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3,711 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
For those not familiar, JTR (web site here), operated by the ever low-key, low-profile Jeff Permanian, is one of the most highly-regarded and reputable internet direct companies in the US. JTR makes both speakers and subwoofers, and serves two separate markets: professional, for the live music/concert industry, and residential, for nutty hobbyists who frequent AVS forum. JTR first made waves by readily submitting their subwoofers to be tested by third party, in this case the great test site Data-Bass, and in so doing achieved some of the most spectacular CEA test results EVER measured in residential subwoofers (see chart below for proof). Because subwoofers distort or make odd noises around max output, third party CEA testing is crucial, but not all companies do this, and they should. CEA is in many aspects the gold standard, like the 0-60 time or horsepower of your sports car.

To make a long story short: there are many excellent subwoofer companies, but when it comes to performance, you could count on the fact that JTR will have the top performance metrics in EVERY single price point category. This is an "extreme" company as it specializes in making subwoofers with
1. extreme high output
2. extreme deep bass
(sub 20 Hz, where JTR alone reigns supreme)
If you are chasing the ultimate home-theater sound, ask yourself: All brands do upper bass well, but JTR adds extreme deep bass to the upper bass, and so... why would you not want BOTH?! The addition of extreme deep bass prowess is the key to the JTR brand.

You may wonder why other companies could not reach the deepest of bass that JTR is known for. What makes it unique? The primary reason has to do with the extremely high Xmax of the JTR driver - it is about 33 mm, whereas PSA/ Rythmik/ SVS, etc. at this point all use low Xmax driver (in the low 20's mm). Higher Xmax does lead to cleaner & more powerful output in sub-20 Hz bass. Conversely as an example, low Xmax is one reason why Rythmik FV25HP (a great subwoofer) measures well but in actual use requires owner to engage a rumble filter that reduces what you hear by -6 dB at 10 Hz. See the picture below that shows the difference between 2 drivers with different Xmax.

JTR is actually a very small company, completely different in its operation from competitors such as PSA, Rythmik, and SVS. These other companies are much larger and their subwoofers are assembled/made by factory workers and in fact SVS and Rythmik are "Made in China." In contrast, at this point, every JTR is still hand assembled by its founder and owner Permanian, using US drivers and US amps. The small operation is what allows JTR to go ALL-OUT in its designs, and why competitors cannot match JTR when it comes to extreme high output in the low bass. A tiny American company in the heartland of America, components made and hand assembled in the USA by the owner: are these not enough reasons for us to buy JTR already? :) Every subwoofer that leaves JTR is a hand-made jewel by one person, like the very best of Swiss watches.

Why are JTR subwoofers so large? Because, all else being equaled, it's the law of physics that a larger subwoofer WINS. See Hoffman's Iron Laws for subwoofer design here. Yes, bigger is indeed better: improved efficiency, higher output, deeper extension. JTR subwoofers bring to mind the best aspects of American muscle cars: in-your-face size, in-your-face power LOL. So, we now know the SECRET SAUCE of any JTR subwoofer (hint: huge):
1. huge cabinet
2. huge Xmax
3. huge power amp

You might wonder, what exactly is the "sound" of JTR subwoofers? Subjectively, they sound ultra clean, without "overhang" or muddiness. This tight, clean sound is for me the most important quality for any subwoofer, and making JTR great for BOTH music and movies. There is also a sense of tremendous effortlessness that really has to be heard once in your life. I have used several subwoofers over the last 30 years in my chase for the perfect sound, am very (VERY) picky about integration of subwoofer into a music system, and I could confidently report that my JTR 1400 passed the test with flying colors. Yes it's a bucket list item; without a JTR subwoof, your audio life has not been fulfilled :).

I am somewhat of a mildly-jaded audiophile who has been in this hobby for nearly 30 years, and has owned several well known high-end audio components. The fact that I decided to start a thread on JTR indicates how tremendously impressed I am with these subwoofers. I have no financial interest in JTR; merely like to spread the words on a product that is so outstanding in so many aspects. Prior to starting JTR, this company's founder had worked for many years developing drivers, and I believe it is this expertise of driver function and manufacturing that leads to what we see today. Congratulations on the company's 10 year anniversary celebration. Happy Holidays to all, and of course to Mr. JTR, Jeff Permanian.

I. To properly decide which subwoofer is right for you, it's best to first categorize. There are 2 primary categories: a. Xmax/motor strength, and b. Single versus dual drivers. The Xmax rating is crucial; it affects capability in ultra-low bass, the most expensive and difficult aspect of bass reproduction. The same attention should be paid to motor strength rating. It is key to ultra deep bass, and is listed on JTR website. For example: "extremely high strength motor 256 bl^2/re" for the JTR 1400, and "high strength motor 165.8 bl^2/re" for the JTR 118HT. So... with the above parameters in mind, let's see how the various JTR subwoofers are categorized:

Xmax 19 mm: (in the 20mm range, similar to Xmax of drivers from PSA/Rythmik/SVS presently)
Single, High Strength Driver 165.8 bl^2/re (this class is about $1300 & up):
JTR Captivator 118HT
Dual, High Strength Driver 165.8 bl^2/re (this class is about $2000 & up):

Xmax 33 mm: This is an important parameter, and JTR is the rare company that uses such high Xmax drivers. While it's not "everything," it's DIRECTLY related to distortion and output of ultra low bass. Most 18 inch subwoofers from the larger companies (for example Rythmik and PSA) have Xmax around 20's mm, while JTR is one of the VERY few that use 30's mm Xmax drivers. In short, Xmax is a KEY spec for deep bass capability.
Single, Extreme High Strength Driver 256 (bl^2/re) (this class is about $2000 & up):
JTR Orbit Shifter and Captivator 1400, 2400, and S1
Dual, Extreme High Strength Driver 256 (bl^2/re) (this class is around $3000 & up):
JTR Captivator 4000 ULF and S2

II. Now that you've read the above, this is how I would describe each subwoofer:
Powerful Bang For The Buck
118HT: ported, 18", 19mm xmax, 120 oz. magnet, Fb=17 Hz, 1200 w RMS from 9/2018, 700 w before 9/2018 (Discontinued)
All Around Winner: STAGGERING Capability & Lower Cost
Captivator 2400 and 2400 ULF: ported, 18", 33mm xmax, Fb=10 Hz, 2400 w RMS
Captivator S1: sealed, 18", 33mm xmax, 2400 w RMS class D
218HT: ported, dual 18", 19mm xmax, 1400 w RMS (Dual 700ASC) (Discontinued)
Captivator 1400: ported, 18", 33mm xmax, Fb=17 Hz, 1400 w RMS Dual ICE 700 ASC (Discontinued 9/2018)
The Last Subwoofer You'll Ever Buy
Captivator S2: sealed, dual 18", 33mm xmax, 4000 w RMS, class D
Orbit Shifter LFU: folded horn, 18", 30mm xmax, 4000 w RMS, 7200 w burst
Captivator 4000 ULF: ported, dual 18", 33mm xmax, 4000 w RMS

III. Recommendation IMHO (EDIT: much has changed since I wrote what follows - some models no longer made.)
1. $1500: 118HT - among highest performance/cost ratio of all internet subwoofers, starts with one of these, aim for 2 as you grow older and richer ;-).
2. $2000 budget: 1400/S1 (S1 if sealed is desired) - now you have the extremely powerful driver. The 1400 remains the least expensive subwoofer that brings you into the 33 Club (33mm Xmax), a potent combination of cost, size, and power. It was the subwoofer I bought.
3. $2500 budget: The 2400, which will go down in history as a hall of famer. All things considered one of the best subwoofers EVER designed. Potent deep bass, manageable size, low cost; were I to start over again, this would be the subwoofer I buy.
4. $3300 budget and has the space for it: The King - 4000 ULF. Wrt CEA 2010, the JTR 4000 is THE very "best" HT subwoofer Data-Bass has tested. This is an all-time great that has no equal and should be celebrated by all bass-heads. It is the end of the road for bass "chasers." The 4000 is what I dream owning LOL.
5. If sealed is your game: S1 is most powerful sealed subwoofer on market and has no competitor at its price point. S2 has unlimimted power and save money by stuffing dual drivers in single cabinet. Two S1's or one S2 is THE END game for sealed subwoofers. It does not get any better than this ;-).

