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A short evening with the XLS200

Discussion in 'Subwoofers' started by PJTX100, Jan 16, 2005.

  1. PJTX100

    PJTX100
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    Just finished a very entertaining evening slot with the XLS200 where I tried a range of material at unusually high volume (for me - 'cause wife & kids were at a panto!). Thought you may be interested.

    Started with an SACD 'Police Best Of' - the sound is very clean from SACD, with the instruments amazingly spaced out. Pre sub the sound was very light weight, the XLS200 underpinned the sound very well, albeit largely subliminally. This album isn't noted for bass, but I was happy with what I heard.

    Next a DVD-Audio - Alanis Morissette - again a great sound, and similar to SACD the XLS200 played a full part rather than dominating proceedings. One thing to note was that I've left the front main speakers as large but I've backed off the bass. This means they sound a lot more controlled than before where they did 80% of the bass duties.

    Next up, a CD - 'Teardrop' by Massive Attack - this was a surprise. I expected depth charge bass but didn't get it. It sounded very good, controlled, just not quite as "massive" as anticipated.

    Next I put on the Jarre CD 'Aero'. By now the volume control (on the DSP-A5)had crept fairly high, any anyone who knows this CD will guess what the opening seconds sounded like - like a DEPTH CHARGE. This CD was a revelation, I've never heard such low, controlled bass from a HiFi I've owned. Definately a reference disc for me!

    I then watched part of a movie - R1 version of Space Cowboys (end part where they grapple with the satellite). Wow is all I can say. There was a constant presence and low bass undertone which just wasn't there before, and during the action sequences the XLS200 rampaged onto the scene without an ounce of stress - it just pumped out any amount of bass which was asked of it and kept on smiling. By now I'd turned the gain down a touch to just under half way. (btw I've got the crossover set at around 90 which is the crossover for the DSP-A5 amp).

    Overall I'm well impressed with this beast. Looks the part. Sounds the part....PJ :thumbsup:
     
  2. MSYam

    MSYam
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    PJ, sounds like your having fun with your new unit. Which finish did you go for? Is there any chance you could post 2-3 pics of the sub? I'd like to get a better idea of the finish of them - the pics on the BK site dont really get in on the detail.
     
  3. theo cupier

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    Just though I'd add my 2p since my XLS200 arrived about 60 minutes ago and I have just given it a quick, cursory test.

    This is the first time I've spent almost £300 on something on the basis of recommendations of a bunch of (virtual) strangers, so I was a little nervous but equally excited from reading all the other comments on this sub. I've never owned a sub before and while sitting in the front row of a Metallica concert gives you an appreciation of what real bass can do for you, I wasn't too sure how this would translate to a home situation... Anyway, onwards.

    The sub arrived very well packaged - about 15 of the 60 minutes since its arrival was taking it out of the various layers of packaging! DHL had managed to invade the outer skin, but the peanuts had stopped it getting further than that. Connecting up was straightforward, even my technical ham-fistedness managed to cope with the instructions - I am using both high level and low level connectors since I have a separate 2-channel amp and surround amp. I've also got some Mark Grant cables for both connections and was relieved to see that I'd ordered them long enough...

    I ordered the black downward firing unit. The unit itself is about as gorgeous, visually, as a 1 cubic foot lump of black can be! A number of people have asked about BK's finish and I can happily set their minds at rest. Imagine the black obelsiks from 2001: A Space Oddessy and you're on the right lines.

    My room is quite a biggie, about 8m x 5m with the AV setup along one of the short walls. My viewing/listening position is a chair pretty much in the middle of the room. For a variety of reasons (mostly my children who are 3 and 1) the sub needed to sit in the 'front right' corner of the room and it sits happily about 4 inches from the back wall and 10 inches from the side wall, under the shelf my front right speaker sits on. The house has concrete floors on the ground level and there's regular carpet on top. I've left the rubber feet on for now.

