1. Sign-up to become a member, and most of the ads you see will disappear. It only takes 30 seconds to sign up, so join the discussion today!
    Dismiss Notice

A thread for testing $2000-$2500ish subwoofers

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by Craig Chase, Jan 21, 2017.

  1. Message #1 of 128 Jan 21, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2017
    Craig Chase

    Craig Chase Gear Guru

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2002
    Messages:
    1,716
    Likes Received:
    89
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Real Name:
    Craig
    Hi all - It's time to start looking at some subwoofers for serious bass enthusiasts. Last year, we did 5 subwoofers in the "just under $1000 delivered" range. It was a lot of fun, and all the subwoofers did quite well.

    Now let's start looking at some of these $2000-$2500 subs. The first sub here is the Axiom EP-800. It's a sealed system with two 12 inch drivers, a DSP controlled amp, and a pretty deep stated extension of 13 Hz.

    This sub has been here for over a year - we were side tracked due to some difficult issues with our son. Ok - three broken vertebrae is probably a bit more than a "side track". The good news, he is recovering nicely, is back in school, and generally acting like a normal college student.

    As the EP800 has been here for some time period, we have had a lot of time to listen to it, and have enjoyed it thoroughly. The bass extension in our room is deeper than any subwoofer we have had here outside the Chase Home Theater SS-18.2 pair with Audyssey XT-32 being applied.

    It's also a LOT more reasonable subwoofer package for a real room - it looks like furniture (yes, we will eventually get pictures posted).

    The most fun I have personally had with the EP-800 was to take it (along with a pair of Axiom's M-100's) to a high end audio store to compare it, under blind conditions, to a Fathom F212 V2.

    The two subwoofers were impossible to identify unless there was some REALLY deep bass, in which the EP800 bested the F212. This brings us to the audience for the EP800. It's not a "most output at 16-20 Hz" subwoofer for the money. Instead, it has real high end audio sound in a relatively affordable package. In "street price" terms, it's about 1/3rd the cost of the F212, and for the $2300 "street price" of the EP800, one will get a subwoofer that will NEVER make a bad sound.

    The DSP/AMP combined with the drivers is "programmed" this way at the factory. We will get into some serious listening over the next few weeks. Today, I spent several hours reorganizing the main theater room. The main speakers are Klipsch La Scala II's with the matching RC-64 Series II center channel. I went with the Klipsch because they are the most challenging speakers in terms of dynamics for any subwoofer to match.

    After running Audyssey, I ran an 80 dB "fast sine wave" on Omni Mic V2. 80 dB may not sound like much, but the system is LOUD at this 80 dB sine wave. If we have a GTG here, maybe we will let some attendees experience it.

    Right now, I am watching "The Incredibles", and the system sounds fantastic - DEEP bass that thunders the room. It's hard to believe two 12 inch drivers are causing this much havoc.

    Here is some eye candy - a picture of the response curve at the main listening position. The "floor" is about 11.5 Hz - Axiom claims the DSP keeps the system flat to 13 Hz in the anechoic chamber with a STEEP roll off below that, and the measurements here back that claim:

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Message #2 of 128 Jan 22, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2017
    Craig Chase

    Craig Chase Gear Guru

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2002
    Messages:
    1,716
    Likes Received:
    89
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Real Name:
    Craig
    The first movie up for beating on the EP800 is the Ultimate Edition of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.

    [​IMG]

    The toughest test in Batman V Superman is the rather lengthy scene in which the two super heroes are fighting, there is a vast storm raging, and Lex is working on re-animating Zod into Doomsday.

    There is the percussive punching, even more violent shots from the multiple 50 caliber machine guns, and long, deep thunder strikes that, with a really capable sub woofer, make a room shudder.

    The EP800 handled this 20 minutes of carnage with a lot of power and a feeling as if the room was going to explode. Bass stayed tight through the entire scene, and at no time was there a feeling of stress.

    It's already becoming obvious that the newer 12 inch drivers and DSP controlled amp are making for a serious subwoofer.

    While audio memory is considered to be somewhat limited, None of the $1000 subwoofers delivered this type of total immersion into the bass.

    Yes, this is already a lot of fun. :)
     
  3. Message #3 of 128 Jan 22, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2017
    Craig Chase

    Craig Chase Gear Guru

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2002
    Messages:
    1,716
    Likes Received:
    89
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Real Name:
    Craig
    January 30 Update / Movie review for EP800:

    Suicide Squad ...


