You might take a look at ACI's lastest the Maestro.
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The best reasonably sized subwoofer in my experience is a sealed box design (3.5 cubic feet) based on the Adire Tumult 15" driver (www.adireaudio.com). In this configuration it is well damped (Q about 0.55) and has a typical in room F3 of just about 20 Hz. It has a very clean sound and can produce prodigious sound pressure levels when fed sufficient power. This is a DIY project (check out www.partsexpress.com for a good prefabricated enclosure and 1000 watt plate amp), but well worth the effort. I use two in my home theater and the results are astounding on both movies and music. Good luck!
I have a pair of the new powered 21" Cabasse A55 subwoofers on order for delivery in late march or early April. Based on what I heard at CES, I think they may be state of the art. They incorporate a woofer whose mass is about that of a typical 10" driver, a 1000 watt amp, a parametric equalizer, variable phase and cross over point and weigh 450# per side.
I too have tried REL subs (as well as many others)- and I could not get them integrated - in fact, they sounded the best when they were unplugged. If you ask Wilson Benesch about subwoofers, they will most likely tell you what they told me, "Subwoofers are evil". I didn't believe it at first but I do now. One of the many benefits to using Wilson Benesch speakers is how seamless they sound - adding a subwoofer seems to introduce nothing but problems.
If you go with a sub, make it a Velodyne HGS - 12" or smaller and try to find a home for it in-between your speakers or the midrange & soundstage will get too distorted. The volume will need to be set very low and the crossover must be set to the minimum (40Hz) or use an external crossover set between 33 and 37Hz depending on your room for better integration.
The Revel B15 driver (made by JBL) is available by itself - so, buy it, build a box, and equal or surpass the B15 performance for 1/4 the price or less. I think P.E. has the driver....
the Tumult is a good choice too, DIYcable.com I think has kits using that driver and a plate amp - for around $800 or so? build your own box or buy theirs...
I just picked up a Velodyne DD-12, and let me say that this was the most significant upgrade that I have done to my system. I have a very difficult room, bass-wise, and the ability of the Digital Drive series subs to not only analyze, but also correct for, such room characteristics is nothing short of revolutionary. Combine that with a very fast, musical sub that absolutely disappears, and it becomes a tough act to beat. Don't shy away from Velodyne just because they also make more affordable subs. The Digital Drive line is very much a "must audition" line of subs.
I'll tell you this much from years of experience, and that's that any of the top rated more accurate audiophile subs out there, properly setup, calibrated, possitioned, integrated, balanced with the seats and rest of the sytem, etc, will sound immensly better than even the most expensive highly touted sub(s) which isn't set up correctly!
There are many many good candidates, as long as the bass output is enough for the room/system it's used with!(e.g., enough bass for the set up). Most of the "A rated" subs', and even "B" for either music(if that's your use) or HT(if subs in that category apply).
I'm sure many people will associate woofers from companies like Rel, Bag End, Entec, or whatever other music sub comes to mind for audiophile playback. But I can easily think of subs like Revel B-15, M&K MX5000, Paradigm Servo 15, Infinity MTS woofers, maybe Velodyne HGS18, Thiel's woofer, Genesis's THX woofer's,
Wilson's way too expensive woofer, Wise Profounder's woofer, Earthquake's Supernova 15, etc, etc, and many others, that would be sonically superb in most any HT/music system when set up/calibrated properly!
I'm in favor of thinking that, at least for music, all things considered, with a good sub with a good high "Q factor"(e.g., tight well damped woofer), set up correctly, you should be able to get some sonically superb results from many of the offerings out there! I think there's not just "one sub" to be had is all I'm saying
Nothing or, at least, large numbers of smaller drivers, will move the air or couple with the room like a large driver (think as a minimum 18" or larger). Many years ago I heard a Levinson HQD system with the 24" Hartley subs. Boy could those drivers move air with impact. I later used Entec L40F's (4 10" woofers per side with equalzation and servos). Faster and cleaner than the Hartleys but unable to move the same amount of air. Have you ever considered the cost of the drivers used by most manufactrers of subs; not a pretty picture. Check out the drivers used by Velodyne for instance, then price a single 24 " Hartley. Likewise consider the weight and bracin of the cabinets.