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.