    [​IMG]

    Suicide Squad received "so-so" reviews, and I was not expecting much of a movie. It ended up being more enjoyable than I was expecting, with the only real issue was the believability of "The Enchantress" and her brother. They seemed a bit out of place for the DC universe. Plus - with all this Mayhem going on in Gotham, where were all the super heroes? Were they vacationing on Jupiter?

    ANYWAY ... To the BASS !!

    Bass was present throughout the movie, with the most impressive being when the evil brother/sister were making the machine to wipe out all mankind. As it was "developing", there were shuddering waves through the floor. It was menacing and fun, just as bass is MEANT to be.

    In the world of Internet Direct subwoofers, with "just" a pair of 12 inch woofers, regardless the excursion, the EP800 does not come across as a bargain. But its ability to present the most detailed bass while also giving some room shaking in movies is compelling. It's also impossible to make it audibly distort, to bottom out, and to in any way ever sound "bad".

    One also has to remember the EP800 was developed to be in competition with the best subwoofers in the world on MUSIC, not just a deep bass machine. It also is expected to look elegant in one's room, which it does.

    The Magnificent Seven:

    [​IMG]



    The Magnificent Seven has some incredibly good bass scenes! One of note is when the army hired by Bogue to wipe out the good town's people is riding into town, it felt as if our floor was rippling with the herd. Gun shots were not quite as well done as in Open Range, but it was still impressive.

    A note on movie performance and the impending arrival of the V3601: Some of the old movie standards are going to be held back until the V3601 arrives. Tron: Legacy, War of the Worlds ... etc ... and some instant "A/B" listening tests will also be done, if I can get it set up right here.

    We have a line level (think pre amp) switcher, and both subs could be run through the switcher, level matched, and played in the room. The only down side is to be fair, neither could have Audyssey applied, so I need to find out if we can get a reasonable response curve for both - which means a possible purchase of an Anti-Mode from Tom.

    More as this develops. :)

     
  4. Message #4 of 128 Jan 22, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2017
    Craig Chase

    Craig Chase Gear Guru

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2002
    Messages:
    1,716
    Likes Received:
    89
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Real Name:
    Craig
    Steely Dan's AJA ... I had some quiet time yesterday afternoon, and fired up AJA with Audyssey set to "flat" for music purposes. The texture and depth of the bass lines (through the EP800) in AJA plus the dynamics and soundstage of the LaScalas was astonishing. Have you ever had a disc end and realize you had to get back to reality when all you wanted to do was more listening? That was the experience.
     
  5. Message #5 of 128 Jan 22, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2017
    Craig Chase

    Craig Chase Gear Guru

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2002
    Messages:
    1,716
    Likes Received:
    89
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Real Name:
    Craig
    Power Sound Audio V3601 in room response curve - the -3 dB point in room with Audyssey XT-32 applied is 14 Hz:


    [​IMG]
     
  6. Message #6 of 128 Jan 22, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2017
    Craig Chase

    Craig Chase Gear Guru

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2002
    Messages:
    1,716
    Likes Received:
    89
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Real Name:
    Craig
    The V3601 takes on X-Men Apocalypse:

    [​IMG]

    This is the first movie after break in and proper calibration of the V-3601. It was also the first time I have watched this movie, so posting the exact scenes as they occurred will be a bit more difficult than usual.

    The first scene that is a subwoofer killer is the Pyramid destruction scene early in the movie. With this scene, the V-3601 had the floor and seats absolutely shuddering. It was deep, it was clean, and it was palpable. I wish I could be more specific on the precise scenes, but the best I can do right now is this: I actually enjoyed this movie a LOT more than the reviews suggest that I would, and it's probably because of just how clean and powerful the combo of the Klipsch LaScala II's and the V-3601 are together.

    Throughout the movie, there was scene after scene that brought that big smile with the depth and power of the bass. At no time did things ever get ugly, and the overall experience was just fantastic.

    Over the next two weeks, I promise to do some movies with which I am more familiar with the bass scenes. The V-3601 may well be the most powerful single sub we have ever had here.
     
