Rythmik FV18 Servo Subwoofer Sound Demo Report
Driver DS1820 18” high excursion with custom sensing coil
Driver Materials One black anodized dish aluminum with rubber surround, cast aluminum basket, multiple aluminum flux de-modulation shorting rings
Amplifier 900w RMS Hypex class-D patented servo controlled
Dimensions 33” H x 21” W x 22” D (23” D with grill and heatsink)
Shipping Weight 180lbs.
12-200Hz (-4dB @ 12Hz) with LFE input
12-90Hz (-4dB @ 12Hz) with LINE IN input
Multi-tune 16Hz (3 port) and 12Hz (2 port)
Crossover slope Selectable 12 or 24dB/octave (PEQ)
Crossover range(low) 25-100Hz
Rumble Filter (high) 12Hz 18dB/octave (recommended for high SPL playback)
Phase 0-180degrees variable
Damping high (Q=0.5), med (Q=0.7), and low (Q=1.1)
Finishes Black Matte Paint or Black Oak Vinyl
Warranty 5 years warranty on driver and 3 years on electronics
45 day in-home trial with customer pay one-way return shipping
Many in the A/V online community have already heard about online subwoofer company based out of Texas by the name of Rythmik Audio. Humble by nature with great customer service, the performance of their products are anything but that. Their latest offering, the FV18 is nothing short of extraordinary. Many reviews of their previous and current products rained nothing but praises by the bucket loads. I for one experienced their F12 subwoofer while at the Ascend Acoustics office during my Ascend Luna demo, but I wanted to experience one of their products in my home. Since the online discussion of their FV18 started brewing within the past year, I had to contact Brian Ding, Rythmik’s creator, and engineer, and request a demo model. From the information on their website, it was hard to imagine what to expect from the FV18 after the sound experience the F12 introduced me to. I mean, how much “better” can it get? I just had to wait and find out.
When the subwoofer arrived via UPS Freight, on a pallet, I was introduced to a monolith. My wife said, “What is this, a small refrigerator?” It is larger than an end table. The sub came packed with double cardboard boxes. Printed on the interior of two of the side flaps were unpacking instructions. There were also thick pieces of foam lining the sides and corners of the interior box adequately cushioning the sub. The power cord and standard screw-in rubber feet were boxed individually. These two small flat boxes were inserted into the top large foam piece. For extra protection, there was also a clear plastic bag wrapping the sub. Also included in the packaging, were two “skateboards” that were attached to a piece of cardboard. These were supplied to assist in removing the sub from the box and moving it around in your house. This was beneficial for me since I have carpet. When ordering, you can request furniture mover pads for either carpet or hardwood floors, all free of charge.
Once unboxed, this monster of a sub is 33” H x 21” W x 22” D (23” D with grill and heatsink) and weighed in at a whopping180lbs. This sub has a newly developed 18” driver, the DS1820, which is a black anodized aluminum driver with a rubber surround, 3” voice coil, 240oz. magnet, and a linear excursion of +/-20mm. The newly developed 900W RMS Hypex class-D servo controlled HX1000XLR3 amplifier drives the FV18 with aplomb. It has a frequency response of 12-200Hz (-4dB @ 12Hz) with LFE output and 12-90Hz (-4dB @ 12Hz) with LINE IN input.
This subwoofer also has three front ports directly below the driver. Rythmik includes one foam plug to alter the sound output of the unit. With the one port plugged, the sub extends to 12Hz and with all three ports open, the sub can extend to 16Hz. The demo unit had a Black Oak vinyl wrap finish, which was expertly applied with no bubbles, overlapping, and no peeling. The sub was very solid and produced a nice thud with the knuckle rap test. The top and bottom side edges are rounded meanwhile, the front and back edges are at right angles. There are threaded inserts on the bottom of the sub for the standard rubber screw-in feet or the available chrome finished metal spikes. The grill material is also black and stretched tightly around a sturdy one-inch thick black painted wooden frame. The grill is constructed of a nylon material and is somewhat transparent which is noticeable when held up to the light. The asking price for this beast is $1700, which includes shipping. The option to change out the driver to a silver cone is also available for an extra $100.
