So here is my highly anticipated by no one, yet long winded review of the LV12R…
First, I should preface this review by saying that I am a noob. My only experience with HT prior to my new setup was with a Bose Lifestyles system. (Now take it easy – this was purchased by the wife pre-Sumpwitch, so put the torches and pitchforks away). However, I am an avid fan of live music and have played bass for 20 years, so I’d like to think I know what decent bass sounds like – just not necessarily below 30hz.
My room is a very modest 1500 cu. ft., so I knew that this sub wouldn’t have any issues with room size. I will be using this for at least 50% music though so I was a bit worried that this sub would be way too much for my Infinity Primus setup and end up boomy or obnoxious - especially since it has the capacity to go below 20hz. I’m a sucker for a sale though – hence the 65 inch tv that left me with a smaller budget for speakers – and it seemed like Brian extended the price just for me. So after a few days of wife convincing – I pulled the trigger on the LV12R.
I ordered late on a Thursday night – so basically Friday – and it showed up the next Wednesday. Unboxing and setup was a breeze. I appreciate that it was packed in an extra thick box with sturdy foam inside, yet I didn’t need a contractor, team of horses or a plasma cutter to get into it. The sub is shipped upside-down so you can screw the feet on and just flip the box over which is a nice touch. I set it up as recommended by the settings sheet included in the box and was ready to go.
The timing of its arrival ended up perfect for me because the Wed. thru Fri. evenings were spent doing some final touches in my room, so the sub was able to get 20-25 hours on it (mainly music at moderate to slightly above average levels) before I was really able to focus on what it could do. I ran Audyssey on Saturday morning and was ready to go.
THE FIRST MOVIE
So apparently my wife was on another planet (probably visiting her mother) at the beginning of this century and never saw any of the Lord of the Rings movies. What a perfect way to initiate the new room. I fired up the extended Blu-Ray box set and cleared our schedule for the rest of the day so we could dork out.
The accuracy of some of those sounds was amazing. For instance, in ROTK when the trebuchets are launching giant chunks of stone – they land with a nice deep THUD. And that’s it. No lingering overtones or rumble. It’s exactly what I think that would sound like if I were on that field which is a testament to the quality of that soundtrack and the ability of the LV12R to reproduce it. I won’t go into a scene by scene review, I’ll just say that the LV12R exceeded expectation. I could even feel the bass through my giant hobbit slippers (told you I was going to dork out).
The most impressive thing to me is that the sub blew Mrs. Sumpwitch’s mind. Her exact words after the Balrog scene were “WOW! That was pretty f#$%ing cool”. Now, this might not sound like a big deal, but this is NOT her thing at all. Here’s an example: One of my other hobbies is racing a blown-alcohol drag boat with some friends. I invited her out to one of our races because the top fuel boats were in town. Now I’m not sure if you guys have ever seen a top fuel car or boat in person before, but those things are ROWDY. 16,000 HP going off at once has crazy low frequency at insane dB. Pretty cool to see even if racing isn’t your thing. So after the first round of top fuelers go off, I looked at her to get some sort of approving nod or gesture to legitimize my hobby…she was shoulder-shruggingly unimpressed. Cue the sad trombone. So for her to dig a sub like this is akin to Paula Deen saying “Wow, that low-fat salad was pretty f#$%ing delicious”.
This is the area I was a bit concerned about. Most of the bands I enjoy either provide an HD stream or allow fans to stream or record their concerts – so I listen to lots of music and was concerned that the sub wouldn’t perform as well here. Some of my worries were put at ease by the accuracy of the movie soundtracks, but I am real picky in this department.
I was having some AVR connectivity issues at first so I had to start with a few DVDs. I started with a few tracks off the Black Crowes – Cabin Fever, followed by the Allman Brothers – Live at the Beacon Theater. My initial impressions were just “OK”. The Black Crowes cover of the Velvet Underground song “Oh, Sweet Nuthin’” has a nice melodic bassline that the LV12R handled fine. The Allman Brothers version of “Rockin’ Horse” was a bit more impressive. Oteil Burbridge has some nice low pedaling in this song that the sub played tight and accurate. Hindsight being 20/20 allows me to realize that the mix on these DVDs is not very bass heavy so it is hard to make a fair judgement based on them.
The next DVD I tried was Phish – IT (disc 2 – it has no interviews interrupting the music). I could tell from the tune playing at the start menu that this was going to be much different, the bass mix is a lot heavier on this DVD than it was on the last two. Mike Gordon plays with a pick on a Modulus bass that has a graphite neck, so the attack has a very distinct tone. On the intro of the second track (Limb by Limb), when the kick drum and bass come in is a great example of how accurate the LV12R is. It is a simple moment musically, but the kick drum punches in and the simple thum-thum-thump of the root note at 44hz comes through tight and clear with every characteristic of that Modulus bass recreated perfectly. I really only meant to play a track or 2 off this DVD, but I didn’t stop listening for 2.5 hours (and I have seen this DVD a number of times and was at this festival). All I can say is “WOW”. I don’t quite know how else to describe it other than it felt like my ears had just got laid. Maybe THAT should be the Rythmik slogan.
I have since fixed my connectivity issues and have thrown all kinds of stuff at this thing. Flea, Claypool, Steve Harris, Victor Wooten, Bootsy…the LV12R just shrugs them all off. Drums sound amazing through this. Put on Zeppelin’s “When the Levee Breaks” and you’ll swear you are standing in that stairwell where Bonham recorded it.
I did not put any rap, dub-step, or bass competition tracks through it because, well frankly because I don’t care if it can handle those or not. Just not my thing that’s all.
I realize that my setup and room are very modest and that it wouldn’t be hard to fill my space with good sounding bass. There might even be other subs in this price range that are comparable, but if there is a non-DIY sub out there that is better, goes lower, or is more accurate for what I paid – I’ll be a monkey’s uncle.
I love the LV12R. I’d let it date my sister if it wanted to. My only regret is that this sub may have opened a can of worms on another expensive hobby (like playing in bands and racing boats).
Edited by Sumpwitch - 4/6/13 at 1:51pm