New Sub: Funk Audio 18.1 Sub Review - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 40 Old 05-12-2012, 02:29 PM - Thread Starter
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PREAMBLE

I received the very first Funk Audio 18.1 sub. I got it even before Nathan had created documentation for it. It is their latest 18" model powered sub with a large port. It will run you roughly $2000, depending on what you want and the finish that you select.

I would like to start by introducing my stereo system and my room, because it is impossible to judge a subwoofer in isolation. If you want to skip this introduction and just get my impressions of the sub, skip down below to the FUNK AUDIO 18.1 section.

My room is big and open. The dimensions are generally 15 feet wide by 26 feet long but the room then tapers toward the door further increasing the length and volume. Additionally, there are very large openings in the wall on one side to allow access to the kitchen area. This room is prone to echo, and my wife is resistant to room treatments. However, I have added pads and carpet to the laminate floors and turned the speaker to direct lengthwise down the room in order to reduce the slap echo. The ceilings are vaulted and range from 8 feet to 12.5 feet. The sofa (primary listening position) is approximately 13 feet from the TV and front speakers.

My system consists of: the 800W self-powered Funk Audio 18.1 sub (subject of this review), Aerial Acoustics Model 8 powered by Musical Fidelity A3 CR (100Wx2), ERA Design 5 LCR (center) powered by Marantz MA700 (200W+ monoblock), ERA Design 4 surrounds powered by a Yamaha RX-A3000 AVR (140Wx2), DSpeaker Antimode 8033S, and Sony BDP-S570 (acting as a transport). Note that ERA Design is voiced by Michael Kelly of Aerial Acoustics; so, all the speakers blend together nicely, even though the Aerial Acoustics are far superior to the ERA products. I listen to theater sound about 70% of the time and music for 30% of the time.

The Aerial Acoustic Model 8 speakers in Santos Rosewood are beautiful speakers. The Aerial Acoustics are famous for their beautiful cabinetry. They have been very positively reviewed by a number of critics: http://www.stereophile.com/floorloud...639/index.html. It was also well reviewed for AVS, but I lost that link. These are excellent speakers and the human ear hasn't changed since 1998. What sounded good then will sound good now. There are few things that keep this speaker from perfection. Compared to he best speakers, the Model 8 has a very slight increase in mid-bass, slightly warm sound, and is ridiculously insensitive (86 dB/2.83 V/m on-axis). I listen to all music genres, but particularly rock and vocal jazz. So, even the imperfections of these speakers actually work well towards my favorite types of music. More mid-bass in my rock music? I'm ok with that. My vocal jazz a little smoother? Sure, bring it on. Again, as far as I'm concerned, these are subtle colorations rather than gross errors that I can't live with. These speakers also have a nice soundstage, and can generate the bass. According to the specs, the Model 8 produces 28 Hz with -2 dB and 23 Hz at -6 dB and does so musically. I think the in-room measurements are even better. I have heard many explosions and gun fire, and these speakers do a good job of reproducing the sound accurately. I am going into this much detail, because the Model 8 will be the reference for improvement or degradation of the bass in my system. Unfortunately, I do not have any other superior quality subs in my home to do a comparison test. I also do not have a powerful enough amp to do the Model 8's justice. An amp that has 200Wx2 at 8 ohm and more wattage at lower ohms would be desirable; more power would be even better with the Model 8's. However, the need for a more powerful amp for the Model 8's will be alleviated now that I have a powered sub handling most of the lower frequencies.

This decision to purchase the DSpeaker Antimode 8033S came after reading this thread: http://www.hometheatershack.com/foru...de-8033-a.html. I doubt that I could get as good results as the author of REW, even with unlimited time (due to lack of training/experience and measuring equipment [I have a RS meter; he has a calibrated mic and laptop with REW]); yet, the 8033S gave similar results to what he achieved in 3 hours within 2 minutes. Yes, please! On top of that, the device received the Golden Ear Award 2010, acclaim from numerous critics (Stereophile, AVS Forum, etc.), and the recommendation of Nathan Funk. The 8033S equalizes both amplitude and time domain responses, unlike the common parametric or graphic equalizer.

My wife extremely limits my ability to achieve the best sound. The location of the sub is chosen by my wife rather than where it sounds best. Passive room correction devices are not allowed by the wife for the most part. Fortunately, the bass frequency region can be the most difficult to control passively, but can be improved electronically with devices such as the 8033S. My wife will probably never even notice this tiny box on my equipment rack (nor dream that it could be so expensive).

In evaluating this sub for the purposes of this review, I listened to these CDs (among others): Telarc Digital recording of Michael Murray playing Bach (Toccata & Fugue in D minor) at the First Congressional Church in LA (32-foot pitch); 24-bit, 96 KHz Metallica (The Black Album); Rush (Exit Stage Left); 24 bit and DVD-A 5.1 surround sound Porcupine Tree (Stupid Dream); Dream Theater (Live at Budokan); and Slipknot (Slipknot). I also listened to soundtracks; in particular, I heard the sonic cannons on Hulk; the drums and cannon fire on Master and Command: The Far Side of the World; the first Iron Man through his escape in the prototype armor; and scenes from Jurassic Park 3.

FUNK AUDIO 18.1

I paid the initial down payment with my order on February 14 and the remainder when it was ready to ship on April 24. DHL picked up the sub on April 26, and I received the sub at my home in North Carolina on April 30. So, a total of 76 days after the order was placed. I received some of the documentation on the sub on May 12.

The sub arrived undamaged. It was very well packaged. Its cardboard box had all the right labels, including "Minimum Two-Person Lift," "Do Not Drop," and "This Side Up." Inside there was thin paneling wood over foam. The sub was protected with stretch plastic over more foam. I did not see any evidence of mishandling of the package like tears in the cardboard or compressions. The sub seemed to arrive as shipped. Kudos for the packaging, and the selection of the shipping service that did their part quickly and well. Total gross weight was 130 pounds. See the pictures below.

VISUAL APPEAL

First, I will compare the Funk Audio 18.1 aesthetically to the Aerial Acoustics. The short of it is that the sub loses like virtually every other speaker.

