Review: Wisdom Audio SCS Subwoofer Page 2

Setup

It seems to me practically any room could easily accommodate this sub. I placed it against a wall so its vent fired in about the same place where I usually put subwoofers I’m testing. In case your desired mounting location would block the vent, you can easily move the vent to the side or bottom of the enclosure without affecting the subwoofer’s performance. I used the LFE input, connected to the subwoofer output of my Denon receiver, with the receiver’s internal subwoofer crossover set to 80 Hz.

I used the SCS with a variety of speakers, including full home theater systems built around MartinLogan ElectroMotion ESL and Sonus Faber Liuto tower speakers, and PSB Imagine Mini bookshelf speakers. With all of these speakers, I chose “small” speakers in my receiver’s bass management menu, so the subwoofer would have to handle all of the bass.

I played the SCS on its own, and also used my custom testing switcher to compare the SCS with the Hsu Research VTF-15H, the Cadence CSX-12 Mark II and the Klipsch SW-310. The first round of these tests was blind — i.e., I jumbled the positions of the cables on the switcher so I didn’t know which sub was which.

Performance

The SCS should be a slap in the face to those who claim all subwoofers sound essentially the same when used within their design limits. Because the SCS sounds substantially different from any sub I’ve reviewed in years. The only sub I can think of that has a similar sound is Genelec’s 1092A, a large bandpass subwoofer sold in the mid-’90s and early ’00s primarily for use in professional recording studios.

When I played “Deacon Blues” from Steely Dan’s Aja — a recording that’s as well-produced as any I can think of—the bass exhibited the transparency and neutrality I’ve heard when sitting in the engineer’s chair on movie sound dubbing stages and in professional recording studios, where the subwoofer is usually EQ’ed to sound absolutely dead flat in that chair. No bass notes stood out, no bass notes were too quiet. The subwoofer’s even sound, combined with Walter Becker’s studio-smooth bass playing, made it feel like my brain was plugged straight into a MIDI-sequenced sampler.

That said, I couldn’t get the SCS to deliver the punch I get from good conventional subs. The “thrill ride” effect that can make movie soundtracks so much fun to experience is lessened. It’s an unusual experience, because the SCS has lots of output but not so much impact. Normally, when I play the spaceship explosion that opens Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones through a high-performance subwoofer, I feel as if the shock wave of the blast is hitting my chest. With the SCS, the blast was loud, and the extreme low-frequency energy was ample, but I felt like I was experiencing the explosion from around the corner of a building.

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