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Northeast October 20th GTG Results thread

post #1 of 234
Thread Starter 
Holy. Moly.

*THREAD IN PROGRESS, under construction*

In typical fashion, I'm going to ask others to refrain from posting until the attendees all have made their comments.

WHAT a day. In my opinion the day couldn't really have gone any better. This was my first time for a GTG and obviously my first time hosting. I'm lucky to have been surrounded by some experienced guys who made the day go by smoothly. Highlights: Great gear, great weather, great food and drink all day, and awesome group of guys who were all VERY excited to get some listening done. I was running around like a crazy man all day so I didn't get to take many pictures of my own but I did see several members with some serious equipment so we should be covered in that area.

We were surrounded by some really stellar gear but what really made that day was the members here. Everyone was very friendly and passionate about this stuff which made for some really cool stories and knowledge shared.

HUGE thanks to all that attended and a special thanks to the following people who put in special effort.

Archaea (Jonathan) - Dude, not sure how this day would have gone without your expertise and help. So glad we had you running the Omnimic and measurements. You were a tremendous help before, during, and after the event. If I know him he will be organizing, sorting, and analyzing the ton of data captured throughout the day. I will let Jonathan comment on the specifics/rules of the testing throughout the day as I'm afraid I might leave some detail out.

Rush2049 (Ben) - Ben took care of ALL of the clip organization and ran the cliplist the whole day. This also means he had to endure severe SPL the entire day. Thanks a ton dude for handling that all for us and taking the time to dumb down the graphs for us common folk. biggrin.gif

Dstew - Dave, that pulled pork was ***ing OUTSTANDING. Best I've had to date.

Ironmike/Jim Wilson/Bone215/Ryansboston - Thanks so much for the food and drink selection. I think it's safe to say we were fed well and no one went thirsty the entire day. biggrin.gif

Ironmike - thanks for handling all the spec lab measurements. Can't wait to see the results. That dogfish pumkin is killer too. smile.gif

Ryan - Thanks from the group of us for the Philly pretzel experience! Looking forward to hearing your feedback as well.

Jeff from JTR and Mark Seaton - Thanks a ton for making the heck of a trek down here and for all the knowledge shared with our group. It was much appreciated and I hope we can return the favor with future business - you both sure deserve it. For those not fortunate enough to have experienced their products in person, they provide an absolute "no compromises" approach in ALL of their offerings.

Tom from PSA - Thanks a ton for sending over the XS15 for us to review as a group and of course for the very generous giveaway! I know you will be successful in your endeavors.

To all that hauled your equipment over - I know first hand this equipment can be a pain to move. THANK you all for contributing. Without the gear there would be no event.

To the countless others that I've neglected to mention specifically here - you all helped throughout the day and wanted to say thanks for helping making this such an extraordinary event!!

The lineup, in order of demo:

Hsu ULS-15
Rythmik E15
SVS 20-39pci
Rythmik FV15HP
Dual DIY Dayton 15" Titanics with QSC RMX2450 amp
Dual DIY LMS 5400 Ultra sealed and iNuke6000 amp
Dual JTR Passive Captivators and Crown XLS5000 amp
(3) Seaton Submersives - 2X Submersive HP and 1x Submersive F2
Definitive Supercube reference

Seaton Catalyst 8C
JTR Noesis
Arx A5 towers
KRK Rokit 10-3
Epik Empires - tested with loudspeakers (informal)
Submersive HP - tested with loudspeakers (informal)

Although we got a bit of a late start (I believe we started measurements with the Hsu around 10 am), we actually got everything accomplished we set out to do.

The basics
My room - additional details in my signature if you would like to see pictures:

Listening area: 13x22 with open back
Full area: 16wide(average)x44 room open to hallway and 2 other rooms
Receiver/Processor: Denon 4311ci. No Audyssey was used.
Media: Ben (rush2049) used his XPS laptop to provide all media content
Other: Minidsp used to set High pass filters when applicable. NO EQ was used.

~25 minutes of combined clips for movies and music
Listeners rotated listening positions throughout the room
All subs positioned mid front wall, which measured by far the best via omnimic. Subs in multiples were colocated in the same position as you can see in the pictures.

I'll take a stab here at describing the methods we used for testing - I will fill in details here at Archaea adds his comments:

All subs ~8db hot for music for the "standard listening" session. Receiver volume standardized to -15 from reference for this section.
Movies - Subs still 8db or so hot.

Owners had control of the volume for the movies section and many of us got aggressive in this area. biggrin.gif

For the last 3 subs (LMS/Caps/SubM) we did an extra half hour of various clips at volumes that would be considered damaging to one's health. This part was extra fun but by the end of the last few clips I think even the "bass savages" of the group had enough, LOL.
Edited by Gorilla83 - 10/22/12 at 12:48pm
post #2 of 234
Thread Starter 
*IN PROCESS, draft complete*

My thoughts/opinions - keep in mind in general on the first 3 setups I had not gotten a chance to listen as much as I would have liked to because I was running around the house, getting food, helping move equipment, get towels/cables, etc for the other guys. I will add to this list as I have time to update it - and it will be marked completed when I'm finished.

Opening thoughts: Basically all of the gear we have available to demo is mid to high end - so there really aren't any 'losers' here in my eyes. Each have their own respective value area in the market and they are all bargains in their respective target markets.

Background - my own gear: I own an Energy S10.3, 2 x JTR Ported/passive captivators, 1 ED A5-350, and 2 x Epik Empires at the moment. It's safe to say I have a "bass heavy" appetite.
Past products: CHT 18.T, Definitive Trinity, Polk PSW505, Klipsch RW-12

Hsu ULS-15

Ben brought this sub over Friday night and we got to play around with it quite a bit prior to the initial session. After some initial setup/level matching we discovered some initial 'noise/crackling' that may point to some type of issue with the sub. After further listening and hearing some odd noises during the super low notes, we decided to implement a low HPF with the miniDSP - this seemed to help it tremendously. I believe Ben is going to contact Hsu this week to see what's up but most of us believed those noises we heard weren't normal or expected with a sealed sub with a dedicated/tuned amplifier, especially from Hsu. For what it's worth I enjoyed listening to the sub and thought it had a clean sound. With the sub in it's current state I know Ben didn't want to push it super hard so it's hard for me to comment on it's total potential or value.

Power Sound Audio XS15
I was fortunate enough to have spent the week with this sub prior to the GTG listening sessions. I also had the pleasure of conversing with Tom from PSA several times over the last few weeks. He's a super cool guy with a ton of knowledge, experience, and a heck of a value packed lineup. Overall I was impressed with this sub. It most reminded me of my empires especially when listening to music. Perhaps a bit less output in the 30+hz section, but overall sound was very familiar to me vs. the epiks. I really liked the finish on this one as well - smooth, nice looking, but seems durable and scratch resistant. It also did not seem to reflect light when I had it mid wall under my projector screen. It passed my wife's "WAF" test with flying colors if that means anything to the guys out there. I think Tom has a killer product here and I'm very much looking forward to checking out what he has in store for the future.

I think the ominmic sweep for this guy speaks for itself - check out the extension. I think these will be killer in multiples for those seeking super low output in a value oriented package.

Rythmik E15
First (looks) impression - WOW that piano black finish looks awesome! My dad actually stopped by during the day and this was the first sub he was drawn to. His comment "Wow, that looks nicer than my car!." This was the first Rythmik sub I'd seen in person and wow does it look and feel nice. Overall everything on the sub screamed "quality." The finish on the enclosure, the knobs on the amp, and of the course the driver/cone looked like they belonged in a showroom.

Listening - To my ears this seemed by far the cleanest of those so far in the lineup. This was the first difference I noticed in the standard movie section. I liked this the best out of the first 3 so far, but then again it is also one of the most expensive. Output wise the first 3 seemed very comparable to me to this point, but to be fair I don't known of the ULS had approached it's limits.

SVS 20-39Pci

This was my first time seeing a cylindrical sub and man was it massive! Standing up mid wall it blocked almost a foot of the projector screen, haha. I wasn't around a whole bunch for the audition but the few clips I heard I was underwhelmed, especially considering it's size. I realize this is an older sub/model so I didn't have huge expectations for it anyway as it was obviously outclassed by the others. It seemed like it potentially could have had a bit more output but I think Arthur wanted to dial it back and keep it conservative.

I did think it was cool to kind of have a "reality check" to really see how far the ID industry has evolved in the last decade. Ten years ago sitting in this same room we probably all would have been giddy over this beast. Arthur - I'm glad you brought this by for an audition for the group.

Rythmik FV15HP
Again, another sub that just looks/feels/sounds quality. I really liked this sub overall and I actually had been contemplating buying a pair of these for my upstairs setup for a long time. Super clean output but with an edge in output compared to it's sealed brother. The owner (Dave) had it in one ported plugged / extension mode and I still thought it had very ample output. When we played the sine wave test track this was the first sub to get the whole group giddy. There is a youtube video rush linked below from this one showing the group smiling and giggling like a bunch of teenage schoolgirls.

One comment worth noting - I did hear a few comments about the amp getting pretty darn hot, but I didn't see/feel for myself. The amp and sub performed flawlessly throughout a pretty hard audition, so I don't believe there is any real need to be concerned.

Overall highly recommended IMO - If the need ever arises I would definitely consider buying a pair of these. I believe Rythmik offers a very nice discount for purchasing multiples as well.

Dual DIY Dayton 15" Titanics powered by QSC RMX2450
This was the first of two DIY setups to be reviewed for the day. At first I felt underwhelmed with the pair of these, but after John started cranking the volume they began to sound clean and the output increased substantially.

I know these subs are fairly popular in the value oriented DIY community. I thought they sounded great in terms of value, but obviously the output was far less than the more expensive peers, like the LMS. They also had OK extension but fell short of even the single 15s - see the omnimic sweeps for details.

Dual DIY LMS 5400 Ultra sealed and iNuke6000 amp

First off, I have to give some serious PROPS to Austin (popalock) for busting out an obviously well built and robust enclosure that was wrapped up literally hours (it might have even been minutes) before he left for the event.

Honestly listening to these subs were inspiring, I thought they sounded AMAZING. They plowed through pretty much everything we threw at them, and Austin was not at all bashful with the volume control. I was sitting near a window during the sine wave clip and I'm pretty sure my windows flexed at least an inch during the lower registers. We pretty much had the inuke maxed out at many points and I'm sure these bad boys will be even happier with a bit more power. We didn't get a chance to wind up testing out his clone with these subs, but I'm sure once his amp is in working order they're sound nothing short of spectacular.

After hearing these beasts and given my experimental nature, I'm quite confident in wanting to tackle a DIY project starting over the next few months to something similar to what Austin had put together. Maybe not the LMS drivers exactly, but a similar type model overall.

Also impressive was the fact that he had the drivers in two enclosures which were drastically different in volume and design, but they seemed to measure close to each other.

Again, AWESOME job on a very short turnaround dude. Can't wait til you get some really serious power behind them.

Dual JTR Passive Captivators and Crown XLS5000 amp

Does anyone actually want to read an owner's comments of their own sub? biggrin.gif

Overall it's always fun to demo these things for those who haven't heard them before - to see their expressions, hear their thoughts, etc. It was the first time I really got to feel them out in 15hz mode. It was clear I drove them too hard for the amp at certain points as there was some clipping and I was trying to feel out each situation and back off appropriately. If I had to do it again, I would probably bring the HPF up a few HZ. I think the next level of improvement is to order a second XLS5000 and run each Cap bridged at 8 ohms. This would give me a bit more headroom and would be a bit easier to supply via the electrical demands. After all of the auditions, I'm still very happy with my purchase - which says alot given my personality and experimental nature. I don't see these leaving my possession anytime in the future. wink.gif

I obviously have been listening to these for probably a couple hundred hours since I've purchased them, but I was still surprised to hear how great those drum kicks sounded on the John Mayer scene. I'm a music over movies kind of guy and that stuff excites me I guess. The Submersives may have been just a hair tighter on some of scenes, but to my ears it was significant enough to have me change my plans. biggrin.gif

There is one thing I would change regarding my order though, especially after seeing all these gorgeous finishes. The standard finish on the Captivator is the truck liner/linex type finish which serves functionally quite well, but leaves alot to be desired for those who are going to look at their subs on a regular basis. Especially considering the size of these units, I think the upgraded oak, etc. finish is WELL worth the premium.

