Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Orange County, CA
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JTR Captivator 118HT Review
I've had the Cap 118HT for a while now and told Jeff I would be posting a review but with work and life I've been pretty lazy.
It seems like the 118HT doesn't get as much fanfare as JTR's more powerful options but I wanted to chime in for any of those considering purchasing the 2017 version.
My current man cave is a loft only about 13' x 12' but opens to the rest of the house on the side. It's not the best room acoustically but it's my only option until I move one day.
I had tried sealed with RA's Gamma and realized ported was the way to go, unfortunately the debacle with RA left me low on funds.
My options were settling with what I had or seeing what deals I could swing. I really wanted JTR after what I've read in the forums and Jeff was kind enough to give me a great offer on a "prototype" which he described as parts laying around the shop.
The sub shipped within a few days and Jeff even checked in around the time I was supposed to receive the sub to ask for my thoughts on the product.
Many many weeks later here are my thoughts (and photos).
So as many warned but very little heed, the sub is the size of a mini fridge. The box is fairly massive and I had a couple flights of stairs to go up in my condo. The delivery guy looked angry that I answered the door and he begrudgingly went back to the truck and hauled the package up the steps to my front door.
I had originally planned to wait for a friend but I was so excited I ended up carefully pushing the package up the stairs (no worries, it's carpet).
I was immediately impressed by how well packed the subwoofer was. Everything was wrapped neatly in plastic and cushioned by large foam blocks. I was semi lost on why there were holes where the amp and woofer were but I guessed it's so they know it's a 118HT and not a Cap 1400.
I also thought it was funny that the power cord is tucked in one of the ports, smart packaging indeed.
I had really wanted a high gloss/veneer sub (couldn't swing the cost difference) but I was surprised that the default matte black ain't too shabby. It actually has a little shimmer to it, feels like sandpaper. It can get white scuff marks easily but that can be wiped off.
If you could afford a paint job/veneer I would say go for it, with such a large size I think it's likely worth the cost. If I ever can afford to upgrade I will definitely get a veneered one next time.
Now the part that matters, the sound. Right off the bat I ran ARC on my Anthem but used the same distance settings. I immediately noticed a much fuller sound, ARC had this flat til it's cutoff of 15hz which got me really excited. The sub is at 0 for the LF adjust.
On the RA Gamma I had to run at +3db hot to get a satisfactory balance of bass quantity and quality. With the 118HT I'm running it at the calibrated level and still feeling every thump my movies/shows provide.
I had already thought my Gamma sounded good/clean but with the additional low end provided by the 118HT it is simply a much more involving and satisfying experience.
The bass sounds clean, quick, and integrates well with my system (probably has to do more with the EQ but sub rounds out the system on the bottom end).
It definitely is confusing hearing something so light on it's feet for something so large but when it's time for impact the sub delivers.
I wish I remembered the movie but it was one involving monsters and there were bassy footsteps. I swear I got confused and thought there was construction going on in the evening (they're building new homes near me) and paused the movie to double check since my house was shaking.
It was my first holy crap moment with this sub and it continues to deliver every time I watch movies or listen to music.
I think for anyone who doesn't have a large room the 118HT will be great and don't worry too much about paying extra for the Cap 1400 (minus how sexy it looks, but the 118HT is pretty sexy in person).
Thank you again Jeff for making this happen and I encourage anyone who isn't sure about buying to give him a call. He's extremely straight forward and isn't pushy when it comes to buying.
Thank you all for reading and enjoy the pics!
Sony XBR75X850C, Anthem MRX720, KEF R500 (x2), KEF R200C, KEF R100 (x2), JTR Cap 118HT (Echo 18 1400w is a myth)