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Budget Sub Test Results! XLS200, MS309, MS909, PSW2500, PDR10

Discussion in 'Subwoofers' started by eviljohn2, Jun 21, 2004.

  1. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    The results are in, but before we all set off on our general opinion of the subwoofers involved I'll post the frequency response we took.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Mylo

    Mylo
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    Is the paradigm meant to work below 30Hz according to it's spec?
     
  3. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    Probably not, but we tested them all using 2Hz intervals from 50Hz to 18Hz. If we'd had more time I'd have taken some more points around the knees but we didn't.
     
  4. Ed Selley

    Ed Selley
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    Thrilled to report that with the 909 back in the living room and reset to my larger dimensions, it managed to register.......

    ............another 2hz before again tailing to nowt. Still I'm happy with it. Has anybody got the comedy picture of the BK on top of the 909?
     
  5. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    It's on my phone but I won't have a means of uploading it for a few weeks :(

    FIRST IMPRESSIONS
    On arrival DFour's flat (thanks again :smashin: ), after the greetings and linking of usernames to faces we were faced with what we expected to be a set of 5 bass-creating monoliths.

    The Kef PSW2500, MS309 and Paradigm PDR10 were all occupied a similar volume. With the 909 towering over them and the XLS200 looking really quite pathetic. All were simply black cubes apart from the Kef which was in quite a nice silver finish and had a groovy oval shape.

    The first surprise was in the weights of them. Obviously the 909 was the heaviest of the bunch but next was the XLS200 which was deceptively heavy and dense (I pulled a muscle in my arm just moving that from the car!). Build quality was generally fairly good with XLS200 seeming practically solid, the 309 and 909 being fairly well built (especially the driver, surround and spikes) but resonating when the cabinet was given a sharp tap. The Kef and Paradigm were the lightweights of the group with the Paradigm being practically weightless.

    It should be pointed out that only the BK and Paradigm have conventional solid state amplifiers (that generally weigh a lot with their heatsinks). The others had much lighter digital amps.

    Stop me if I miss anything along the way guys ;)
     
  6. Mylo

    Mylo
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    Do you think the subs feet played any part John.
    I'm still considering replacing the pucks on my PDR8 as I don't think they do a very good job. Maybe some rigid rubber feet or maybe spikes?
     
  7. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    The XLS200 was on a plinth that I've made. Basically a slab of contiboard (shelf material) with 4 doorstops resting on that.

    I agree that the PDR feet are far more likely to slide about though.
     
  8. Kazman

    Kazman
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    I have the pics and will upload them tonight, the pic with the BK on top of the 909 is quite amusing :).

    The great news is that all the subs performed VERY well, the BK was very impressive for its size, and had a lovely tight sound.

    The KEF went a little deeper, and looks lovely (WAF certified), but wasn't quite as tight as the BK.

    The 909 and 309 were also lovely, a bit more gentle in their presentation than the other subs, but still lots of impact.

    The main test scene we used was the sonic gun scene from Minority Report. All subs performed well, I felt that the BK and KEF had a tiny bit more oomph, and seemed to go a tiny bit deeper than the 309 and Paradigm.

    The paradigm isn't too bad for the price, but the other subs did show their class. Musically (if you can call a sub musical :) ), I felt the BK and KEF had the advantage, with the KEF going slightly deeper, and the BK being slightly tighter.

    The 309 and 909 behaved in a very similar fashion with music, which was nice, tight, but again, very gentle. The paradigm did show its budget origins with music though, but maybe it was a bit unfair to expect it to match subs costing three times as much.

    My overall impression was that any of the subs would do their owners proud. If you are tight on space, and still need quality, then the BK is a great buy, if you need a sub to integrate well with a sub sat system, then the 309 is ideal, if aesthetics are important, better have a look at the KEF. All in all though, you won't go wrong with any of them. The 909 wasn't given the chance to really show its stuff as we didn't really push it, we didn't want Dfour to be evicted :) :D

    It was nice to hear the different subs, each have their own characteristics, but all are good, and do their jobs very well. Overall I'm VERY happy with how the KEF performed, and the fact I only paid £239 cements my grin firmly in place.

    There wasn't a lemon there, the Paradigm performed well for an £80 sub, and if your budget is £100, then the Paradigm is a great buy. If you get to the £200-£300 range though, the KEF, BK and 309 will do almost any system justice. I'd be happy with any of those three subs in my system.

    I really wish we could have had more time with them though, and been able to explore just how much a room could be shaken :), but alas, time was not with us, and we didn't want Mrs Dfour to come back to an apartment resembling a construction site with an MS909 sub on top of the rubble ;).
     