I think what initially attracted me to the Caps was the fact that a passive option was available. While whichever amp(s) one will attempt to match up to the Cap will likely not equal the powered version, I think it's neat for those such as myself who like to experiment with different options and/or save on costs. I still think that even with a solid design nailed down, I couldn't build something like this DIY, with this quality enclosure, for any significant reduction in cost. I don't know how Jeff does it. I still argue this is one of the finest VALUE oriented products to date, period. Yes, it is a BIG enclosure for most so keep that in mind. wink.gif

Facts: Various particles of my ceiling fell down. My pantlegs flapped 18 feet away. Through Friday and Saturday, I managed to trip the breaker on my power conditioner, trip the main breaker, and trip the breaker on the amp. A bass trap dislodged itself from a fairly rigid 90 degree bracket. My projector lens shift alignment moved TWICE during the demo scenes.

JTR Captivators - About as much fun as you can have with your pants on. At least for us audio geeks I suppose. biggrin.gif

(3) Seaton Submersives - 2X Submersive HP and 1x Submersive F2

Dear GOD. This trio built up some serious pressure even 20+ feet back from the LP. Even while sitting at the the bar, it honestly felt like we were experiencing an earthquake. I believe it was Ben who mentioned that outside it my street it sounded like something was trying to dig itself out of my basement, haha.

Clearly the perfect combination for those wanting a no compromise solution for the best in fit, finish, sound quality, and output in a very aesthetically pleasing "small" package. Well done, Mr. Seaton. There really are no compromises here, except cost of course. If you want more output or have a larger room, just save up and buy more of them.

They took anything and everything we through at them. Mark obviously spent a crap ton of time making sure the DSP and amplifier are perfectly matched with the driver and enclosure. I'm sure the powered Captivator performs similarly in terms of proper limiters, EQ matched, etc. The submersive has stupid extension, ungodly output, and all while never resulting in a hint of distortion or distress.

There was one scene that sounded particularly impressive with this setup - the 'it was all a dream' scene from Inception. Normally I'm not a huge fan of that clip, but I heard things there that I never heard/felt with my Captivator. I thought that was super cool and worth noting.

The F2 was just DAMN sexy. Mark and I got into some detail as to how the front panel(s) are constructed and I will say this - for those seeking such a package your money is WELL spent.

Definitive Supercube reference
Let's just say thing thing is built RUGGED. biggrin.gif We initially skipped this in the interest of time but came back around to it and the end of the day since we had some time to spare. We didn't run through the standard clips again (thankfully!) so it's tough to make a direct comparison. It was clear this didn't have the output or extension of most of the group, but considering the size it wasn't bad at all. I suppose this was the only non-ID sub of the group, so it's not going to win in the value department, heh. I owned a trinity in the past and wasn't too thrilled with it's performance, but it was still better than a large majority of the commercial (retail) offerings I'd heard.


JTR Noesis 212

For those wanting an loudspeaker setup with seemingly no volume limitations, this is it. These are built with true SICKOS in mind. While extreme levels of output are a given with an crazy high sensitivity speaker such as the Noesis, I was most impressed with the clarity and imaging with this pair even at low to medium volume levels. We listened to hours of tracks ranging form Norah Jones to Jeff Beck to Metallica and they all sounded LIVE. These have the kind of sound that would attract discerning audiophiles. In fact, I jokingly suggested to Jeff at one point that he wrap them in some exotic wood and quadruple the price and they would fly off the shelves, LOL. I could've listened to these for the entire weekend (straight) and been perfectly happy.

As you can see from the pictures, these have the rugged/in your face look we've all come to know and love from JTR. Most of us probably couldn't get away with running these full time in a living room, but they would be right at home in a dedicated theater or a similar type of environment. My wife gave me a "Wow" the first time she came downstairs and looked at them, heh.

FWIW I thought my Acurus A200 gave them plenty of clean output at 300ish/channel in 4 ohms - far beyond what I'd ever need for my room at least. I was wanting to hook up my Crown or EP4000 at some point, but we didn't have time for that unfortunately. I'm not sure anyone had the desire to hear anything louder at that point anyway. biggrin.gif

Huge props (and thanks) to Jeff for giving everyone a thorough listen to this special pair.

Arx A5

Prior to Ryan offering to bring these to the event, I hadn't heard or seen an Arx products. I didn't get a chance to listen to this as much as I would have liked to since I was constantly running up and down the stairs but from what I heard (some Pink floyd, jazz, and Jeff Beck) I thought they sounded awesome. A "laid back" and smooth type of speaker is how I'd best describe them. The ribbon tweeter has a unique sound and one that suited my own tastes, especially with vocals. I also thought they looked great and would please all but the most discerning spouses for living/common room use. I'd love to hear others in the Arx lineup.

Krk Rokit 10-3 Powered monitors

First off - I love getting to listen to products I'd never heard or seen before and this pair is absolutely no exception. We didn't get around to hooking these up until later in the evening. It was around 9 o'clock or so and after hearing them for the first time I have to say it's a shame we waited that long! The sound coming out of this pair was not at all representative of their small size. I believe Ben mentioned they are flat to somewhere around 30hz and it was obvious during the lower scenes. We did some adjusting to roll off some of the highs and after doing so they sounded fantastic. It would have been cool to do an A/B with the Arx's (maybe even with EQ) but I guess that's what loudspeaker shootouts are for. Hmm. smile.gif
Edited by Gorilla83 - 10/22/12 at 10:45am
post #3 of 234
HSU ULS 15 –
I liked this sub for music, played tight and clean and handled most things very well. I know we were cutting it low with a HPF because of the issues that were mentioned by Gorilla83, I feel this limited it for movies; it sounded good but lacked the output down low. It also seemed to be the most overpowered by the Cats. I was standing with Jim when this one ran and as well noticed the null. Would like to hear it again. I moved to a closer position for the rest of the subs.

Power Sound Audio XS15 –
I really liked this sub for both music and movies. It reminded me of my Epik Legend for music, more output for sure but a very similar sound, tight and clean. For movies it did very well given its size and the room it was in, output was good and it got low well. Handled Skadoosh and the sweep impressively. There have been many comments in various threads about its looks and IMO it is a fine looking sub, textured black paint that looks to be very durable. Matte finish very unimposing. Really not unlike many other subs. It’s not too large and should fit easily in most systems. Congrats to Dave who won it on the give away. Anyone looking for a new sub wanting to spend under 800$ should strongly consider this guy.

Rythmik E15
This guy gives the Submersive F2 a run in the looks department. The Piano black super gloss finish was fantastic!!!! (see picture,) Very clean sounding (cleanest to this point), tight accurate bass but IMO did not go as deep as the XS15, sounded very nice but lacked the “umf” that I was expecting out of it, handled everything without issues, Perhaps changing some of the billion config options it has/pushing it slightly harder would open it up more.

SVS 20-39Pci
I have heard one of these before, and I really enjoy the sound out of the SVS cylinders. It has a larger than expected output for a 12in driver but was run conservatively on the day at the owner’s request. So it’s hard to really rate it.

Rhythmic FV15 HP
Largest sub tested at this point and it made its presence felt. Was run with 1 port plugged and I believe a 14hz tune. Clean, and tight, very smooth and very deep with a ton of output. For me felt completely different vs the E15. First pass through the music clips it played everything greatly, first sub to handle the “bass I love you” track with ease. “Skadoosh” and “the big gun” made people jump. Could really feel it in the chest, first sub of the day to really pressurize the room well. The owner was running it pretty hard through the movie clips and it preformed great, some very minor port chuff on the sweep and the limiter kicked in and did it job without issue on the sweep. Highly recommended to anyone looking for a single large sub to handle movies and music. Should work well in just about any room. A pair of them would be rockin.

Dual DIY Dayton 15" Titanics powered by QSC RMX2450
First DIY and First dual setup of the day. There was a bit of debate on where to run the HPF on them. Ended up setting it at 14Hz, They sounded clean and tight but I felt the output was lacking when compared to the FV15 which was demoed right before this. Sounded good for both music and movies. Would have liked to have heard them run harder and with a lower HPF, really felt they could have given more. Still sounded good, and I know they are relatively inexpensive to build. Even for a novice DIYer Parts express sells kits that just need to be assembled. Very good value, but outclassed by others on the day.

Dual DIY LMS 5400 Ultra sealed and iNuke6000 amp
In 48 hours my DIY projects don’t even involve making cuts. Popalock managed to get the entire enclosure built and sealed up in an amazing amount of time. Really impressive. 2 different enclosures, 2.x and 4.x CUFT. EQed very similarly when looked at independently. Very nice when put together. Effortless is how I would describe their bass, the subs hardly even looked like they were trying on the first play through the music tracks. Tight, clean and accurate, good chest feel.
Movies were run up to +8 over ref, Maxed out the inuke and the subs had more to give, if the clone had been working I believe we would have seen something special. Sheetrock was vibrating, knocked the projector out of alignment. First subs where people started using earplugs because of the volume, We got up to ~128 db with them. And Austin wanted them to go even louder. A true bass head

Dual JTR Passive Captivators and Crown XLS5000 amp
As Jim and Andrew have said, we tried to bring down the house with these, literally. We were demoing in the basement and im pretty sure the roof was moving. Everything in the kitchen on the first floor was rattling and the waster/dryer were bouncing
I had never heard a Cap before let alone 2. Simply blown away. Like the LMS Ultras bass reproduction was effortless and clean. They are output monsters, had more to give vs the LMS at the same volumes. “The big gun” and the “Jon Mayer” clip at + ref felt like someone was kicking you in the chest. No distortion when pushed to the limits of the amp/power grid. We dislodged one of the bass traps which almost took out one of the Cats, popalock had the amazing save with some serious quick reaction speed.
They filled the room with ease and sounded as good from 2 inches as they did from 20 feet. They are large but not unmanageable. And for simply being a black/grey rectangle they are very sexy looking subs. Really interested in hearing a powered cap.

3) Seaton Submersives - 2X Submersive HP and 1x Submersive F2
Let’s just say that before we even turned these on every single person in the room was grinning from ear to ear like a kid in a candy store. Having not heard one I had no idea what to expect, and TBH after just hearing the dual caps I was not expecting these to blow my mind much further. I was mistaken matched perfectly with the Cats (obviously) and just punched us all in the face with output. Super clean super tight, more chest feel vs the JTRs and ever so slightly tighter. Played every clip with ease, 5hz notes in “Bass I love you” without issue, nailed the entire sweep and overall just sang to us. Amazing that bass that loud can sound that clean, JTRs and LMS do it as well but the SubMs just take it to 11. The F2 is also one sexy looking sub really like the design; IMO better looking vs the normal Sub M Rosewood finish was gorgeous. Hats off to you Mark, simply amazing.

With LMs JTRs and SubMs the subs had more to give vs the Cat 8s. I asked Mark at one point earlier what the need for the 12Cs was seeing as how loud and clean the 8s played. Well now I know, which is what he told me.

I also spent some time listning to Andrews dual (and for some time single) empire upstairs with both the ARX A5s and the new JTR Noesis 212.

2x Epik Empires
I really like the empires, very solid subs, we played a good variety of music upstairs during the day and they filled the large space very well, the upstairs room is wide and opens up in the back to the kitchen, and the celling is open to the 2nd floor . Matched well with the ARX and kept up with the JTRs just fine. Amps were not running hot at all even when being pushed. Same sound signature to the Legend but the Emps go lower and have much more output. One of them started to hum earlier in the day and we shut it down, it was fine later when powered back on and kept on thumping, 2 of these in a large open room sounded great.

I ran quite a bit of music through these that I was familiar with and we did a lot of listening to the Rock and Roll HOF Disk. I enjoyed what I heard from these, sound was detailed and accurate with a large soundstage, We had them corssed at 80Hz with the emps but could h have been crossed lower, very balanced and neutral. Highs were accurate and pleasing and the mids flowed well. Played loud well really glad I was able to hear them. At 750 a pair they are a great deal. Fit and finish is great. I want to call them normal/standard tower size, should work well in most rooms.

JTR Noesis 212
(Insert jaw on floor emoticon here)

I’d never seen (in person) or heard the JTRs of any kind before. However I really did not think they were as large as they actually are. This isn't a bad thing (other than not fitting in my house) pictures simply don’t do them justice. Ran basically all the same material on them as the ARXs.
When I first got to Andrews house they were upstairs playing these, and I could hear them from the street. And I could hear the music cleanly.
Sounded phenomenal at both high and low volumes, very accurate and very smooth in delivery, for a speaker as physical large as it is they really did vanish in the room, no issues at all filling the space. Zero fatigue even after we drove people out of the room. Jeff was very happy to demonstrate just how loud they would play and still sound great. Caused the AVR to drop into protect even though we were running them off a separate amp.

