Earthquake has been making subwoofers longer than most of us probably even knew subwoofers existed. They were there at the beginning. The guys who knew they were there were the marine and car audio enthusiasts.
Well, now the rest of us know they are around because they have been making them for the regular home audio/home theater consumers for awhile. They became renown for their really, really big subwoofers. The kind that would make the entire auditorium at CES shake.
- Design: Powered Subwoofer
- Drivers: One 10″ Active, One 10″ Passive
- Power: 600 Watts RMS
- MFR: 20 Hz – 135 Hz
- Inputs: RCA Line Level, Binding Post Speaker Level
- Outputs: High Passed RCA Line Level and Binding Post Speaker Level
- Dimensions: 12.1″ H x 12.2″ W x 13.5″ D
- Weight: 40 Pounds
- MSRP: $1,199 USA
- Earthquake Sound
The Earthquake MiniMe is a result of consumers telling the industry that what they want now are subwoofers that can fit in small spaces, not overpower the room with their bulk, and yet still deliver the subterranean sound that today’s movies require.
The MiniMe P10 is a 10″ woofer design, with one active driver and one passive radiator. A 600 watt switching amplifier drives the package. Earthquake’s MiniMe series includes 8″, 10″, and 12″ models.
The amplifier has plenty of power and not too many controls that you have to worry about setting properly. Inputs are RCA and speaker level, outputs are high-passed RCA and speaker level. Volume and Crossover Frequency are dials, with sliders for Mode (Sub vs. LFE; LFE bypasses the crossover) and Phase. You can also set it for Auto On. That’s it except for the power switch and grounded AC input socket.
The drivers have the very wide surround (1.5″) that is typical of today’s subwoofer drivers. This allows a huge excursion. That, coupled with the high power switching amplifiers that are available, and this relatively small, light subwoofer outperforms much larger units of a decade ago. So, without even listening to the MiniMe, what I liked about it already were how uncomplicated the control panel was and how light it was.
As most of you know by now, I love subwoofers, and I always look forward to connecting a new one into the system here in our lab. The rest of the test system included a Marantz VP-11S2 projector, Sony Blu-ray player, Lexicon MC-12B SSP, Classé CA-5200 power amplifier, and Final Sound speakers. Cables were Nordost.
I watches several movies with the MiniMe, including a new Blu-ray release of Diehard 2. Now, my reference system includes four 18″ subwoofers, so of course, I didn’t expect the MiniMe to perform like that, but it did do very well. In fact, much better than I was anticipating. The sound was deep and clean. I could hear some distortion with really intense passages, but it was not irritating at all. The bench tests showed why, namely that the distortion was predominately second order.
Face/Off is another movie with lots of intense bass, and the MiniMe did not disappoint. You know that incredible chase scene at the end? Well, that is what I am talking about.
On the Bench
OK, so far, so good. Let’s take a look at the numbers.
THD+N tests were within an 80 kHz bandwidth.
At 20 Hz, 100 dB, 1 foot, THD+N was a little more than 11%. Notice that the second order harmonic predominates. Often in subwoofers, the third order harmonic is pretty close to the second at high output, but with this Earthquake P10, the third order harmonic is 20 dB lower than the second, even at 20 Hz. That is impressive. Earthquake uses what they called SLAPS technology in their patented driver design. Seems to work. This is good performance for a small subwoofer.
At 25 Hz, distortion was nearly 9% at 100 dB (yellow graph). When I lowered the output to about 92 dB (magenta graph), distortion dropped to 4%. The second order harmonic (2) dropped considerably, the third stayed about the same, but higher order harmonics (4 and 5) really dropped. I was able to get a maximum output of 110 dB at 25 Hz. This is very good. Usually, in a small subwoofer, the edge of the enclosure comes almost to the edge of the surround, keeping the box as small as possible. Earthquake has opted to make the enclosure a few inches larger than the driver, and this makes a difference in the output.
At 31.5 Hz, distortion was at 5%.
And at 40 Hz, 3% THD+N.
THD+N vs. Frequency indicated that the MiniMe stayed generally below 10% regardless of how low the frequency was.
The room response graph is shown below. As one moves farther away from the subwoofer, the room effects become more visible, so it would be advisable to use some EQ to reduce the peak region between 50 Hz and 100 Hz.
I keep thinking that subwoofer technology improvements have flattened out, but I keep getting proven wrong. The Earthquake MiniMe P10 is a good example of that. It is small, lightweight, easy to set up, and best of all, it delivers.