Introduction to Subwoofer Reviews

Subwoofers are dedicated bass speakers, reproducing only the lowest bass, generally from the threshold of audibility (~20Hz) to between 80 and 160Hz. Because lower frequencies require more relative power, sub-woofers are almost always active, or self powered, designs (passive sub-woofers exist but are rare). There is tremendous latitude in sub-woofer design. Some favour a very small cabinet and make up for it by incorporating enormous amplification and driver throw, while others will produce similar results using massive cabinets with equally large drivers and relatively conservative amplification. All contemporary powered sub-woofers will including line-level connections (as oppose to speaker level) and in addition to gain adjustment most will have their own lowpass filter (which should be defeatable) as well as phase adjustment. Advanced models will have their own room compensation (aka EQ) system.


HSU Research ULS-15 MKII Subwoofer Review

HSU Research ULS-15 MKII Subwoofer Review

One of the original Internet-direct subwoofer manufacturers, Hsu Research is well-known within the home theater and audio community. For over 20 years, their products have been leaders in the realm of high performance for relatively low cost. On hand today is the new ULS-15 MKII – a sealed subwoofer with a large 15-inch driver.

Artison RCC Nano 1 Subwoofer Review

Artison claims that the RCC Nano 1 is “the world’s smallest high performance subwoofer.” It is quite tiny indeed - the extruded aluminum cabinet is an approximate 7.5” cube and it’s packed with 2 - 6.5” active drivers and a 300W amplifier!

Hsu Research VTF-3 MK5 HP Powered Subwoofer Review

The Hsu Research VTF-3 MK5 HP Powered Subwoofer features highly flexible tuning configurations that allow the user to dial in the sub to match the listening room and/or the listener's preferences. It features a long-throw 15” driver and a built-in 600 watt amp that can produce peaks of up to 2,000 watts short term.

GoldenEar Technology SuperSub XXL Subwoofer Review

When it comes to subwoofers, “bigger, bolder, and more powerful” are things that tend to be most on the minds of bass enthusiasts. GoldenEar Technology has recently come to the table with a little something new that seems to check each one of those desires off the list.

Sumiko S.9 Subwoofer

Sumiko S.9 Subwoofer Review

Sumiko has decided to enter the somewhat crowded subwoofer market with a new line of subwoofers. Not merely content to make a big box that pipes out loud, one-note bass, Sumiko has decided to pursue the more difficult goal of making subwoofers that blend seamlessly with high quality speakers and truly increase the dynamics and weight of an audio system.

Seaton Sound SubMersive HPi+ Subwoofer Review

Seaton Sound builds subwoofers primarily for custom installations. As such, they do not have a lot of knobs, switches, and dials on the amplifier panel. What they do have is great sound - punchy and deep - with the capability of having a 6,000 watt Class D amplifier driving the main enclosure and an additional passive enclosure. You can imagine the results.


GoldenEar ForceField 5 Subwoofer Review

The ForceField 5 ranks as GoldenEar's most potent offering in their subwoofer product line. Primarily, it will impress you by the significant quantities of tuneful, articulate bass it produces over a broad range of material. You will then be further amazed when you notice that all this sonic goodness is emanating from a cabinet that is barely the size of your average beverage cooler.


JL Audio E-Sub E112 Powered Subwoofer Review

JL Audio is best known for their no-compromise mobile audio speakers and amplifiers. That's where it all started for them. But they also made a name for themselves with a line of extreme powered subwoofers for the home market, the Gotham and Fathom. These first JL Audio home subwoofers were big and bold. Now JL Audio has released the E-Subs, which are scaled down subwoofers at more accessible price points…Read More.


M&K Sound X12 Subwoofer

The new "X" line of M&K Sound subwoofers consists of three models: the X8, X10, and X12. When asked how the new "X" line subwoofers were different from the previous generation, Claus Glaesner, President of M&K Sound USA, replied, "These subwoofers are a major step up in every way from our previous subwoofers. The build quality, driver quality, and sound quality represent a new reference level of subwoofer that was previously not available on the market."


REL T-9 Subwoofer

The REL T-9 subwoofer is the largest sub in REL's "Serie T" line. It is a solidly built sub with a 10" Ultra Long Throw main driver, a 10" front-firing passive radiator and a 300 watt Class A/B plate amp. In keeping with REL innovation (and tradition), theT-9 has a number of flexible hook up schemes, the most unique being by way of the included high level hook-up cable.


Gallo Strada 2 Speakers and TR-3D Subwoofers

If you've read any of my reviews before, you know I am a fan of Anthony Gallo Acoustics loudspeakers. I reviewed the original Strada loudspeaker and TR-3 subwoofer in 2010 and was so impressed I almost bought them. The only reason I didn't was because I knew the Reference 3.5 was coming. Those? I bought those, and they are still my reference loudspeaker (however, the 3.5 will be discontinued soon). Gallo claims the new Strada 2 loudspeakers are even better than the original Strada, and the TR-3D is an improvement over then TR3. Both new speakers use almost identical technology to that of the Reference 3.5. Another salvo by Gallo has leveled the paying field between the new Strada 2 and the Reference 3.5s even more. The price of the Strada 2 and TR-3D is identical to the earlier models. The complete system cost with stands weighs in at $4,417 (which includes two TR-3D subs). This used to be a lot cheaper than the $5,995 Reference 3.5. Gallo recently reduced the price of the Reference 3.5 to $3,995, plus an additional $749 for the amp. Now, the price of the two systems is almost identical, within less than $400. The question is, which is better? We will see.


SVS SB13-Ultra Subwoofer

The SVS SB13-Ultra powered subwoofer features a 13.5" driver with 50mm peak excursion.  It is driven by a 1,000 watt RMS Class D amplifier (3,600 watts peak).  This amp has a dual band parametric equalizer and a unique limiter circuit that retains dynamic shadings even when pushed hard.  The sub is a sealed box design with tight and clean bass.  In fact, my nearfield (1 foot) THD+N measurements were all under 0.33% from 28 - 100Hz at 100dB!


Triad Gold Monitor Speakers and Silver Subwoofer

Last year, I had a chance to pay a visit to Triad Speakers, which is located in my home town of Portland, OR. They showed how their speakers are designed and built, from the very beginning, to prototype testing, to building and shipping the final product. Unfortunately, the one opportunity that wasn't available at the factory was the chance to listen to their speakers, as they were doing a complete redesign of their listening room from the studs up. On my way out, they let me take home a pair of In Room Gold Monitors and an In Room Silver DSP Subwoofer for review. Now knowing how they were built and designed, I was certainly looking forward to hearing how they sounded.