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REL T5 reviews

Discussion in 'Subwoofers' started by Norae, Apr 22, 2011.

  1. Norae

    Norae Member

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    Does anyone know why this sub has not been reviewed anywhere yet? I Have scoured the internet and found absolutely nothing. This all seems very strange considering its the quake replacement (which lets face it was an elemental sub) and its been out several months already. Also it's already available for £350 (£150 less than the launch price) there also seemed to be a few dodgy ones being sold online for £300 at the end of last year. There are also several ex-dem subs for sale already. All this is a bit off-putting this early on in the product life-cycle. Can anyone tell me whether i'm jumping to conclusions or if the sub just doesn't match up to its predecessor. Anyone got first hand experience or know of any reviews? It looks good, the specs are good and REL generally make pretty decent subs but i don't have much opportunity for an audition so would like an expert opinion before i empty my wallet.
  2. Member 96948

    Member 96948 Active Member

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    As a reviewer I' say this; If you can't find a review of a product, it's probably because a company doesn't want it reviewed....;)

    As to whether it matches up to the Quake? I'd bloody hope not because that barely warranted the term subwoofer.

    To be honest, with an 8"main driver and only 125w on tap, you'd be far better off looking at something like the BK XLS-200. The Peerless XLS-10 driver is a sub bass peach, has twice the radiating area of an 8" job and the combined with the 275W of the BK's amp, you're looking at a louder, deeper, far lower distortion sub that offers all of the input flexibility the REL claims for the same or less money. These are figures that matter - The rest is marketing.

    Trust me on this one - Buy the BK and be stunned by what £300(ish) can buy you.

    Russell
  3. Norae

    Norae Member

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    I anticipated this answer, i know there's a very strong bk following on this forum and understandably so. Nothing surpasses them where value for money is concerned however i have one tiny problem. I'm planning to pair the sub with a set of dali fazons which are in white gloss and not having much space everything is on show so would much prefer a sub in matching gloss white. The only sub in the BK range that comes in white is the xxls 400 which is over 100 quid more than the rel (I'm fully aware of the performance value that extra £100 buys) and way too big to be discreet in my 5x5 lounge considering i eventually want a pair of subs i don't think the 400 is for me. I do think REL pay a little bit more attention as far as aesthetics are concerned. So back to square 1
  4. roaduck

    roaduck Member

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    I'd just phone them up Norae to ask for a custom sub finish (my whole sub is a custom) ; lots of people on here have.

    You can even send in photos or examples of a wood/paint finish and they'll do their best to match it.White gloss will probably cost the same (£345) or maybe even less than the gloss black finish - no harm in asking!
  5. Member 96948

    Member 96948 Active Member

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    Quite right - BK do actually offer subs in gloss white for the Scandanavian market and I can definitely remember a gloss white Monolith owned by a forum member, so doing it on an XLS-200 shouldn't be too hard.

    @ the OP, I know the BK recommendation was predictable, but it's worth putting it's performance/value ratio in context. The original Quake was simply the smallest of the Q Series, with the Q100, 150 and 200 above it for obviously a lot more money. The XLS-200 has been shown in independent tests to offer a lot more poke than the old Q200 for less than half the cash. It's a better sub than the MJ Ref200 I used to own and they retail for a scarcely believable £749 when I last looked.

    Russell

    Sent from my iPhone using AVForums
  6. Norae

    Norae Member

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    ok so providing i can get hold of the xls-200 in white. can a 3 yr old sub that got a 4* review in 2008 compete with the brand new rel? Considering the previous connections between the two companies i'd like to think REL know better than to produce a sub that cant. I know the BK looks better spec wise but this does not necessarily mean its a better product. I'm looking for a sub that can match the musical ability of the dali fazons so depth and power are noting if the sub cant match their capabilities as music on my system is just as important as movies. Has anyone heard the t5 to make a comparison, as BK is sold direct it's difficult to make a direct comparison and although i cannot get hold of a review i've yet to hear anything negative about the T5.
  7. Member 639844

    Member 639844 Former Advertiser

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    I think you could do to re-evaluate your views on subs. The T5 is hardly a brand new sub and age is hardly anything negative against a design, some manufacturers are running 15 year old designs that have barely changed. The quake barely even qualifies as a proper sub, let alone an elemental one.

