Review of Aerial SW12 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 21 Old 06-02-2000, 06:36 AM - Thread Starter
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As some of you know we installed first one and then a second Aerial SW12 over the last few weeks. In that process we have received lots of help from several people on this forum. Thank you. It has saved us countless hours.

When we installed the first SW12 I was amazed at the quality and accuracy of the bass. I have literally never heard bass that that before. After a few days of listening I called Mike Kelly (founder of Aerial) and he suggested thinking about a second SW12. Of course, you would think he would say this to generate more sales.

Since we have mostly an Aerial system (only two velodynes, everything else is Aerial) I listened. I spoke with Mike on several ocassions. I then talked to a few people on line and at some dealerships and it seemed that there was in fact a basiS for two SW12's so we ordered the second one. The first one did such an amazing job that I bit and thought there might be some truth to having two.

We have both subs wired up to receive the full signal from the processor and then using the sub's internal corssover send a wire back out to the amp for the front left and right.

We have the crossoever set to 70 hz. Since both the Aerial 10T's and SW12's are on the same plane we did not encounter any phase issues.

The sub has numerous settings. We played with those and found, so far, that the best setting for us was to use the "R" setting for summing one channel of input (you can use one SW12 and run both front left and right into it).

We did purchase the stand that are offerred as an option and we put the spikes on the stand and of course the speaker on the stand.

At the suggestion from Mike Kelly we wired our sub channel outputs as follows: The sub out (from a Lexicon MC1) into the remaining line input on the left channel SW12. That means that the left channel has two lines into it. One is the feed from the Lexicon MC1's left channel output and the other is the sub or LFE output from the MC1. We have one wire coming out of the left SW12 into the Proceed HPA3 amp for the left channel. We then took a wire from the LINE OUT (this is a differnt set of connectors) and ran it to the right channel LINE IN on the second SW12. The right side SW12 now has one wire from the MC1 front right and the other line in has a wire from the left SW12's line out. This arrangement basically daisy chains the LFE channel.

Since we had two existing Velodyne FSR15's we took a line out from the right SW12 into the right rear Velodyne's line in. We took another wire from the line out of the Velodyne to the left rear Velodyne.

It sounds complex but it is not.

At first we had too much bass. For our room (which is very live) we had over emphasized the signal. Thus we had some boomy bass when a series of low notes were played rapidlly.

After trying several combinations of the settings mentioned above we eneded up with a combination that gives us accuracy and percision.

The SW12 has the most amount of flexibility in a sub that we have seen. I am not a magazine reviewer so that may not mean much. But I do read a lot and have not heard of any other sub that has this much flexibility. I have no doubt that this sub can be adjusted to fit seemlessly into just about any system.

On our first serious listening test we used chapter 32 of "The Matrix". At first I thought "what a rip" since I did not hear the sub. Then it hit me. I DID NOT HEAR THE SUB. I WAS HEARING ONLY THE MOVIE. When this thought sunk in I realized that I was hearing maybe for the first time, the movie as it was intended.

Then we listened a bit more intently and noticed the sub but we had to work to hear it. We were hearing sounds but not the sub. That may sound simplistic but it is not.

Next we tried music. We played the 1812 Overture, Sara McLaughan "Surfacing", Lindsy Buckingham "A Cut In Time" , the new Carlos Santana cd, Dianna Krall and Dave Grusin plays Gershwin.

At first we thought we had noticed a problem with the sub. on the Sara McLaughan fifth track, the Lindsey Buckingham second track and the Carlos Santana third track we noticed some distortion in the recoding. These distortions seem to only be in a rapid sequence of low notes.

This consumed me for a while trying to figure out what was happening. We repeatedly played 1812 which played flawlessly and then these three tracks. Since 1812 is known to go as low as the human ear can hear and it sounded perfect we were puzzled. If 1812 plays correctly why were these other cuts not doing the same?

After making the adjustments above the situation improved. On the Lindsey Buckingham track we concluded that the low distortion we were hearing was in the recording. It was rythmtic and specific. So we thought either the electric bass played that particular note wrong or the recoding process captured it wrong.

(Thanks to Jerryl aka aerialman for helping me with this)

After the adjustments the Sara McLaughan now sounds clear, crisp. The piano reverb is heavy but you can now tell that she meant it to be. On the Carlos Santana third track you can now cleary tell they also intended for the low bass guitar to reverb like it does.

After I thought about this I realized that I was never before able to pick out such subtle things in the music.

To be fair not all of this is the SW12. We changed AMPS at the same time and part of the credit goes to the HPA3. This, however, is about the SW12, not the HPA3.

