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Author Topic: Maryland subwoofer shootout results!  (Read 44846 times)

Evan Kirkendall

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Maryland subwoofer shootout results!
« on: December 15, 2007, 08:22:44 pm »

Well, after a day of fun, the results are in!

Since the other thread was getting a bit long, I figured I would start a new one here.

First off, I'd like to thank everyone who came out to hear the subs, brought subs and Jim for letting us play in his shop all day.  Subwise, nothing blew up and everything went fairly smooth. Though, in true LAB spirit, something did blow up. The PL9.0 went up idling before the beginning. Luckily Jim had a spare, so the day could go on.

We started the day off by just lining all the subs up and making noise. We ran them in pairs and in singles. We also later on in the day separated them into 2 groups big(LAB12, TFL21, TH115, LS1208, QW218) and small(mini, Growler, UCS1). Though some of the small guys were quite impressive.

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It was interesting hearing them all side by side. Each sub had their own certain characteristics that made them stand out.

We also took time in the beginning to measure them all. Each sub was measured in singles and then as a pair. Jeff Knorr has all the SMAART data, and hopefully he will be posting it soon.

Anyway, onto my reviews of them:

Lets remind you guys of what we judged them on:
-Sound Quality
-Size vs. output
-Overall output
-Overall Rating


First up, is the Growler:
I gave it 8's all around. One thing I noticed is that they have a lot of ass for their size, but not a lot of impact. They did well with dance music and sounded very "musical," but lacked impact from the kick hits. However, they do pack a good amount of output  for their size. When I had the dB meter out, they were doing ~118dB cont. with the PL9.0 blinking -10 every so often. We had to put a Yorkville TX4 on top of them to keep them from moving around too much. Everyone agrees that the plastic corners suck, and they can go without them. Out of the UCS1 and TH mini, they had the most "ass" to them. However, in singles, the output just disappears. I would NOT recommend running them 1 per side. They just lose a lot of the get up and go.

So, the Growlers get an "8" overall. I'd say they are pretty decent boxes for their size and cost.

Next up is the TH mini:
These guys were quite impressive! They are the size of a small trash can, but can keep up with the turbosound 21's! They had a VERY smooth sound, and put out a ton of sound for their size. They had a noticeable drop in the low reign, but it should be expected for their size. They kept right up with the Growlers in terms of output, but the growlers had a little more bottom end to them. I gave them a solid 10 on size to output ratio, as it was very impressive. They got a "7" overall, and would be great for band PA systems. I didnt get a chance to meter them with the dB meter, but I was pretty impressed over all.

Next up was the UCS1:
These guys are pretty solid subs. They are a little bigger then a Growler, and with that, they pack more punch. The Yorkville's had more in the 70-90hz range and I liked their sound. They didnt quite have the low low end that the Growlers did, but they were no slackers. They just hit harder. They were also able to do around 118dB cont, with the PL9.0 flicking -10. They are very good sounding subs, and I gave them an 8 on sound. But, only a 6 on size to output, as they still lack the overall get up and go. Overall I gave them a 6.5, as they are solid subs, but just lack in a few areas.

TH115:
You know, I was pretty disappointed with this one. For $2100, I was expecting more. Of course, there was only 1 there and it would have been nice to have a second... But for just one, I wasnt feeling it. But, with that said, they sound great. They went the lowest out of any single sub, and sounded the best by far. They have a very smooth sound, but lack in the midbass. DJ's would not like them. They got a 10 on Sound Quality, but I only gave them a 6 on output. When I measured the single sub, it was doing 112dB cont, with the PL9.0 flickering -10. Personally, I do not think they are worth the money. If you are looking for a very "musical" sounding sub that goes low, then it might be your ticket. But, one just wasnt as impressive as I thought it would be. I gave them a 7 overall.

Next up, The LS1208:
Yorkville screwed us over and only sent one, so we had to make due. But with that said, this was one of the more impressive subs of the bunch. For just a single unit, it packed a lot of punch and carried a lot of ass too. It had a little bit of a "woofy" sound to it, but I think with some EQ, that can be fixed. It had the most midbass out of any of the horn loaded subs. But, it completely blew me away. This is what I would consider the best bang for the buck sub of the bunch. I gave it a 7 on SQ, 8 on overall output and an 8 overall. For only $800, this was a very impressive sub. 2 UCS1's couldnt keep pace with it. I was getting ~120dB cont from just a single unit, with the PL9.0 flickering -10.

