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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Why review a sold-out, never-to-return subwoofer? Chane is planning at least one 10”, compact, articulate subwoofer as a regular product. Such a product would incorporate many of the features of the TAI-300 while also incorporating Chane-designed and upgraded features, albeit at increased cost. As such, insights into the TAI-300 may prove valuable to those searching for a very compact-yet-powerful and musical subwoofer.

I recently acquired a Chane TAI-300 subwoofer (10” high grade SB Acoustics driver in a 15” cube, with a ¾” full perimeter-braced MDF cabinet painted black and a 300 watt RMS BASH amplifier; 45 pounds) for my home office (12.5 x 14.5 x 8 feet; 181 square feet; 1450 cubic feet). This subwoofer is based on the classic Snell Basis 300 subwoofer designed by Joe D’Appolito. Chane presumably acquired rights to the designs and technology and parts and was able to sell these units for $300 (+$25 shipping), an exceptional value in articulate, musical bass.

I had not intended to buy a new subwoofer for this space, but I’m very fortunate that a TAI-300 became available. I had been using a mere toy in comparison, the 30-year-old BSR WSP-5 subwoofer (from DAK Industries - remember them?) in the space, so an upgrade was warranted.

Setup: my computer audio system started out very simple, with a 3.5 mm headphone jack splitter to Swan HiVi X3 monitors (also acquired for pennies from Chane) and the subwoofer, but evolved after acquiring the TAI-300 in order to optimize with a limited budget. The final setup consists of the following:
  • Installation of an Apple USB-C dongle DAC ($9 from Amazon) – this little DAC provided a marked improvement in dynamics immediately.
  • Utilization of a split signal to both low-level inputs and utilization of the built-in 80 Hz, 12 dB/octave, high-pass filter on the low-level outputs on the TAI-300 back to the HiVi X3 monitors (about $30 worth of RCA cables) – splitting the signal into the sub has improved output by a few dB, and filtering out lower frequencies from the monitors has cleaned up the low end and improved available headroom, as the X3s no longer try to reproduce sub-80-Hz frequencies.
  • Utilization of REW and a UMIK-1 to find optimal subwoofer placement in the space (REW is free; the UMIK-1 runs about $120 from Cross-Spectrum Labs) – the initial near-field placement resulted in two large nulls at the MLP, whereas the final placement is flat at most frequencies, with room gain from 31-63 Hz which is tamed by electronic EQ. Measurements will be shown below.
  • Installation of 4 Penn-Elcom 9106 Rubber Cabinet Feet ($16 shipped from Parts Express) with M8 bolts – installation of feet to rest on my suspended hardwood floor cleaned up the bass significantly, presumably by removing floor and wall rattle and stabilizing the sub.
Each of these upgrades/changes had a significant impact in sound quality, and much thanks is due to several folks on the Chane 2020 subwoofer thread on their forum. While it doesn’t hold a candle to my Chane A-series surround setup in the family room, it’s quite enjoyable to listen to for hours on end. I use the system primarily for music (mostly streamed from Amazon and Youtube) but also for occasional Netflix viewing.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Output: measurements with REW indicate I normally listen to music at 65-95 dB, and average around 80-85 dB. This is considered normal listening level (rock concerts hit about 120 dB but anything north of ~90 dB can be harmful to hearing). I briefly boosted the system volume and the TAI-300 was delving out well north of 105 dB. I have no doubt levels far above that could be achieved, but I'm too fond of my hearing to experiment further.

The TAI-300 should have specifications closely matching those of the Snell original, including 107-110 dB max output (at 30 Hz) and an F3 of 25-26 Hz. Chane estimates 93 dB at 20 Hz (assuming 1 m halfspace, calculated in RMS value), so this small subwoofer isn’t going to delve too deeply into subsonic frequencies, but test tones reveal strong output at 25 Hz and audible output at 20 Hz in my room. REW measurements show an F3 of approximately 21-22 Hz, which is quite good for such a small footprint.

Regardless of specs and measurements, the TAI-300 delivers bass in spades. I keep the gain knob below 40%, and I have to tame the 31-63 Hz in-room “bump” with onboard (computer-based) EQ. If I turn the computer volume up to only 20 out of 100, I can hear the sub downstairs and even outside. If I play a bass-heavy track (e.g. Techmaster P.E.B.) at a volume level of 12, I have to keep the volume low or everything starts rattling and I leave the room with stunned hearing. Blu-Tack has been helpful securing some pictures to the wall, but I don’t have enough of it to secure every item in the room!

