlet:
I just cut the white (non-fused side) cable from the outlet, then crimped on a butt-connector to that side and ran another white cable to the switched "on" side.

In the first pic you can see the wire soldered to the "on" side, and the cut off wire at the plug.
1023121054.jpg
Here's the butt-connector, and the on/off switch is now covered
1023121100.jpg
The finished outlet is ready for the plug
1023121134b.jpg
I cut the power wire to the sub, since the existing hole for the existing cable would not be large enough to fit a plug through. Right after this, I thought, damn I should've used a quick connector - ohh well, guess I'll deal with that later. RCA cable was spliced (ethically incorrect) and soldered to existing sub
***EDIT*** Don't connect RCA to speaker like this, read below and use a converter ***END EDIT***
1023121134a.jpg

Total installation time was about 1 hour

#3 6 years ago

You connected your speaker directly to the line level input I guess? Do you just keep the sub turned way down?

#4 6 years ago

how does it sound? alot of reviews on that sub says that it isnt loud enough.

#5 6 years ago

The sub has a volumne control, and only a mono-RCA input. I spliced the RCA and soldered to existing Williams stock sub to connect.
It sounds awesome!!! I'm uploading a youtube video of the sound now, I'll post a link when it's done.

#6 6 years ago

Here's a vid:

At 1:40, I unplug it, and at 3:00, I plug it back in.
It's pretty clear to tell how much better it sounds.

#7 6 years ago

That certainly is a big difference. I'll have to give it a try. Thanks for posting

#8 6 years ago

Ordered 7 of them (separately, lol)

#9 6 years ago
Quoted from fattrain:

Ordered 7 of them (separately, lol)

I got 5, that was a PITA

#10 6 years ago

Not to be a 'Debbie Downer' here, but I bought one of these on sale a few months ago too. It's output is really weak compared to any other sub I've bought in the past. I didn't expect much for the price as I only wanted this to add a bit of bass to a spare 5.1 system I had lying around, but the bass from my main drivers overpowered these handily. (and they aren't anything to brag about) Even at $20, it wasn't worth it to me as this sub added little to no benefit.

Maybe in a pinball application it would provide some use as they really don't have bass to begin with. (outside of AC/DC, I'm guessing) Good luck to all that try this, but don't expect too much & you may not be disappointed.

#11 6 years ago
Quoted from KrustyBurger:

Not to be a 'Debbie Downer' here, but I bought one of these on sale a few months ago too. It's output is really weak compared to any other sub I've bought in the past. I didn't expect much for the price as I only wanted this to add a bit of bass to a spare 5.1 system I had lying around, but the bass from my main drivers overpowered these handily. (and they aren't anything to brag about) Even at $20, it wasn't worth it to me as this sub added little to no benefit.
Maybe in a pinball application it would provide some use as they really don't have bass to begin with. (outside of AC/DC, I'm guessing) Good luck to all that try this, but don't expect too much & you may not be disappointed.

I think they will do alright in a pinball application. seems like even the weakest subs in pinball do fine. Plus, this can be overpowered and if it blows its only 20$

#12 6 years ago
Quoted from jrivelli:

I think they will do alright in a pinball application. seems like even the weakest subs in pinball do fine. Plus, this can be overpowered and if it blows its only 20$

You're probably correct, especially with this application. (And after all, what's $20 bucks, right?)

I attempted to use for movie / music purposes on a spare system and that's probably why it was so muted. I personally use 300w Polk subs on six of my pinball machines and they really pump out the bass! (but they're nowhere near $20 bucks, so it's not a cheap alternative)

#13 6 years ago

Yeah, it isn't a polk audio 10", but then again its about $80 cheaper. I wouldnt expect for someone to add this $20 sub to a HEP, but for a BK2K, its logical.

BTW, since the sub didnt sound good on your home audio, why didnt you try it on a pin? Edit: nevermind, you have the polk subs

#14 6 years ago

You guys should know that line level input is not intended for speaker wire inputs. Those are found on sub amps that say "high level input". High level inputs are designed to show almost no added resistance to your amp. This is very important as it prevents over heating and blowing your amp. Using speaker out to line level input may produce an undefined load to your amp causing it to heat up or blow. In this case, the amp is your av board amp in your backbox. On a 20-30 year old game, you definitely do not want to stress those components even further. And saying "it seems to work ok for me" is no response to this as it may work for a while while stressing the board in your pin to failure. Before attaching the speaker wires to this thing, someone needs to measure impedance on the RCA jack input at the very least.

The way to properly wire this is to intercept the line level input on the av board before its sent to the internal amp.