Regarding the sub, upon close inspection, you can see where the veneer meets veneer along the edges and half way into the front face (center) where the cone is located if you look very closely. It is only a hairline and not readily apparent except by close inspection. However, you can't see that on the Aerials at all, which has neither sharp edges nor any half-n-half veneers that I can see. At least the sub has no sharp corners to injure a clumsy person walking by. All corners on the sub have been rounded. The veneer is not smooth. There are several places where it feels like gouge marks, but are just deep recesses in the grain. It is finished and these imperfections are not readily apparent from a distance. Additionally, there were places in the veneer which were white. Perhaps, the knotholes of the wood? Regardless, I didn't like that. I would have rather them be stained some color, and will take care of that myself with a furniture pen. I just expected that I wouldn't need to do such a thing. I was informed after the sub's arrival that this veneer was graded A, which was the reason I got a good price on it. Grades AA and AAA would have been improvements in the veneer quality. One hole where the grill was meant to be fastened split and broke the veneer. I was really disappointed to see that! (Nathan sent me some lacquer to help doctor that boo-boo.) The knuckle-wrap test indicated a solid build but not quite as solid as the Model 8's. The badge on the sub was very thick and pale yellow, as compared to the Aerial's thin gold-colored brass. Again, the Aerial's badging looked more distinguished. (This badge does not come at all on the standard model 18.1 sub.) The sub's grill is of heavy ply board scaffolding. (This particular grill will no longer be offered for the 18.1 sub.) The Aerial's grill uses different angles depending on the side and is much lighter (not sure what material it's made of). The Aerial's grill looks better. Overall, while the cabinetry of the sub is good, it is not up to par to Aerial Acoustics.

Nathan and I went through the trouble of establishing the color with mailed samples, and the wood-type of my Model 8s was also determined. However, the sub did not match the color. My wife likes the color of the Aerials more than the sub. Both finishes look very nice, but having seen them both at different light levels, I like the color of the Aerials a little more too. The Aerials have a red-orange stain which hides some of the wood grain, but this satin finish gives a vibrant, rich color to contrast against our dark wood floors. The grain is much more prominent in the sub, but the sub is all browns and somewhat dark overall with all the grain.

I'm no house decorator, but my wife had her objections. My wife is right in that the speakers would look more like a set if their color matched. Apparently, Nathan did not understand that I wanted the Santos Rosewood stained with the appropriate stain selected from the samples he had sent me. Ironically, the link he emailed me on March 17 and the picture he sent to me over the internet on March 27 looked like a perfect match in both grain and color to the Aerials. Perhaps, my monitor's colors are off. I have noticed with my picture taking and examining the results on the computer monitor that lighting has a huge effect on the color that the camera "sees," as displayed by my monitor. It could have been this anomaly that caused the confusion. Regardless of the reason, the pictures appeared redder on my computer monitor than the color of the sub. I had thought Nathan had successfully matched both grain (wood-type) and color when he had not. So, the lesson learned is if color matching is important, be sure that Nathan understands your need!

The aesthetics and cabinetry may not have been quite that of the Aerial Acoustics, but very few speakers are. *Still, the sub is both beautiful and impressive looking.* The Santos Rosewood looks very nice, particularly at a distance. The massive 18" cone looks very intimidating, as does the large port underneath and the much- too-big-for-my-wife's-desires box. (It's 20.5" wide x 24" deep x 27" tall.) I would expect it to be capable of putting out a lot of volume. My wife said she will be suing me for loss of hearing in her and our son. However, I believe I satisfied her that the sub was perfectly blended to the rest of the frequencies. ...The loudness is controlled by the same remote volume as always. Yep, "intimidating" was the word I wanted to use!

The sub looked good enough to me that my wife's grill is overruled. No grill on the big sub, please. My ignorance cost me. I think the grill cost an extra $40 - that's 2 or 3 CDs which I could be enjoying. But what really hurt was the marred finish on the front of the new sub.

Good thing I made that decision, because when I removed the grill after taking pictures, I discovered that the plastic knob had broken off in the hole! I have to give the big F to that grill quality. I have taken the grills on and off the Aerials (and other speakers) numerous times without breaking things. Inspecting the plastic where it broke, it seems very thin and relatively soft and pliable. I am not at all surprised that it broke. Nathan says that the grill I received will no longer be offered. So, no one will be faced with this problem again. He also offered to repair it and pay half the shipping costs or give me store credit. I was pleased with the store credit he offered, because I expect to give him more business in the future.

Considering all this, I rate the visual appeal and craftsmanship of the product sent to me as B+. Without the grill, it looks great as I hope the pictures below reveal. If Nathan had used his best veneer (AAA) and I did not order the grill (so no chance of dings around the holes there), I would probably have rated it an A-. No speaker that is not at least as good as my Aerial Acoustics Model 8’s will get an A from me, which mean few speakers get an A. For an A+, the speaker has to be better than the Aerials. Very, very few speakers would get that rating from me. One of the few speakers that I feel betters Aerial Acoustics' cabinetry is the Focal Grande Utopia-EM, which is absolute art!

I think Nathan could probably do an A job, but you need to have money and good communication. I was on a strict budget and wanted most of my money spent to get great sound rather than great looks. If you want great looks, be sure to tell Nathan that you want no corners, no edges, no visible veneer seams, the best of his best grade veneer of whichever type you choose, and stained color matching (if needed). Make it clear you want his best cosmetic work and are willing to pay for it. For me, my sub sounds so good I have trouble seeing it, if you can understand that.

See the pictures below, which include a picture of the interior bracing, flawed veneer, and broken plastic grill piece.

SUB SETUP

The wife allowed me basically one location, near a corner. The sub is 10’9” from my usual listening position. It is facing my listening position, which makes it cattycorner to the wall. It’s 43-54" from the rear wall and 10-22" from the side wall. This is shown in a picture below.

I first set up the 8033S with the sub and then I set up the system with the AVR. During the initial setup using the 8033S, the windows rattled. I then ran the Yamaha room setup procedure.

