“Let our rigorous testing and reviews be your guidelines to A/V equipment – not marketing slogans”
Facebook Youtube Twitter instagram pinterest

Funk Audio FW18.0 Subwoofer Review

by June 27, 2013
Funk Audio FW18.0 Satin Bamboo

Funk Audio FW18.0 Satin Bamboo

  • Product Name: FW18.0 Subwoofer
  • Manufacturer: Funk Audio
  • Performance Rating: StarStarStarStarhalf-star
  • Value Rating: StarStarStarStarhalf-star
  • Review Date: June 27, 2013 10:05
  • MSRP: $ 3234 (Active), $2046 (Passive) (Shipping Included to North America)
  • 18” proprietary front firing long throw woofer
  • 3/4” thick Baltic birch void free cabinet with curved sides, internal bracing and 1.5” thick front baffle, and top/bottom
  • M3 Amplifier: 2400 watts rms, 4800 watts peak (With active DSP)
  • Frequency Response: +/-3dB variable from 10-30Hz, to 40-500Hz (Dependent on amplifier DSP settings)
  • Maximum output: 126dB at 2m ground plane
  • Finishes: (Standard:) Ash, Cherry, Mahogany, Mahogany with Ribbon Stripe, Maple, Oak, Sapele and Walnut. (Custom finishes in everything from Bamboo to Zebrawood are available at extra cost.)
  • Dimensions (H/W/D): 22” x 22” x 20.5”
  • Weight:  95lbs.
  • Warranty: 3 years (bumper to bumper)


TSAD18v1 18” Driver Features

  • Funk Audio built and FEA optimized 
  • 4.5” Aluminum voice coil
  • Neodymium energized magnetic structure
  • Dual aluminum shorting rings
  • Cast aluminum frame
  • Vented frame and pole piece
  • Carbon fiber composite cone
  • Anodized aluminum dust cap
  • Tall profile (High-roll) treated foam surround
  • 10” diameter spider
  • High temperature epoxies used throughout
  • 3” peak to peak maximum excursion capability


M3 Amplifier Features

  • 2400 watt rms / 4800 watts peak
  • Class D operation for high efficiency
  • Oversized aluminum heatsink
  • One piece aluminum CNC’d chassis/heat sink
  • Heavy gauge 10 foot long (12awg) detachable power cord
  • 120 or 240v operation
  • Dual XLR inputs
  • USB to PC interface to control DSP settings


DSP Features

  • Parametric EQ, 10 bands per channel, 5 filter types
  • High and low pass crossover, 10 slope options, (Bypass)
  • Adjustable delay
  • Adjustable input and output level
  • Adjustable limiter and compressor
  • Auto on/off


  • Well rounded performance
  • Excellent bass reproduction
  • Powerful DSP capabilities (Active version)
  • Designed and assembled in North America
  • Virtually limitless options for finishing and customization
  • Very high quality components and materials


  • Expensive
  • May be some small imperfections in the finish


Funk Audio FW18.0 Introduction

You may or mFW18.0 front 800.jpgay not have heard of Funk Audio, formerly known as Funky Waves Audio, or its owner operator Nathan Funk, who has been steadily growing the small Halfmoon Bay, British Columbia based operation by churning out distinctive standard offerings and tackling difficult one off custom builds for a number of years. Funk Audio is a very small operation compared to most of the typical speaker companies that people are familiar with, but it offers something much different from these larger brands as well. Funk Audio products are designed in house and produced in small batches or even individually while using very high quality components, materials and hardware. There are no automated assembly lines, entry level models, or low cost overseas labor forces cranking out Funk Audio speakers. This also means that when you order a Funk Audio product it may take a few days or several weeks even to get your product delivered. The upside is that you know that you have a product that uses the finest materials and components and is not going to be found in every other audio store in town. Indeed a large part of Funk Audio business is custom work and one off designs. They will literally build almost anything you can dream up. Want a triple opposed subwoofer in a solid billet aluminum enclosure, or how about a fully active tri-amplified main speaker with dipole woofer section? It can be done. In fact my first experience with Funk Audio was back in I believe late 2007 when I contacted Nathan about building a gigantic custom subwoofer enclosure that I had designed to fit into an alcove in what was my theater room back then. It took a few months and it was not cheap, but the execution of Funk’s build was tremendous. I knew I could not execute the quality of finishing that I wanted myself, which was why Funk Audio was contacted about the build in the first place. I was not disappointed with the result. I also ended up with a sealed dual 15” subwoofer from Funk Audio that was excellent in its own right. In both of those cases I knew I had an excellent product which no one else had a copy of. Even Funk Audio’s “standard” offerings have so many options for finishing and customization that no two will ever truly be identical. Funk Audio has even gone to the extent of developing their own plate amplifier platforms and designed and built their top level bass drivers in house. Just the amount of potential finishing options is staggering, most of which are real wood veneer. This is an audio company that is approaching things a little differently.

