Superb subwoofer reviews in Hifi News

Discussion in 'Subwoofers' started by russraff, Apr 7, 2004.

  1. russraff

    russraff
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    Anyone even remotely interested in bass and subs (and who isn't) should get the latest Hifi News. The supplementary mag has a very comprehensive guide to bass and four sub reviews: B&W ASW850; Infinity Kappa; MJ Acoustics Ref 1 and REL Stadium III. All the subs are reviewed exhaustively with real flat frequency responses. The Infinity Kappa comes out very well indeed, while the Stadium fairs less well, technically.

    After the ruckus caused by REL stating a -6db on their frequency response specs, it is interesting to note that the Stadium manages ~25Hz, rather than the 12Hz posted on their site and at 10% distortion. The Ref1 is even worse; they specify 10Hz while the review states ~35Hz. A very enlightening read

    An object lesson on how to really review a piece of Home Cinema kit.

    Russell
     
  2. Ian J

    Ian J
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    Links have been posted before to tables compiled by Tom Vodhanel here showing maximum SPL at varying frequencies with 10% THD

    It's a shame that most of the subs aren't familiar to us in UK and that many of the subs that we do buy aren't included.
     
  3. Nimby

    Nimby
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    Thanks for the link Ian.

    Interesting reading.

    Some of those listed should be ashamed of being called "woofer" let alone "subwoofer".

    I presume the MJA & REL are quoting average room response.

    They have nowhere to hide now though, do they? :blush:

    How did the B&W do Russell? Was it up (or rather down) to spec?

    Nimby
     
  4. russraff

    russraff
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    First, an appology - the MJ REF1 is ~30Hz, or just under, rather than ~35Hz.

    I haven't been able to find the Infinity Kappa on their 'site, so can't say whether their measurements match the recorded responses (40Hz @ -6db). The Kappa got a Best Buy, possibly because of its very low under 1% distortion.

    I tried the B&W site when I wrote the post, but the site was down. It' back up, now, so: Their site states a -3db at 20Hz, and this is pretty much what was measured.

    Russell
     
  5. rags

    rags
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    The B&W got an excellent write up. They said it was the ultimate in high definition bass (I know, I know). Also said that it was the only sub in the test that caused a genuine sense of unease to several members of the listening panel !
     
  6. Spligsey

    Spligsey
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    Maybe the other reviewers were "hiding under the stairs"

    Adz.
     
  7. Nimby

    Nimby
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    Excellent! Thanks & well done B&W!

    Unease should be listed high in the specs of every subwoofer! Marks out of ten on film and on music.

    I'm deadly serious! The sense of suspense. Real fear of what might happen next should always be the target to aim for.

    My SVS has it in droves. You can be listening to a piece of music you've played hundred of times without the sub.

    Suddenly you are afraid! The sheer, gut-wrenching power of giant sledgehammer bass fills the room. Everything is vibrating. Your chest is being hit by huge soft invisible fists. Your eyes begin to lose focus. You flinch at each new blow to the senses.
    You really ask yourself if there could be serious damage to the house. It's that intense. That powerful. So alien to normal experience.

    If you haven't experienced it then you haven't a clue what I'm talking about. But it's very real. And a very desirable trait in any subwoofer.

    Nimby
     
  8. rags

    rags
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    The first time I felt truly uneasy listening to a sub was a Velo DD18 in a room about 18 x 15 ft. Not so much hammer blows but just the low end pressure - felt slightly queezy afterwards. Ask Smurfin he was there.
     
  9. russraff

    russraff
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    I heard a M&K MX350 before and that instilled a similar sense of unease. It was working alongside some 750 series speakers, so the sub was doing all the bass work (though I thought the satelites a bit bright, nonetheless). I do remember that it was very expensive, though.

    I also had a demo of the B&W ASW750 sub. I thought the B&W a very good performer that went very deep and loud without any of the in-yer-face nature of the 675. I can't imagine what two of them sounds like...

    Russell
     
  10. Stellavision

    Stellavision
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    I have the ASW750 and indeed it is capable of exteme volumes while still retaining quality and finesse.
    My present room is 13'X14' and the volume on my sub is somewhere between 0 and 1/4!
    Something to do with the 1 KW amp I suspect!:D
    Problem is, I know I have a great sub here, but all the recent talk of SVS PB2+ is making me think, hmm could I do better?!:devil:

    This forum will be the death of me!!!:suicide:
     
  11. Craig Sowerby

    Craig Sowerby
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    Hi Russell,

    Did you listen to the M&K in our demonstration room? if so it was only an MX125 MkII !! @£1350.
     
  12. russraff

    russraff
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    Craig,

    It was at you place, actually. It was being driven by an Onkyo 989 and Arcan DV88, if I remember correctly. Well, and here's me thinking it was a 350! Still think the satelites were too bright, though. ;)

    I was going to listen to a MX125 while I was in the market for a sub, but it was just too much. Having said that, I don't know if the M&K is a "better" sub than my Q400 (£700) which is what I wound up with?