One setting on the sub seems to be the level, which I ended up setting at -2 where line hum is almost imperceptible unless very close to the cone. I set the DSP program on 2 (+3 dB bass reinforcement) and raised the level to the sub from the AVR to +0.5 dB (as part of the AVR auto-setup). I chose 0 rather 180 degree phase adjustment on the 8033S. The sound was very clear; so, it is not out of phase.
I was able to get the 8033S to do its job correctly only when I set the sub level at -1.25. Then I was able to use the DSP program of flat (program 1). However, there was an uadible hum from the sub when you were near it, and I did not like that. I expected not to require DSP, parametric equalization, or any such thing after the 8033S was setup; however, that was not typically the case. Usually, the bass was soft to my ears and to my RS signal meter (after considering web published correction factors). That was disappointing.

Still, my system could use a good DSP eq job that the Yamaha does not provide. As I am very picky, that will be a somewhat costly venture. Still, I was able to achieve a reasonably flat bass response and blending with the Aerials, except for a big loss at 40 Hz for some reason. When I want to impress with bass or want more bass power, all I have to do is set the DSP program to 3 or 4.

I noticed two things about the amp. During extended periods of silence, there is a quick series of very low volume clicks that actually resemble a crackle. This occurs when the amp can't decide whether to enter into power saver mode (supposedly due to a low level of signal from the 8033S that I leave on). Nathan says that this will not damage the sub in anyway. The amp gets hot. It gets as hot as my Stax Class-A headphone amp, even though Nathan says it is a Class-D amp. Still, Nathan says it is OK to leave the sub and 8033S on all the time, except when away on vacation. Of course, it certainly wouldn't hurt anything to turn the sub off at night either.

I do find it troubling that this amp gets hot. I have had JL Audio and Alpine D-class amps in my car audio system and have never had any problem with them getting hot. I hope that this amp will reliably do its job for 10 years of continuous on-time. I actually hope that Nathan can find a better amp for this sub and give me an upgrade price.

There was no documentation with the sub. It's their brand new model, and apparently it was shipped before documentation was ready.

AUDIO APPEAL

*Now, the most important question:* will the Nathan Audio 18.1 handle the bass (<80 Hz) better than the Model 8's (one 18" vs two 10.7" woofers). The sub is a brand new model vs floor standers that have won acclaim for their bass (particularly considering their size). Obviously, I thought the sub would be better else I would not have bought it. I was expecting that a big forward facing cone like those at clubs would provide a bass that could be felt.

One cool thing that Nathan does is he breaks in his products prior to shipment. He told me that his products were immediately ready for critical listening upon receipt.

Well, my expectations were met, the sub handled bass better than the Model 8's. I never felt that the sub degraded the sound. It mixed in perfectly with the Aerials. I think that 8033S did a wonderful job of making this happen, in combination with the Yamaha AVR DSP and sub amp DSP. The sub was able to keep up. When compared to the Model 8's, that's an indication of the sub's accuracy and "speed" rather than just brute force for theater. Comparing the musicality of the sub to the Aerials without the sub, I would say the sub was just as good, but it was better for dynamics, volume, and low frequency grunt! This was particularly apparent on some parts of videos. The Aerials did a good job with bass in my room, but the sub does a better job. The improvement was clearly discernible every time prominent low bass was present.

The sub did not subtract from my listening pleasure when listening to music either. The sub seemed to be able to handle the organ music effortlessly at comfortable listening levels, where 100W/channel simply wasn't enough for the Aerials. When the audio required great volume at 30 Hz or less this sub really impressed me! The Aerials could do that to a certain extent, but I am convinced they could not do it as well as this huge sub even with 500W per channel.

Although my room is big and I listen to the music and movies loud (but not deafeningly loud), this sub never seemed to be challenged! I am impressed. Disclaimer: If the sub is further from you than my placement (10'9") or you prefer overpowering, body moving bass (rather than accurate, balanced frequency response), then your opinion may differ from mine.

I also heard the Model 8's doing better than ever before, because the 100W per channel was powering only 80 Hz and above. That's what I was hoping for!

There is no cabinet vibration that I can feel at moderately loud levels of organ music. The cone was certainly moving, but the cabinet wasn't. That's good. I value that more than a knuckle wrap test! There was no port noise either.

I am very impressed with the sonics of this sub. It achieved exactly what I want from a sub. I don’t want accented bass. I want accurate sound. This sub provides accurate bass at a loudness and duration that won't cause hearing damage - and may could do so at a level that would endanger my hearing. In other words, it accuracy (speed, tone, dynamics) are acceptable, as is its output without cycling off due to overheating. In fact, it never seems challenged by my demands.

I am going to give its sonics an A+. This rating is not based strictly on output, of course, which would be wrong. Not everyone lives in a room large enough for the Funk Audio 18.3, for instance. Instead, output is considered, but predominantly it is accuracy of the bass sound reproduction (20-80 Hz) which I am listening for. However, I am not a sub connoisseur; this is my first sub. I have attended a number of live concerts (rock, classical, country, and other genres) over the years, and have listened to some fine stereo systems in my day. Perhaps, I am being overly generous in my rating, but when I have no complaints concerning the sonic quality, then I feel an A+ is appropriate. As it is my review, this is my current opinion. Good job, Nathan!

Do I think that two 15” drivers and 2500 W of power would do a better job? I have no idea. I don’t have a Seaton Submersive HP to compare with it! Regardless of how it sounds vs the Seaton (I’d love to be able to evaluate the matchup), I was able to afford the 18.1 + 8033S for the price of a Subermersive HP. I would be extremely surprised if the Seaton Submersive HP can beat that combo. In fact, I will be surprised if I find anything that betters the Funk Audio 18.1 at a price I can afford new or used. I’m not a bass head; accurate reproduction is what I’m after. With the Funk Audio 18.1, I’m satisfied with the bass in my system right now. My next upgrade will be my center channel. It’s nice, but the Porcupine Tree DVD-A demonstrates that it needs to be much better…

VALUE

According to Nathan Funk: “For example the average speakers have a parts and materials cost of ~20% of the retail price, internet direct can be as high as 40%, if you have ever looked at Salk Sound, they even advertize that some of their products are up to 40% cost. In the case of your subwoofer, the 18.1, the parts and materials were 55% of the sale price.” END QUOTE. As far as I am concerned, I feel like I got my money’s worth. That’s why I will be knocking on Nathan’s door again, the next time I need a sub. Thanks goes to Warpdrv for advising me to talk to Nathan. Other subs considered during my shopping included the Seaton Submersive HP, SVS PB 13-Ultra, Rythmik Audio FV15HP, and JL Audio Fathom F113 (used).