But the bass, man what quality of sound.

Did you know that in the final battle scene of 1812 that the chimes sound melodic like small pieces of glass breaking over top of the explosions? I mean I have heard that before bit never played so well. In the past the bass seemed to cloud those sounds so that they were not distinct.

What a joy to hear low notes played so accurately while not coloring or disturbing the rest of the material.

On movies we liked the opening 10 minutes of "The Fifthe Element" for a good test. It has lots of low notes coupled with other information that really shows off this sub.

The director , at the beginning of this movie , is giving one a sense of being in space in a large space ship. he uses a lot of low notes to convey this image. The SW12's play them with precision. No boominess, no distortion. Later as the priest is talking with the professor in the building you can clearly hear the echo in the building as they talk. Then gruadually the space ship starts to land. The volume of the sound increases at the space ship comes down all the while the priest and professor continue their conversation. you can clearly hear every word and nuance as this deep bass comes into the movie. Amazing. You can even still hear the echo in the room.

My hat of off to Aerial for producing such a fine product.

When i was considering this purchase a friend questioned it because two of these units together is a heavy price tag. But I told him "i'll get one because I have never been disappointed with an Aerial product to date". I'm still not.

I do have a couple of minor complaints. There is not much to the stands and the price seems a tad high, but we puchased them anyway. And the remote had some issues. Our system is at the front of our room. We have hidden our equipment using Xantech repeaters. It seems that several remote signals will casue the SW12 to react. So far I have noticed it with the Lexicon MC1 and the Pioneer Elite DV-F07. This is more of an irritation than a problem. I am considering putting black tape on the IR receiver and using the manual settings on the back of the unit ang just not using the remotes for the SW12's.

To be fair, Mike Kelly said he contracted the remote on the SW12 out and he had some issues with the person that did it.

But overall it is not a major thing.

Conclusion: This is an amazing piece of equipment. Yes, it's expensive, but don't let the price fool you. Check it out for youself.

Chuck

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post #2 of 21 Old 06-02-2000, 09:47 AM
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Wow- Chuck, thanks for the review https://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif

- Jerry
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post #3 of 21 Old 06-06-2000, 07:50 AM
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This may be too basic a question, please forgive me. Did you give any thought to using your Mc-1's bass enhance feature? The wiring is completely different and entails a bit of work but it might be an entertaining afternoon. Good information on this over on the Lexicon forum. Art
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post #4 of 21 Old 06-07-2000, 09:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Art:

Yes I did. What the SW12 does is quite different. The enhance mode or any other form of electronic enhancement does not deal with the fact that the main speakers will not produce sounds below 50hz very accurately. Nor will they play these sounds very loudly.

It's a physical thing instead of an electronic thing.

Have you heard one of these yet? If you decide to listen to it be sure it is set up properly, that makes a huge difference.

Chuck
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post #5 of 21 Old 06-07-2000, 06:02 PM
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Chuck, when we e-mailed some days ago, my impression you were then using only the Velodyne subwoofers for LFE, and that since then you also connected both Aerial subwoofers for LFE. Can you describe the sonic differences you experienced between those two setups?

Are you thinking of getting the third Aerial sub yet??? Ha! Ha!

Jerry, you and I are clearly THE AERIAL SUB LUVERS OF AMERICA
-- and I'm not talkin' about sub sandwiches, either. I tried eating one during Chapter 32 of the Matrix, as the building totally devastatingly blew up, and I pretty nearly choked on the sub (no, not the Aerial sub).

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post #6 of 21 Old 06-07-2000, 06:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Steve:

Have had a deadline this week and seems like everything broke for our clients all at once this week. Thus, little time to play.

I have tried it both ways and can't yet make up my mind. . .I know, I know.

When I have it wired so that the Velodyne's are the only LFE's I love that for music but I feel like I miss a little signal for movies when I have it this way. I suspect a little more playing around and I will be able to find a happy medium.

I am still waiting for the Aerial 7A's for the rear channels. When the arrive I plan to wire the four corners up with the LFE and channel bass into each sub and back out into the AMP for that channel.

The system is sounding better day by day, break in of the amp (proceed HPA3 ) and the second SW12 I guess.

This SW12 really is a good product. I continue to enjoy it. i keep asking my wife if the bass is too heavy. She says no ( she has the far better ear) that is what it's supposed to sound like.

I just played the Ottmar Liebert and Luna Negra CD (the live one) and boy did it sound good.

This weekend I will have some time to play around some more.

I also realigned my front speakers since I recieved some new spikes from Aerial for the 10T's. Seems to have helped the imaging, things are clearer.