Speaking of Funk Audio’s standard offerings…The current line comprises three full range speakers and seven different subwoofers with the subwoofers available in either active or passive form and in some cases with two different power levels. The subject of this review will be the FW18.0 active subwoofer which is a front firing 18” long throw driver in a moderate sized sealed enclosure and powered by the M3 plate amplifier. This system is sold for $3234 shipped in its basic form. The FW18.0 is also available for $1895 shipped without the M3 amplifier in a passive version if you wish to provide your own amplification and equalization. The FW18.0 arrived at my house on a box truck with lift gate and strapped to a pallet. It was double boxed and protected by multiple layers of packing materials. The FW18.0 itself was also bagged and the whole deal was strapped down to the pallet. Certainly there would be little chance of damage to the unit unless there was a mishap with a forklift at some point. The FW18.0 itself and a power cord were the contents. No owner manual or setup guide was provided. The FW18.0 I received to review also did not have a grille, but grilles are available as are a variety of different feet. Due to the nature of the product he actual extra parts anyone may receive will depend on the individual order I’d imagine. The FW18.0 once unpacked is a moderate to large subwoofer but the curved side panels and rounded over front baffle make it appear a little smaller than it is while also giving it a much more graceful look than your basic black cube. The finish on the review unit was a dark Padauk veneer that is one of the standard finishing options available and should hide well when needed in a darkened room but also has some “pop” to it when the lights are on. Due to the small batch, handmade nature of these units there is some variation to be expected in the finishes unit to unit and tiny blemishes or flaws may be present. Again this is just the nature of the individual way in which these products are made and in my experience a mass manufactured, assembly line perfect consistency should not be expected. I am not talking about glaring issues here just small things like differences in the veneer, etc... Think of it as bits of character on a piece of artwork. The FW18.0 is a sexy looking subwoofer and it along with the other Funk subs I have owned were among the best finished and visually arresting units I have seen.

Design Overview

The Funk Audio FW18.0 design uses a powerful long throw 18” driver countersunk in a front firing arrangement and housed in a sealed cabinet with curved sides and generous bracing. Curved side panels not only provide a sleeker cosmetic look to the unit but can also help to break up any internal standing waves, although these would typically be above the subwoofer low pass filter unless the cabinet was truly huge in size. Motivation for the driver comes in the form of a very powerful plate amp also touting active DSP. The goal of all of this firepower is to produce a system that is manageable in size and weight but also capable of substantial output headroom and low distortion bass reproduction. The DSP system allows a wide range of potential adjustments to the system in order to tailor it to almost any situation.