COMPARATIVE

I went to my local boutique shop and entered their $150,000 theater, where two JL Audio F113's provide the bass. After audition and visual inspection, I rate the JL Audio has a C- cosmetically. This sub comes with a gloss finish (cheap, soft, crap), functional but unattractive grill, and is the size of a miniature end table (very small, 19.5 x 16.5 x 19.75"). It looked more like a professional model than a consumer model meant to meet with the spouse's approval. One F113 takes up half the space volume of the Funk Audio 18.1 (which my wife would approve of). I was AMAZED at the amount of bass these small boxes produced and the quality of that bass. On the other hand, I was wondering if a single Funk Audio 18.1 would not compare favorably with two F113's. As I could not audition two in my home and compare with the Funk Audio, I can't say for sure. The F113 is rated for 18 Hz at -3 dB. The 18.1 has its amp filtered at 18.5 HZ (the tuning frequency of the port), but Nathan says that in-room frequency response should be lower. From my short audition, I would give two JL Audio F113's an A+ for sound, but this is a tentative grade as I was unable to fully evaluate the subs in my own system. As the boutique shop would charge me $8200 for them, I'm not even interested. I don't think the F113 compares at all to Nathan Audio in value. In my brief audition, I thought the F113 gave a lot of bass, deep bass, and was also good with transients; however, the Metallica's bass and drums on the 18.1 setup in my home seemed even more realistic to me. The big drums seemed punchier and more aggressive. Still, take these impressions with a huge grain of salt as the only real comparison would be with each sub properly setup in the same room using the same musical system.

SUGGESTIONS FOR NATHAN

I would suggest that Nathan include with each sub purchase the following. I would like a 15-foot RCA-to-XLR wire and a power wire with his sub shipments. The "batteries included" label is always nice. Functional (but low quality) wire can be purchased for less than $25. He could offer it free (part of the package deal) or for a nominal charge. Those people interested in better wire could then obtain it at their leisure. I would also like documentation, with some initial hints on sub setup, what the selections on the amp do, and the specifications and warranty for the product. I would suggest getting some competent help to speed orders along and prevent you from working yourself to death!

SPECS
Amplifier Features and specs;

Class D
PFC (power factor correction) switching power supply
Zero latency double precision DSP
110/220V operation
High output current capability 35amps max
Frequency response 5-45khz -3db
S/N 100 db (unbalanced); 98 db (balanced)
slew rate 30V/us
Damping factor 20-200hz >1000
800 watts @1%THD

Driver features and specs;

1.65" max p-p Excursion
over 1" linear p-p Excursion
High force compact Neodymium Motor
4" Voice coil diameter
1200 watts AES power handling
Aluminum demodulating ring
low inductance
High efficiency 98db/1watt
Dual spider
Cast aluminum frame
Weatherproof cone

Enclosure features and specs;

Baltic birch ply construction
1.5" thick front baffle
Low turbulence slot port
18.5 Hz tuning
Response to 15 Hz


DSP presets
1; No EQ, natural response of driver and enclosure, designed to match room giant in small/average rooms, maximum overall output capability.
2; +3db low shelf for larger rooms
3; +6db low shelf for Large rooms
4; +8db low shelf for anechoic flat response to 16hz

I've received no performance stats from Nathan, but here's a comparison:
Me: So, I have the following information: "For your size of room I would highly recommend the Passive radiator design, with the sealed you likely would not have enough output below 15hz to matter anyway, so it is little to sacrifice for the increased overall output, FYI this design with the 800 watt amplifier, has near equal +/-1db maximum output as the TC Sounds LMS5400 in the 18.0 from ~18hz and up, which is also +/- 1db to our TSAD18 in the 18.0 in that range. Also this passive radiator design is "overdamped" which means/gives it nearly the same overall response curve and sound quality as a sealed, but simply has more output, down to tuning." And: "Sound quality [of the 18.1] is near identical [to the passive radiator design]" and "Output [of 18.1] is 1-2db higher 15-30hz and has ~1hz lower extension [than the passive radiator design]." So, comparing the 18.1 to the LMS 5400 18.0 or TSAD 18.0, I gather that the new 18.1 has equivalent sound quality, has equivalent output at 18 Hz or higher, and a little more output at 18-30 Hz?

Nathan's reply: That is all correct, for the comparison.
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post #2 of 40 Old 05-13-2012, 06:46 PM
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I'm just gonna say that bringing up the "wire makes all kinds of a difference" will leave many people to stop reading right there and not read the rest of your review, myself included. IMO you should edit that part out and just keep to the sub review. Just saying...

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post #3 of 40 Old 05-13-2012, 07:28 PM - Thread Starter
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No, N8DOGG that stays as part of my system description. There will be people who agree and others who don't as I pointed out above. I am unconcerned with other people's opinions on this matter. Read the review if you want, but please read carefully as you seemed to have missed my point. Wires "don't make all kinds of difference," but some wires can make a difference depending on the quality of the system, your hearing, and your critical listening ability. If you disagree, you are welcome to your opinion.

I will not comment further on wires because the importance of this thread is the sub review. If my comments on wires makes someone not want to read the review, then I seriously hope they don't read it.

This review is not made to tickle the vanities of anyone, but is my attempt to be critical and truthful in every regards to the limit of my own experience, hearing, and system capabilities.
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post #4 of 40 Old 05-13-2012, 07:47 PM
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Yeah, I couldn't get through that entire paragraph of drivel about wire.... The sub looks nice.