Next up, the QW218:
These guys did a pretty good job. They ran with the big boys pretty well, and had a surprising amount of get up and go. They blew the smaller subs away, but lost one on one with the larger subs. I was getting around 124dB cont. from the pair. I was pretty pleased with them, and for being a double 18, it was pretty cool. I gave them an 8 on Sound quality, 7 on output and an 8 overall.

Next up, The LAB12:
Hands down, the winner. Nothing could keep pace with them. They were topping out my dB meter(126dB) and making the room quake. They hit hard, go low and rattle your insides. They got a 9 on sound quality, 10 on output and 9 overall. If only they werent so friggen huge! These guys stole the show, as expected. If you go this route, make sure you have a big truck and lots of help moving them, as they are not small!

Finally, the Turbo 21:
Another sub that didnt impress me too much. Ive heard them before and think they do much better when you get about 6 or 8 of them. But a pair, well, it just wasnt anything to brag about. They sound good and have a smooth sound, but the TH mini's were able to get within a few dB of their performance. The 21's seemed to knock out the lower notes a little better, but in the 60hz+ range, it was a crapshoot. They got a 7 on SQ, 5 on output and 6.5 overall.

And that about sums it up! It was a fun day with lots of interesting results. I'll be posting pics soon, and I hope that as everyone gets home, they will be posting replies!




Evan
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Owen Davis

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Re: Maryland subwoofer shootout results!
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2007, 09:25:29 pm »

Evan,
  Thanks for doing this and thanks for posting your results. I'm anxious to hear everyone else's impressions as well.

What about the Clair?

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Jeff Babcock

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Re: Maryland subwoofer shootout results!
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2007, 09:55:08 pm »

Wow!  That TH-Mini is TINY.... I knew it was small, but when you put it next to the others all at once it looks impossibly small to do what was reported.  Cool.  I have a feeling that these are going sell like hotcakes for Tom D.

LS1208 sounds good but is just such a beast, you're almost far enough size wise to just go up a notch to a Lab.

Too bad some of these were only in singles or pairs as some of the designs really benefit from going with a block of 4.  Although that would be rather impractical from a  shootout organization standpoint.

It's impressive that there are a number of such inexpensive subs out there now that can put out some quality LF, things have really come a long way in recent years!

Thanks Evan and others, wish I could've been there, sounds like a fun day.

Cheers
Jeff

Phil LaDue

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Re: Maryland subwoofer shootout results!
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2007, 09:57:58 pm »

What's next...
Maybe a powered sub shootout?

Steve Hurt

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Re: Maryland subwoofer shootout results!
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2007, 12:06:24 am »

Evan,

How far away was your meter when taking measurements?
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Matt Vivlamore

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Re: Maryland subwoofer shootout results!
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2007, 01:18:55 am »

The meter was about 5-7 ft away... Evan can give you an exact distance.



My review is coming... I did majority of my listening about ~30-40ft away, I did listen to each sub at ~15ft.
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Paul Magro

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Re: Maryland subwoofer shootout results!
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2007, 01:53:09 am »

  I'm not to clear on the sub pairing.  Some you say you had one, some you said pairs, and some you didn't say if it was a pair or a single?!  A little clearer on how many subs you were running when you made your observations would be good.  I also wonder how the output would change if you used the subs on their side vs. standing upright.  Without the exact output of the amp, "the PL9.0 blinking -10"  is a bit unscientifc.  I hope I don't sound like a downer!! Rolling Eyes
 Can't wait to see some measurements.
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Matt Vivlamore

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Re: Maryland subwoofer shootout results!
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2007, 02:09:59 am »

The TH115 and LS1208 are the only ones that didn't come with a significant other.  All the other subs had a mate.
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Matt Vivlamore

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Re: Maryland subwoofer shootout results!
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2007, 03:32:11 am »

