Goldenear Supersub X
It has taken me a bit longer than expected to get around to review this, but that delay has given me time to set up a couple at customers houses in different sized rooms, test one on the hi-fi in the office as well as set up dual units in our demonstration cinema.
The first thing that strikes you about the unit is the size of the box, roughly 13” in each direction give or take a little. Physics somewhat dictate that it is usually very difficult to get any kind of impact from a subwoofer this small, this unit seems to be the exception to the rule though. Packing a monstrous 1400-watt digital amplifier inside, two 8˝ long-throw high-output bass and drivers, two 10.5˝ x 9.5˝ quadratic planar infrasonic radiators, leave little space for the actual cabinet. This structure features very little in the actual makeup of the woofer itself in terms of its actual surface area, but what is does have is a lovely angled glossy modern design, rather unlike anything else on the market today. It is most definitely not just another black box.
Instinct would say that what cabinet structure this unit has, the speakers would probably be fighting their way to jump out of it given the amount of technology and power packed in there, surprisingly the unit is almost totally inert. This stems from its design, something which has clearly had a lot of thought. The concept of this arrangement of drivers and radiators is not something new to Goldenear, a similar array adorns the Forcefield subwoofers which have been around for some time now, and somewhat slipped under the radar in recent years. Being brutal, while these Forcefield subwoofers sound fantastic, they do somewhat scream “subwoofer” at you and are to be polite somewhat aesthetically challenged. The Supersub does not suffer from this, and would feel at home in the most modern of surroundings.
The culmination of this design gives you phenomenal power from a very discreet box, the closest comparison sound and size wise would be the Paradigm Seismic 110, which itself is somewhat aesthetically challenged looking more like a cannon rather than a subwoofer. The Supersub’s performance from a box this size is nothing short of astonishing, put on the opening scene form Quantum of Solace and you can feel the tight bass in the seat of your pants, even in larger rooms. Given its power it is also happy running all the way up to 120-150hz in a controlled punchy manner.
One thing which is slightly unique is that the unit doesn’t have a phase control, all you have is volume and crossover, the latter can be bypassed with an LFE switch on the back. It also has stereo inputs for use with stereo setups, something I’ve not seen on a subwoofer for some time. I did ask why there was an absence of the phase control and the answer was somewhat surprising, as the subwoofer should be somewhat phase inert given its driver and radiator configuration. Something somewhat borne out by my tests. The unit is extremely flexible with its positioning when using a single unit, bass was reasonably consistent at the seating position in most of the rooms I tested, something of a godsend for most people who can get inconsistent bass from forced positioning. Using two in a small room, I did encounter some issues and the lack of control of phase did cause me some positioning issues but nothing that couldn’t be overcome by rotating the subwoofer itself on its original position. In larger rooms, phasing issues seemed less apparent although you might be able to argue that given its design you could move to the larger model the Supersub XL rather than duals if the response form the original position is good. There isn’t one single answer in truth, the room dictates the bass response as well as the subwoofers position in it, but I did find this sub to fill the room with bass from a single point better than any other I had tested considering its size.
Given its design if there is a negative, possibly the music performance lacked a little “edge” but I would have to be fussy to criticise it in that department given its performance in other areas. This is no Velodyne DD18+, but I think if you are looking for a small, good looking, powerful subwoofer which is flexible with its position, this one is tough to beat.