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Sigberg Audio 10D Subwoofer Measurements & Conclusion

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10D outdoor testing 

Testing on the Sigberg Audio 10D was conducted with the microphone facing the woofer at a 1-meter distance and then scaled back to 2-meters in our graphs by subtracting 6dB in output. The temperature was recorded at 49F degrees with 70% humidity. The subwoofer’s gain was set to maximum and the low pass filters were left off.

10d freq response 

The Sigberg 10D measured like a much bigger high powered sub easily meeting our Medium Bassaholic room size rating.

 

The above graph shows the measured frequency responses for the Sigberg Audio 10D subwoofer per its individual presets. Preset 1 is what most people will use, and this gets us a strong, flat response from 25Hz all the way to 400Hz. We can see here just how wideband these drivers are. The 10D has a very neutral response. We can see that the 10D uses high-pass filters to protect the low-end since the low-frequency roll-off does not have the standard 12dB/octave slope that a basic sealed subwoofer would have. Preset 2 has an upper-end gradual off that intends for it to blend in with the Sigberg Audio SBS.1 speakers.  As was mentioned before, Preset 3 is intended to simply shore up the deep end of loudspeakers in systems that do not have any kind of bass management at all like older style integrated amps. Many loudspeakers roll off the low-end response at around 40Hz to 50Hz, so preset 3 can get such a system some deeper bass without adding too much extra bass on top of the main speakers. I don’t expect that many people will use this sub in such a manner though.

10D CEA-2010 table 

 

Bassaholic mediumThe above CEA-2010 measurements are short-term bursts that show the subwoofer’s clean peak SPL before heavy distortion sets in. Our measurements have been referenced to 2-meter RMS, which is 9dB down from the standard requirement for the measurements to be shown at 1-meter peak. However most publicly available CEA-2010 measurements are shown at 2-meter RMS, so we followed that convention. This is a strong measurement set for such a small sub. It’s the kind of measurements I would expect from a high-powered sealed 12”. The mid-bass output matches some of the 15” subs that we have reviewed in the past and blows away all of the 12”s. It’s no wonder that the 10D proved to be so powerful on music tracks. This thing is a little beast! These burst-test numbers net it the Audioholics’ Bassaholics ‘Medium’ Room Size Rating which almost but not quite gets the ‘Large’ room rating, although if you are listening to acoustic music, this sub, with 116dB in the mid-bass range, could probably handle a large room by itself.

This little sub is a beast!

One thing to note is that the sub is distortion limited in nearly all tested frequencies. At first, I thought that was the drivers simply getting pushed hard by the amp, but Sigberg explained that it was not just the drivers becoming stressed but rather the soft-clipping limiter in the amplifier kicking in at large signals in order to protect the drivers. Soft-clipping will produce a spectrum of odd-order harmonics which is what I saw during testing. While the sub can be driven into amp-clipping, the bass sound at nominal and even high levels is very clean. At the edge of its performance envelope, the drivers will complain, and those complaints can be audible. In normal use, users are unlikely to run it that hard; indeed, I didn’t notice any bad noises in my own listening, and I did push it. However, in outdoor testing, when I sent it a very high input signal with the amp’s volume set to max, the distortion was clearly heard. For those who don’t even want to risk hearing any non-signal noises, one thing that Sigberg could do to avoid this is to change Preset 3 from just a “deep-bass only” preset to one that has the same response as Preset 1 except limiting the amp from clipping by simply reducing the signal amplitude instead of clipping it (I’m not sure how easy that is to implement in the Hypex amp settings). In other words, make Preset 3 a “strictly clean bass” setting, although that would come at the cost of dynamic range. That would probably be more widely used than the existing Preset 3 configuration.

10D comp sweeps 

Testing for long-term output compression was done by first conducting a 20-second sweep tone where 50Hz hit 90 dB with the subwoofer 2-meters from the microphone. We then conduct further 20-second sweeps by raising the gain by 5dB until no more output could be wrung out of the subwoofer. These tests show us the long-term continuous headroom that the subwoofer is capable of. At the highest drive levels, the 10D does encounter some compression from about 25Hz to 40Hz, but it is relatively mild compared to most subs. This sub holds its beautifully flat response at all but the highest drive levels. At mid-bass, it can hold a continuous 110dB which, again, one would expect from a high-powered 12” or a typical 15”. Again, this is not the output one would expect from such a small sub.

10d THD 3D

10d THD profile

The above graphs show the corresponding total harmonic distortion to the long-term output graphs. Essentially, they depict how linear the subwoofer remains for the corresponding drive level seen in the long-term sweeps. The quantity being measured is how much of the subwoofer’s output is distortion and is shown here as a percentage. One quick note; the spike of distortion that rises up as frequencies dip below 15Hz is primarily from background noise. This sub doesn’t produce much output at such low frequencies, and so background noise becomes a significant component of the recorded measurement.

