dracullus' SVS SB-1000 review

Discussion in 'Subwoofers' started by dracullus, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. dracullus Audioholic Intern

    dracullus
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    I apologize in advance for the lengthy review. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. I tried to cover as much as I could in the limited week and a half I had to listen, photograph and put together this review on top of my full-time job.

    Big thanks to the SVS team and ED MULLEN for giving me the chance to demo this subwoofer and to annoy my neighbors for the past two weeks. My dog is not very excited about it either as you can tell, yes that’s a SVS SB-1000 box in the background...

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    INTRO:


    Anyways before I get started, I just wanted to say that I am in no way affiliated with SVS. I’m just a regular guy that’s passionate about audio. I won a contest to test the sub for 2 weeks and write a review.. I’ve never written a review for anything before.

    I don’t have the time to put together charts and graphs. With that said, this review will be an objective review of my real life observations. I will tell you what this sub can and can't do, what I heard and felt, and how the SB-1000 added or detracted from my test systems. I’ll compare it and pair it up (in a “5.2” configuration) to my other sub, the SVS PB12-Ultra /2.

    For music in a 2.1 desktop/computer setup, I paired the SB-1000 with my Emotiva Airmotiv6 powered studio monitors.

    I’m a visual person, so I'll have plenty of photos and videos for my review. The youtube videos will sound distorted because my camera microphone was not able to capture the loud volume/spl produced by the subwoofer. The sub did not distort in real life. *If the videos didn’t load for you, try refreshing this webpage.

    PACKAGING:


    SB-1000 arrived in a medium sized box, the SB-1000 by itself only weighs 27 lbs, but with all the packaging it probably weighed around 35 lbs or something? Don’t quote me on that though.. I was able to carry it up 3 flights of stairs without any problems. It is double boxed and contains sturdy packing materials-padding/styrofoam around the edges, the sub is wrapped in a plastic cover. Came with a power cord and an instruction card.

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    FEATURES, SPECS, WARRANTY:


    $499 is an entry level price and seems pretty reasonable for what the SB-1000 can do and what you get, considering you get some pretty good performance out of this thing. It sub goes down to 24 Hz and all the way up to 260 Hz +-3db. SB-1000 is a sealed sub with a 12" front firing driver powered by a Sledge DSP controlled amplifier capable of 300w RMS (720w peak). The Sledge amp is a class D, DSP controlled amplifier. The rear of the sub also features several control knobs which control volume, phase, and LFE crossover filter control. The control knobs feel pretty sturdy and have a high-quality smooth liquidy feel to them, you can feel the clicks as you turn the knobs.

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    For a full list of specs and frequency response graphs, please refer to the official SVS website (svsound.com or SB-1000 - SVS )

    The SB-1000 has a small 13in x 13in x 13in footprint so you can easily throw it under your computer desk like I did, or place it anywhere in your room, it really doesn’t take much space. It is targeted for users who are looking to utilize it in a small to medium size room. The front of the sub has an LED which lights up blue when the sub is active. In my case, the LED light fit right in with the inadvertent blue-light theme of my system (take a look at the photo below).

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    The SB-1000 is a black ash painted wood enclosure. The black ash has a smooth finish, and is textured. I think it looks pretty good.

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    Because it is a sealed sub, it should be bit tighter/faster and less boomy compared to ported subs when it comes to handling musical bass (*spoiler*
    and yes it is!
    ). It will not reproduce subsonic bass frequencies like its other ported $499 counter-part, the PB-1000 (per the specs, the PB-1000 goes down to 19 Hz). So if you're specifically looking for more spl/volume in the low end frequencies and don’t care about distortion or resonance caused by the sub port, and you mostly watch movies or play games, my guess is that the PB-1000 might be a better fit for you. I wanted a subwoofer to use for music, so the SB-1000 is a better fit for my situation.

    Let’s talk about some incentives. Priced at $499, ships for free, and comes backed with a 5 year manufacturer warranty. If you buy it and you’re not satisfied, you can return it within 45 days for a refund (minus return shipping), or trade it up within 1 year of your purchase towards a bigger better SVS sub. Speaking from personal experience, SVS’ customer service & support is above-average and that alone is worth some peace of mind. Here’s what you get if you buy it.

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  2. dracullus Audioholic Intern

    dracullus
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    TESTS: (finally!)

    PC audio/music – SB-1000 paired with Emotiva Airmotiv 6 (2.1 setup):


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    Technical stuff:


    Computer office/room dimensions: 12ft by 14ft, with an 8ft tall ceiling, carpeted. Sub underneath desk, and also tested with sub on the side/corner near wall … = louder, boomier..