The TSAD18v1 18” driver employed in the FW18.0 was designed and built in house by Funk Audio and it is a serious piece indeed. The nearly ubiquitous 6 spoke 18” cast aluminum frame provides the skeleton to which is attached a pair of oversized 10” diameter spiders and a “high roll” treated foam surround for the suspension system. The cone is a nice looking, light but stiff carbon fiber/paper composite topped off with an inverted anodized aluminum dust cap. The motor system controlling all of this is a lightweight and compact neodymium energized steel structure with a pair of aluminum shorting rings employed to linearize inductance. Inductance is said to vary by only +/-5% throughout the entire useful travel of the cone which is impressive for a driver of this magnitude. The motor also has a huge pole vent and under spider venting to help with cooling the massive 4.5” diameter dual voice coil. All of this adds up to a very capable driver with very high power handling, low distortion, extended bandwidth, good efficiency and 3” peak to peak excursion capability. By employing the neo motor structure it also manages to be surprisingly lightweight at about 30-35lbs. The TSAD18v1 driver is one of the more impressive drivers I have seen employed in any subwoofer system.

TSADV1 806.JPG       TSADV1 807.JPG

Funk Audio TSAD18v1 Driver

The M3 amplifier much like the TSAD18v1 driver is a stout piece of hardware. The plate and heat sink fins are heavy gauge very thick pieces of aluminum. The amplifier module appears to be sourced from Pascal and is an efficient SMPS class D design. The power rating from Funk Audio is given as 2400w rms and 4800w short term peak and it is capable of operating from either a 120 volt or a 240v ac line. No frequency response or distortion figures were given. The amp is said to be capable of the same peak power regardless of the voltage but a 240v line is said to allow for higher longer term power levels. The amplifier itself has very little in the way of external controls with only a pair of XLR balanced inputs, an USB and Ethernet input for connecting to a pc, a fuse (new production units now come with a switchable breaker), and the power cord plug. There is as an extra option, a separate module above the amplifier with a small LCD screen, a couple of buttons, a few indicator lights and a rotary control knob. This small upper module controls all of the typical subwoofer settings such as gain, low pass filter, EQ presets, etc…(Note that the FW18.0 sent to me was a test mule and did not have the upper user control module installed so the FW18.0 was controlled through the computer interface and I did not get a chance to review this aspect of the FW18.0’s operation.) The M3 amplifier has the capability to connect to a computer through an USB connection to control the more advanced DSP settings available using the ALLDSP software suite. (ALLDSP is a popular developer of on board DSP and plate amplifiers.)  The ALLDSP software requires only a quick internet download and installation followed by a simple USB connection to the M3 amplifier. It is easy to get it up and running in less than 5 minutes. This DSP suite is very powerful and can control a variety of things ranging from the typical: Amplifier gain, parametric, shelf, high pass and low pass filters, etc…All of the way to more advanced things like monitoring the temperature of the heat sink, limiter and compressor settings and delay. Adjustment of the settings is password protected which is a good thing because careless adjustment of some of these settings can lead to system instability and potentially damage to the amplifier and/or the driver. This is a much more powerful set of controls than that available from the optional control module and that provided with 99% of other commercial products which is why Funk Audio requires the password and provides direct support and approval of the changes when altering these settings. Otherwise Funk Audio will rightfully not warranty the product if these more advanced settings have been jacked up by the user and they have resulted in damage to their Funk sub. However I don’t see the typical FW18.0 owner messing around with the more advanced DSP features. However it is nice to have the capability to adapt the amplifier performance if it were ever needed. This is a powerful plate amp with extensive control features built in.

