Emotiva X-Ref 12 Subwoofer Review

A

admin

Audioholics Robot
Staff member
The X-Ref 12 is representative of the next evolution in Emotiva's powered subwoofer line and comes equipped with many upscale features such as built in DSP that is controlled via a top mounted LCD screen with a rotary push button knob, balanced XLR connection, and two fully adjustable bands of parametric EQ to address room response issues or adjust to suit listener tastes. The X-Ref 12 has a solidly built, well finished sealed enclosure with a hand rubbed lacquer finish. The 12" driver is a robust piece with a 3" voice coil and double stacked magnets which is controlled by the 600 watt highly efficient amplifier. Being a sealed subwoofer with a very small form factor the X-Ref 12 does not have subterranean deep bass extension or herculean output capabilities, so it should perform better in smaller spaces. But, it operates with rock steady reliability and always sounds clean and composed while doing so. Considering the bargain cost of only $599 shipped to your door for a subwoofer that does all of the above and the generous 5 year warranty, the X-Ref 12 offers a lot of bang for your hard earned buck.


Discuss "Emotiva X-Ref 12 Subwoofer Review" here. Read the article.
 
HexOmega

HexOmega

Audioholic
Josh Ricci said:
The X-Ref 12 did well here providing the short percussive blasts of the small arms and the big rumbling explosion of the IUD without distress but the large explosion seemed less impressive than I remember from watching the movie on my reference system.
IUD = Intra-Uterine Device

IED = Improvised Explosive Device

I'm fairly certain you meant the latter :D
 
F

FirstReflection

AV Rant Co-Host
Nice!

I was looking forward to this review of the new(-ish) Emotiva X-Ref sub since I haven't had a chance to hear one for myself yet. From the review, it appears to be similar to what I might have expected just based on the design. No denying the high value here, what with the DSP control making it virtually impossible to damage the sub with a high volume setting, keeping the distortion under control and even including 2 bands of PEQ! Gotta give big props for including all of that for a $600 price tag!

I'm a little bit disappointed to see such a steep roll off below around 30Hz though. Without knowing the exact design and without having heard one for myself, I was sort of expecting the typical 2nd order roll off on the bottom end. It looks as though Emotiva decided to extend the flat, linear response down to around 30Hz at the expense of the half-octave below that point, rather than just use the natural 2nd order roll off, but starting up around 40-50Hz somewhere. For folks who are more concerned about music than heavy-bass'd action movies, I have to say, that's probably a better design choice. There isn't a heck of a lot below 30Hz in most music, so it's great to be able to play down to 30Hz with nice, flat, linear, accurate response!

Looks, from the review, like this could be a good choice for many people who have smaller rooms and care more about music or just don't mind giving up that last half-octave of the deepest bass. Certain kudos are deserved for all the features and the performance that's offered in such a small box for such a small price.
 
sholling

sholling

Audioholic Ninja
Excellent review! This pretty much matches my experience with the Ultra 12 including the steep drop off at 32hz and the room size rating. Because of that I consider it a bit of a niche product rather than a general purpose subwoofer but one that does a decent job. It does a really good job with most music and would be a good fit in a small room like an office or very small bedroom or perhaps the living room of a tiny apartment where deeper/louder bass will get you evicted. Where the Ultra 12 falls short is deep action-movie bass and with some of my more bass heavy music and that doesn't appear to have changed with the new X-Ref.
 
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BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
Thank you Ricci for great review...
Only thing stands out just a bit - I think that AH Small room rating for X-Ref 12 is obviously not directly comparable to older rating system, but review for Ultra-12 recommended for most rooms, but largest ones... yet X-Ref 12 is noticeably stronger
We can recommend the Emotiva Ultra 12 Sub to anyone interested in a value product that will deliver tight, musical bass in almost any size room. If you think you want more output or your room opens up and is on the larger size, then by all means buy two.
 
gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
Thank you Ricci for great review...
Only thing stands out just a bit - I think that AH Small room rating for X-Ref 12 is obviously not directly comparable to older rating system, but review for Ultra-12 recommended for most rooms, but largest ones... yet X-Ref 12 is noticeably stronger
Yes the Ultra 12 was reviewed before we came up with the Room Rating protocol. If it were reviewed today with our new standard it would also earn our "Small Room" rating. It still can be used in larger rooms but it won't be able to hit reference levels as indicated in our protocol spec.
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
Yes the Ultra 12 was reviewed before we came up with the Room Rating protocol. If it were reviewed today with our new standard it would also earn our "Small Room" rating. It still can be used in larger rooms but it won't be able to hit reference levels as indicated in our protocol spec.
Thank you Gene
 
sholling

sholling

Audioholic Ninja
Yes the Ultra 12 was reviewed before we came up with the Room Rating protocol. If it were reviewed today with our new standard it would also earn our "Small Room" rating. It still can be used in larger rooms but it won't be able to hit reference levels as indicated in our protocol spec.
The new room rating system is a huge improvement. The old pre-edit description of "dominate a 4000cuft room" (besides causing me to spill my coffee ;)) pointed to the need for an objective set of room size ratings standards. Kudos to the Audioholics team for the changes and Ricci for the review.
 
