KEN KREISEL DXD12012 Subwoofer Review - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

 
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post #1 of 2 Old 11-28-12, 07:09 AM Thread Starter
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KEN KREISEL DXD12012 Subwoofer Review

KREISEL DXD12012
By Dale Rasco


Intro
Ok I have to be honest. Until recently I really did not know a lot about KREISEL the company or Ken Kreisel the man. I knew that he was the 'K' in 'M&K' and that he has been a well respected and revolutionary 'sub-guy' for well over 30 years and I knew that the products he designs built that reputation. So when I was offered the review of the DXD12012 Duo I was both excited and hesitant. Excited to get my hands on these units and see what all of the buzz was about and hesitant because KREISEL is one of our newest sponsors; what if the DXD12012 Duo did not live up to the hype?

There have been many adjectives used to describe Ken Kreisel such as pioneer, innovator and just about any other favorable term used in the industry. His designs have been used by some of the most popular and talented sound engineering teams in the business and his designs have repeatedly been credited to the success of those engineering teams. So what makes these subwoofers in particular such a well respected sought after commodity? Well hopefully you will be able to understand that by the end of this review.

Aesthetics
The DXD12012 is a very elegant yet almost retro looking subwoofer in my opinion. It quite honestly reminds me of a vintage guitar or bass amp with the body wrapped in leather looking tolex and the big KREISEL badging on the front. But this design works very well and is bound to turn a few heads. The black lacquer corners are what give the unit a bit of refinement, which compliments the retro look quite nicely. All in all the DXD12012 is a very handsome subwoofer that will capture the attention of most home theater enthusiasts.

Build Quality
The unit build quality is absolutely fantastic! The cabinet is very sturdy and very heavily braced to support all of the force being thrown at it from the push-pull design. MDF side panels are 25mm thick with an additional 18mm panel on the driver side for further reinforcement. The top panel is 25mm, the rear panel is 18mm and the bottom driver-mounting panel is 18mm and is further reinforced with a 12.5 mm panel.





Manufacturer Specifications

Specifications
  • Driver Configuration DUAL PUSH-PULL 12” HIGH VELOCITY DEEP BASS DRIVERS
  • Typical in Room Frequency Response 10 Hz - 200 Hz
  • Variable Phase Adjustment 0 to 180 degrees
  • Variable Low Pass Filter Range: 40Hz - 160Hz at 12db per Octave
  • Variable Bass Level with Switched Fixed Calibrated REFERENCE LEVEL Setting
  • Variable Low Pass Filter Bypass Switch
  • Auto On/Off switch Only operates when using the RCA inputs
  • Unbalanced RCA LFE/Line Inputs 2
  • Impedance for Unbalanced RCA Inputs 8k Ohms
  • Balanced XLR Input 1
  • Impedance for Balanced XLR Inputs 30k Ohms
  • Impedance for XLR Input connected unbalanced from Pin 2 to Ground 15k Ohms
  • Balanced XLR Direct Pass-Thru (Unbuffered) 1
  • Warranty 5 Years Parts & Labor
  • 12" High Velocity Deep Bass Drivers** 2
  • Claridy Monoblock Class D Amplifiers 2
  • Power Output 750+ Continuous RMS watts
    DIMENSIONS (HxWxD):
  • 23.7" x 15.35" x 19.37”
  • 47.40" x 15.35" x 19.37" (Duo)
  • WEIGHT 80.6 lbs/36.6 kg
Features

Features
  • "BACK-SIDEFIRE™" design optimized for very tight time domain pressure coupling with your studio or room
  • Unique Modular Scalable Building Block Design, upgradeable to the DUO and QUATTRO
  • Dual 12" Long-Throw KEN KREISEL PROFESSIONAL SOUND™ HIGH VELOCITY DEEP BASS PUSH-PULL-PULSAR™ Drivers
  • Custom Molded NBR Surround for Ken KREISEL’s “Silent Running Suspension”™ system
  • High Strength Extremely Linear Spider made from a special blend of cotton and pure NOMEX
  • Optimized Magnetic Structure using an undercut T-Style Pole Piece and Aluminum Shorting Ring
  • Precision Ultra High Temperature Wound Voice Coil on Black Anodized Bobbin for Maximum Cooling
  • Dual Class D Push-Pull Cross-Coupled High Current - Hybrid Bridge Monoblock Amps™ Delivering 750+ Conservative Continuous RMS Watts
  • Dual Integrated Cross - Coupled High Speed Switching Power Supplies for Maximum Dynamic Peak Headroom
  • Dedicated Monoblock Amplifier for each of the High Velocity Deep Base™ Drivers
  • Professional Grade High Performance Pre-Amp using a Pure Analog Circuit Design
  • Balanced XLR input with Pass-Through XLR Output for Multiple Sub Setup
  • Variable Bass Level, with Fixed Level Setting, Phase, Low Pass Filter Controls with Filter Bypass Switch
  • High Performance XLR input using Professional Instrumentation Type Balanced Circuit Design