  7. Craig Chase

    Craig Chase Gear Guru

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2002
    Messages:
    1,716
    Likes Received:
    89
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Real Name:
    Craig
    Saved for the Power Sound Audio V3601
     
  8. Craig Chase

    Craig Chase Gear Guru

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2002
    Messages:
    1,716
    Likes Received:
    89
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Real Name:
    Craig
    Saved for the Power Sound Audio V3601
     
  9. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 1997
    Messages:
    25,082
    Likes Received:
    3,651
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Aberdeen, MD & Navesink, NJ
    Real Name:
    Sam Posten
    I'm expecting serious diminishing returns on the performance of these vice the solid fleet of subs under $1500. Will be interesting to see if you can find anything at all that broadly justifies going up to this class of sub.
     
  10. Craig Chase

    Craig Chase Gear Guru

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2002
    Messages:
    1,716
    Likes Received:
    89
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Real Name:
    Craig
    Sam - That will be a fun question to answer. We still have all 5 subs from the $1000 test, with the Hsu VTF-3 Mark V and Rythmik FVX-15 the two subs that one could put up against the higher priced units, and possibly even the EP350 if space is an issue.

    I can say that the EP800 hits harder and deeper than the lesser expensive subs, and has a better feel on kick drums. The price/value equation is a tough one. We will definitely discuss this more as the testing continues.

    The Power Sound Audio V3601 is also using a DSP controlled amp, and has dual 18's in a pretty large cabinet. To say I am stoked about its pending arrival is an understatement.
     
  11. Dave Upton

    Dave Upton Audiophile
    Owner

    Joined:
    May 16, 2012
    Messages:
    3,137
    Likes Received:
    642
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Real Name:
    Dave Upton
    Sam,

    I would say that the price increase really is a tax on going deeper, louder. You won't find that many sub $1500 subs that can go below 15Hz - but at this price range, you can find quite a few. It's more money, but for some folks that is worth it.

    For me, I spent just above this price range for my Seaton SubMersive HPi+ subs, because I care about ridiculous output AND clarity. I'm also a little nuts about bass :)
     
    Sam Posten likes this.
  12. Craig Chase

    Craig Chase Gear Guru

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2002
    Messages:
    1,716
    Likes Received:
    89
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Real Name:
    Craig
    Dave - You are only a little nuts about bass? No other areas? :D
     
  13. Craig Chase

    Craig Chase Gear Guru

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2002
    Messages:
    1,716
    Likes Received:
    89
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Real Name:
    Craig
    Good morning ... Last night, we got out the copy of Open Range and fired it up on the LaScala II's and the EP-800. The fight scene at the end has been a standard bearer for both bass and main speaker dynamics for 13 year.

    I have NEVER heard it like last night - the combo of the LaScala's almost limitless dynamics (they will easily hit 120 dB with no audible distortion or compression) and the EP800's linearity, power and control was just plain FUN.

    Sam - Spending more on a subwoofer does make sense if one can afford it. That's not meant to be a "snobby" statement, either. The $1000 subwoofers, especially the Rythmik and Hsu, kept me happy for a long time. In fact, while we were in the midst of all of this with our son, our main theater had the Axiom M50's (small towers), VP180 center and the PAIR of the Hsu VTF-3 Mark V plus the Rythmik FVX-15 stacked as a single subwoofer.

    Even though the "science" side of me knows that this combo is more powerful than the EP800, the listening side is a different story.

    The wait for the V3601's is going to feel like forever until they arrive. I am making arrangements for very fast swap outs between the two subwoofers, and we will do a lot of direct comparisons between the two subwoofers.

    Just as was posted for the EP800, a sweep of the V3601 will also be posted. It has a claim of a 16 Hz floor, even in vented form. This is actually why I ordered the vented instead of the sealed. Assuming it's "flat to 16 Hz", and tuned to around 17 Hz, we should see a linear in room response to close to the Axiom's ... Time will tell. :)
     
  14. gadgtfreek

    gadgtfreek Supporting Actor
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2014
    Messages:
    856
    Likes Received:
    384
    Trophy Points:
    610
    Real Name:
    Jason
    I went dual Rythmik FV15HP's and larger Klipsch speakers in my last upgrade (RF7II and RC64II) and LOVE it all. Tacked on an outlaw amp and Marantz AV7702II, and this thing has plenty of HP.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Dave Upton