V

vilasn

Audiophyte
X-Ref 12 vs SVS SB13-PLUS

Hi,

Can somebody comment on how does X-Ref 12 compare with SVS SB13-PLUS, I know there is a price gap, but just out of curiosity.

Thanks.
 
S

SunnyD

Audioholic Intern
Hi,

Can somebody comment on how does X-Ref 12 compare with SVS SB13-PLUS, I know there is a price gap, but just out of curiosity.

Thanks.
In short. it doesn't. check out the reviews on the main site to see why.
 
S

SunnyD

Audioholic Intern
How about the SVS SB12-NSD? Same price range and size.


Thanks
Out of those two, I would get the SVS for 70 bucks more. Even though the nsd is ported and the x-ref 12 is sealed(geared more to SQ). SVS know what they are doing with their sub design, so the SQ is going to be there as well. Plus the SVS will be able get lower and louder for movie time.

I never heard either of the subs above. I just used my knowledge i obtained researching subs. And my first hand knowledge with the SVS pb12 plus, which I recently purchased. With the outstanding job they did with the plus, I'm sure the nsd is great as well for its tier.
 
zhimbo

zhimbo

Audioholic General
In short. it doesn't. check out the reviews on the main site to see why.
Just so we're clear...The SVS SB13-Plus hasn't been reviewed on the main site. You may be thinking of another modelthat's been reviewed.

The SVS seems to have a more traditional sealed-box drop off; it almost certainly has considerably more output capability (or I would hope so).
 
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its phillip

its phillip

Audioholic Ninja
Out of those two, I would get the SVS for 70 bucks more. Even though the nsd is ported and the x-ref 12 is sealed(geared more to SQ). SVS know what they are doing with their sub design, so the SQ is going to be there as well. Plus the SVS will be able get lower and louder for movie time.

I never heard either of the subs above. I just used my knowledge i obtained researching subs. And my first hand knowledge with the SVS pb12 plus, which I recently purchased. With the outstanding job they did with the plus, I'm sure the nsd is great as well for its tier.
the sb12 is sealed, not ported. sb = sealed box, pb = ported box, pc = ported cylinder.

i would buy an sb12-nsd over an x-ref 12 though, if i had to choose.
 
S

SunnyD

Audioholic Intern
the sb12 is sealed, not ported. sb = sealed box, pb = ported box, pc = ported cylinder.
thanks my fopaux

Just so we're clear...The SVS SB13-Plus hasn't been reviewed on the main site. You may be thinking of another modelthat's been reviewed.
I got confused. it was S&V. I thought i read it here. I was looking to buy that before i got the PB 12.
 
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zhimbo

zhimbo

Audioholic General
I got confused. it was S&V. I thought i read it here. I was looking to buy that before i got the PB 12.
I see S&V has reviewed both subs. They found a little more output in the Emotiva in the 40-63Hz range vs. the SVS, but the SVS extends much lower with more output.

The S&V FR chart for the Emotiva shows quite a different FR curve than Audioholics found, though - strong peak at ~60Hz, with gradual drop off from there (as opposed to quite flat to 32hz with a quick drop off below that). Odd.
 
theJman

theJman

Audioholic Chief
For all of the listening sessions the Emotiva X-REF12 was placed in the front right corner of the room firing into the corner about 4 inches from the walls.

I see this (or similar) wording in most of the subwoofer reviews. Is that to be taken literally, as in you're aiming it into the corner so the sound is reflecting off the walls? If so, what's the advantage to doing it that way? I don't recall ever seeing a subwoofer oriented in a similar manner when used at home. It seems to me the output would be greater were it firing directly at you, instead of away from you.
 
gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
$100 off using "Audioholics" coupon code @ checkout

Guys;

For the month of February while we are featuring the X-Ref12 review on our homepage, Emotiva is offering a $100 off coupon code to Audioholics readers by entering "Audioholics" at checkout! I hope this helps put a little money back in prospective buyers pockets.
 

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