SUBWOOFER REVIEWS

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Michael Berk  |  Nov 11, 2011  |  0 comments

Over the course of this past week, our reviewers Brent Butterworth and Michael Trei examined six current subwoofer offerings, ranging from the simple to the feature packed, from Monoprice's $84 MSUB-A122 to Wisdom Audio's genre-defying $4,000 SCS, with entries from sub mainstays Velodyne, Cadence, SVS, and Sunfire along the way.

Daniel Kumin  |  May 18, 2017  |  0 comments

Pulse Soundbar
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Pulse Sub
Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $1,598 as reviewed

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Excellent musical sound quality
Notable bass extension, with or without sub
Many streaming capabilities, including hi-res audio
Multiroom system architecture
Visually outstanding
Minus
Some level and dynamics limitations
Occasional cumbersome or inconsistent operation

THE VERDICT
Accurate, dynamic musical sound, lifelike stereo imaging, and remarkable bass extension and control—plus extensive multiroom streaming abilities—easily counterbalance the few ergonomic quirks of a lovely, ultra-compact design.

Don’t look now, but the soundbars are gaining on us. Hardcore home theater heads like you and me can scoff all we want, but consumer electronics’ all-inone answer to audio for video is getting better, smarter, bassier, and popular-er, by leaps and bounds. High-end-ier, too.

Mark Fleischmann  |  Apr 18, 2014  |  0 comments

Aero 2 Speaker System
Performance
Build Quality
Value

Aero 9 Subwoofer
Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $2,446

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Flat BMR in lieu of tweeter
Clear sonic window into the midrange
Unusual dual-mono/bipole surrounds
Affordable price
Minus
Boxy vinyl-wrap enclosures

THE VERDICT
Cambridge Audio’s Aero reinvents the two-way loudspeaker in midrange-friendly fashion with excellent performance and value.

What if you needed two throats to speak? Sounds a bit cumbersome, right? But that’s how a two-way loudspeaker usually treats the human voice. Its drivers divide the midrange frequencies where the voice resides into two parts, sending higher frequencies to the tweeter and lower frequencies to the woofer. While the crossover varies from speaker to speaker, the frequencies that handle the voice usually get split right in the region where human ears are most sensitive to vocal timbre.

Of course, good speaker designers routinely surmount this obstacle to natural vocal sound, either by carefully tweaking their two-way designs or by going to three-way designs that dedicate a separate driver to midrange reproduction. But the three-way approach adds two more crossover sections, potentially leading to other troubled areas of reproduction.

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Nov 15, 2005  |  0 comments
Affordable bass-in quantity with quality.

For many years, European speakers-especially bookshelf models-have had the reputation for their inability to produce the quantity of bass that the majority of ears on this continent like to hear. Canton's AS subwoofer line-a range of powered subs aimed at providing affordable, yet substantial bass response to the sector of masses seeking better-than-average performance-ought to help lay that old notion to rest for good.

Brent Butterworth  |  Sep 12, 2011  |  0 comments

From an audio standpoint, the CEDIA Expo used to be little more than a showcase for in-wall speakers and other products built mainly for multiroom systems and custom home theaters. But with the decline in home sales over the last few years, the custom market isn't so hot anymore.

Darryl Wilkinson  |  May 24, 2012  |  4 comments

Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
Price: $12,000 as reviewed At A Glance: Industrial-grade actuators • Remarkably easy installation • Can be used for simple bass enhancement of music

There are, and have been, lots of movements in the world: political (the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street), social (abolition, women’s suffrage, and prohibition), artistic (Impressionism, Dadaism, and WTFism), and of course, bowel (but I digest…er, digress).

When it comes to subwoofers and speakers, air movement is of particular import. If you want loud, low bass, your woofers are going to have to compress a lot of air. For movies, it’s especially enjoyable when your subwoofer has enough spunk to cause the floor under your feet and the seat under your butt—and even your body’s chest cavity—to vibrate during those massive, over-the-top Hollywood explosions or through the low rumble of an earthquake. These are sensations that you feel more than hear.

Chris Chiarella  |  Nov 15, 2007  |  First Published: Oct 15, 2007  |  0 comments
Is everything else suddenly "just home theater"?

I don't know anyone who has actually admitted boredom with the traditional home theater experience, but perhaps that's because not all buffs realize just how many gear options are out there. A few years ago, I traveled up to Canada to demo a D-BOX Quest Chair, a sophisticated piece of furniture that adds realistic motion effects that are synchronized to the action and sound of particular movies. The result is akin to living the adventures of your favorite cinematic heroes, which is why the D-BOX-supported movies tend to be more car-chasey and less talky-talky.

