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SUBWOOFER REVIEWS

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Nov 15, 2001 0 comments

When I reviewed the Revel Ultima loudspeaker system in SGHT's July/August 1998 issue, it was a challenge to come up with adequate superlatives—so the Ultima Gems, Voice, Embrace, and LE-1 subwoofer became our first Class AAA-rated speaker system. The Gems and Voice have been a frequent fixture in my reference home-theater system ever since, moved aside only when other speakers are being reviewed. The Revel Ultima surrounds and subwoofer were displaced for logistical reasons, not because of their performance, which was—and is—of reference quality. (Both—particularly the subwoofer, with its heavy, separate amplifier—were cumbersome to move in and out of position, a consideration important to a reviewer.)

Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 28, 2003 0 comments

Founded just a few years ago, Revel has rapidly developed a reputation as a speaker company to reckon with. Its designs have been consistently praised by reviewers and sought by audiophiles. Revel's speakers aren't cheap, but, as they say in the movie business, the budget is all up there on the screen—or, in this case, in the sound.

Steven Stone Posted: Dec 15, 2004 0 comments

Since Revel's formation in 1996, few other speaker makers have garnered as much critical acclaim for their products. Revel speakers have a reputation for not only sounding wonderful, but also measuring well and having striking good looks. The only problem with Revel's original Ultima series speakers was their price, at which even veteran audio reviewers blinked twice.

Brent Butterworth Posted: Sep 20, 2011 0 comments

The speaker world is anything but conservative. Think of the different types you can buy: good ol' cones 'n' domes, electrostatics, planar magnetics, ribbons, horns, pulsating spheres, and more, mounted in all sorts of enclosures or in no enclosures at all.

The world of custom home theater is less daring. Installers want speaker systems that sound great, play loud as hell for hours on end, place reasonable demands on amplifiers, and install easily. This is why you rarely see anything but cone 'n' dome speakers used in custom home theaters.

Of the companies catering to the custom market, BG Radia is one of the few that does things differently.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Nov 11, 2011 0 comments

Held up against the $3,499 Velodyne DD-12+ and other high-end 12-inch subwoofers that populate the CEDIA Expo, the $399 Cadence CSX-12 Mark II seems incredibly affordable.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Mar 03, 2011 0 comments
Key Features
$1,999/system KEF.com
T301 speaker
• (2) 4[1/2]-inch woofers
• 1-inch tweeter
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Brent Butterworth Posted: Jul 16, 2013 0 comments

On Monday, when I reviewed the NXG NX-BAS-500 subwoofer, I recallled a time 20+ years ago when the only companies that made really good subwoofers were M&K and Velodyne. The "K" in M&K stood for Kreisel-Ken Kreisel, to be specific.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Nov 09, 2011 0 comments

Check it out: 12-inch driver, 150-watt amp, and a really nice-looking curved enclosure, all for a mere $84.10 (plus $9.72 shipping and handling). If you asked me how inexpensively someone could sell a 12-inch subwoofer—and I’m talking everyday prices, not blowouts on eBay or Amazon — I’d have probably guessed $200, and that would be for something really ugly and cheap-looking.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Jul 14, 2013 0 comments

I can remember when there were only two companies, M&K and Velodyne, that made good subwoofers. Thanks to the explosion in Chinese manufacturing, there are now so many companies making subwoofers-and so many making good ones-that it's impossible even to be aware of them all, much less have hands-on experience with all their products.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Jun 20, 2012 0 comments

Since my first lengthy experience with Sonos products, I've been recommending them as a simpler, lower-cost alternative to traditional multiroom audio systems. It's just so much easier. Plug in a Sonos component, go through a simple config, and you have great-sounding music and Internet radio in any room (or many rooms) in a matter of minutes, all controlled by your smartphone or computer.

But there's one thing a Sonos system doesn't deliver: bass. Now that's fixed.

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Michael Trei Posted: Nov 10, 2011 0 comments

Bob Carver has always been a speaker designer who thinks outside the box, and also one who tends to ignore so-called experts when they tell him something can’t be done. As the founder of Phase Linear in the 1970s, Carver in the 1980s, and, more recently, Sunfire, Bob has been proving “experts” wrong for over 40 years.

A great example of his unconventional thinking is the Sunfire True Subwoofer, first launched some 15 years ago. Using a brute force approach, this design bent the rules that traditionally defined how much bass you could get from a given size of driver and enclosure, in the process creating what has gone on to become one of the most imitated subwoofers of all time. Now that same mindset has been applied to creating the Dynamic Series SDS-12 — a lower-cost brother for the True Subwoofer, with an asking price 75% less than the original.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Apr 19, 2013 0 comments
Speakers are like karate. Subwoofers are like weightlifting. The quality of a speaker is determined by subtleties: well-chosen drivers, just-right crossover points and slopes, and a perfectly tuned, solidly constructed enclosure. The quality of a subwoofer is determined mostly by its muscle: the size of the enclosure, the displacement of its driver, and the power of its amplifier.
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Brent Butterworth Posted: Nov 07, 2011 0 comments

One could argue that it’s silly to make a subwoofer look nice. Most subs get shoved into out-of-the-way places where even the most exotic wenge veneer, doused in seven coats of hand-rubbed lacquer and applied to gracefully arcing side panels, won’t really look any better than the cheapest black vinyl wrap glued over a plain rectangular box.

Those who find ugliness a virtue in subwoofers will love SVS’ new $769 PB12-NSD, which is about as plain as subwoofers get.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Jun 16, 2011 0 comments

I would never do what SVS did with its new subwoofer, the SB13-Plus. The company originally sent me a review sample last fall, but despite the fact that it sounded (and measured) great, SVS asked me to hold the review while its engineers tweaked the sub’s Sledge STA-1000D amplifier. It took months for the new amplifier to arrive.

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Brent Butterworth Posted: Mar 07, 2012 0 comments

Some home theater enthusiasts see automatic equalization as a sonic savior. They believe it guarantees great sound. But it doesn’t.

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