    The BK stuff is direct from manufacturer, so half the price of comparable products from most commercial companies. You should listen to Russell, he knows his stuff, and me personally, I would recommend the xls 400.
  8. roaduck

    roaduck Member

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    I remember hearing REL subwoofers in the 1980's and 1990's at exhibitions in Tokyo and Kyoto in Japan and Las Vegas, New York and Los Angeles in America and they were fine - nice to look at and well screwed together with Peerless, Volt and BK parts but not exactly state of the art.

    I've always found them overpriced and over hyped but that's just my opinion.I've heard subwoofer kits from Wilmslow Audio and elsewhere that have left REL for dead for a fraction of the price.

    In isolation they sound perfectly acceptable for music especially but next to even the home competition from Proac, ATC, PMC they were not that special and stood next to the best Genelec, Dynaudio, SVS and Elemental Designs they were insubstantial and they're not even esoteric manufacturers.

    Would I personally pay £5500+ for a REL Studio III sub with 2 Volt drive units costing £200 wholesale even though it looked like nice furniture; nope.For that outlay I'd expect top notch drivers and amps with nothing less than world beating performance.

    For over five grand I'd expect something like this Elemental Designs: Car Stereo, Home Speakers, Electronics which you can configure to the nth degree.


    The definitive impartial subwoofer tests from a Finnish guy called Ilkka sorted the wheat from the chaff here (like the best Scandinavian rally drivers - he's understated) Subwoofer Tests - Archived at Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2011
  9. Stinger69

    Stinger69 Member

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    One thing worth noting is that the "experts" that gave the xls-200 a 4* review, work for a magazine that relies on advertisers for revenue.
    B.K. do not advertise in these magazines.
    I'm afraid that with age comes great cynicism.

    The bk subs are all leaders in their categories, but are not lining the pockets of retailers or Hi-Fi maggies.

    Andy.
  10. Norae

    Norae Member

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    Not that i question the BK's capabilities or Russell's expertise but the T5 is a new product and as yet hasn't been reviewed or tested to be able to make a comparison and i don't want to write it off completely just yet. I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting to be sure before i part with my hard earned cash. You cannot make an informed decision by just looking at a spec sheet and there have been some great subs produced that have similar or less power and smaller drivers than the t5 I know looks aren't everything but for me (and everyone has there own preferences) they are an important factor and the T5 certainly has the edge over the BK in that respect. Although agreeably power and depth wise the BK wins outright. But i have heard that as a result, with music the BK subs lack subtlety and generally aren't as musical as their REL counterparts, i guess it all boils down to whether it's music or movies that are your priority and music is equally important to me if not more so. Don't get me wrong the xls200 is up there on my shortlist i just dont think its the only sub worth considering.
  11. Member 96948

    Member 96948 Active Member

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    No there haven't.

    There are no great subs with a single 8" (or smaller) driver and none worth a pig in a poke with less than 200w. I'm afraid that physics rule with subs and low distortion, deep clean bass requires air to be shifted. Always has, always will do. You can't do it with a single 8" driver, no matter how much power you shove up it's chuff. I've heard near £1000 8" subs with 1250W and they were dire fart boxes. Damn loud, but my god you'd have to be deaf not to recognise the distortion.

    I also couldn't care less what star rating WHF give a product. There are plenty of WHF 5* products I wouldn't give house room to and a great many of them aren't subs.;)

    Subs are simple beasts. There's no such thing as fast bass, or musical bass. There is just low distortion, high headroom bass set up correctly* and for £300 in a 12" cube, you cannot do better than an XLS-200. Period.:)

    Russell

    *This over rides virtually every other consideration and is totally dominated by the room and the sub's positioning in it.
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2011
  12. roaduck

    roaduck Member

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    If I was seriously considering buying the REL T5 Norae I would book a demonstration at my local HI-FI shop to get an idea of it's capabilities even though it would not sound the same when I got it home because of the difference in the room size, layout etc.