Pascal 804.jpg       fw18.0 back 800.jpg

Funk Audio FW18.0 M3 Amplifier

The cabinet of the FW18.0 is constructed from 13ply void free Baltic Birch which is not typically used in home audio applications too often but is preferred for pro audio use due to its lighter weight and added strength over the typical mdf and or fiberboard. It is also a much more expensive material. Each of the enclosure panels is of 18mm thickness including the curved sides except for the driver baffle, and top/bottom, which is 36mm thick and countersunk for the driver. The front baffle is also heavily rounded over and on the bottom of the enclosure are 4 heavy duty feet. The M3 amplifier mounts to and is countersunk into the rear panel. Internally the enclosure has a number of braces and cross ties to stiffen the panels. There is also a generous amount of foam damping inside of the enclosure. The resulting structure is very stiff and dead. I noted no appreciable vibrations or noise from the cab even during the outdoor testing. The finish provided on this particular FW18.0 was a good looking Padauk veneer that was a dark chocolate brown with reddish hues and lots of grain. This unit was a test mule that has been thoroughly broken in and it came to me with a few scratches on it already. Still I could tell that the veneer was well applied with good seams, no bubbling and a lustrous dark brown finish that still shined after a bit of polishing. The FW18.0’s construction is very solid with high quality materials and components throughout. The physical size of the FW18.0 cabinet is reasonable as well and not very large for packing an 18” driver. As previously mentioned the range of finishes and customization available is staggering so there should be no issue finding a combination that fits most any aesthetic preference.

FW18.0 grille 800.jpg 

 Funk Audio FW18.0

Funk Audio FW18.0 Sound Quality Tests

I ended up having the FW18.0 in my home for around 5 months all said and done. Largely due to winter weather and scheduling conflicts constantly delaying the outdoor testing. During that time I had a good chance to get acclimated to the FW18.0 and try it in a few different placements and rooms. I also had opportunity to try a great variety of material with it providing the low end, play with the DSP functions of the amplifier and try the various preset EQ curves supplied by Funk Audio for the unit. I very quickly decided that I preferred the “No EQ” setting for the FW18.0 which was un-surprising to me as I do not typically jump between different response shapes depending on the material. Typically I set and forget things after spending some time dialing in what measures well and sounds good to me. Most of the other response presets ranged from slightly bloated to downright boomy sounding compared to the “Flat” setting to my ear. Your mileage may vary. Initially when I received the FW18.0 I still had a different bass system being evaluated in the main room and I wanted to try out the DSP software anyway so I decided to try the FW18.0 in a tiny 1000 cubic foot computer room paired up with a set of cheap Fostex PMO.4n monitors. Certainly overkill and a bit of a mismatch but hey…Why not? It certainly was a fun pairing. The FW18.0 added about 3 extra octaves of low end extension and in such a small room it had enough headroom to completely run away from the little Fostex’s while filling the space with oppressive amounts of bass. There is nothing I would consider to be level matched or critical listening about this, but it was enjoyable to be sure. One noteworthy take away was that the FW18.0 seemed able to easily extend high enough in frequency to hand off to the little 4” cones in the monitors after modifying the low pass filter a bit.

For all of the serious listening sessions the FW18.0 subwoofer was moved downstairs to the basement HT and placed in the front right corner of the room with the driver firing into the corner about  4 inches from the wall. This places the subwoofer about 4 meters from the primary listening position. I have determined this right rear corner or the right front corner to be the best available single subwoofer placement in the room for most units.(Note: I often get asked why I fire the drivers into the wall or the corner and the reason is because it often flattens out one or two response notches that can appear from cancellation due to the reflection from the wall. Not in the deep bass where the sub does its heavy lifting and the wavelengths are too long to be affected much, but up higher in frequency around or above the crossover to the other speakers. Depending on the placement or size of the sub this does not always amount to much but it can help in the crossover region or mid-bass sometimes.  Of course aesthetically most people would not make this choice.) Audyssey was run on the system to allow it to integrate the FW18.0, which was then followed by a check and recalibration of the subwoofer and speaker levels prior to the listening sessions. I do not typically use Audyssey or other auto EQ programs for my own system but is assumed that the majority of purchasers would utilize some form of automated room correction system to integrate a new subwoofer, hence running the auto equalization routine. The internal low pass filter of the Onkyo PR-SC886P processor was set to 100Hz. The FW18.0 was left in its “No EQ” response mode and with the factory DSP settings.