One immediately apparent feature is the effect of the limiter; distortion goes up at a nearly logarithmic rate as frequencies go down, which is customary for a sealed subwoofer. But go down a bit further, and distortion rapidly falls down again, and that is from the limiter restricting cone motion. Without it, the voice coil may well beat itself to death. At the last few dB of headroom, distortion can get fairly high in deep bass, but below that point, the 10D keeps its composure very well. In mid-bass, the 10D doesn’t want to produce any distortion at all in this test, even at maximum drive levels. At the lowest sweep shown in this graph, the 95dB sweep, distortion never rises above 10% until below 15Hz. That means at nominal drive levels, the 10D is an extremely clean and linear subwoofer. The bottom line from these graphs is that it's just not terribly happy when pushed hard in deep bass but then very few sealed subs are.

Astute readers might note the discrepancy between the vanishingly low distortion in midbass in these long-term sweeps but higher distortion products in the burst tests. The reason for this seems to be that the amp has a protection circuit that clamps down on a continuous, extremely large signal, but doesn’t react similarly for a burst signal since that power can be sustained for a short period. While the sub can be driven pretty hard, it does have limiters that protect the drivers from self-destructing. I pushed the sub as hard as it could be pushed with an input signal, and it did not bottom out or give any other sign that the drivers were in danger.

10d 2nd harmonic  10d 3rd harmonic

The above graphs depict measurements of the constituent harmonics from the long-term output sweeps and are what the total harmonic distortion measurements are composed of for the 2nd and 3rd harmonics. These individual harmonics can give us a clue as to what might be the cause of some quirk or non-linearity. We are only showing the 2nd and 3rd here because they more or less reflect the higher even-order and odd-order behaviors, although higher-order harmonics tend to be much further down as a percentage of distortion compared to the second and third.

An interesting feature to note with these graphs is that the even-order distortion rises with a pretty steady rate relative to drive level, but the odd-order harmonics stay extremely low until the highest drive level at which it skyrockets in deep bass. I would guess from that kind of distortion profile that the source of even-order harmonic distortion is primarily from induction which tends to scale evenly with output level. Induction can cause an asymmetry in the back-and-forth motion of the driver. What minuscule distortion that occurs in mid-bass comes from the even-order harmonics. An advantage here is that even-order harmonic distortion is more difficult to perceive than odd-order, and so in the music frequency band, what little distortion exists is a less intrusive sort. Once the driver nears its limits, we can see from the 3rd harmonic graph that both directions of travel get evenly impacted by a restriction in its excursion.

10D Group Delay 

Group delay is the measurement of how much time it takes for individual frequency bands of an input signal to be produced by the speaker. It can indicate that some frequency components are developing slower than others or are taking longer to decay. It is generally thought that 1.5 sound cycles are needed for group delay to be audible at bass frequencies, although there is an argument that group delay should remain under 20ms to be completely unnoticeable, but that is likely meant for mid and upper bass frequencies.

Normally I include a 1.5 cycle curve on this graph, but since the 10D does not meaningfully exceed even 1 cycle, I didn’t even bother. The 10D posts some overall very good results here, staying below 10ms above 50Hz. Group delay does start to rise a bit below 35Hz or so, and that is due to the high-pass filter that Sigberg has employed to protect the sub. It has a remarkably mild time-domain effect considering how steep its effect on the frequency response is. Overall, this is a very good showing, and this sub will have a sharp sound without any audible decay times.

Conclusion

In the conclusions for my reviews, I normally go over a list of the strengths and weaknesses of the product under review, but for what the Sigberg Audio 10D sets out to do, it doesn’t really have any weaknesses, although it does have one major catch, which we will get to. But first, let’s talk about its strengths. Its performance is excellent, especially considering its size. It has good deep bass output and tremendous midbass output. Until you get to the last nine-tenths of its performance, it provides extremely clean and accurate sound quality. Its time-domain behavior is very good, and anyone looking for a sub for sharp transients has a good choice here.

10d outdoors

The Sigberg Audio 10D is about as small as subwoofers can get and still have serious performance.

Aside from its performance attribute, the 10D looks quite nice. The satin black finish is impeccable, and the rounded edges give this a classy look that wouldn’t be out of place in higher-end interiors. One huge advantage that it has is its size; it doesn’t have that much of a physical presence, and none but the pickiest household members would object to its presence if placed out of the way. The build quality is well above average; it feels like a boulder to pick it up and is deceptively heavy for such a small sub. It has a very good feature set that includes balanced and unbalanced inputs as well as speaker-level inputs. It is highly adjustable and comes with a 9-band parametric EQ along with a host of other variables that can customize its behavior.

