REL Strata III vs. REL Q201E

Okay, I auditioned these the other day. The problem is, I liked both of them in the store. The Strata III produced a very encompasing bass presence that filled the room and had just a slight linger. The Q201E had some rather impressive punchy bass, that was slightly directional due to its forward firing driver, but the bass died rather quickly. I believe both of them have the ability, aside from home theater duty, to mooch off the amp signal and incorporate into regular 2ch listening. As the listening room I heard these in was more for home theater, I was curious which one everyone here feels would be better for 2ch listening? I took the Srata home for demo, but all I have connected it to is the home theater. The bass was good, precise, but honestly not as full sounding as the sub I replaced, M&K V-125. I hope this is due to a break-in period that the sub might need. If it doesn't get much better I don't know if I can justify the $1200 price. I thought about moving the sub to the side wall or a corner, but won't that kill any proper stereo listening? Tonight will try it out with the main speakers, B&W N804s, for stereo listening. Perhaps I purchased too small a sub? Maybe I need a Storm III? My room size is about 17x15 with carpet, a fireplace, furniture, and is open to the kitchen on one side.
Last night at Overture Audio in Ann Arbor I had the privilege of having Allan Haggar from Sumiko (the REL importer) and the great guys at Overture (JB, TJ, Patrick and Tom) give me a private after hours demo of the REL Stentor III. The Stentor III was used with SF Grand Pianos and VERY good Linn electronics (Linn CD-12, and Klimax amps and preamp) in an 18' X 20' room with no real room treatments I could see (except an acoustical dropped ceiling). The demo was very informative and revealing of what a properly set-up sub-bass system can add to good 2 channel system. I particularly like the flexibility of the inputs and controls. It is also most common that the RELs are crossed over MUCH lower than most people cross over most other subs (this Stentor II was cross over at 23 hz).

My advice to you is that you call Terry at Sumiko or try to get Allan (very knowledgeable and helpful) to help you. It is my understanding that, in most cases you will get the best reults from corner placement as that is how they are designed - to use the corner for proper loading (particularly for 2 channel). Since you are using B&W N804's (e.g., a quality speaker and not a small bass challenged satellite), my guess is that a REL Strata or Storm III, properly set-up, would improve your listening experience. And I can tell you from my experience from last night, the Stentor III even improved (and not so subtly) music, in this case solo classical piano with not much info below 70hz, without low bass by improving the sense of realism and greatly improving the sense of the venue.

I am a believer now in what a properly set-up REL can do and have ordered a Stentor III to augment my Hales T8s and Innersound Eros II. But, as always, this is based on my tastes and preferences but YMMV.
Rel Strata, Storm, Stadium, etc. is designed for 2 channel and HT. The Q series is more of a HT product.
I would at least get the Storm III for the N804s in the ST line of REL subs. The Q series were designed with HT in mind, but they are also very musical.
Have you heard the ACI Titan II LE? I ask, because I was going to get a used REL (can't afford a new one), until I tried a Titan II.

The Titan II has the admirable qualities of the RELs and then some, in my opinion. I'm quite familiar with the Strata, Storm, and the Stadium (v.2). They are, indeed, excellent and would work well for me, except, with some music, the Strata might struggle in my room. What I like about the Titan II LE is the ease with which it integrates with my speakers. Even with the less than optimal placement that my room requires, it disappears. Timbre and pitch remain true all the way down. It also has quite a bit of slam when required. The cabinet fits in with our elegant furnishings, and it's $1100 in the U.S.A.

It's available from Audio Concepts at

A friend of mine has a Vandersteen 2WQ which is another alternative ($1300), but placement is more critical than with the Titan II LE or the RELs mainly because of its shallow crossover, I think.
I agree with Sugarbrie.
I auditioned Strata and Storm A to B and got Storm III. It goes lower and the whole system sounds much more natural. I put it to the corner of my 12X14 room (one side is opened) and you never figure out that this great bass comes from this fine piece of furniture.
Don't judge it right away (I was disappointed also) - give it at least 150 hrs to break in. My mains Proac 1.5 go pretty deep, but still I realize how much low musical info I had been missing. To fully open up what Rel is capable of you must to replace stock power cord (any mid priced will work) and cable - I use XLO from (215-297-8824) - great result.
Just my suggestion.
Thanks all for the advice. I have replaced the power cord with a Transparent Cable. Sub sounds quicker. I am still auditioning and moving it around the room. Upgrading to the Storm might be necessary, but have some time still to let the Strata work its magic.
I own the Strata III and the Q150e. If space is not a consideration, I would prefer the Strata III over the Q150e for both 2ch and HT. The Strata does a much better job at blending in where it sounds as if a sub is not even present. The Q200, I believe, is similar to the 150e except more power. The Q series has a switch which one can use to give it more "punch" for HT, but I've found if the subs are set up properly, you don't need to adjust for this (if you want more "punch" just turn up the sub-woofer out level on your pre-amp). The Rel subwoofers are fantastic and you won't be disappointed with either.