I'm going to walk through my purchase, the arrival, and unboxing of my new Rythmik FV18 subwoofer (Rev2 with paper cone in black matte finish). For those who don't care about the story and just want to go directly to the pictures, here is a link to imgur
with them all.
First my space. My house was built four years ago. It has an open floor plan of the living room, kitchen, and dining room with an opening to a long hallway to a two story foyer entry way. The space is about 5,000cf not including the hallway/foyer.
Use - Primarily Home Theater. Like 95%. I want something that sounds great and feels intense during those critical scenes in movies.
Budget - Well, I quickly found I'd need upward of $1,000 to get what I thought I wanted (i.e., Hsu VTF-15H MK2). From there it wasn't too much farther to a PSA V1512 for $1,300. And from there $1,900+ for the Rythmik FV18 (with paper cone in the black matte cab upgrade) didn't seem SOOO much more than the PSA...right? Sigh...so that's how the budget went.
The HSU VTF-15H MK2 started out in the running. But honestly, I just didn't like the design. Then I moved to PSA after reading more. I like the V1512 design more, it came with a 60 day return policy (compared to HSU 30 day), and the PSA price included the warranty and shipping. The Made/Built in America tag was also a consideration. I describe the jump from PSA to Rythmik below. I didn't really consider other brands for a variety of reasons (price, design, name brand, warranty, forum talk, etc).
Why the upgrade? I had an elemental Designs A5-350 subwoofer for many years. It traveled with me to several homes and worked like a champ...until the LT-550 amp blew out. I eventually replaced the amp (you can read about that in the eD sub thread
), but it got me thinking about upgrading the subwoofer. So, I visited this subforum and down the rabbit hole I went.
After some research, I decided on a PSA V1512 for several reasons, among them - comments on these forums about PSA and their subs/driver/quality, the relative driver and box size compared to my eD A5-350, and the cost/budget I set. I ordered it on 12/25/19 and it arrived on 01/08/20. I auditioned it for about six weeks and, while it is an amazing sub, I just wanted something more and bigger. I considered their V1812, V3612, and TV3612. The 3612s seemed too big for me and the budget higher than I wanted to go. Looking at the V1812 got me reconsidering all my options again. I have to say, Tom V is amazing. He worked with me on questions and the purchase over Christmas. The man doesn't take a break. And continued to provide helpful information about my options after the purchase.
After reconsidering my options and more research, I arrived at the Rythmik FV18 for several reasons, among them - again, comments on these forums about Rythmik and their subs/driver/quality, the size of the driver and box, the tuning, and the aesthetics of the sub (it reminds of the eD A7-450 which is something I always wanted). This seemed a compromise in size and price to a PSA 3612. Enrico, Brian, and Lynn were great and very patient with me. I had several questions about options and shipping and they answered them all quickly. Even after I placed the order I wanted a change which they accommodated.
I first placed an order for the FV18 Rev2 with paper cone and black oak finish, which was on back order. I read Enrico say in a thread that they had black matte finish cabinets in stock and they could put a paper cone in one. So I asked for that and they upgraded and changed my order. I preferred the black matte finish anyway over the black oak, and I'm super impatient. I didn't want to wait even a few weeks for the black oak cabinets to be back in stock. It shipped a day or so after I paid for the black matte upgrade and arrived within three days I think - the longest three days of my recent life!
Rythmik offers a $100 discount to pick the sub up at the UPS freight terminal. I considered this, but changed my mind after stressing about getting it off a pallet and into my SUV. So it arrive by UPS freight. It technically
came on a pallet; however it wasn't tied down to it by the time I got it. It was sitting loose on top. The UPS driver got it off the truck and to my front door. I took it from there with a hand truck into the house. The driver took the pallet.
The first thing I noticed is that the box is the size of a dishwasher. Cool, nice and big.
The second thing I noticed is the free included carpet moving pads Rythmik sends didn't quite make the journey intact. I got 1 and a 1/2. Not sure how may are supposed to be included. I assume four? Dunno.
Next, I start opening the double box to find a very well packaged subwoofer. There is a thick set of foam on top with three cardboard/foam skateboards on the sides. Embedded into the top foam are the power cord and feet in separate boxes.
Once the top foam is off I remove the skateboard sides leaving one (following the directions on the box top - nice touch). And I tip the box over on the side left with the skateboard. Then I shimmy her out of the box. As you can see, nicely wrapped in a white cloth bag. Then I stand her up and (SLOOOOWLY
) remove the bag!
After that I take a few shots of all three boxes before SPL gain matching the eD A5-350 under the TV and then moving it back near the couch. The FV18 slides under the TV and I set the SPL gain to match the eD.
Finally configured the FV18 AMP settings, plugged it in, went to the miniDSP 2x4 HD and worked the magic I found in the following threads (thanks to mthomas47, cdy2179, and Home Theater Gurus for such great content):
1. Guide to Subwoofer Calibration and Bass Preferences
2. REW subwoofer alignment Video using MiniDSP complete walk through!
The PSA V1512 is amazing. Someone in the market for a 15" sub wouldn't be disappointed. It is very articulate and digs deep. I probably didn't need to go any larger, but, well...And Tom V is great to deal with.
The FV18 is awesome. I love the size. I love the sound. I love how it fills my space. It sounds and feels awesome. I am re-watching movies just to hear them again - you all know what I mean.
As far as finish, the PSA is nicer. I prefer the slightly more aggressive finish to the smooth finish of the FV18. I'm used to the eD which is even more aggressively finished. The PSA driver also looks nicer. And small things, like the grill dowels are metal on the PSA. It's a nice touch. However, the FV18 looks fine. Those are minor preferences, which I wouldn't even know about had I purchased the FV18 first. The sub really brings the sound together, very full.
My wife, who is perfectly happy watching a Marvel movie on her iPhone in bed, even commented "wow I really notice the difference now and understand why you're spending so much time on this."
There are more pics in the imgur link
. I attached a first pass at EQ graph. I have a little more work to do and want to kick up the SPL more. But so far I'm very happy.