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2 SS18.1s, 4 MQ600s, and 1 Corolla

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  • 2 SS18.1s, 4 MQ600s, and 1 Corolla

    I met Craig in Buffalo, NY to pick up some new toys. I live in Pickering, (near Toronto) ON. Craig drove into the Holiday Inn parking lot and came out of his truck and said, "are you Rob?" to which I answered, "yes"; he then asked me "is that your red car?" to which I answered, "yes"; he then asked me "how in the world are you going to fit these subwoofers in there?" to which I answered "watch me".

    Craig was kind enough to help me unpack these massive 21" cubes, and after some struggle we managed to get them into my Corolla. Also, let's not forget the MQ600s. You are probably wondering why anyone would pick up four of these beasts (just try lifting one). Well, one of them is for my dual SS18.1s and the other three are for another bass head who lives in Toronto. Once everything was in the Corolla, the inside of the car looked like the inside of a sardine can when you first open it and see all those nicely packaged fish.

    Craig and I had a very nice chat about the world of electronics and the thrill of buying and trying new equipment. It was really nice to finally put a face to the person who for the last few weeks I phoned on many occasions and was willing to make time to answer all my questions. I am really big on service, and Craig provided me with great service.

    I drove back to Pickering and was very anxious to try out the new toys. Once I took all the wrapping off of them I was pleased to see how beautiful the finish looks. Unfortunately, the pictures online do not tell the whole story, these things look way better in person than in the pictures. Very slick looking textured black finish. I called my wife over immediately to have a look, and she said "that thing is huge" (get your mind out of the gutter, she was talking about the driver). I asked her what she thought of the finish, and she thought it looked great. So, the SS18.1s passed the first test, the next challenge was how in the world to take these things into my basement.

    To be continued.

  • #2
    Guess that was an interesting border crossing?

    Looking forward to your impressions on the setup. Kudos to Craig for the service above and beyond the normal.

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    • #3
      Congrats and enjoy. Yes how was the boarder crossing?
      engtaz

      I love how music can brighten up a bad day.

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      • #4
        Rob - It was great to finally meet you. But I have to ask ... after we got both subs into a COROLLA ... you are wondering how you will get them into the basement? :biglaugh:

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        • #5
          Originally posted by craigsub
          Rob - It was great to finally meet you. But I have to ask ... after we got both subs into a COROLLA ... you are wondering how you will get them into the basement? :biglaugh:

          I recommend removing the drivers, grease the sides of the cabinet with Vaseline, get a good pair of rubber gloves and an oversized pair of stainless steel forceps...shouldn't be a problem. :biglaugh: don't forget to wear your safety glasses...
          Dana

          Zu Omen Def's, M22's, QS8's, CHT SHO-10, Dual CHT SS-18.1's, Onkyo TX-NR3008, Mitsubishi WD-73740 73" DLP, Sony PS3

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          • #6
            Originally posted by dduval
            I recommend removing the drivers, grease the sides of the cabinet with Vaseline, get a good pair of rubber gloves and an oversized pair of stainless steel forceps...shouldn't be a problem. :biglaugh: don't forget to wear your safety glasses...
            Sounds like you are operating on Rosie O'Donnell. :eek:

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            • #7
              Thank you for your comments.

              Boarder crossing was relatively smooth. I mean really, what are they going to say to a guy with two massive subwoofers and four amps. They did poke around a little, but after paying the taxes they bid me farewell.

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              • #8
                It was not easy getting the SS18.1s into my basement, but with some help from my son we managed to do it and not get ourselves killed in the process. These things looked way bigger once we got them into my home theater, and quite intimidating when I stacked them on top of each other.

                The next part of the plan was to unpack the MQ600. Once I saw this beast I was surprised how sharp it looks (again, the pictures online do not do it justice). I was very curious about how loud the fans were, so I immediately plugged it in and tuned it on. It was hard to believe the fans were running. These things are very quiet. I have another professional amp by American Audio which powers my main speakers, and it is very loud, so I was pleased at how quiet the MQ600 was.

                I used 12 gauge speaker wire to go from the SS18.1s to the amp, and an XLR to RCA adapter (which some kind folks in this forum recommended) to go from the amp to the receiver. I turned the amp on and everything sounded fine, no humming and quiet fans, so that was easy. I set both volume dials a quarter of the way up and I ran Audyssey XT on my Denon AV receiver.

                Some information about my current subwoofer setup.

                Currently, I own an ED A7-450 (vented 18" subwoofer) and I have never owned any sealed subwoofers. One of the reasons I bought the SS18.1s is to compare the sound of sealed to vented. I have lived with the A7-450 for a while now and I know its weaknesses and its strengths. So my plan now is to let the A7-450 rest for a while so that I have a chance to get to know the SS18.1s.

                My first impression after a couple of hours of music listening is how articulate the sound is. If I had to choose between the A7-450 and the SS18.1s just based on music listening alone, I would definitely choose the SS18.1s. In general, the sound is tighter and more refined. My listening taste in music varies greatly; however, for the purpose of this review I will mention a couple of pieces of music that I have been listening to for years, which are very different, but sounded great. The first is Tchaikovsky's 1812 on Telarc with the famous canon shots. The bass was just beautiful. Good classical recordings are one of the best ways to test speakers in general because it is really easy to tell when a cello or a bass drum do not sound as they should. The SS18.1s handled everything with ease and finesse. The second is Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here with the low bass in Welcome to the Machine. Again, clean and articulate bass throughout the entire album.

                Unfortunately, time constraints have not allowed me to do any more listening. So, this is it for now. I will be taking some pictures, which I will post. Also, I will report on how the SS18.1s do with movies.

                To be continued.