  9. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    :thumbsup: Excellent analysis Kaz.

    We also tested both the music and movie modes of the Kef. Although there was a minor difference between the 2 we couldn't decide what that actually was :eek:

    The PDR10 definitely showed a lot more distortion, but what surprised me was that out of all of them it was the only model to actually move any air during the sonic gun scene in Minority Report. Although the others gave the sound, it was only the PDR10 that gave a "hit". Tons noted that in some ways the distortion actually added to the sound as it provided a rolloff of sound rather than it being quite abrupt.

    We were all surprised that the 909 didn't really add anything over the 309 - both had an enormous dropoff at the same point which seemed odd as the 909 has a much bigger cabinet and driver so has more potential for the lower notes. Perhaps there is a low-cut filter in the MS electronics? I suspect the added size will come into play in a larger room as the 909's amp was set to about 30% whilst the 309's was at about 45% showing there's far more in reserve for big brother. Enough to warrant a £200 price hike? We weren't sure.

    Essentially, 309 is an excellent standard. Kef was slightly slower but looked nicer. BK was smaller but cost a bit more. PDR10 was surprisingly good with movies. 909 wasn't really an improvement on the 309 in the conditions we had.

    An interesting and enjoyable afternoon too, can't wait to have the pictures added.

    What HiFi eat your heart out :)
     
  10. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    Would also like to add that we tested using:
    Sonic Gun scene from Minority Report
    Orchard Scene from Reign of Fire

    Breathe by Prodigy
    some track by The Chemical Brothers
    and a selection of other tracks that seemed sensible.

    Also put a few frequency sweeps through and obviously used a PC based tone generator for getting the response shown in the opening post.
     
  11. Mylo

    Mylo
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    Did you experience any leakage of air from the front of the paradigm where the cloth covered baffle joins the main cabinet or from around the amp panel?

    Mine used to before a bit of re-engineering.
     
  12. Ed Selley

    Ed Selley
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    Apparently this was "forseen" by two of our engineers and they are doing a bit of rooting around for some near field data done in the (big) old listening room we had on the south coast. There is some engineered in drop off but (I'm told- my room isn't big enough for this either) that with the 909 running with about 60% on the volume will do a proper tail off over the 309. All of which means squat in a smaller room.
    The real lesson I learnt from Saturday is that, when properly calibrated in small rooms, the only lasting difference between big and small subs is space consumption- 75db in Dfours room meant that all the subs were running pretty gently and that whatever party pieces the big subs do at higher volumes is broadly irrelevant. I suppose the other things I learned were that the KEF 2500 is much better than the egg sub (MKII) and more impressive than I thought it would be.


    Oh and that Kaz has a very nice motor as well :).
     
  13. Kazman

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    The motor isn't bad :), I've just been lucky with it, that's all :).

    I'm seriously thinking about that Ruark Log as a second sub though, PLEASE SAVE ME! I have UPGRADITIS!!!! Or maybe the BK, will be playing with the Eltax tonight as well, and see how it performs while the test on Sat is still fresh in my mind :).

    If the Eltax is seriously below par, I think bk will be getting a call from me :)
     
  14. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    Definitely compare the Eltax to the Kef (and what you remember of the Paradigm!) because I'd be interested to know how that fared.

    I don't think the BK is that much of a jump from your Kef is it? The Log is bigger and I'd expect it to wipe the floor with the lot though!

    I do love my BK though, it truly is a wolf in sheep's clothing and half the size of the competition :cool:
     
  15. WBC

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    Who sells the BK????

    Stace :D
     
  16. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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  17. Kazman

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    How much would an SVS 16-46 PCi cost to get over here approximately?

    Nope, I just have the upgrade bug, and the Ruark bargain maybe just tooooo good to miss.

    I'm going to have a thorough play with the Eltax tonight though, it was a pity I couldn't bring it along, it is a LOT heavier than the KEF, but not as refined when performing.

    We must do another comparison meet soon, hopefully with the Ruark if I get one early next month :)
     
  18. Dfour

    Dfour
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    It was my pleasure to host the sub test and finally meet some of the looneys I have been spending my online time with :suicide:

    I am very happy with the results gained and am in no mind to sell the 309 (yet). Going on the results from the 909 I dont thing getting a bigger sub will do much more than the 309 without upsetting the neighbours :devil: or Miss Dfour :suicide: and it does cosmetically match the AE Evo speakers I own :D
    I would have not been upset if i had purchased the XLS200 as I originally planned the only think that we found out with it is that is not sheilded and therefore upset my TV if within 2 feet but eviljohn2 has no such problems at home. Go figure :rotfl:

    The Kef is a superb sub and very WAF. It produces some very tight and low bass from its sealed unit and found the sealed boxes a little happier with my room than the ported ones. Not really sure of the use of the movie/music switch, it did do something just not to sure if its a worthwhile inclusion.