For my demo, Brian suggested setting the FV18 to 12Hz with high/mid damping, limiter on, and the rumble filter on. I also had the volume at 9 o'clock, but then settled on 12 o'clock with the LFE setting on my Pioneer VSX-531 at -3, just to up the ante. Since I already had my HSU STF-2 in the prime location for my room, I basically just disconnected the STF-2 and plopped (well more like shoved) the FV18 into the former’s spot. Once my set-up was complete, I then proceeded to run my demo. After a little break in, that is. I used bass intense music and movies to give this subwoofer a workout. The volume of these tracks was pumped up more than I normally set my listening volume to on a daily basis.
“Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” by Father MC ft. Jodeci
My first track on this list is “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” by Father MC ft. Jodeci from his “Close to You” album. This early 90s R&B song contained an ample amount of bass, but it does not overpower the rest of the lyrics or music. The sub played this track very clean without having that drowning “club” bass sound. No headaches or pressure in the ears. This song was not CD quality sound, but the sub still played nicely. It disappeared at times. What surprised me when listening to this track was not the track or the capability of the sub, but how good my Polk Rti6 bookshelf speakers sounded. I more than once thought to myself, “Are these the same speakers?”. After being spoiled listening to the Philharmonic speakers, the HSU CCB-8s, the Ascend Lunas and Sierra-2s, and the Legacy Calibres my meager Polks were like going from a Lamborghini to a Nissan, but after what I just heard with the Father MC song, I concluded that the rest of my demo was going to go better than I thought.
“In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins
The next track on the list is “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins off the “Face Value” album. Throughout most of the song, the bass is very subtle until the famous drum rift by Phil at the 3:16 minute mark. The bass hits very clean as always and enhances the sound from the modest speakers.
“Hymn to the Sea” by James Horner
The following tracks are from my personal CD collection. This first one used is “Hymn to the Sea” by James Horner off of the Titanic motion picture soundtrack. This track is one I have used before when I demoed the BMR Philharmonitors. I felt it was appropriate again since this track has a very deep bass synth that repeats throughout the song. The bass in this song was subdued. It wasn’t in your face but present as it was felt throughout the room rather than heard. By this point, I figured this is a recurring trait that is prevalent with this sub and any well-made sub for that matter. When the last 1:25 of the track comes, the bass beat is the only thing playing and hits every 10 seconds. The sound does not blast but rumbles and that’s when the goose bumps appear. As I have said in my previous article, this has always been one of my favorite tracks.
“Till Kingdom Come” by Coldplay
Another track from my CD collection is “Till Kingdom Come” by Coldplay from the “X&Y” album. The chorus has a nice bass line that comes through very strong and seems to come from all around. At the risk of sounding repetitive, the bass does not overpower the rest of the sounds with this track but enhances them. It is rather unique.
“The Tree of Death” by Danny Elfman
The last notable track from my CD collection is “The Tree of Death” by Danny Elfman from the “Sleepy Hollow” motion picture soundtrack. I decided to include this track since it is from one of my favorite go-to movies around Halloween time which is when I wrote this report. This particular track as with pretty much every Danny Elfman score, has a nice strong bass line. At the 7:30 minute mark, the bass beat becomes very powerful and along with the rest of the instruments becomes ominous as well. This is the scene where Ichabod (played by Johnny Depp) and Brom (played by Casper Van Dien) encounter the Headless Horseman. Brom shoots the Horseman off his horse with his rifle, the Horseman falls to the floor. Then he gets up and starts to walk to retrieve his horse in Broms direction. The score kicks in. The music, particularly the bass beat, syncopates the Horseman’s walking stride.
My first movie I demoed this subwoofer with is the 2014 film “Godzilla”. This film was a nice modern take on the story of Godzilla. It is reminiscent of the original 1954 film. It is a much more acceptable version compared to the 1998 rendition. It is also the first of a series of movies by Warner Brothers Pictures that also includes the recent “Kong: Skull Island”. This movie has powerful mid-bass to portray the sheer size and power of the gigantic creatures that appear in this movie along with the King of the Monsters himself. One scene, in particular, that is my go-to for a bass test is at the 57-minute mark. This scene takes place at the Honolulu airport where one of the Mutos (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism) was wrecking the place looking for the nuclear warhead that it was attracted to as a source of nourishment. Godzilla then appears and as he steps into view, his footfalls land with a deafening boom. The FV18 played the sound, not at deafening levels, but with gobs of tactile energy that shook the room. Whoa!