    Just as an example of what you get for £300 with the BK XLS200 the woofer alone costs over £90 and the plate amp costs over £150.I've seen subwoofers costing well over a £1000 with much cheaper components inside.
  13. recruit

    recruit Guest

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    The BK subs are goood but I would not say that they are absolutely amazing, they are just good VFM the XXLS400 I owned was nothing special and certainly did not come anywhere close to what I have now for music or movies, I would get a home demo of the REL sub in question if at all possible.
  14. roaduck

    roaduck Member

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    I totally agree recruit - any dealer worth his salt would do home demonstrations.
  15. Member 639844

    Member 639844 Former Advertiser

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    Ive been a lover of the Rel sounds for years, but the problem they have is they dont go very loud and when you try make them go low, they wont and they distort badly. The decent performance Rels are so overpriced that even if your fond of Rel as I always was, its hard to defend their products against the competition. The T5 will be no better than the BK and likely uses and inferior driver.

    The be all and end all BK surely are not, but if your spending under 500 on a sub, can you point anywhere that offers a potentially better product, I know I cant.
  16. AdrianMills

    AdrianMills Member

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    I hope this doesn't come across as insulting as it's not intended, but, your posts paint the picture of a guy that has some preconceived ideas about Rel and you are here to confirm them regardless of reality...

    A friend of mine has a Rel. My opinion after listening to it is that it's way overpriced for what it is which is more than evident after listening to relatively clean, undistorted bass from quality subwoofers.

    Listen to what people here are telling you. IMO, if the only option you are considering is a Rel you'd be better off foregoing a sub altogether for now and saving your cash for a more expensive very good compact sub - a Fathom for instance. Or, if you don't mind used, look in the 2nd hand market for a top quality sub.
  17. recruit

    recruit Guest

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    Never liked REL although owned most of the older range myself, just tring to point out that BK are not the be all and end all of budget subs, and for £500 my money would more than likely go towards the new range of plus subs from SVS ;)
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2011
  18. Member 639844

    Member 639844 Former Advertiser

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    There is only the 12 for that money and I cant see it being better than the BK. It may go deeper a touch, but that effort in trying to go low is why I sold my SVS, ultimately they lack personality. Maybe the new sealed subs are aiming to buck that trend, but I find it hard to believe and UK based outfit could be beat by a company that has to ship everything to europe, and then the UK. Do you konw anyone who has one of the new SVS subs yet.

    On a nice side note, an independant test of the BK Monolith not only showed it to be great value for money, but it was commended for having good spl ability and being able to go fairly low and fairly cleanly, certainly shooting beyond it price bracket compared to the competition. The BK's have been proven to deliver, so dont just take my word for it, of that of the hundreds of happy customers on these forums.
  19. recruit

    recruit Guest

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    Was not overly impressed with the Monolith either whatever tests say or not, sorry just not my cup of tea I suppose and would rather spend a little bit extra and be happier with something I like...than not.
  20. Member 639844

    Member 639844 Former Advertiser

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    I wont argue with that philosophy. One reason I never bought a Monolith myself is that I was never convinced £500 could buy me what I wanted. After owning the Ultra I decided oversized ported efforts just try too had at one thing and fail on various others.

    Still, can you honestly see a Rel T5 bettering anything from the BK range, I'd bet an XLS200 can match it.

    Removing the option of 'spending a little bit more', what would you buy if you were to avoid the BK's.
  21. Norae

    Norae Member

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    @ Adrianmills - I do not have an pre-concieved ideas i am here to confirm. I've never owned or even heard an REL sub, in fact the only sub i've owned is a Jamo e4sub i bought when i was 16. i'm purely here to soak up all the knowledge thats floating around these forums before i blow £700 on a pair of subs. I'm not claiming to be a subwoofer expert by any stretch of the imagination. My reasons for considering the t5 were purely because REL's are renowned for their musical ability, spec-wise it meets my requirements, its a good looking unit and its within my budget.

    From my research and reading it is better to use two smaller subwoofers instead of one larger one if tight, controlled sound quality is the priority (correct me if i'm wrong) I'm fully aware this will not give me the loudest deepest possible bass for the money which i'm prepared to sacrifice, but it's my understanding that there are acoustic issues which cannot be addressed using a single sub and there are lots of advantages to running stereo subs. I have been advised (again correct me if its wrong) that smaller subs have tighter more controlled bass for music and will blend in much better than a larger, slower moving sub. especially in my case as i'm using satellites (Dali Fazons) as opposed to full sized bookshelf or floor standers. The fazons too are very musical my worry is i'll loose this if i pair them wrongly and the last thing i want to do is compromise £1250 worth of speakers. The fazon sub itself only uses a 6 1/2' woofer which as a result integrates very well with the sats but suffers in the bottom end and sounds a bit tubby. My thinking with the REL's was to provide a bit more grunt without compromising on integration as the REL as does the BK offer the hi and low level inputs however the T5 offers musicality of an 8" driver that's capable of excellent mid bass output as adding a bit more grunt at the bottom end.