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post #5 of 40 Old 05-13-2012, 07:53 PM
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I am surprised to see those imperfections in the veneer. I always thought the cabinet work was supposed to be one of Funk's strongest assets. That has almost a DIY look to it. Hopefully the sound makes up for it.
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post #6 of 40 Old 05-13-2012, 07:57 PM
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I stopped reading when you began talking about cables. This is nonsense and any credibility you were trying to do for this sub review went out the window in my opinion.
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post #7 of 40 Old 05-13-2012, 08:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mojomike View Post

I am surprised to see those imperfections in the veneer. I always thought the cabinet work was supposed to be one of Funk's strongest assets. That has almost a DIY look to it. Hopefully the sound makes up for it.

Nailed that one Mojo, completely unacceptable for a a $2,000 product. Regardless of sonic performance, that is total garage build quality.
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post #8 of 40 Old 05-13-2012, 08:04 PM
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"The people who say wiring never makes a difference in sound either have poor stereo systems, hearing loss, or have not developed critical listening ability."

That is where I bailed out, not an opinion, but a statement as if it were fact. A little condescending as well.

Good luck though. To each his own.
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post #9 of 40 Old 05-13-2012, 08:13 PM
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See man, I told you you should have taken it out! Just make your post about your review of the sub only, don't add things that will create debate. As you can see, I'm not the only one that feels this way

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post #10 of 40 Old 05-13-2012, 08:23 PM
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Appreciate the effort. For a $2000 subwoofer I kind of expect a quality finish but hey $2000 for an 18 driver and enclosure, not bad!

I don't appreciate the jab.
"The people who say wiring never makes a difference in sound either have poor stereo systems, hearing loss, or have not developed critical listening ability. "
Better to say IMHO than that

That is seriously one thin wire

No subwoofer I've heard has been able to produce the bass I've experienced in the Corps!

Must..stop...buying...every bluray release...
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post #11 of 40 Old 05-13-2012, 08:30 PM - Thread Starter
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"See man, I told you you should have taken it out! Just make your post about your review of the sub only, don't add things that will create debate. As you can see, I'm not the only one that feels this way"

I guess you were right. It is too bad that people first of all do not read carefully that which was written carefully. If they had, they would have seen that I am definitely middle ground with comments that some wiring can make a slight difference. I knew that there is a bipolarized group in audio. Some swear by zip wire and 50 cent RCAs while some people spend thousands. I wanted to encourage the middle ground while listing everything that people might feel is important about my system - just like professional reviews do.

Still, it is obvious to me that some people get hung up on that and don't read further. So, it will be removed.

I was trying to give to this group as I spent time learning about subs and other stuff before buying. I'm disappointed that no one seems to care.
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post #12 of 40 Old 05-13-2012, 08:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbeverjr View Post

"See man, I told you you should have taken it out! Just make your post about your review of the sub only, don't add things that will create debate. As you can see, I'm not the only one that feels this way"

I guess you were right. It is too bad that people first of all do not read carefully that which was written carefully. If they had, they would have seen that I am definitely middle ground with comments that some wiring can make a slight difference. I knew that there is a bipolarized group in audio. Some swear by zip wire and 50 cent RCAs while some people spend thousands. I wanted to encourage the middle ground while listing everything that people might feel is important about my system - just like professional reviews do.

Still, it is obvious to me that some people get hung up on that and don't read further. So, it will be removed.

I was trying to give to this group as I spent time learning about subs and other stuff before buying. I'm disappointed that no one seems to care.

I read on! I think what gotpeople was

"The people who say wiring never makes a difference in sound either have poor stereo systems, hearing loss(ok I'll admit I lost some hearing), or have not developed critical listening ability(odd) . "


Edit: Whoa just saw the back of the sub. Ok I still wouldn't expect that on the finish of a sub $500 sub either!

No subwoofer I've heard has been able to produce the bass I've experienced in the Corps!

Must..stop...buying...every bluray release...
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post #13 of 40 Old 05-13-2012, 08:49 PM - Thread Starter
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I think that the pictures must not be fairly representing the sub. I rate this sub as B+ cosmetically, and consider it looks more beautiful and impressive than most subs that I have seen at boutique shops to Best Buy (IMO, of course). From a distance, it looks great. Upon close inspection, there are a few imperfections, but it would have cost me more money than I had in my budget to get perfection in Santos Rosewood. I think most of the value in this sub came from the sonics. It sounds really good (gets an A+ for that with the 8033S in my subjective rating), and it has been working like a charm since I got it.
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post #14 of 40 Old 05-13-2012, 09:01 PM
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I was only judging the veneer in comparison to several SVS products I've owned as well as a pair of custom-veneered JTR speakers in which the finish was absolutely flawless even upon very close inspection. With even small flaws like that, SVS would be selling them at a discount distinctly as B-stock products. Just sayin'...

The Funk sub does look very nice in the pictures that are less close-up.
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post #15 of 40 Old 05-13-2012, 09:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbeverjr View Post

"See man, I told you you should have taken it out! Just make your post about your review of the sub only, don't add things that will create debate. As you can see, I'm not the only one that feels this way"

I guess you were right. It is too bad that people first of all do not read carefully that which was written carefully. If they had, they would have seen that I am definitely middle ground with comments that some wiring can make a slight difference. I knew that there is a bipolarized group in audio. Some swear by zip wire and 50 cent RCAs while some people spend thousands. I wanted to encourage the middle ground while listing everything that people might feel is important about my system - just like professional reviews do.

Still, it is obvious to me that some people get hung up on that and don't read further. So, it will be removed.

I was trying to give to this group as I spent time learning about subs and other stuff before buying. I'm disappointed that no one seems to care.

I did read your whole review now and it well written and pretty good. The wire thing is just a hot topic, it's better to put the focus on the sub.

I will say for $2000, I'd have that sub back on a pallet and make him fix it. That is completely unacceptable for that much money. I've built a TON of subs and can do as good as a job veneering as that and I suck at it. Thats B stock grade....if that!

Blasting brown notes for 10 years and counting!

