REL Q108E, strange review, somewhat confused.

I just read a review in Home Theater Magazine.

I think there might be something either I dont understand, or this magazine does not understand.

This little $749 subwoofer got a real great review in the rag, but something i dont get.

It states this "Subwoofer can dig deeper and more forcwful than anything else in this price range"

Now here is the wierd thing.

the Lab measurements show this thing to have a very sharp peak at 100hz at 90db in the close-miked responce.
The -3db is 63hz and the -6db is at 52hz. The Amplifier on this runs 100Watts

Im not sure how such a claim of "this sub can dig deeper and more forceful" can apply to a subwoofer that is down 65db at 20hz!!!!

TWO PAGES LATER, however, is a review for the Outlaw LFM-1, This retails for $579.00. This subwoofer takes a 118DB peak at 60Hz, -3db at 25hz and -6db 22hz, 325W RMS with 1,300 Peak. This subwoofer looks like it will give you a nice kidney massage, from the SPECS alone, i would say they Outlaw LFM-1 gets WAY deeper and WAY WAY more forceful!

I understand that measurements cannot show how musical it is or how smooth, but Specs CAN (as far as i know) show how deep and forceful it is.

Personally, looking at specs alone, i would have a hard time calling the Rel Q108E a Subwoofer at all!

What am i not getting here folks? Both reviews were written by the same guy in the same issue!

I know rel has a wicked reputation for putting out top-notch subwoofers, but this does not make sence to me.

Anybody have any insight to this subwoofer? Anyone able to explain what he means when saying this Rel that can hit 40Hz at 80Db goes "Deeper" than a subwoofer thats 20Hz at 104db?

Not trying to slam on REL, but this makes no sence to me. Maybe my understanding of "Deep" and "Forceful" are way out of the ballpark
I feel this way about most REL subs when I read about them. Then, by accident I heard one (Storm, Strata, I don't remember) compared to the bigger Martin Logan sub (I was comparing speakers, not subs at the time). I was suprised at the differences. The ML sounded like a "sub", the REL provides low frequency energy not associated with any "thing". I don't understand how they do it but comparing REL subs to any other subs seems to be like comparing apples and mangos.
Specs can be very misleading by themselves. The overall solidity of the experience is key for bass. A seamless curtain of bass from 40 to 200 Hz can sound staggering compared to a "mushy" 20 to 200. Perhaps that is also the case with the REL per Mt's comments, even though it is 60 Hz and above. Or, maybe REL just advertises more ;-) You never really know a reviewer's tastes until you compare some of the same things he/she does. IMO, reviewers can open some doors and point out some areas of interest, but ultimately you can only trust yourself since, to quote thedautch, everyone has different gear and a different ear.
I have the Q108 in my secondary system (a Stadium III in the Ht/primary system). I am very satisfied with it and it does go quite low. It plays with a pair of Sonus Faber Concertos in a small room and I am quite happy with it. No audiophile comments, just a solid competant little sub.
There's a difference between adding "bass weight" and "adding bass extension". It would appear that the Rel is more suited to adding "weight" to speakers that may suffer from a lack of output on the bottom end. In effect, the REL may not really be extending the bass all that much, it is simply adding more of what is already there. That's why it is easier to blend. If the system sounded lean, it's quite possible that the addition of the REL could drastically increase the solidity of sound reproduced WITHOUT massively exciting other nodes in the room that are lower in frequency.

The Outlaw looks to be a much better design if one is looking for quantity and extension, but it could be quite lacking in quality. That is, one can achieve very high peaks and great extension by using a driver that is very hard to control ( giant impedance peak at resonance ) and tuning the system for a lot of "false" aka "undamped" bass output. The end results is GOBS of bass, but quite lacking in transient response i.e. detail and definition. Without looking at the actual test results and knowing how the tests were performed, i'm basically talking gibberish though.

Other than that, i am of the persuasion that some spec's can provide you with a very good idea of what to expect of a component. Maybe not the whole story, but at least a good portion of it. Sean