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Cadence CSX15 Mark II Listening Session

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For all of the listening sessions the Cadence CSX15 MK II was placed in the front right corner of the room firing in towards the back wall about 4 inches from the walls. This places the subwoofer a little over 4 meters from the primary listening position. I have determined this to be the best available single subwoofer placement in the room for most units. The CSX15 MK-II was connected to the Onkyo PR-SC-886P A/V processor and Audyssey’s auto EQ routine was run on the system to allow it to further integrate the CSX15 MK II and flatten the respons. This was then followed by a check and recalibration of the overall subwoofer and speaker levels prior to the listening sessions. For the duration of the listening sessions the internal low pass filter was bypassed in favor of a 125Hz setting inside of the Onkyo.

Music: Various Artists and Formats

As is usual I started off with some music I am fatool-10000-days.jpgmiliar with in order to gauge how the CSX15 MK II sounded and performed when tasked with providing the bass fundamentals during critical music listening. One album that has a great production but also is enjoyable for me to listen to is Tool’s 10,000 days. It features very technical playing ranging from dense busy passages to droning, sparse sections and a variety of sounds and textures with fundamentals in the lower bass register. With the Cadence CSX15 MK II handling all of the bass duties the bass guitar notes were easily distinguishable and the kick drum was clearly defined as were the tones of each individual tom. The upper bass range was punchy and had a nice attack to the drum kit and percussion however the bottom of the lowest bass guitar notes seemed a little bit blurred once the volume level was turned up and the overall tonal signature of this album was not as deep as I remember it being. The presentation was engaging and the bass fundamentals sounded good it just seemed that the lowest notes were perhaps somewhat diminished. Switching to the Absolution album by the rock group Muse at a generous volume level the kick drum and toms were crisp and presented with gusto while the often dirty and growling bass guitar line meandered about the various pop rock arrangements. The CSX15 MK II did well here with ample headroom for spirited playback levels and a clear attack to the drums. The fundamental of the bass guitar sounded cohesive and together with the upper harmonic signature resulting in a nice well delineated tone. I did note that on the sections with piano in the forefront such as the beginning of Apocalypse Please, the very lowest piano chords and drums seemed to take on a fuzzy character and lose some separation of notes and instruments though. I also listened to a few selected songs from the Dave Mathew’s Band. I like to demo speakers with their material since the recordings are usually of very good quality and the musicianship is outstanding. On The Stone, which has a nice string arrangement intro followed by a rolling verse riff which is underpinned by some very deft fretless bass guitar playing and driven by Carter Beauford’s slick behind the kit work, the bass was clean and well defined with good note tracking and pitch definition even at quite loud levels. I played this track twice and really cranked it up the second time and the CSX15 MK II seemed to take it in stride.

Movies: Blu-ray: Thor

In order to see how the CSX15 MK II would respond to the demands of the LFE chanthor.jpgnel of a blockbuster action movie sound track I decided to watch Thor on Blu-ray. While not an artistic masterpiece or overly challenging intellectual storyline, Thor does offer a well done audio mix with tons of action and extensive use of the LFE channel. I settled on a playback volume of -15dB which is fairly challenging for a single subwoofer to handle in a linear fashion in my 4,000+ cubic foot room and is representative of the typical volume level that I usually find myself watching movies at. While not an exceptionally loud master volume setting the large volume of the room combined with the distance to the listening position and a few acoustics issues results in a situation that usually separates the men from the boys quickly. One of the first scenes to require heavy lifting from the subwoofer is when Thor and his companions travel to the plane of the ice giants and find themselves in a huge battle complete with a giant ice worm. The CSX15 MK II mustered up a lot of volume during this action scene with plenty of slam and volume but overall it seemed like the deep bass was missing. At times such as during the encounter with the destroyer it would produce a powerful bass presence, enough to make some unsecured objects in the room buzz and produce a bit of tactile sensation on my body. But during other sections of the soundtrack it seemed as if the CSX15 MK II simply could not reproduce the deep bass present with sufficient volume. Either the deepest bass would just not seem to be there at all, was greatly diminished in level, or as happened on a few occasions the CSX15 MK II would seem to be overdriven into distortion. There were a few scenes that induced obvious audible distress from the CSX15 MK II. I also watched Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol with much the same result. The CSX15 MK II could get mightily loud as long as the frequencies weren’t too low but if asked to produce a lot of output in the deep bass such as during the Kremlin explosion scene it did not respond well. It seems as if the rumble filter is perhaps set too low in frequency for the cabinet tuning or the limiter circuit may not be aggressive enough to keep the driver from over exerting itself in its efforts. Overall the CSX15 MK II did quite well with music especially considering the price tag and packs a mighty wallop but I was underwhelmed with its deep bass performance for movies in light of its large 15” driver and vented cabinet.

 

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Recent Forum Posts:

theJman posts on June 22, 2012 15:07
Ricci, post: 891663
Thanks for the kind words guys. We've got another coming down the pipe shortly.

Glad to hear. Looking forward to it.
Ricci posts on June 22, 2012 14:59
Thanks for the kind words guys. We've got another coming down the pipe shortly.

Tom…Glad to see you around.
Tom V. posts on June 22, 2012 12:05
double post
Tom V. posts on June 22, 2012 11:58
spyboy, post: 891493
At Josh Ricci:

Thanks for the thorough review of the Cadence CSX 15 II. In a short span of time you have come to be highly respected for your subwoofer reviews

+1

Tom Vodhanel
Power Sound Audio
theJman posts on June 21, 2012 15:25
spyboy, post: 891493
At Josh Ricci:

Thanks for the thorough review of the Cadence CSX 15 II. In a short span of time you have come to be highly respected for your subwoofer reviews, (unlike some professed reviewers).

Someone who thinks that suggesting the addition of an additional 8 ounces of poly fill doesn't qualify as “doing design projects”, nor does suggesting that screws be replaced with “T” nuts …

Keep up the great work. Your technical expertise in measuring critical data makes your reviews truly superior to much of what is passing for reviews that lack a single number, especially the base frequency response. For example one so-called reviewer thinks that a subwoofer with a passive radiator is an “acoustic suspension” design and doesn't know that a sub with a single driver and a single passive radiator behaves much more like a ported design rather than a sealed design.

All the other reviews – whether or not they contain numbers – greatly exceed that which you contribute, which amounts to essentially nothing but sarcasm, in this and every other forum. You really need to back off and go find something productive to do. Your incessant jabs and hollow comments have no value to anyone but yourself. Self aggrandizing has no place here. Move on already.
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