Placement and Listening Impressions
Here is where things get a little tricky, but please stay with me as I learned a very valuable lesson in all of this. I received the units two days before the Houston GTG on November 11th. I barely had enough time to setup the units in a stacked configuration and run the recommended burn-in exercise and zero time to play with them and get them sounding accurately. For those interested, the burn-in involved running some pink noise at 90 dB to the sub for 30 minutes; I went for 60 minutes just to be sure. The units performed 'OK' during the GTG, but a lack of familiarity with the product hampered our efforts in achieving the low frequency bliss that we were all looking forward to.

The following day I setup the units in my home theater and tried a host of different placements and configurations before settling on the rear corner in the stacked configuration. Here again the DXD12012's did not perform as I was hoping they would and for the life of me I could not figure out why. Finally, against every male fiber in my body, I returned to the manual and discovered that I had shockingly been making the setup much harder than it had to be. The manual clearly states that for typical home theater installations turn all of the settings to the 'green dots' and run the receiver's calibration utility. Well played KREISEL, well played…

The Green Dots


So after another quick run through Audyssey and all of the settings on 'green dots' I was ready to give it another go. What followed can only be described as the most dynamic and satisfying subwoofer experience that I have ever had. Seriously, the precision and clarity of the DXD12012 is absolutely remarkable but that performance does not come cheap. These units cost $2995 each and $5995 in the ‘Duo’ configuration that I reviewed, but there will be more to that conversation in the ‘Rasco’s Wrap’ section of the review.

Sub Zone Measurements

In Room Measurement
Rather than take multiple in-room measurements that have been EQ’d via Audyssey and REW I decided to drop the sub far out of the ‘sweet spot’ and measure from the seated position. After establishing a baseline with the volume using a 50 Hz signal at 75 dB directly plugged into the DXD12012, I ran a single sweep from 0 to 200 Hz and as you can see in the graph, the response is fairly flat from 4.5 Hz to 30 Hz.

Measurement Graphs


Subjective Listening
For this particular jaunt I decided to use a lot of newer material and get away from some of the staples that I have used in the past. This means no War of the Worlds, no heavy metal and no Basstronics.

Music
Skrillex - Right In (FLAC)
Skrillex is a new one that was brought to my attention by my son. The bass in ‘Right In’ is very dynamic indeed and in this particular case I even turned off all of the speakers to get an idea of how well the bass was reproduced. This is the type of electronic music that is gaining a lot of ground these days with the younger crowd and I have to say that I am becoming more and more of a fan of the genre as it is very dynamic overall. The DXD12012 shook things up quite a bit while also having a very targeted response. Once I added the speakers back in and gave it another listen I was fully immersed into the song and actually listened to it several times.

Muse - Undisclosed Desires (FLAC)
I never really listened to Muse before the GTG earlier this month but thanks to Peter (one of other reviewers) they have jumped to the top of my ‘go to’ list for sub testing. The music has very dynamic bass in it and requires a very precise subwoofer to reproduce the sounds accurately with any authority. The Duo 12 shined as expected and did so with great clarity and wonderful depth. The dynamics of the bass in this song truly shined as the DXD12012 captured and maintained a near perfect balance of musicality and impact.
Movies
'9' (Blu-ray)
‘9’ is one of my favorites for demoing but for some reason I have never used it in a review. There is some noteworthy 10 Hz stuff in here and is the perfect test for the DXD12012. The bass begins very subtle then rages with the power of Thor’s hammer before subsiding into a faint rumble that just fades out. You can see in the graphs that 10 Hz is not a problem for these subs and feeling the rumble is very nice indeed! Below are some snapshots of the measurements that I took at various times during the movie. Several of these have also been captured in our Movies with Deep Bass database by other members as well.



Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (Blu-ray)
There is an incredible amount of bass in AotC starting with the beginning as Senator Amidala's entourage approaches Coruscant and the subsequent destruction of the 'J-type diplomatic barge' on the landing pad. One of the things that stuck out to me is how much depth that this scene has in it with regards to the low end. This very much impressed me, as it is something that has not stood out to me before.

The second scene, well several scenes actually, that I listened to was the epic battle near the end of the film. When the clone army arrives and frees our heroes and starts attacking the enemy there is a nearly absurd amount of bass throughout and it gets downright RUDE! Yes, I mean that in a good way. Needless to say, the Duo-12 performed with precision and was never ‘boomy’ or muddy but wonderfully authoritative.

