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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Rancho Cucamonga, CA
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The following is my opinion after hearing and testing the 18" ported subs at various occasions. My ranking is very similar to Marc's. Basically, the most expensive products scored better.
1. JTR Cap 1400, 2015 version ( $2150 shipped ).
2. JTR Cap 118HT ( $1750 shipped ).
3. Rythmik FV18 ( $1700 shipped ).
4. PSA V1801 ( $1400 shipped ).
Rather than doing a full review of the 4 18" ported subs here, which I am not that capable of doing, I would use a Q&A format.
Q: Which one do you like the best?
A: Of course the 2015 JTR Cap 1400 (Mine! Mine! Mine!). It's at least $400 more expensive than the other subs. It has the least cons. It has the most output across almost all frequencies. It also produced the most TR and desirable port wind and the least chuffing. It is just a step above the other 3. No doubt about it.
Q: Would you say any of the 4 subs sounded bad?
A: Of course not. If the best sounding sub received a score of 100, then the worst sounding sub would get a score of 85. Different, yes. Night and day, not really. We are talking about the top ID subs in the price range of $1400 to $2150 here. I can't imagine anyone would be unhappy if he has any of the 4 ported subs.
Q: Which one would you say has the most bang for the buck?
A: In terms of overall performance per dollar, the 4 products are pretty close. Basically, you do get what you paid for. Strictly output per dollar, probably JTR Cap 1400.
Q: What's wrong with PSA V1801? Is it pretty close to JTR Cap 118HT?
A: There is nothing wrong with it. It did not have as high output down low because its cabinet is the smallest. A larger cabinet should improve its output down low. The port design is definitely not as good as the other 3 subs here and it is the most likely to chuff. Can it be improved? Maybe not at this size. Apparently PSA's design goal here is to put an 18" driver into the smallest ported cabinet with the lowest tuning frequency possible. Therefore, it also has the lowest ceiling. Now, if I had a hard budget of $1400, or if my wife only allowed a small sub and I have to have an 18" one, I would gladly take PSA V1801 and be very happy. It is definitely not close to JTR Cap 118HT but it is $350 cheaper!
Q: Your table shows that the Rythmik FV18 has more output than the JTR Cap 118HT, and Marc seems to like how it sounds the best. How come it did not fare better than the JTR Cap 118HT?
A: Good question. The SQ among them are close enough that makes the other aspects the determinant for the final ranking. The Speakerpower amp on the JTR Cap 118HT is just more user friendly, and idiot proof. The Rythmik amp has too many knobs and switches. If my newbie friend were to get a Rythmik FV18, I would be worried if he messes it up. Yes, Rythmik FV18 did garner the highest mark for SQ from Marc. Yes, it does sound very much like a sealed sub. But at what cost? It has the least TR, by far. It is also the largest sub among the four! If I wanted to get a ported sub that sounds like a sealed sub, I might as well just get a sealed sub that is way smaller and cheaper! If you are expecting the grunt and brute force from a ported sub, you might be yearning for more. Therefore, if I wanted to get a ported sub to rock my neighbor's house, I would choose the other 3 subs. If I were converting from the world of sealed subs, then the Rythmik FV18 would be an easy choice because it is not too far from my comfort zone. It is unfortunate that the Rythmik FV18 was out of commission on the day of GTG. Otherwise, many attendees would have liked what they heard. The Rythmik FV18 has a steeper learning curve than the other 3 here. However, once dialed in, it will satisfy even the most discerning ears!
Q: JTR Captivators have been rated the best for movies among many previous GTGs. Can you shed some light here?
A: It's true. It's true. The CEA 2010 numbers can only tell you so much. JTR's subs are much much more than those CEA 2010 numbers. Jeff really has figured out so far the best combination of output, extension, SQ, TR, and desirable port wind but not obnoxious chuffing here. The Captivators do provide a very compelling ULF package. The improved damping of 2017 Captivator cabinets work wonderfully. I look forward to listening to Marc's JTR Cap 2400ULF. I only wish I could audition a sealed JTR Captivator.
Polk Audio LSiM703 / LSiM706c / RTiA3
JTR Captivator 1400
Last edited by chucky7; 10-04-2017 at 07:02 PM.