I just got back from my trip and I wanted to say thank you to Sheldon and Jonathan for making this subwoofer comparison possible! It was great meeting Grant and Kevin at Sheldon's house as well. I have told Archea how great of a host I thought he was, but it must be said again that he really knows how to help a person to get the most out of a trip. I got to hear movies to my heart's content, and we sampled 4 BBQ restaurants along the way.
I know we were there to listen to subs, but I do have to compliment Sheldon on his demo room. I absolutely loved the size of his projector screen and his eD's looked right at home on top of the Submersives. If not for a particularly aggressive projector, which is capable of taking out an Archea in a split second, the look of the room, with accessible equipment rack, is fantastic. Luckily Jonathan didn't suffer any "evident" lasting effects from smacking his head on the Epson. One does have to question if it made him think that the movie Puss In Boots was a good one, but we will cut him slack
The night before this sub comparison, I had a bit of time with Jonathan's Captivators in his basement. The most memorable scene that we watched on Friday night was Chapter 15 from the movie Pulse (time stamp starting at approximatly 1:12:50, right when she opens the door). The first time I had heard this scene was at a fellow board member's house, who owns an Orbit Shifter. I was quite impressed with how this scene had sounded with the Shifter, so I was curious how the dual Captivators would handle the scene. The "pulsing" that starts up when Kristen Bell opens the door in Chapter 15 did not have the same level of body impact as I had experienced with the Orbit Shifter, however, I got something else that I hadn't expected. As the pulsing continues in the scene the ghost appears and it starts shrieking. It was at this point that Jonathan's Captivators and reflective room shined IMHO. Overall, the first time I heard this scene in Jonathan's room struck me as my favorite listening experience for that scene.
The night before fueled the anticipation for going over to Sheldon's house. Sheldon had told me that he liked to run his bass hot before I had arrived, and he didn't dissapoint. We started off running 10 db hot and quickly found ourselves at 15 db hot. This is my kind of people! I got to hear the dual Submersive HP's in action for the first time and I found myself liking what I heard in several scenes. Some of the memorable scenes for me were the following:
1) Underworld Awakening (Scene where Selene shoots from the bottom of the elevator and then it drops on her);
2) Pulse (Chapter 15);
3) Battle Los Angeles (Scene in the tunnel with the 50 cal);
4) Battle Los Angeles (Long scene near the end where Kurns meets his fate);
5) Battle Los Angeles (End action scene where the drone is taken out and the alien ship strikes the ground);
6) War Of The Worlds (Pod scene).
The first scene that we watched with the Submersives was War Of The Worlds. LIke the others, I have found that I am getting a bit bored of this particular scene. In any event, we plaid the scene twice, making tweaks to the bass as seemed appropriate. I was sitting central to the room for the majority of the demo, and it seemed to me that Grant and Sheldon were picking up more bass near the walls than I was getting in the center. I did not hear WOTW with the Captivators.
Getting back to Pulse, I thought the Submersives handled it well. Even so, the Submersives did not replicate the "WOW" factor that I heard during the Pulse scene at Jonathan's house when the Ghost appears and starts shrieking. This may have had something to do with the room or different speakers, because the Captivators were not sounding the same in that same scene either when we hooked them up. On this particular scene, I found that I had liked it best at Jonathan's house with the dual Captivators when the ghost shrieks, and liked it best at a local AVS member's house with an Orbit Shifter for the actual pulsing sensation.
IMO, the Submersive absolutely shined during gun blasts, espcially when Selene utilized her twin guns in Underworld Awakening. When the Uber Lycan drops the elevator on her, she utilizes her twin guns to weaken the floor of the falling elevator. To me, this was audioNirvana. Absolutely fantastic sounding scene. At the same time, later in the scene the elevator drops on her, and I felt that the Captivator shined when it made impact compared to the Submersive. The Captivator really delivered a punch/impact as the elevator slammed to the bottom. The Submersive did well there too, but not as well as the Cap seemed to perform in that segment of the scene.
Battle Los Angeles provided several excellent demo scenes for the GTG. As mentioned above, three of the scenes particularly stood out from the others. My favorite scene from the film is near the end where there is intense action for over 4 minutes, Kurns dies and there are numerous explosions. Both subs handled the scene well, but IMO, the Captivator offered a bit more punch during the explosions.
