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Measuring conditions:

Air temperature: 10-12 C
Atmospheric pressure: ~1015-1020 hPa
Wind speed: 0-1 m/s
Weather: Cloudy

It’s not Christmas eve yet, but here’s an early Christmas present for all of you bass heads - the full results for round 5 of our subwoofer testing! Due to a very interesting line-up, these particular results have probably been waited for most anxiously since I started performing these tests back in 2005. Can’t blame though, the JL Audio Fathom f113, SVS PB13-Ultra, TC Sounds LMS-5400 and BK XLS300/PR, just to name a few, have been easily the most discussed subwoofers on the audio forums lately. Many of the results you can see here are very rare and unique. For example you can’t find as thorough performance measurements performed on a JL Audio Fathom f113 or a TC Sounds LMS-5400 based subwoofer anywhere in the whole wide world.

I have made some small adjustments on how I present the results. From now on, I will show the +/-3 dB points (6 dB window) for both maximum and minimum crossover settings. This will help people to understand how the frequency response and usually also extension changes when using a lower crossover.

There is also one totally new graph showing the CEA-2010 standard defined maximum clean output. The highest ever and lowest ever limits are showing the highest ever and lowest ever performance at each frequency among the subwoofers I have performed the CEA-2010 standard defined measurements (round 4 ->).

I have changed the legend in the total harmonic distortion graphs to show Sweep 1, Sweep 2 etc. instead of 90 dB, 95 dB etc. This was done because many people were assuming that the sound pressure levels shown in the legend were absolute. Hopefully this change helps them to understand that one HAS TO look at the maximum output curves above to be able understand what really happens during those sweeps. The sound pressure levels are not absolute but they are affected by the frequency response and power compression instead!

I have seriously considered whether the spectral contamination graphs provide enough useful information to majority of the readers. Therefore I won’t be posting them, at least for now. I have the data for all the subwoofers tested on round 5 so I can post them later if enough people will like to see them. But in my opinion the current battery of tests is large and versatile enough to show the true performance of each subwoofer.



SVS wasn’t totally satisfied with the performance (frequency response) of the customer owned PB12-NSD I measured on round 4 so they decided to send me a factory fresh unit this time. They say that the new frequency response is ok.

BK Electronics provided a final prototype of their upcoming Extreme subwoofer for me to be measured. Can’t say if the measured performance affected, but soon after I was informed that the Extreme won’t make its way into production – at least in the form I measured it. So therefore its results won’t be published.

I would like to thank a few companies who have supported my tests.

















Of course the TC Sounds LMS-5400 test wouldn’t probably ever happen without the people who participated in the buy-in regarding the woofer. So my wholehearted thank you to you as well! Of course thanks are due to all the private persons who loaned their subwoofers. I’m not sure what I can say to Maukka about the pictures that hasn’t been already said? Thanks to the usual suspects a.k.a. Goodguy, geecb and mappe for helping me out with the arrangements regarding the test.

One request: when mentioning these tests on another Internet forum, please mention HT Shack. If you only refer these as "Ilkka's tests" etc., people have no idea where to look at. So please use "HT Shack subwoofer tests" or "Ilkka's subwoofer tests at HT Shack". Thank you!

The English language comments on the results are still being worked out, but interpreting these results shouldn't be that difficult. Of course it's always better to ASK instead of making wrong conclusions. Remember to look at the results as a whole instead of looking too much into a single graph.

Links to subwoofers tested on this round:

Anthony Gallo
Audio Pro Level 110
BK XLS300/PR
DIY CSS 2xSDX15 sealed 140L
DIY CSS SDX15 sealed 100L
DIY Servo v2
DIY TC Sounds LMS-5400 18" + 2x18" PR 200L
DIY TC Sounds LMS-5400 18" sealed 100L
DIY TC Sounds LMS-5400 18" sealed 100L LT
Gradient Evidence MK2
JL Audio Fathom f113
SVS PB12-NSD
SVS PB13-Ultra 20 Hz tune
SVS PB13-Ultra 15 Hz tune
SVS PB13-Ultra 10 Hz tune
SVS PB13-Ultra sealed
Velodyne SPL-1200 MK2
Yamaha YST-SW1500

No material may be reproduced in part or in altered form without permission. Copyright © 2007 Ilkka Rissanen and Mauri Eronen (pictures)
 

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Yes, thanks for the amazing effort and detail!!! :clap::clap::clap:

Without inviting too much controversy, I'm very curious about your own personal impressions. Which one would you buy for yourself, representing the best cost/performance ratio?

Feel free to PM me if you don't want to be that subjective in the forum. :bigsmile:

Merry Christmas and much thanks again!!!
 

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I see a very impressive performance from the SVS PB13-U(at 20 Hz). Especially at the lower frequencies. Close to the 18" 3600W subs. Wow.
 
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Thank you for all your effort. This is a great Christmas gift. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
 

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Thanks Ilkka for all the hard work. Independent tests like this are always interesting.

Bryan
 

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Hi Chaps, thankyou for the fantastic reports Ilkka and thankyou to all at the shack for their help and advice to me a new member. God Bless and have a great Christmas

Regards

Stuart Angus
 
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Hi Ilkka,
Thanks you for this gift !
Amazing and usefull work, I try to advertise it in France.
Have a nice Christmas.
Best wishes
Patrick
 

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Bravo Illka!

Looks like once again the DIY subs didn't disappoint. The SVS subs and the F113 put up some impressive measurements too. Thanks for doing these tests!
 

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I am a newbie to this forum however I think that this forum is the best. Thanks Illka for all of your hard work. I am not much for into the techcnical aspects of Home Audio but I do enjoy reading and learning as I go along.

I to am curious as to your personal opinion on the JL Audio Fathom 113....I happened to buy one a month ago and recently as Dec 23rd actually got to calibrate it and use it and I was blown away. It has everything I think a sub should be.
Feel free to sendind a PM.

Merry Christmas to everyone!!!!

Frank:bigsmile:
 

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Thanks as usual. I'd be interested in seeing the spectral contamination charts posted for all the subs if you have them.

Now... was the JLA's distortion that audible? In other areas people have compared that sub to the Ultra... now I am doubting their ears ;)
 
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