    For the PC audio, all testing was done using FLAC files with JRiver Media Player (bit-perfect), ASIO output via the ASUS ESSENCE STX sound card-> RCA line out -> SB-1000 RCA in … SB-1000 RCA Out -> RCA in Emotiva Airmotiv6s. ASIO mode bypasses the built-in Windows sound mixer completely resulting in higher sound quality, less distortion. The SB-1000 crossover was set to 80 Hz and 100 Hz. Both settings sound good with this setup. Volumes were set at 100% for my sources and I controlled the actual volume via the sub volume knob and the studio monitor volume knobs. 65-75% of the max (for the sub & the monitors) were usually too loud for me to comfortably listen to.

    Songs/Tracks

    Noisia – Machine gun (16bit remix)
    – (dubstep) – This is a wild track that demands a fast subwoofer to keep up with the high bpm. The SB-1000 kept up with the beat and I did not notice any lag or delays with the bass that the subwoofer produced.

    Bassnectar – Plugged in
    - (dubstep) – Another complex bassy track. The SB-1000 kept up with the fast dynamic bass frequencies and sounds good, no complaints. Nice tight bass.

    Luther Vandross - Dance with my father -
    (r&b)– A really good track to test your setup’s bass. Speakers alone and this track sounds very thin and not very pleasing. Listening to it with the SB-1000 was a much better experience. You get extra “thump”/ bass from the beat with the sub. This bass is hidden if you don’t have a subwoofer or powerful amp/speakers capable of hitting lower frequencies. There are a few overlapping bass frequencies along with tight bass frequencies which the sub was able to separate and reproduce very clearly. The SB-1000 made this track really come alive and added much more depth and balance.

    Sade Ft Jay-Z - Moon and the Sky remix
    –(r&b/soul) Sade tracks typically contain lots of bass. Deep, detailed, punchy, and musical bass, this track has a good mix/variety of bass notes. Sounds great with the SB-1000.

    Chris Jones - No Sanctuary Here
    –(folk)- ♪ ♫ hummmm-ahhh, hummmm-ahhh ♪ ♫ Nice deep bass that accompanies the instruments and the rich vocals. You can hear and feel the bass in the voices (♪ ♫ “no refuge, no respite…” ♪ ♫).

    Rebelution - Courage to Glow & Safe and sound
    - (reggae) both tracks contain pretty good mix of quality musical bass. The SB-1000 handled everything very well and added nice warm detail to the tracks.

    Tyga- Rack City
    - (hip hop) – *Warning* don’t listen to this track around little kids/your spouses* This track has loud low end deep bass and will stress the subwoofer because of the constant bass notes.. Tyga – Faded is also another track that has really low and loud bass notes, the SB-1000 sounds great and did not distort with either track. Playing these tracks loud in a smaller or closed room will pressurize your ear drums. See videos..

    **The distortion sound in the youtube videos is from my camera microphone, not by the subwoofer. There was no distortion that I heard. The sub spl/volume was too loud for the tiny camera mic to handle.

    1st video @ 50% volume on the SB-1000



    2[SUP]nd[/SUP] video @ around 75% volume gain on the SB-1000



    A$AP Rocky Ft. 2 Chainz, Drake, Kendrick Lamar – F***n problem
    – (hip hop) – Once again, in case the title didn’t clue you in, don’t youtube and watch or listen to this track around kids/wives. Another really hard hitting hip hop track. The SB-1000 produced nice tight detailed bass.

    25% volume on the SB-1000:



    65% volume on the SB-1000:



    Overall, the SB-1000 reproduced a good amount of depth, warmth, and detail to each track (and too many other tracks that I’ve listened to but are not included in this review). I tried to incorporate a wide range of music genres. Rock & country music typically is less bassy, so I did not include any tracks from those genres in the review. Pink Floyd @ 24bit /96 KHz (Bluray) sounds really good and the bass output was clean and tight.

    Personally, I was very pleased with the Airmotiv 6 / SB-1000 combination in a 2.1 music setup in a smaller sized room. They sound amazing together and complement each other very well. I enjoyed the SB-1000 the most with hip hop and dubstep tracks.

    I also hooked up my SVS PB12-Ultra/2 to listen to music and immediately noticed a much slower bass response (slight delay/lag between the beat and the bass output) and a bit more distortion (boomy-ness) when it came to music.