We found out that each sub has a limit. There were a few segments where the Captivators were making some odd sounds. As I understand it, the fact that the Captivator is ported allows it to reach higher volume than a sealed sub. Sheldon has mentioned that he wanted to have the extra head room that the Captivator appears to provide. I now understand what he means. The Captivators appeared to offer a little bit more kick during explosions and crashes. I heard the Submersives first in Sheldon's room, and after Jonathan came over, we hooked up the Captivators. I was impressed with how the Submersives sounded, but I was pleased to discover that there was added impact to be had with the Captivators.
Originally Posted by carp
The funny thing is, I thought I was a bass-head until I met Alex.
I knew I loved bass before I came down this weekend, but I didn't realize that I liked more bass than others do at the same listening levels. I do now. Apparently, I like my bass hot and my and my explosions prolofic!
Originally Posted by carp
Oh, something else that made me laugh, Grant kept saying the bass was insane and more than he would need but he's going to have an Orbit Shifter in a room smaller than mine!!
I thought that was funny as well. I really wanted to compare the Captivators to the Submersives because I want to have the "World Beater" sub in my eyes. Everyone has their own preferences, but at the end of the day, first and foremost, we create home theaters so that they sound the best to our particular tastes. It is clear to me that Mark S. and Jeff P. are making some fantastic subwoofers, but like Sheldon has mentioned, I want to know that my sub can take whatever I can throw at it. For me, I learned that 2 of either of these subs likely wouldn't be precisely what I was looking for. I think I would potentially run into upgradeitis and second guess myself if I didn't go after subs with more head room.
It would be amazing if you could combine the tight bass output that the Submersive provides during gun shots and the deep explosions that the Cap provides. Jonathan and I just spoke about how we missed a potential opportunity to hook up the dual Submersives and dual Captivators and see if it were possible to get the best of both worlds from the subs in the same room. That would have been an interesting experience!
All-in-all, this was an incredible experience and I found that I really liked what each Subwoofer had to offer. For 99% of the normal population, I am sure these subs would be more than enough. Both offer exceptional performance at reasonable prices. For me, being the abnormal 1% who likes insane base, I discovered over the weekend that either I would likely want more than 2 of these subwoofers, or that I would want dual Orbit Shifters, dual Cap S2's or the much awaited Terraform XL that Seaton is working on. I really like the products that Seaton and JTR are producing, and after now having had a chance to hear Procella subwoofers, I have further appreciation of the quality of the JTR and Seaon subs.
Looking back on it, it probably would have been good to hear the 2 subwoofers at reference without the subs running hot. Unfortunately, time was cut a bit short by Jonathan's job duties in the morning. We still had a lot of fun and got to enjoy 5 star bass at some pretty insane SPL levels. Great stuff!
Jonathan was able to arrange for me to hear numerous systems over the weekend with other board members, including with Luke and Randy. His friend Nelson also had purchased a few subs, so we went over there as well. What I discovered is that I prefer reflective rooms (my love for Randy's room notwithstanding) and bass produced by wood floors. I am looking for a house to set up a home theater, and this is important info to know as I continue my search for a room with the potential to be great.
Within the next month I hope and plan on attending other GTG's to hear a single Orbit shifter again, having further appreciation for the bass that the Orbit Shifter was producing. I also would like to hear dual Cap S2's for the first time, and re-sample dual Orbit Shifters that are better calibrated and integrated into the system (subs adjusted to not run hot and also running hot for comparison). Lastly, I am looking forward to the opportunity to hear Submersives alongside Seaton Catalysts at reference, with the subs not running hot.
The weekend provided me with several answers and produced some what if's along the way. I had a blast hanging out with the Kansas City crew. Thanks again to Jonathan, Sheldon, Luke Kamp and Randy Bessinger for their hospitality. It was also cool to hang out with Grant, Kevin and Nelson over the weekend.
Lastly, I must say that I enjoyed Kansas City. People in general there seemed much friendlier than in Wisconsin. Smiles seemed to come easier there, which was an ideal place to get away for a few days.
Thanks to you all for making my vacation an enjoyable and memorable experience!!