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SUBWOOFER REVIEWS

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Aug 31, 2013 0 comments

NHT was the first speaker company I ever wrote about, way back in 1989. The company has changed hands several times since then, but its current product offerings are strikingly similar to the originals. It still focuses on compact, well-engineered speakers with gloss-black finishes.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Aug 31, 2013 0 comments

A home theater enthusiast might look at Paradigm’s 13-inch-high Monitor SUB 10 and ask, “Why would I buy that when I can get a 15-inch sub for the same price?” Well, you wouldn’t buy it. Paradigm builds the SUB 10 for design-oriented buyers who want decent bass but don’t want a subwoofer that takes up a lot of floor space.

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Shane Buettner Posted: May 23, 2011 0 comments
Price: $9,000 At A Glance: Room- and house-threatening LFE bass for movies • Surprising rhythm, pacing, and articulation for music • Relatively small footprint for a behemoth sub

Because You Can

So, I’m wheeling this ginormous 230-pound Paradigm subwoofer down and around the side of my house, to the double-door, daylight basement that serves as my home theater room. Being impatient, I’m doing this by myself and hoping like hell I don’t tip the thing over and watch it roll end over end down the slope in my backyard. About this time, it occurs to me to wonder, “Why am I even reviewing something this big?” The answer that came to mind is probably the same reason people will buy this $9,000 powder keg of bass. Because I can.

Of course, there’s more to it than that. At CES 2010, the best home theater demo I saw and heard was in the Anthem room, with Anthem’s electronics and sister brand Paradigm’s speakers and subwoofers. The bass was sensational, thunderous, and room shaking, and yet it was strikingly refined. That was the first time I saw the SUB 2, a 4,500-watt subwoofer (rated RMS, and never mind if you can actually get that out of your wall), with six 10-inch woofers arrayed in pairs, firing out of three sides of the cabinet. You read that right. I was every bit as awestruck as you probably are now. Why would Paradigm design and build such a thing? Because they can. In home theater and in life, it’s my firm belief that anything worth doing is worth overdoing. If that’s your philosophy too, read on, because the SUB 2 is a helluva ride.

Fred Manteghian Posted: Nov 05, 2004 0 comments

Canadian speaker manufacturer Paradigm Electronics is but a 90-minute drive from Niagara Falls, New York, home of the classic heart-shaped-tub honeymoon suite. The few months I spent with the Paradigms were a honeymoon of sorts. An Armenian and a sextet of Canadians—and they said it wouldn't last! Now, after two months, the honeymoon may be over—but will the magic go on?

Fred Manteghian Posted: Jul 12, 2002 0 comments

In my fantastical and factional stretch of planet, "PC" usually stands for "politically correct," as in "Don't even think about saying that." Or it could simply refer to that bane of all society—or, at least, the bane of the unfortunates who support those who use them—the Personal Computer. But when Phase Technology Corp. uses "PC," they mean their Premier Collection, which represents not only the pinnacle of their current line, but an excellent value as well.

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Kevin Hunt Posted: Mar 31, 2001 Published: Apr 01, 2001 0 comments
The Search Is Over: Pinnacle's AC Sub 100 subwoofer is the perfect fit for many systems, not just budget ones.

Get a load of those feet. Someone slipped a set of solid-brass isolation cones on Pinnacle's AC Sub 100, a working-class $350 subwoofer dressed humbly in black vinyl. So what's with the magic slippers? Another Cinderella story perhaps? Or is it merely a Mr. Blackwell- caliber fashion faux pas, like matching Prada with Wrangler? Well, the AC Sub 100 isn't a thing of beauty, but you can take it to the ball—or put it in your entry-level home theater—without embarrassment. This 13-inch cube can dance a bit. The AC Sub 100 resides at the low end of Pinnacle's subwoofer line, and its feet are hand-me-downs from the company's more-exotic designs. They're standard equipment on, among others, Pinnacle's $1,200 Digital Sub 600. Is there another manufacturer that fits such fancy footwear on its nickel-and-dime subwoofers?