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post #16 of 40 Old 05-13-2012, 10:34 PM
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Thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed and balanced review. It's difficult to be honest about a big purchase i.e. covering weankesses too. I'm with the others...send it back to Nathan and have him make that sub right. $2k is a fair chunk of change and the cosmetics should be perfect. Don't settle for less just because it involves "work" to pack it up and send it back.

Best of luck to you.
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post #17 of 40 Old 05-14-2012, 06:40 AM
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The only actual "flaw" is the chipped veneer around the grill guide, we have decided not to use these grills fasteners anymore(they are not strong enough either), they put too much pressure on the surface of the veneer and can crack/chip it on the more brittle hardwoods, sometimes not right away and can go undetected. The touch up we are sending up will fix that.

As for the white spots yes they are little knot holes, and are the type of thing we have had these on occasion with some veneers and had people complain when we filled them in, we we try to err on the side of it being easier to fill later than to "unfiill", the camera must have a flash for that picture as it really makes them stand out, the not as closeup pictures are a better representation, they are hardly noticeable. The grain texture is common to many wood species and unless a grain filling finish(adds significantly to the cost) is used will be apparent. As for the veneer meeting on the edges that is completely normal to any subwoofer without solid wood corner inlays, this option was out of the budget.

This particular veneer was sold with this subwoofer at a hefty discount, ~$300 off the regular price for this species.

About the amplifier, it is normal to run hot and is supposed to be this way, when run at max output for indefinite periods it only gets ~5-10deg C warmer, so it does not have the stresses on the electronics from wide rapid temperature swings when used intermittently. This amplifier is from the high end "pro audio"(powersoft, made in Italy) world and will offer solid performance for many years. If one does not use it daily for long periods a smart power strip that will turn it of and on with the AVR would be a good idea, mostly for energy savings.

Nathan Funk
Funk Audio
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post #18 of 40 Old 05-14-2012, 07:06 AM
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cabinet work is tough as is grading the end result

the truth is, if you're talking high quality furniture grade you're talking big dollars, for all the praises many products receive the truth is very few hold up to seriously close inspection

it all starts with design also..just like the electronics...i've seen super high build quality from the likes of Salk and Danley but "veneering cubes" still looks like a veneered cube

give me a clean satin black on something designed with some curves, grace, and style any day...as a matter of fact, imo such a piece blends at least as well as one designed to color match existing products, a process in and of itself which is super tough
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post #19 of 40 Old 05-14-2012, 12:38 PM
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That was an excellent review! Very complete and well done. You may be descended upon by the "charts are king" hoard though, because any review that doesn't include those is considered bogus by that tiny subset of AVSers. But don't despair if that happens; you did a fantastic job, and everyone else will be able to see that.

So now that you have it all setup when are you inviting us over for movie night?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rbeverjr View Post

It is too bad that people first of all do not read carefully that which was written carefully.

Amen to that...


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Originally Posted by rbeverjr View Post

One setting on the sub seems to be the level, which I ended up setting at -2 where line hum is almost imperceptible unless very close to the cone.

If that hum is the infamous "ground loop" problem associated to your cable TV system you might want to try one of these. It worked like a charm for me.

If you take yourself too seriously expect me to do the exact opposite
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post #20 of 40 Old 05-15-2012, 03:57 PM - Thread Starter
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For me, I would like to begin with the sonic capability of this system. The 8033S is really a cool gadget. It does its job and does improve the bass. This big sub has good output and is very articulate. The quality of the sound from the sub is by far the most important thing to me.

I am somewhat taken back by the sub being referred to as a garage-build. I just don't agree. It looks better than most subs. I gave it a B+, but I think that it deserves a B at the very least. Apparently, the quality isn't making it through in the photos. I easily prefer its cosmetics over the JL Audio Fathom. If I bought an Aerial Acoustics SW12 (apx. $5500) and it wasn't perfect like the Model 8's, then I would be refusing it.

I admit that I wish Nathan had told me more about the imperfections of this specific veneer. I think I would have been happier with the stained walnut. It has been suggested that I send it back, but I don't think that there is anything that can be done to improve this veneer (but then again, I'm no carpenter). I think it would have to be replaced. The cracked veneer at the grill guide, holes (little knot holes), and the deep recesses of the grain must be filled or smoothed somehow and apparently those results can be unsatisfactory. ("little knot holes, and are the type of thing we have had these on occasion with some veneers and had people complain when we filled them in") As far as I'm concern, I probably would not have used this veneer if I had been Nathan, even though it still makes a beautiful box from a short distance away. I tried to make those knot holes less obvious myself. It seems there is no good way. I used a furniture pen, but the darkest pen wasn't dark enough to match. I used a furniture scratch repair kit, but those results were crap (and fortunately easily undoable). I used a black marker, but it is really a bit too black, and the third dimension (it's still a hole) remains visible. On the other hand, the knot holes are no longer white spots and are now much less noticeable than before. In fact, in the seats of our living room, it is very difficult to notice any imperfections at all. In the end, while I regret somewhat the cosmetics, I maintain that if you saw the box in person (rather than the results of my amateur camera skills, to a compressed file picture, and through a screen which may not be a professional photographer's calibrated monitor) you might agree with me that Nathan did a good job with the veneer that he used.

I waited a long time for this sub. It would cost me a lot of money for shipping (and perhaps upgrading) and mean I am without a subwoofer for a long time - even if Nathan agreed to take it back for modification. I just don't feel it is warranted. If I thought the cosmetics were bad or the sub did not perform properly (broken), that would be a different matter entirely. Besides, if I later want things improved (unlikely), I know of a local carpenter that specializes in such things.

People like different things. Some people like Satin black. I would get that only if I could not afford what I considered better. Fine woods cost. The Aerial Acoustic Model 8 sold for $4500/pair in black ash, but $5500 in rosewood - and that was 14 years ago.

I think this new sub of Nathan's represents an excellent value. I also think that Nathan can give provide a good cosmetic job too. I believe that I have represented him fairly here (as well as the consumer). He also knew that I would be publishing a review; so, he can't blame me for that. This was his chance for free advertisement. I still plan on doing business with him in the future, but my list of wants is long and my income is slow towards this task. When that day happens, I'll let you know about that sub too.

