Emotiva X-Ref 10 Subwoofer Listening Tests
I focused most of my listening tests on music as I suspect most people buying a small sealed sub like the X-Ref 10 would use it for. Using my EMP 41-SE/B computer desktop speakers and VT40.2 tube amp, I queued up some tunes on Pandora.com and set the 3 piece system up in my 600 ft^2 workout room for a listen while I pumped some iron. All interconnects were provided by Blue Jeans cable.
Sade: Lovers Rock
Those that listen to Sade know that her music packs a punch. The X-Ref 10 was certainly at home belting out the low tones for this song. Bass was tight and clean and because this sub is so linear above 80Hz, it blended perfectly to my little 41-SE/B speakers with a 90Hz crossover setting. I switched over to the Emotiva Ultra 12 subwoofer which was level matched for comparison. I felt both subs have a very similar sonic signature though the Ultra 12 definitely dug deeper but the X-Ref 10 seemed a tad more musical to me.
Yes: Heart of the Sunrise
The X-Ref 10 did a great job of delineating all of Chris Squire’s notes on the bass. The system sounded very fluid as a three piece and I was simply loving how the Emotiva was providing the much needed bottom octave to my EMP speakers.
Spock’s Beard: Solitary Soul
If you’re a progressive rock fan and you’re not listening to Spock’s Beard, you don’t know what you are missing. Imagine the vocal harmonies of Styx with the drumming of Rush and guitar sound of old Steve Hackett-based Genesis all fused together. Incredible! This song is so poetic and moving. It’s a must-listen. The beginning of the song has a constant bass note running in the background and the X-Ref 10 did a commendable job of making it tactile. I enjoyed this song so much I gave it two listens in a row, each time pleased with the X-Ref 10 integration into my EMP music system.
I brought the X-Ref10 into the Audioholics Showcase Theater room for a quick listen with some Blu-ray movies. Realize this room is over 5,000 ft^3 which is beyond the room size we recommend this sub to be used in.
Blu-ray: Transformers 3 - Dark of the Moon
Michael Bay outdid himself in terms of excessive eye candy, silly dialogue and gore and LFE action with the latest Transformers installment. But, it was still entertaining nonetheless for a die-hard Transformers fan and bassaholic like myself. The scenes where the ships crashed into the moon got the X-Ref 10 rocking. I cranked it up and, although it didn’t provide the extension of my much larger and more expensive Velodyne DD-15+ sub, it still did a commendable job of cleanly delivering bass within its useable bandwidth. Most small subs run out of gas quickly in a large room often sounding nasty in the process. I couldn’t get the X-Ref 10 to misbehave no matter how hard I tried. Optimus would be proud of this little scout.
The people from Emotiva is very efficient and a pleasure to work with. My order was delivered all the way up here in deep dark Africa and everything arrived in perfect condition.