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RBH SI-1010 Subwoofer & SA-500DSP Amp Conclusion

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SI-1010 wallThe SI-1010 is one of only a few subwoofers that fill a niche in the market, consumers who want powerful bass but won't accept even the smallest subwoofer box visible in their room.  However, placing such a strong emphasis on aesthetics isn't without compromise. Unlike a freestanding box subwoofer, which has virtually no size limitations, the SI-1010 must fit in a standard floor cavity and pass sound through 6"x12" cut-out. Those design limitations ultimately hurt the value of the SI-1010. At a little over $2,000 for the subwoofer and matching amp, it performs similarly to traditional large boxed subwoofers for about $1000 less. This doesn't mean the SI-1010 is a poor performer, in fact it I think it's a great performer, just that you are paying a premium for this product category. In fact, when compared to similar products from the likes of Triad, it's quite the value. Ultimately, it comes down to how much you value being able to completely hide the subwoofer in your room.

Installation of the SI-1010 was on par with with what what I would expect from a subwoofer in this category. It's not particularly difficult, but will require a few hours of your time, depending on the installation scenario. It's nice to see two different baffles offered, which is something to check for when looking at similar products from other companies.

Price aside, the SI-1010 is a solid performer. It produced powerful bass without issue. While it doesn't dig down to the ultra low frequencies with as much authority as its big boxed counterparts, it does provides a solid punch in the critical 40Hz - 60Hz area with usable output down to 25Hz. The matching SA-500 DSP amp packs good power and is full of useful features, but we recommend using twisted pair speaker cables for long runs to reduce susceptibility of noise pick up.  The fact that you can install two of these subs for greater output and smoother response across all of your seats while being able to easily achieve our Large Bassaholic rating and not see any bulky boxes is quite an incredible feat of engineering that can't be understated.

Overall, I feel confident recommending the SI-1010 for consumers that place a high value on aesthetics, but still want serious bass performance for their home theater room.

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
MetricRating
Bass ExtensionStarStarStarStar
Bass AccuracyStarStarStarStar
EQ SystemStarStarStarStar
FeaturesStarStarStarStar
PerformanceStarStarStarStar
ValueStarStarStarStar
About the author:
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Cliff, like many of us, has always loved home theater equipment. In high school he landed a job at Best Buy that started his path towards actual high quality audio. His first surround sound was a Klipsch 5.1 system. After that he was hooked, moving from Klipsch to Polk to Definitive Technology, and so on. Eventually, Cliff ended up doing custom installation work for Best Buy and then for a "Ma & Pa" shop in Mankato, MN.

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Recent Forum Posts:

AcuDefTechGuy posts on May 26, 2017 12:40
ParadigmDawg, post: 1189233, member: 21334
I was able to place the sub in my sweet spot it's just 14 ft higher then it was but it's still a good spot for it.
LOL.
ParadigmDawg posts on May 26, 2017 10:37
lovinthehd, post: 1189143, member: 61636
Just what you said was what I wanted you to share, especially with your having had better subs before that….
Then my work is done here…lol…

I was able to place the sub in my sweet spot it's just 14 ft higher then it was but it's still a good spot for it.

Don't underestimate the difficulty in getting a 75 lb sub up a ladder and across the attic and screwing it in place without dropping it through the Sheetrock. It was not fun.



Here is what you see of it:

lovinthehd posts on May 25, 2017 21:11
ParadigmDawg, post: 1189119, member: 21334
What would I say? I went from Paradigm Studio 100's and two SVS PB13 Ultras, then got rid of one SVS, then got rid of the Paradigms and went in-ceilings with the SI 1010.

Does it sound as good as my real system, nope but 90% of the time, for listening to music at normal volumes and watching movies below reference level, I am very pleased.

The sub actually impresses me at times. A second one will likely be really, really nice and may just happen at some point. In the meanwhile, I am way more pleased than I ever thought I would be and guest whom don't see or expect a system, are blown away. I get way more comments on how nice it sounds than I did when you could see everything.

Look how clean this is compared to the old system






Just what you said was what I wanted you to share, especially with your having had better subs before that….
ParadigmDawg posts on May 25, 2017 17:51
lovinthehd, post: 1188920, member: 61636
Maybe @ParadigmDawg can comment, I believe he installed one of these in his living room during a remodel….
What would I say? I went from Paradigm Studio 100's and two SVS PB13 Ultras, then got rid of one SVS, then got rid of the Paradigms and went in-ceilings with the SI 1010.

Does it sound as good as my real system, nope but 90% of the time, for listening to music at normal volumes and watching movies below reference level, I am very pleased.

The sub actually impresses me at times. A second one will likely be really, really nice and may just happen at some point. In the meanwhile, I am way more pleased than I ever thought I would be and guest whom don't see or expect a system, are blown away. I get way more comments on how nice it sounds than I did when you could see everything.

Look how clean this is compared to the old system





lovinthehd posts on May 24, 2017 17:20
Maybe @ParadigmDawg can comment, I believe he installed one of these in his living room during a remodel….
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