    I recommend using a sealed sub if you listen to music more than 50% of the time.

    Home Theatre - Movies – SVS SB-1000 & SVS PB12-Ultra/2:

    Technical stuff:

    HT Room dimensions: 20 ft x 16 ft, with 8 ft tall ceiling, carpeted.

    Pre-pro: Integra DHC 80.2 via XLR out to Emotiva XPA-1’s (3 monoblock amps) to B&W 802D (mains), B&W HTM1D (center), XPA-5 out to Emotiva surrounds. SB-1000 and PB12-Ultra/2 set to 80 Hz crossover via the DHC 80.2.

    Blu-ray movie sources only (using only DTS-HD MA, or D True-HD, or PCM sound).

    For the movie reviews, I found that the SB-1000 sounded best when I turned up the subwoofer gain on the Integra DHC-80.2 to about +8 to +10 db. The PB12-Ultra/2 didn’t need any adjustment to the source gain.
    I also recalibrated the integra (Audyssey XT32) with the SB-1000 and then again when I messed around with the 5.2 setup (both subs).

    Movies:


    Book Of Eli

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    Book Of Eli:
    The scene I reviewed is the shootout in the middle of the town. Just like with the Luther Vandross track, if you don’t use a sub or your speakers aren’t capable of low end frequencies, you will miss out on a lot of the “thump” and bass impact that exists in this scene. Each time a gun/shotgun is fired, the shot is accompanied by a fast and deep LFE bass thump (watch this scene if you have the movie, and turn up your bass). The SB-1000 reproduced the explosion bass frequency well and was able to produce a bit of impact/punch. The SVS PB12-Ultra/2 reproduced that same bass thump sound but also punched me in the chest and in my ear drums much harder. My seat rattled and made me feel like I was getting shot by the sound-wave. SB-1000 did not have the same punch.

    Cloverfield

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    Cloverfield:
    The constant bass - gigantic monster foot-stomps and loud explosions will give your sub a workout for sure. I wanted to see how the SB-1000 would hold up. The scene reviewed is the military assault on the monster (see abv photo). The explosions from the tanks and missiles were loud, but lacked impact. The SB-1000 couldn’t compete with the PB12 Ultra/2. The SB-1000 needed more power during this hard bass heavy scene.

    Dredd

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    Dredd:
    A remake of the 1995 movie, and this new version is ten times better IMO. This version packs a lot of detailed bass and subsonic hard hitting LFE. The ‘slow-mo’ scenes when time slowed down sound amazing with both subs. I ended up watching the entire movie with both subs hooked up to the DHC 80.2 in a 5.2 configuration (they worked very well together). The PB12-Ultra/2 once again shook the house and provided the impact feeling, whereas a single SB-1000 provided decent bass volume that was enjoyable but there was no impact.

    Knowing

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    Knowing:
    The scene reviewed was the Airplane crash scene. Pretty good detail in the bass during this scene, and a good workout for the subwoofer. My room shook with the PB12-Ultra/2 when the plane went down and exploded. The SB-1000 appeared to have less distortion during the explosions (and the bass felt a tiny bit more detailed) but less volume and impact than the PB12-Ultra/2.

    Terminator Salvation

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    Terminator Salvation:
    I LOVE the bass produced by the giant machine foot-steps and the mechanical whirr. This movie is filled with awesome LFE effects. Both subs played the LFE loud, the SB-1000 was quicker/tighter and more detailed than the PB12-Ultra/2 so I actually enjoyed that part, but the Ultra/2 shook my place like an earthquake with every explosion and machine foot-stomp. Together in unison, this scene is amazing and makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 19, 2014
  3. dracullus Audioholic Intern

    dracullus
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    Transformers 1 / 2 / 3
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    Transformers 1 / 2 / 3:
    Even if you’re not a fan of this trilogy, you have to appreciate the sound quality and LFE effects. Filled with hard hitting explosions, bassy robotic movements, and other misc LFE detail –even in the helicopter blades spinning have bass effects. AWESOME

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    **The distortion in the youtube videos is from the camera microphone, not by the subwoofer distorting.