 I spent a number osalvationbluray1.jpgf weeks listening to all sorts of material with the FW18.0 providing the low end and it never failed to acquit itself with precision. With all sorts of music, ranging from 90’s rap and hip hop, to Blu-ray concerts and folk rock, the bass foundation of the music was well presented and was simply there. Organ pedals were huge and deep, drums were big and booming or alternatively sharp and abrupt as called upon by the material. When turned up loud, kick drums took on significant punch and a tactile nature. Standup bass was gnarled and fat or could be round and soft depending on how it was being played during the recording. When very deep frequencies were present in the material the FW18.0 had no problems reproducing it such as with bass synth effects and pipe organ or just plain old bass testing tracks. As previously mentioned it also had no problems easily running up well past 120 Hz to meet up with smaller bass shy speakers. Since I had the unit for an extended amount of time I even ended up having to mix a couple of songs for a recording project and using the system with the FW18.0 in it as an overall tonal balance check between iterations. The FW18.0 did not call undue attention to itself unless that is what the track being played called for and when it was asked to kick out the jams it could deliver a substantial amount of impact. This is exactly what a good subwoofer should do is get out of the way and reproduce whatever is demanded of it with neutrality. It should disappear into the total sound of the system and room but when needed make its presence felt in a big and violent way. The FW18.0 had no issues doing just that. I leaned on the FW18.0 heavily while viewing a few blu-ray discs known for brutal LFE tracks such as Wrath of the Titans, Looper and Terminator Salvation. It had plenty of gumption to rattle some pictures in adjacent rooms at times and I never heard any obvious signs of distress or compression. If there was any occurring the protection and limiting circuits in the FW18.0 were good enough to keep me from noticing anything. The FW18.0 really did a great job of rocking the house on a few scenes in particular. One of which was during the gas station sequence from Terminator Salvation, where a giant robot runs amok for a few minutes causing explosion after explosion and thundering around. This scene has gobs of heavy bass to begin with so I cranked it up more than usual trying to see how the FW18.0 would respond and respond it did with more bass output than I expected it to be capable of. The FW18.0 wasn’t just booming out loud upper bass and ignoring the deep stuff here either, it plunged deep below 20Hz in room with useful power, as evidenced by a set of measurements I later took at the listening position using the CEA-2010 tone bursts and distortion thresholds, where the FW18.0 recorded greater than 105dB at the listening position from 10-20Hz. Admittedly I’m a bit of a bass junky so I would probably still want 2-4 FW18.0’s for the sake of headroom, but a single did a great job in my space all by itself. I enjoyed the FW18.0 with both movie LFE bass and music where it possessed composure, definition and headroom, but it really seemed to shine when allowed to stretch its legs with music whether 2 channel or concert disc. The FW18.0 offered subjectively well balanced and powerful bass reproduction that is clearly among the top tier of units I have reviewed.

Funk Audio FW18.0 Measurements and Analysis

The FW18.0 was placed outdoors in a large field with the nearest large objects a minimum of 60ft or greater away from it, with the driver facing towards the microphone. The mono XLR input was used and an ACO Pacific 7012 measurement microphone was placed on the ground at a distance of 2 meters from the nearest enclosure face of the FW18.0 and pointing directly at it. The M3 Amplifier was set to its #1 or “No EQ” preset and the factory gain and DSP setting were left in effect All measurements were taken in this configuration unless otherwise specifically noted. The FW18.0 was tested on both 120 and 240 volts AC for the sake of thoroughness. (There is virtually no performance difference until the amplifier is required to produce maximum power.)For more info on the testing equipment and procedures please see the article here.

Powered Subwoofer Testing Outline and Procedures Overview

 fw18.0 preset responses.jpg

Funk Audio FW18.0: Effect of EQ Presets on Response

Above are the frequency response measurements of the Funk Audio FW18.0 in each of its response presets. As can be seen there is a large variation in both shape and level between each setting. The maximum difference in level at 100Hz is 7dB, 6dB at 50Hz and a whopping 13dB at 20Hz. The Flat setting had a bit of a dip in the middle of the response curve but did fit within a 6dB total window from 19.5-266Hz which was a much wider bandwidth than any of the other presets. The overall shape of each curve varied from what was close to a natural sealed system response and roll off (Flat), to a boosted upper bass and gently rolling off bottom end (Rock), to a rising deep bass response curve popularly known as a house curve (HT). Likewise the very deep bass response varied from steeply rolled off to heavily boosted. This just illustrates a few of the many possibilities available inside of the DSP software. I preferred the Flat setting with the least amount of low end boosting and allowing that to be matched to the room and provided by my own equipment.

