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HSU ULS-15 subwoofer, long term review


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#1 of 4 Number1AVdork

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Posted December 06 2012 - 10:03 AM

It's all set up...Finally. NAD 748 Amplifier Paradigm Millenia 5 speakers HSU ULS 15 Subwoofer Oppo BD93 DVD The subwoofer is a good performer. Those with the space should consider the option of two subwoofers. The cost savings is there but I didn't have space for two subwoofers. The ULS-15 is not a compact subwoofer. Despite the claims it is the most compact high performance subwoofer in the HSU catalogue, that is just manufacture speak. It's a monster. The subwoofer is bulky, heavy and difficult to move around. The wireless feature does work but it had conflicts of interest. My internet connection did get disrupted even though I used various jumper settings on the unit. Also my microwave in my kitchen was able to send frequencies to the subwoofer causing loud thumps and obviously the woofer moved like crazy. It did not hurt the amp or woofer. So those intending to buy this subwoofer for the wireless feature should certainly take advantage of the HSU trial period. Take precautions with at least two people moving the subwoofer in order to avoid scratching or dinging it. Now on to the performance review. This subwoofer should not be intended to hit the highest of SPL's. It's a subwoofer that compliments a home theater system and music system. HSU recommends using the VTF subwoofers for higher and louder impact in home theater systems. However the upper end VTF subwoofers have a larger cabinet making them more difficult to place. You should have twenty inches of room in a corner to place the subwoofer. The ULS-15 subwoofer is a good performer. It does subsonic bass, you actually do feel it. Driving the speaker to the limit like any subwoofer causes distortions. But this subwoofer is fairly easly to integrate and become transparent. Some people insist on loud pompous booming bass. If you like that you can simply turn up the dial on the woofer and achieve that effect. It will rattle windows doors and bookcases. I prefer to make the subwoofer become invisible. The controls on the woofer work well. I opted to use the cross over because the Paradigm speakers are very much lacking in low extension. Although the subwoofer fills out the missing octaves the speakers are missing some of the midrange. The HSU does a good job of augmenting missing midrange. From a musical standpoint the HSU is probably the best subwoofer for the money. For theater use the subwoofer does very well. The various scenes of Lord Of The Rings series of movies had deep bass. Most importantly deep, forecful subsonic bass. The sealed box certainly gives good low distortion. For those who really want to purchase a component to compliment a music and home theater system the ULS-15 is probably a very worthy contender in this price bracket. I can't fathom why anybody would need more than two of these units unless the room was very large. I have had this subwoofer several months now and am happy with it. During the first week I made a few comparisons to listening to subwoofers in the audio showroom. I compared the HSU to Sunfire,Paradigm and Klipsch. Take into account the Klipsch subwoofer was the top of line model costing two thousand dollars. The HSU hit harder with lower distortion. I also compared it to the Paradigm Millenia subwoofer. This is supposed to match the speakers I purchased. However the Millenia subwoofer couldn't compare the HSU. It had a smaller box, higher distortion and did not achieve subsonic levels. The paradigm seismic subwoofer also couldn't do what the HSU did in terms of low distortion. The Sunfire subwoofer was also lacking. All in all I think the HSU is very good but it must be understand that all subwoofers when driven to the limits will distort and lose authority. The HSU moved more air than the Paradigm, Sunfire, Klipsch brands. Hopefully this mini review helped. For an audiophile minded person looking for a multi purpose subwoofer the HSU ULS-15 will work good. If you have the space go for two :) Even if you only get 2dB of gain it will be that much more joyful.

#2 of 4 Robert_J

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Posted December 06 2012 - 10:11 AM

I prefer to make the subwoofer become invisible.

A properly calibrated sub should sound great on an upright bass during an acoustic concert to a point that no one really notices it is there. But when an alien spaceship rises from the depths of the Earth, it should make its presence known with authority.

#3 of 4 Number1AVdork

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Posted December 06 2012 - 01:38 PM

The HSU can do string bass very well. Its a compromise between musicality and raw volume. If somebody was going to do a 100 percent theater system I would choose a different subwoofer or go with the tuneable HSU model. It does work much better than the Paradigm Millenium subwoofer. But if you were trying to design a small system with extremely compact parameters the Paradigm subwoofer and millenium speaker package would be very hard to beat.

#4 of 4 Type A

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Posted December 08 2012 - 09:37 AM

Nice little review Umberto, thanks for sharing :)
JVC DLA-RS60U3D & DaLite High Power 106".  Secondary:  Panasonic Viera TC-P65ST30.
Paradigm Studio Version 5: 20 (5) &  ADP-590 (2).  Hsu: VTF-2 MK3 (2) & MBM-12 MK2 (2).
Yamaha RXA3010 & Emotiva XPA5. Oppo BDP93 & Darbee DVP5000. Xbox 360, Integra DPT1.
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