Best Subwoofers: $5,000 and Up

JL Audio Fathom f212 Subwoofer: $6,300

Performance
Build Quality
Value

Summary: Weighing in at 220 pounds, the awe-inspiring f212 is not for the faint of heart yet it’s design is shockingly straightforward: A 3,000-watt amplifier and a pair of custom 12-inch drivers operating in a finely crafted, bulletproof enclosure standing 32 inches tall. The payoff: Fear-invoking shockwaves of deep, deep bass. Yes, it is powerful enough to shake things off of shelves—in another room. Darryl Wilkinson concluded, “I’m not sure which was more impressive: the raw, brute power of the subwoofer, or the complete and effortless control of that power.”

Plus: Capable of producing startlingly palpable subterranean bass • Extraordinary dynamic range • Automatic room optimization • XLR output to connect one or more slave f212 subwoofers
Minus: Big and very heavy • Expensive


Paradigm Reference Signature SUB 2 Subwoofer: $9,000


Performance
Build Quality
Value

Summary: Simply put, this is the real deal. A 230-pound, three-sided monster featuring six 10-inch woofers arrayed in pairs, up to 4,500 watts of brute-force power (provided it gets 240-volt service), and measureable output in our lab that was only 3 decibels down at 12 hertz. And to think it all fits into a 24-inch-square footprint. The price will scare away all but the wealthiest and most bass-obsessed enthusiasts, but if you’re among them, pay up your homeowner’s insurance and get down with it.

Plus: Room- and house-threatening LFE bass for movies • Surprising rhythm, pacing, and articulation for music • Relatively small footprint for a behemoth sub • Perfect Bass room correction
Minus: Very heavy • Extravagantly expensive

COMMENTS
allanmarcus's picture

"will win you over with its (literally) explosive performance."

Really? The sub will literally explode and get wood and speaker parts all over the place? Then it will win me over because it exploded? :-)

Warrior24_7's picture

Just make sure that you put you ear and head reeeeal close to it when it does it to get the full effect.

sathishdht's picture

The word 'literally' seems to be abused very much these days, be it a S&v reviewr, CNET or Verge guy or readers commenting.

allanmarcus's picture

Unfortunately, morons in our society have corrupted the word so much that according to dictionary.com and merriam-webster.com, the second definition of the word literally now means "virtually"! It literally blows my mind that that people virtually don't understand the difference between real and figurative! :-)

There is a sliver of hope. The Oxford English Dictionary still shows the ignorant usage of "literally" as "informal."

OK, pet peeve rant over. I just expect better from professional writers.

Warrior24_7's picture

So, you need to put your head reeeeal close to it (and turn it up weeeeal weeeeal loud) so when it does it, your head will "virtually" explode and your ear drums will "literally" explode! That way you get the full effect and the true meaning of the word. Ok, rant to imbecile over. Let us know how that works out for ya.

sathishdht's picture

You guys missed out the best in $500 or below category which is 70% of buyer demography. For example Velodyne Impact Mini, Enotiva X-ref10 which has parametric eq as well, ML Dynamo500 are some of the very good subs under or around $500. Do you guys think through fully before publishing an article or just rush it out?

mnc's picture

I'm surprised you didn't include the PSA XV-15 since it won your $800 subwoofer shootout. Also, where is the review for the new HSU?

Bob Ankosko's picture
Our review of the Hsu VTF-15H MK2, which appears in the February/March 2015 print issue, will be posted soon.
Devin Chen's picture

Which is the best? it's JL Audio e110 Subwoofer, SVS SB13-Ultra Subwoofer, or M&K Sound X12 THX Subwoofer for Outdoor movie?

http://www.h5v.net/inflatable-movie-screen/

mnc's picture

When will you be reviewing the PSA XS30se? I am VERY interested in how it compares to the SVS SB13-Ultra.

Dharmaraj's picture

None of these subwoofer brands are available in my country :(
I found this site while looking for something else and I am gonna bookmark this. Great site for audiophiles like me :D
Thank You for allowing me to comment on your site. Visit Mine

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