REL Acoustics HT/1510 Predator II Subwoofer Review

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shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Staff member
1510 hero2.jpg
It seems odd that Audioholics has never come around to review anything from the subwoofer manufacturer REL Acoustics. They have been a big name in subwoofers for at least as long as Audioholics has existed. Today, that will thankfully change since we finally have a REL subwoofer in-house for our evaluation. The model in question is the HT/1510 Predator II, a larger sealed sub with a 15” driver and a 1,000-watt amplifier. By REL standards it is a fairly large sub since REL is mostly known for smaller subs intended for 2-channel systems. This one is a part of their “Serie HT” line which is geared more for home theater than their other lines, so the larger size here is necessary since home theater applications tend to take advantage of deeper bass than most music, and deep bass is hard to squeeze out of a small enclosure. The HT/1510 Predator II is, as the name denotes, a ‘sequel’ to their previous 15” entry in this line, the HT/1508 Predator, which was launched in early 2017. I have to admit that REL is off to a good start with me in the naming of these subs since I love the movies Predator and Predator II, but I will try to keep my bias in check here despite the product sharing the name of one of my favorite movies from my adolescence.

READ: REL Acoustics HT/1510 Predator II Subwoofer Review
 
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luis1090

Audioholic Intern
I'm in the market for a subwoofer and when found this review was really happy since this subwoofer was on my short list of options. It did a good show but for $1900 I was expecting more and I know measured numbers won't tell the hole story. I listened before REL subwoofers and like them but also liked Monolith, SVS among others, again was expecting more; maybe I'm in the wrong but for example a Monolith 15 will score more than 10db extra output from 20 to 30 hz and in the mid bass around 50hz still over 3db more. I know is sealed and I know that with room gain in room response will reach 20hz still you can have more for less. I also was expecting a better driver with cast frame and overall better built quality but it's a stamped frame driver on a 2k subwoofer, good enclosure though.
 
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ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Overlord
I'm in the market for a subwoofer and when found this review was really happy since this subwoofer was on my short list of options. It did a good show but for $1900 but I was expecting more and I know measured numbers won't tell the hole story. I listened before REL subwoofers and like them but also liked Monolith, SVS among others, again was expecting more; maybe I'm in the wrong but for example a Monolith 15 will score more than 10db extra output from 20 to 30 hz and in the mid bass around 50hz still over 3db more. I know is sealed and I know that with room gain in room response will reach 20hz still you can have more for less. I also was expecting a better driver with cast frame and overall better built quality but it's a stamped frame driver on a 2k subwoofer, good enclosure though.
This is a common criticism of Rel, the cost to performance ratio is simply askew.
When it comes to time domain/ group delay, the modern Ported Subs all seem to behave very well, and as you say, the output is higher, tune lower, and usually more efficient in terms of output, especially lower in the frequency range.
I’m not knocking sealed, or rel, but the other aspect to look at is your own usage: room volume, open or closed to other areas, music only or ht, what type of music?
My own rule because I enjoy pipe organ is that I want something that will be capable down to 16 hz. I also use them for HT.
In the end, this is where you have to decide what your personal values are (not cost values) and what you expect/demand out of your system performance.
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
This is a common criticism of Rel, the cost to performance ratio is simply askew.
Priced at $900-1100 it would've been a fairly interesting product. It isn't an uninteresting product but is priced wrong.
 
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SunnyD

Audioholic Intern
It's priced for those who brought in to the "musicality" aspect

James did a nice job tip toeing until the end where in a indirect way reference articles on AH. But it's still overpriced for what you get.

It doesn't exist in a vacuum. It's not a "great option" at 2000.

I remember when AH made it a point to give consumers the "heads up".

The AV world is a lot nicer these days.
 
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luis1090

Audioholic Intern
This is a common criticism of Rel, the cost to performance ratio is simply askew.
When it comes to time domain/ group delay, the modern Ported Subs all seem to behave very well, and as you say, the output is higher, tune lower, and usually more efficient in terms of output, especially lower in the frequency range.
I’m not knocking sealed, or rel, but the other aspect to look at is your own usage: room volume, open or closed to other areas, music only or ht, what type of music?
My own rule because I enjoy pipe organ is that I want something that will be capable down to 16 hz. I also use them for HT.
In the end, this is where you have to decide what your personal values are (not cost values) and what you expect/demand out of your system performance.
...well my personal values in this case are very much in line with my cost values and @$1900 I fail to see the value proposition. Technically this should be more than enough for my listening room that is about 3600 ft3 but I blame ShadyJ(lol) he removed the driver and it was just disappointing and on top of that I sensed that he was expecting more from REL as well. The review let me with the impression that Shady no too deep down was expecting more; better performance, better driver and better value proposition. The REL is a good subwoofer with good performance but not in the $2k price range; especially with the likes of SVS and Monolith.
Finally I listen to a big variety of music but it will have to double down and hit the bottom of the subwoofer range with authority since I will used it for movies as well.
 
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luis1090

Audioholic Intern
It's priced for those who brought in to the "musicality" aspect

James did a nice job tip toeing until the end where in a indirect way reference articles on AH. But it's still overpriced for what you get.

It doesn't exist in a vacuum. It's not a "great option" at 2000.