Definitely had a great time, glad I decided to drive down, however I’m sure my wallet won’t be in the future. Big thanks go out to Andrew for hosting this amazing event and letting 20+ people invade his house for a day, some 2 days please forgive us for trying to break your house. Everyone that showed up was great and it was a blast chatting with everyone. Really enjoyed everyone’s passion for bass and HT in general, honored that I got to speak with Mark and Jeff.

Sine sweep on the Dual LMS-5400s - only got it coming down from 100-5

Rythmik Fv-15 HP - Sine sweep - same sweep in the vid Rush posted but of the driver
Edited by Sibuna - 10/22/12 at 5:15pm
post #4 of 234
I cannot wait to hear the results.
post #5 of 234
post #6 of 234
First, I need to thank Andrew for hosting this. It was first GTG just for sub demo. I had a great time. The people I met were really cool and very nice. I also really liked the HT room in general. Let me just add that I am probably one of the worst guys to try and give reviews on these subs. We tested a lot and I am not that technical in my experience but I will do my best. I intend no disrespect to anyone who brought subs to be tested. If it comes out that way I am sorry. Now, on to my attempt tongue.gif

This was an impressive sub. It seemed to hit its mark and then stop right away. I really liked the sound of this one. With music it was really good and with movies I was also impressed with it. It was probably just missing the bare bottom for movies. Set up right, within its limits, this sub is a real winner. With a bigger room(i consider what were in on Sat big) dual subs would probably be plenty. And again, the SQ was top notch.

Rhythmic E15
This was another sub company that I have read about but never heard. I think this one again was a great performer. Again, this was another really good sounding sub. For a single 15in driver it really did sound like it had some good output, It was probably straining though at the more brutal clips. But again, to me the SQ was just so clean and clear within it's limits. This is another sub that was trying its hardest to fill the room and with dual subs in a room that size, I doubt anybody would have any complaints.

Power Sound Audio XS15
For music and movies I liked this one a lot. I think this was one of the first subs that "surprised" me. I was impressed with how good it sounded with music and movies. Plus, I think I was surprised at the size of this one. It was probably missing the really low stuff but that did not take away from the overall enjoyment of this sub.

SVS PC 20-39
I personally just think that this sub was out of its league here. It could reproduce the realism and impact that the other subs could. Within its limits I thought it was fine. But when compared to the others it just was not up to the task. For music it still had pretty good SQ but the owner wanted to cut the demo short so I really can't comment on what it for all of the movies

Rhythmic FV15HP
This was the first sub to make me sit up a bit more and take notice. First, it was pretty big. Second, if I remember correctly it was able to handle all of the music tracks and music tracks with little issue, I was really impressed with the output considering it is a single 15in driver in a ported box. It was very solid on music and all of the demanding movie clips we played. This is one that really took me by surprise. I was really impressed with this one. I was sitting about 10-15 feet from the subs and I felt the air from the port hitting me in the face. It's the first time I have ever experienced that and I was not ready for it. For value, I think this one is hard to beat.

Dual Dayton DIY
I have never heard a DIY before. I was impressed with these. They sounded fantastic to me for music. They seem to me to be able to maintain their composure with all the music clips. If I remember correctly, these were able to play loud as well. They may not have been the loudest but for over all perfomance and SQ, I do think they are fantastic. I did not hear them miss behave at all during any of the play back. I think I was impressed with these.

Dual TC Sounds DIY
This one may get long so sorry but it is sort of a preamble to this test and the cap test. Now, I hope my honesty here does not hurt anybodies feelings. For reference I have a SubMersive HP in a 1000cf so yea, I know what good low loud bass is like. Up until this point I really did enjoy all of the subs. Every one had their strong points and very few low points. But TBH, I don't think I heard anything that would make me say. "man, I wish I had that". Or "wow, that totally blew me away. I felt that kind of feeling only once before. It was with the old JM Labs Sub Utopia Be. Even though I have a SubMersive HP, I still have to use the Utopia Be sub as a reference. You see, this store had it in a room that was sealed and just a hair smaller then the one were in. I had spent may hours listening to that sub. One day one of the salesman had to come in and lower the volume I was at because he said it was shaking the entire building. I fact, it was flexing the walls. That building was 22,000 cf. So that is my reference for outstanding bass along with my own sub. That sub BTW had was ported, had a 16in driver and 1000 watt bash amp.

Those TC sounds subs were some of the most brutal subs I have had ever encountered. What you also have to understand is that I really have never heard any of these subs really cranked up. Even my own. So when these started to get going, I was not prepared. First, the SQ was just insanely clean. I heard no issues with anything that was being played with these subs. I think we all agreed that these were being limited by the amp that was powering them. But even so, I think they hit something like 127Db. You will excuse me, but that is insane. I can see why people build subs like this own their own. I was really impressed with these subs a lot. The fact that we went to +9 was simply insane. It was so loud I could not believe what I was experiencing. Again, these were the first ones that I said yep, that's what I expect out of a monster sub setup.

Dual Captivators
OK, again, a little honesty and I hope I don't hurt anybody's feelings. These are why I came to the meet. I was curious about the other subs, and I tried to explain above, I was impressed with all of them. But I really wanted to finally get a chance to hear some Caps. Well, let me just say that these things are simply wrong. To hear them full tilt like that was just crazy. Again, I can't run my sub full bore so to finally get a chance to listen to a very potent sub approaching its limit was a great experience for me. No matter the track, no matter what the level, these just sounded fantastic. They are big as hell I might add. But the SQ and output was simply outstanding, I can understand now why people love these so much. I think these were the ones that tripped the breaker. But getting beyond the sheer output, the simply sounded out standing. Refer to my above discsusion on the Sub Utopia to understand my comparison more fully. This is another sub that reminded me of that sub, Gobs of output that just kept on going. I am glad that I finally had a chance to hear them.

I was unable to listen to this setup because I left before the demo. But, I do have one personally and I have heard a system with three of them. I also know that I am not even getting close to what these can do in my room. I know that there a few people who never heard them before at the meet. I really hope they enjoyed them. I know I do every time I listen to it. Since I have one I can still comment on its SQ. To me, it has some of the best quality bass I have heard. Not that the others did not sound fantastic but I do think the SubMersive can hang with the LMS and Cap in that department. I do wish I could have heard all three full bore so I could make a better comparison. But I have heard a room with three in it twice, and that system really impressed me with its bass reproduction. Since I did not hear them in this setting I will just say that for me, the SubMersive is a sub that can compete with any sub I have ever heard. That includes the Utopia Be sub I have been using as a reference above. I get the same feeling of awe with the SubMersive that I got with the Utopia Be. The SubMersive can sound as good, play as loud and probably go lower then the Utopia Be. BTW, the Utopia Be was $6,000 when it was being made.

OK. I hope that did not suck too much. I did my best and I tried to remember what I could and also be as honest as I could. I would again like to thank Andrew for hosting this and also thank the people who were nice enough to me to get my food. I met a number of great guys and I hope if there is another one of these, I will be invited.
Edited by MIkeDuke - 10/22/12 at 12:35pm
post #7 of 234
Tripple Submersive Playback From Sound Stack Position

Rythmik FV15HP From Subwoofer's Perspective

Tripple Submersive Cone Extension Closeup (Bass I love you)

I was responsible for making the playlist (volunteered for the task). I had listened to all the content probably near 300 times before the event. Thanks goes to Archaea (Jonathan) for sending me the bluray clips and saving me time ripping them.

All content was played back using FL Studio. It was setup for 7.1 surround sound playback. About 12 minutes of music and 13 minutes of movie clips. Everything was of lossless quality extracted from the best sources we could get a hold of.

(As a note here: I can supply the project and clips to anyone (within reason) that wants to listen to exactly what was used. As well as a quick guide to how to setup for it. It is a little over 2GB in size and my internet connection is not great. So it would involve mailing DVD's. Perhaps someone could host this for download if there is a lot of interest.)

Playback in FL Studio included real-time spectrographs of the content with all channels mixed (top right) and just the LFE channel for movie clips (bottom right). There was also dB meters for each channel of playback and scrolling waveforms for each channel of playback. All of these were of the digital content only and was not a recording of any sub.


Hsu ULS-15
(I am the owner of this)


I won't comment too much because this is what I own and use at home.
As the first sub, and the sub used the previous day to setup everything with I wanted to set a good example.
I ran it at the -15dB for music, like every sub was. And moved it up to -7dB for all of the movie section (very conservative for what it can do). I wanted to provide a nice baseline. Price wise this was probably the middle of the road option to everything we listened to.

The reason was my uls seems to have an issue playing notes below 10hz or so and makes a bad clicking/tapping noise. Potentially a mechanical issue when high or max cone extension is reached. (I will be contacting HSU about this this week)
For that reason there was a 16hz high pass with a 48dB slope enabled.

I wanted to run it again at the end of the night with a higher high pass and really crank it, but by then I had a few beers in me and was getting tired.

Rythmik E15

This was the first listen to anything besides my own equipment. It was also something I had looked at purchasing besides my uls. I think it played well, but the owner did not push it past or near its limits in the movie section so I can't comment on how well it handled failing (gracefully or spectacular failure). This had a high pass filter enabled on the subwoofer itself and the minidsp was disabled. With that said I think based on the omnimic it was around 15-18 hz with a gentle 24 dB slope.

On the music it performed well, exception the low notes in 'bass i love you' and 'sub bass excursion's warble notes. It cut out the lower warble of the warble notes and the sweep down to them in 'sub bass excursion'. And the lowest notes in 'bass I love you' (at exactly 7hz in case anyone wants to know) were non-existent as one would expect because of the high pass filter.

Volume was at -10dB during the movie scenes with no adjustments.


This again had the minidsp high pass enabled around 16hz with 48dB rolloff (If I can remember correctly)
The owner ran it at -9dB during the movie scenes with no adjustments during.

I can't comment too much here as I wasn't paying particular attention to the more intense scenes. (I was helping carry in the SVS subwoofer during a great portion of the clips)

For music and what I did hear of the movies it sounded about equal with the rythmik E15. Perhaps not as quick on the gunfire and stomps of hulk and it cut out a lot more of the frequency sweep and struggled for a portion that was not cut out by the high pass filter.

SVS 20-39pci

His had the minidsp high pass enabled at 23hz with a 48dB rolloff. It was lowered 3dB in the reciever and the owner lowered the gain on the back of the sub during playback. So effectively it was not being listened to at similar playback levels.

From my listening position at the sound stack it sound a bit muddied on some of the intense notes in the music section. The quick gunfire of UZI's and pops and stomps in some of the movie scenes seemed not to exist, like the SVS did not attempt to play them back. (making me think it has a slow response time)

Rythmik FV15HP

Minidsp highpass disabled. Sub had its own. Similar to the other rythmik sub that was tested.

Volume was at a -6 dB to start the movie section and was raised all the way to -3dB for some portions (but lowered during particularly hard movie clips like HTTYD and KFP).

This was the first sub that had any movement on peoples pant legs and made any movement of air past peoples faces. The sin wave sweep had almost everyone with silly grins. There were a few videos of this posted including my own.
The reason being I think the high pass filter enabled on the sub had a very gentle roll off compared to the harsh 48dB slope we had been using. This allowed it to attempt the lowest portions of the 5hz-100hz-5hz sweep and allow some of the low portions in the music and movies to be heard for the first time. For the low notes it was not audible and did not have a rumble on any of the walls. The sub was hitting its excursion limits and extending from one max to the other causing the movement of air to be felt from the one port that was left open.

This was another sub I had originally thought of purchasing instead of the ULS I own. My concerns were verified in that when it attempted to produce low <15hz notes it cannot and just moves lots of air. But by no means was it a shabby subwoofer. It surpassed the ULS in clarity of the midbass notes and was the best listened to so far (keeping in mind all the settings that were being used on each).

Dual DIY Dayton 15" Titanics with QSC RMX2450 amp


High pass on minidsp was disabled (I think can;t recall and did not take any notes on this one). High pass protection on the amp was used instead.

I also do not recall the dB level that was used in the movie sections (I was taking pictures at the time and not watching the screen). The finish on the boxes was temporary (or at least that is what I heard, as it had bubbles and looked terrible). But that did not affect what they sounded like.

I heard a bit of clipping of the amp and a few points where the cones hit their excursion limits making a bit of a 'pop' sound in some of the lowest notes of the content.
They were not pushed very hard during playback and felt a bit underwhelming for being the first dual setup. I think maybe even the ported rythmik and uls might have been a better buy in regards to price/performance/spl.

Dual DIY LMS 5400 Ultra sealed and iNuke6000 amp


HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Now this is what I was expecting when going to a subwoofer meetup.

