JL Audio Fathom f110v2 powered subwoofer Review

August 5, 2020 § Leave a comment

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“With a single subwoofer set up along the front wall, listening to the test tones during the D.A.R.O. calibration, which go well above 80Hz, I found it easy to hear the sub’s location. When I added the second sub, on the left sidewall, the test tones seemed to come from the whole left wall. When I added the third sub in the right rear corner, the test tone filled the room, with no identifiable source. That last situation is ideal, but I judged the first acceptable: It’s OK to have bass emerging from the part of the room where the main speakers are located. I eliminated the two-sub setup from consideration and limited my listening to one f110v2 along the front wall and the three-sub array, arranged as in the third bullet point above.”


July 27, 2020 § Leave a comment

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“A passive radiator is something entirely different. It is a driver with no voice coil or magnet. It is usually a round weighted planar driver (flat) mounted with a heavy surround. It is in the same air space as the active subwoofer driver. The passive radiator responds to the active driver moving because the air in the enclosure is pressurized either positively or negatively as the active driver moves. It is not in the same phase as the active driver because it takes a finite time for the passive radiator to respond to the movement of the active driver. This is the case for the Earthquake MiniMe DSP P12 subwoofer.”


July 21, 2020 § Leave a comment


“You can hear the difference between ‘musically integrated’ subwoofers and their more cinematic brethren by playing a simple piece of music with a bass line. It’s perhaps no wonder that REL uses ‘The Ballad of the Runaway Horse’ by Jennifer Warnes and the late bassist Rob Wasserman, either from the 20th Anniversary version of Famous Blue Raincoat by Warnes [Private Music, BMG] or from Wasserman’s Duets [MCA]. The recording is simple (effectively a voice and a bass), but tells you all about a sub. Switching a correctly set-up subwoofer in and out adds some depth and ‘shape’ to the bass notes, of course, but what it does when set properly is lock Warnes’ voice in the centre of the soundstage. The better the sub, the more precisely that voice is solidly rooted between the speakers and with the S/510, if her voice was any more rooted, she’d need watering.”

SVS SB-2000 Pro Subwoofer Review

July 16, 2020 § Leave a comment

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“While the app’s built-in FAQ details some of the adjustments, the sheer number of available tweaks can be heady stuff for the average user. It’s a bit like having a sports car where you can adjust the wheel alignment settings using the dashboard controls—great if you know what you’re doing, but somewhat intimidating it you don’t. You can certainly stick to the basics when setting up the SB-2000 Pro, but it’s also nice to know that deeper fine-tuning is possible if you choose to dive in. For example, I was able to use the EQ settings to effectively tame a known 65-Hz peak in my room.”

SVS SB-2000 Pro Subwoofer Review $899 Review

June 25, 2020 § Leave a comment

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“When I selected the sealed SB-2000 Pro model over the company’s ported PB-2000 Pro for evaluation, I figured I was going for the audiophile option at its price level. But it turns out that the SB-2000 Pro is just as proficient at pumping out huge explosions in action movies as it is blending into a two-channel audiophile setup. Better still, the SB-2000 Pro is affordable enough that I would consider buying two a worthwhile option if you want to get more even bass distribution in your room. The SB-2000 Pro might lack the automated setup options found on some of its rivals, but all the essential controls are provided to get this impressive, highly recommended subwoofer sounding its best in your room.”

Understanding subwoofer phase

June 24, 2020 § Leave a comment

JL Audio Fathom F113 V2 13.5” Subwoofer Review

April 21, 2020 § Leave a comment

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“Unsurprisingly perhaps, the big Fathom couldn’t quite match the speed and grip of my usual 10” VAF Veritas subs, or for that matter JL Audio’s smaller E-110. What is surprising is how little the bigger sub yielded in terms of speed to the smaller ones. Its speed ensures that it complements the extension of the main speakers, without overwhelming them. Able to fill the listening room with powerful, visceral bass, it has real ability to dig in to lower frequencies, making for an exciting listening experience.

Action films are what typically come to mind when evaluating subwoofers, yet a good one can add an extra layer of detail to even the subtlest of movie fare. Unusual for horror movies, Anabelle Comes Home has its share of ambient cues designed to unsettle the viewer, intermingled with the soundtrack and of course, more than a few jump-scares. Here it added welcome extension to the eerie Dolby Atmos soundtrack without getting in the way of the other speakers. More often than not, the extension was felt rather than heard, making for a more engaging and exciting – if somewhat terrifying – listening experience.”

Focal Integration IBus 20 compact powered subwoofer

April 13, 2020 § Leave a comment

JL Audio Fathom f110v2 Subwoofer $3,500 Review

April 12, 2020 § Leave a comment


John Wick is a movie that gets better every time you watch it, especially on Ultra HD Blu-ray. Also, the plethora of gunshots and other bass-heavy effects in John Wick‘s Dolby Atmos soundtrack makes it particularly good for evaluating subwoofers. In the film, Wick has to come to grips with a new reality, one that forces him to literally dig up his past by breaking through a slab of concrete in his basement to retrieve a cache of weapons. Every strike of the sledgehammer is not only heard but felt in this scene, and the pair of f110v2s were more than up to the challenge. While my reference subs deliver more output below 20Hz in comparison, they don’t measure up to the quality of bass I heard from the JL Audio drivers. These babies hit hard, really hard: Every impact from the f110v2 pair was precise and realistic, with a visceral quality that I felt in my chest.”

REL S/812 subwoofer Review

March 2, 2020 § Leave a comment

“A downward-firing 12in carbon ‘SuperProgressive’ passive radiator again uses a new design intended to produce extremely long travel while retaining the variable stiffness of its suspension. The thinking here is that it enables the S/812 to act like a sealed-box compact 12in design at low volume, but still deliver bass down to 19Hz when pushed. At the rear are the inputs, including high-level Neutrik Speakon, low-level stereo phono, and LFE (phono and balanced XLR) connections. There are also high-level Neutrik Speakon and LFE (phono and XLR) outputs. 

Otherwise the back plate is surprisingly sparse, with just two switches (On/Standby, and 180-degree phase), and knobs for high/low/LFE levels and crossover. The Serie S subs are also compatible with REL’s new wireless transmission system (AirShip).

These are the first mid-sized RELs designed to be stackable, thanks to special fixtures and included metal plates. You can safely stack and lock S/812s up to three units high. That sounds bonkers but there is logic in REL’s madness. In the real world, bass has width, depth and height; by stacking these subs you can create bigger bass presence from a smaller footprint.”

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