The controls are too vulnerable underneath the sub. What is more is that is a very poor place due to heat dispersion. You never want to put a plate amp on the bottom of any sub. Furthermore, any cables will need a 90-degree bend on the connecting terminal. A better solution would be to mount the driver on the bottom with a metal grille to protect it. That way you can have left/right symmetry, if that is what concerns you.
This is not true, the connections don't have to be vulnerable underneath the sub. You can make the controls fit DEEPER inside the sub then the bottom itself. As I said: Google image the Kef T2 and you see that there is zero problem regarding this subject when you have the connections on the bottom(you can even put the connections 5-10cm deeper then at the T2 of course).
About the controls I also gave the clear solution: app control, like for example SVS has a great app. That is the future, no buttons are needed then at all. The B&W subwoofers also have a app, and many others do to. I never need to touch the buttons of my current subwoofer since it's all app controlled. I don't understand how that is an issue at all.
About the heat issues, this is also not true if you think out of the box: The connections can be easilly connected to the AMP's if you put the AMP on top of the subwoofer. The AMP doesn't need to be at the bottom at all? I don't see why you think that this must be the case. For example if you create the same subwoofer with an massive aluminium top panel, the cooling+the amp could be on top and that would be perfect for cooling, even better then on the back, this while the connectors stay on the bottom of this subwoofer, the connections on the bottom could be easilly connected with wire. This is no issue at all!
So it's all easilly doable for a good designer as you can read. You simply need to think out of the box. I shared those idea's already with Arendal, they appreciated this feedback so much that we will maybe see such an optimized design in the future. When this is the case, then you know where it came from
Edit: And an another solution is as B&W solved it, with the SA1000 + CT SW subwoofers of their CT700 series, external amp's. So many way that are possible to achieve this.
I don't know why most people would care about balanced inputs very much. Balanced cables are better at reducing electromagnetic noise but that only becomes an issue at a long running distance in a noisy environment. It isn't qualitatively better otherwise. Plus, you have to have an LF source that has a true balanced output for it to work, and how many people have that? The people who have balanced LF outputs are either in a pro-sound environment or someone with a high-end processor- and anyone with a high-end processor is probably shopping for a higher-end sub than the 1961 subs like say the 1723 subs which do have balanced inputs.
I look at this the opposite way. The performance of the signal is extremely degraded by an RCA connection. XLR connections of subwoofers are cheap to make, even 150 euro studio subwoofers are equipped with XLR inputs. Only consumer subwoofers are equipped with an stone age connector called RCA. Unbalanced signal should be avoided at any time. You guys here at audioholics always focus on maximum performance/measurements, then why don't you guys see this as a negative aspect. So many people have dealt with GND/hum issues with subwoofers, just google on it, it's not a small number. Besides that: you degrade the performance of the DAC massively for no reason at all. So why not add this simple feature? I don't understand how you could be against this and how this isn't a negative point of this subwoofer? Their bigger brother even has it, but that one is to big for my living room.
I don't agree that "anyone with a high-end processor is probably shopping for a higher-end sub" at all. I am such an consumer, so it's not "anyone". There are ZERO high-end subwoofers with XLR inputs that are small enough in terms of depth of the housing. I have an high-end processor with balanced connectors but there is simply no suitable small depth case subwoofer available with room EQ and good measurements that fit my living room. All are RCA subs or come without any room EQ controls.
Besides that: This Arendal subwoofers measure close to perfect for their size, so WHY
should someone with an "high-end processor" shop for an more expensive subwoofer? There is no logic in this.
This subwoofer is high end enough for me if it ticked the 2 boxed that I mentioned. All more expensive subs with XLR's are simply to big. Except the B&W DB3D maybe, but that's performance wise not that high-end since it has only 2x 8 inch.. and is way overpriced imo for what it is, the Arendal has much better value.