Bombs away on an S1801 review...
So I'm not nearly as subwoofer technical as many other posters on this thread are, but I needed something to do since I don't have any local friends in the HT hobby, so time for a small(ish) review of my new S1801....
When I first got the sub, I had some buyer's remorse coming from dual S1500s (colocated), especially after going from -10.0\-11.0 sub trims post-Audyssey to -6.5 (which I boosted) for the new single unit. Real world experience with how much work one sub is saved from when there's another to share the load. I was torn between the S1801 and upgrading to the SVS SB16 which I was able to hear in person at CES '17. I even troubled Tom V. with questions about the SB16's smaller woofer being paired with a more powerful amp. Since I was able to take advantage of trading in my S1500s, I decided to trust in the great listening experiences I'd had from PSA.
I've had time to consume a lot of material: movies like Jason Bourne, The Girl on the Train, Thor: The Dark World; streaming shows in 2.0 and 5.1 from Netflix\Hulu\Amazon, and a bunch of repeated watches of surround demos (pretty much every format)that I have on USB. In short, this sub is a keeper. My wife will say things like "it's a wonder we still go to the theater" or "you want a second one of those?" The library scene with the bass drop in Oblivion, the chaos in San Andreas, the driving bass notes in certain parts of Jason Bourne's action scenes\score, or even something as simple as the opening\ending theme on the 80s Robotech series on Netflix (remixed in 5.1) or the frequent music numbers that played on the Oscars coverage recently, the sub just fills our listening area (couch) with deep, clear, composed bass. I had family over this past weekend who rented The Accountant and who visibly jumped whenever the sound of the 50 caliber rifle resonated through the room. I play the Dolby Atmos Amaze demo over and over because of how awesome the thunder segment sounds. The examples could continue, but you get it.
One of my favorite things to point my ear at is the differentiation in bass notes as the sub plays them. Music and movies can be different tests of this. Movies (and video games for that matter) can have a very "busy" sound mix that have different sources of bass being reproduced at one time, whereas music can be a more progressional slide up and\or down between notes. In both scenarios, I have no issue hearing separation within those frequencies with the S1801. The sub does so well with music that I'm constantly looking for new songs to play and experience the bass line. When I'm being mindful of deep voices or something like weighty helicopter rotors having the frequency spectrum split between one of my speakers and the sub, the blend is smooth and gives the audio a real weight that reminds me why I love home theater so much. It seems to me that the quality of the bass from the new driver has a degree of improvement over the S1500. Nothing major to a point of insulting a terrific sub, but it's kind of like a "I like hamburgers in general, but a burger from Place B is better than Place A" thing. Others have spoken about it in other '01 model reviews, but that difference is there and tickles your ear to want to explore more content through it. The S1801 is slight and subtle when it needs to be, potent and deep when it needs to be, but stays smooth and taut. Good things for a speaker you both hear and feel, and now I'm not so worried about the amp\driver pairing anymore.
Anyway, I like this thing a lot and feel great about the buy. It's a great sum result of engineering, subwoofer know-how, and concern for quality. I have every intention (and a real itch) to go duals the right way in the near future, but my current opinions are from the perspective of having this one sub pull bass duty.
TV: Samsung 55" 3D LED | Sources: PS4; Panasonic DMP-BT460; HDTV cable; Dell 7010 SFF | AVP: Marantz AV8802A | Amps: Emotiva XPA-1L\100 (LR\C); UPA-5 | Fronts: JBL Studio 590 | Center: JBL Studio 520C| Surrounds: JBL P520WS | Subs: PSA S1801 | Heights: SVS Prime Elevations