Rythmik FV15HP Subwoofer Listening Impressions
The first song I listened to just happened to be a Joni Mitchell tune from the late 1960's, and if you are familiar with this artist, you are likely asking yourself why I would test a subwoofer with program material which is mostly female vocals and acoustic guitar. Certainly this is not a treasure trove of deep bottom end. It is, however, a great way to find out if the sub itself will disappear into the background, or start introducing midrange sounds that will interfere with the stereo image. I had the sub pointed straight at my right ear, well off to the side, and double the distance (or more) from me compared to the satellites. After a good deal of fiddling, I managed to get the Rythmik sub to meld into the soundscape.
I spent more time listening to the Rythmik, than all the other subs I reviewed for the CEA output article. I found the best blend with my satellite speakers when I set the Rythmik crossover frequency control to 50Hz and the low pass knob to "80Hz/24". For those using external bass management facilities, I still suggest starting at 80Hz 24dB/Oct. But, because this sub has so much tactile energy, if it's placed in close proximity to the listening area, you may want to experiment with a lower crossover setting.
Keep this in mind especially if you plan on using small satellite speakers requiring a higher crossover frequency and steeper rolloff of the sub to prevent it from being localized. Another setup tip when using this sub in close proximity to the listening area that may help is to orient the subwoofer sideways which will audibly reduce any higher harmonic frequencies emanating from the ports.
My testing were mainly concerned about usable low distortion output, so I paired the sub with a pair of the high efficiency (about 97.5dB/watt) prototype B52 Matrix 1000 Version 4 satellites driven with a 725 watt per channel amp. The Rythmik FV-15HP sub seemed to run out of steam at about 90-100 watts RMS level into my satellites, which is about 117 dB in my lab. That's very LOUD! That's the loudest of any sub in the group testing except for one folded horn I had lying around and put outside to prove a point. For the additional music and movie tests I performed on this sub, I was most astounded by the usable output and low distortion - this sub can crank out volume like you wouldn't believe!
Given the range and output capabilities of this sub, I can recommend it for either Home Theater or Audiophile use. Home theater use is a bit more difficult as sound effects are often kicked up for dramatic effect to levels at extremely low frequency output (below 40 Hz) that you might only find at a Rave or a Rap concert. If you are more interested in music reproduction, you can push the box a little harder and count on more output. The Rythmik FV-15HP should be more than capable of filling medium to very large size rooms with more than adequate bass for all but the audio-insane. It is one more example that if you want real high-output performance down to 20 Hz, the wife needs to give up her coffee table or favorite floor lamp. While this subwoofer won't come home comfortably in your compact car, it will fit into your SUV or the back of your pickup truck. Don't count on lifting or placing it by yourself unless you routinely pick up hundreds of pounds in your daily life. Get a buddy to come over, and have him bring a bass-heavy CD or an iPod full of tunes.
Like with all subs used in a home theater environment, we highly recommend utilizing the internal bass management and level control of your A/V processor and either bypassing the sub's internal filters or using them in conjunction (if needed) to ensure the best integration with your speaker system.
I disagree. Most xovers are slope and band limited. Many do not allow you to crossover lower than 80hz, many offer only a few fixed points. What if I want to change the highpass to smaller mains to 24db instead of 12? Or set the lowpass to the sub to 12db instead of 24db?
Regardless I'd like to have a small list of the processors or recievers that do offer what I would consider excellent flexibility. One processor that I know of that does offer excellent hi/low pass xover settings is the UMC-1. You can ajust the slope and have a dozen or so band points to select from starting around 30-40hz all the way up past 150hz if I recall. But even this bass management system in itself is flawed still due to the sub channel EQ not working for 2 channel music.
The previous statement had a typo, I meant the other way around.
Like? Examples please. And what specific bands? Are we talking about near worthless octave or higher spacing?
Well if you can't adjust a boost or dip in the frequency response at the specific point needed or the with the proper Q, then no its not necessarily better at all.
I have a pair of Onkyo SC 886's and even the 15 band eq it has per channel(and 6 bands for the sub) is kind of limited for my need to maximum fine tuning. I could get the in room response relatively smooth with it(A hell of alot better than Audessy XT ever will)but I ended up with some dips and boosts that were not at the EQ points, so I went with 3 Rane DEQ 60L(2 channels per) 1/3 octave 30 band EQ's instead(5 channels for the mains, 1 for the sub) and the response in room is now near perfect. Something I cannot do with the typical run of the mill processors and recievers on the market. The only home processor I feel is audio worthy is the AudioControl Diva, but unfortunately its major $$$. But there should be more products like that on the market.
You could check out miniDSPs for equalization. They have many bands of parametric equalization and their interface allows going as low as 10Hz. I use that to impose a high pass at 16Hz. I use them for both crossovers and equalization and for my sub it's mostly equalization with the crossover being handled by my UMC-1. It can set crossovers to 40Hz, maybe lower but I haven't checked.
Decent recievers and processors normally have pretty cr@ppy and limited "bass management" systems built in. Even alot of the upper tier recievers and processors are highly limited.
WHat if I want a 24db low pass filter at 50hz? How many recievers or processors can YOU think of off the top of your head that will give me a steeper slope other than the typical 12db slope found, or a lowpass point lower than 80hz?
How many recievers processors offer a fully 3 way adjustable 1 band PEQ?
How many recievers or processors offer a rumble filter for people who use records? How about extension/damping controls?
TO people who know how to use these "switches and controls" these are highly desireable and useful controls. This is why the RYthmik is considered a ture audiophile sub. Its not the typical boom boom HT ported sub you find from companies like HSU,eD,Epik etc which are designed more around big bang for the buck output, and not subtle fine tuning controls for high resolution bass resolve.
Its nice to know that Rythmik now has a killer sub that is good enough to satisfy the serious audiophiles, yet has great output for HT systems in a single sub solution.
One of the least expensive pre/pros, the Emotiva UMC-1, has such flexibility in bass management allowing to specify crossovers with either 12db or 24db/octave at many frequencies.