Typical high Xmax driver (JTR 18 inch driver) versus low Xmax driver (similar Xmax to PSA and Rythmik 18 inch driver)


3,711 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Data-Bass Reviews http://www.data-bass.com/data?page=systems&type=0&mfr=18:
My selected quotes - bold face and caps are mine :).

Captivator 1400:
The CEA-2010 short term distortion limited burst output measurements for the Cap1400 are among the highest output of any commercial subwoofer tested to this point.
The price tag for the Cap1400 is $1999 direct from the manufacturer. It is a lot of sub for the money. One of the more powerful all around home audio subs that has been tested for Data-Bass to this point, regardless of price. The Cap1400 put forth an impressive set of measurements and offers loads of deep bass headroom. Other than a bit of port noise near tuning and some distortion at the very limits of output with test signals it was utterly stoic during testing. The amplifier seemed to be well matched to the driver. The standard finish or size may be a bit much for some decors, but it is hard to find fault with the performance metrics posted by this sub.

Captivator S2: When the response is smooth, available headroom is high, the system overloads gracefully, the response is free from ringing or smearing and distortion is kept in check, the result is a system capable of excellent subjective performance (the KEY IMHO :)). The Cap S2 does well in all of these areas and offers a compelling set of measurements and attributes that place it among the top performing active designs that have been tested for Data-Bass.

Orbit Shifter:
However the headroom on this system is so great that it would be hard to imagine a pair or even a single of these being driven very hard in a domestic setting with a single OS-LFU likely being able to produce 120dB or more at 20Hz with the addition of only a bit of room gain. This is easily the most powerful active, commercial subwoofer that has been tested to date. In fact it is among the top handful of most powerful systems period. Of course the OS-LFU is also the largest and heaviest commercial system that has been tested but that is what it takes to make big bass.

Captivator 2400 ULF:
The Cap 2400-ULF offers real, effective 10Hz extension from a vented sub design and one that is a finished turn-key design with a warranty and support to boot. This type of extension and headroom combination is VERY RARE and used to only be available to DIYers willing to roll the dice and fabricate their own solution. Most commercial commercial options are tuned nearly an entire octave higher and for good reason...It takes a lot of raw air displacement to produce good headroom over the entire operational bandwidth and on down to the very lowest frequencies, which require more from the driver or drivers. It is not an easy set of compromises to balance. These and many other points are why this type of design are EXTREMELY RARE. Hats off to Jeff for getting it right on his Captivator ULF subwoofers.

Captivator 4000 ULF:
The Captivator 4000-ULF is one of the most powerful subs that have come across the test bench and should be an excellent option for those on the market for an uber sub or two for a large dedicated space.
The basic response shape is flat and extremely extended down to the 10Hz range. With the LF adjust knob at maximum the response fits within a tight 2dB window from 10-120Hz outdoors.

CEA-2010 Comparisons
CEA-2010 testing is a new standard of the industry that allows one to compare subwoofers' two most critical performance metrics, harmonic distortion and dynamic headroom, in an objective manner. CEA measurement objectively remains the single most important performance metric for subwoofers (no claim regarding subjective sound, which is equally if not more important). Its usefulness is such that EVERY worthy subwoofer company measures CEA during design process nowadays.
By far the most trustworthy testing is by Josh Ricci who runs Data-Bass.com and is a contributor to Audioholics. CEA-2010 is easy enough to read: look at the frequency, and then look at the sound pressure level in dB, BIGGER = BETTER. The validity of CEA-2010 is without doubt and I would question any company that does not provide detailed testing by a third party.
BTW, if you look at Data-Bass, you'll see two colors for the windows, either green or orange. Both are good, as long as there is a number. My amateur-level :) explanation in case you are curious why they have different colors:
1. From mid-bass frequency and up, say 40 hz, SPL output is limited by limiter/compressor used by the engineer to limit amplifier output. Therefore the higher range of bass outputs in CEA-2010 are always "amplifier limited." These are the green windows of data-bass. As to why limiters/compressors are necessary: to protect the voice coil from thermal stress that could lead to thermal compression, or worse, meltdown.
2. At very low frequency, around 30 hz & below, harmonic distortion is a significant issue as driver excursion exceeds useful throw (Xmax). Every octave reduction (eg 36 to 18 hz) results in a 4 times (!) increase in excursion, so it's easy to see the tremendous mechanical stress this causes. This region is hence "driver limited" because of increasing harmonic distortion at ultra low freq, and is the reason why ultra low bass is always the most difficult and expensive.
When looking at CEA-2010 keep in mind you have to examine specific spl output at each frequency, not just "averages." :) Averaging of CEA data has inherent error especially in ultra low frequency (it hides limitation at low frequency) and should never be listed by itself.

Summary of CEA-2010 for JTR subwoofers by chucky7 (thank you). Please note there are multiple versions over time and there is no guarantee whether chart is completely up to date.

chucky chart JTR 8-2020.jpg


3,711 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Interesting Posts and Owner Reviews
Jeff Permanian: On LFE control: Here On Motor Strength and bass tightness Here
Josh Ricci: Owner/founder of Data-Bass on JTR 2400 and CEA-2010 - Comment Here
Getting Started With Your JTR (Settings of Your HT Receiver) by chucky7 Here
JTR 1400
A "music subwoofer" (fantastically tight, fast, out-punch my punchy MBM :)) - cannga's review Here
JTR 2400
Drew1204 & Dual 2400 Review Here
JTR 4000
chucky7 Here

Hometheatershack Reviews - By Jim Wilson
Captivator S1: http://www.hometheatershack.com/for...128897-jtr-speakers-captivator-s1-review.html
(AFAIK the reviewer owns the S1.)
Can a subwoofer made by a company known for designing products targeted at people who view a Metallica concert as docile be capable of something other than obnoxious volume? Is it possible to achieve any semblance of refinement from a product whose appearance suggests blunt force trauma? JTR Speakers is famous (infamous?) for creating speakers and subwoofers powerful enough they can be heard from a block away - and no, I'm not kidding - yet in spite of their reputation for outlandishness the person behind it all is an aficionado of music. I've heard several JTR offerings in the past but on each occasion it was at a GTG, gatherings where insane volume commands all bragging rights. I often wondered if this company could do anything else. When I finally got my hands on one of their products I decided to see if it was capable of something other than shouting, and it turns out the answer is an unequivocal yes. The JTR Captivator S1 is a powerhouse subwoofer, but you probably already knew that part. What you may not have realized is it also has an incredible amount of finesse. The S1 proved to be the rare combination that skillfully blends brute force with elegance in equal parts. Think brass knuckles hidden inside a velvet glove and you start to get an idea of what I'm referring to. This is the Mike Tyson of subwoofers, had he gone to Juilliard; small and intimidating, yet a musical savant. The living embodiment of the word "oxymoron".