fw18.0 base test response.jpg 

Funk Audio FW18.0: Basic Frequency Response as Tested

The FW18.0 was tested in the “No EQ” preset which is shown above. This is labeled as the preset with no equalization but there is still some processing going on in the form of high and low pass filters. The high pass is a 6dB/octave Butterworth filter set at 20Hz that results in a roughly 18dB/octave final roll off below 20Hz. The low pass is a 24dB/octave Linkwitz-Riley filter set at 200Hz. The response fits within a 6dB total window from between 36-190Hz and is rolling off below 40Hz. This is typical of a sealed system without any boost equalization applied to the low frequencies.

NOTE: Typically if multiple system responses are available I will select whatever response curve is closest to the native acoustic response of the system when a constant voltage is applied to the driver. The reason being that heavy EQ manipulation often results in the system running into its limits much earlier in whichever frequency range is boosted the most relative to the others. This can result in the output measurements being limited early or the system being heavily overdriven by a relatively narrow frequency band. It is much easier to gauge the systems capabilities over its full intended operational bandwidth when it is operating closer to its native response without heavy signal processing. 

F fw18.0 group delay.jpg

 Funk Audio FW18.0: Group Delay

E fw18.0 waterfall.jpg 

Funk Audio FW18.0: Water Fall Decay

Group delay measurements for the FW18.0 showed no excess energy at any frequency and nothing that could be considered of note. Even with some of the more heavily equalized presets the group delay never got close to even 1 cycle of delay. Likewise the waterfall decay measurements show a quick and rapid loss of 25 to 30dB of energy by 100ms out which is what I typically look for.

fw18.0 long term output compression 240.jpg 

Funk Audio FW18.0: Long Term Power Compression

The long term output compression tests for the FW18.0 show excellent tracking of the signal increases through the 115dB@50Hz sweep level and on up to the 120dB@50Hz sweep. Increasing the level even further to a ridiculous point that would have produced 124dB@50hz finally got the FW18.0 to run out of headroom and start limiting the output. The driver seemed to be running out of clean excursion judging by the distortion and overtones it developed in the deep bass at this level and the amplifier clearly was out of current and was limiting the output. This can be seen in the dropouts in response in the 124dB measurement. The FW18.0 reached 120dB from 40-55Hz during this which is very loud. Despite being driven this hard the system was composed and other than some audible distortion in the deepest bass and some pumping of the output it was free from any nasty rattles, clanks, or cabinet rattles. In fact the cabinet was stoic in its inertness during all of this. The protections and overload behavior of the FW18.0 active subwoofer are effective at preventing the sub from doing damage to itself or sounding truly distressed. The results above are with the M3 amplifier connected to a 240v line. Below is a comparison of how the M3 performed connected to a 120v line instead of the 240v line. There was no difference until driven beyond a 120dB sweep level near maximum output of the system. At maximum output the 120v line started limiting and running out of current reserves just a bit sooner. Unless you are running the FW18.0 cranked for all it is worth for long periods of time you would be very hard pressed to ever notice the difference.

 fw18.0 120db 120v vs 240v.jpg

Funk Audio FW18.0: Long Term Output Sweeps 120v AC versus 240v AC Line

Note on Output Compression Testing: This is by far the most demanding measurement type conducted on the subwoofers during our testing and will reveal any issues with overload, port compression, port noise, driver distress, creaks, rattles, buzzes, etc. Additionally the test is conducted outdoors with just the subwoofer operating so there will be no nearby walls or objects to vibrate and no upper frequency content from other speakers in operation. These would normally help to cover up or mask any objectionable noises from the subwoofer in a typical room. Any sort of audible distress or issues with the subwoofer are readily apparent in this environment. 

