- A home theater dream come true! Review by Richard Standfield
In the principal of physics, sound is the mechanical movement of air oscillation. In layman terms, an efficient sub-woofer should be able to move as much air as possible in the shortest time - accurately. To achieve that the driver/speaker size will need to be as big as possible and/or the fixed-suspension transducer(fst)/rubber surround must be thicken to support the extended movement of the voice-coil (i.e. Sunfire HRS driver design). In this context, a 15" or a 17" driver will be the ideal size of an efficient sub-woofer speaker, however it will be challenging to fit it in today constantly shrinking living space - provided the ministry of home affair gave you her blessing*. Beside, to maintain accuracy of the playback, a gigantic magnet, over-sized voice coil and heavy duty speaker frame as well as an jumbo transformer for the built-in amp needs to be in place which results in a heavy and awkward sized end-product.
I was then considering REL, Sunfire and Velodyne for my master bedroom. While I was running through the showrooms, the REL and Sunfire are selling the concept of small footprints which can easily integrate themselves into the living environment with very impressive bass, however the price ain't that attractive as compared to the Velodyne. AV One was then demo-ing the 8",10" & 12" which by I was considering between the EQ max 10" and the 12".
They were running "Hotel California" from The Eagles; the 10" demonstrated a very punchy and "happy-to-sing along" vibes. I was really impressed with the reproduction despite that it was fresh from the box without running in! My early experiences with some B&W subs (with down firing port) frequently suffers from boomy-ness and muddy-ness. At that point I thought, the 10" is the one but I held back the thoughts and requested to run the 12" as well.
The 12" is visually huge but when the music track was ON, the only delectable sound was the vibrating noises from the small peripherals in the room... I was a little disappointed with the over-sized vibrator. I requested to switch back to the 10" and discovered musicality and punch that was very faint with the 12". Finally we went back to the 12" again to re-confirm my initial impression. It does vibrate everything in the room, including the very carpet we were standing on but I was not engaged with the music! Using some logical reasoning, isn't sub-level low frequencies inaudible to the ears? It was a hard choice to make between biological preference of the 10" and the scientific fact of the 12"! I bite the bullet in the name of science and made the payment for the 12" which I doesn't like! With a sense of sourness and regret, I passed by a shop retailing B&W system, the pleasant sales guy invited me to check out their ASW 610. After 30mins of auditing, I walked out damn happy with my earlier choice!
The EQ-Max 12 was swiftly delivered on the very next day which by I knew that I doesn't have a sitting space for it. It stayed in the shipping box for three days. I have a computer table, a floor-to-ceiling wardrobe, a 5 drawers cabinet, a customized hi-fi rack and a queen size bed. There is simply no floor space for the giant vibrator. After contemplating several options, I decided to take the risk of signing the divorce papers and mount the EQ Max to my wall, right on top of my computer table! I had made an effort to position it at least 3 feet from my 47" lcd tv in fear of the magnetic flux interference. The EQ Max rested on the customized bracket with approximately 2 inches clearance from the ceiling. I had also ordered a customized 12 meters RCA cables from Sim Lim Tower. I had arrived at this solution due to the option of the built in remote control of the EQ Max design which allows me to adjust its output remotely.
The output volume was adjusted to 35% and tested with my computer audio playback (Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD). Nina Vidal -"Do it again" delivers a throbbing and soothing bass that filled the entire room! Damn, the experience was like my old school days disco weekend where the Pub and disco hung their over-head sub woofers! Quite shockingly, the Youtube on Dina Krall "Live" had also uncovered bass that was never hear of! It was a truly amazing experience for me! From my earlier concerns about the volume control on the sub, I managed to utilize the software from the X-Fi Titanium sound card as a primary source to control the output on the lower octave. My personal verdict on this sub is excellence for its bang for buck! It team well with bookshelves speakers in extending the low pass without coloring it. Tested on The Avenger and X-men first class, both block busters were packed with auditory data to excite the EQ Max. The vibrations created from the movies moved my Xbox wireless controllers from one end of the table to the other without audible distortion! I am glade that I got chosen the 12" instead of the 10", although the 10" does engage me but I guess the 12" is able to deliver the feel through inaudible spectrum of sound. Had also run Xbox360 Halo 4 with it, overwhelming theatrics-gaming experience -every bullet fired generates a "auditory-recoil" !! The tumble it create is always authoritative and means business!!
Had never imagined a home system could sound this great!
(Posted on 9/20/13)
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