"Bottoming out" happens when the driver tries to exceed its excursion limits, typically (as you noted) while trying to reproduce low bass at high volume. For each octave lower you go in bass, the driver has to move four times further to reproduce the same volume (in a sealed enclosure). In a vented enclosure, such as the Soliloquy, the driver excursion actually decreases at resonance, then increases dramatically below resonance. Powerful bass signals significantly lower in frequency than the system resonant frequency can drive the woofer into over-excursion, resulting in mechanical "bottoming out". In addition, there is a tradeoff between midrange extension and efficiency on the one hand and bass output (including long excursion for high volume) on the other. The Solioquy 5.3 is intended to work well with fairly low powered amplifiers, and so the design trades off some bass excursion capability for higher efficiency.
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