Originally Posted by lavasubs
I do want to clarify one thing. It has never been our intention with this line of subs to try and compete with the $1000 subwoofers. We believe there are a lot of people that are not able to spend or are not looking to spend $1000 per subwoofer. We would like them to be able to get a good product to fit their budget and we believe we do just that with this subwoofer.
Mission accomplished, as far as I'm concerned. For anyone expecting some hard numbers and more graphs, go ahead and skip this post -- I don't have them. What I do have are some subjective impressions.The Situation
The subwoofer was the one area I expected to overspend, and I was gearing up to do so until reading Counsil's write-up of the Lava. Since the 25% off coupon code was still in effect at the time, I talked myself into dropping $500ish on a pair of Lava 12-inch subwoofers rather than spending $800+ as I originally thought I would.Ordering
My advice to Lava on this would be to send an automated order confirmation via email. Instead, they rely on UPS to send out tracking information, which I didn't receive. To Lava's credit, they provided me with the tracking number when I emailed them a day or so later. Never talked to them on the phone, however we did exchange a few emails and their communication was good.Physical Condition
Counil's pics give a better impression, but these subwoofers have a small enough footprint that you shouldn't have trouble blending them into your home theater setup. And as for the finish, they're not going to draw attention to themselves, good or bad. Both of mine arrived in excellent condition -- no nicks, dings, or scratches.HT Setup
Energy RC-50s (front)
Energy RCLCR (center)
Energy CR-10s (surround)
Onkyo TX-SR607 Receiver
Small living room with essentially three thin walls. What would be the fourth wall is a large opening in to the dining room.Subjective Performance
Lava's subs pack a punch. They don't sock you in the chest and tear out your heart like the fight scene in Dumb and Dumber, but they are capable of rattling the walls/windows a little bit, and scaring your cats. At one point, I cranked mine up and went outside, shut the door, and walked across the two-way street and could still hear them.
At times I found the bass a little overbearing when it shouldn't have been, though I chalk part of this up to calibration, or lack thereof. I didn't spend a whole lot of time calibrating them, but what little I did made them sound marginally better.The Negatives
I don't have a high quality subwoofer to compare these with (I will soon), but at under $300 shipped for AVS members, I can't imagine these would stand up to subwoofers costing three times as much (nor are they supposed to). There were times I wish explosions would hit a little harder.
Also, the amps seems particularly sensitive to ground loop issues, or least they were in my setup. Admittedly the wiring in my house sucks so I won't hold Lava's feet to the fire too much on this one, but I did ultimately have to resort to a cheater plug on one of the units, which mostly eliminated the problem.Customer Service
It's hard to argue with Lava's 30-day in-home trial. Because shipping is free, and because they foot the bill for return shipping, it really is an in-home trial with no risk, and quite frankly I'd be surprised if they don't end up altering this policy. At the time of this writing, however, buyers have nothing to lose.
I ended up sending mine back in (they schedule a pick-up via UPS), which so far has gone without a hitch. This wasn't an easy decision, as I feel these subs are a steal at the discounted pricing, but I'm willing to spend more for something that hits even harder and goes lower. I almost decided to grab two additional Lavas for a quad-sub layout, but ultimately didn't want to wonder what I'm sacrificing by not picking up one or two higher end units.Bottom Line
Even without the AVS discount, Lava's 12-inch subwoofer(s) are a compelling buy for the money. In case you missed it the first time around, I could hear two of these subs bumping from across the four-lane (plus a center turn lane) street that runs in front of my house, and that's not something I expected at this price point. And while loundness is one thing, I never felt that these sounded bad. The fact that I ultimately returned them is indicative that I have a bigger budget I'm willing to play with rather than being disappointed with these subs. If that wasn't the case, I would have happily held on to these subs for (presumably) a long, long time. It's hard to imagine another sub in this price range outclassing the Lavas. If this is your budget, I'd have no qualms recommending these.
Side note: Lava doesn't list the peak output of its 12-inch subwoofer, but was told it's rated at 1000W peak (and 250W RMS).