Papalock is certainly a basshead! Not only did he build a new cabinet in 24 hours before the meetup (finishing at 4am the night before) but he had his amp clipping almost constantly trying to get to the limits of the LMS drivers.

There was a high pass enabled at 10hz on the minidsp with 24dB slope in addition to the high pass the amp added.

After the music section went through at -15dB we disabled the minidsp high pass and listened to 'bass i love you', the sin sweep, and some of the ratatat tracks again at reference volume and even +3 to +9 dB. The amp's clipping lights were on almost constantly for some of the movie portions (for which the minidsp high pass was left disabled). For this reason I am going to say I can't really comment on the quality of subwoofers at all. They were limited by the amp that was in use. The SPL reached was certainly higher than anything before and earplugs started to be in use by some members in attendance. (I did not wear any ear protection until the submersives, simply walking further away from the front instead).

The seaton catalyst 8c's were clipping on the subwoofers during the increased volumes and were turned down by 2dB by Mark at this point. This also added to my reasons for not being able to comment on the quality of the subwoofers. The subwoofers began to just play even dB's for every frequency but the main's were overpowering them by far at the high levels.

Dual JTR Passive Captivators and Crown XLS5000 amp


Loud. Loud and power hungry.
To be filled in later, when I have time.

2X Submersive HP and 1x Submersive F2


Loud, uncomfortably loud....
To be filled in later, when I have time.

Definitive Supercube reference


The dirty unwanted child that was dropped down the hill....
To be filled in later, when I have time.

Seaton Catalyst 8C


A great pair. They are certainly did not let down at all for any of the subwoofers being played. We did stress the limits of them when we started going +8 over reference (hitting the amp's limits on the woofer) which made for a few interesting pops, but that's what the 12C's are for I am told. We were running the subwoofers 8dB hot almost the entire night and we were trying to audition the subwoofers, so I did not critically listen to much of the highs or mid range notes for clarity and transience. From what I did hear they were clean and performed well for our demonstrations. I would love to listen to them again with content not so bass centric, perhaps we will get to do that at the next get together which I hear might be for loudspeakers in January sometime.

JTR Noesis

These were the equivalent of the submersive tripplet demo we had downstairs, but this time for a much larger frequency range. Towards the end of the night Jeff demoed some material for us while controlling the remote. He is a quiet person from what I gather, speaking only if necessary.... He was warning people that he was about to play it loud..... that says something. They went very very loud and from the little hearing ability I had by then they were a very welcome change of pace. I would have to be a little more familiar with the content to accurately judge them, but for being the first JTR speaker, the first horn speaker I have ever heard, I gather it was a great starting point..... biggrin.gif

Arx A5 towers

I just plain didn't hear these being played, I must have been absorbed running the sub tests downstairs, manning the stack so to speak, and missed them.

KRK Rokit 10-3
(I am the owner of these)

As I am the owner of theses I don't think it exactly fair to comment on their sound or character.
So I will just put some unbiased comments/facts:
These are the top model in the KRK Rockit range of products, the ones below this are not of similar quality/size. This model is closer to the high end proffessional monitors that KRK and other studio monitors manufacture.
They have a hard limiter at 30hz, playing a sin wave will cut off once it gets to 30hz. The bass response is significant to this point though....
As mark/jeff pointed out at the event they were a little bright with everything at neutral, so I attenuated the high end by 1 db and it corrected the issue.
For those that don't know:
1" silk dome tweeter, 30 watt amp
4" woven paper mid, 30 watt amp
10" woven paper woofer, 80 watt amp

Epik Empires - (informal)

I don't feel I had enough time to comment on these. I was there to hear the plate amp on one fail and I listened to them when we were demoing the Noesis speakers, but it wasn't bass heavy material so I just won't comment on them at all.

Here are some additional photographs I took during the meetup.

Pile of Woof by rush2049, on Flickr

Gorilla83's Room Used For Testing by rush2049, on Flickr

Gorilla83 Meetup - Front of Listening Room by rush2049, on Flickr

Submersive Setup by rush2049, on Flickr

Critical Listening Expression by rush2049, on Flickr

Sounds Bad Expression by rush2049, on Flickr

Sounds Good Expression by rush2049, on Flickr

IMG_4654 by rush2049, on Flickr

IMG_4653 by rush2049, on Flickr

IMG_4652 by rush2049, on Flickr

IMG_4651 by rush2049, on Flickr

IMG_4650 by rush2049, on Flickr

IMG_4648 by rush2049, on Flickr

IMG_4647 by rush2049, on Flickr

IMG_4644 by rush2049, on Flickr

IMG_4642 by rush2049, on Flickr

IMG_4641 by rush2049, on Flickr

IMG_4640 by rush2049, on Flickr

Pile of Woof by rush2049, on Flickr
Edited by rush2049 - 10/25/12 at 9:46am
post #8 of 234
Omnimic Measurements:

The measurements that follow are the measurements captured from the main listening position as identified by Gorilla83. A mic stand was placed, a re-calibrated omnimic v1 mic was used to capture the measurements in this identical position all day. Because of the extraordinary lineup of subwoofers and speakers the group wanted to audition, it was decided to save time and not mess with EQ.

Q. If you don't mess with EQ how do you level match to ensure comparisons are still worthwhile?

A. Well you can do it one of two primary ways.

1) Level match on raw subwoofer response with pink/white noise test tones (and potentially end up with some subs hitting their highest SPL at 20hz and others hitting their highest SPL at 100hz based on each subs capability)
2) Level match at a specific frequency and let the chips fall where they may for the other portions of the frequency response.

Neither method is perfect. We decided to level match at a specific frequency because at least then we would have some point of identical comparison for frequency response graph viewing and so the frequency response graphs might be more easily interpreted. We chose 50hz because none of the three test subs exhibited any excessive nulls or modes at 50hz. Being that it is about 50% through a frequency response it should represent a tone that any subwoofer can easily produce at reasonable, measurable levels that remain well above the noise floor of the room (which was typically about 60 to 65dB) We agreed upon making our frequency response capture point standard 90dB at 50hz. None of these omnimic captures in any way represent max capability of these subs output, nor do they represent the playback levels used particularly. These frequency response captures are simply that --- what the raw/naked/un-eq'ed frequency response of each sub/s looks like in Gorilla 83's room with identical front wall placement given our single criteria of 90dB at 50hz.

Once more - no EQ was used, but an High Pass Filter (HPF) was employed through a minidsp on some of the subs to protect from over excursion on sealed subs, or port noise on ported subs. In each instance of HPF employment the 48dB/octave rolloff was utilized --- with the exception of the LMS-5400 units which used a 24/dB/octave. If a sub doesn't specifically list an HPF used -- it didn't use the minidsp for one.

For each of these frequency response captures however the Seaton Catalyst 8C speakers were turned off and only the sub was employed in producing the frequency response.

The first sub of the day was the HSU ULS15 - it employed a minidsp HPF at 16hz (48dB/octave rolloff). The HSU was provisioned an HPF to prevent the amp from clipping or driver making a popping sound. The sub's owner is going to contact HSU about this issue, but any time a receiver test tone was utilized without an HPF as the spl levels went above 80dB an uncomfortable noise would occur. This was regardless of whether the SPL was increased by AVR subwoofer trim levels, or whether the SPL level was increased by turning up the plate amp's gain knob. The noise was that of a popping sound, not unlike what I've heard with one of my Jamo D7 subs that indeed had an amp failure. With the HPF in place this popping did not occur.

We then transitioned to the Power Sound Audio XS15

Here is the Power Sound Audio XS15 graph by itself

We then transitioned to the Rythmik E15

Here is the Rythmik E15 by itself

We then transitioned to the SVS 20-39 PCI. This sub also utilized an HPF. The HPF was set to 23hz on the subs 20hz native tune as a precaution requested by the subwoofer owner to ensure his driver made it safely through the meet. I did not include this sub's FR graph in the main FR capture overlays captured at the bottom because this sub did not participate in the subwoofer meet at the same levels as the other subs. While the setup graphs were captured in an identical fashion, the actual audition was not like the others, so I left it excluded from the combined overlays. I felt it was capable of being run at the same volumes as the other subs - especially with the HPF set higher than the port tune to protect the driver from over excursion, but the owner wanted to exercise due caution in protecting the driver and asked that we turn the sub trim level down (I did so by 3dB) and he also asked that I turned the main overall AVR volume down (I did so by a few dB) and then the owner then turned the sub gain down some as well on the unit's plate amp itself. I respect the owners decision , and nobody wanted to make anyone uncomfortable in the meet when exhibiting their own product. But read the subjective comments on this sub in that light. This sub was handicapped for audition and should probably not be graded directly against the other subs. None the less here is the SVS frequency response with the 23hz HPF in place (48dB/octave) against the Rythmik E15

Here is the SVS 20-39 PCI by itself (23hz HPF employed through minidsp)

We then transitioned to the Rythmik FV15HP

Here is the Rythmik FV15HP by itself

We then transitioned to the DIY Titanik MK3 pair

Here is the Titanik MK3 pair by itself. The Titanik MK3 pair had a 14hz HPF (48dB/ocatave) employed in the minidsp (at my recommendation)

We then transitioned to the LMS-5400 pair

The LMS-5400 pair had an HPF utilized at 10hz, but used a 24dB/octave rolloff. It was the only sub that used an HPF with less than 48dB/ocatve rolloff. This first capture represents the pair's frequency response

Because the LMS-5400 had two different sized boxes - we did a couple additional captures to show how the box size affects the drivers frequency response. popalock had nicknamed the big carpeted box Wolly Mammoth, and the second box had no name. Since the smaller second box was put together immediately before the meet and had less than 24 hours of cure time before the audition. Thus it found a name as identified in the screenprint below. Showing Austin's amazing DIY skills or some plain Irish luck - the box didn't blow apart. That NASA glue is pretty impressive afterall my new friend!

We then transitioned to the JTR Captivator pair

The JTR Captivator pair each had a port plugged and so the tune was set at 15hz. The minidsp was employed for a 17hz HPF (48dB/octave rolloff) to help ensure Andrew couldn't find the limits of the port tune with demo material given his insatiable bass appetite. (yes 5hz to 100hz sine sweeps on a 15hz ported sub at well above reference volumes with the subs running 8 dB hot is a bad idea Andrew!!! tongue.gif ) Here is a capture of the JTR Captivator pair alone.
NOTE: Further investigation has revealed that the minidsp HPF was not properly engaged on the Captivator pair. Only one channel of the minidsp was engaged causing a phase mismatch as the Captivator approached port tune. Please see this post for details (http://www.avsforum.com/t/1434901/northeast-october-20th-gtg-results-thread/80_20#post_22524016)

We then transitioned to the Seaton Submersive triple setup, consisting of two Submersive HP units and one F2 setup.

Mark put each of the Submersive models in program 2 mode which allows for deeper extension bias. Here is a capture of just the Submersives in program 2

Someone asked how deep these subs went. Here is a capture of the Submersive HPs triple setup in program 2 with 5hz being the starting point on the x axis. Mark confirmed he has a HPF setup on the Submersive DSP at 7hz in the plate amp he uses.

For comparisons sake Mark switched all the Submersives to program 1 mode which removes the deeper extension bias. Again no HPF was employed. Here is a capture comparing the two DSP modes

This was the official end of the meet, but as a bonus we listened to the Definitive Technology Supercube. Here is that transition from Submersive HP to DefTech

Here is the Definitive Technology Supercube alone. We auditioned this sub on different material just for a change of pace with different mains. It, like the SVS was not auditioned under the standards established for the normal auditions.

For those curious here is the Definitive Technology Supercube - retail $1800 against the 23hz HPF crippled SVS 20-39 PCI... Especially considering the SVS was handicapped by the HPF at 23 hz --- there is no difficulty in understanding why the $500 SVS was quite a sweetheart of the AVSforum when compared to something like the Definitive Technology Supercube with a MSRP of $1900. True to form DefTech quotes the 14" supercube as having a 11hz to 200hz frequency response. Total untruth. The frequency response of this unit rolls off at 25hz hard due to the amps DSP -- even in Gorilla83's very room gain generous theater room. Definitive Tech is notorious for grossly inflated specs.

Finally I put a couple compilation charts together for easy comparison of all subs. Remember that these frequency responses do NOT represent max SPL. They only represent naked/raw un-eq'ed frequency response in Gorilla83's room. In your room their response will be different, but the comparison is valid to see how these subs compare naturally.