    If the general concensus is that the xls200 is far better than the T5 in these areas, taking into consideration my components and requirements then i'd be silly not to go for it i agree but without a response from anyone whose actually heard the T5 i'm still unconvinced. You have to admit that from an outsiders perspective BK do shoot themselves in the feet a bit with long waiting times, poor customer service (so i've read on these forums) a dodgy website and most of all no auditioning facility.

    @ moonfly - do you mean match it or better it? because they're the same price.

    @ recruit, i completely agree, out of intrest what sub are you using?
  22. Member 639844

    Member 639844 Former Advertiser

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    Fast tight and musical bass is not the preserve of small drivers, that information is utter bunkum that spread around for reasons I cant comprehend.

    The XLS200 should better the Rel (sorry, I meant better it, not match it). I dont consider anything with less that a 10" driver to be even considered a sub, unless its using multiple drivers like the Paradigm and Martin Logan subs (Recruit runs an ML sub). The XLS 200 is a 10" driver and 275 watts compared to an 8" driver and 125 watts. The published Rel spec for the T5 is at -6 (rather than -3) and even then only at 23 hz. Thats nothing remarkable and even the XLS 200 manages that at 17hz. The BK is cleaner and louder and goes deeper.

    Now, whether 2 subs are better than one is dependant on your room, there is no real single answer as all rooms differ. 2 subs will even out the in room response, but you need to set them up right to take advantage of that otherwise there is no point, and this assumes a single sub wont respond well. A single better sub will still be cleaner and more accurate than 2 lesser subs. To really figure out if you need 1 or 2 subs, you need to measure your rooms response. That said, 2 subs are a good idea all round IMO, I'm just not sure I would spread my budget across 2 lesser subs rather than a single better, especially if it wasnt needed in my room.

    You seem opposed to BK. They have much much more good feedback on here than they do negative, and generally the service they provide is excellent. Rel arent bad subs, but they are just far too expensive for what you get for me to consider those any more. Thats just my opinion though, as ever not everyone will agree with me.

    Given your circumstances, I would personally look for something pre-owned to add to my system, and get the maximum from my budget.
  23. AdrianMills

    AdrianMills Member

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    Sorry to disillusion you but Rel's rep is mostly hyperbole, wind and ****.

    Several subs are generally better than one in order to flatten out room response but sometimes not. How effective and noticeable that will be will depend so very much on the room in question and where you sit in it. You'll also have far more problems integrating several subs properly than one. I had two very large SVS subs and I could never get them to integrate so that everything sounded better with both of them rather than one. I ended up selling one of them.

    But to be sure, two crap subs with lots of distortion will always give you lots of distortion no matter how you place them whereas one good one that is placed and set up properly will always give you good bass. We are not talking loudest or deepest here but bass that is cleaner and has more texture. Room issues that can manifest as boominess or a null can be somewhat alleviated by moving the sub or the listener; adding another sub doesn't always fully alleviate these anyway.

    Do a little reading on "slowness", "musicality" and "tightness". These audiophile terms are misleading.

    I see Moonfly responded while I was typing; I guess two people saying similar things should tell you something at least.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2011
  24. Norae

    Norae Member

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    @ moonfly - I'm not opposed to BK i just want to make sure i make the right decision. So do you think then that neither of these subs would be suitable with the fazons, do they need something more high end? if i were to go for something pre-owned what would you suggest?
  25. Member 639844

    Member 639844 Former Advertiser

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    Well, when I dont have a DIY sub on the go (no money to do my IB yet), I usually turn to MK subs. You could pick a pre-owned MX series sub up for your money (I actually sold a pair of MX125's for 700 - wished I hadnt) and it will positively wipe the floor with all afore mentioned subs. Only the Monolith is likely to be able to match them for sheer output, and I highly doubt its anywhere near the same league for musicality - based on parallels being drawn between that and the Ultra I used to own, which doesnt hold a candle to the M&K for musicality. The MK's are also designed to work with sats, which will further aid integration, which is important.

    FWIW, I am running an M&K MX250 myself. If your anywhere near me, your more than welcome to come and have a listen anytime.

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