Steven Stone  |  Dec 21, 2003  |  0 comments

In the world of fine art, the name Dal conjures up images of flaccid clocks created by a mustachioed wild man. But in high-end audio, DALI is an acronym for Danish Audiophile Loudspeaker Industries. Since 1983, DALI has been producing speakers for the home entertainment market. With a staff of just over 60, DALI doesn't rate as an industrial behemoth, but it does display the kind of creative independence that leads to big things. DALI does all their R&D work in-house, and instead of being built on a standard production line, their speakers are assembled by two-person teams. Although DALI is better known in Europe than in the US, their new line of Euphonia home-theater speakers should change that.

Daniel Kumin  |  Aug 11, 2015  |  4 comments

Zensor 5 Speaker System
Performance
Build Quality
Value

VTF-1 MK2 Subwoofer
Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $2,244 as reviewed

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Neutral balance
Excellent center-L/R tonal match
Superb “small”-sub output and extension
Minus
Zensor 5 mini-towers are rather short

THE VERDICT
Combining DALI’s fine-performing, high-value two-way line with one of the best inexpensive 10-inch subwoofers available creates an affordable system that competes well with the many contenders in its price class.

DALI is a company that has nothing to do with surrealist art or Tibetan Buddhism. The acronym is for Danish Audiophile Loudspeaker Industries, which over some 30 years has grown from a home-market specialist to a respected international brand. Despite this success, I had never gotten up close and personal with any DALI designs (trade-show demos excepted) until they shipped us a representative selection of their new Zensor entry-level series. Since the Zensor-ship currently lacks a subwoofer, we tapped one of the best size- and price-appropriate designs we know, Hsu Research’s affordable VTF-1 MK2.

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Nov 29, 2000  |  First Published: Nov 30, 2000  |  0 comments
Definitive Technology's newest home theater package is at the plate. Will it strike out or strike up the band?

Even if you're not a baseball fan, you've probably heard of Mark McGwire. After crushing the previous single-season home-run record a couple of years ago, McGwire continues to pound the ball out of the park to the delight of Cardinals fans everywhere. Yet, despite his imposing form and incredible swing, McGwire (like most power hitters) strikes out with some regularity. Of course, who's going to complain to a guy who has hit 72 home runs in a single season?

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Mar 13, 2012  |  1 comments

Performance
Build Quality
Value
Price: $799 At A Glance: Infrared remote control included • Optional wireless kit • Disappearing alphanumeric display behind grille

At $799, the diminutive Definitive Technology SuperCube 4000 isn’t “recycle enough aluminum cans and buy it” cheap, but it’s still in the reasonably affordable price range for a large percentage of home theater enthusiasts. Although Def Tech calls it a SuperCube, the actual dimensions are 11 inches wide x 11⅞ inches tall x 12 inches deep, which isn’t strictly a cube according to my high school geometry book. Evidently, SuperApproximatelyACube and SuperCubeLike were already trademarked, so Def Tech had to settle for the close-to-accurate SuperCube. Regardless, the compact size makes it super easy to place in a room, and fairly inconspicuous wherever you place it. Don’t let the SC4000’s small form factor fool you, though, because it’s one of the most feature-packed and easiest-to-set-up subwoofers I’ve encountered, regardless of price. It’s also surprisingly heavy (around 25 pounds) for its size.

Joel Brinkley  |  Oct 17, 2004  |  0 comments

For two decades now, Danish manufacturer Dynaudio has been known for making superb speakers in small cabinets. No, such designs can't produce the robust bass that larger speakers can muster—that's a simple factor of physics, not of design. But Dynaudio's track record should intrigue anyone interested in buying a compact speaker.

Kevin Hunt  |  Dec 29, 2001  |  First Published: Dec 30, 2001  |  0 comments
Meaty, beaty, little, and bouncy.

The Earthquake SuperNova could be the world's most dangerous end table. No amount of Krazy Glue will repair the heartbreak of the unwary soul who dares place the family-heirloom Tiffany lamp or Waterford vase on this compact subwoofer. This is not a New Age sub disguised as a fine piece of furniture, a veneered life-style block

Steven Stone  |  Sep 09, 2002  |  0 comments

Boom. Thud. Crash. What would a movie be without low-frequency effects? Even non-macho films like <I>Sense and Sensibility</I> have their share of carriage-wheel rumblings and horse-hoof thuds. Without a serious subwoofer that extends down to a solid 30Hz, and preferably even lower, a home-theater system can hardly be called "high-end."

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jul 21, 2002  |  0 comments

When it comes to surround-speaker systems, good things rarely come in small packages. Microsatellites and little subwoofers typically sound thin and anemic, with poor tonal balance and low volume capabilities. Yet there are many situations (e.g., small apartments, dorm rooms, guest rooms) in which such speakers would be ideally suited, if only they produced a reasonably good sound.

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