Here is a chart showing the subs auditioned under like conditions with a 2dB interval on the y axis

This second chart again shows the subs auditioned under like conditions with a 2dB interval on the y axis, but the x axis is changed to account for midbass between 30hz and 70hz

Returing to the standard 10hz to 100hz charts - Here is a chart showing the subs auditioned under like conditions with a standard 5dB interval on the y axis

Here is a chart showing the subs auditioned under like conditions with a 10dB interval on the y axis
Edited by Archaea - 11/3/12 at 2:34pm
post #9 of 234
First a few special thanks!

Andrew, You are a fantastic host! I wish we lived closer together man. I think you and I would become fast friends. Give Jody our collective thanks for letting us crash your home and the provide the opportunity to absolutely enjoy this event! Ben --- you came through on the clips! Great job putting those together. I think the way it worked out was different and fun! This is definitely the first meet I've been to where we watched the spectographs playing realtime --- showing what we should be hearing. Bravo! I enjoyed hanging out and swapping stories! Mark, Jeff, You guys are the best! I'm continually impressed that you make it to most of these events all over the US and are willing to be fair, independent,and honest with not only your equipment --- but everyone else's equipment as well -- you are both full of class! To the rest of the guys, I'd like to mention names -- and started to do so, but then deleted them because I'd surely miss a name and hurt someone's feelings. Suffice to say I really enjoyed getting to meet each one of you. Nearly all of you were incredibly easy to talk to and I look forward to meeting with you again! My wife's family lives in PA, so I'm out there a time or two a year. Maybe I'll have the chance to visit your home theaters in the coming years! Thanks to all the guys who brought food. The pretzels, boutique beers, pulled pork, pizza, soda, donuts etc --- All Awesome!

This was my seventh big audio meet in a couple years, and I have another meet to attend in Omaha NE next weekend! SWEET!
As to the meets I've attended and subwoofer equipment I've heard in the past couple years - here's the list
I love this stuff! What a great hobby! It's fun to hear the equipment and a even better to meet the enthusiasts on this forum and share our joint passion. I hope everyone enjoyed the meet as much as I did and that the enthusiasm found in the meet was contagious and generates more opportunities for similar events! It cracks me up that Andrew is already talking about hosting a second speaker based event --- not even a week after this one!!!

Onto my subjective impressions of the subwoofers...I took notes on paper during each audition - I'll recount them here. Many of my notes are in chronological order. I was writing my observations as I was hearing each track --- so I might say I loved something and then say ---eww..that wasn't quite right on the very next track. Take these observations as my subjective impressions from my listening position and nothing more. I'm going to be honest in my feedback. I like the people who came to the meet, but I may or may not think the world of the equipment you brought. My opinion of the equipment obviously doesn't reflect on you as a person, and only reflects my opinion. - don't take it personally. I've heard a lot of subwoofers, and so feel I can speak with a bit of experience in comparing these products, but my opinions are only my own -- my subjective impressions are just one data point of many.

I sat immediately behind the omnimic the entire day. I wasn't in the prime listening row but was immediately behind it. Andrew's room is the best room I've ever measured. Each sub was graced with a tremendous amount of room gain down low. My theater room by contrast has very little room gain at all. Not only did Andrew's room have a lot of low end room gain --- the frequency response was amazingly similar in way more seating positions than I would have thought possible! On Friday night, I walked around with the omnimic doing real time analysis and the only seats in the house that were noticeably poor were the very first seat on the front left of the couch that was against the wall, and beyond the bar in the very rear of the room. Even beyond the bar the worst of it was about a 10dB boost between 50 and 60hz that wasn't present up front. That isn't even that bad of a problem to have!!! All of the typical seating areas, including those along the bar had a reasonably smooth and flat frequency response when compared to the main listening position. The variances were very minimal. Absolutely a fantastic room for a subwoofer shootout!!!

And now on with the subjective impressions!!!!

The HSU ULS15 had a problem I think. It would make a popping sound at any spl over 80dB when playing back full range pink noise. This popping sound happened with the omnimic tone and the receiver test tones used to set trim levels. I mentioned this in the post above when I talked about the ULS15's frequency response. If we increased the gain on the sub and decreased the AVR subwoofer trim the most we could get was about 80dB of SPL before the popping occurred. Same thing occurred if we decreased the gain on the sub and increased the AVR Trim. A $1,100 sub should not have difficulty playing a full range receiver test tone above 80hz. I've reviewed quite a few subs personally, and been to quite a few meets, and I've not encountered this before at 80dB levels. It really reminded me of my Jamo D7 Sub that had an amp problem. Here is a video of my Jamo D7 Sub to get an idea of the popping sound we heard. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-RWyUdHde0 I told Ben he should contact HSU and tell them of the problem. Ben said he's read that many, if not all of the ULS15's experience this 'amp clipping' problem when using test tones, but that the sound doesn't reveal itself in real world material. Supposedly it only occurs on ULF, frequencies below about 15hz. That seems very odd to me, on a sub that is designed from the ground up to be a company's flagship deep diving subwoofer, but sure enough when we engaged a 16hz HPF on the minidsp and played back real world content we didn't hear the clipping sound except for the most demanding of clips at much higher SPL levels (like the 5hz to 100hz sine wave clip). I still don't think it's right, and I'd want to get that taken care of. It's for this reason that I have a hard time judging the ULS15. I don't think this particular specimen was working properly -- at least I hope that's not working properly. Frankly it biased me against this sub from the very beginning. I have a lot of experience with the HSU VTF-15h, from several meets. My buddy, Luke Kamp has a pair, and we've done some pretty exhaustive testing with them in both his room and mine --- and it's hard to get his pair of HSU VTF-15H subs to make a bad sound no matter what you do. To hear bad sounds at anything over 80dB on the AVR's test tone used to set LFE trim is just odd. Anyway -- How did it sound? Well, ignoring the setup issues and when played back at the standardized volume for music this is a very smooth sounding sub. It has a very nice clear sound. I felt like on occasion the bass sounded a bit thick in the early standardized volume listening of -15dB. This is perhaps due to the subs charted frequency response, which was heavy on the low end, but I thought the thick sound was noteworhty. I first picked up the thick sound in the tag team song. The ULS15 really struggled on the bass I love you track and sounded outright bad at the standardized volume. Track #6 sounded great and really filled the room well. Overall I felt like the subwoofer sounded good, but needed a partner or three! The ULS15 is sold in singles, pairs, or quads. For my purposes it'd be quads or none at all. This is not a high output subwoofer. Getting into the movie section Ben turned it up a bit -- I think to -12 to start and gradually increased to -7ish by the end. When turned up this loud I felt no impact at all on the War of the Worlds pod emergence footsteps. The sub had nothing left to give in the way of dynamics. The explosion of the elevator in the Underworld scene was weak. The mushroom puff in the THX amazing life clip was weak ---- but surprisingly the "deep note" on the end of the THX trailer sounded great! The Pulse clip crippled this sub and it made a bad noise at the end of the scene. By the Master and Commander clip we were listening steadily at -7dB (subs still 8dB hot) and there was absolutely no dynamic headroom left at this volume---the cannons completely lacked impact. It performed weakly in Live Free or Die hard, exhibited nothing at all on Jericho Missile launch from IronMan. There was just nothing left in the tank at these volumes for bringing about dynamic impact. Most of the clips at the louder volumes just ended up being muddy rumblings IMO. This sub just can't handle near reference volumes by itself, and pushing it too hard makes it all the worse because you lose every ounce of dynamic impact.

Summary: Broken amp? Sounds clean when played within means -- rumbly and lacking dynamics when pushed. Truly, I wasn't overly impressed. I can think of other subs I'd recommend for $1,100 if this sub is actually working as designed. If there was a problem with the amp, then obviously we didn't give this sub a fair shake! I've read that other's said they didn't hear a bad offering for the pricepoint. I can't honestly say that. For $1,100 I'd expect more. If you bought a pair of these for $2,200 (+ shipping) you are dangerously close to a Submersive HP in price and I think a Submersive HP is a much stronger choice. That said I really like the HSU VTF-15H and feel it is a great value at the $1K mark. I'd recommend it without pause over what I heard out of the ULS15. I maintain that there must have been something wrong with that amp...A quality sealed sub shouldn't need a 16hz HPF to function properly.

Thick sounding bass - sounds thicker than ULS I think, clean so far, Definitely more umpf than the HSU on the first true bass song tracks. I thought the ULS played the Tag team song better. Bass I love you is better on the PSA sub, but still not right - bottom 7hz note not right. ULS had more power in the 20hz heavy song that immediately follows Bass I love you. Playback on movies was set to -12.5 to start. Seems like this sub is a bit more protected at the lowest notes by the amp or DSP than the ULS was -- fewer bad noises, or sounds of limits. The mushroom poof on the THX amazing life clip was a bit better on the PSA sub than the ULS. Pulse clip is finding the limits. Master and Commander sounds good. Has more dynamic headroom than the last audition of ULS15 --- but still lacking compared to what I'm used to. I didn't hear any bad noise on the skadoosh scene in Kung Foo Panda, but there was no headroom to make the explosion sound big or deep at -9dB playback level. No dynamics on the Hulk Cop Car smash scene at -9.

Summary: Good Value. $750 represents a excellent pricepoint for a quality sealed 15" subwoofer. I liked this sub better than the ULS 15 in sound, and for the price of $400 less ---- it becomes a no brainer. It was slightly better at most things than the ULS15. Not a blowout, but a walk away. The PSA vendor is apparently another class act by all accounts. Jim and Andrew had nothing but good things to say about Tom. The fact that Tom offered to raffle off the XS15 was unexpected and incredible! A solid choice at the $750 pricepoint.

Rythmik E15
First sub that the bass did not sound "thick" through the first few music track auditions. I think this is a cleaner sound on nearly every track. It seems more capable at higher spl. Crapped out on Bass I Love you pretty bad -- no mechanical noise, but definitely the limits of excursion or limiter was reached at the standardized -15dB SPL. This sub blends very well with the mains --- best so far. Movie Section: Footstep of pod machine on WOTW cut out a bit? Limiter or servo reeled in the sub pretty aggressively. Gunfire sounded great on this sub. Best of the day by a large margin. First time the gunfire sounded tight and you got the thump, thump, thump, feel in your chest in the Live Free or Die Hard apt scene. Pulse clip chewed this sub up and spit him out. Owner turned volume down and still distorting badly at -12. Based on this clip alone I can tell the PSA sub has a better dsp, or limiter built in to protect the former sub from frequencies it cannot handle.

Summary: Good sub. I liked this sub the best so far. The PSA sub behaved a bit better during the worst of the torture clips, but this sub sounded a bit better when not at those limits. A might expensive at $1300ish, but very attractive finish - complex amp with many dsp options. A good product for the right buyer and a very clean sound when not taxed with exceptionally punishing source material.

SVS 20-39 PCi
See my notes in post #8 on this sub. The SVS was not played back at the standardized volume of -15dB for music. The owner requested that we not risk bottoming out his sub so I advised a 23hz HPF for his 20hz tune. The owner also requested that we lower the playback volume for the audition. I lowered the LFE trim on the AVR by -3dB. The owner asked that we lower the overall volume a few dB. We complied. The owner exercised additional caution by turning down the gain on the plate amp about half way through the audition. When it was all said and done this sub was probably running 10dB less intense than the previous three subs and the main volume was turned down as well. For this reason a proper comparison cannot be made. However, what I heard sounded good on this sub. I didn't listen the entire time, because I got distracted in a conversation for a good portion of the audition and when the levels weren't matched for the standardized portion I lost some interest. I think with the HPF this sub would have been fine to play through the demo material. The SVS 20-39PCi was a strong and recommended sub by a lot of subwoofer enthusiasts. It still possessed a nice frequency response, and as you might have noticed in my previous post # 8 showing frequency response, I think it out-preformed a $1800 Definitive Tech Supercube model that possesses a 14" woofer. It was a gem when you consider price to performance especially.

Summary: Solid older sub model. I wished we could have heard it at the standardized volume, but I respect the owners discretion in the matter and desire to protect his product. I appreciate that the owner shared the sub with us and decided to attend the meet!