Further, wiring line level input up to high level input will add a lot of distortion as the sub input is expected to be a set "line level" volume.

Further, not having auto sensing means this thing will be constantly powered and generating heat 24 hours a day even when your machine is off, assuming you use the service port. The OP's instructions for modifying the port must be used. Or cut the power cord and wire directly to the white / black wires near the coin door for the bill validator. These are switched 110v. Remember if you mod your service port, you can't plug in a soldering iron when machine is off to do repairs.

Therefore, I would not use this in a pinball machine.

#15 6 years ago

Thanks for the heads up man! When I receive mine ill do some testing

#16 6 years ago
Quoted from markmon:

line level input is not intended for speaker wire inputs

Had the same thought an hour or so ago when I first read this thread. Decided to pass on these. Handy advice on using the bill validator power tho, many possible uses...Thanks Markmon!

#17 6 years ago
Quoted from boogies:

Yeah, it isn't a polk audio 10", but then again its about $80 cheaper. I wouldnt expect for someone to add this $20 sub to a HEP, but for a BK2K, its logical.

BTW, since the sub didnt sound good on your home audio, why didnt you try it on a pin? Edit: nevermind, you have the polk subs

Boogies - More like $280 cheaper! They are $300 per sub w/ 8" drivers. (@ Best Buy also) But your point stands, you save BIG money with the Insignia / Rockfish units. Not much to lose @ $20 bucks a pop!

#18 6 years ago
Quoted from markmon:

The OP's instructions for modifying the port must be used. Or cut the power cord and wire directly to the white / black wires near the coin door for the bill validator.

Another option would be to use a "smart strip" that would auto-cut the power. They are about $30, and should work with a pinball (I haven't tested).

Quoted from markmon:

You guys should know that line level input is not intended for speaker wire inputs

I know that I shouldn't splice the RCA, but without much regard to reasons why. Thanks for the input. I'm actually glad that you jumped in on that!!!

That is probably why it's nice and loud, because thats usually what would happen in a lowered resistance cenario. Luckily, there isn't any notable damage done. I'm gonna look for a High/Low Converter and get it hooked up.

#19 6 years ago

I picked up one on the way home from work. It says it has auto sensing, not to say that these manuals are gospel. I'll do some testing later tonight and post findings.

#20 6 years ago

Keep in mind that for $30 for a smart power strip and costs of a high level to line level converter, you are no longer near $20.

For about $30 you can have a flipper fidelity quality home made internal sub hooked up. (Under $20 in wpc dcs and wpc 95). I would bet those even sound way better than these cheap 6.5" subs also.

#21 6 years ago

If you were to use this speaker by just connecting it to the cab woofer wires...how would you do that since it looks like it just has 1 coax input?

2337715_ba.jpg

#22 6 years ago

I'm assuming when you add a powered sub normally you ADD it onto the cab woofer instead of replacing it...right?

#23 6 years ago
Quoted from charles4400:

If you were to use this speaker by just connecting it to the cab woofer wires...how would you do that since it looks like it just has 1 coax input?

Did you read my big post a few posts up???

#24 6 years ago

I understand it is a risk, appreciate the input, but if you [i]were[/i] to gamble and try it...how would you do it with the input type the sub has?

#25 6 years ago

The coax looking input is an RCA input.

Like Markmon pointed out, I shouldn't spliced the RCA. A High Low converter needs to be used to converter the high level (speaker wire) output to a low level (RCA). I'm looking at this one:
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/DB+Link+-+High-Low+Converter/3406366.p?id=1218399182917&skuId=3406366

It's adding a $10 cost to the total, so it's not a $20 upgrade any more.

It's embarissing that I did that and posted it, but I'm glad I did, otherwise, I would've had a bigger problem without Markmon pointing out my error.

#26 6 years ago

Yea. Those converters should address the safety concerns at least.

#27 6 years ago

Ok got it, I definatley miss the mark on the audio tech, not trying to ignore markmons advice, I guess I just don't understand all of it! lol! Thanks for clarifying.

Ok so another stupid question:
The hi/low convertor. Can get them for under $10 so I am still willing to try this cheap sub (I have many smart strips for the always on issue).

So I assume I can splice in the speaker wires going to the existing woofer to the high/low convertor. The convertor has left and right audio jacks...so do I just pick one left/right to plug into the sub?

3406366_ra.jpg

#28 6 years ago

The converter is dual input and dual output, so you would only hook up a single channel.
One set of speaker wire input, and only one of the RCA's for output.