118HT: http://www.hometheatershack.com/for...690-jtr-speakers-captivator-118ht-review.html
Do you crave pervasive bass, constant output which is seemingly never more than a hairsbreadth below the surface of everything you listen to? If so, the JTR Captivator 118HT may not be the subwoofer for you because it doesn't play that game. The overall appearance could suggest unrefined or ostentatious to some, but that couldn't be any further from the truth. This subwoofer is designed for those who relish a more subdued approach, who appreciate a subtle and textured sound. It can be relaxed, almost calm even, but don't take that to mean weak because it has teeth and it's not afraid to show them at a moments notice; it can and will bite when provoked. Virtually unflappable, the Captivator 118HT never seemed phased by what I threw at it, all the while sneering in contempt as I tried in vain to trip it up. Placid, yet with a mean right hook when warranted, the JTR Captivator 118HT evinced itself to me as a subwoofer tour-de-force.

Comparison S1 - 118HT - 1400 (From same reviewer - Jim Wilson)
The S1 is everything its appearance suggests - blunt force trauma - but it has a surprising amount of composure. A lot of that can be attributed to a JTR design ethos; high amp power + high motor strength = precision cone control. In large part, that's why I bought the review unit; it afforded me the opportunity to have depth, output and accuracy in sufficient quantities to satisfy my particular needs. It fit my requirements from a size perspective as well.
Because the driver in the 118HT appears to be from a PA cabinet it would be easy to dismiss, but in this case appearances are deceiving. Not only can it be counted on to provide a lot of output, it also has the goods to play deep. And of the 3 it's probably the most articulate, so there's a win-win right there. But then we have the Cap1400...
Take the S1 and mate it with the 118HT and you get close. The extraordinary amount of mid-bass this thing can produce has to be experienced to really understand its target audience; you feel the bass pounding against your chest, and depending upon the source material it can be rather pronounced. That's not to say the S1 and 118HT don't have a similar ability, it's just the 1400 goes about it in a more overt manner.
So what should you get? That's not my call, but if size and money are no object you should look long and hard at the 1400. If money is an object but size isn't (insert your own joke here) the 118 is still an excellent choice. The S1 worked better for me because I couldn't accommodate the larger cabinet that the 118/1400 use. I lose some mid-bass but I gain more capability in the lower octave. That was definitely the best choice in my case. At 4400 ft^3 you don't have a small room, so consider output when making a decision. If you ultimately go duals than you're covered no matter which of these you choose.

3,711 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Subwoofer Evaluation - IMHO :)

With all audio components, evaluation consists of two primary parts, subjective and objective.
1. Subjective Testing is of course, people's evaluation of the sound quality of a component; what it sounds like rather than what it measures like. It's probably better not to judge based on individual X's internet evaluation, but to follow multiple evaluations (ie third party reviews, both professional such as Data-Bass/Audioholics and trustworthy non profession sources, etc.) over the long run. Subjective evaluation is extremely important, but its biggest problem is the inherently questionable trustworthiness: person X's system is not the same as yours, neither is his room, and above all his personal preference and listening skill/experience may be completely different from yours.
2. Objective Testing These are objective measurements by reviewers such as Data-Bass. For subwoofers, these are the 3 tests I look at, don't claim to be right and YMMV:
**CEA-2010: IMHO/For me/YMMV :) CEA measurement *objectively remains the single most important performance metric for subwoofers. CEA 2010 measures three critical parameters: harmonic distortion, extension, dynamic headroom, so bigger is better. Dynamic headroom is important for many reasons, but especially to me because it gives in the sense of effortlessness that I treasure.
In addition and as importantly, CEA-2010 reflects harmonic distortion. If subwoofer A passes 20 Hz test at 100 dB, and subwoofer B passes at 90 dB, then subwoofer A will have less distortion at 90 dB. It is just cruising at this level.
*** Long term output compression tests: Least amount of compression at high SPL means better dynamic headroom. This test however does not tell one crucial element: distortion level and this is why CEA-2010 IMHO is "better."
*** Frequency Response Curve: Flat and extended response from 20-120 Hz, the frequency range of the LFE channel, should be the norm. I would be concerned if there is large roll off at either end, high or low. Although room correction could correct frequency anomaly, personally I prefer to "invoke" correction as little as possible because to me any equalizer bump means a reduction in dynamic headroom available at that frequency. Nearly all modern subwoofers have flat response, so a significant roll off should raise questions: Why, is there problem with the design, is there problem with harmonic distortion, etc.

Why is it so important to have higher CEA 2010 max outputs? Higher output implies less distortion and accuracy at all levels, NOT just max output. And less distortion is the goal of all audio reproduction equipments. For example:
Sub A passes CEA threshold at 120 dB, say 19 dB third order distortion at 120 dB.
Sub B passes CEA threshold at 100 dB, say 19 dB third order distortion at 100 dB.

The result: Sub A playing at lower level of 100 dB in all probability will have third order distortion much less than 19 dB and hence less than Sub B. In fact from 120 dB on down, A has lower distortion at all levels of loudness.

Second and more importantly, "higher output = better sounding" doesn't just apply to subwoofer, but nearly all audio components. Higher power amps driving full range speaker towers should sound better than mini cubes driven by small receiver. But again this is all personal preference, it's for one to discover for yourself and if you don't believe so, then you've saved yourself a lot of money!

Lastly Fletcher Munson phenom means output = king, especially at lower frequency. Why low bass is the most expensive bass and why people in this hobby often end up chasing the low end. If you don't have the output "disease," nothing wrong with it and consider yourself lucky.

Some interesting charts

JTR Captivator 1400 vs SVS PB16 Ultra:

Result? From 16-31 hz, SVS and JTR are equal, but at ALL OTHER frequencies, the JTR has significant advantage.
1. 7 dB deficit at 12 Hz means it takes two PB16's to equal output of one JTR 1400 (not 2400).
2. 9 dB deficit at 100 Hz means theoretically it would take 3 PB16's to equal output of one JTR 1400. The PB16's output deficit starts in mid bass and becomes almost shockingly large by upper bass.
Note that the new 2400's output at 12 Hz is around 103 dB. 14 dB is a difference that is not possible to make up. As mentioned, the PB16 is a very good subwoofer, but it simply has no chance against bigger competition. It's actually NOT close, like bringing a knife to a gun fight. :eek:

Room Interactions

Note: Room Gain = Pressure Vessel Gain - below from the web:
Pressure Vessel Gain (PVG) is the scenario whereby the longest dimension of the room can no longer support full propagation of the waveform. At this point, the acoustic propagation transitions to acoustic pressurization. The manner in which the sound is reproduced into the space changes from a normal cyclic propagation, to pressurization because the wavelengths are too big for the space.

High Xmax driver of JTR 1400, 2400, 4000, S1, S2, etc., has advantage in ultra low freq reproduction. Below is an example of Excursion versus Frequency graph of a ported design. Regardless of design, type, size, ultra low bass prowess = must have higher excursion (Xmax).

Integrating 2 Subwoofers (from JTR owner - who?)
Don't be afraid of mixing subwoofer, including vented and sealed. As long as you have a way to measure in room response like REW or Omnimic V2 (much easier and highly recommended), you will be fine. Because of the "tools" available to us: positioning, delay and phase adjustment on subwoofer, and room correction such as Dirac, in my experience there should be no problem with getting a nice curve.