Rythmik FV15HP
Bass is back to sounding a bit thicker again on the first couple music tracks, so far I like the E15 a bit better. European technosound song sounds the best of the day! Rastafari song sounds a bit weaker. Bass I Love You -- Best so far by a LONG SHOT! No bad noise at all in Bass I Love You, nor in 5hz to 100hz sine wave clip. This unit has a very high quality limiter engaged! Driver is pumping, but no mechanical sounds, no cringe worthy sounds created like the sub auditions before. There was port noise out of the single port, but that is to be expected on a 5hz tone played on a much higher port tuned subwoofer. The driver moved a LOT of air. I was sitting behind the first couch and felt air on my face for the first time. We played that clip again because this was the first audition where the lowest clips were handled well and that air movement is a fun novelty that the entire front area felt and enjoyed! Personally I think the air movement generated by a port is a positive sensory reinforcement that compliments the tactile feel presented by ULF. I'm starting to really like this sub, the amp and dsp make it a very impressive offering. Movie section: Bullets are the best yet. Thump, Thump, Thump of machine gun fire you can really feel -- they hit you in the chest! First sub we've actually heard the mushroom thumps correctly in the THX Amazing Life clip. Dynamics are the best so far. Pulse scene -- ut ohh finding limits at -6dB (remember sub is about 8dB hot from mains) Found a bit of the bleeding edge in Skadoosh scene too -- not bad, but the sub wasn't perfectly comfortable. Owner keeps increasing volume. Now at -4dB for John Mayer Clip. Mains are overwhelming sub at this point. No depth on Hulk punches in cop car smash scene because of -4dB and there is no remaining headroom. Sub was more impressive at -6dB to -8dB, but still no bad noises at the increased volume. I helped move the Rythmik after it's audition and it might be worth noting that the amp was hot, like burn my hand hot. The owner was really pushing this sub, and the sub was delivering everything it was asked of --- the amp didn't' fail, and maybe the temps well within spec --- but just as a little side note -- the amp gets hot.

Summary: This is an excellent offering, perhaps my new favorite <= $1333 subwoofer....I understand why this subwoofer is so well liked on this board after hearing the audition. clean, controlled, deep, dynamic, seldom heard a bad noise at limits, just stops getting louder. I understand why the two brothers who reviewed the five $1000 subs a couple years back really fell in love with this one. Excellent work on the amp dsp. All around my favorite sub so far in this lineup. Certainly not limitless, but appears to be able to near reference level subwoofer volumes and still remain clean --- that's a pretty important demarcation zone differing the beastly subs from others.

2x Dayton Titanik MK3 15" drivers in sealed enclosure
Actually I didn't expect too much from these. A friend of mine has a pair in KC and I've helped him set them up on a few occasions in his room. I've never been blown away by their performance. Inexpensive they are, and I felt their sound sort of models their price. The owner asked what HPF he should use and I suggested a 16hz HPF. I think someone else said use a 12 or 14hz. We went with a 14hz HPF, which later got turned down to a 10hz HPF. I was afraid the subs would bottom out. I did hear them making a few bad notes either due to excursion limits or amp clipping on only a couple instances, but actually they were more capable than I gave them credit for initially. Here are my notes during the audition: Sounds good, but once again back to a little thicker sound. Not quite as tight as Rythmik. Best so far on 5hz to 100hz sine wave (with 14hz HPF), After standardized volume music section turned down HPF from 14hz to 10hz for movie section at group request. Volume bumped to -10. I heard distortion on the war of the worlds track at -10. I hadn't heard distortion on the previous subs. Mushroom Puff on THX clip sounded clean. This was the first sub that didn't find its limits on the Pulse scene. Master and Commander retained nice dynamics. I heard a bad sound on the Skadoosh scene --- either the sub ran out of excursion, or the amp clipped. These had a nice clean sound on Flight of the Phoenix.

Summary: Good for the money -- if you want to put something together on a budget - these are sort of the defacto recommendation. They aren't world beaters --- in fact I personally would prefer the previous single Rythmik sub to this pair, but for $200 for each driver = $400 + $200 for boxes = $600 + $300 for an amp = $900. It's a decent option for $900. Personally I'd just buy the Rythmik FV15HP for $1300 as I thought it was noticeably superior to this pair, but the DIY option has it's place, and if you look for a used amp, or build the box on the cheap - the project can be completed for relatively little monetary outlay! This is the third set of these subwoofers I've heard -- each owned by different folk. One pair in KC, heard a pair in IA, and now a pair in PA. they've never impressed my socks off, but I recognize the value in both the product and the esteem that is generated by DIY. A side conversation through pms with bossobass, notnyt, and Scott Simonian indicated after crunching the numbers it would take more than eight of these 15" dayton drivers in sealed enclosures to equal the air displacement of a couple ported Captivators. Out of raw curiousity I was asking these guys about purchasing eight of these Titanik drivers when they were last on sale for $200 shipped ($1600) and buying eight boxes for $95 each ($800) from this site and was advised by the experts it wouldn't be much of an upgrade (if even one at all). When I heard that eight wouldn't really equal two of my caps above port tune I dropped the idea all together. That's the good thing about the DIY community here. The long timers are straight shooters,and even though they are all sealed sub fans - they were honest with me and kept me from going down a rabbits trail and potentially ending up disappointed.

2x LMS5400 powered by iNuke6000 amp
Very clean subs. Obvious headroom beyond what we are doing with these music tracks. The subs blend very well with the mains and seem quite mellow on the music tracks compared to some of the other subs we auditioned today. During the Bass I Love You track I can finally tell we are in the top tier range. During this track the 10hz HPF (24dB per octave rolloff) that was initially engaged prior to the beginning of this audition was turned off so we could attempt to feel the 7hz note in the Bass I Love you, and the track was re-played. The subs were not laboring in the least during the standardized music section volume. Everything was clean and very enjoyable for music. Onto the Movie Section! Austin immediately cranked the AVR towards reference territory. The first movie scene playback, War of the Worlds, encountered clipping on the Inuke and started making a bit of bad noises. This didn't seem to concern Austin as continued to nudge the volume up through the rest of the demo section. As Austin continued to increase the volume the bad noises became more frequent. I couldn't tell whether the Inuke amp was clipping on the LMS-5400, or if it was the 8C mainspeaker amps were clipping at any given time. I think they both were definitely playing at and beyond their limits. There was a clear popping sound through a good portion of the demo material. I put my earplugs in when Austin hit +6dB above reference with the subs still 8dB hot. Some clips still sounded great, some were a mess. The pulse clip still sounded great even at a +9dB above reference. I didn't hear any bad sounds on the Pulse clip. IIRC the HPF was completely off at this point. These are levels beyond what any mortal should encounter for very long lengths of time. Watching the SPL tab of the omnimic doing real time frequency analysis, at these levels the subs are no longer running hot and the mains are now running hotter than the subs. In my opinion some of the dynamic capability on the LMS-5400's is exhausted as we exceeded reference levels. I think these subs would have preformed better at lesser volumes, to retain dynamic capability and stay out of the clipping sounds --- or possibly a more powerful amp could have assisted their demo. However, some discussion through page 7 and 8 provided by another LMS-5400 owner (in this very thread) seem to indicate that the LMS-5400 drivers were at 80-85% of their peak excursion capability during the playback based on the videos that Ben took. The clip lights on the Inuke were on pretty solid during a majority of the later clips. The clipping sound was pretty constant, and I flinched more than a few times with concern for the subs and speakers. The final three auditions all hit 129dB 'peaks' according to omnimic's max spl tab which was reset for each audition, but the bias of mains to subs spl levels differed as to which was playing louder. For the LMS-5400, the mains were playing louder than the subs, for the Caps and the Submersives, the subs were what was hitting those peak SPL levels as they were still playing louder than the mains according to the RTA on the omnimic.

Summary: Impressive subs when controlled, excellent sound during the music section, but the amp clipping sounds were detrimental to my final evaluation. I'd like to spend additional time with these subs, but in a more optimized audition. I've now heard a LMS-5400 pair twice and been impressed both times (with reservation), but in both instances the drivers weren't necessarily able to demonstrate their best. The other time I heard them was at the Wisconsin meet that TJhub hosted and he preferred we not turn the main AVR volume beyond -10 during our demo session with his subs level matched flat to the mains -- so his pair was just loafing along by comparison.

2x JTR Captivator powered by Crown XLS5000
During the first few tracks of the music section these immediately seemed underwhelming...Why? Well we had just finished listening to 129dB SPL peaks on the LMS-5400 audition and now we are back at the standardized -15dB AVR volume for the music tracks once again. Flaw in the plan eh? Perhaps so...it's hard to immediately judge back to back when such discrepancies of volume occur. Another strike was what Andrew discovered after additional testing after the meet --- that we enabled the minidsp's 17hz HPF on the Captivator pair incorrectly. Instead of setting both channels to the same HPF, only one of the two channels was enabled --- here is that discussion: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1434901/northeast-october-20th-gtg-results-thread/80_20#post_22524016
This oversight is a shame because a HPF basically functions like reversing polarity on the drivers (phase mismatch), and so the output bonus of two subs becomes actually the output of one sub then further cut in half as that HPF frequency is approached. Looking at the meet graphs compared to the post meet graphs it looks like frequency response was affected from about 25hz and down. Take a look at Gorilla83's retest data to compare graphs. All that said, the standardized music demonstration left me somewhat underwhelmed. The subs were clean, loafing, and still sounded great, but they weren't spectacular. At no point during the music demonstration --- even during the 5hz to 100hz sine wave sweep without a HPF on one of the channels did they exhibit bad driver noise. I did hear a bit of port noise on the 5hz end of the slow sine sweep, but that is certainly expected in hindsight on a 15hz tune (1 port open rather than two), with no HPF on the ported sub. When the movie section came into play and Andrew cranked the volume up, then the Caps came into their own. Andrew kept the overall volume under a bit more control than the previous LMS-5400 audition and kept the 8C mains and Crown amp out of clipping for the most part. The Kung Foo Panda skadoosh scene was the best rendition yet. The John Mayer concert was really cut loose, and just sounded ridiculously good. I felt that Andrew turned the Caps up to a volume too loud to preserve clear dynamics on a few of the movie scenes starting at about the +6dB AVR point. However, these Caps definitely seemingly had more dynamics than the LMS pair. Flight of the Phoenix was the best on the Caps so far, and the most tactile of the day. One point of note was that the Caps dislodged a bass trap from the wall, and shifted the projector mount twice during it's demonstration. Popalock saved the day by jumping up to catch the falling bass trap and keeping it from smashing into a 8C's and knocking it off the pedestal! The projector screen and room walls shook more on the Caps than any other audition including the final triple Submersive audition. Multiple people were commenting on just how tactile the Captivators were. One guy exclaimed at the end of the demonstration that he'd like to buy a pair on the spot assuming Jeff took credit cards because these were the best sounding subs he'd ever heard. (I myself am familiar with that feeling from the 2011 KC meet when I first heard this sub) People behind the bar 25 feet back in the room were stating that their pant legs were flapping. The ported Cap is a very tactile sub. If that's your thing, you'll find it's aggressive and visceral. It's the top fuel engine sound of subwoofers. When the driver is really moving the slot ports can really start pumping some air, which just adds to the tactile experience. Andrew chose to run the Caps in the 15hz tune (1 port plugged), instead of the native 20hz tune with both ports open. At high volumes 1 port plugged is really underported in the 2011 cabinet. For the 2012 cabinets(the current edition) Jeff ditched the port plug option and just natively tuned the ported Captivator to 17.5 hz with both ports open. Because blocking a port to get the 15hz tune in the 2011 model will create port noise at high SPL, we attempted to mitigate this concern by using a 17hz HPF. I find it very impressive that one channel had an HPF at 17hz engaged and the other had no HPF engaged and yet we never heard the unprotected driver sound excursion limited or make a mechancial bottoming out sound, even when tripping the internal circuit of a 5000 watt Crown amp. That little observation speaks volumes to the raw capability of these drivers. We were running torture test clips with the AVR closing in on +8dB and +10 dB above reference at some points with the subs 8dB hot and the unprotected Cap driver never audibly cried mercy due to physical excursion limits.

As mentioned during the meet day audition Andrew managed to trip the XLS-5000's internal amp 20 amp breaker, so we had to take a moment to reset that. The previous night while testing we had tripped the monster power surge protector, so we took that out of the loop and plugged directly into the wall. Immediately after starting up the demo material again we threw the 20amp dedicated circuit the XLS-5000 was drawing from. HA Three ways proven that the Captivator drivers can gobble up that Crown amp's power! Amusingly enough, the Cap's vibration even unscrewed a lightbulb in Gorilla83's bathroom during Friday night's preparation warmup. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVs99V_sgKk

Summary: The ported Captivators remain one of the the most tactile subwoofers I've ever auditioned. Beaten by only the JTR Orbit Shifter pair at nearly 10dB more SPL (137dB peak at my house in the 2012 KC Blind meet's play time as compared to 129dB peak in this meet) and avsforum Desertdome's infinite baffle subwoofer system with eight 15" drivers mounted directly to a suspended wooden living room floor at 127dB. The Caps were taken to the limits of a 5000 watt crown amp and dedicated 20amp electrical circuit without even engaging a proper high pass filter (HPF) on one of the channels and the unprotected subwoofer driver never made a bad noise during some of the most extreme torture test clips ever produced. The Caps unscrewed a lightbulb, knocked down a bass trap, dislodged the projector mount 2x's, and threw various breakers over the weekend's setup and demonstrations. I left this G2G still quite satisfied with my purchase of a pair of these units, and aside from a DIY project with multiple drivers and some elbow grease I don't know of a better value to a subwoofer enthusiast than a pair of ported passive Captivators and a capable amp like the Crown XLS-5000.