I plan to "tap" into the existing sub with the converter. The current sub is 4ohm, and the pinball audio board is not capable of going down to 2 ohms, so the big thing to do is to meter the ohms. If I can hook up one set of the speaker wire with the existing sub and it doesn't lower the ohms, then I'm safe. Otherwise, I will need to disconnect the existing sub and only drive the external sub with the one channel.

#29 6 years ago

Understood.

Let us know if you are able to use both the powered sub and the cab woofer together.

I would hate to replace the cab woofer with this one.....

#30 6 years ago

Measured 11.14 ohms at the line level input, 8.5 watts when on, 6.6 watts in standby

#31 6 years ago
Quoted from markmon:

You guys should know that line level input is not intended for speaker wire inputs. Those are found on sub amps that say "high level input". High level inputs are designed to show almost no added resistance to your amp. This is very important as it prevents over heating and blowing your amp. Using speaker out to line level input may produce an undefined load to your amp causing it to heat up or blow. In this case, the amp is your av board amp in your backbox. On a 20-30 year old game, you definitely do not want to stress those components even further. And saying "it seems to work ok for me" is no response to this as it may work for a while while stressing the board in your pin to failure. Before attaching the speaker wires to this thing, someone needs to measure impedance on the RCA jack input at the very least.
The way to properly wire this is to intercept the line level input on the av board before its sent to the internal amp.
Further, wiring line level input up to high level input will add a lot of distortion as the sub input is expected to be a set "line level" volume.
Further, not having auto sensing means this thing will be constantly powered and generating heat 24 hours a day even when your machine is off, assuming you use the service port. The OP's instructions for modifying the port must be used. Or cut the power cord and wire directly to the white / black wires near the coin door for the bill validator. These are switched 110v. Remember if you mod your service port, you can't plug in a soldering iron when machine is off to do repairs.
Therefore, I would not use this in a pinball machine.

These are excellent points Mark, thanks for posting them. It makes sense that splicing into an RCA plug in order to use the line level input from speaker wire might not be the best thing to do.

#32 6 years ago
Quoted from Erik:

Measured 11.14 ohms at the line level input, 8.5 watts when on, 6.6 watts in standby

This is good information. So if the sub is 4 ohms (most are) you do not want to wire both the sub and the RCA inputs in parallel. You would definitely want to unwire the existing sub and use only the powered sub. If you wire a 4 ohm and 11.14 ohm in parallel, you'll end up with a 2.94 ohm to your amp. The pinball amps used generally are only 4 ohm stable. So you definitely do not want to keep your existing speaker wired up and add this without a high level to line converter. Probably best even then is to unwire your existing sub since its not really doing anything anyway.

Does this cheap powered sub have a built in crossover? According to the specs, it doesn't. This means it will play full range and won't really sound good - (Might be ok in a wpc dcs or wpc 95 as those have built in crossovers in the chipset but only at 300hz which is kind of high)

#33 6 years ago

It has an adjustable low pass filter from 80 to 150 hz

#34 6 years ago
Quoted from markmon:

Keep in mind that for $30 for a smart power strip and costs of a high level to line level converter, you are no longer near $20.

For about $30 you can have a flipper fidelity quality home made internal sub hooked up. (Under $20 in wpc dcs and wpc 95). I would bet those even sound way better than these cheap 6.5" subs also.

How do you do this? I looked at the FF website and looks like they only sell the whole speaker package? It's a whole lot more that $20 bucks. Am I looking in the wrong place?

#35 6 years ago

So for the higher end $200+ powered subs out there, do you not need the hi/low converter?

Do they have a built in converter to where you can just plug directly in using the same speaker wires directly?

#36 6 years ago

Pretty much any other powered sub will have speaker level inputs in addition to line level input(s)

#37 6 years ago
Quoted from charles4400:

So for the higher end $200+ powered subs out there, do you not need the hi/low converter?
Do they have a built in converter to where you can just plug directly in using the same speaker wires directly?

Yes... this is a great one that is usually selling for $89 with free shipping

amazon.com link »

And you can tie two pins at the same time into the speaker level inputs in back just by running the wires. Search pinside.. there are many that have done it with this one or similar.

#38 6 years ago

Must have missed it, link is showing $89.99 now.

#39 6 years ago

Got mine in but have not set it up yet. For $20 (+10 converter) the sub seems like it will be perfect for the pins I did not put FF speaker sets in. Did you guys hook them up yet?

#40 6 years ago

I do have a question with these subs and older early SS pins which have only 1 speaker total...and its in the cab.

So if therte is only 1 speaker and I wanted to use this powered sub with, would I splice into the speaker cable, then to the high/low converter then to the sub like markmon suiggested?

Or would it be ok to splice directly to the sub without the converter since this pin has only 1 speaker?

