Subwoofers

NHT B-10d Subwoofer

ARTICLE INDEX

The NHT B-10d Subwoofer In Use

Sound characteristics of a subwoofer are dominated by the room in which it is located and its placement. In my opinion (see my introductory remarks, above) the sound of the subwoofer, independent of the room, can be completely characterized by its measured performance. Given that, this section will be very short. I did spend a significant time using the NHT B-10d with a variety of main channel speakers and room EQ systems.

As indicated in the introductory section, an electronic room EQ not only ameliorates room effects when the subwoofer or main channel speaker is playing alone, but also functions in the range of frequencies around the crossover. Without the room EQ engaged, one is left with the simple bass management system developed in the 1990s before DSP was affordable. This simple system cannot successfully join the main channel and subwoofer without large frequency response deviations.

Most of my listening was with the Trinnov room EQ as implemented in the Sherwood R-972 and Anthem ARC room EQ. I expect, but have not tested, that at least one other one EQ in $1,000 - $2,000 price class of AVRs will also provide a somewhat acceptably although not optimally smooth response in the crossover area.

Even the best room EQs will be tripped up if the subwoofer is not flat in an anechoic chamber. The deviation in frequency response at the listening seat from the combination of a poorly designed subwoofer and the room response is larger than an excellent electronic room EQ can handle. It is here that the ruler flat NHT B-10d shone. The subwoofer oath should be: first, do no harm.

The most successful join I achieved was with the Anthem ARC and I will devote a significant amount of space of an upcoming Anthem ARC review on explaining why its algorithms produced this result. Moving from the Anthem ARC equalizing just the main channel to when the main channel was crossed over to the NHT B-10d gave the desired result. Adding the NHT B-10d into the system did not degrade the sound around the crossover.

In the active range of the NHT B-10d, there was an improvement in dynamics compared to the main channel running full range. The extension of the bottom end, compared to just the main channel speakers, was also noted but no sound was localized to the NHT B-10d.