- Written by Robert Ebeling
- Published on 03 February 2014
The M&K Sound X12 Subwoofer In Use
Matrix Reloaded: One of the generally more impressive bass scenes on video is in the early part of the movie when the Nebuchadnezzar is returning to Zion. We see massive gears turning to open Zion's monolithic gates welcoming the Nebuchadnezzar home. The effects editor knew what this was supposed to sound and feel like, and went so far as to actually shake the picture ever so slightly during the gates motion to give the viewer a sense of the shear mass that was being moved. While this scene is always a great one, it was not believable until the two M&K Sound X12 subwoofers were in place. As the gates closed, there was a shockwave I felt for the first time. The X12 faithfully reproduced not only the initial door closing sound but also the residual echo it caused to resonate throughout Zion. The low-end extension of the X12 is astounding! The reproduction was so real I thought for an instant I had just sealed myself in my theater room for good! After the gates close, the Nebuchadnezzar lands at port. I have never really thought this image was necessary, but as it touched down, it sounded like a tanker ship had just run aground in my listening room!
The Dark Knight: One of my new favorite sound scenes is the tunnel chase scene from this movie. There are enough diesel engines, shotgun blasts, explosions, and car crashes to keep even the most bass hungry satisfied. The scene opens with a point blank shotgun blast combined with a low tympani beat at the trail off of the blast for transition into the next shot. The depth of sound and realism conveyed by the two X12 subwoofers was so believable, I felt compelled to check myself for wounds. I had previously not given much thought to the sound as the garbage truck is rear-ending the SWAT vehicle; it always sounded good, but like two cars hitting each other. With the dueling X12 subs in full effect, you get the impression the dump truck is full of trash (and weight), and the SWAT has only people inside (mostly hollow). The metal on metal sound produced by the M&K X12 gave a scary realism to the impact and conveyed the size and texture of the trucks involved better than any subwoofer I have heard.
Just after the Tumbler finishes pushing the garbage truck all the way down the tunnel, it turns and takes off after the Joker. Two sounds struck me here. The first is the deep rumble of the Tumbler's sizable tires on the pavement as it takes off. The sound is almost too low to hear, but the massive drivers on the M&K Sound X12 makes sure you feel it! The second is the otherworldly, guttural growl the engine makes as it takes off, as if it was just belched out of the netherworld.
At the end of this sequence the Joker's empty tractor-trailer gets flipped end over end and lands flatly on it's back with the camera looking straight down the empty trailer. Now, a small trailer sounds different than a large one, a full different than empty, etc. The sound produced from the X12 is scary! The sound was so accurate and fast I could hear the difference between the initial smack of the trailer on pavement, the buckling of the walls, and the final echo of the crash off the walls of the adjacent buildings. These subs bring you into the movie, so instead of watching a trailer flip in a movie, you believe you are actually standing in a street watching the trailer flip in front of you.
The Phantom of the Opera soundtrack: I have loved The Phantom of the Opera since I was a kid, and have seen it performed live many times. The Super Audio CD recording is one of the best dynamic recordings I have heard in a long time and does the live performance justice. I chose to listen in two-channel mode and made adjustments in my pre/pro to include the M&K behemoths in the audio below the crossover point. The thunderous organ of the "Overture" is in full force here, and the X12 handled it magnificently! This score really tests the deep limits of any speaker system with organ notes in the 8-10 Hz range. The M&K Sound X12 subwoofer faithfully reproduced them with aplomb. These are notes you may not even know are supposed to be there unless you have heard the "Overture" played on a true pipe organ as there are few subs that can extend that low and shake your chest. These are sounds you really feel rather than hear.