Secrets Product Review

Hsu Research VTF-3 HO Modular Subwoofer

Part II

March, 2006

John E. Johnson, Jr.


In Use

I tested the Hsu VTF-3 HO with a Denon DVD-5900 Universal DVD Player, Lexicon MC-12B SSP, Classé CA-5200 Multi-Channel Power Amplifier, and Final Sound Electrostatic Speakers. Cables were Nordost. I crossed all the channels over at 50 Hz to the VTF-3, and switched the VTF-3's built-in crossover out of the signal path.

The Gettysburg sound track CD is one of my favorite recordings, because it has bass drums that simulate cannons.

Even though cannons are almost a random array of deep sounds, a bass drum is still a musical instrument, and the VTF-3 played them that way.

No audible distortion. Just powerful music.


Although this is not my favorite recording of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture in terms of the musical performance, it is my favorite in terms of the incredible dynamics, and the VTF-3 didn't let me down.

The Turbo was on for this recording, and the cannons at the finale are really something else.

Don't forget though, that it is not just special effects that benefit from a good subwoofer. Any full orchestral piece would also benefit. String bass, piano, etc., all have notes down around 30 Hz.

In fact, all speaker systems, even floor-standers, need a subwoofer.


Oh yes, this CD is at the top of the list for tests, and I never get tired of listening to it.

I don't know the exact dimensions of the bass drum used in the "Fanfare for the Common Man", but I think it was about 6 feet in diameter, which delivers an incredible thud.

I can get any subwoofer or power amplifier for that matter, to bottom out with this recording, because it is not compressed, but the Hsu handled it just fine.


Jarhead is a movie where most of the action takes place in the training camp, but nevertheless, there was plenty of work for a good subwoofer to do, and that means the Hsu VTF-3 HO.

Explosions were deep and powerful, but never boomy (boominess would have occurred if the subwoofer had a lot of distortion).

The Turbo is not really necessary to have a good experience, but it adds a bit of whoomph below 20 Hz if there is any material there. Most likely, it would benefit from something like pipe organ music.

Click Here to Go to Part III.

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