I put some black electrial tape over the IR sensors on both SW12's tonight. The SW12 seems to be sensitive to the MC1 commands and the Elite DV-F07 changer commands.

I apologize for not putting some comments up sooner.

I sent a copy of the review to Mike Kelly today. I hope he sells tons of these units.

Chuck

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post #7 of 21 Old 06-07-2000, 06:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by ChuckTraywick:
Art:

Yes I did. What the SW12 does is quite different. The enhance mode or any other form of electronic enhancement does not deal with the fact that the main speakers will not produce sounds below 50hz very accurately. Nor will they play these sounds very loudly.

It's a physical thing instead of an electronic thing.


Have you heard one of these yet? If you decide to listen to it be sure it is set up properly, that makes a huge difference.

Chuck
Chuck,

I have not yet had the opportunity to experience the SW12. I was quite interested in the question on Bass Enhance and the MC-1 with the SW12. I just received my MC-1 and have been thinking on what subs to use for Bass Enhance. As I understand that mode, it would work very well for mains that do not produce sounds below 50 hz. I believe in this mode you set up the processor to pass the low signals from the mains and reroute them to the sides. By having side subs produce these signals, you get a more enveloping bass. Your description of the effects you currently get sound ideal for that mode.

Regards,
Will
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post #8 of 21 Old 06-08-2000, 12:34 AM
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Chuck, here's an idea. You say on some music the bass at times is too loud.
Use the Aerial remote to turn down the bass level to where it sounds right!
For example, the James Taylor Live DVD, it has a too high bass level. I turn the Aerial sub volume down an additional 5 dB and sounds fantastic.
These are things you learn with time and experience, even months of use and practice. I know, I 've done it. In my case, I added Bybee Charger Filters to the Aerial sub IEC inputs and use VansEvers Unlimiters, and I find that each device makes the bass cleaner and more musical yet the dynamic impact of LFE is retained and even viscerally improved. Just some food for thought!!! Also, doublecheck and adjust those brass rings around the very bottom spikes of the custom Sound Anchor stands for the Aerial subs,so that each Aerial sub is as perfectly level as possible, and and make sure the stands are fitted tight onto the subs, as this will help avoid any extra unnecessary vibration which can distort the bass.

https://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/show....php?t=1158431 No dealer is authorized to tell you I refer to them - any referrals I make will be done personally by me. Over the years I have found certain dealer(s) who I cannot recommend for good reason.
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post #9 of 21 Old 06-08-2000, 05:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Will:

Perhaps someone with more knowledge can chime in here but as I understand it most front mains (regardless of who makes them) are not capable of accurately producing signals below 50 hz without problems.

I have not experimented with the bass enhance function on the MC1 so I cannot comment. Generally I have studiously avoided adding anything to the signal path. I guess I am from the "old school" in this regard. I have the notion that one should not mess around with the signal in any way in fact most of my efforts have been to get the signal as clean and clear as possible.

If you have not heard the SW12 you owe it to yourself to do a serious listen. Yes, it's expensive, but it performs like no other sub I have ever heard. I have not heard them all so take that with a grain of salt.

It is simply amazing what some of these things can do the the experience of listening to music or watching a movie.

At first blush you would not think something as "mundane" as a sub could add so much to the experience. It does. One cavet, it has to be set up right.

I had been using some old parts for spiking our 10T's. last night I put in the spikes just received from Aerial. What a difference. It cleared up the mid range and placed instruments much more precisely in the soundstange.

Steve:

I will do that. We have that DVD. Apparently you like the ByBee filters. I was on AudioNut and read about them.

Next week I have an electrician coming by. After reviewing this power thing I am convinced that I am starving my system. I looked up a formula for watts into amps and know that I need a 20 AMP circuit just for the HPA3. The manual states that it can draw 2500 watts at peak demand. So 2500 / (120 volts * 20 amps) = 2400 watts.

I think I am going to see if it is possible to run three 30 amp circuits using 10 guage wire directly from the panel to the outlets. I'll put the HPA3 and one SW12 on one , the AMP2, AMP3 and other SW12 on the second and all the sources on the third.

I am also thinking of using the Brick Wall on these three circuits and maybe a single Power Pllant P600 on the sources. I don't know yet if one Power Plant P600 will be enough, I hope so.

I know I am being redundant but I am just amazed at how much improvement we were able to obtain just by doing the spikes right. Tonight I plan on making sure that the 10T's and two SW12's are perfectly level, front to back and side to side.

I've become a believer.

Chuck
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post #10 of 21 Old 06-09-2000, 04:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Steve:

I rewired the SW12's up last night and watched a movie (Entrapment). I did not notice any negative effects from the rewire.

