September 12, 2022 § Leave a comment
However, I still maintain that most Audiovector R Sub Arreté subwoofers will likely end up with Audiovector owners, and many of those owners will be using R1 stand-mounts or R3 floorstanders… and they will chew someone’s arm off to get this subwoofer in their systems. Not because it has an Audiovector badge (although that probably helps), not even because it’s future-proofed, but simply because it works so well and makes those R1 and R3 speakers sound even better. Audition at your wallet’s peril!
July 3, 2022 § Leave a comment
There is nothing negative I can say about the NextLevel Acoustics Reference Cinema In-Wall Speakers and CI-HV18 Subwoofer. The in-walls perform better than most cabinet speakers I’ve heard, and the sub delivers the extension and volume of a ported cabinet with the precision of a sealed one. NextLevel Acoustics has bent the laws of physics here, most definitely in a good way.
If you want a discrete speaker system that sounds better than any commercial cinema, the In-Walls can literally disappear behind an acoustically transparent screen or behind color-matched grills. They are a zero-footprint solution. The CI-HV18 sub is easy to hide too thanks to its bandpass design. Put it up front behind a partition or along a side wall and prepare to have your room shaken.
The NextLevel Acoustics Reference Cinema In-Wall Speakers and HV18 Subwoofer are a premium and convenient audio solution that doesn’t compromise sound quality in any way, shape, or form. They receive my highest recommendation.
July 1, 2022 § Leave a comment
The KEF KC62 is a first-rate subwoofer for either a straight stereo system or a multi-channel home theater system. It’s specified to get up to 105 dB which is quite loud. Both my rooms are medium to small, so it’s possible in a larger room cranked up really loud it might falter, but when I drove it hard, I would have had to leave the room to tolerate the volume it could cleanly reproduce.
I haven’t heard any of the other well-regarded small subwoofers, and I have no doubt they are excellent. I can say that while expensive, the KEF KC62 certainly punches above its weight, and provided clean, distortion-free deep bass from every subwoofer killer demo I could throw at it. You could spend less on other subs, of course, but I doubt they would equal the breakthrough design and capabilities of something that is so diminutive. Listening to a 15” subwoofer I have in my living room audio system, the KC62 seems to go deeper, but of course, it’s in a smaller, more easily driven room. Still, with the right room and the right high-quality equipment feeding the content, the KEF KC62 is a winner and worthy of your consideration.
June 21, 2022 § Leave a comment
To say I enjoyed my time with M&K Sound’s X15+ would be an understatement. In fact, I’ve enjoyed it so much it’s not leaving my home. This push-pull sub design plays deep and loud, and it passed the most strenuous tests I could throw at it with ease. Add in the impeccable build quality and peace of mind that THX Dominus Certification brings to the table, and acquiring it became an easy decision despite the lack of conveniences such as app control or a handy remote. In the end, everything comes down to performance and the quality of the bass, and by this measure it’s the best subwoofer I’ve encountered in two decades of audio product reviewing.
May 1, 2022 § Leave a comment
Film sound, of course, is a big incentive in most purchases of subwoofers of this bulk, but I had little doubt of the 13THX’s capabilities in that sphere. I streamed a variety of bass-active titles with great effect, including the more-than-usually ridiculous Amazon sci-fi-er The Tomorrow War. The first five minutes are a flat-out bass-fest, with every kind of movie soundtrack low-end effect on parade: explosive shockwaves, ominous rumbles, time-machine vibrations, and musical-score bottom-octaves. Unsurprisingly, the 13THX reeled all this off, at THX-ref levels, without breaking a sweat or emitting any uncouth boom, bloat, or burp.
I also spun through a handful of favorite bass demo scenes that hold up to the light of memory, including T-Rex footfalls from Jurassic Park and the train/bus crash from The Fugitive. One that I rarely omit is the cannon-practice scene from Master and Commander. With the Monolith on duty, the sharp, open-air crack of ignition was as startlingly crisp as I remembered, while the very low-frequency underpinnings were as prominent, and as deeply resonant, as I’ve ever experienced.
April 21, 2022 § Leave a comment
The Superbass mission should succeed. We STEREO editors have long been convinced of the value of high-quality subwoofer support thanks to such, admittedly rather rare experiences. There remains much more than “just” the bass as a benefit, the whole sonic picture becomes more relaxed, more natural and confident, audibly larger and wider, because the human brain immediately perceives through the lower frequencies and more clean energy in the lower registers that this has to be a large room; the sense of space is much more obvious. Otherwise sometimes sharp hissing sounds are softened. If you take the subwoofer out of the playback chain after the best possible measurement, room EQ and thus ideal integration and a few tracks you have heard, you are horrified at how much is suddenly missing.
JL Audio‘s flagship Gotham V2 stands as a technology leader, as “Formula One”, which is supposed to – and can – show what is possible in the lower layers in terms of outstanding quality. It masters both the depth down to below 20 Hertz and the ultimate precision with virtuosity – and not least thanks to the 4.5 kilowatt amplifier power and efficiency, it is a master of volume, which makes it an absolute reference for both music and cinema beyond our test experience. It thus eludes, for obvious reasons, its ass
April 6, 2022 § Leave a comment
The DN15 proved to be a crowd-pleaser with movies. When watching discs with soundtracks that dip below 20Hz such as Pacific Rim, The Haunting, and The Polar Express (the train sequence), I was able to rattle the windows and let the neighbors know it was movie night. Playing the embassy attack scene from 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, the .50 caliber blast from the sniper rifle was loud, sharp, and impactful—just like it’s supposed to be.
Another great demo to see how deep a sub can go is the “soften them up” scene from the Hacksaw Ridge Ultra HD Blu-ray. When the destroyer opens fire to shell the battlefield, multiple shots are fired in sequence. The DN15 was able to keep pace with the rapid fire, and it never sounded strained or overmatched. Well done, Def Tech!