RBH SX-10/R and S-10 Subwoofer Sound Quality Tests
In recent months, I have moved to a new home with a very different living room than the prior home. Since my reference open-baffle loudspeakers take quite a bit of breathing room, they do not work in the new smaller living space and are sadly sitting against a wall in my home office. Given these issues, I designed a pair of large two-way stand mount speakers with an Usher 8945P 7” mid-woofer and 1” Dayton RS28F tweeter. These speakers play flat to 35Hz if measured ground plane outdoors. In room I have some room modes to contend with but can get this setup sounding pretty good for full range two channel. When I need things to get loud or plan on watching a movie, I turn on my 12” HSU subwoofer. However, I prefer full range fronts with no sub on for music listening.
For all tests, I use an Oppo BDP-105 player as the source with the crossover set to 80Hz. The BDP-105 is connected directly to an ATI 1505 amplifier and the subwoofer under test using unbalanced connections. Both subwoofers were placed on the same side of the entertainment center approximately 2 feet from the wall and a minimum of 10 feet from a corner. I used the LFE input to each subwoofer so that the bass management was handled by the BDP-105. Before listening, I level matched the two RBH subwoofers and an HSU VTF-3 subwoofer so that all things were equal.
Eagles – Hotel California
I’ve been using this recording to tune my systems for quite some time. There is just something about the kick drum in this recording that lets you know if a systems bass tuning is right. As a point of reference, I ran the track through my HSU VTF-3 subwoofer to get a base line. As is my usual condition, I vastly preferred straight up two channel on this recording to the HSU subwoofer. Although it can put out pretty high SPL, the HSU subwoofer doesn’t seem fast enough for music.
Next I ran the S-10 subwoofer and immediately noticed a world of difference. The attack of the kick drum sounded much more realistic. I think this has something to do with tone but more to do with transient response. It just seems like the 10 inch S-10 subwoofer stopped quicker and sounded much cleaner than my old HSU. Cranking up the volume to 100dB C weighted peaks in-room continued to sound good with no impressions of strain.
Finally, I ran the SX-10/R subwoofer. This may sound crazy, but it was actually pretty hard to distinguish from the S-10 on this particular song. Maybe there was a slightly bigger bottom end but given that the majority of the content is around 50Hz, both of these subwoofers provided a very good sounding kick drum and enjoyable listening experience all around. Never once did I feel like something would break if I cranked it more. Everything just sounded clean and quick and allowed me to enjoy my 2-way speakers in a new way.
Mephisto & Co. – Baba Yaga
Searching for some music with more extended low frequency content than Hotel California and good dynamics, this track fit the bill. With plenty of timpani and upright bass, this song has passages with content well below 30Hz and much right around 30Hz. Starting back with my point of reference, the HSU was able to produce prodigious and authoritative bass in the lower registers. In this song, I still felt like the HSU was still a little flabby and slow.
The S-10 subwoofer was definitely much cleaner than the HSU throughout. However, the S-10 definitely did not produce as much output in the 20-40Hz range as the HSU. It sounded great but definitely felt like I wanted just a little more bottom end. The timpani rumble that I was expecting to feel just was not nearly as authoritative. The low end that was there sounded very clean.
The SX-10/R subwoofer was able to create the rumble the S-10 was missing. However it was also a little less pronounced than the HSU subwoofer. Either way, I vastly preferred the RBH subwoofers to the HSU because they just sounded so much faster and cleaner. Of the two though, the SX-10/R had a slight advantage with the 20-30Hz content.
Blu-Ray: The Legend of Hercules
This looked like a good action movie that was actually a pretty bad movie. Since the movie was so bad, I could really focus on subwoofer testing. Luckily, there were plenty of action scenes with plenty of low frequency content. So I am used to a 12” subwoofer with output well over 110dB in-room for movies. With a single S-10 subwoofer, it was definitely possible to run out of gas at low frequency peaks. I guess this should be expected considering the limitations of its 150 watt amplifier. The SX-10/R fared a little better but both were definitely not hitting 20Hz with any kind of authority. The given -3dB point for the SX-10/R is 26Hz which seems about right. The output of the SX-10/R was enough for a medium room as long as you are not going for ear bleeding levels or trying to produce subsonic bass.
Again, the speed of these woofers made the fight scenes all the more real. There is just something that the 15-30Hz range adds to movies that make me want just a little more. However, I would trade the HSU’s extension for the RBH audiophile sound any day. As a fun experiment, I moved one RBH subwoofer to the other side of the entertainment center and hooked them both up simultaneously. This yielded the best sounding and most even bass I’ve ever had in my living room. Dang it, I preferred being naive about this.
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What changed with time is my knowledge of how to read these measurement graphs. What to dismiss and what to pay close attention to. RBH/EMP still makes great products that measure really well in important things, such as low distortion, linearity, and self-control.
BoredSysAdmin, post: 1034427, member: 28046I understand this type of comment. Ive owned subs that could produce huge quantities of low end thump that made movies with a lot of special effects shine. When listening to low end content that needed a bit of grace, such as the sound of fingers plucking an upright bass in jazz, or other tracks that needed finesse, classical music etc, they left me wanting. Ive had a sub with 8 driver with passive panels that was amazing for music, but puked awfully trying to create a big badda boom.
Is it just me or anyone else is irked to see “Musicality” in poll options? Don't know whatever heck it is.
Now, “Flat Response” - I do understand
And as for RBH subs - thanks for great review, but imo both of these subs need to quickly migrate to EMP, price reduced, to compete with SB1000/SB2000 likes
I own 5 RBH subs right now, two 1010-SEN (later upgraded to 10 reference) two TS-10AN, and a TS-12AN.
Each one of these subs handle everything with ease. The standard 10 and 12 driver really produces a satisfying wave that rolls right through the chest. Running the TS-10 as a pair in my stereo listening is perfect perfect perfect. The listed low of 30hz should not put anyone off. They produce an satisfying low end. They should bottomless. The 12 inch sub was a lucky thing. It was a very old black paper woofer, but an awesome cabinet. I put a standard 12 aluminum woofer in the case, let it break in and holy cow.
Now, the 1010-SEN/r subs are something completely sic. They reach down to 18hz or so, and will rip your face off if you sit too close. I put an amp in bridged mode at 1500 watt, then made a mistake on the initial volume setting when firing off a sub test track. The driver didnt bottom out, the amp didnt clip, and the felt waves made me jump out of my chair. There is nothing in the recorded audio world that these subs cant reproduce to absolute perfection, and at any volume level.
I dream of a pair of reference 12 twin monsters one day. They make some of the best subs in the business.
I'd love to have a ton of lower end extension, but that comes at a much higher cost (unless you DIY)
gene, post: 1034636Yeah, what's the saying? Measurements aren't everything? If it sounds good, then it's good?
Sometimes we all get a little too caught up in the measurements without actually trying a product real world to see how it really performs.
Real world experience.
BoredSysAdmin, post: 1034628
I don't have to imagine, only to remember. At AH GTG 2012 in EMP small room a single “little” i1010e corner loaded - was extremely impressive during few short movie clip demos
Sadly forum folks dismissed this sub b/c it didn't have a lot of measured output below 30Hz so it was never a big seller. Sometimes we all get a little too caught up in the measurements without actually trying a product real world to see how it really performs.