Choosing the Right Subwoofer Series: A Comprehensive Comparison Guide

So, maybe you’re new to high performance subwoofers, but now you’ve learned about REL: How do you decide which subwoofer model or range is right for you?

Here’s a quick way to get started, with an emphasis on our beginner models since folks who are looking at our upmarket Serie S and Reference models have a little to a lot more experience and should have a better idea of their wants and needs.

1. Serie HT

Serie HT: “I’m a Total Newbie to this world of subwoofers and deep bass, I honestly just want something that will bring movies alive.”

Perfect, have we got a wonderful solution for you. Our first entirely new range in a decade, the HT range (short for Home Theatre) is designed for you. While we don’t dabble in the truly cheap stuff (you’ll find nowhere is the adage that “You get what you pay for”) these models are rightfully considered bargains.

Well built, they play extremely deep and play incredibly loud as you would expect from REL. The same design and engineering team that created our flagship products that go for as much as $48,000 fully realized, designed these models too. As an extra bonus, they actually sound incredibly musical; something few subwoofers at any price do but then, these are genuine RELs after all.

The entry model HT/1003 uses a fast, light 10” bass driver with a special cone made of CarbonGlas™, a hybrid of glass fiber and carbon fiber to produce agile, bass with tremendous slam and dynamics to handle those big special effects in movies. It takes real power to produce the jump factor in theater, so it uses a 300 watt amp; it’s a lot of content and quality for not a huge sum of money.

REL Acoustics T/9i Serie T/x Subwoofer

Above the HT/1003 are two bigger models that deliver the goods in their 500 watt/12” ‘hood and the aptly named Predator that will eat small pets if not fed a regular diet of big movie soundtracks.

2. Serie T/x: “That’s great for the movie buff on a diet, but what if I’m an omnivore? You know, the type that loves music AND movies and when I do either, I really want to be transported into the movie or song.”

Great for families on their way up, music lovers who have been hearing about how much deep bass improves the listening experience across the entire range of music, and those who love world class design at budget pricing. And it doesn’t even need an AV receiver to transform a movie. What you’ve never heard a great 2.1 system? You need to get out more.

2: Serie T/x

Serie T/x represents what may be the best balance of virtues in this entire universe of subwoofer possibilities. It’s the perfect generalist, with musical moves to die for courtesy of things like large, high current power supplies built into big Class A/B amps, gorgeous treatments like 8 coats of hand rubbed lacquer finishes (check out the Piano White for a truly special experience, unless you’re one of those whose walls are actually painted black…) And anything that looks like machined billet aluminum actually is (not spray painted plastic like the low-priced spread).

T/x is where our legendary High Level Connection is first made available, connecting directly to the speaker outputs on your amp or receiver but uses none of its power . Sound like magic? It kind of is, and it results in perfect, seamless blending of our subs with your main speakers, which means you just get a rich, natural experience that sounds nothing like your Father’s hi fi and more like hearing real musicians in a real space.

REL Acoustics S/812 Serie S Subwoofer

3. Serie S

Serie S is for Special: By the time you consider Serie S, you’ve experienced, and likely have owned, a few (ok, many) speakers.

If you’re thinking about Serie S, music systems and perhaps a home theatre are second nature. Still, you’ve come to this high end subwoofer business slowly and carefully. After all, over the years so many subwoofers had no ability to blend properly with the main speakers, something REL has been doing for over 3 decades. Those other subs made this dull, throbbing boom and you took 2 aspirin and hoped the bad sound would go away in the morning.

Wake up to Serie S, our finest value, and something that pushes into near Reference performance.  Welcome home to deeply satisfying quality, with speed, delicacy and when called upon, incredibly thrilling instantaneous dynamics that leave you speechless. Naturally, we offer High Level Connectivity that requires just 8 milliseconds to go from an electron entering to sound exploding out.

These aluminum-backed-by-carbon fiber-coned wonders have taken the high end audio world by storm and have amassed an incredible number of “Best of” and “Subwoofer of the Year” awards. Frequently sold in stereo pairs, they partner with speakers ranging from perhaps £2,500($3,000)–£10,000($15,000).Their ability to operate in stacks of 3 per channel–a technique first authored by REL on our Reference range– result in jaw dropping performance that simply transforms large systems. Used in this way, they bring magic to speakers that run up to £30,000($40,000).

4. Reference

REL Acoustics No. 25 Reference Series Subwoofer

Reference: When a system is truly nec plus ultra, when every detail has been attended to, the room has been perfectly tuned and the goal is simply the finest listening experience possible we offer REL Reference. Our Reference designs employ the fastest filters devised for subwoofer application at an incredible 4 milliseconds and make use of specially designed 1,000-watt amplifiers.

For perfect fine tuning, dual parametric EQ allows for gentle trimming of bass, enough to eliminate the last vestiges of room bloom. And their pure carbon fibre cones have zero discernible grain pattern, which allows for perfect, seamless meshing with the finest speakers built.

Select Reference when your system demands the finest. Naturally, these models were where we designed and developed our Line Array technology. Stack 3, or for very large scale systems, 5 high per channel.

We hope this brief tour of the world of REL helps you locate where within our world you belong. It’s important to recognize that no matter your budget, we work just as hard and we utilize the same engineering team to deliver the best we know how to deliver. It is exceedingly rare for a company to do this, often junior engineers are dumped onto lesser projects and the results speak for themselves. But the luxury of doing just one thing and doing it perfectly is what has propelled REL for the past three decades. Thank you for providing us the opportunity to do so.

March 2, 2021 - Posted in: Deep Dive Setup