3,711 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
(Ed: First post at time of purchase.) I have been lurking for a while and was going to get a Captivator sooner or later, but the 10% off Holiday sale for the $1900 Captivator makes it a steal for this colossal monster so I pulled the trigger immediately. With overhead, etc., I don't know how Jeff makes money on this.

So why this subwoofer, among the so many excellent choices out there? JTR has consistently garnered some of the highest customer reviews I've seen for any audio component. When I searched this forum the name Captivator kept coming up as among the very best available, so I too was captivated :). Of course there is this remarkable review from Data-bass: http://www.data-bass.com/data?page=system&id=117.

I actually am a pretty hard core audio hobbyist, or audiophile, or whatever term you like to call us nuts LOL. I've had a few music-oriented subwoofers in my system over many years (REL, JL Audio, Apogee, Sunfire, Muse, etc.), but now realize my life is not complete without an 18 incher for movies :). While I've used subwoofs that are sealed or have smallish 10-12 inch drivers for my music system, for movies I realize I would need a ported solution for that ultimate 16-30 hz SLAM! While music is mostly activity above 30 hz, there is often enough infrasonic 15-30 hz content in movies that I think a big gun is no longer an option, but a necessity. I looked at 3 great brands, Seaton, JTR, and Funk, and JTR Captivator 1400 came out as the only choice for sub $2k, PORTED, 18 incher, with high power amp (1400 watts rms).

Just like to mention that JTR does offer an automotive paint option. I ran across a beautiful Captivator with custom paint on the internet, and decided to do some thing similar. Automotive paint for speakers is not new - Wilson Audio speakers use Ferrari paint colors for example. I am glad that it's an option here as I am littler tired of my multiple black subwoofers :).

EDIT January 26, 2017 - My own Captivator finally is here!

What took me by surprise was not the tremendous output of the Captivator 1400, this is already well known, but how "clean" and "defined" the bass is (no "overhang" to the sound). San Andreas is all about grunt, growl, and roar LOL; the building grunts, growls, and roars, the earth grunts, growls, and roars, all at levels designed to make audience run for cover. The 1400 makes the pitch of these sounds clearly defined, with nice distinction of character for each sound. It makes me pay attention to hear these less as generic noise of an earthquake, more as extremely interesting and varying sound effects that the sound engineer has put in the mix. We buy the Cap 1400 for its fantastic CEA-2010 numbers in ultra low bass, but I believe it equally shines and flexes its muscles in the equally critical mid bass 30-40 hz area, both objectively (numbers) and subjectively (what we hear). Subwoofers with outstanding ultra low bass CEA measurements in general has outstanding mid bass numbers as well, and this is another reason why you should own this baby :).

Alas, we know the Cap could go low and loud, what I did not expect is how very well it allows me to listen "deeper into the mix". While most of explosive sound effects in San Andreas are meant to be destructive and violent in nature :), others are actually very quiet and subtle, and rise menacingly from a quiet background. With the 1400, low level bass effects appear more noticeable, instead of getting lost in the mix. This quality of the Captivator is as equally endearing to me as its output capability.

I own the JL Audio E112, a subwoofer that is known in high-end audio circles for its tight clean bass, hence especially recommended for music. When I finally did a shoot out between my JL Audio 12 incher vs JTR Captivator's 18 incher, lo and behold to my ears/system it is the JTR that is cleaner and has less muddiness/overhang. Essentially "better" for music as well (and no comparison whatsoever for movies).

As for the famous output capability of this Captivator, a little past midnight during the first listening session, the room rumbled and shook so much my son told me to stop the movie. We couldn't tell how much of these rumblings were being transmitted to neighbors, and in view of chucky7's experience with his ;-), didn't want to take a chance.

ABEE9954 mirror surface_zpsybyu6ogd.JPG


3,711 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Always look at the driver (how deep that cone is) and its specs (Xmax and Motor Strength BL^2/Re)

Personally I always look at the driver since to me it's the heart of any subwoofer. JTR's driver is one of best and most powerful 18 inchers in commercial subwoofers: colossal magnet, 33 mm Xmax, among highest - as opposed to low 20's mm seen in drivers from other companies. In addition, the driver is made in USA, not always the case with all subwoofer companies, where drivers are sourced from China.

Xmax is important because as frequency drops, the excursion increases exponentially. And as excursion nears limits, distortion increases. For 2 equal sized drivers, the one with the higher Xmax will have lower distortion for the critical lower bass range. This is why all the top subwoofers have very high Xmax.

Pic of Captivator 1400's driver below - second one from Axpona 2017 shows just how enormous that driver looks in real life. I assume the same driver is used in some other JTR subwoofers as well. Thanks Jeff for the pics.

JTR 18" Driver (From Peterc613 - thank you.)

• Hand built in the USA to JTR's specifications
• Ti frame originally introduced by TC Sounds
• Large half roll foam surrounds
• Carbon fiber dust caps
• 10" spiders for linearity even at high voice coil displacements
• Large ferrite based motors with a shorting ring
• Powerful BL^2/Re rating of 256
• Xmax of 66mm (linear), peak to peak (33mm each way)
• Xmech of 101mm, peak to peak (2" each way, 4" peak to peak)
• Weight around 60lbs (each)

Why Is Motor Strength Important

The motor strength represents both the brake and horse power in your Porsche, Corvette, Infiniti, or what have you. And you guys into sports cars just know how critical the brake is. What it relates to is the sound quality of the speaker: control, tightness. THE most desireable in any subwoofer. Needless to say, the JTR 1400/2400/4000, S1/S2, and Orbit Shifter series use drivers that have Xmax and Motor Strength among the very highest in commercial subwoofers presently.

I recently tried the JTR 1400 with my music system (IMHO the most difficult test for a subwoofer - to sound integrated, tight, and subjectively "fast") and to my surprise found out how clean and punchy it sounds. It actually outpunched my most punchy MBM's. This quality is directly related to the extreme high motor strength of the JTR 1400 driver.

For anyone curious (I am no expert so pls correct me as needed): In the expression BL^2/Re, B is the strength of the magnetic field and L is the length of the voice coil in the magnetic field, and Re is voice coil impedance. BL is expressed in Tesla Meters, and is tested by placing a mass on the cone, and then measures the current it takes to resist this mass.

Why are the top subwoofers always so large? Bigger = better is the law of physics when it comes to subwoofer performance. This is also expressed as As in Hoffman's Iron Laws (Hoffman is the H in KLH btw.) All else being equaled the size of the cabinet cannot be emphasized enough. Better output, less distortion, less port chuffing/compression.

Hoffman's Iron Laws http://sites.psu.edu/speakerdesign/2...aker-building/
1) Bass Extension (deep AND loud bass)
2) Efficiency (amp power)
3) Small Enclosure (cabinet size)

The law is that you can only have two of these three attributes in speaker building. Ideally we would want all three, we want speakers with good bass, can play really loud, and are small. Unfortunately we cannot have all these.



3,711 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
1. Ported or sealed, sealed or ported? :eek:
Below is frequency response of a subwoofer that could be used in either mode sealed or ported. Sealed mode has 3-5 dB advantage at 15 hz and below, while ported has advantage from 15 hz up to 40 hz, as much as 9 dB at tuned freq around 17 hz. Because this is for movie mostly, I feel that range 15-40 has to be robust and hence a ported 18 incher is a must. I really probably would be happy with either type, and as mentioned actually preferred sealed subwoofer, or ported with smallish driver for music. I have to be right on with this choice and so went with the one subwoofer that screams "if I don't sound right, there's something wrong with YOU." :)

The Equal Loudness Contour curve also argues for a ported subwoofer with a fat bottom end :). Our ears, or perhaps more accurately, our perception of sound, become less "sensitive" as frequency decreases. For example, from the contour: to have the same perceived loudness as a 3 khz signal at around 100 dB, a lower frequency 20 hz signal has to be played at *130 dB*. It's reasonable to argue that from a subjective standpoint, you would want a subwoofer that maintains output FULLY to as low of a frequency as possible - hence ported.

