Originally Posted by allredp
Just spent the evening running the LS-12 through my version of the LFE torture test...
What an impressive sub for the $$!!!
I have a pic to go along so you can see what it was up against.Attachment 190249
You can see the size differential between the Seaton SubMersive (HP) and CraigSub's CHT CS 18.1 - its performance is all the more impressive for how small the Lava is.
Of course this $300ish budget sub cannot and truly did not give the other two heavy-weights any realistic SPL or ULF scare, BUT, for the $$ I have to say that I'm completely impressed with the Lava's abilities.
I do have an REW rig, but I didn't get it set up for this session tonight. I ended up having more time than I thought I would in the end, but I just used my Galaxy C-140 SPL meter to get each sub calibrated for the same exact corner-loaded spot in my upper right. My dedicated room is well-treated, though you can see that I'm still figuring out colors because I don't have GOM to cover my acoustic materials, nor my columns where you can see my Dali Mentor 8 main, or paint yet, for that matter. Anyway, after dialing them all in, I just had a blast running all three through multiple demo scenes and music tracks for several really enjoyable hours.
As Counsil said in his review, I'm perhaps most impressed with the Lava's ability to bow completely gracefully out of a passage it just cannot handle. The Lava does this without any hard/ugly mechanical farts. I have had eD and SVS subs that I really liked, but they would make bad noises in their moments of extreme stress - which is a real killer in the "suspend-your-disbelief" magic of HT. If the Lava couldn't produce all of a super-low Hz scene (like parts of FOTP or HTTYD), it just amazingly didn't do it. Simple as that - no extra crap in the sound for the effort. This means that I can trust this little guy to not make me or any one else listening ask, "uh-oh, did you just fry your speaker?!"
BTW, I ran all of them with a consistent -12dB on my AVR's after calibrating them all +5dB over the mains which are dialed in at 75dB.
Without going into every scene, etc., I will just summarize considering how late this is.
The Lava was consistently able to hit just over 100dB at 13' from LP. The most I got out of it was between 106-109dB with my AVR at -12dB on volume. Even though the Lava couldn't match the other's SPL, my couch and walls, etc. were very active with the Lava. It has a very good sound to it - especially considering I was comparing it to sealed subs of a much higher caliber and cost. It had really decent chest pounding to go with its impressive lower-range shake and shudder. By comparison, the 18.1 was hitting about 3-4dB more SPL on the same scenes, and the SubM was another 3-5dB above that (and the SubM has some just crazy abilities to produce "stuff" that defies description - it isn't just louder, but totally immersive and enveloping as well).
Example, in the Spiderman 1 sand-creation scene, the SubM hit 118dB, the 18.1 hit 113dB, and the Lava hit 109dB. This scene routinely hits sub's sweet-spots and gives an indicator to me of how much mid-bass umph they have. Another example is the roll-over scene in FOTP. This is a really wild recording that is all over the Hz, particularly down low. I was so impressed that the Lava didn't just puke on this scene - in fact, it was the 18.1 that was giving off some slight electronic smell immediately after, not the Lava. Similar SPL differences appeared on this scene as well with the SubM hitting 114dB, the 18.1 clocked 110dB, and the Lava ticked in at 106dB. Again, these are not meant to be "highest SPL possible", but rather a test of what each can do with the exact same conditions.
Just FYI, the SubM isn't in its optimal location for this shootout. When it is, I routinely get around 120dB and more at this -12dB volume. The Lava actually did better SPL-wise in this corner-loaded position, so I kept it there and made the SubM and 18.1 come to it.
One fascinating scene from Transformers (btw, rawhide is great and the Lava didn't drop out, but was smooth throughout) is a little after rawhide's rolloever when they shoot the one bot in the chest. There's a really low shudder that the Lava pulled off with a satisfying thump, while the SubM actually produced the ULF and gave off an almost eerie inaudible shaking.
Sorry I don't have graphs - perhaps I'll pull that off this weekend - but, in all the subjective measures I'm totally sold on the bang-for-the-$$ of the Lava. It has a fit and finish that is better than the 18.1, though it is just a plain textured black, it is a very fine texture that is easy on the eyes. It handles its duties with surprising strength and equally impressive grace.
Forgot to talk music - just a quick thumbs-upl. It performed very well and wasn't as muddy as I would have thought. I pushed the AVR to -5dB and let 'er rip. The Lava never quit or disappointed - it as just unexpectedly strong and powerful again for such a little box.
OK, so I'm clearly happy with this thing for the $$. I also enjoyed working with Dan and Brock who were more than helpful. It didn't hurt that I'm only one state away from the Lava guys and received my LS12 in just one day! Unless it just curls up and dies unexpectedly, I'm thrilled and will easily recommend it to others.
I'm glad Counsil took a shot at this - he made me brave to do so also.
Good luck to Lava and any who are looking for a budget sub that really performs on all counts.