Thanks for the advice about the ground loop. I'm not sure that is it, but may try it. Just like with car audio, I think it is just a matter of getting the levels set right at the sub amp and at the AVR. I just wished my AVR had a stronger voltage output.

The good think about mail order audio is that you can (not always) get a good value. The bad thing about mail order is that you sometimes can't hear it before buying. Even if you have a satisfaction guarantee, shipping something back is a hassle. I appreciate people commenting about their equipment. It was what led me to Nathan's door in the first place. I always search AVS Forums for additional information when I am researching a product to buy (which hopefully I can actually see and audition before paying for, but I always look for the best value). But this is my reason for posting this review. I wanted to give the public more info on what I consider a great sub.

For those who actually left positive remarks for the effort I put into this review, thank you very much!
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post #21 of 40 Old 05-15-2012, 04:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbeverjr View Post

For me, I would like to begin with the sonic capability of this system. The 8033S is really a cool gadget. It does its job and does improve the bass. This big sub has good output and is very articulate. The quality of the sound from the sub is by far the most important thing to me.

I am somewhat taken back by the sub being referred to as a garage-build. I just don't agree. It looks better than most subs. I gave it a B+, but I think that it deserves a B at the very least. Apparently, the quality isn't making it through in the photos. I easily prefer its cosmetics over the JL Audio Fathom. If I bought an Aerial Acoustics SW12 (apx. $5500) and it wasn't perfect like the Model 8's, then I would be refusing it.

I admit that I wish Nathan had told me more about the imperfections of this specific veneer. I think I would have been happier with the stained walnut. It has been suggested that I send it back, but I don't think that there is anything that can be done to improve this veneer (but then again, I'm no carpenter). I think it would have to be replaced. The cracked veneer at the grill guide, holes (little knot holes), and the deep recesses of the grain must be filled or smoothed somehow and apparently those results can be unsatisfactory. ("little knot holes, and are the type of thing we have had these on occasion with some veneers and had people complain when we filled them in") As far as I'm concern, I probably would not have used this veneer if I had been Nathan, even though it still makes a beautiful box from a short distance away. I tried to make those knot holes less obvious myself. It seems there is no good way. I used a furniture pen, but the darkest pen wasn't dark enough to match. I used a furniture scratch repair kit, but those results were crap (and fortunately easily undoable). I used a black marker, but it is really a bit too black, and the third dimension (it's still a hole) remains visible. On the other hand, the knot holes are no longer white spots and are now much less noticeable than before. In fact, in the seats of our living room, it is very difficult to notice any imperfections at all. In the end, while I regret somewhat the cosmetics, I maintain that if you saw the box in person (rather than the results of my amateur camera skills, to a compressed file picture, and through a screen which may not be a professional photographer's calibrated monitor) you might agree with me that Nathan did a good job with the veneer that he used.

I waited a long time for this sub. It would cost me a lot of money for shipping (and perhaps upgrading) and mean I am without a subwoofer for a long time - even if Nathan agreed to take it back for modification. I just don't feel it is warranted. If I thought the cosmetics were bad or the sub did not perform properly (broken), that would be a different matter entirely. Besides, if I later want things improved (unlikely), I know of a local carpenter that specializes in such things.

People like different things. Some people like Satin black. I would get that only if I could not afford what I considered better. Fine woods cost. The Aerial Acoustic Model 8 sold for $4500/pair in black ash, but $5500 in rosewood - and that was 14 years ago.

I think this new sub of Nathan's represents an excellent value. I also think that Nathan can give provide a good cosmetic job too. I believe that I have represented him fairly here (as well as the consumer). He also knew that I would be publishing a review; so, he can't blame me for that. This was his chance for free advertisement. I still plan on doing business with him in the future, but my list of wants is long and my income is slow towards this task. When that day happens, I'll let you know about that sub too.

Thanks for the advice about the ground loop. I'm not sure that is it, but may try it. Just like with car audio, I think it is just a matter of getting the levels set right at the sub amp and at the AVR. I just wished my AVR had a stronger voltage output.

The good think about mail order audio is that you can (not always) get a good value. The bad thing about mail order is that you sometimes can't hear it before buying. Even if you have a satisfaction guarantee, shipping something back is a hassle. I appreciate people commenting about their equipment. It was what led me to Nathan's door in the first place. I always search AVS Forums for additional information when I am researching a product to buy (which hopefully I can actually see and audition before paying for, but I always look for the best value). But this is my reason for posting this review. I wanted to give the public more info on what I consider a great sub.

For those who actually left positive remarks for the effort I put into this review, thank you very much!

Any change you'll take measurements in the future

Glad you're enjoying your sub! That's all that matters!

I wonder if there is a funk audio owners thread

No subwoofer I've heard has been able to produce the bass I've experienced in the Corps!

Must..stop...buying...every bluray release...
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post #22 of 40 Old 05-15-2012, 04:01 PM
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Great review, sounds like a great sub, and as long as you're OK with the imperfections, don't second-guess your purchase. Just enjoy the sub.

Congratulations!


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post #23 of 40 Old 05-15-2012, 04:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbeverjr View Post

For me, I would like to begin with the sonic capability of this system. The 8033S is really a cool gadget. It does its job and does improve the bass. This big sub has good output and is very articulate. The quality of the sound from the sub is by far the most important thing to me.

I am somewhat taken back by the sub being referred to as a garage-build. I just don't agree. It looks better than most subs. I gave it a B+, but I think that it deserves a B at the very least. Apparently, the quality isn't making it through in the photos. I easily prefer its cosmetics over the JL Audio Fathom. If I bought an Aerial Acoustics SW12 (apx. $5500) and it wasn't perfect like the Model 8's, then I would be refusing it.