fw18.0 ocm 240.jpg

Funk Audio FW18.0: Output Compression Magnitude

Looking at only the amount of compression occurring in the output of the FW18.0 it can be seen that there is basically no compression at all through the 115dB sweep where it is less than 1dB! Even with the 120dB sweep it still exhibits very little compression of the output with less than 2dB in the upper bass except for a slight blip at 100Hz which is due to the amplifier limiting the output. This drive level is right at the edge of the output limits for the platform as a further increase results in very little extra output and tons of compression across the entire bandwidth. Considering the output levels being produced in the upper bass and the amount of current being delivered into the drivers voice coil this is an impressive showing.

FUNK AUDIO FW18.0 240V THD.png 

 Funk Audio FW18.0: Total Harmonic Distortion


Funk Audio FW18.0: Distortion by Component

The distortion results for the FW18.0 are also very good. THD is kept well below 10% from 10-125Hz during the 115dB nominal sweep level. Even at the 120dB nominal sweep level it stays under 15% below 25Hz. Driving the FW18.0 hard into the limiter causes the THD to jump up considerably but it still never breaks 10% above 30Hz. A large part of the distortion increase may be due to the amplifier itself as well because the subwoofer is not producing much more actual output at this increased drive level. (Low order deep bass distortion is very difficult to hear and doesn’t get objectionable until truly nasty amounts are produced. Typically other mechanical noises from the subwoofer are more objectionable to the ear and more likely to signal that the system is “out of rope” so to speak.) Looking at the component makeup of the distortion produced at the loudest output levels shows that it is primarily composed of the 3rd harmonic in the deep bass below 30Hz which is typical with large driver excursions. Above 30Hz the 2nd harmonic dominates which is the least audibly offensive harmonic. This corroborates well with my subjective impressions of the FW18.0 sounding very clean with music even while producing chest pounding bass. The 4th harmonic is well down in level and barely reaches 2% above 25Hz.

A FUNK AUDIO FW18.0 240V CEA-2010 chart.png 

Funk Audio FW18.0: CEA2010 2 Meter Groundplane RMS Results

CEA2010 Results

The CEA2010 maximum distortion limited short term output results for the FW18.0 once again show it to be a very capable subwoofer. At 31.5Hz the FW18.0 is capable of just about 115dB of output. At 40Hz and above the potential short term output is in excess of 120dB which puts it in the top echelon of subs I have reviewed as far as output capabilities over this range. At the 40 and 50Hz bands it has the highest output I have recorded from a commercial subwoofer. In the deeper bass the FW18.0 also does well recording over 103dB at 20Hz and over 99dB at 16Hz.It even manages to produce passing results at the 10 and 12.5Hz bands which most subs cannot do. The output at the 25Hz band and below is limited by the distortion rather than the amplifier power and likely is a result of the driver running out of linear displacement. If distortion is ignored completely the FW18.0 can produce short term output levels about 1.5dB higher in the deep bass. With a sealed system all of the output comes from the driver displacement and it requires lots of power and lots of stroke from the driver to produce large SPL at low frequencies. The FW18.0 TSADv1 driver was producing excursions of 2” peak to peak or more during the deep bass tests. The CEA-2010 results presented here were captured with the M3 amplifier connected to a 240v line. For comparison’s sake the FW18.0 was also tested connected to a 120v ac line and the result was very little difference. When connected to the 240v line the FW18.0 produced an average of 0.5dB higher CEA-2010 output versus when connected to the 120v line. The maximum increase seen at any particular band was only 0.9dB. Again this shows that the FW18.0 will operate just fine on a 120v AC and there is no reason to feel obligated to use 240v AC for this subwoofer. While it does perform ever so slightly better on 240 volts a difference of less than 1dB at the very edge of performance is negligible in the scheme of things.

