VTF-3 MK3 Subwoofer

"..one of the best audio investments you will ever make."
Howard Ferstler, Sensible Sound, Jan/Feb 2007

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The new VTF-3 MK3 takes advantage of the new technologies we developed for the HO series.

The lowest bass comes from the port. You need large ports to move lots of low bass without port noise or compression. With the VTF-3 MK3, we went to dual 4" ports, which nearly doubles the port size compared to the VTF-3 Mk 2.

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Low bass output in vented systems come from the port(s). High levels of low bass require a lot of air to be moved. If the port's crossectional area is not large, air velocity gets very high, resulting in turbulence (port chuffing) and compression.

For a given enclosure volume, putting in a larger port means a longer port length to tune the port to the same frequency. In order to fit two 4" ports into an enclosure the size of the HO, we need to bend the ports. However, if not bent properly, the bend will cause premature onset of turbulence, negating the purpose of going to a larger port.Our patent pending bent port technology ensures that our bent port performs as well as a straight port equivalent.

The reason for variable tuning is that all subwoofer designs, especially consumer-level subwoofers, involve tradeoffs in design. You cannot have a small subwoofer that goes very low, plays very loud and costs very little. Traditionally, the engineer decides what tradeoff he or she thinks is best for the consumer. The consumer has to take it or leave it.

The VTF-3 MK3 changes all that. It allows you, the user, to choose the tradeoff. If you enjoy music that is loud but does not have much deep bass, set the VTF series for maximum output. That way, you get maximum dynamic range with the lowest distortion. If you like music with deep bass, set it for maximum bass extension to reproduce the deep bass accurately. You can even switch between the two modes depending on what you play. That means effectively you get a subwoofer that can play loudly, and can play low, all in one, at a reasonable price!

Industry Reviews

"The Hsu Research surround system of HB-1 Mk.2, HC-1 Mk.2, and VTF-3 Mk.3 is outstanding by any measure. When you take into account the price, it becomes an astonishing value. The speakers look and sound like nothing I’ve previously encountered in this price bracket. More important, they breathed life into whatever I played through them."
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—Jeff Van Dyne, Home Theater Sound , November 2008

"..the VTF-3 Mk3 you find a truly top-flight product and an excellent investment for the discerning movie and music lover....
".. the VTF-3 Mk3’s tendency is to gracefully reach as far down into the infrasonic it can and come back in one piece. Subjectively speaking, the VTF-3 Mk3 consistently surprised anyone who happened to be within earshot at just how much bass emerged from the end table-sized box sitting at or near the front-left corner of my listening space. Overall, two words describe the music and LFE that poured from the VTF-3 Mk3: distinct & articulate"
"..The sub did a truly exceptional job, for this price class, of playing back track after track, very, very cleanly.."
"..The percussives were clean, distinct (there’s that word again), and downright startling (not many things like the audio track of a combat scene to jack the adrenaline), even when played back at the outer volume limits of the VTF-3 Mk3. Excellent!"
"..The HSU Research VTF-3 Mk3 is a well designed product, packing a terrific driver, obviously crafted with an emphasis on the basic features that are important to deliver maximum bang for the buck in a product in its price class."
"Overall, the VTF-3 Mk3 proved it self an excellent example of a well engineered product, purpose built with the intention of wringing every last drop of performance possible from a single 12” driver in a vented cabinet."
"..that not only did I like what this sub could do, but was consistently surprised by how well Dr Hsu managed to get this thoroughbred with a 12” driver to perform – and perform on a consistent basis. I’ll close with a strong buy recommendation; buy two if the budget allows for it!"

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-Mark Sanfilipo, audioholics.com, October 2007

"While this combination is relatively new to my reference system, it has been transformative. The combination of isolating and carefully presenting mid-bass frequencies (50-150Hz) through the mid-bass modules, and the superb performance of the VTF-3-Mark III true sub, has re-drawn my system in much larger and more substantial frame. The user ability to tailor these frequencies for room and source material adds a new dimension to the enjoyment of music, most especially that which may have come in a bit thin and threadbare. I don't care what the cognoscenti say about subs and audio, the slightly dry nature of the Hsu units, coupled with their flexibility and musicality add more to the experience of listening to music than you can possibly imagine without hearing them for yourself. At under $2000 for the complete system (two mid-bass modules and a true sub, with turbocharger) it is certainly one of the best values in audio. Add to this their entry-level STF-1 sub ($254 was sale price, currently $299.00), and you can turn a modest integrated amplifier and two-way speaker system into something remarkable. VTF-3-Mark III true-sub, with Turbocharger, $799, MBM-12, Mid-Bass Modules, $499 each"

— Dr. Sardonicus, The 4th Annual Positive Feedback Online's Writers' Choice Awards - for 2007 , positive-feedback.com

"The ambient rumble was loud, the explosions were clean, and rocket engines blasted. Even when I pushed playback levels to "11" the sub complied with minimal protest. Turbo-assisted, it was extremely capable in the lowest octave."

"If you want to know what a gigantic sea monster sounds like when it destroys a city, you can either be there or listen to it through a VTF-3 MK3 Turbo. ...When I cranked it up, it just got louder. ...Part of the fun of this kind of movie is feeling the room shake, and the Turbocharger really helps make it happen."

"I have listened to this track on hundreds of subs, and rarely have I heard it reproduced so well. The lowest notes of the bass line were smooth at low and medium volume; even at very high volume, the sub was pretty tight and free of resonance. The upper notes had a good snap to them, with not a hint of sloppiness or blooming. This recording has a good low end but not huge amounts of rock-bottom energy; so the Turbo helped, but the VTF-3 MK3 also sounded pretty darn good without it."

"It can dig down to an honest 16 Hz and play it both loudly and musically. The sound of the pipes was very realistic, with the entire harmonic structure, from fundamental on up, well balanced to produce a huge, natural sound. If you don't listen to organ music, or in general to material with content below 25 Hz, you probably don't need the Turbo; it's job is to augment the very bottom end, which it does superbly.
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— Ken C. Pohlmann , Sound and Vision, May2007

"the powerful bass was nothing less than I expected. And how well the VTF-3 MK3 integrated with the HB-1 satellites without calling attention to itself, was just the icing on the cake"
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— Fred Manteghian , Ultimate A/V, March 2007

"At 20 Hz the maximum was extended to 112 dB [with turbo]; a new record in the Ferstler main listening room."

"..one of the best audio investments you will ever make."

“equal to or better than what just about any competing subwoofer, no matter what its cost, will be able to do."

"..equal to or better than what just about any competing subwoofer, no matter what its cost, will be able to do."
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— Howard Ferstler, Sensible Sound, Issue 111, Jan/Feb 2007

VTF-3 MK3 At a Glance

Amp Power (RMS)
350 Watts
Bass Extension (max extension mode)
18 Hz , +/- 1 dB
Bass Extension (max output mode)
25 Hz
Woofer Size
12 Inches
Bypassable 24 dB/Oct, continuously variable 30 - 90 Hz low pass
Dual flared 4 Inch
speaker level (2), line level (2)
Power Outlet Requirement
430 W, 120/240V
Ship Weight
90 Lbs
21.5”(h) X 17”(w) X 25”(d)
7-years on the subwoofer, 2-years on electronics

For Owners

Owners Guide

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