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                • #9
                  very nice Rob
                  engtaz

                  I love how music can brighten up a bad day.

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                  • #10
                    Excellent post! And I do relate. Getting the 18.2 up the front steps, and down the split level steps by myself was an adventure. Almost knocked the thermostat off the wall doing it, and my back was reminding me of the fun the day after.

                    I also came from a couple ported subs, but, not the quality of the eD you had (a 12" SVS cylinder sub and a JBL), and completely agree about the tightness and articulation. At first, it was almost antiseptic, and seemed less of an impact until I witnessed the infrasonics and pressure that these 18's can produce.

                    Just remember, there is a break-in period, and they will improve with age! Looking forward to your movie impressions, again, good reading.

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                    • #11
                      Having bought/sold much larger equipment than was intended to fit in my cars over time, I can totally relate. :D

                      Glad you are happy with your new toys. Spend some time to get them positioned and EQ'd correctly and you won't be disappointed.

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                      • #12
                        Thanks for your input on your new subs.

                        Looking forward to reading more as time goes on! :)

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                        • #13
                          Once again, thank you for the comments.

                          I am planning on moving the subwoofers to a different location and doing some listening, but for now I am trying to assess what these monsters are capable of.

                          Before I continue, here is a list of my equipment and some images:

                          Room size – 12’ X 18’6” X 7’6” – 1665 cubic feet – this is a medium size room by most standards – two SS18.1s are more than enough (maybe not for some, but for most) for great bass in a room this size. By the way, the design of the SS18.1 is a great match with my room since room gain begins just around the same frequency that the SS18.1 starts to roll off.

                          PSB Platinum Series – T8 (FL and FR), C4 (C), S2 (SL, SR, SBL, SBR) – these were the top of the range for PSB before production was shipped to China. Cabinets were built in Canada and the drivers were from SEAS in Norway.

                          Blu-ray – Sony-BDPS350 – nothing special here, a plain old Blu-ray.

                          DVD – Sony-DVPCX995V – this holds 400 DVDs and/or CDs and plays SACDs – I use it mostly for music listening.

                          Monitor – Samsung-LNR267W – the Sony DVD player is menu driven, so I use this 26” TV to navigate the menu rather than turning on the projector every time I want search for a CD.

                          Projector – Sony-VPL-VW70 – this has a very neutral image, Sony is hard to beat for reproducing skin tones accurately.

                          AV receiver – Denon-AVR-989 – again, nothing special here, however, it does have Audyssey XT.

                          Professional Amplifier - American Audio-VLP1500 - this is a 500 watt per channel amplifier which I use to power my T8s - it is located in the furnace room which is next to the home theater room because the fans are very loud.

                          Screen – Elunevision 125" Screen – this company sells screens at reasonable prices, and they are located in Hamilton, Ontario – this is a high gain (2.4) screen which is a beautiful match with my projector.

                          Sound Absorption Foam – I glued these panels to quarter inch pressboard – they are great for reducing the slap echo in my room.

                          Subwoofers – 1 Elemental Design-A7-450, 2 CHT SS18.1s and 1 MQ600 professional amplifier (review in progress).

                          Stay tuned.

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                          • #14
                            Rob - that is an AWESOME theater! Cannot wait for more impressions!

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                            • #15
                              Thank you Craig.

                              My music listening session continued. Simply put, I was curious about how my favorite pieces of music sounded with the SS18.1s. I mentioned in an earlier post that I have a highly variegated taste in music. In a single listening session, I will go from Beethoven's Ninth to Mary J. Bilge's The Breakthrough. Once again, the SS18.1s have risen to every occasion.

                              The heavy bass sound of my favorite hip hop CDs was very tight and tuneful. I have found that on some (most) hip hop CDs, the sound tends to be "over produced" with too much bass, so with lesser subwoofers the sound of the bass is sloppy; however, the SS18.1s are just fantastic in this regard - very "clean" bass with no overhang. Also, I listened to some jazz music. I appreciated what the SS18.1s are capable of in the upper bass regions, the so-called chest thumping bass. The SS18.1s really shine here. The sound of the hanging tom drums had just enough of that chest thumping feel to them. Very nice.

                              Once I was done with the music sessions, I started perusing my Blu-ray collection for some of my favorite bass scenes. I must admit, I do not have some of the most famous heavy bass scenes that people often mention on-line (I often read about the Skadoosh scene in Kung Fu Panda, but unfortunately I have never seen that movie); however, for my purpose here I will mention a couple of examples. First, I watched the introductory scene in The Dark Knight Rises. One of the first things I noticed is the authority with which the SS18.1s reproduced gun shots. They had a gut wrenching visceral feel to them. Here, the SS18.1s clearly outdid the A7450; however, when the large plane approaches in the scene I think the A7450 had an edge. This is not to say that the SS18.1s were slouches, but as the sound approached the tuning frequency of the A7450, it pulled ahead a little. Another example is the famous canon shots from Master and Commander. Again, I think that the canon shots had a little more authority with the A7450, but SS18.1s also sounded amazing. One thing that I did notice, no matter what I played through the SS18.1s, the overall sound was cleaner or not smeared compared to the A7450 (this may have something to do with a sealed vs. ported design). If I had to choose between the A7450 and the SS18.1s, I would definitely choose the SS18.1s, because overall they were clearly the winners to my ears.

                              So far in this review I have not mentioned one important (perhaps the most important) factor: cost. Let's keep in mind how inexpensive these subwoofers are in a market where astronomical pricing for great hi-fi has become the norm. Quite seriously, there is no match with the SS18.1s in their price range. These are probably the best value for your money anywhere. Also, Craig took the time to meet me in Buffalo and save me some money on shipping, which was also great. So, if you are looking for an incredible deal and great sound this is it.

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