I admit that I wish Nathan had told me more about the imperfections of this specific veneer. I think I would have been happier with the stained walnut. It has been suggested that I send it back, but I don't think that there is anything that can be done to improve this veneer (but then again, I'm no carpenter). I think it would have to be replaced. The cracked veneer at the grill guide, holes (little knot holes), and the deep recesses of the grain must be filled or smoothed somehow and apparently those results can be unsatisfactory. ("little knot holes, and are the type of thing we have had these on occasion with some veneers and had people complain when we filled them in") As far as I'm concern, I probably would not have used this veneer if I had been Nathan, even though it still makes a beautiful box from a short distance away. I tried to make those knot holes less obvious myself. It seems there is no good way. I used a furniture pen, but the darkest pen wasn't dark enough to match. I used a furniture scratch repair kit, but those results were crap (and fortunately easily undoable). I used a black marker, but it is really a bit too black, and the third dimension (it's still a hole) remains visible. On the other hand, the knot holes are no longer white spots and are now much less noticeable than before. In fact, in the seats of our living room, it is very difficult to notice any imperfections at all. In the end, while I regret somewhat the cosmetics, I maintain that if you saw the box in person (rather than the results of my amateur camera skills, to a compressed file picture, and through a screen which may not be a professional photographer's calibrated monitor) you might agree with me that Nathan did a good job with the veneer that he used.

I waited a long time for this sub. It would cost me a lot of money for shipping (and perhaps upgrading) and mean I am without a subwoofer for a long time - even if Nathan agreed to take it back for modification. I just don't feel it is warranted. If I thought the cosmetics were bad or the sub did not perform properly (broken), that would be a different matter entirely. Besides, if I later want things improved (unlikely), I know of a local carpenter that specializes in such things.

People like different things. Some people like Satin black. I would get that only if I could not afford what I considered better. Fine woods cost. The Aerial Acoustic Model 8 sold for $4500/pair in black ash, but $5500 in rosewood - and that was 14 years ago.

I think this new sub of Nathan's represents an excellent value. I also think that Nathan can give provide a good cosmetic job too. I believe that I have represented him fairly here (as well as the consumer). He also knew that I would be publishing a review; so, he can't blame me for that. This was his chance for free advertisement. I still plan on doing business with him in the future, but my list of wants is long and my income is slow towards this task. When that day happens, I'll let you know about that sub too.

Thanks for the advice about the ground loop. I'm not sure that is it, but may try it. Just like with car audio, I think it is just a matter of getting the levels set right at the sub amp and at the AVR. I just wished my AVR had a stronger voltage output.

The good think about mail order audio is that you can (not always) get a good value. The bad thing about mail order is that you sometimes can't hear it before buying. Even if you have a satisfaction guarantee, shipping something back is a hassle. I appreciate people commenting about their equipment. It was what led me to Nathan's door in the first place. I always search AVS Forums for additional information when I am researching a product to buy (which hopefully I can actually see and audition before paying for, but I always look for the best value). But this is my reason for posting this review. I wanted to give the public more info on what I consider a great sub.

For those who actually left positive remarks for the effort I put into this review, thank you very much!

It DOES NOT look like a garage build. Anybody who says that is full of shite. There are a lot of people who try to make people feel bad so that they can feel better about themselves.

You seem like a well-meaning person who wants to add value to the community and you have.

Disregard those who go off on you around here. The anonymity of the net allows some to act like they got "big balls" when they really feel quite powerless in the real world.
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post #24 of 40 Old 05-15-2012, 04:34 PM
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Spongebob might have something to say about "big balls".


"I've found that when you want to know the truth about someone that someone is probably the last person you should ask." - Gregory House
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post #25 of 40 Old 05-15-2012, 04:39 PM
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Spongebob might have something to say about "big balls".

He might...if he actually had any balls. But he doesn't. So I'm offended that a classic AC/DC cut has been sullied by association with him.


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post #26 of 40 Old 05-15-2012, 04:42 PM
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Spongebob might have something to say about "big balls".


LOL. Leave it to you, Chu.
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post #27 of 40 Old 05-15-2012, 05:44 PM
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You may be descended upon by the "charts are king" hoard though, because any review that doesn't include those is considered bogus by that tiny subset of AVSers.

I know you have a beef with the "charts are king" horde, but your comment is overstating it because for user reviews it is not expected that all users have measuring equipment to generate charts in the first place. There are plenty of user reviews here where no horde has descended upon it for lack of graphs.

I think the "charts are king" horde direct their comments more toward pro reviewers.
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post #28 of 40 Old 05-15-2012, 07:01 PM
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I know you have a beef with the "charts are king" horde

The beef I have is because of the incessant and totally baseless attacks I've come under for doing a good thing. There would be no problem were it not for that. I didn't draw first blood.


Quote:
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but your comment is overstating it because for user reviews it is not expected that all users have measuring equipment to generate charts in the first place. There are plenty of user reviews here where no horde has descended upon it.

I think the "charts are king" horde direct their comments more toward pro reviewers.

Not overstated even the slightest bit, unless you're implying that I'm somehow considered a pro. Well, let me straighten that out for you right now; I'm not. I just happen to be a person who doesn't merely talk, I do. But that doesn't make me a pro, yet I seem to held to that standard for some inexplicable reason. I don't work for an audio company, I don't get paid a dime for what I do and I'm not employed by any recognized authority. I have a non-audio career and do this in my spare time, yet I'm still derided by a minuscule yet noisy subset of people because my reviews don't fit their narrow criteria? Overstated? Hardly.

But don't think for a single minute that any transparent attempt to slow me down is going to succeed, because it never will. The gloves are off now, and I'm just getting started.

To the OP; my apologies for this post. You have my assurances that I will discuss this no further in your thread. To that end I'm also going to unsubscribe, so there's no possibility this will continue to be debated.

If you take yourself too seriously expect me to do the exact opposite
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post #29 of 40 Old 05-15-2012, 07:08 PM
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The beef I have is because of the incessant and totally baseless attacks I've come under for doing a good thing. There would be no problem were it not for that. I didn't draw first blood.

Even if you didn't draw first blood, there is no need to perpetuate your beef on someone else's thread.
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post #30 of 40 Old 05-15-2012, 07:28 PM
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Any change you'll take measurements in the future

Glad you're enjoying your sub! That's all that matters!

I wonder if there is a funk audio owners thread

Of course there is

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...ht=funky+waves

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