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REL Strata III - Good for music, how about movies?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by mark_d, Sep 10, 2001.

  1. mark_d

    mark_d Second Unit

    Dec 4, 2000
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    I want to upgrade my entry level sub (a Yamaha YST-SW90) to something a bit more accomplished. I was going to take my time over this while I saved my money but I have a limited time chance of a cheap Strata III - almost half price for a 7 month old pre-owned model - and it feels like too good a chance to pass up.
    Now, this'll be movies first and music second. I have a smallish, oddly set up lounge, and the Yamaha gives me just about enough couch rumbly oomph (for want of a better word) at max listenable levels. I want more controlled, lower bass and something that'll back up my Kef Cresta 2 bookshelfs for music, all in a sub that's not too big and is downward firing. I have a young daughter and four cats, so an exposed driver (like in the Sunfire clone REL Q200E that I had my eye on) is not an acceptable option.
    What d'you reckon? Let the offer slip or take his hand off?
    Oh, and in case I miss out, how about some advice on how best to audition subs?
  2. Russell_Lengthorn

    Russell_Lengthorn Auditioning

    Feb 14, 2001
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    I've got a REL Stadium, which is just a larger version of the Strata and I can confirm that REL subs are indeed very good for both music and movies.
    My friend has got a Strata II, and having listened to this I can say that it's very similar to my sub except that it doesn't go quite as low.
    I'm sure you have read some of the reviews of REL subs in the UK press and you can see that they get almost universal praise. My sub is not quite as 'punchy' as some other subs I have listened to, notably M&K, but I think they are more natural. Having played a test tone CD I can confirm that they go down very low indeed and will quite happily shake the house if required.
    If you can get the Strata for a good price I'd say go for it, I bought my Stadium as an ex-demo unit and have never regretted it.
  3. Tom Vodhanel

    Tom Vodhanel Cinematographer

    Sep 4, 1998
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    The best way to audition would be taking it home for a weekend.
    If you're limited to in store demos. Here's waht I would try...(assuming it's setup in a decent demo room).
    Take a SPL meter with you, have them cycle through a quick calibration test as you watch the meter...make a mental note of the SPL setting of the REL.
    Demo some scenes that include *real* world bass effects(high level winds,thunder,a gunshot(Matrix and Twister include some good ones)...along with a variety of other DVDs/music. Then ask to hear a subwoofer with verified great extension/clean output...hopefully they'd have a HGS15/18 on hand.
    Once they switch out the rel and switch in the VEL...ask them to run the calibration one more time...make sure the VEL is calibrated to the same level the REL was. Then try to go through all the same scenes at the same overall volume levels. You should then be able to tell if
    a)the REL does extend as deep/clean as another sub might
    b)even if the REL doesn't...you still might consider it well worth the asking price.
    Just remember, if the *Demo* room is smaller than the room you'll place the subwoofer in...you may not get quite the same performance from it once you get it home.

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