2x Seaton Submersive HP and a single Seaton Submersive F2
Again -- after just experiencing crazy high SPLs, the standardized music section at -15dB seemed a bit underwhelming at first. At this point in the evening I'm actually feeling pretty desensitized. HOWEVER, I've always liked the Submersives for music ever since the first time I heard one in the 2011 subwoofer meet hosted in KC. Let it be known by all that there is definitely something special about the Seaton Submersive subwoofers for music. And it wasn't long into the musical section before these subs began to draw me right back into the music and allow me to really enjoy myself. To me, this sub is as accurate as they come. I've heard the Submersive subs now at multiple meets and had some playtime with a unit in my own room, and in a couple homes back in KC. Carp hosted a g2g at his place where we pitted his pair of Sumersive HPs against my pair of JTR Captivators in a half day eardrum demo to the death. Each of these subs has its strong suites, and they have distinct sounds as they approach their respective limits. Bass I Love You was the best of the night on the Submersives IMO. As many times as I've heard the Bass I Love you on so many different subs I most often think this track sounds odd on sealed subwoofers, probably because most sealed subs strain to hit the 7hz note. I've found I personally typically prefer this song on a ported subwoofer with an steep HPF rolloff. However, I did not feel/hear that strain on the LMS-5400 audition, nor on the Seaton Submersive's from my listening position. These two subs are fully capable of accurately reproducing this track. Track #5 I preferred a bit more on the Captivator pair. Like the two auditions before it, no bad noises at all during any of the music demos. Ultimately, I give the edge on sound quality for the standardized music portion to the Submersives for the day. Going onto the movie section...Mark keeps it at or around reference until the Transformer's bumblebee hwy scene demo where he turns it up to +2dB, he turns it up to +4dB on the THX demo. So far this has been the cleanest sounding demonstration overall to me. Six 15" drivers and Mark's savy volume control (not pushing to the absolute limits of his equipment) ensure dynamics are spectacular and bass is exceptionally clean! The Black Knight bullet forensic test had HUGE dynamics. Very impressive! Canon fire was, as typical, excellent on these subwoofers during the Master and Commander demonstration -- cleanest of the day! One thing to note. The JTR's were shaking the projector quite a bit more during these demonstrations. The Submersives sounded cleaner to me, due to the aforementioned reasons, but the Captivators did provide more tactile feedback. The Hulk Scream and cop car smash scene were just fantastic on the Submersives, and I felt best of day. However, the How to Train your Dragon scene with the cliff wall collapse was noticeably more impressive on the Captivators from my seating position. I don't think I heard the Submersives make a bad sound all day!. Excellent cosmetically, Excellent audibly, Excellent control! I believe Mark made a few sales that day too, as people really enjoyed both the submersives, and the mainspeaker Catalyst 8C's!

Summary: Overall the cleanest, audition of the day, and my favorite setup of this meet -- especially if not considering the expense of three of these subwoofer units. Not the most tactile, not the loudest, (all three of the last demonstrations -- the LMS-5400, the JTR Captivator, and the Seaton Submersives hit 129dB peak according to omnimic) but the Submersives were the most controlled and since this audition's volumes weren't taken to the very last brink of capability at +8dB or +10dB over reference (with subs still 8dB hot) these subs remained very dynamic, and the 8C mainspeakers played very well alongside! Yet another excellent demonstration in the capable hands of a practiced showman. During the other demonstrations each of the other owners found the limits of the equipment, Mark knows the limits of his equipment, and with his hand controlling the AVR volume, his subs auditioned powerfully, yet conservatively -- without exposing any flaws in the entirety of the system. Smart! Excellent! These subs are as impressive sounding as they are good looking. In no way are under performers in any category of media, -- music or movies!!! Owners, take pride knowing they have one of the absolute best subwoofers money can buy -- as continually proven in meet after meet after meet!

Definitive Supercube Reference
These particular subwoofer audition was done very differently. We used Ben's Rokit monitors to compliment rather than Mark's 8C's. We played different clips and it was a very relaxed -- anything goes audition thrown in on the tail of the day because the sub was available and a couple of us wanted to hear it. The sub measured poorly when confronted with the grossly exaggerated DefTec Specs. It has an obvious HPF installed at ~25hz, despite the fact it is marketed as effortlessly producing 11hz. http://www.definitivetech.com/products/supercube-reference

Take a look at it's frequency response in the post immediately before this one. Why does DefTech think they can use such BS marketing? I pity the poor sap who paid $1899 for this unit. You got taken. Now that DefTech is adequately shamed, I'll admit this sub doesn't sound bad, but it doesn't bring anything exciting to the table either, especially just after listening to the $3500 JTR Setup and the $6500 Seaton setup. The amp would shut down if we turned it up too loud. (It actually was shutting the amp off at -10dB). Subs were still 8dB hot so that means at -2dB on a flat calibrated reference system the DefTech amp just shuts off -- at least this one did --- multiple times. In my opinion this was one of the lesser performing subs of the day. It's a classy dame cosmetically, and at nearly 100lbs --- it weighs the part and is built tank tough ---- but it sure seemed to be all show and little go. It'd be fine for a secondary sub system on a living room TV, where you don't need reference level volume and don't care about frequency response being flat to 15 or 20hz. If you can buy this sub used for $400 or $500, or new for $750 it'd be alright. $1900 MSRP is just silly. Note the graph I posted where the SVS 20-39PCI that sold new for ~$500 range was directly competitive in frequency response and I'd wager fully competitive in actual capability as well.

Summary: Beautiful sub with compact size and high gloss finish! But that's where my praise ends. Amp shuts off? What? Why not just limit output instead of actually shutting of the the amp?!?

ULF Testing Notes

Mark proposed a cool little test test to determine if people can feel/hear/appreciate ultra low frequencies --- which of course is always a topic of discourse on these forums. We all eagerly participated! The idea presented was to set a HPF at 18Hz on the minidsp with a 48dB/ocatave rolloff and watch a 5 star bass scene and see if we could detect which playback sounded like it included the deeper content (<18hz). The results were pretty clear to the affirmative! Yes you can detect deeper content! 12 out of 14 people guessed/surmised correctly which playback of the clip included the sub 18hz content. The voting wasn't skewed because nobody knew which clip was played with the DSP engaged except Ben, and everyone closed their eyes for the blind vote count taken by raise of hands. I wrote a brief post on that test here:


Immediately after this test I threw my pen and exclaimed --- 'darn it, now I've got to buy sealed subs!' This was the first test I've ever participated in that seemed to clearly indicate there was something detectable going on in the lowest frequencies that wasn't rendered immaterial by higher hz fequencies playing at louder dBs. By my own personal estimation I'd say the clip that included the lowest frequencies sounded 10-20% more powerful. I couldn't hear a difference, but I could FEEL a difference on my pant legs and my shirt. It was fairly clear from my seat.

Clear Cut! - Right?

Well Yes in that test! -- but not so fast....

I asked for the group to try a music clip to confirm the previous test and the one we chose was Basstronics - Bass I Love You because it has some 7hz content in it on the deepest notes. In that particular test after listening both ways everyone stammered that they couldn't detect a difference on that clip and the vote was dismissed because the most vocal in the group (not myself - I still wanted to vote!) said it would just be a guess as compared to the previous clip were most thought it was more obvious.

Still --- it was convincing on the Hulk clip --- so sealed subs are the way to go right?

I reflected on this since the meet I'm not even sure that point is really clear to me. Why? Well multiple people, including myself, noted that the ported Captivators were more tactile during the meets' audition -- they hit you more, they shook the room more, they seemed more savage in general playback. Is that an audible quality of a ported sub? Is it distortion based harmonics? I don't know. I'll leave that to the more knowledgeable to discuss! What I do know is:
1) I could tell which clip had the deep content on the Hulk scene because my pants and shirt shook more noticeably ---- because I felt it -- not because I heard a difference.
2) The Captivators were more tactile in the regular meet playback than the submersives playing full range without a hpf --- evidenced physically by the various feats they accomplished -- knocking down a bass trap, knocking the projector mount loose 2x's, visibly shaking the projector screen quite a bit more, as well as noted subjectively by many attendees.

So how do you weigh all that out? I can't tell you how you should interpret the results, but I know what it meant for me after I reflected on it and thought it through. I don't have to buy sealed subs to appreciate a movie. If it's simply the more tactile feel the lowest frequencies create that I'm missing out on in a sealed subwoofer - then I can simply turn it up a couple dB's and get that back, and more in my current Captivator subwoofers. The next logical test at the meet (in hindsight) would have been to play the Captivators with the HPF, and then play the Submersives without the HPF and see which clip audition (test blindly) the group thought was the deepest. That would have been interesting, and as shown previously at the HuskerOmaha meet in 2011 might not be what people would immediately think...See the following post where in four of the six deepest clips played in the 2011 HuskerOmaha meet the attendees collectively voted the Captivators as sounding the deepest over the Sealed sub counterparts. To be clear there was only one Submersive in that test, vs two captivators, but our standardized volume levels used for both music and movies at that meet was much lower and the dual caps served no headroom advantage at the lower spls auditioned.

Taken all together -- if you have the capability to play the subsonic <20hz frequencies DO play them. They add value to the experience! I think the Hulk clip testing with 12 out of 14 people voting correctly is fairly conclusive there. I noticed it myself, as a long time ported sub advocate. The fact that we were in a basement slab room for this test is further evidence for that point that the subsonic content is beneficial --- because it isn't like we were feeling vibrations from the floor. Since we were auditioning on a concrete slab --- all that we felt and identified was acoustic energy! However, personally, I don't think it's worth going to much extra expense to try to capture those frequencies, as just turning it up a couple dB will equate the feeling of more tactile feedback, with my Caps which is seemingly what the <20hz frequencies provide.

^ is one man's opinion...

What is yours?

Speaker Impressions

My JTR Neosis impressions are shared a little bit here:
We watched a car racing clip showing an F1 screaming around the track and it sounded true to life in Gorill83's living room!
Concerts, and night club bluray recordings sounded live -- just like you were there --- regardless of volume.
I heard the Neosis again in the Omaha home theater tour on 10/27 and they sounded fantastic in desertdome's room. I'd put them right up there with Mark's Catalyst 12Cs and desertdome's monolithic LS6 speakers as the three best speakers I've ever heard. As to which is the best --- I don't know, without A/B/C'ing them directly and spending some real quality time with them on the same exact tracks. Music sounds very live, and movies are exceptionally dynamic. I will say that the gunshots during the Open Range demo at desertdome's house on the Neosis speakers were the most accurate, flat out jaw dropping sounding gunfire reproduction I've ever heard --- with such a compelling lead that there is no second place. A handful of us heard it, and that same handful all simultaneously expressed guttural HOLY #$()@$ exclamations, followed by nervous laughter and the immediate desire to play it again. Perhaps even the sadomasochistic desire to turn it up louder --- just to see how more we could handle before our skulls caved in. Sadly, or perhaps fortunately, it was late, and we decided to wrap it up instead.

The Catalyst 8C's are yet another fantastic speaker, and performed quite admirably through the course of our day long demo -- taking some amp clipping abuse all in stride! wink.gif

The Rokit speakers were also impressive. I'm glad Ben brought them to let us audition them. They had very surprising amount of bass response, and were strong down to 30hz. They sounded great for the money, and I'd enjoy owning a pair! He uses his set as computer speakers, and that's a great idea!

I'm sorry but I did not get to demo the Arx A5 towers. I walked through the living room with them on, but at that time, I was too busy to sit down and take much of a listen, so I have no impressions to post of these. From what I heard, people enjoyed them.
Edited by Archaea - 11/4/12 at 6:35am
post #10 of 234
Please share the measurements and final thoughts??

The youtube is too much a teaser............!!!!!!!! tongue.gif:D
post #11 of 234
I had a blast -- literally and figuratively! -- yesterday. While punishing the subs, and my ears, was the primary objective I actually enjoyed putting a face to a name the most. Some of these guys I have been communicating with since joining this forum, so it was nice to finally meet them.