Growler:  With all the talk about these, I was disappointed with them when compared to the UCS1s.  For dance style music the Growlers do hit hard, however for rock music I wasn’t impressed at all, most of the time it couldn’t reproduce the over-riding kick over the bas guitar.  I do have a couple complaints about the design: without having rubber feet on the bottom and/or side, how do you run these.  The plastic corners make these things look like DJ subs, I think we even broke one corner during the day moving them around.  We had to set a TX4 on top of the suns to keep them from moving around; with no weight on them, these walked around
Sound Quality: 7
Size vs output ratio: 8
Overall output: 7
Overall rating: 6


TH mini:  When firing these at 1 cluster there was nothing, it had output like a Yamaha club level, double them up and HOLY COW the came alive!  For their size, these things get loud. They don’t hit has low as the bigger ones but for a small show I would bring these, over the UCS1.  The mini’s had the biggest gain from single to double comparison.
Sound Quality: 9 (not for deep lows)
Size vs output ratio: 6 (singles), 10 (doubles)
Overall output: 9
Overall rating: 9


UCS1:  These had the fuller bass sound comparing to the Growlers and Minis.  They do hit hard for the semi-low stuff with the dance, they hit hard with the rock music and the sound was fuller with the Jazz music.  
Sound Quality: 9
Size vs output ratio: 9
Overall output: 9
Overall rating: 9


QW218:
Tough to say how these things are; 2 QW218s will get louder than 2 USC1, but 1 QW218 was about the same output as 2 UCS1s (playing the ohm to ohm rule).  My biggest complaint was the mobility factor, there isn’t a dolly board or tilt back wheels.
Sound Quality: 8
Size vs output ratio: 7
Overall output: 9
Overall rating: 8


TH115:  I wish there would have been a double so I could hear the difference in single vs double.  For a single box, they would work for smaller shows where two per side of the UCS1s would take up to much ground room.  I think the TH115 had slightly less out put than a pair of UCS1s, but would stomp a single UCS1.
Sound Quality: 9
Size vs output ratio: 10
Overall output: 8
Overall rating: 9


LS1208:  It’s a BIG CUBE and “now even lighter!”  It uses a Neo magnet now.  This sub did get loud, but once it got loud on the rock music it had a boomy bass sound, for the dance it does get low and you do know it.  Moving the LS1208 was the most stable tilt backs due to the dual handle set-up.  For my shows, these would not be practical due to the volume.  
Sound Quality: 8
Size vs output ratio: 7
Overall output: 8
Overall rating: 8


I am not rating these last two, because they are definitely in a league of their own for the ones above.

Turbosound 21”:
For having a biggest driver, they had the medium sized box; it was about the size of the TH115s.  I was impressed with the tightness of the biggest possible drive in a smallest possible box.  You could be bring these into a small bar and be fine with them and then turn around add 8 more and do a large festival.

LAB12:
Well we all know where these belong... outside for festivals or with dance/house music and rappers.  Yea one single was louder than the 2 QW218s, but add the second Lab12, the QW218 lost before the kick drum was even touched.  If you want stupid loud, these are the way to go.


I think if we had loaded the manufacture specs for each cab into the DSP it would have been a different story.  With the Growler you could find the missing part and add that with the EQ.  The Mini could of used a bump up in the lower part of the EQ and they would sound like they are hitting low. The LS1208 needs a good bit of EQ for rock shows to get them smooth, but for rap/hip-hop you would be fine.

Easiest to pack in the trailer would be the Mini’s.  4 of them are about the size of a UCS1.  The Growlers are small for much easier packs.  The USC1s have small footprint compared to the rest along with the QW218s.

Ground stacking:
QW218 would be the best when you ran them vertical with the 18 on-top of the other 18.  Next inline would be the LS1208.  And the UCS1 and TH115, they are about the same height.  As far as the Growlers and Mini’s, you would need a pole adapter or stand.  Two Growlers on their sides would give you the desired height to ground stack.  The UCS1 where the only sub  that had built in pole mounts.
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Bob Leonard

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Re: Maryland subwoofer shootout results!
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2007, 04:16:23 am »

1. What were the DSP settings, and why were they not changed for each sub.

2. What was the input power.

3. Was the amp run stereo or bridged mono.

4. Were all of the subs ever listened to at the same SPL or was it "This is what you get with this much power."

5. Will anyone be posting the street price of these boxes along with the model number AND manufacturers name for those who may be interested.

6. What was the test equipment used to measure the SPL, including the mike type.

7. What was the program material used to run the tests.

Thanks for running the tests!
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