But, of course, there is a catch to all of these advantages: it is expensive. It is so expensive that it becomes a niche product. It’s a sub for those who want the most performance that can be had out of a small enclosure. In other words, it is for those people who have a lot more money than floorspace. This is a sub for luxury apartments or upscale bedrooms where space is at a premium. Or maybe if you have a good amount of floorspace but would rather not give it up to a subwoofer and also want a sub that looks and feels upscale, this is a great solution. I should say here that it still puts its thumb on the performance end of the scale between size and performance. Yes, smaller subwoofers can be had in the “micro” category of subs from the likes of KEF, SVS, and Rel, but the performance of those subwoofers will all be heavily compromised in favor of a small size. The Sigberg Audio 10D is about as small as subwoofers can get and still have serious performance.

10d size compare

The Sigberg Audio 10D is a well-engineered and nicely executed subwoofer, but its pricing takes it out of consideration for a whole lot of subwoofer shoppers. If cost is no object but size is, then this should be at the top of its class for the criteria of maximizing performance and quality for a modest size. If more floor space can be allocated to a subwoofer, it becomes a much more difficult proposition to justify since larger sizes make high performance a lot easier to obtain for the same cost. If its nearly $3.8k pricing puts pressure on your pocketbook, there are subs that are not a lot larger which will offer competent performance at a much lower price, but, of course, they will not quite have the build quality or high-end appearance of the 10D. Shipping is included in the price as are all import fees, but it is still a considerable amount of money. As I stated before, this makes it a comparatively niche product, but within that niche, I believe that the 10D is at the top of its class. It is the one I would get if I needed the best small sub that money can buy.

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
Ergonomics & UsabilityStarStarStarStarStar
FeaturesStarStarStarStarStar
Build QualityStarStarStarStarStar
Bass ExtensionStarStarStarStar
Bass AccuracyStarStarStarStarStar
Dynamic RangeStarStarStarStar
Fit and FinishStarStarStarStarStar
PerformanceStarStarStarStarhalf-star
ValueStarStarStarhalf-star
Attached Files
About the author:

James Larson is Audioholics' primary loudspeaker and subwoofer reviewer on account of his deep knowledge of loudspeaker functioning and performance and also his overall enthusiasm toward moving the state of audio science forward.

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Recent Forum Posts:

ryanosaur posts on June 14, 2022 21:08
MandM, post: 1561534, member: 36148
That Scan-Speak woofer and Hpex amp combo seem quite popular!
http://www.troelsgravesen.dk/26W-4558T00.htm
Troels has been using all the premium European Drivers and Hypex Plate Amps for a while.
MandM posts on June 14, 2022 19:11
That Scan-Speak woofer and Hpex amp combo seem quite popular!
http://www.troelsgravesen.dk/26W-4558T00.htm
lovinthehd posts on June 10, 2022 01:34
Sigberg Audio, post: 1561007, member: 92130
@lovinthehd I feel the need to point out that while buying SBS.1 for all 7 channels in a home cinema system is an interesting proposition (it would probably sound bonkers and we would obviously be happy to sell it), that was never the primary use case for this system.

The SBS.1 and accompanying subwoofers were designed to replace and outperform large, expensive floorstanders - and I'm happy to report that they do so very well. What you get is the performance of a large, high-end system with a significantly lower visual footprint. And while size will be a factor for many buyers, I'm confident the absolute performance is high too.

The subwoofers (since that's the theoretical topic of the thread) obviously go well with other good speakers as well.

I was more just extracting some numbers and perhaps a bit of humor from the situation, particularly due TLS' ongoing rants about various consumer audio issues

I do like your use of a dual opposed design….
Sigberg Audio posts on June 10, 2022 01:29
@lovinthehd I feel the need to point out that while buying SBS.1 for all 7 channels in a home cinema system is an interesting proposition (it would probably sound bonkers and we would obviously be happy to sell it), that was never the primary use case for this system.

The SBS.1 and accompanying subwoofers were designed to replace and outperform large, expensive floorstanders - and I'm happy to report that they do so very well. What you get is the performance of a large, high-end system with a significantly lower visual footprint. And while size will be a factor for many buyers, I'm confident the absolute performance is high too.

The subwoofers (since that's the theoretical topic of the thread) obviously go well with other good speakers as well.
BoredSysAdmin posts on June 09, 2022 19:25
shadyJ, post: 1560973, member: 20472
You would have to be nuts to buy a older used M5. Or you would have to be on very good terms with your mechanic, because that thing is going to need constant attention to be drivable. Owning a BMW out of warranty is a terrifying prospect for my wallet. It's definitely not an investment that will appreciate.
I meant the house, most cars just depreciate
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