- Written by Chris Eberle
- Published on 27 February 2009
This is a lot of sub for my relatively small theater, so I thought it best to throttle things back a bit at the beginning, and I started with Sealed mode. I blocked all three ports with the included plugs and turned the subsonic filter dial to the Sealed setting. All listening was done in this mode with one exception noted below.
Eagle Eye (Blu-ray, Dolby TrueHD)
This action thriller is a series of high-adrenaline chase scenes woven into an interesting plot about cyber-terrorism and artificial intelligence; loads of fun. The musical score is of very high quality with impressive depth and a wide soundstage. The PB12-Plus really expanded the musical dynamics of the score providing extra impact to low strings, percussion, timpani notes and brass sounds. Sound effects took on an equally expansive quality. The sound of a helicopter's beating blades was especially powerful. During one scene our heroes are driving a Porsche Cayenne SUV through city streets. The crescendo of its V8 engine had all the thunderous effect of a NASCAR racer.
Dark Knight (Blu-ray, Dolby TrueHD)
This film has a very strong LFE track. The sub is used heavily in pretty much every scene that doesn't have dialog. Car crashes, explosions, gunfire, you name it. It all came across loud and clear. I could feel every tremor coming through the back of my heavily upholstered chair. It was like having a motion simulator! I couldn't believe the sub was operating in sealed mode. There was no apparent lower limit and every sound effect was rendered with the utmost precision. The only way it could have sounded any better is if my room were larger. This sub wouldn't break a sweat in a room twice the size.
Since this title made the most use of LFE of my selections, I went back and listened to several scenes using the sub's 20Hz all ports open tuning. The net result was a huge increase in the lowest frequencies but a slight loss of detail. I believe this to be purely a function of my room and not the sub. There just wasn't enough space for the sub to breath in this mode. The lower frequencies were very loud and clean but the precision I enjoyed in the sealed mode just wasn't there. I would recommend this mode for larger rooms.
Philadelphia Orchestra, works for organ and orchestra (Super Audio CD)
This superb recording was made recently to inaugurate the new organ in Philadelphia's Verizon Hall, the home of the Philadelphia Orchestra. The album includes pieces by Samuel Barber, Francis Poulenc and Camille Saint-Saëns. To test the subs ability to blend with my Axiom speakers, I set all the crossovers to 80Hz. As with the Blu-ray selections, this really opened up the soundstage nicely. The hall ambience could really be heard and felt. The organ's pedal tones had amazing depth and clarity and were truly enveloping. At no point was the sub stressed producing the organ's lowest notes. The fast-moving passages were also rendered with excellent detail and accuracy. The timpani and low brass sections of the orchestra benefited too. It really brought those instruments forward during the louder parts.
Jazz Knights, At First Light (CD)
This recording was made by colleagues of mine and as such, I have a unique perspective as I have heard this excellent big band play live many times. The Jazz Knights are made up of some of the best young jazz musicians of today and the quality of this CD is right in line with their excellent performance. I tried several different crossover configurations to put more or less bass into the sub. No matter what, the PB12-Plus blended seamlessly with my mains. The string bass had just the right sound being neither too bloated nor too meek. Drum hits were equally crisp and balanced. This sub really captured the detail present in this high-quality recording. This sub would be a great match for smaller main speakers because of its ability to blend well and render the area between 60 and 120Hz with such precision.