Thoughts On Subs

We recently installed a brand new GoldenEar SuperSub X ($1250) in a theater system with an array of Bryston speakers. The customer is especially “tickled” about how impressive the bass performance is. It’s “foundation moving” but tight. Why?

What’s interesting is, this is the customer’s second system. The first system has a much more expensive Paradigm subwoofer, which is no slouch at all.

How can the GoldenEar at about half the price have clearly better performance?

First of all, the rooms are different. The rest of the speakers are different. The bass performance of a given system is a sum of its parts. It isn’t “just” because the GoldenEar sub at $1250 is a great sub. But it IS a great sub.

The approach of the GoldenEar is different, and arguably (as always, right?!) superior to that of its competitors. SuperSub X is a DUAL PLANE sub. It has opposing 8” drivers. The 8’s not only give you a lot of PUSH, but they cancel cabinet resonance.

SuperSub X has opposing Infrasonic Radiators. Once again, the opposing drivers cancel traditional cabinet resonance. With SuperSub X, this happens with all four faces, right/left, up/down. Each face of the sub has an opposing, resonance canceling mate.

It’s uncanny to have the SuperSub X playing at a “goodly” volume- then you walk over to it and feel it- and feel ALMOST NOTHING. Try that with any other sub design. Most are trying to dance around your room.

Hence SuperSub X starts with dual 8” long throw drivers with massive magnets. It continues with opposing Infrasonic Radiators. GoldenEar knows not to under power the amplifier!
While almost everyone in a $1250 sub will use a 300w amp, GoldenEar’s amp is 1400w!

SuperSub X cutaway
Here’s what we’ve found from being in biz a thousand (OK, 40) years. Subwoofers with under powered amps BREAK. There are no if’s, ands, or butts about it. It’s just a matter of time.

We have sold oodles of fine subs over the years. M&K, RH Labs, Dahlquist, Velodyne, B&W, Paradigm. The amps within tend to have a life span. It’s less than ten years, and more like 5-7. A 300w amp might sound big. But if you hit your sub hard, and most people DO, at some point you’ll face the music. Literally.

We find that some years down the road, the price to repair the sub amp isn’t acceptable, especially considering the warranty on that repair is 90 days. How many hundreds of dollars will you be willing risk- to find yourself standing on the plank off the side of the boat in 91 days?

We have found that the biggest flaw in sub design, the element that is most likely to bite you, is an under powered subwoofer amp. GoldenEar does everything well with its subs. Among the I’s they are careful to dot- is to include a muscular power amp.

Famous last words from our customers are, “Well, I didn’t play it loud VERY OFTEN.” It only takes once. And that’s why you want the engine of a Mack Truck under the hood.

Fact is, most sub amps fail because people hit them hard, and often. The injuries build up. Yet it can occur with one abusive listening session. If your car is made to top out at 80 MPH and you’re trying to hit 120, what do you expect?

We recommend GoldenEar subs because they address the DETAILS of building a fine sub better than anyone else, and have done so affordably and reliably!