    Dave Upton Audiophile
    Owner

    Joined:
    May 16, 2012
    Messages:
    3,137
    Likes Received:
    642
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Real Name:
    Dave Upton
    Well it would be poor manners to admit all my faults at once :)
     
    Sam Posten and Craig Chase like this.
  16. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2001
    Messages:
    48,174
    Likes Received:
    12,210
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Rensselaer, NY
    We all need to know our limitations...and strengths...and peccadillos. :D
     
    Sam Posten and Craig Chase like this.
  17. Craig Chase

    Craig Chase Gear Guru

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2002
    Messages:
    1,716
    Likes Received:
    89
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Real Name:
    Craig
    Gadgetfreek - That's a system with some serious horsepower. As this thread will be a year long adventure, I am hoping to get the new dual 18 that Rythmik is introducing this year.

    As for Dave and Mike - Do the moderators know about you two? :D
     
    gadgtfreek likes this.
  18. Craig Chase

    Craig Chase Gear Guru

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2002
    Messages:
    1,716
    Likes Received:
    89
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Real Name:
    Craig
    We have three movie choices for the next few nights: Tarzan, Suicide Squad, and Warcraft. If anyone has a scene from these three which are a tough test, please let me know. Otherwise, I will report back what we find out here.
     
  19. Craig Chase

    Craig Chase Gear Guru

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2002
    Messages:
    1,716
    Likes Received:
    89
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Real Name:
    Craig
    The Legend of Tarzan ended up being the movie choice for last night. It's a pretty boring movie without a true "WOW" moment for bass. The overall audio quality is excellent, and the bass that is there was presented with great detail by the EP800, but it just wasn't much of a test.
     
  20. Craig Chase

    Craig Chase Gear Guru

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2002
    Messages:
    1,716
    Likes Received:
    89
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Real Name:
    Craig
    Suicide Squad ... Was last night's movie choice. It got "so-so" reviews, and I was not expecting much of a movie. It ended up being more enjoyable than I was expecting, with the only real issue was the believability of "The Enchantress" and her brother. They seemed a bit out of place for the DC universe. Plus - with all this Mayhem going on in Gotham, where were all the super heroes? Were they vacationing on Jupiter?

    ANYWAY ... To the BASS !!

    Bass was present throughout the movie, with the most impressive being when the evil brother/sister were making the machine to wipe out all man kind. As it was "developing", there were shuddering waves through the floor. It was menacing and fun, just as bass is MEANT to be.

    In the world of Internet Direct subwoofers, a pair of 12 inch woofers, regardless the excursion, the EP800 does not come across as a bargain. But its ability to present the most detailed bass while also giving some room shaking in movies is compelling. It's also impossible to make it audibly distort, to bottom out, and to in any way ever sound "bad".

    Steely Dan's AJA ... I had some quiet time yesterday afternoon, and fired up AJA with Audyssey set to "flat" for music purposes. The texture and depth of the bass lines (through the EP800) in AJA plus the dynamics and soundstage of the LaScalas was astonishing. Have you ever had a disc end and realize you had to get back to reality when all you wanted to do was more listening? That was the experience.

    Talk with Tom Vodhanel about the V3601 ... Tom was manning the "chat feature" on Powersound Audio's website on Saturday. He was kind enough to spend a solid 20 minutes chatting until he had to take care of some pressing business.

    The V3610 should ship, in his estimate, in the next ten days. This thread will REALLY start to get fun when the V3601 arrives. The "science side" knows that it will definitely have a lot more output than does the EP800, especially below 30 Hz. A lot of the test is going to be all the subjective stuff.

    One thing I can promise is there is no belief here that an 18 inch driver cannot be as articulate as a 12 inch driver. We see that type of thinking in all too many subjective listening tests. A 40 Hz sine wave is 28.25 feet in length. The idea that a 1.5 foot diameter driver is somehow compromised in terms of "speed" is ... not right.

    Most larger drivers that sound "slow" do so because they have a fairly large "frequency bump" in the 40 Hz range. PSA's previous driver was quite linear, and I cannot imagine that the newer one won't be as well. It should just have more output in the really deep stuff than the old driver, with close to as much output in the 50-100 Hz band. This is why we always run a response curve for everyone to see before we start listening.

    Let's get that V3601 here !! :)
     

Share This Page