2. Formula Expressing Relationship Between Port Area/Length, Tuning Freq, and Subwoofer Volume

http://www.mobileinformationlabs.com/HowTo-1Woofer-Box-CAL Port lenth 1.htm
For same tuning freq, as volume goes up, for same port length, the port area could be larger, hence decreasing air speed and chuffing.

3. From @Peterc613 in one of his as usual informative posts (thank you):

Sealed Subwoofers

In a sealed subwoofer, the driver is responsible for 100% of the system’s output. Overall system performance is a function of the driver’s Thiele/Small parameters and enclosure volume, which together will determine system Q and the system’s resonant frequency. Below the resonant frequency, sealed subwoofers typically feature a shallow roll-off of 12dB/octave, which also corresponds with relatively low levels of group delay and ringing in the deep bass. It’s possible to get a wide variety of response profiles from sealed subwoofers by simply varying box volume, with a Qtc of 1.0 being achieved in a small 54L box, 0.707 in a medium sized 136L box, and 0.5 in a very large 525L enclosure. While a Qtc of 0.5 corresponds with a relatively extended response, there is a price to pay as this requires tremendous amounts of amplifier power and cone excursion at low frequencies. Subjectively speaking, lower Q boxes (0.707 and lower) tend to be characterized as relatively tight, while high Q enclosures can be a bit boomy without equalization due to their response hump in the mid-bass range. On the other hand, one benefit of higher Q enclosures is that they offer a greater degree of protection for the driver against high-energy, low-frequency transients.


While not all sealed subwoofers are created equal, properly done the alignment has a lot to offer. Size is typically manageable, giving it a lot of flexibility in placement as well as a high WAF (wife acceptance factor). While small size tends to come at the expense of extension, sealed subwoofers generally have a shallow low-end roll-off profile, which corresponds with good performance in the time domain (i.e. group delay / ringing). What sealed subs lack in SPL output compared to a ported subs can be compensated by using multiple sealed subs to provide the extension of a sealed sub with the output of a ported design. Last but not least, sealed subwoofers offer some degree of protection against bottoming out the driver, though it is still possible with sufficient power and the right content.

Ported Subwoofers

In a ported subwoofer, both the driver and the port contribute to the system’s output. Porting augments the driver's output at the vent’s resonant frequency, which extends the subwoofer’s response and allows for substantially more output capability at the tuning point relative to a comparable sealed subwoofer. However, below the tuning frequency, the driver is no longer loaded by the enclosure, and acts as if it is in free air. This results in a much steeper roll off rate of 24dB/octave relative to the 12dB/octave slope typical of sealed subwoofers; as a consequence, group delay is typically higher in ported models. In addition, below the tuning frequency, the woofer is in danger of over-excursion without appropriate filters for protection, which can further exacerbate problems related to group delay. Of course, like sealed subwoofers, many different response profiles are possible by varying enclosure size as well as port length vs diameter (larger enclosures and longer ports result in lower tuning points). It should also be noted that ported enclosures are typically much larger than sealed enclosures.

At their tuning point, ported subs typically offer better low-end extension and greater output than sealed subs. However, there is no free lunch; deeply-tuned ported subwoofers tend to be quite large, making them less décor friendly as well as reducing placement options. Further, while ported subwoofers have a big output advantage down to their tuning point, below tune, frequency response drops off steeply while driver excursion goes off the charts. Subwoofer amplifiers usually employ DSP filters to protect the driver from over-excursion, which can result in an even steeper low end roll off, and consequently problems with group delay and ringing.

4. Some More Reading on CEA Measurement:

The technician raises the playback level for the tone bursts until the distortion exceeds any of the thresholds set by CEA-2010. For example, the threshold for the 2nd harmonic (126 Hz for a 63 Hz tone burst) is -10 dB below the peak level of the fundamental tone. So if the peak level of the fundamental is 120 dB SPL, the level of the 2nd harmonic cannot exceed 110 dB SPL. Here’s the complete list of CEA-2010 distortion thresholds:

2nd harmonic: -10 dB
3rd harmonic: -15 dB
4th and 5th harmonics: -20 dB
6th, 7th, 8th harmonics: -30 dB
9th and higher harmonics: -40 dB

You can gauge the level of the fundamental and harmonics by viewing them on a real-time audio spectrum analyzer or by using various CEA-2010 measurement programs. Here’s how a CEA-2010 test looks on TrueRTA:

In this example, the product has exceeded the CEA-2010 threshold at the 2nd harmonic. The peak of the fundamental is at 97 dB, while the 2nd harmonic is at 89 dB, just -8 dB below the peak. In this case, you would turn the level down until none of the harmonics exceed the CEA-2010 threshold. Then you note the peak level of the fundamental. That’s your CEA-2010 result. Repeat the process for all six test frequencies. (Some technicians measure at lower and/or higher frequencies, too, but in my opinion the six test frequencies from 20 to 63 Hz give a complete picture of a subwoofer’s performance.) Now that you understand the basic procedure, let’s get into the details.

Relationship Between Port Area, Length, and Enclosure Volume

1. Port diameter: smaller area lowers tuning freq - why you "plug" a hole to lower tuning frequency, but bad for tuburlence.
2. Port length: longer length lowers tuning freq - why the 4000 and 2400 ULF is so deep
3. Cabinet: bigger is necessary for low tune - why they are so big

To reduce port wind/turbulence/compression, you need to have larger port. But to maintain same tuning frequency when enlarging port diameter, you need to raise cabinet size and the internal length of the port (both affects how low tuning freq could be). See what problems **YOUR** chase for high dynamic headroom and low distortion is creating? Kidding, the chase for unlimited headroom and low frequency is always expensive and difficult. And please keep in mind despite of all this talk/temptation :) I am very happy with my single 1400 and has zero plan to sell it.

Port compression is caused by turbulence in the length of the port and affects phase such that port output is no longer in phase with driver's output. Relationship between phase of port and phase of driver is thus: 0 they augment, 90 the don't add, 180 they oppose. Port compression affects this phase relationship.


3,711 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
JTR's automotive paint finish: The process is that you pick a color from a car company and each should have a paint code. The speaker will then be painted that exact color. Being a die-hard Porsche fan I opted for the Porsche Carmine Red color. By searching on the internet I was able to find the paint code for this color and therefore had a perfect match. My understanding is Jeff could match to almost any automotive paint color from any car manufacturer as long as there is a paint code.

Not sure I would want a colorful paint finish for my main tower speakers, but for a short subwoofer that's destined to be close to a wall and surrounded by "blackness" :) of most audio components, I think it would be nice to look at, and FUN. There is an up-charge as listed on web site, but from the sample above, I think well worth it and highly recommended. I would like a little color in my (audio) life. :)


3,711 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
There are 4 common ways to eliminate hum from subwoofers. Any of these 4 below may or may not work in your system, with varying efficiency, so it's a matter of experimenting.