“Captain America: Civil War”/”Man of Steel”
My second and third movie samples are “Captain America: Civil War” and “Man of Steel”. I chose to list these two together because both movies have a great sound track with various explosions, gunfire, vehicle sounds, and hand-to-hand combat sound effects. One notable scene from “Civil War” is Scene 14 “We Fight”. The two groups meet at the Leipzig/Halle Airport. One group led by Captain America and the other led by Iron Man, proceed to have their epic showdown and decide to duke it out due to their different points of view.
The scene from “Man of Steel” is Scene 13 where Superman and General Zod face-off amidst the devastation in Metropolis and briefly in space. In both scenes, there is a cacophony of sound effects, but each sound is equally weighted and there is no muddiness. The bass sounded as if it were coming from each speaker and felt through my feet and back. The FV18 allowed my mediocre speakers to sound more detailed and bigger than they actually are. It also allows more crunch and less mush from the barrage of sound.
The last movie to mention in this demo is “Jurassic Park” from1993. It is, by far, one of my all-time favorite movies and one of the movies that sparked my interest in A/V. In the scene where the T-Rex attacks the two Ford Explorers, it starts raining because of a tropical storm. The power is cut off because of Denis Nedry. The thunderclaps are sharp and produce a slight rumble. The initial distant rumble of the Tyrannosaurus footsteps is heard and felt throughout the listening area. The articulate nature of the FV18 allows every sound to come through very distinctly. The crunching of metal, shattering glass, and even the raindrops are heard as well as the bass tracks with equal volume. The low guttural growl of the Tyrannosaurus is weighted significantly amongst all of the other sounds including the ultra low bass effects. This is primarily due in part to the amazing sound design and mixing of Gary Rydstrom along with assistant mixing by Shawn Murphy and Gary Summers. The ability for the FV18 to reproduce just about everything that is available in the sound mix is nothing short of amazing.
Rythmik Audio produces nothing but subwoofers. Their slogan is “Articulate Bass for the Discerning Audiophile”. I say, “Hey, that’s me.” This slogan rings true in spades. As with their other products, the FV18 does not disappoint in the least in terms of the articulation, especially for a ported sub. One reoccurring trait I discovered was that many times I thought I didn’t hear any bass and suddenly I would be thrown for a loop because the bass would rear its head. Sometimes the bass was not obvious with gobs of output, but I would feel it in my feet or in the back of my sofa. It also was nothing short of amazing how with the addition of this sub, my Polk Rti6 speakers would sound bigger and have a different sound signature to them. They had more clarity. Though developed for a larger listening area than mine, this sub did not overwhelm my room in the least. The little brother of the FV18, the sealed F18 will be reviewed and posted shortly, so stay tuned for this report in the near future.
If you own this FV18 or any other Rythmik products, please share your experiences in the discussion thread below.
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shadyJ, post: 1226217, member: 20472I have tried 1 port mode on the FV15, and if pushed really hard at reference level it does have a little port noise. Nothing like the PSA sub though which starts farting at 30hz. Granted there is very little material that requires 12hz tuning, but it also reduces your maximum output as well. The native tuning frequency of both the FV15 and FV18 are perfect for both movies and music.
Interesting. I thought the V1800s might be underported. You can't put an 18 into a small cabinet and try to tune it to any deep frequency at all. Cabinet size is critical for deep bass performance. Most 18"s are for live sound reinforcement and have smaller cabs but they are tuned to the mid 30s to 40 Hz. For the FV15HP, have you tried 1 port open mode? I would have guessed that does not give you enough port volume for the 12 Hz tuning frequency and may get into chuffing if you push it in those deep frequencies. It shouldn't be that much of a problem though, since there just isn't that much content with frequencies that deep.
Adminhor, post: 1226153, member: 84456Interesting. I thought the V1800s might be underported. You can't put an 18 into a small cabinet and try to tune it to any deep frequency at all. Cabinet size is critical for deep bass performance. Most 18"s are for live sound reinforcement and have smaller cabs but they are tuned to the mid 30s to 40 Hz. For the FV15HP, have you tried 1 port open mode? I would have guessed that does not give you enough port volume for the 12 Hz tuning frequency and may get into chuffing if you push it in those deep frequencies. It shouldn't be that much of a problem though, since there just isn't that much content with frequencies that deep.
I upgraded from a PSA V1801 fart box to an FV15HP, and planned to get another one. Once this monster came out I purchased it and use it in conjunction with the FV18. Really liked the upper bass slam of the V1801, but deep bass was terrible. Nothing but port noise which doesn't affect the Rythmiks at all. The deep, clean bass these put out is unmatched. I cannot imagine a better home theater sub, no matter the cost.