Extreme Bass

Most people will think twice before plunking down $500 to $1,000 on one of our ten subs for their home theaters. But if you love your bass and money's no object, there are subs out there for you, too - monster subs like Genelec's HTS6 ($7,750) and Velodyne's Digital Drive 1812 Signature Edition ($15,000) that are in a (whacky) class all by themselves. The Velodyne's cabinet is 25 1/2 x 18 1/2 x 40 inches, and it weighs a puny 385 pounds. Meanwhile, the 265-pound Genelec is 56 3/4 x 20 5/8 x 22 inches. (There's no hiding this sucker in the corner behind the potted palm.) The Velodyne has both 18- and 12-inch forward-firing drivers; the Genelec has (count 'em) four 12-inch drivers. So how did these two megabuck models fare against the "little guys"?

Genelec HTS6 This is the most powerful consumer subwoofer I've tested, averaging 118 dB SPL from 25 to 62 Hz, with a bone-crunching maximum SPL of 123 dB at 62 Hz. That's just a few decibels quieter than cannon fire or heavy artillery heard from 100 yards away. On the down side, the fixed low-pass crossover (100 Hz) makes it tough to achieve a good blend with your main speakers if you don't have a crossover control in your receiver or preamp/processor.

This is the most powerful consumer subwoofer I've tested, averaging 118 dB SPL from 25 to 62 Hz, with a bone-crunching maximum SPL of 123 dB at 62 Hz. That's just a few decibels quieter than cannon fire or heavy artillery heard from 100 yards away. On the down side, the fixed low-pass crossover (100 Hz) makes it tough to achieve a good blend with your main speakers if you don't have a crossover control in your receiver or preamp/processor.

The HTS6 was a major pain to set up - a professional installer is practically required. Fortunately, its crossover was a good match for my reference system. With The Matrix Reloaded, it produced strong (120-dB!) floor waves and shook my couch hard enough to make me believe in the Matrix. In recordings of acoustic music, bass instruments sounded even and perfectly natural. Vocals and dialogue were similarly natural, without overemphasized chest tones. But because the Genelec has an undefeatable high-pass filter set at 19 Hz (to protect the sub from infrasonic frequencies), it couldn't match the envelopment and presence I get from my reference sub in material like The Lion King 1 1/2 or "Pure and Perfect Bass" (click to read "9 Big, Bad Bass Tracks," ). Still, this beast of a Finnish sub will take you places smaller, cheaper subs can only dream of.

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