Hey guys, sorry for the wait. At this point I have pretty much alienated everybody within a half mile radius of my home. I have run more test tones and movie scenes than you would believe. My wife is pretty tired of this comparison, especially after I accidentally unmuted my computer before a test tone while I was working on this late at night.
I am going to be going out of town this weekend but wanted to make sure I posted before I left. I will try to answer any questions when I get back but won't have computer access this weekend.
Both subs are really musical and I really love the dual sealed sub design. The subs don't really vibrate at all because of the opposite firing drivers. They have less overhang and sound better than my old Velodyne DD-15. It was hard to tell the Empires and the Submersive apart during music playback once the levels were matched since neither sub seemed to approach its limits on music. I would say that they are equals in this regard.
On movies, both subs performed really well. Movie soundtracks with very heavy output below 15 Hz could get the Submersive to clip while the dual Empires have yet to clip. During the pod emergence scene in WOTW particularly, the Submersive's amp would start clipping heavily while the dual Empires never clipped even when I played them louder. I feel like the low end EQ on the Submersive is a blessing and a curse.
The Submersive is rated to play down to 10 Hz and is EQ'ed to be very flat down this low. This was one of the things that interested me in the Submersive in the first place. Even the first FR sweep showed this deep extension. The problem is that when you play movies that actually go to 10 Hz, it can't play anywhere near as loud at 10 Hz as it is trying to and it would clip.
The Empire is rated on their site to play down to 15 Hz, but I discovered that the dual Empires can actually play louder at 10 Hz than the Submersive can. They just aren't EQ'ed as heavily down low. On paper that sounds worse(at least it did to me), but it meant that they are almost impossible to overdrive.
The Submersive clipping only seemed to happen during scenes with heavy 10 Hz bass like WOTW or Master and Commander. On pretty much everything else, both subs hammered out soundtracks with ease. The midbass was punchy and I could feel it in my couch. There was no boom or slowness, only tight explosive bass. The dual Empires can play noticeably louder than the Submersive. This gave them a bit more slam and more wow factor and I got more of that hit in the chest feeling. The pair can also play cleaner at the same levels as the Submersive.
If I had only purchased the Submersive to replace my DD-15, I would be raving about its tightness, musicality, HUGE output and the quality of the bass. It goes deep and it hits HARD. For its size it is amazing. It still costs less than my DD-15 and it blows it out of the water. However, the Empires do manage to deliver more output, which was a shock to me. They are cleaner at the same output level and they sound better to my ears than the Submersive does in my setup. A pair of them is larger than the Submersive, but one Empire is smaller than the Submersive.
At this point, it looks like I am keeping the Empires. They are the best bass I have ever heard. If dual Empires were the same price as the Submersive I would still buy them. The fact that they are $500 less is just an added bonus. For some people with less space or unlimited budgets, the SUbmersive may be a better option. For my situation, the Empires are perfect.
Here are frequency response graphs. I used REW with a Behringer ECM8000 mic. More measurements in the next posts.