1. Ground loop isolator/isolation transformer device on cable box. Example (pic below): Ancable Ground Loop Isolator,Isolation Transformer,Hum/Buzz/Noise Eliminator for Cable TV Applications

2. Ground loop isolator/isolation transformer device on RCA or XLR interconnect between the preamp/SSP and the subwoofer. Example:
Jensen - more expensive, but the best and safest to use. Different versions available: SUB-2RR | Jensen Transformers
Blue Jeans - good quality and very popular, but an owner has reported on Amazon experiencing output compression in ultra low frequency, and noise, with the Blue Jeans: Subwoofer Isolation Transformer / Ground Loop Hum Eliminator, Blue Jeans Cable brand, made in USA

3. Cheater plug ($2, from Home Depot, etc.): Quite commonly used in high-end audio. I've used multiple cheater plugs on several power amps, etc., for 30 plus years.

4. Use balanced (XLR) interconnect, but if your receiver/SSP does not have XLR output, then worth it to try a RCA to XLR adapter cables with shielded twisted pair construction like this from Markertek: Sescom SC100XR Audio Cable Canare Star-Quad 3-Pin XLR Male to RCA Male Black - 100 Foot

5. Cable Spacing: Check to make sure your interconnect connecting receiver/SSP to the subwoofer is not to close to other cables, especially power cable, etc.. Sometimes a simple rearrangement of the cable will eliminate hum. Also keep the interconnect as short as possible. The longer the interconnect, the more it is susceptible to hum.

Excellent article here NOISE REDUCTION IN SYSTEMS

Why we chase deep bass

Room Placement: Sideways or "classic" (facing front):

JTR 2400 may sound better sideways according to Jeff - less cancellation from reflection off the back wall (aka boundary related wave cancellation, or speaker boundary interference response, or boundary effect).

The frequency at which this cancellation occurs is calculated using formula:
Frequency of cancellation=1125/2*2*distance from driver to back wall
For example if driver is 4 ft from back wall, there will be a trough in frequency response at:
1125/2*2*4=70 Hz.

Using same formula, at 3 ft it's 93 Hz, and at 2 ft (depth of JTR 1400 and 2400 tall version) it's 140 Hz, beyond the pass band of LFE so doesn't matter as much.



1,410 Posts
JTR just stepped it up a notch by introducing an all new Captivator 1400 with a higher excursion driver for increased lowend output and reduced distortion, larger port for increase lowend output, improved cabinet bracing and damping for improved sound quality and lower distortion. There is also a new dsp program for the "lf adjust" that when turned all the way down will simulate a sealed subwoofers lowend roll off. The new 2017 version produces over a 1db more output on the bottomend. As soon as the weather breaks this spring we'll have them at Data-Bass. We have already started shipping.

3,711 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
JTR just stepped it up a notch by introducing an all new Captivator 1400 with a higher excursion driver for increased lowend output and reduced distortion, larger port for increase lowend output, improved cabinet bracing and damping for improved sound quality and lower distortion. There is also a new dsp program for the "lf adjust" that when turned all the way down will simulate a sealed subwoofers lowend roll off. The new 2017 version produces over a 1db more output on the bottomend. As soon as the weather breaks this spring we'll have them at Data-Bass. We have already started shipping.

Oh I would be among the first customers who benefit from this upgrade to the Captivator 1400? Fantastic!!
PS I had better be Jeff or I'd be heartbroken. :)

3,711 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
JTR just stepped it up a notch by introducing an all new Captivator 1400 with a higher excursion driver for increased lowend output and reduced distortion, larger port for increase lowend output, improved cabinet bracing and damping for improved sound quality and lower distortion. There is also a new dsp program for the "lf adjust" that when turned all the way down will simulate a sealed subwoofers lowend roll off. The new 2017 version produces over a 1db more output on the bottomend. As soon as the weather breaks this spring we'll have them at Data-Bass. We have already started shipping.

Hi Jeff, a couple of questions please.

1. What's the rationale behind adding this LF Adjust function & how do you personally use it in your setup? During calibration to get a smooth curve, or adjust to subjective taste from movie to movie, etc.?

2. How is this new LF Adjust different from the existing one? Currently it is a cut or boost of 5 dB from 30 hz down right? The new one cuts it further?

3. Given that "deep bass is expensive bass" :). Why would I not want to turn up this LF Adjust knob all the time :)? What's the disadvantage? TIA

880 Posts
Oh I would be among the first customers who benefit from this upgrade to the Captivator 1400? Fantastic!!
PS I had better be Jeff or I'd be heartbroken. :)

Emailed Jeff a couple of days ago, and I will also benefit from these new changes. I can't wait to get these in.

Also Jeff, would you recommend plugging the 1400 into a Panamax MD2 or just straight in the wall?

1,410 Posts
The "lf adjust" is a cut only filter and is there to tailor the subwoofer's lowend response to the room gain of the room it is being installed into. With the "lf adjust" all the way up it will give you a flat response outdoors and with it all the way down it will give you a flat response is a small sealed room. Because subwoofers have more maximum output capability on the topend you gain headroom with the "lf adjust" turned down. I would start with the "lf adjust" turned all the way down, take a measurement and adjust from there until you have a nice flat response. In our 16'x18'x8' demo room we ended up with the "lf adjust" at 1/4 the way up.

3,711 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Gravity - did you notice the "overhead flies&quot...

Allow me to share list of movies I vote best for the JTR Captivator 1400. These have sequences that contain not just deep bass, but powerful mid and high frequency effects. I prefer more wide-band clips because they are more crushing and VIOLENT ;-), especially the ones in red. (Please note I'm otherwise a very peaceful person.) Credit goes to "bass heads" on AVS forum that have given me the knowledge + incentive. And yes some of the movies have perhaps questionable plot and acting, but believe me the sound is worth it.

Note how many times the name Richard King got mentioned - multiple Oscar winner & nominations; quite a talented audiophile. In fact, as far as audio engineering, two names appear frequently in these blockbusters:
Richard King: War of the World, Master & Commander, Interstellar, Dark Knight
William Files: Cloverfield, Percy Jackson Lightning Thief, 9, Midnight Special


***War of the Worlds: A well known favorite and IMHO still an all-time number-one demo movie. Top of the chart no matter which aspect of sound you are judging. Dramatic, violent, loud, deep. Scenes: Pod emerging - Freeway Bridge Collapsing - Lightning strike - Airplane crash. Oscar nomination 2005 Richard King (also Interstellar & won 2003 Oscar for Master & Commander & 2008 Oscar for Dark Knight - King is an extremely talented sound engineer and clearly an audiophile).

***Cloverfield This and Interstellar are the most interesting movies of this top group to me. Can't give away the spoiler, but... do turn the volume UP - he he. IMHO the art of movie sound is not all-loud-all-the-time, but silence interrupted with sudden and violent BOOMS ;-). And surely, there are multiple, and I repeat, MULTIPLE, booms throughout this movie that are guaranteed to give your subwoofer a workout. Scenes: Chapter 5 20:30 Building collapses Chapter 6 27:30 Monster on bridge Chapter 8 35:00 Army attack Chapter 14 1:06:00 Helicopter crash Chapter 15 1:08:00 Final encounter. Sound engineer William Files (also involved in a ton of other blockbusters: Percy Jackson Lightning Thief, 9, Midnight Special).

