Cadence CSX-12 MkII - new model

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by John Garcia, Jul 27, 2011.

  1. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

    Jun 24, 1999
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    The opportunity came up for me to review the new version of the 12” Cadence sub since I did a quick review of the previous one. It is always fun to get to audition new iterations of a product that one has heard. I liked the previous version and though it had some minor issues, it offered a lot of bang for the buck for a budget sub. The new version has definite improvements over the former. The previous model used a large single tube style port out the back with a 350w amp. It had great output, but it also wasn’t the cleanest sounding with music. This version uses a front slot loaded cabinet similar to the 15” model with a 450w amp. I noted in my previous review that the 15” had a cleaner sound to it, as does this one. I’ve had this one in my possession longer than the previous one, so I have been able to use it in a wide variety of material to put it through its paces. [​IMG] It came well packed, double boxed with foam caps at each corner and a protective “sock” around it to protect the gloss black front. The first day, without calibrating it (couldn’t find my meter), I just quickly dialed it in by ear and let it rip. Right away, it was obvious where the improvement was: this version sounds more controlled. The output is still there, but with less bloom in the midrange than before. I went to the obvious first choice of recent movies for me – Tron Legacy, with an excellent audio track that has a variety of scenes with both deep LFE as well as heavy midrange. I was actually surprised at how well it did right off the bat. It has good output and good tactile feel to it. I can tell it isn’t a bottom dweller, but it handled all aspects well. It does a good job of filling out the bottom and even without calibration, seemed to blend well. I was actually home sick for a few days, so I decided to get going with the rest of the LOTR:EE Blu-ray set and it worked out well as a good test for the sub, since these new editions have nicely remastered DTS-HD tracks with plenty of bass. I rewatched key points of Fellowship of the Ring and all of Two Towers with it, and was never disappointed. Once I located my meter and got it dialed in, I ran tones on it to see where the bottom was and it seems to have good output down to 25Hz and is pretty much trailing off at 22Hz. While calibrating, I ran a peak bass limit test and found that this thing showed stress at about -5dB on my receiver (my Empire will go to about +1 and I leave set to 0), so the limit is certainly achievable for it. This feature on the receiver is to prevent sending enough bass to the sub to damage it, but it should be noted that -5dB on my receiver is quite loud, louder than one would ever realistically listen. Included with the sub are some cables that I didn’t understand until I looked at the amp again – it has a spot for a master/slave configuration so that multiples may easily be used together. I didn’t read about this feature thus far, but that presumably means the same parameters from the master would be applied to the slave via a single cable, something I can’t say I’ve seen on another sub. Other than that, it includes the features one would expect on the amp: adjustable and bypassable onboard x-over, phase control and a knob to dial in some boost if desired (I left this off or set to lowest for all listening so far). On to some music, and since I have had it for a while, I’ve tried a lot of stuff on it. One disc I like to use is the SACD of Dark Side of the Moon because it has some nice bass and it lends itself very well to being played quite loud :D One of those tracks is the opening sequence that is just bass that starts softly and slowly rises, sort of like a heartbeat. Another is Time, which has a few points where there are notes that must drop down to mid 20s and it is clear when a sub does not quite hit it. This sub doesn’t fill it out fully, but gets enough to let you know it is there without struggling to do it. That’s one point that I’d have to say impresses me most with this sub, is that no matter what I throw at it or what level I have it turned up to, it never sounds stressed at all (despite finding the limit with the peak test). I found the limit of the previous version of this sub at elevated levels with audio tracks, but this one goes as loud as I ever have my system without complaining. It has a clean sound, but it isn’t without fault. While there doesn’t seem to be much overhang on most notes, it still doesn’t quite approach the level of what I would call a “musical” sub. By that I only mean that compared to what would be considered “musical” subs, this one does an admirable job, just not a perfect one. It never feels like it can’t keep up with busy music, but it does have a slight softness to some notes that is not uncommon for other vented subs, including a few that I’ve owned. I am no expert and I don’t have any pie charts or graphs to show what this thing is doing, because this review is about what I hear more than anything, and that is sort of what the whole audio thing is about anyway IMHO :). I have thrown a considerable variety of sound at this thing and it has done well with all of it. It has come a LONG way from the original X-sub from Cadence and is a definite evolution from the previous CSX-12 as well. Hats are off to Cadence again. This sub does many things right and I don’t mind recommending this sub at all to those looking for a sub on a budget. [​IMG] More info: **I am not affiliated with Cadence.

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