Shootout: Five Mid-Price Subwoofers Page 3

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How Did It Sound? Saint-Saens The VTF-3 MK 3 Turbo was made for Saint-Saens' Organ Symphony or, for that matter, any organ recording. It can dig down to an honest 16 Hz and play it both loudly and musically. The sound of the pipes was very realistic, with the entire harmonic structure, from fundamental on up, well balanced to produce a huge, natural sound. If you don't listen to organ music, or in general to material with content below 25 Hz, you probably don't need the Turbo; it's job is to augment the very bottom end, which it does superbly.

Linkin Park I have listened to this track on hundreds of subs, and rarely have I heard it reproduced so well. The lowest notes of the bass line were smooth at low and medium volume; even at very high volume, the sub was pretty tight and free of resonance. The upper notes had a good snap to them, with not a hint of sloppiness or blooming. This recording has a good low end but not huge amounts of rock-bottom energy; so the Turbo helped, but the VTF-3 MK3 also sounded pretty darn good without it.

Superman Returns Space Shuttle + Airplane + Lois Lane = Trouble. It also equals some very impressive LFE. An earthquake in a toy model is a warm-up to a terrific action sequence, and the VTF-3 MK3 Turbo was eager to tackle it. The ambient rumble was loud, the explosions were clean, and rocket engines blasted. Even when I pushed playback levels to "11" the sub complied with minimal protest. Turbo-assisted, it was extremely capable in the lowest octave.

Godzilla If you want to know what a gigantic sea monster sounds like when it destroys a city, you can either be there or listen to it through a VTF-3 MK3 Turbo. This sub was wildly impressive on this movie, delivering beaucoup bass, low and loud. It seemed to have an endless supply of ambient rumble and didn't flinch when hit with explosions. When I cranked it up, it just got louder. Sure, it has its limits, but your neighbors will probably reach theirs first. Part of the fun of this kind of movie is feeling the room shake, and the Turbocharger really helps make it happen.

What's the Bottom Line? The VTF-3 MK3 Turbo is the total subwoofer package, packing solid bass extension, strong, clean output, snappy dynamics, and smooth tonal response. It sounds equally good on music, where its refined performance shines, and on movies, where it kicks butt like Chuck Norris. It has its limits, but it was the most convincing high-output deep-bass performer in this group, thanks in part to the Turbocharger extension ports, which are the real deal. Plus, the Turbo just looks so cool. If you want the police knocking on your door, this is the sub for you.

Manufacturer Hsu Research www.hsuresearch.com 714-666-9260

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