One of the reasons I used Star Wars Episode II was because all six of the Star Wars Episodes used Ken Kreisel designed studio monitor speakers and subwoofers for the sound design and mix. Miller & Kreisel has screen credit on Episode I, II, & III for the production speakers.

Tron Legacy (Blu-ray)
Another outstanding audio for subjective listening tests is 2010’s Tron Legacy. There is a constant onslaught of bass to be heard and felt throughout this movie and of course the DXD12012 did the LFE justice and at times even took it to a new level with some very tight responses that in the past have come across a bit ‘boomy’ to me such as the explosions in the lightcycle scene. Overall it was a very smooth response from beginning to end that was once again balanced musically while being very impactful.
Rasco's Wrap

I mentioned right off the bat that I was honestly not as familiar with KEN KREISEL as I probably should have been. This is mostly due to the reputation of the brand and of the man. I have heard many products that make outrageous claims and fail to deliver and the same cannot be said for the DXD12012. The bass is tight, musical and impactful without being overwhelming. The 3D Push-Pull-Pulsar™ technology that was pioneered by KREISEL is credited for creating more accurate bass reproduction. Now, I do not have all of the testing equipment or time to verify this claim and have to depend on my measurements and my ears, but as far as they are concerned this claim is valid. (I am sure that my teammate Erin is cringing right now.)

So this brings me back to the overall value of the DXD12012. Is the DXD12012 worth the price and did it live up to the expectations? Absolutely! It would have been very unfortunate to have to report otherwise. The DXD12012 is a remarkable product and the bass quality and unit performance are unmatched in its class. In fact the only rival I have found for it is the Paradigm Sub 2 and while that particular sub may boast a 7Hz response vs the DXD12012, it is also three thousand dollars more than the Duo12 and the difference in performance between the two is negligible and the difference in sound quality between the two is questionable at best. Unless of course you have a 240 volt outlet for the Sub 2 which will give you 4,500 RMS.

So back to my earlier question. What makes these subwoofers in particular such a well respected sought after commodity? In a word; everything. The performance, the sound quality, the build quality, the reputation, the aesthetics, the ease of use, the five year warranty and even the cost is not out of line for what you get and this creates an outstanding value for the DXD12012. Sure, they may seem expensive when compared to mid-range subs, but the DXD12012 is not a mid-range sub and I would argue that dual and in some cases quad setups of other mid-range subs could not match one of the DXD12012 for performance. Seriously, look at this in room measurement again for a single DXD12012 and try to argue against my last statement.



One of the biggest advantages of the DXD12012 is the modular design. You can start with a single unit and add to it later by simply buying another unit and stacking it. In fact, you can add up to four units in a single stack that stands nearly eight feet tall, has eight drivers and 3000+ continuous RMS watts. That is insane! KREISEL offers a trade-in program for M&K subwoofer owners who reside in the USA and for a limited time, KREISEL also offers a Competitive Upgrade Program for owners of just about every other manufacturer out there, which to my knowledge no other sub company offers at this time. That is literally KREISEL putting their money where their mouth is.

The bottom line is this. If you are in the market for a new subwoofer and you seek a high quality and high performing subwoofer then rest assured that I have not heard a better sounding subwoofer in this class than the Kreisel DXD12012 Duo. I highly recommend you taking advantage of KREISEL’s 30 day return policy and checking these things out because the KREISEL DXD12012 is in a league all its own and once you have it in place, you will not want to let it go.

Please use the KEN KREISEL DXD12012 Subwoofer Review Discussion Thread for Questions and Comments!


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Regards,
Dale Rasco




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Last edited by Dale Rasco; 03-23-13 at 07:36 PM.
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post #2 of 2 Old 11-28-12, 06:10 PM
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Re: KEN KREISEL DXD12012 Subwoofer Review

We are very pleased to announce our new Competitive Upgrade Program, available only for a limited time. We want everyone to be able to experience the awesome high impact bass that only the new KEN KREISEL Push-Pull-Pulsar subwoofers can produce and to do so we are now offering a generous trade-in allowance for your current subwoofer, regardless of its make and model, towards the purchase of one of our new subwoofer(s). Customers are responsible for all shipping fees to deliver their trade-in subwoofer to our warehouse in Torrance, CA USA. The trade in promotion applies to customers who reside in the USA only.

The M&K Sound Trade In Promotion has been extended due to its popularity
The trade in promotion applies to customers who reside in the USA, and on Miller & Kreisel Sound/M&K Sound subwoofers. Customers are responsible for all shipping fees to deliver their trade-in subwoofer to our warehouse in Torrance, CA USA. We will pay the shipping fees to have your new KEN KREISEL subwoofer(s) delivered to you. Chris will be happy to discuss with you our generous trade in price for your Miller & Kreisel Sound/M&K Sound subwoofer(s).


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