As an audiophile, I've come to associate the size, weight, and price of a subwoofer as quick'n'dirty indicators of its quality. The subwoofers that have worked best in my large listening roomthe Velodyne ULD-18
, Muse Model 18
, REL Studio III
, JL Audio Fathom f113
, and Revel Sub30
each weigh more than 130 lbs and cost more than $2500. With some of my reference recordings, all of them have achieved what Robert Harley described in the April 1991 issue of Stereophile
as the goals of a quality subwoofer: "seamless integration, quickness, no bloat, and unbelievable bass extension." Yet are back-busting weight, unmanageable size, and nosebleed cost essential to achieving those goals?