    My first audio test was Brand New Heavies - Heavy Rhyme Experience since it has some fairly thumping, punchy bass lines. Turning the frequency to to its highest setting was fairy awful, since I could hear quite a lot of the mid and high range coming out of the sub, so I turned it down to about '12 o'clock' on the dial, which I guess is around 80Hz. My front speakers claim to go to about 55Hz, but the crossover on my processor is 80 so this seems like a reasonable compromise. Gradually turned the high level gain up until I could hear the sub separate from the fronts (to be sure I knew what I was listening for) and then backed off a little until it mixed in more smoothly.

    I never really had cause for complaint about the bass on my front speakers previously, but the sub definitely shows me an extra dimension to music. I've just put Mamas & Papas greatest hits on for comparison and it sounds just like the bassist has turned his amp up and is joining in, rather than ambling around in the background. Exactly how I think music should be!

    For a quick movie test, it had to be Scene 4 from Master & Commander. I gave the volume control a bit of a twist and played it through, setting the low level gain to about the same position as the high ended up, after the music test.

    The cannons fired on the Acheron. I ducked. They hit the wood on the ship and started splintering boards. I cowered.

    In fairness, it's the first time I've watched that scene in 5.1 rather than 2-channel so it was a lot more 'immersive' than before anyway, but it definitely feels like you are in the scene, rather than just observing it.

    In short, a happy purchasing decision. I've hidden the packaging in the garage and will wait now to see how soon my wife notices the difference from an audio point of view, although I expect the experiment will be spoilt when the (eagle-eyed) 3 year old asks mummy what the large black box in the corner is!

    Had a quick fiddle with the phase dial but so far haven't heard any difference at any position. I'm sure I'll come back to that at some point, though.

    So, thank you, fellow forummers for the recommendation. And to whoever buys my house next, sorry for the structural damage. Here's to plenty more occasions for the rest of the family to go out and leave me to 'experiment'!
     
  4. themoid

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    i'd recommend letting the XlS loose on Return of the king, scene where Frodo et al reach the hidden stair by the nazgul lords castle - the bit where the energy arcs skywards is awesome, especially as there is a second of total silence and then the floor starts rocking :D

    and you've just inspired me to properly set my new cherry XLS up when I get home - ta :thumbsup:
     
  5. MSYam

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    theo cupier,

    good review! So... another one to the "choose XLS200" list. I've 99.9% decided now, i reckon one of these beasts will be heading my way very soon... unless...

    somebody tells me that the KEF PSW3000 reduced to £350 is a better buy??
     
  6. MuFu

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    Good choice for a test album. The drum/bass lines are so clean and really kick. :thumbsup:
     
  7. Kazman

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    Yes, the KEF PSW3000 is a bit of an eye opener. Depends what you want, if you want to fill a larger room, then the PSW3000 may be a better buy, if not, then I believe the extra tightness of the BK XLS200 will outshine the KEF, despite the KEF having a better on paper spec.

    Both are good subs, but the BK shades it on the quality of sound in my opinion. £350 for the KEF is also a bit of a bargain.....decisions decisions.
     
  8. MSYam

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    Kazman, hi.

    The room is only about 3.5x4m, so I would imagine you're right in that the XLS200 will be better.

    Having said that, the KEF sub is apparently a 'flexible' sub, so who knows?

    I think i'm still leaning towards the BK though - i've spent far too time reading so many ravings about it, not to buy it!

    I reckon for people with a larger room, the KEF would be excellent, and real value for money! But for me, the BK seems to suit - it's my bedroom for christ's sake! Anything bigger would be ridiculous! Not only that - it's the room above my parents living room! HAHA! What am I thinking!
     
  9. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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  10. MSYam

    MSYam
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    Will do Evil John 2, as soon as my Mordaunt-Short sub has sold on fleabay - less than two days to go!
     
  11. eviljohn2

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    Good stuff, let us know how you get one with it too.

    Theo, glad you're getting on well with it. You'll find it gets even better after a bit of use, speakers are pretty much the only bit of hifi equipment that generally do need to be "run in" due to the substantial moving parts.

    Themoid, have to agree with you on that scene. It shook all of my books onto the floor from on top of my sub! :)
     
  12. theo cupier

    theo cupier
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    Mrs Cupier finally spotted it in the afternoon. Our eldest had asked for some music to be put on and Heavy Traffic by Status Quo was, for some reason, the order of the day.