***The Incredible Hulk Three words to describe the sound of this movie: ridiculously, ridiculously, VIOLENT. This is another all time classic like War of the Worlds and is a recommended buy without reservation, for the sound. Thunderous, deep, loud, FUN! Scenes: Chap 5 (0:25:50) Encounter at Brazil factory - Chap 10 (0:54:50) Encounter in the park with sonic cannons - Chap 17 (1:32:50) Fight against Abomination

***How To Train Your Dragon: It's been many years since I enjoyed watching a cartoon, so the fact that I mention this one at all speaks to its tremendous low frequency prowess. Throughout most of this movie I was yawning and wondering why it's so famous, then I got to the ending. Goodness, the triad 1:12:50 cave opening, 1:14:10 dragon emerging, and 1:22:45 dragon crash is the equal of anything I have ever heard in audio over the last 20 years. An absolute can't miss for any lover of sound and for all JTR owners. My whole house was shaking and flexing - it is SO... MUCH... FUN... Please, do not miss this.

***Dredd A 5-star bass blockbuster with an extremely polished bass mix, and as a bonus, tongue-in-cheek-very-funny action flick. I am just not content with hearing explosions anymore (War Horse for example) because it gets boring after a while, so I'm happy that in Dredd, the bass mix is sophisticated with a variety of bass effects, and therefore so much more interesting. My son the movie buff and I both loved it. Available for pennies on ebay and therefore *extremely highly recommended. There are other movies (NOT many) with perhaps "louder" bass, but this is top 7 because it has "sophisticated" bass. Scenes: Chapter 2 5:50 - Chapter 7 Lock down; door dropping - Chapter 10: Opens with an explosion that would clean your ears and followed by complete mayhem. Of note, at 51:38 Of note, at 51:38 as extremely menacing rumbling came on as Dredd tortured Kay. So subtle yet adds so much to the experience - listen to see if your subwoofer highlights this, I love it!

***Live Free or Die Hard: Scenes: Chap 5 Attack at apartment - Contains one of THE most satisfactory bomb explosions ever recorded on Bluray :). An absolutely frightening BOOM! "expanding" outward from the center speaker. ALSO: Chapter 15 Collisions in the tunnel. Chapter 23 Gas Explosion. Chapter 33 Jet Attack: Off-the-chart dynamic (read VERY loud LOL) sound effects with jet flyover's, ultra low freq freeway collapses, and devastating missile explosions. This chapter makes me smile and justifies every cent I've spent on subwoofers and my sound system. In short, not a very "catchy" topic/name for a movie, but top 10 all-time for sound, NO DOUBT!

***Interstellar: Mostly a mid-bass dominated movie, but nevertheless, in all my years of fooling around with audio, this is probably the most prominent example yet of sounds (NOT the physical vibration, just sounds) that give me an illusion that objects are physically shaking in my room (think about it). An intense, very intense, sonic experience that makes me feel like I were there (and isn't that what this is all about?). Oscar nomination best sound editing/mixing 2014 Richard King. Scenes: Liftoff (oh my goodness!) - Entering worm hole (holy macaroni ) - In Gargantua (OMG!).

***San Andreas: Like Interstellar, a sonic AND visual tour de force, with outrageous mid-bass output. 3 memorable scenes: Earthquake in Los Angeles - Earthquake in San Franciscio - Tsunami. This is the movie I turn to if I've had a bad day at work :). Hold on to you chair boys and girls.

***Underworld: Awakening: Absolutely balls to the wall sound :) of the highest pedigree. If this were a better movie, it would have tied War of the Worlds for number one spot. Problem is, it's kind of a ho-hum flick so it has to lead the second tier, but make no mistake about the sound. SEVERAL moments of clean, most powerful mid bass and deep bass, from beginning to end. 23:20 lycans, 43:50 footsteps.
***Battle: Los Angeles This movie is proof that we should buy as many Blu Ray as possible because one, they are all so much fun, and two, not all explosions sound the same - they are all beautiful in different ways. This thing is deep and loud. Actually, in-your-face VERY deep, and VERY loud. Scenes: Chapter 3 20:45 Helicopter arriving to LA Chapter 9 56:00 Alien aircraft up close (love the sophisticated exhaust sound!) Chapter 10: Battle at the bridge - 1:05:50 "What the hell is that thing?" LOL 20:45 Mothership taking off - the mother of all explosions.
***Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief: Not continuous bass but what's there has no equal. 38:30 Hades appearance 1:06:00 Hydra attack - wow!. Down to 10 Hz and so powerful I had to check all my speakers after the movie. 1:36:00 Percy and Luke fight. 1:40:45 Arriving to Mt. Olympus (what on earth was that explosion?). Also, unfortunately not such a good movie; I admit all I paid attention to was the sound, not the plot .
***Ragnarok: What movie has guttural monster screams that BEAT the COMBINED effort of Jurassic Park and Desolation of Mauch? Ragnarok! Effects are wide-band (high and low freq combined, not just low, which is not as exciting to me), and make the sound utterly brutal. The movie is an all-time bass classic the caliber of War of the Worlds, with single digit and up frequency response. The plot is a barely-ok copy of ***spoiler alert some famous dinosaur movie, and something that I would not have watched twice. But... as it were, with the bass, I'm on my third helping LOL. The bass is off the chart and rocks my hometheater repeatedly. So much so my son came into the room just to see what on earth was going on. Sound mixes like this don't come often, and for that, I will be buying.
Scenes: 00:56:30 Cave encounter 00:59:00 - Container pull - 1:09:00 Crossing the lake - a spectacular buildup to the snap (@ 1:09:50 OMG) - 1:12:00 Chase in tunnel - fantastically loud chase music - 1:20:00 Allan's demise - 1:23:30 Final encounter
***Flight of the Phoenix: Scenes: Chapter 5 & 6 Sand storm & plane crash - Chapter 17 Explosion - Chapter 35 Plane taking of. Amazing mix, lots of low bass. There's nothing better than watching to a bad storm in movie, except for... an airplane in a bad storm in a movie!
***Edge of Tomorrow The now famous opening minute of the movie has a series of pulses at 30, 25, 20, 15, 10 hz that are not just (obviously) low, but loud as well and may cause the woofers to jump out of the cabinet ... you've been warned. Every halving of frequency increases excursion by 4 (from 30 to 15 to 7.5 hz, your subwoofer driver moves 16 times more), and by looking (not listening) you could tell which one is the 10 hz killer LOL.
***War Horse A quiet movie until chapter 21 and 22, then all hell broke loose with the first cannon shot that caused me to almost fall off my chair LOL. War Horse reminds me very much of the artillery barrage of Master and Commander (DVD not Bluray). Anyone here into non stop loud and house-lifting :) cannon shots - buy this.
***Deep Water Horizon: There is something about these bubbly low bass sound effects - very addicting.
***Super 8: Scenes: Train wreck - Bus crash & attack. Train wreck sequence is a well crafted perfect 10 coordination between screen action and sound effects that is also a topic of discussion by pro's Click Here). So real it's frightening; frequently makes my audience physically "duck" the flying debris. IMHO this is a must-have show-off demo and among my all time favorites. Talented sound editor is Benn Burt (voice of R2D2, light saber hum, breathing sound of Darth Vader, etc.).
***Everest: Atmos and 3D. Scenes: Chapter 14 Arrival of the storm - Chapter 16 Avalanche
***Olympus Has Fallen Scenes: Washington Monument
***Gravity: I think movie is ok only but sound is without reproach. Unbelievably good deep bass from beginning to end, spectacular visuals that are well coordinated with amazing sound effects. Oscar winner 2013 sound editing and mixing Glenn Freemantle
***Mad Max Fury Road: 2015 Oscar winner for both Sound Mixing and Editing Mark Mangini and David White. A big fan of sports car's exhaust sound, I use the opening clip to evaluate mid bass "power." My criticism of this double Oscar winner is this: it's just one very lousy and "noisy" movie. Too much of a loud assault to the ears, where the *ART IMHO is silence interpersing with sonic mayhems.
***Dark Knight: Scenes: Chapter 20 Tunnel Car Chase-Chapter 30 Hospital Exploding. Needs no introduction; long a favorite among nutty bassheads. 2008 Oscar winner sound editing Richard King.
*** Lord of the Rings Fellowship of the Ring: 2001 Oscar nomination Best Sound Christopher Boyes et al. Scense: Bridge of Khazad Dum: 'nuff said!
***Lord of the Rings: Two Towers 2002 Clips: Gandalf falls - Nazgul Black Riders over dead marshes. Oscar Winner for Sound Effects Mike Hopkins and Ehtna Van der Rynand Oscar Nomination for Sound Mixing
***Lord of the Rings Return of the King 2003 Oscar Winner Sound Mixing Christopher Boyes et al.
***Midnight Special: Movie is ok but sound is fantastic and that satellite coming down to earth scene is chest crunching and I am addicted. It goes to show great sound doesn't have to be a continuous bass fest (although that doesn't hurt), but sometimes just a brief, well placed, INCREDIBLE explosion that shakes the floor, the door, and the house, like this one. The scene with Alton's eyes emanating light ray hit some kind of incredible bass resonance also. Recommended without reservation.