Andrew, it all starts and ends with you. Making this happen was a monumental task, one you accomplished with a wonderful attitude. You were definitely a gracious host, offering up your once beautiful house to the punishment of insane bass and semi-inebriated guests. I suspect we wore some parts of it out, and perhaps shifted the foundation just a bit. Apologize to your wife and neighbors for all of us. biggrin.gif

Thanks need to be extended to Jonathon, Ben, Ryan and Mike for basically running and documenting the show. From movie and music clips, to measuring and photography, these guys covered it all. It was like army ants scurry about, each doing their thing. Their preparation and organization was huge.

A special shout out also goes to Mark Seaton (Seaton Sound) and Jeff Permanian (JTR Speakers). Both of these guys drove great distances to participate in the GTG. That's a level of dedication and customer service you just simply don't see very often. Turns out not only are they extremely passionate about what they do for a living, they're both real personable guys. Mark hand delivered a Submersive HP and some Catalysts to one of the attendees, while Jeff brought his incredible Neosis 212 speakers for a sort of unveiling. If anyone wants a set of speakers that are not only very precise but absolutely laugh at your attempts to make them clip check out the Neosis 212. We had them at concert hall levels and they shrugged it off.

Of course, you need subwoofers for this to work, so thanks have to be extended to all those who brought them. Virtually everyone that did was not at all leery about pushing them to -- and in some instance, beyond -- their respective limits. It was nice to hear such a diverse lineup.

And now, some listening observations...

This sub was clean and precise, with what sounded like a quick decay. I liked how music sounded. I wasn't terribly impressed with it's depth though, but that probably had little to do with the ULS 15. The first spot I was standing in seemed to be a null, which neutered the bass. I think the HPF might have affected this one in as well. Mark Seaton and I were kinda looking at each other saying "huh"? He happened to move back a few feet and noticed a marked improvement in the bass, so I shifted by position back for all subsequent tests. That took care of the null at least.

Rhythmic E15
The E15 sounded richer to me then the ULS 15 did, with a nice full sound. It seemed to struggled just a bit with the ULF, but I liked how music sounded. LFE from the movie scenes was precise and clear, with a good amount of definition. The piano black finish looked very nice, and there are a lot of configuration options available so it should be possible to dial this one in to work correctly in just about any room.

Power Sound Audio XS15
I thought the XS15 sounded nicer than the previous two subs. Deep, powerful bass that was articulated very well. This unit was brand new and had maybe 4 hours of run time on it, so a lot more break in would be necessary before anything definitive could really be said about it. I think Dave -- the guy who won it in the raffle -- is probably pretty pleased. It's hard to imagine another subwoofer giving you more than XS15 does for it's $750 price.

SVS PC 20-39
Only cylinder I've ever heard. This single 12" driver seemed to hold it's own against some of the 15's. Sounded like it might have been run a little on the conservative side though, because the output was not there. Not sure I like how cylinders look, but it's hard to argue against the performance.

Rhythmic FV15HP
Wow, this is one huge subwoofer - 2 foot depth makes for a very deep cabinet. The limiter engaged in a less than smooth manner when the sweep was getting real low, but beyond that little seemed to faze it. Wouldn't be my first choice for music, but with movies it did very well. Had a nice deep rumble, and provided some tangible feel when called upon. Volume wasn't an issue either; Dave cranked it loud, but it seemed to play along without complaining. If you have the room for a big subwoofer the FV15 seems like a real solid option.

Dual Dayton DIY
Gotta love the shelf-paper finish on these bad boys. tongue.gif Ironically, I don't have many listening impressions on these, even though I helped unload them from the car and bring them into the house. By the time they were setup I had gone upstairs to get something to eat, and stayed up their for a while listening to Arx's amazing A5 towers. I do recall thinking the Daytons needed a bit more amplification.

Dual TC Sounds DIY
Austin, you need help my friend. I don't recall ever seeing anyone try to destroy their own subwoofer (subwoofers, in this case) with the zeal that you exhibited. biggrin.gif Ever see the movie Spinal Tap, where the amps go to 11? Well, that's popalock. This was the first instance where people started to put in ear plugs. He cranked and cranked those TC drivers until they cried for help, and he was having a good time while doing it. One of his cabinets was only built less than 1 day earlier, so the glue wasn't even completely set! When he and I were talking afterwards he mentioned wanting to know how far the drivers could be pushed before the aluminum cones started to deform. That's either dedication or a disorder. I'm not sure which it is at this point. smile.gif

Dual Captivators
These were pushed to such a high level that a circuit breaker on a 5000 watt Crown amp tripped! How's that for a test? Once the amp was reset I found the Caps sounded better for music then I had anticipated - I figured they might be the industrial version of a sub, designed solely for punishing volume and depth. However, the music tracks turned out to be darn good. Where the Caps shined the most though was were I did expect them to be the best; volume and extension. This was the sub pair that unscrewed a light bulb in the downstairs bathroom! Think that's a decent amount of bass? Nothing, and I mean nothing, was a struggle for the Caps. Want depth? Check. Want volume? Check. Want both at the same time? Check. We had them cranked so high my pant legs were flapping during the movie tests, and I was standing behind the bar 20+ feet away. Stunning is about the only way to describe it. Andrew, I'm afraid your house is not long for this world...

Triple Submersives (two HP's and one F2)
What do you do for an encore to a pair of Captivators? Hook up three Submersives of course! With enough wattage to light up a small city, and sufficient output for home demolition, the Submersives pummeled the lot of us. What destruction the Captivators didn't complete the Submersives finished off. Great overall sound, with exceptional clarity. Volume wasn't an issue here either; keep increasing the knob and these subwoofers just get louder and louder, with no lose of composure. Movies and music alike were very well rendered. My pant legs were flapping again, and for some reason I liked it. Veneer work was gorgeous too, which made them look quite nice.

I'm definitely glad I went, for multiple reasons, and I would surely go to another. Andrew, all your time and effort was well worth it because this GTG was a rousing success.
Edited by JimWilson - 10/22/12 at 11:11am
post #12 of 234
Great idea starting a new thread.

Gorilla, may I recommend providing the link to this thread in the first post of your original GTG thread and the same for this thread.
post #13 of 234
I'd like to make a reservation. Last name is subjective, first name Comments.
post #14 of 234
Reserved for some comments and speclab waterfalls.
post #15 of 234
I want to mention that Andrew and his wife were consummate hosts. They were kind enough to open their lovely home to us which enabled the meet to happen. A special thanks goes to Andrew's wife for putting up with all of us on Friday night, and all of the "noise" that we created. Trust me guys that women typically do not like subwoofers - ask me how I know. rolleyes.gif

It was great meeting new friends.

-- Bill --
post #16 of 234
anyone know how many pictures i'm allowed to embed before i get yelled at?

lets try this

JTR Noesis Upstaris - each sitting on an Epik Emp


Downstairs - Cat 8Cs




Dave won the PSA

Rythmik E15

SVS PCI 20-39


Rythmik FV15HP

Dual Daytons

Dual LMS 5400 Ultra

Dual JTR Caps

3x Seaton Sub M

The Beib

Edited by Sibuna - 10/21/12 at 7:42pm
post #17 of 234
Awesome speaker porn! Would love to attend one of these GTG some day.
post #18 of 234
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by JimWilson View Post

I had a blast -- literally and figuratively! -- yesterday. While punishing the subs, and my ears, was the primary objective I actually enjoyed putting a face to a name the most. Some of these guys I have been communicating with since joining this forum, so it was nice to finally meet them.
Andrew, it all starts and ends with you. Making this happen was a monumental task, one you accomplished with a wonderful attitude. You were definitely a gracious host, offering up your once beautiful house to the punishment of insane bass and semi-inebriated guests. I suspect we wore some parts of it out, and perhaps shifted the foundation just a bit. Apologize to your wife and neighbors for all of us. biggrin.gif
Andrew, all your time and effort was well worth it because this GTG was a rousing success.

Jim - It was great putting a face with the name and I'm glad to hear you also had a "blast." I felt like I was a kid in a candy store ALL WEEKEND. At the end of the day as tired as I was I'm already thinking in my head about planning the next one.

Loudspeaker shootout anyone??? biggrin.gif

Originally Posted by popalock View Post

Great idea starting a new thread.
Gorilla, may I recommend providing the link to this thread in the first post of your original GTG thread and the same for this thread.

Glad you reminded me, DONE!
Originally Posted by rx-8 View Post

I want to mention that Andrew and his wife were consummate hosts. They were kind enough to open their lovely home to us which enabled the meet to happen. A special thanks goes to Andrew's wife for putting up with all of us on Friday night, and all of the "noise" that we created. Trust me guys that women typically do not like subwoofers - ask me how I know. rolleyes.gif
It was great meeting new friends.
-- Bill --

Bill - It was great meeting you as well. The wife seems fine now about Friday night's activities - is it safe to ask to start planning another event?? eek.gif

Sibuna - AWESOME pics!! I was hoping to see something along these lines in this thread, keep em coming!
Edited by Gorilla83 - 10/22/12 at 7:47am
post #19 of 234
Congrats on a successful GTG Andrew and thanks for opening up your home to other hobbyists. These threads are the most fun and interesting for me and despite the challenges they give voice to real time user experiences. Also very cool that PSA, JTR and Seaton Sound made themselves and or their products available for the GTG. This was quite an undertaking and I applaud all of you who put in the time and effort.

Now, back to impressions and photos... cool.gif
post #20 of 234
I updated my thoughts but I also just wanted to say again I a really fun day. I felt a little out of my element and comfort zone with all of these heavy hitters who were here. But I still had a great time. Once again. Thanks to Andrew for hosting this and everyone who moved the subs in and out and did the measuring did a fantastic job of moving everything along. It was good to put a face to the names of a lot of the people that showed up. It was great being able to listen to a lot of gear I had heard about but never really heard until Sat. Thanks again.
post #21 of 234
Very nice guys! I know lots of effort went into this with all these subs. Fun is the goal and it seems that was accomplished! Man is that F2 sexy!
post #22 of 234
Awesome thread, I love reading these GTG threads and it really sounded like a blast!

I won't lie.. I am getting the itch to go DIY with a pair of subs using LMS drivers right about now...
post #23 of 234
GREAT JOB fellas (and you too Austin biggrin.gif )!!

So far the impressions posted have been a fun read, cant wait till the rest are up. Keep'em coming boys!
post #24 of 234
How did everyone like the ARX a5??
post #25 of 234
I will most likely come back to add more, however, for now I can say that the capabilities of some of these subs was just scary. The bags of ear plugs attest to that biggrin.gif
Andrew (Gorilla) could not have been more gracious, helpful, and upbeat! Not to mention all the help I received from other gracious people not the least of whom was Ben, helping get my music selection played at the last minute.

I don't know what to say about Mark Seaton that hasn't already been said.

I couldn't stay for the entire event, maybe it was the flu shot i got on Saturday morning.

I am not surprised that my SV 20-39PCi left people underwhelmed, but in my small office it does well enough.

I've read so much about the Submersive, (among others), the clarity and pitch definition were impressive and my thanks to Mark Seaton who went out of his way to play the music I brought.
Edited by spyboy - 10/22/12 at 8:36am
post #26 of 234
Originally Posted by ousooner2 View Post

How did everyone like the ARX a5??

Looks like Jim Wlison and Sibuna though fairly high of them. I'm looking forward to see what everyone else has to say about them, whether it be great, good, meh, bad, nice to read any impressions. Its crazy to see how the A5s are just dwarfed by the Seaton in one of the pictures. I also didn't realize that those Rokit 10s are so large.

Originally Posted by spyboy View Post

I am not surprised that my SV 20-39PCi left people underwhelmed, but in my small office it does well enough.

I have an SVS 25-31PCi and 20-39PCi and they are great subwoofers, although probably getting somewhat dated. I'm not surprised from reading that it left people a little underwhelmed, especially compared to those monster subwoofers.
post #27 of 234
Originally Posted by Gorilla83 View Post

Loudspeaker shootout anyone??? biggrin.gif

Next weekend then? eek.gif I'll need to bring your wife a case of wine next time... wink.gif
post #28 of 234
Sibuna, those are great pics! Thanks for posting them.
Edited by JimWilson - 10/22/12 at 10:42am
post #29 of 234
WTB one of these in MN!
post #30 of 234
Originally Posted by stormwind13 View Post

WTB one of these in MN!

I would love to have one in Minnesota, and could bring an Hsu VTF-15H and PA-150 to the mix....
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