    What pleases me most about the sub is the effect it has on pretty much any music, it just fills out the bottom end nicely. I'm a firm believer that the bass line should be an active contributor to a song's structure (although Judas Priest and Def Leppard disagree with me on that score) and the sub just gives one the opportunity to bring this as far into the foreground as you like.

    Turned up the gain on the sub while madam was in the room, just to illustrate to her what it was for and it got a grin! hopefully she'll remember that moment when she sees the credit card bill! :suicide:

    Watched Star Wars Ep IV this evening. There are moments when you can forget the sub is there (even moments when I can forget I'm in 5.1 mode as opposed to 2.0, come to that) but then something happens - the Milennium Falcon flies past, something blows up - and you're back in the action again. Terrific! Going to work my way through Ep V and VI, then possibly jump to Ep II (since I only own Ep I on VHS :blush: ) then give Two Towers and/or ROTK a go (might need to do some fast forwarding since they go on a bit)

    My biggest regret is that the house we live in is one of those modern executive boxes where all the internal walls and floors are made of tissue paper. Mrs Cupier came in to the room about 5 minutes in to the film and told me to turn it down since it 'sounded like I was driving a truck through the living room' :D . Also, with the kids' bedrooms immediately above the lounge it restricts how far round the volume dial gets.

    Still, we're moving to a proper house in a few weeks. A solid, 1930's place where the internal walls are double brick, so it should give me a bit more lattitude, especially since the listening room will be child-free and directly below our bedroom, not one of theirs. On the downside it is a semi-detached and the listening room is along the shared wall. Hope the neighbours understand. Also, the floors in the new house are wood boards (presumably suspended over the cavity) - I've read a few things saying I may get a bit more booming as a result of this, especially with a down firing sub, so I may be off for a slab of granite...

    Upgraditis is already setting in. I'm starting to ponder on the longevity of my power / stereo amp and my front speakers. They're both quite venerable and are starting to creak (well, crackle, really). I thought if I bought a 5 channel power amp it would extend the life of the E800, by using its pre-outs for all channels, not just the fronts. I could plug all the audio sources in to the E800 without worrying about it's processing messing up the quality. Is that right, or will the E800 mangle the audio signal, even using its pre-outs (realise this is :offtopic: ). I was thinking about something like the Rotel RMB1075. Then its the front speakers, then its the rear speakers...


    HELP!!!!
     
  13. MSYam

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    Well, i've finally done it. Ordered myself an XLS200. Still trying to come to terms with the fact i've just blown the best part of £300. Well, i'm sure it'll be worth it -

    cheers guys for all the info provided. As many others, i've chosen this sub purely from using the AVforums.

    I will let you know how I get on!
     
  14. Grif

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    MSYam....you won't be disappointed.....your parents may not be so happy though :lesson: :devil: :D
     
  15. MSYam

    MSYam
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    HAHA too right. When theyre in the living room below, I generally keep my sub fairly low. I always look forward to the times when they're out. With the BK I reckon i might even upset the neighbours! And it's a detached house, some 20m away!
     
  16. Kazman

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    :) Good job, you have bought a very good subwoofer. Let us know your thoughts on it, and any problems with setup and the like, don't hesitate to call on us :)
     
  17. MSYam

    MSYam
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    cheers kazman, really appreciated!

    Does anybody know how long it takes for them to arrive? I know... i'm like a kid at xmas
     
  18. theo cupier

    theo cupier
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    Kid at Christmas, I know the feeling. I was twitchy all the time waiting for mine.

    I ordered my black, downward firer on thursday 6th Jan and it arrived yesterday. Don't know if I ordered a popular model with a backlog or what, really so can't say how typical this is.

    Tom at BK mentioned that they were quite hectic post-Christmas and I wouldn't expect that to have slowed down. I guess you could allow a fortnight and hope to be pleasantly surprised!
     