3D Yes I'm a fan, mostly for scenic type movies.
***Enchanted Kingdom: Best of all nature type Blu-ray that I have seen. Visually and "sonically" arresting.
***Point Break: The plot is marginal, although it is not un-interesting. Other than that: Fantastic stunt work, amazing cinematography, wonderful sound and powerful bass.
***Flight of the Butterflies: For sissies - kidding. Made for 3D - trust me you'll like the visual effects.

*** Chicago: Cell block Tango - one of my all time favorites - Queen Latifah's in night club. Musical, intensely physical - not the sound, the dancers ;-). I love watching how powerful and beautiful the young dancers are. Oh... how about the sound? So dynamic - very much so, yet silky smooth voice and high end, transparent and layered soundstage. This is my "musical" demo. 2002 Oscar winner for Sound Mixing Michael Minkler, David Lee, and Dominick Tavella
*** Roy Orbison Black and White Night: A classic - if only for those w/ more "classic" music taste LOL. Recorded and produced by an audiophile, T Bone Bennett, and that explains the great sound. Wish I were there - sigh. Amazon.com: Black & White Night [Blu-ray]: Roy Orbison, Bruce Springsteen, -: Movies & TV
***Blue Man Group Audio (Audio is title of release) - DVD-Audio Format (Come in Blu-ray size case - you do NOT want the CD.): Blue Man Group - Blue Man Group - Audio - Amazon.com Music. This is one of the most awesome demo disc I've come across; and I've come across many. It will rock your room I promise. I got mine off of ebay for $3 but even new one should only be around $10 or so; again just make sure that it's the correct disc you are buying. Some of my favorite tracks:
2 PVC IV: I'm not gonna say anything. Just turn it to max LOL. Un****believeable.
3 TV Song: An onslaught of impossibly big, huge drums, huge space, border of room disappears. I am in awe.
9 Club Nowhere: Fantastic and menacing bass rumbling. What a "backside" JTR massage.
13 Klein Mandelbrot: Some drum wacks guaranteed to clean out your ears. Goodness.


5,421 Posts
Getting started with your JTR subwoofer

The is the guide for the initial subwoofer set up using your AVR's auto-calibration. When I wrote the following, I had a Pioneer with MCACC. For Denon/Marantz's Audyssey, the general idea is the same. The difference is Audyssey's auto-calibration only has one stage. Users can change speaker settings after running auto-calibration.

Flow chart:

1. Adjust the settings on sub amp plate.
2. AVR auto-calibration part 1 (level/phase/distance).
3. Check sub level in speaker setting, if sub level is - 6 ~ - 9, proceed to 4. if not, adjust gain and repeat 2 and 3.
4. Change speaker setting (LARGE to SMALL), crossover to 80 Hz.
5. AVR auto-calibration part 2 (EQ and other stuff).
6. Manual adjustment.

The LF Adjust acts as an equalizer that controls the ultra low frequencies. JTR's setting is, with LF Adjust @ Cut, it has the least low end. With the LF Adjust @ Boost, it has the most low end.

On your sub, start with the Gain @ 12 o'clock, the LF Adjust @ 1/4 to 1/2, the Crossover @ 120 Hz/Out, the Delay @ 0 ms, the RCA input @ left and the Input (absent on newer models) @ RCA. This means that you are letting your AVR set the crossover, delay, and etc.

Proceed with your AVR's first stage of auto-calibration where it sets the level/phase/distance for your speakers and sub. When it's done, there should be a place for you to check the results and make adjustments (typically in speaker level setting).

For the sub level, try to aim for a value of - 6 ~ - 9. If you get a -12 for sub level, turn the Gain down and rerun the first stage of auto calibration; if you get a -3, turn the Gain up, then rerun auto calibration. After this, your sub is level matched with the rest of your speakers.

The AVR might tell you that your speakers are LARGE, and speaker crossover is 60 Hz or whatever. Change the speakers to SMALL, and crossover to 80 Hz. The theory is, the more capable your mains are, the lower the crossover should be. THX recommends 80 Hz, so 80 Hz is a good point. Setting it higher might cause human voice to come from the sub and the sub to be easily localized.

Now proceed to the 2nd stage of calibration, where it does the EQ, reverb and etc. After that, your system is calibrated.

Now that the system is calibrated, any time you want to just turn down your sub, you should do so on your AVR speaker level setting, not with the gain on your sub. If you adjusted the gain on your sub, you should run the auto calibration again. The theory behind this common practice is it allows you to fine tune the wooferage based on the bass content. You can turn it up for a particular movie and return to the original setting afterwards. Of course since the knobs have detents now, it is easier to do so.

The next steps are for manual adjustments

You can manually bump the sub level in the AVR speaker level setting. Most people will increase say a -6dB to 0dB ( 6 dB hot ) or -9dB to -6dB (3 dB hot). This is commonly referred to as 'the sub trim'.

Then you can adjust LF Adjust to taste. If your room is very small, you might prefer to have the LF Adjust closer to Cut. For a large room, try somewhere between half way and Boost. Regardless of your room size, turn the LF Adjust up to get more ULF, and down if you prefer less ULF.

A lot of people bump up the center channel level by 3 dB. This will make the dialogues louder/clearer.

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
The "lf adjust" is a cut only filter and is there to tailor the subwoofer's lowend response to the room gain of the room it is being installed into. With the "lf adjust" all the way up it will give you a flat response outdoors and with it all the way down it will give you a flat response is a small sealed room. Because subwoofers have more maximum output capability on the topend you gain headroom with the "lf adjust" turned down. I would start with the "lf adjust" turned all the way down, take a measurement and adjust from there until you have a nice flat response. In our 16'x18'x8' demo room we ended up with the "lf adjust" at 1/4 the way up.
Thanks for the very helpful reply; so it's there to adjust for differences in room gain that in turn depend on room size/construction/etc.? I erroneously thought the best thing is just to jack this low frequency knob up to max :).

I somehow am having difficulty understanding the bold faced part. Would you please explain? Why would I gain headroom by turning DOWN gain? Thnx.
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