Now that I have it all dialed in again, I think I can go ahead and write my full review of the XV15se. These are just my own experiences, so take them as such.
My XV15se review
I have now owned the XV15se for approx 30 days, (minus 5 days waiting for a new amp). This unit replaced my old BIC 12, which I must say really was a solid performer for the sub 200 price you can get it for. But while it rocked my old, smaller space, I now have approx 2500 cubic ft or so to fill with bass, and I needed to break out the big guns.
It was a hard choice between this and other competitive ID sub offerings at similar price points, but even though I was leaning towards another sub, I took the advice to chat with Tom at PSA, and sure enough I ended up ordering the sub from them basically on the spot. I got a good deal on a B stock unit that they were just about to put up for sale with assurances that it was fully backed with the same coverage as any other unit, and tested OK first.
The unit itself arrived, and I have included pics. It lacked even the minor scuff marks that Tom had mentioned. Honestly, they could have told me that this was a brand new unit, and cosmetically I could have never told you the difference. It was in 100% perfect shape, not a scratch on it.
I'll skip the boring details of the setup, and cut right to the chase. Out of the box and stuck in the same spot as my old sub, it wasn't that impressive. However, I have seen that this phenomenon is rather common with first time owners of subs of this caliber. These subs require proper setup and placement to get them to their potential. I can't stress that enough, as the difference between spots in my room is night and day. 6 feet one way or another, and you can hardly tell it's on. But in the right spot, it vibrates a good 2/3rds of the room! Now on to the material...
(W Yamaha 373 and Andrew Jones 5.0 speakers FS52, BS22, and C22)
(I watched many more movies/scenes that this, but these were the ones that left the biggest impressions on me. And this is just MY experience, after sub placement and YPAO only. No graphs, no charts. Just totally honest impressions.)
Pulse : Server room -
By far the best clip that shows the power and performance of this Sub. With nothing but bass, I cranked it to 0.0 on my AVR, and the "pulse" itself can shake the blinds in the room, and it was my first real experience with having a sub feel like it's pressurizing the room. And this was off a digital copy of the movie no less.
LOTR : ROTK - Mt Doom
- Much like Pulse, the scene where Frodo is pondering throwing the Ring into Mt Doom has a nice, throbbing bass to represent his heartbeat. Fully cranked, this scene is a whole new experience now with this sub. Another new favorite.
Finding Nemo - Inside the whale/Fishtank
- Even with my old sub, the tapping on the fishtank scene would shake the house. It still does
But the scene inside of the whale was one that was raved about on these pages, and I could never tell why...till now. Now that's the scene that wins out for best bass scene in the film.
Star Trek (2009)
- A 5 star bass movie, but my favorite is the simple effect when the fleet/Enterprise goes to warp. Never sounded like that till now, and I love to crank it up to feel the effect. Engage!
Hellboy 2 : Fighting the Golden Army
- Another 5 star Bass movie, and the ONLY "chest slam" that I felt while playing anything. Which is strange, considering the frequencies that are supposed to give you the chest slam effect are not lacking at all with this sub...that's where it shines in fact. Anyways, the only chest slam I got is in this scene, while Kraus has taken over one of the Golden Army and another one comes from behind and stabs him through the chest. I felt that. And I rewound it just to feel it again.
Kung Fu Panda : Skadoosh
- A scene I used to love in my old space with my old sub that just died when I moved it into a bigger space. Now it's back, and the effect is better than ever. You can almost feel the blast hit you. Skadoosh!
(Honorable mentions...Iron Man goes supersonic, Thor fights the Ice Giants, Terminator Salvation Harvester scene...)
The not so good
Star Wars TPM : Final Lightsaber battle W Darth Maul
- This was honest to god my favorite sound system demo with my old sub in my old space. It seems to have lost something. It may be that the bass is more defined and differentiated now, rather than just slam, slam, slam with each lightsaber hit. Still good, but no longer my favorite demo scene.
The Incredible Hulk
- I know it's a 5 star bass movie, but I thought this sub would bring out a bit more in it with it's capabilities. In the last fight with Abomination, I got lots of bass, but it all kinda muddled together for a very boomy, but just ok experience. Not bad, but not blown away either.
LOTR : FOTR : Sauron is defeated
- Another scene that is raved about, and I thought would impress me a bit more with a really good sub. I cranked it up for the opening scene where the Ring is cut from Sauron's hand, and...it was just ok. Nothing to rave about.
I don't do much music but...I did get to play some tunes. The requisite "Bass, I love you" from Basstronics was one of my go-to test tracks after being introduced to it on this forum. It won't play every single note in the song of course, but it does play most of them. Lots of fun
Eagles : Hotel California off of Hell Freezes Over is another recommendation just for the low kick drum beats. And low they are.
One of my favorite tunes, "The Humbling River" by Puscifer. This song has a low boom that plays every few lines. It sounded great on the XV15se. Booming with authority, just how it's supposed to.
I'm a gamer so...games! One game that I play a lot that has lots of bass in it is "Dynasty Warriors : Gundam Reborn". The XV15se delivered here too, as I knew it would just hearing the bass notes that are in the menu screen. Exploding Robots have never sounded so...explody. Lol.
Every other game I threw in there...from Street Fighter, to Metal Gear, etc, it did well too. Gunshots in The Last Of Us have always been rather startling with dynamic range set to "Maximum" in the game, now even more so. Moving on now...
Service and Support
I bugged Tom with several questions. When he wasn't there to chat and I had to leave a message, I always got a reply the next morning. Here is a man who seems to love what he does IMO. An issue did arise where my amp died during the WOTW pod emergence scene. He had a new amp shipped out to me that same day with little hassle. Swapped it out, and it's good as new. I feel good trusting PSA with their warranty coverage that they will do what they say they will. Customer service gets an A+ rating from me.
I spent a bit more on this sub over others because I didn't want to be left wanting. That was a good move. I can't imagine many other subs at this price point give this much output. I can't tell what the extension on this sub is without a good meter, but output in the ranges that I CAN hear is plenty. I will try to add my actual in room response graph when I have one, but I'm confident that even if I found that I wasn't getting the full extension that is advertised that Tom and PSA would be there to help till it was fixed.
Bottom line. I am fairly happy with my purchase.