REL's R528 SE sub-bass system

At this year's CES, Sumiko's John-Paul Lizars introduced me to REL Acoustics’ new R528 SE sub-bass system. He described it as an "ultra-high output version of the R528" but also as a more compact version of the company's flagship Gibraltar 1 subwoofer. The R528 SE is half the weight (58 lbs instead of 108 lbs), 43% of the volume, and 61% of the cost of the G1 ($2750 instead of $4499). While the larger G1 has a 600W class-AB amplifier, the R528 SE has a 500W class-D amplifier. Both subwoofers utilize REL's aluminum-chassis, 12", carbon-fiber–cone woofer, but the R528 SE adds a downward-firing 12" passive radiator. Low-frequency response are not that different, with the R528 SE's –6dB point at 21Hz, and the Gibraltar 1's 15Hz. Many audiophiles and home-theater fans may end up favoring the more compact new subwoofer.

Doctor Fine's picture

I'm a true believer that ultra low frequency playback belongs in a serious stereo system.  I use a stereo pair of 15" Velodynes dialed in BELOW the main system speakers.  These are run to increase clarity and musicality---NOT to add bass.  The system already has proper bass.

Ultra low frequencies from 35Hz down to 15 hz add "air" and "palpable midrange" by providing a foundation for the fundamental tones of instruments and even the human voice.  Much like a well built solid concrete foundation yields a tighter more substantial home---an ultra low bass foundation as long as it adds no harm or "boom"---will yield a tighter more believable sonic stability to all tones within normal hearing.

The only drawback is that you are hearing and "feeling" DEEPER than the recording engineer probably did.  Do not be surprised if you hear "goofs" in the lowest notes--perhaps some trucks pulling down the highway several streets away from the recording venue.  It ALL becomes apparent when your "hearing" is super human.

I can all ways turn them off.  You don't even notice when they are off.  Except that everything sounds worse.  Because then it just sounds like a great HiFi.

With Ultra low subs engaged it sound less like any known HiFi and more like reality.  Even if you can then hear things happening several miles away.  And Rel is the MASTER at setting up such products.  True story.