I remember when AH made it a point to give consumers the "heads up".

The AV world is a lot nicer these days.
I'm sure this subwoofer will make happy those that seek that "musicality" factor and they probably will talk about "speed" and "attack time" and a lot of bogus terms that in the real word means nothing, only in their heads. I think that the sense of "speed" have to do with small subs and some sealed units that have a predominantly mid-bass output.
 
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XaVierDK

Enthusiast
So it's a nice looking alternative to the Starke Audio SW15 and similar. Nothing special, but competent. Expensive for the looks and the brand.

REL fans will say it's meant for HT and not their best showing, but for the price there should be more than nice looks to make it stand out from its competitors.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
No surprises here...and for a tower of power you can do much better...
 
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Danzilla31

Audioholic Spartan
Eh the Rythmik FV 18's I just got were less expensive and I'd bet outperform these in any way you can think of.

It's my one critique on a lot of these higher performing sealed subs from these companies. You pay a LOT for good performance from a smaller enclosure. And can get a lot more from ported for the same amount of money. And as mentioned thanks to improvements over the years ported measure and perform as well and as accurate as they're sealed counterparts
 
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shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Staff member
Eh the Rythmik FV 18's I just got were less expensive and I'd bet outperform these in any way you can think of.

It's my one critique on a lot of these higher performing sealed subs from these companies. You pay a LOT for good performance from a smaller enclosure. And can get a lot more from ported for the same amount of money. And as mentioned thanks to improvements over the years ported measure and perform as well and as accurate as they're sealed counterparts
Few people are willing to accommodate a massive sub in their room. Most people would consider this sealed 15" a very large subwoofer as it is. The market for huge subs like the ported 18"s will always be a niche one. Most manufacturers make small subs, and they are understandably just responding to market demands.
 
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luis1090

Audioholic Intern
Few people are willing to accommodate a massive sub in their room. Most people would consider this sealed 15" a very large subwoofer as it is. The market for huge subs like the ported 18"s will always be a niche one. Most manufacturers make small subs, and they are understandably just responding to market demands.
I tend to agree with you; in the other hand at the asking price there're so many options with far better performance. Just to mention 2; SVS and Monolith offerings have options that are $400-$800 less and will blow this thing out of the water performance wise. The SVS PB3000 with an enclosure slightly larger than this is 10db better down low (20-30hz) and even with mid bass (50-60hz) that should be the sealed box sweet spot is still ahead a couple of db, if my memory is right. I know the never ending debate about sealed vs ported but at the end of the day the price doesn't align with the performance. I will ve purchasing a subwoofer around Christmas as season gift for me, the REL HT1510 was on my short list of options but not anymore.
 
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XaVierDK

Enthusiast
James, could it be that the oddly high order of the limiting distortion is somehow contributing to the way people tend to claim REL subs are more musical or cleaner than the competition?
The frequencies end up being high enough we probably don't think of them as being sub-distortion, so even though they are higher up in the audible range, they might be less offensive or at least not be perceived as coming from the sub?
What do you think is the reason for this unusually high order?

Best regards
 
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Prolix

Audiophyte
The SVS PB3000 with an enclosure slightly larger
I mean, it's something like 30% greater volume and is 26" deep vs 19.4". I'd say that's a big difference in how something looks in a regular domestic space.
 
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shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Staff member
James, could it be that the oddly high order of the limiting distortion is somehow contributing to the way people tend to claim REL subs are more musical or cleaner than the competition?
The frequencies end up being high enough we probably don't think of them as being sub-distortion, so even though they are higher up in the audible range, they might be less offensive or at least not be perceived as coming from the sub?
What do you think is the reason for this unusually high order?

Best regards
I do think that some audio equipment rely on euphonic distortion to have a signature sound. I don't think that applies to this unit. The distortion products are all too low in level. They wouldn't be easily audible. Since these are non-linear distortions, they only crop up when the sub is pushed hard. This sub has very clean output until pushed hard. If a product was trying to bank on euphonic distortion, it would make sense to engineer it to have that distortion at all drive levels.
 
3db

3db

Audioholic Overlord
I think one can do a lot better for $1900 and I don't buy into the musicality aspect of the sub. I have 2 ported Rythmiks and 3 ported PSBs and I have dialed them in for music just right.
 
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luis1090

Audioholic Intern
I mean, it's something like 30% greater volume and is 26" deep vs 19.4". I'd say that's a big difference in how something looks in a regular domestic space.
You're right by my numbers roughly 32% greater volume. I have the room and location for that size increase. So with that part of the equation settled lets talk about performance and here the PB 3000 is over 10db ahead down low (20-30hz) and still 2-4db in the midbass. I won't even mention the SVS app but I'm not a purist so I'm willing to try it. The $300.00 difference is a nice steak dinner.
 
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Clownaphobia

Audioholic Intern
I run Hsu ULS 15’s…as far as I can tell from reviews (Shady’s) they easily outperform the Rel’s...they also have much lower distortion numbers… And cost half as much. Rel makes a nice product. I’ve heard many Rel subwoofers, but not this one in particular. In MY opinion…It’s not exactly the cost of these …but the cost vs competition that is a turn off.
 
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