I now have the left front channel going to the left front SW12. I then take the sub out from the MC1 and go into the remaining open LINE IN port. I take the LINE OUT and run a wire to the OPEN LINE IN on the right SW12. I come out of the LINE OUT on the right SW12 into the right rear Velodyne. I come LINE OUT of the right rear Velodyne into LINE IN on the left rear Velodyne.

I must have the bass adjusted better cause the movie sounded very good. Not boomy, not heavy just clean. Every now and then I would hear a very slight rumble as if there was a low level of bass playing in the background.

I have noticed this on ocassion when watching DSS with live news feeds. I think this may be some background effect but am not sure.

Entrapment is not exactly the "demo" movie track but it sounded good.

Later I plan to listen to some music to see if anything changed.

I have the sub summing L+R on both SW12's.

Chuck
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post #11 of 21 Old 06-09-2000, 05:53 AM
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excellent

I knew this would work,but not without some effort- its a complex setup but it should provide the best immersion. Chuck, I am very happy for you!

best,
Jerry
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post #12 of 21 Old 06-09-2000, 09:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Jerry:

The guy trading in the 7A's is supposed to be in next week, so maybe by the week end I'll have the 7A's on the rear.

I guess what confused me initially is the summing of the two channels. Somehow I had it in my head that if you brought a signal in from the left front and also brought in the sub channel that setting the sum to both would in fact create more bass. It finally dawned on me that it is only playing the notes that are present. If the note exists in both the front left channel ( for example) and the LFE the sub is stillonly going to play that note once.

I also had the mistaken notion that if I summeed left and right that I would be getting too much data at one time.

Anyway plan to play some more this weekend.

Played some music this morning and it sounds very good. Not overly done, just good.

Chuck
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post #13 of 21 Old 06-09-2000, 03:35 PM
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Chuck,

Quote:
it is only playing the notes that are present.

yes! thats what I was getting at ; but its a little confusing https://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif

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post #14 of 21 Old 06-09-2000, 04:10 PM - Thread Starter
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FWIW, these anomalies that I referred to in the original post I now think are room modes. We have continued tweaking the sub and it is getting better (which is amazing when you think about it) and as we have done so have noticed that these disturbances are ocurring at frequencies that our room might have modes present.

Chuck
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post #15 of 21 Old 06-09-2000, 08:11 PM
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time to start analyzing your rooms response and see if those parametric eqs can help....

- Jerry
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post #16 of 21 Old 06-10-2000, 12:17 AM
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>>>Perhaps someone with more knowledge can chime in here but as I understand it most front mains (regardless of who makes them) are not capable of accurately producing signals below 50 hz without problems.<<<

I agree. There are some expensive *towers* that could hold there own down low...but very,very few can manage it at reference levels. Then there's the issue of room modes. You have to place the mains to optimize imaging(higher freq- cues)...so they won't be able to be optimally placed for bass smoothness.

>>>I have not experimented with the bass enhance function on the MC1 so I cannot comment. <<<


Lexicon uses some phase shifting to help tame the cancellation issues between the side subs. It works.

I like the BE feature---but I'v heard some don't.

You need to have side speakers(or subs) capable of reproducing at least 40hz(and maybe 20hz)...loudly and cleanly to enjoy the effect to the fullest.

TV
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post #17 of 21 Old 06-10-2000, 05:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Things sound so good right now I am tempted to do nothing with the equalizer. But, the other side of me will probably want to figure out the room modes. According to the calcs that someone pointed me to I should have modes at 20, 40 and 60 hz. I suspect the problem is at 40 or 60 hz. If time allows I'll play around this weekend and see if I can figure out how to use the EQ features.

Chuck
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post #18 of 21 Old 06-10-2000, 07:12 AM
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Chuck,
with that setup- it would probably be very confusing using the eqs- but you can measure your room's response and see if there are places where using the eqs to remove peaks might help.

- Jerry
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post #19 of 21 Old 06-10-2000, 08:08 AM
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Chuck,

You are definitely not in the "old school." Use of the MC-1 places your firmly in the camp of electronic manipulation. I can't get my mind around the idea of sonic purity in a movie soundtrack which is more of an accumulatiion than a creation. Art
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post #20 of 21 Old 06-10-2000, 06:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Art:

You are right, of course, movies are "manufactured" and music is "created". Both are creative processes though.

I have found that the the closest I get to the "performance" the better the sound gets.


Chuck
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post #21 of 21 Old 06-10-2000, 08:12 PM
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new school; old school... so long as youre having fun, its all good! https://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif

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