I've been testing the REL T5 today. In a mid sized family room of 18X13X8 (1900 cubic feet) and which opens into a hallway/other rooms and also a dining area and kitchen. T5 is an 8" sealed sub.
This is an amazing subwoofer. It's now my favorite alongside the Starata III. My test speakers included the B&W CM5s and my own designed large two-way with vintage T120FC and 7C04 Focal drivers. Those who are familiar will agree that these are the Holy Grail drivers. The 7C04 may be the most articulate 7" midwoofer ever conceived.
The T5 was place roughly 4 feet away from the corner and near a wall. Depending on the paired speakers, the volume stayed between 10:00 and 10:30. This was loud enough to rattle my PS4 remote on the coffee table. The T5 had tons of headroom to spare.
So my question to you bassheads is this: What insane levels are you listening to?
The T5 kept pace with the Focal 7C04 and the B&W Kevlar cones. There were only a few instances where I could locate the sub and that can probably be fixed with a more accurate room placement.
Most audiophiles hate subwoofers because their floorstanding speakers are plenty. Most HT freaks hate RELs because they feel the need to one note drone their houses to death. So here are some interesting things that I can do with a REL sub, expand your horizons:
Take a vocal recording. Turn the REL on and the voice floats as a pin point singularity in front of the listener. Turn the REL off and the voice becomes bloated and flat. How about a recording of a choir in an extremely small room? Turn the REL on and the listening area shrinks and becomes claustrophobic. Turn the REL off and the boundaries disappear. You guys should see the faces on most people during the demo!
Furthermore, there is an ongoing passionate (but possibly lacking in real life experience) debate on how to connect a REL subwoofer. Well whatever you do, do not set the main speakers to small. This act completely and utterly kills and robs the music of music. Something as small as B&W CM5s can play effortlessly into a huge room. There's zero reason to set them to small. And if the speakers are so crappy that they need to be crossed at 120Hz to even play, then you have bigger fundamental problems and need to rethink this hobby. Out of the thousands of systems that I've heard within the past 15 years, the best ones were always where the subwoofer complemented the speakers.
Any negatives? I wish the feet were anodized black. REL also needs to include a set of BFA bananas and spades for the Neutrik cable. And definitely spikes! Or cones. They make a huge difference. The blue light is too bright. How about sticking with the classic red LED?
At $699, this is an insane deal for a subwoofer with this level of performance and fit and finish. I'll be adding it to my collection.
Now I'm curious to listen to some ID subwoofers that are still on my list