I get very good tactile response (chair vibration) with the sub ~8 feet from the MLP; adding rubber feet to the sub actually increased the tactile response quite a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Sound quality: as noted above, the TAI-300 was a major system upgrade, delivering much more articulate bass than I’ve ever heard before. In comparison to my Kenwood 8“ HTiB subwoofer, bass with the TAI is harder-hitting, more impactful, louder, and sharper. In comparison to my Klispch R-120SW (12” driver), bass is decidedly cleaner and faster, with no hanging/ringing like I experience with the Klipsch. It's a truly musical sub. What does that mean, exactly?

Example 1: a roving bass-line, the kind where it's not distinct drum hits but more along the lines of resonant/continuous bass (think electronic/synthesized music rather than kick-drums). Whereas my other subs create a sound like this:

rrrrrRRRRrrrrbbbbbbrrrRRRR (with no clear delineation/separation),

the TAI-300 creates a sound like this:

rrr-RRR-rr-RR-bb--RR-rrrr (wherein each bass tone change is distinct from the others, allowing you to hear the distinct notes present).

This creates an enriched musical tapestry and makes resonant bass much more fun. It's entertaining to hear bass notes I've never heard before on songs I know very well!

Example 2: kick-drums or fast hits. These don't disappoint, either, as they are quick and sharp and resolve quickly (no hanging or ringing). These types of hits are most fun when they come in rapid succession, staccato, and when they appear amidst resonant bass. I hear the rrr-RRR-rr-bb--RR-rrrr type of sound above mixed with quick hits embedded therein, and everything still stays resolved.

Miscellaneous: the TAI-300 plate amplifier seems to instantly wake from “sleep mode” as soon as a signal is received, a welcome feature (it can take a few seconds for my Klipsch to awaken). The TAI-300 has an attractive appearance, with good-quality paint in place of a standard vinyl wrap. The driver is heavy and high-quality and looks quite good with the grille removed. The plate amp offers a bevy of bass-management options (gain, crossover, phase toggle, power mode) which negates the need for an AVR. At 45 pounds, it’s not light, but it’s also not a hassle to pick up and move around, and its smaller footprint makes placement easier.

One oddity about the Snell plate amp is that, when the sub’s bass management is set to “External,” as it would be when utilizing an AVR, the gain knob no longer functions. This was a specific design feature built into the plate amp and seems unique; I’ve never encountered a subwoofer that overrides a gain knob when using external bass management. The detriment of such a feature is that an AVR may not have adequate subwoofer trim to dial back output sufficiently to mix well with other speakers. This would likely not be an issue with a single TAI-190 or -300 in a large space, but could well be problematic with dual subwoofers or a TAI-550 (550 watt version), and was reported as such by one user. The solution is to utilize “Internal” mode, but by doing so you’d no longer be able to utilize your AVR remote to make quick and convenient changes to crossover or output levels.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Measurements: in-room subwoofer measurements (no smoothing) with an 80 Hz crossover reveal a small dip around 28 Hz, large room gain from 31-63 Hz, and an F3 of 21-22 Hz. Measurements were made with the door open and closed, which show small differences. Having the door open actually sounds better, and the measurements show a flatter response.

3045211


As mentioned above, REW was used to find the room location with the best overall response, and this location (under window) was by far the flattest from 15 to 100 Hz; all other locations tried also exhibited this 31-63 Hz room gain.

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Computer-based EQ (exclusive to the Chrome browser, so it cannot be used in conjunction with REW to illustrate final results) is used to flatten this region, but even without doing so, the sub doesn’t sound boomy like my Klipsch. For music, the room gain actually provides a nice punch. I may look into something like ViPER4Windows for increased EQ functionality.

Current EQ example:
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Final system measurement (one-third smoothing applied) shows acceptable, if non-ideal, frequency response from 15 to 20,000 Hz. The TAI-300 and room gain are showing how they can overwhelm the X3 monitors with the current settings, especially from 31-63 Hz. I may have to reduce the gain on the TAI-300 further.

3045214
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Summary: the TAI-300 is an excellent subwoofer at any price, but the recent blow-out prices offered by Chane made it an exceptional value. While I wasn’t in the market for a home office subwoofer upgrade, I’ve certainly benefited in massive fashion. Bass sound quality, output, low frequency response, and tactile response have all improved significantly, and additional low-cost improvements to extract the most from the sub have resulted in a laptop-based music and movie audio system that is very fun. The only detriment to all the improvements has been my increased tendency to sit at the computer, holed away in the home office, longer than necessary!

I’m curious how the upcoming and regular Chane offering in this space will improve upon the Snell design. Eyes are also peeled for upcoming Chane 12” driver subwoofers.
 

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It looks great at that price! I'll have to keep my eyes open for one.
 

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Final system measurement (one-third smoothing applied) shows acceptable, if non-ideal, frequency response from 15 to 20,000 Hz. The TAI-300 and room gain are showing how they can overwhelm the X3 monitors with the current settings, especially from 31-63 Hz. I may have to reduce the gain on the TAI-300 further.