  19. PJTX100

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    Ordered mine around lunchtime last Tuesday and it arrived Thursday - so 2 days for me. Mine was a forward facer in cherry, looks great!...PJ
     
  20. Xstyle

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    Just spoke to BK... price is not going up ... so I will buy a bit later when my AV install plans have been goven the green light (by me to the AV company).

    Gonna be tucked inside my wall / cabinet (with speaker cloth as the front of the cabinet ...so forward firning sub is needed.
    Suppose colour wouldn't be too important, so may as well get black?

    Should sound good hooked up to the Pio AX5ai!!! :cool:
     
  21. theo cupier

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    I think I've just achieved a high degree of WAF

    Mrs Cupier is currently showing off the new sub to a friend of hers who has come round with her kids to play with the little Cupiers!

    All hail the XLS200
     
  22. MSYam

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    :thumbsup: My XLS200 has arrived! :thumbsup:

    Just took it to my car as I am at work - had to stop half way for a rest! The thing weighs a ton! Always a good thing... unless it's your girlfried :laugh: :confused:

    Am going out tonight but will definately have a quick look when I get in from work. Might even try and get off a bit early.

    I'll let you all know how I get on... hopefully somepoint at the weekend.

    Cheers guys.

    P.S. what the fudge is WAF :blush:
     
  23. cR4cKF0x 5TevE

    cR4cKF0x 5TevE
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    Wife Acceptance Factor.

    Got my BK XLS 200 this morning. Working from home, so hopefully can fit in an opportunity to 'play' at lunchtime.

    Got the DF in light oak: the girlfriend says "it looks lovely" and it sounds great with just the LFE in at the moment: couldn't bear to leave it in the box before I started work. Now need to tweak a few things and sort out the high level connection.
     
  24. MSYam

    MSYam
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    I think i'll be connecting with a single phono sub cable - will this be good enough?
     
  25. eviljohn2

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    It'll be just fine. The only reason to use the high level connection in addition is if you have a seperate system for music that you want to connect. :)
     
  26. MSYam

    MSYam
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    thanks eviljohn.

    It's the forward firing silver finish i've got. I would have preferred light oak but it wouldnt go with my speakers (maple MS Avant).

    I just hope the finish is ok. Most people on here seem to think so.
     
  27. MSYam

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    ok, i've unpacked my sub and connected using a single phono sub lead.

    First impressions:

    In a word, outstanding - and i havent even listened to it yet! The unit was packed very well. Always a good sign. It took me about 15 mins to get my hands on it.

    The build and finish is absolutely phenomenal I think. Definately better than I expected. The driver itself is top notch quality. The unit as a whole is very high quality.

    Now, setting it up seems very different to my previous sub. So far, following the manual's instructions, i've set the frequency control to 120Hz, and the phase control to position 1. The manual then says:

    "Adjust the gain control until the level of the bass matches the level from your main speakers. Now slowly adjust the frequency control until the output from the sub meets the lowest notes from your main speakers (the crossover point)".

    When I adjust the low level gain control nothing happens :rolleyes: but when I adjust the high level gain, there is a huge difference.

    Can somebody please help me in setting it up? Cheers guys
     
  28. Kazman

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    :rotfl: :clap: :smashin: :cool: Fantastic :D
     
  29. eviljohn2

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    MS-Yam, I'm glad you're pleased but that's very strange. Low level gain should be the dial second from left.
     
  30. MSYam

    MSYam
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    Sorry folks, I meant the high-level gain :blush: It was the high level gain that wasnt doing anything.

    I've since found out from BK themselves though that it's not supposed to do anything when connecting via low level input.

    Well, having spoken to one of the guys at BK, I have set my frequency to about 80Hz, and have been playing around with the low level gain (it's not about a third now).

    I have to say, I still cant believe how good this unit is. Especially for it's size. I never expected it to be this small, but it's a good thing as it fits in very nicely with my other equipment.

    I started with a couple of CDs first, then put Return if the King on. Absolutely astounding. 100% better than my MS308 which i've just sold.

    At high levels it just keeps composed and controlled. Excellent timing too. If i'd spent £500 on it, i'd still be happy. Worth every penny.

    I'm off out now for plently of these :beer: :zonked:

    Cheers guys - keep up the good work
     

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