    There are too many scenes to talk about. Overall, I loved the detail the SB-1000 was able to produce but it left me wanting more, more impact and punch. The SB-1000 shines when it comes to reproducing tight detailed bass in short bursts whereas the Ultra/2 was easily able to reproduce loud constant hard hitting bass with ease.


    boom

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    War of the Worlds (2005)

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    War of the Worlds (2005):
    A sub review cannot be complete without mentioning this movie. The subsonic LFE effects in this movie are EPIC! My favorite bass effects are the lightning strikes which hit hard and have punchy impact during the lightning strike scene. The pods emerge is great for a constant bass subwoofer workout. This scene is several minutes long and is filled with non-stop heavy bass. It is very power demanding and it’ll bring any sub with low RMS output down to its knees. The SB-1000 produced an acceptable bass volume level, but was starved for power. The PB12-Ultra/2 is amazing and reproduces this scene with heavy impact, you feel like you’re in the movie, my entire place shook violently and things fell off counters in adjacent rooms.. The first time I watched this movie with my PB12 Ultra/2, portraits and paintings fell off the wall and my neighbors rang my doorbell to check on me because they thought we had an earthquake (I have shared walls).


    In conclusion, the SB-1000 was able to reproduce detailed bass at acceptable volumes, however it lacked punch and impact that larger and more powerful ported subs are able to produce. When it came to constant bass hungry scenes, the SB-1000 was starved for power, whereas it did okay in scenes where it demanded quick bursts of bass (like the gun shots in Book of Eli). It was just too small to pressurize my HT room by itself (which didn’t surprise me). However, when I paired the SB-1000 with the Emotiva Airmotiv6 for a 2.1 PC HT/movie setup in my smaller computer room and had the sub within 5 feet from my viewing spot, the movies were much more enjoyable and the impact the sub provided was much more pronounced. In that situation the sub was enjoyable.

    Video gaming
    :

    I played Battlefield 3 and COD: Black Ops 2 using the SB-1000 and Airmotiv 6’s (2.1 setup). The sub drew me in and made the gaming experience much more exciting. Being able to hear and feel the bass of a gunshot, a grenade or an EMP pulse go off near your position will get your adrenaline pumping. The close-by explosions pack quite a bit of punch, whereas the explosions in the distance are muffled a bit with less bass impact which adds a sense of depth to the audio gaming experience. I recommend the SB-1000 for video gaming, with the sub placed near the player of course ;) (unless you only play sports games, which may not have enough bass effects, or you play games using large speakers in a large room).

    CONCLUSION:


    The SB-1000 is good match for those looking for a budget musical sub with a small footprint that is easy to hide and have a budget of < $500. SB-1000 sounds great when it comes to music, provides tight accurate and detailed bass, and made most tracks much fuller and enjoyable. Anyone adding a sub to their stereo system will be surprised how much they were missing out on without one. Whether it’s music, movies or games that occupy most of your time, you just won’t get that same full sound with a regular 2.0 speaker setup.

    With that said, for my particular computer speaker setup, the SB-1000 proved to be a vital component and it did a great job filling my small room with adequate bass. Others that have medium to large rooms might want to go with a dual SB-1000 or SB-1000 / PB-1000 combo, or just a larger more powerful sub to pressurize the room. The bass in a dual subwoofer setup added a nice touch to my HT setup and my movie experience by filling in details that a single sub replicate by itself.

    I like the SB-1000 better for music. It feels tight, accurate and responsive to me, and it can keep up with fast and complex bass notes and beats. This sub is also good for smaller rooms with smaller speakers, like studio monitors, where watching movies in that situation is very enjoyable.

    Thanks for reading my review.

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    Bonus videos:


    Iron Man
    – Jericho Scene
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    Transformers 2 – extended scene

    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 19, 2014
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  4. pcweber111 Audiophyte

    pcweber111
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    Wow that's quite the review you did there. Makes mine look paltry by comparison! Good stuff though, thanks for the heads up. I've wondered how that sub compares to the PB-1000 I reviewed.
  5. mike c Audioholic Warlord

    mike c
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    great pics!
  6. dracullus Audioholic Intern

    dracullus
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    Hey, thanks. I might have gone a little overboard with it, I dunno, I think my OCD got the best of me, ha ha. I had fun with it and I tried to make it interesting and not super technical, the way I'd want a review to look/read. As long as you had fun with the PB-1000 that's all that matters ! :) Altho, I am also curious now to how the SB-1000 and the PB-1000 compare side by side.. *hint hint , ED! send me a PB-1000, just kidding..
  7. dracullus Audioholic Intern

    dracullus
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    Thanks Mike. I enjoy photography, this review gave me a reason to brush up on my skills. The screen captures from the blu-ray movies were a pain in the butt and time consuming.
  8. mike c Audioholic Warlord

    mike c
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    me too. and it seems like i'm only good at buying camera gear and not the actual photography :)
  9. KEW Audioholic Ninja