    Russell
     
  13. Craig Sowerby

    Craig Sowerby
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    Hi,

    Yes the MX125 is a superior subwoofer, but @ £700 for a Q400 thats a great buy! enjoy!

    Needless to say the room and the position of the sub are the deciding factors on there ultimate performance.
     
  14. rags

    rags
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    Craig - have you heard a B&W ASW850 or 750 ? If so how do they compare in your opinion ?

    Thanks
     
  15. Craig Sowerby

    Craig Sowerby
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    Hi

    Sorry, do you mean how do they compare with each other or with the M&K MX 125?



    I have not listened to the ASW850 in depth as we are not 800 series dealers, so my only experience with it was very limited.

    Sorry my replies take a while:blush:

    Regards,
     
  16. Smurfin

    Smurfin
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    Nimby, now that is taking the description too far, your SVS isn't that powerful that you can't see properly:D (maybe it's the alcohol?;))
     
  17. Nimby

    Nimby
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    On one beer a week with Sunday dinner? Whether I need it or not? :D

    You are obviously missing out on real bass Smurfin or you wouldn't even question my description. I could give you a list of serious bass CDs just from my own collection. 105dB+ below 40 Hz as directly indicated on the SPL meter (C weighted) will make your eyes go fuzzy, sober or not.

    My attic listening room is nearly 30ft x 17ft open plan, via the stairwell, with the lounge below.

    When the floor starts to go soft and my chair begins to fall through I know I'm experiencing really deep bass. It's felt like pressure wave expanding through the room.

    My 16-46 PCi will do that on numerous CD tracks provided the background music level is high enough. Remember: I'm running high level connections so the bass is volume dependant regardless of sub gain setting. I regularly use a 12 o'clock setting for gain now having heard no sign of protest from the 16-46.

    If you aren't able to achieve this you simply aren't using a serious subwoofer in a room large enough to be capable of supporting low frequencies. I'm not sure pressurisation of smaller rooms works exactly the same under these very low frequencies. I must e-mail Tom and ask. He's sure to know.

    Get hold of Satriani's "Engines of Creation" Try tracks 5, 6 & 7 amongst others. If you don't feel the floor melt briefly but repeatedly then I'll just have to give you exact timings from the CD player. Just so you know what you're missing! :devil:

    Nimby

    PS I've finally managed to find a 10 metre phono cable so I can run frequency response checks from my distant computer. Should be fun! :blush:
     
  18. Smurfin

    Smurfin
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    Try a PB-2 Plus in a 7.5' x 15' room at reference level:)
     
  19. Nimby

    Nimby
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    Hmm? 15 x 7.5? Lucky you bought the Plus then eh? :devil:

    I've had my SPL meter nearby during most of my listening. As I had some fears that I'd bottom the driver on heavy LF. Knowing that the average SPL meter is usually 10dB shy at low frequencies I'm seeing a real life 115dB @ about 25-30Hz quite regularly.

    Tom tells me that larger listening spaces don't offer increased extension just a smoother response. I'm still trying to get my head round the first statement. (Allowable wavelength between room boundaries) He actually said that smaller spaces allow more extension.

    Tom was kind enough to post a useful link which I'll share with our other members.

    http://www.mcsquared.com/modecalc.htm

    I shall have to see what my own system frequency response is when I get a chance.

    I would urge you to get your meter out Smurfin and give us some peak in-room figures for your sub. Particularly on music. As this is so easily repeatable with a touch of the remote once a nice bit of deep bass is found. Even if the frequency is unknown you'll certainly know when it's DEEP. :)

    Nimby
     
  20. Smurfin

    Smurfin
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    I know what deep bass is, you're preaching to the converted. All I'm saying is your descriptions are OTT;)
     
  21. Nimby

    Nimby
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    Poetic license or vivid imagination? I don't retract a word of it.:D

    Perhaps it's the wooden floors?

    Nimby
     
  22. Daneel

    Daneel
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    I agree with smurfin. I would go as far as saying adding a good sub makes as much difference to (action) films as going from 2 to 5 speakers but you just go crazy. I like the sig though :)
     
  23. Nimby

    Nimby
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    The good news I've just bought my first DVD player.:D

    The bad news is the bass is even more wicked. :devil:

    I must just be cranking the bass further than normal.:blush:

    For which I make absolutely no apology. :clown:

    I was running at a steady 105dB on music this morning with the bass spilling 5-10dB over (uncorrected SPL meter) :boring:

    Okay, I admit it I'm a bass junkey.:oops:

    Nimby :censored:
     
  24. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    The review is about the best I have seen in UK magazines for subs, they were actually informing the reader about what was important and guess what, these tallied with SQ :) Well dome guys
     

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