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Aug 31, 2013 1 comments

The Power Sound Audio XV15’s sole concession to design is that, besides the stock satin-black finish, you can get the sub in your choice of five wood finishes for an extra $150. Otherwise, it’s a big, ugly box, standing 23 inches high and weighing 75 pounds. It packs a 15-inch woofer — the biggest of any sub in this test — powered by a BASH amp rated at 500 watts RMS, 1,000 watts peak.

Scott Wilkinson Posted: Dec 15, 2004 0 comments

When Paul Barton was a youngster, he showed great promise as a violinist—so much promise that his father spent an entire year building him a violin based on one of Antonio Stradivari's most thoroughly studied instruments. Barton still has that violin, and still plays music regularly, but he long ago decided that the musician's life was not for him as a primary vocation. Instead, Barton decided to design speakers.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 02, 2004 0 comments

I've had a soft spot for PSB speakers ever since I reviewed the first Stratus Gold for Stereophile back in 1991. Counting updates (the Gold i was introduced in 1997), the Gold has been PSB's flagship speaker for 12 years. That's quite a run in speakerland, where new models sprout like mushrooms.

Michael Fremer Posted: Sep 30, 2002 0 comments

RBH Sound has been around for 25 years, but don't think you're out of the loop if you haven't heard of the Layton, Utah company. My introduction came only a few years ago, and I've been in the loop a long time. RBH built speakers for other brands for many years, but began concentrating on establishing its own brand name about six years ago, when the home-theater boom began. Today their products are sold through 400 dealers and custom installers. After spending a few months with one of RBH's top-performing, most expensive systems, I can tell you that finding one of these dealers will be well worth your while.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Mar 07, 2014 1 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,999

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Décor-friendly form factor
Beautiful build quality
Surprisingly easy installation
Minus
Low output

THE VERDICT
The Habitat1 has a terrific industrial design that may work where a traditional sub won’t, but don’t expect miracles.

Almost every subwoofer on the market today is a boring, bulky black box, designed with hardly a thought about how the thing’s going to look in a living room. With its new Habitat1 subwoofer, REL joins the small group of manufacturers who’ve put serious thought into making their subwoofers blend in with room décor.

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Mar 13, 2012 3 comments

Performance
Build Quality
Value
Price: $1,799 At A Glance: Front-firing active driver with down-firing passive radiator • Independent volume controls for simultaneous use of high- and low-level inputs

So, who the hell is REL Acoustics? That’s a question you might be asking yourself if your favorite places to shop for the latest in A/V gear happen to be Sears, RadioShack, or Big Jim’s Family Pawn & Gun Shop. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with those establishments (well, Big Jim’s might be a little iffy), but REL’s subwoofers are not a cash-and-carry kind of thing. As a matter of fact, REL—a British company that makes only subwoofers—claims its products “are not traditional subwoofers, but true sub-bass systems.” Starting with this slightly different concept of what a subwoofer should be, it’s no wonder that REL subs require a somewhat out-of-the-ordinary setup and that the company recommends parameter settings that are a bit unusual. As a result, REL subwoofers are found only at retailers that have silk-robed salespeople who have been trained by mystical, shoeless REL Zen Bass Masters to be highly skilled in the ancient acoustical arts of transducental bass reproduction.

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Feb 19, 2008 Published: Feb 20, 2008 0 comments
Depth charged.

Last year, my family and I moved from our little house near a noisy city airport to a more pastoral setting where, aside from a nearby neighbor who likes to bulldoze anything with leaves on it, the loudest thing is an old four-wheel-drive F250 pickup we bought for hauling things (including our butts) around the farm. Although it's in surprisingly good shape, some things don't always work, like the original factory radio, for instance.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Jun 20, 2011 1 comments
Price: $599 At A Glance: Compact cube houses 8-inch long-throw woofer • 125-watt class A/B amplifier • Simultaneous high-level and LFE inputs with independent level controls

Small Acorn, Big Tree

In a 1970s television commercial, storm clouds brewed and thunder rolled ominously after an embarrassed Mother Nature tasted Chiffon margarine and pronounced it butter. “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature,” admonished the announcer, Mason (“with a name like Smucker’s”) Adams.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jul 03, 1998 0 comments

R<I>evel</I>. Interesting name for a new speaker company. The most apt definition of the word from my old dictionary is "to take much pleasure; delight." Or perhaps those who chose the name were intrigued by the wordplay they could make with "revel-ation."

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