View attachment 3045214
Now that's a house curve! :)

Thank you for contributing your thoughts and impressions, it's always nice when owners of the equipment provide their insight. While this particular model may no longer be available it might help people to decide whether the new models being proposed will fit their needs.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks, Jim!

Well, I wish the house curve wasn't quite so high and broad, or that I could shift it downwards by ~20 Hz, but the room is what the room is... I will start researching alternative computer-based EQ methods more closely to determine what could cut those peaking bands a little more effectively. I'm trying to find free solutions. ViPER4Windows sounds like a good solution but seems to have major issues.

The Chrome browser EQ I currently use is sufficient for now, but it only has bands at 32, 64, and 125 Hz. I need a little more specificity in there, between 32 and 64.

I've considered a hardware addition (e.g. the DSP-LF) but I really want to start saving for dual subs for the main system again.

Besides, a little extra punch at 31-63 Hz gives my music extra life. It sounds good to me, and that's all that matters.
 

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I love to hear a shootout between this Chane and the RSL Speedwoofer 10S. They are similar size, shape, and cost and the RSL is the most musical sub I've ever had.
 

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It sounds good to me, and that's all that matters.
I couldn't agree more. Despite the obsession with charts and graphs it's those two oddly shaped fleshy things on the side of our heads that matter most. If they aren't happy than all the numbers in the world are meaningless.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I love to hear a shootout between this Chane and the RSL Speedwoofer 10S. They are similar size, shape, and cost and the RSL is the most musical sub I've ever had.
At $400 and free shipping, the RSL outprices the TAI-300 by $75. It has a 350 W RMS amp, so slightly more powerful, and weighs in at 40 pounds, 5 pounds shy of the TAI-300.

Brent Butterworth measured a max SPL from the RSL 10s of 108.1 dB (at 63 Hz), whereas the Snell Basis 300 reportedly (but never measured by a third party) maxed out at 107-110 dB (at 30 Hz). I'm guessing very comparable output, within 2 dB of each other.

The RSL 10s F3 was determined to be 29 Hz (BB), while RSL claims 24 Hz. The Snell Basis had a reported 25-26 Hz F3.

All told, looking just at numbers, I'd give the RSL a possible slight edge. Is it a $75 edge? Who knows. The RSL also offers internal wireless capability, so that could also account for the $75 difference, if one wants to use it.

All that aside, the real test would be in-room listening, head-to-head, to gauge musicality. I've heard nothing but rave reviews for the RSL 10s, so it would be tough to beat, but ol' Joe D'Appolito was no slouch, either...and the TAI-300 reflects that in my room.
 

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I love to hear a shootout between this Chane and the RSL Speedwoofer 10S. They are similar size, shape, and cost and the RSL is the most musical sub I've ever had.
Here you go, I have both subs in our great room 5.2 set-up, they are similar as both have Bash amps at 300-350 amps. They even look similar at a glance.

I think the Chane has a bit more bass & grunt; but RSL is winner also. i balance them best I can. Overall they sound great with music as a pair; haven’t tried a movie yet.

Enjoy all, I think having any 2 decent subs vs. solo really adds punch & bass throughout the room or open area like we have in Great room
 

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Discussion Starter #13
As far as musical, 10" semi-budget subs go, I don't think you can go wrong with either model. Of course, the TAI-300 is sold out, so the 10s becomes the product of choice, until Chane debuts their permanent 10" driver product(s).
 

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Since you didn't find good frequency response by moving the sub, did you try moving the listening position?

I think you can do a better job of equalization with your existing graphic EQ. Instead of focusing on taming the peak at 40Hz between bands, try boosting the dips around it at 32Hz and 64Hz bands.

Remember, in-room frequency response likes to have a strongly bass-boosted slope of about 1dB/octave. It seems as if you can boost most of the bands on the left end of that graphic while cutting the bands on the right end and create an approximation of that bass-boosted response by taking advantage of the fact that your EQ will either boost or cut relative to the somewhat fixed levels between bands.

If you adjust both the graphic and the listening position you should be able to do a lot better.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
The listening position is at a large desk which can't be moved, so that's a good suggestion but not possible. Regardless, since I get the same broad peak at 4 very different sub positions, I'm doubtful that, unless I completely rearrange the room and make drastic changes, it's going to have a massive effect. And any positive shifts could be coupled with nulls...

I have tried boosting the surrounding bands and the bass note clarity gets lost in the shuffle. I attribute this to being in a small room with an over-powered sub. My active monitors also get a little left behind in that scenario.

I'm exploring possibilities like a different equalizer program, or a Dayton DSP-LF, or even a miniDSP (non-HD version to keep the cost down).
 
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