Funk Audio FW18.0 Conclusion

FW18.0 front 800.jpgI admit at first I was curious as to whether the FW18.0 would be able to pull all of its impressive parts together into a cohesive finished product. There is no doubt that the FW18.0 is a pretty face full of high tech goodies in a sea of black cubes. The TSAD18v1 driver is a monster, the M3 amplifier is not only powerful but also intelligent and the cab is well designed, well finished and solidly constructed… But in the back of my head I wondered, how tightly matched the driver and amplifier would be, whether the limiter and compressor circuits were dialed in well, or whether there would be some hiccups along the way? This aspect of active speaker designs really is one of the little talked about things that can make or break the performance and many do not quite live up to their potential. After my time with the FW18.0 I can say that Funk Audio has obviously spent numerous hours developing this system, working with the DSP and dialing in the protection circuits because the FW18.0 was rock solid with everything I threw at it.  I was able to get it to briefly mute itself using the 10Hz CEA-2010 burst cranked up for everything it was worth while I was testing the output in room, which I subsequently mentioned to Nathan. A few weeks later he had updated the presets and DSP slightly and sent the files back to me. After I updated the DSP settings I could no longer replicate the protection cycle with the 10Hz burst signal. Perhaps it was just a fluke to begin with…I don’t know. Either way how is that for service? This also illustrates how nice it is to have the usb interface with the amplifier as you can potentially get updates to the system protection settings and it will future proof the FW18.0 to a large extent. In fact I could write a few more pages just on the DSP built into the amplifier. The end result is a powerful and articulate subwoofer that measures well in all of the important metrics and sounds as good as any other subwoofer I have reviewed. Due to my previous experiences with Funk Audio I was confident that they could and would deliver a very capable product. I had no doubts that the build quality, components and materials used would all be exceptional and they were. For most a subwoofer that costs roughly $3K is certainly not considered a small purchase. However the TSAD18v1 driver in the sub alone is one thing to consider not to mention; the materials used in the enclosure, the powerful DSP possibilities, the easy to use computer interface to control the amplifier and the immense customization possibilities that will give “your” FW18.0 a good dose of exclusivity.  Consider the fact that it also delivers excellent performance in a relatively compact and attractive form factor the $3234 asking price starts to seem reasonable if not a bit of a bargain. And, it is, compared to some of the FW18.0’s direct competitors. Funk audio has developed a product worthy of being included on the short list of high end subwoofers to consider.

The Funk Audio FW18.0 is a powerful high output subwoofer and meets the required output thresholds to receive the Audioholics Bassaholic Extreme Room rating. The Extreme room rating indicates that this sub is recommended as maintaining adequate headroom in rooms or spaces of over 5,000 cubic feet and/or for users who usually listen at high volume levels and require lots of headroom. For further information in how we make these recommendations see the full article here.

See: Audioholics Subwoofer Room Size Rating Protocol


Funk Audio FW18.0 Review

Funk Audio

MSRP: $2995 (Shipping Included)

The Score Card

The scoring below is based on each piece of equipment doing the duty it is designed for. The numbers are weighed heavily with respect to the individual cost of each unit, thus giving a rating roughly equal to:

Performance × Price Factor/Value = Rating

Audioholics.com note: The ratings indicated below are based on subjective listening and objective testing of the product in question. The rating scale is based on performance/value ratio. If you notice better performing products in future reviews that have lower numbers in certain areas, be aware that the value factor is most likely the culprit. Other Audioholics reviewers may rate products solely based on performance, and each reviewer has his/her own system for ratings.

Audioholics Rating Scale

  • StarStarStarStarStar — Excellent
  • StarStarStarStar — Very Good
  • StarStarStar — Good
  • StarStar — Fair
  • Star — Poor
Bass ExtensionStarStarStarStarStar
Bass AccuracyStarStarStarStarStar
Build QualityStarStarStarStarStar
Fit and FinishStarStarStarStar
Ergonomics & UsabilityStarStarStarStar
Dynamic RangeStarStarStarStar
Attached Files