    I would have loved to run the door scene from Monsters inc with the 909 turned up a bit to see how much air it would move :devil: and also with the 309 daisy chained to see if that would make much difference. Unfortuanatly the M25 interveened :mad:

    Over all a very enjoyable time and maybe if we all have access to newer subs we can do it again :thumbsup:
     
  19. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    It was more like 2 metres mate! I've got it 2 feet at home though which is certainly odd because I wouldn't have thought electron beams would differ too much between TV sets!
     
  20. ddlooping

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    Hi all. :)

    Thanks for taking the time to test these subs, guys. :smashin:

    One quick question: as any of you ever compared the BK XLS200 or MS309 to older subs (specifically the REL 100e) that can be had at about the same price (or less) second-hand?
    I'm about to acquire a REL Q100e to use in conjunction with M&K S85s, S85C and K4s, and even though I'm pretty sure I'd be happy with its sound quality I'm not sure I'll be able to position it for optimum performance due to its size.
     
  21. ShinObiWAN

    ShinObiWAN
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    EDIT: Removed the frequency response graph as I felt it detracted and changed the context of Tons, Dfour, Kazman and Eviljohn sterling work.

    Great work guys, its very interesting to see that the 309 and 909 are so close. Looks like the BK just wins out on the best of show award :)
     
  22. MuFu

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    Well done, guys. Some interesting observations despite less-than-ideal circumstances. :thumbsup:


    Some comments here:

    http://www.avforums.com/frame.html?http://www.avforums.com/forums/showpost.php?p=855714&postcount=6

    The XLS200 would be a better buy IMHO. Comparable performance but smaller and far better made.

    MuFu.
     
  23. Ed Selley

    Ed Selley
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    The shielding on the set itself certainly does though- I suspect that this is what was going on in this instance. It has to be a fairly hefty magnet in the back of that thing anyway. We shield our subs as a matter of course because of how close they used to be to the Loewe Mimo in our old listening room- we figured that end users might have the same problem.
     
  24. ddlooping

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  25. cosmic023

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    Well i love my Q100e, even 'tho i haven't given it grief yet. Only had the volume up to the 12 & 1o'clock position, and that is pretty amazing.

    Any higher and the windows are gonna break out !! :laugh: or the neighbours will give me grief :p

    Still jealous of these SVS owners :smashin:

    Good work on the Sub Tests Guys
     
  26. Docta teef

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    I think this has helped me decide what to do sub wise im thinking to add a log rthym (if i can get one) at the front of the room and use the xls placed elsewhere to even out thr room think it would work quirt well
     
  27. Dfour

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    Even though some of us should be working eh??? :devil::beer:

    I would recommend the XLS200 over the 309 if you are looking for a compact subwoofer that has some get-up-and-go with it as the 309 is maybe a little refined and doesnt want to really let rip. This is not a negative point as it retains dignity at all times and doesnt get flustered at any point by anything.:D The notch filter also really helps with room placement :thumbsup:

    The Paradigm is very good as a first cheap sub (shame the eltax wasnt there)

    If WAF is a factor and all your stuff is Silver then the Kef (if nicely discounted) and you have space (because its oval) would be better than the 309 or xls200.

    For the bigger room the 909 would be the only choise. My room is only 3.5*4m'ish so it couldnt really be used in anger. From its results though i really cant recommend it at its price point of £500:nono:

    I would be fun to get a larger room and pitch a Log rythm against the 909 and maybe the bottom of SVS's range models and to be fair a model by Rel. :eek:
     
  28. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    And the BK of course as the equivalent of the PDR10. I'm not sure it would be quite so outclassed in that instance though.
     
  29. ddlooping

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    Dfour, can this be interpreted as the MS309 being more "musical" than the BK?

    Edit:
    "Musically (if you can call a sub musical), I felt the BK and KEF had the advantage..." / Kazman
     
  30. Ed Selley

    Ed Selley
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    The actual consensus of the group was that with Dfour's Evo's doing very little, none of the subs was exactly what we were after for music. The BK was nice and quick (although none of the "new" subs were sluggish) but even so would never have been on during music in a system of my own- in the same way I never use my sub for music.
     

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