The below write up is intended to help potential buyers who may be looking for some comparisons of these different subs.
: All subs at this level are high quality. These are my impressions in my room so keep that context in mind. Use this information for comparisons of sound characteristics in the same environment for each sub. This is not intended to be a critique of any subwoofer so fan boys should calm down and look at it objectively and without blinders on please. This is just my experience and of some other AVS members who were present at these comparisons.
: 2100 cuft, sealed on a suspended floor. Tons of room gain, subs are up front symmetrical to MLP and corner loaded. The room is a determining factor for how your sub will perform from placement options to room gain. The contributes about 70% in determining how things will sound IME
Typical listening level is -10MV with subs boosted 10db
Many of you may be aware of my sub journey last year where I went from my first sub which was a SVS PC12 NSD which I had for 7 years. Great sub for the price with excellent performance in a small sealed room. Simple, bullet proof set up and protection of the driver. However, I wanted to change and was introduced to the Seaton Submersives. These subs played very clean and packed a lot of power. However, the older speaker power amps were not as efficient as they are now and caused my ARC fault breakers (which are very sensitive) to trip. The cost to fix that was not worth it for me so ended up returning them. Still the benchmark for sealed subs IMO.
I then decided to try PSAs based on all the good things I heard about them and the price/performance ratio they offered. That brought me to dual PSA V1801s. The PSA are the most compact 18-inch ported sub on the market. They are very strong in the mid bass frequencies (35hz and up) but do struggle with lower tuned (20hz and below) which is below their port tuning. I have not been able to find their limit though. They pack tons of power for their size. I was after chest punch and the PSA certainly delivered. These subs provide a lot of performance for the price and their big attractions are integration in non-dedicated theatre rooms, top notch CS and warranty and trade in/up program.
At this point I thought I was done with my sub search as the PSA gave me everything I wanted. If I thought about what I was missing, I could not tell so was content with them. I then happened to find myself at Todd’s
who had recently purchased dual JTR 2400 ULFs. I was just curious to listen to them. His room is an open 7000 cuft space so quite different than mine. When I listened to them though I felt a real weight and thickness to the bass. It hit deep and hard and I heard and felt some frequencies on familiar scenes that I had not heard before. So that day when I came back I played the scenes in my room and felt that in comparison my subs felt shallow and hollow. This got me started on a search again…I had now experienced the low bass weight and I liked it and I wanted that in addition to mid bass punch.
Lucky for me, all the above coincided around the time Todd
was planning a Houston GTG and decide to help coordinate. I was therefore able to have the JTR 118HT (2019 model) and a new FV18 rev 2 with paper cone to compare in my room. The JTR 118 has tremendous power and TR, it also seems to play a bit deeper than its tuning (20hz) would suggest. The sub plays very clean while providing incredible TR. It did very well at the Houston GTG where it was able to do a decent job filling a 7000 cuft open room. However, on low bass scenes it was noticeable that the sub was tuned to 20hz as it dropped like a rock below it. It was evident that it was missing the last 2/3rd of the lowest octave in scenes like EoT and pulse server. The older tuned 118 would still be my pick if I had to choose. At the promotional pricing however, this sub is real contender
The other sub I was able to demo quite a bit was the Rythmik FV18 rev 2 with paper cone. This was a new offering from Rythmik that no one had heard and was a new appearance for the Houston GTG. I will tell you that Brian has done an outstanding job with this sub and certainly addressed any concerns people have about Rythmik subs not having TR. The Rythmik had some distinct advantages compared to the 118HTs, larger cabinet, multiple tuning options (12/14/16) and servo. Since we had only one Rythmik, we compared against one JTR and it was clear that the Rythmik dug a lot deeper and was able to play all the Octaves in low tuned scenes the JTR could not. It also exhibited no port noise at all on any of the scenes. This was witnessed by Marc Alexander and Todd. Even at the GTG in an open room of 7000 cuft, it filled the room with authoritative bass and again without port noise. To show how well this sub performed it came in a close second to the JTR Cap 2400 at the GTG where mostly it was about output and room filling bass.
Now after the GTG, I was in a tangle, it was either the 118HTs for me or the Rythmik FV18s. However, there was one more “what if” left that needed to be addressed so I did not find myself at the same point where I was next year, and that was the JTR 2400. I cannot accommodate two of the ULFs so Todd brought over his sub to my room to serve as a proxy for the smaller 10hz tuned 2400. Jeff confirmed that this would give me an idea of how the 2400 would sound in my room.
The driver in the 2400 ULF is very different than the 118HTs, it looks and sounds totally different. The 2400 driver has a thick and a very room filling sound which makes it an ideal sub for large rooms. However what Todd and I noticed is that the 2400 lacked clarity in my small room and interfered with the other speakers regardless of the position of the LFA adjust knob. It seemed like the bass from the 2400 would keep hanging around and therefore did not seem to be as clear as what we had heard in Todd’s open room. It then became clear to me that the 2400 would not work for me in my room.
had predicted that especially after having listened in my room which is said to be like a closet with tons of room gain. So now the choice was the 118s or the FV18. The 2400 is a stellar performer and for those with large rooms and/or only able to add on sub, this is an excellent choice.
At this point I was ready to exhaust all options and decided that to make my final decisions I will compare dual JTR 118s with dual FV18s. So, I went to Austin and picked up two paper cone FV18s. I did not say this above but from a packaging, fit and finish and just pure looks none of the subs were better than the FV18s, they are a beauty and would look nice in any living room.
So, the comparison began, and I wanted to make sure I had some help so Todd came over to help and offer his opinion. We did A/B comparisons of both subs, the JTRs were run with LFA at max and the FV18s were run first with 12hz/high damping and then in three port mode. The JTR seemed to have a more TR but lacked the depth and the bass seemed to have a bit more overhang but sounded fun. The FV18s sounded deep and tight. When we switched to the three ports mode on the FV18, the TR advantage the JTR had was pretty much gone but we still had a deeper growling bass. They felt like what a Cap 2400 ULF felt in a Todd’s open room. The decision was clear the FV18 sounded better in all areas now for me in my room. It had the low bass weight I was looking for. To add to that we had not even turned off the rumble filter or used the PEQ to add more mid bass. So, things could only sound even better from here. The icing on top of this is the service from Rythmik. Both Brian and Enrico as very responsive.
As you can imagine, I ended up keeping the FV18s, returning the 118s and selling the V1801s. These subs look the best and easily sound as one the best. IMO any one considering a ported sub should look closely at the FV18 paper cone. They offer the Rythmik sound with plenty of TR and extremely low distortion.
I can tell you that in my house, things are falling off shelves they never had with any one of the subs I had including the JTR 118s. I deem that as success! These subs are a no-brainer for any one looking for a ported sub and especially if living with driving distance of Austin where you can save on shipping costs.
on designing a fantastic sub that satisfies the most critical of listeners and those that only value TR…..[IMG class=inlineimg]/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif[/IMG]
I hope people find this useful. Again not a critique of any sub but a relative comparison in the same environment which is a rare thing.