    KEW
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    Thanks for doing this comparison. I knew that for a given price point a sealed sub was generally the way to go for music, but it is enlightening to realize that a well made $500 sealed sub might be a better choice for music than a well designed $1400 ported sub!
    That is a significant finding! There can still be some uncertainty since the subs were not co-located, etc.; but I appreciate you telling us your experience.
    Hopefully someone will perform an extensive lab test on this sub so we can see if and how this shows among the measurements!
    KEW,
  10. Haberskir Enthusiast

    Haberskir
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    Great review. I just purchased an SB12-NDS for only $100.00 more from the SVS outlet site because I wanted a small footprint sub in Pianio black. I think of the SB12 as the SB1000's older brother.
  11. dracullus Audioholic Intern

    dracullus
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    Thanks KEW. I did that comparison for fun. It wasn't really a fair comparison considering my PB12-Ultra/2 is about 8 1/2 yrs old, triple-ported, and has 2 12" Ultra drivers with a BASH 1000w amp.
    The sealed SB-1000 is a great choice when it comes to a smaller room, paired with studio monitors (not so great for large-size rooms paired with large powerful speakers); it performed well in the small computer room and I had zero complaints. Pairing up the PB12-Ultra/2 with small studio monitors was a mismatch and I didn't enjoy it as much. The PB12 Ultra/2 is just so powerful it overwhelmed my powered monitors.

    Regarding the slower bass response (music test in my small room), the PB12-Ultra/2 seemed to have just a slight delay in the bass response, which I'm guessing has something to do with the massive power that's needed to drive both of those 12" Ultra drivers? Or maybe the DSP controlled SB-1000 is just more accurate and efficient, I dont know.. To my ears the lag was noticeable when I compared it to the SB-1000. Once again this was in my small room, which I recommended the sealed sub over the ported PB12-Ultra/2.

    RE: Terminator Salvation, the mechanical whirr bass notes from the giant machine were quite detailed with the SB-1000 (not as loud and thunderous as the PB12U/2 though). This might have something to do with the fact that the PB12-Ultra/2 plays bass so loud and pressurizes the room so well (as well as your ear drums) that this might have a negative effect on sound quality because it may mask some of the detailed bass. Another example (which I didnt include in my review because I wanted to trim it down) was Master and Commander. The scene where the canons shoot in the distance and then the canonballs begin to crash through the wooden planks in the ship, seemed quite detailed with the SB-1000. I could hear the creaks and crunches from the wood splintering in the bass, whereas with the PB12-U/2, I was able to feel the explosions and the creaks but the sound was so loud in my ears, it felt like there was slightly less detail there. Maybe I was just distracted with all the impact from the PB12-U/2. Overall, for larger HT rooms with large speakers, like I said, I still prefer a larger ported powerful sub and will take the PB12-U/2 over the SB-1000.
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  12. dracullus Audioholic Intern

    dracullus
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    Good deal, that piano black looks clean.. How do you like the sub!? and what speakers did you pair it up with?
  13. Haberskir Enthusiast

    Haberskir
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    I really love this sub. I have it paired with a set of energy take classics. The room is 12 x 12 so there is plenty of output and the wife loves the size and finish. So it is a win win for me.
  14. l0gikal1 Audiophyte

    l0gikal1
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    I have to admit this is a very thorough review. The visuals are fantastic and the video clips to go along with them are a great way to show how well the subwoofer works. It definitely shows you spent quality time in making a solid summary and explaining every detail you possibly could while testing this SVS SB-1000 out. Well done!:cool:
  15. dracullus Audioholic Intern

    dracullus
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    High Wife Acceptance Factor and good performance, a guy can't ask for more ! Enjoy :cool:
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 19, 2014
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  16. Gigabit Audiophyte

    Gigabit
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    Best review i read in years. Hat's off to you, mister :)
  17. dracullus Audioholic Intern

    dracullus
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    Thank you sir! I'm glad you enjoyed it
  18. F-16 419 Audiophyte

    F-16 419
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    Great Review! Only thing missing is a 27" iMac!
  19. ratm Audioholic

    ratm
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    Completely agree. Those screen shots are sick, as is the excursion of this sub.
    ratm,
  20. dracullus Audioholic Intern

    dracullus
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    Thanks ratm, that was my purpose for the videos :) show excursion at different volume levels and how fast/accurate this sub is when it comes to musical bass/movie scenes-explosions etc. Pictures (and videos) are worth 1,000 words.

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