Searching for a Sealed Sub to Go with My Maggies

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Q I want to add a subwoofer to my Magnepan MG12 speakers in a two-channel-only setup. I had an HSU sub over the years and found the sound very deep yet somewhat “bloated,” for lack of a better term. I am looking at sealed subs to keep up with the pace of the Magnepans. I can budget up to $1,000 but would prefer to spend less. The room is 380 square feet, with the listening area directly in the center. I’ve considered the RSL Speedwoofer Mk II (I know it has a rear-facing slot), a Rythmik L12, and the SVS 3000 Micro. Your professional insight would be appreciated. —Craig A.

A You’re on the right track focusing on subs with sealed designs. As RSL and Rythmik both specialize in selling directly to consumers, I haven’t had any experience with them, but I am quite familiar with SVS, which makes both sealed and ported subwoofers. I have an SB16-Utra in my system, and I’ve known the people inside the company for many years, so I reached out to them for some insight. According to Nick Brown, VP of marketing for SVS, “Sealed subwoofers ultimately result in more accurate frequency response and quicker transient speed than ported subs. In real world terms, this means the listener experiences tighter, more articulate and musical bass, with less perceived overhang, making them a natural choice for critical music applications.”

Unless a small footprint is paramount, the company recommends the SB-2000 Pro over the 3000 Micro for superior performance and output; both sell for the same price — $900. However, Ed Mullen, SVS’ director of technology and customer service offered up another option: “For this room size and application, I recommend a pair of SB-1000 Pros ($600 each). These will have plenty of dynamic output, excellent transient response, and musicality, and you’ll also benefit from stereo bass. For a smooth integration with the Magnepan MG12’s, start with a low-pass filter setting of 45 Hz with a 24
dB/octave slope and then adjust the volume for a level match.”

In truth, there’s nothing like hearing a sub in your room on your system. Fortunately, all three of these companies offer in-home trial periods. For RSL, it is 30 days with a flat $25 return fee; with Rythmik, it is 45 days and you pay return shipping. With SVS, you can try a sub for 45 days with no return fee and the company offers a 1-year trade-up policy.

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