It's an early Stern SS - Catacomb.

Thanks!

#41 6 years ago

FWIW - Update on the specs (From the Manual):

Page 13:
To turn off the system:
The subwoofer will automatically switch to standby mode when there is no audio signal present after a timeout period. When the audio signal resumes, the subwoofer will automatically power on.

Page 15:
Rated Output power (at 10% thd) = 75w
Speaker Impedance = 3 ohm

My Thoughts:
Manual states it does have a "standby mode", it might take a few mins, but I didn't see it.
I am still happy with my mod to the service box.
I hate items that are in standby mode, since they still sip up a little bit of energy while in standby.

It's really hard to beleive that at $20 you get a 75 RMS amp that is 3 ohm capable with speaker.
WTF - a 3 ohm speaker?
What I did was extremely bad, because it was probably dropping the impedance down to around 1.75 ohms, OMFG. I'm really happy that I didn't screw up my system, or anyone elses.

I'm still waiting for my converter, and since I feel like a dumbass on my original connection, I'll let someone else chime in for connection advise.

#42 6 years ago

Don't feel bad boog, I think you did what most were planning (connecting it w/o converter)...nice of markmon to see that error and advise against it. I think you let others know of a cheap powered sub which should do fine as an added sub to a pin!

So thanks for the post dude, I wouldn't have found out about the sub without it and in this thread is the solution to connect it correctly!

(though I would still like to know how to connect it to a pin with only 1 speaker )

So at least I'm glad you posted!

#43 6 years ago

FWIW, I believe that you can tap into the existing speaker with the converters speaker wire(keeping the existing speakrr connected). you would only connect 1 set of speaker wire + & -, then use the rca output (same side) to connect to the new subs input.
I am really wanting a confirmation from another person, since I already have kinda epic failed, so to speak

#44 6 years ago
Quoted from boogies:

FWIW, I believe that you can tap into the existing speaker with the converters speaker wire(keeping the existing speakrr connected). you would only connect 1 set of speaker wire + & -, then use the rca output (same side) to connect to the new subs input.
I am really wanting a confirmation from another person, since I already have kinda epic failed, so to speak

The system will actually sound better if you disconnect the crappy speaker anyway.

#45 6 years ago
Quoted from markmon:

The system will actually sound better if you disconnect the crappy speaker anyway.

For systems with 1 speaker could I tap into the speaker wires without the converter and use both the speaker and sub? Or is the only thing to do with those 1 speaker systems is to just replace the original speaker?

I doubt I should use just the sub for 1 speaker systems right?

(I want bass with my 80's bleeps and robot voices lol!)

#46 6 years ago

I would tap into the wires and add the sub with the high level converter. But there's a good chance the sound sample on those are too crappy to have any lows.

#47 6 years ago

Thanks for the input!
I was wondering if it would even pick up any of the lows but was hoping to enhance the sound with some bass...

though the sound gives a pure nostalgic feel, long term it would be great to at LEAST have some deeper sounds to make it sound a little better.... Thanks!

When I hook it up will report back here...

#48 6 years ago

Well I hooked it up to my 1981 Stern Catacomb!

For those of you who have this game or played it you know how the 'music' goes. It personally reminds me of atari 2600 sounds but I love it all the same!

Now it sounds like atari 2600 sounds with bass lol!

This sub works well with it, I mean come on does anyone want to spend that much on upgrading the sounds of this type game....probably not... so this speaker enters perfectly. Yup have to add the costs of converter and smart strip (I had many smart strips laying around the house) and you give yourself more depth to a single speaker game.

The sub picks up the constant 'pulsing' of this game (which goes on throughout the game ) so I say worth it!

I need to try the sub on something more modern, but I am in the process of moving around the game room so that will have to wait.

Got a few more of these subs for 2 more early ss games coming in so will report back on how those sounds go.

Also got some for the games that don't merit a FF sounds system (SST) so hope it fares well on that. Not the strongest sub (for a $20 though it exceeded expectations) but serves its purpose...at least on the one game I installed it on.

(btw for my favorite games (IJ,TSPP, LOTR, STTNG, etc.. I have full FF kits on them, so only using this sub on my second tier games unworthy or incapable of the FF tratment!) )

So far I am happy!

#49 6 years ago

8-bit bass can be pretty awesome

#50 6 years ago

Glad to hear that it sounds good. I am still waiting for my converter.

Edit: Finally received it 11/2/12 - I hooked it up and it does still sound as loud as the video that I did. It obviously isn't the original $20, since it required a $10 converter and an aditional Male-Male RCA (which I had laying around), but at $30, I am very happy!

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