|Definitive Technology SuperCube Reference Subwoofer|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Subwoofers|
|Written by Tim Hart|
|Sunday, 01 August 2004|
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Music and Movies
Enamored with the higher-resolution formats, such as SACD and DVD-Audio, I couldn’t wait to hear what the SuperCube Reference was going to do for me. I popped in the remastered-to-SACD copy of Peter Gabriel’s Plays Live Highlights (Geffen Records). “San Jacinto” was first up. The immediate impression I had was that I have been missing a lot of low-level detail. The Revel Studios have a marvelous bass extension down below 30 Hz, but the SuperCube Reference allowed me to realize what I have been missing in the sub-ten Hz range. The delicate resonant texture of the non-linear bass playing by Tony Levin took on a new dimensionality. The gravelly quality was handled with a firm control. The tautness and snap on the kick-bass drum had great energy and didn’t collapse or distort despite high volume levels. It blended better than I thought possible with the Revels, although I did notice a very faint bloom to some bass notes that I’ve not heard with the Revels alone. Some quick measurements suggested a peaky response in the 25-30 Hz range. More twiddling with the phase and the high- and low-pass filters took care of some of the bloom, but a tad remained. Towards the last part of the tune, the chorus on “No Self Control” has a synth-accompanied bass line that filled the area between my Revels with a very detailed and layered soundstage that had great depth and pinpoint instrument location within the soundstage. The added presence of the live recording was very enjoyable.
Next up was A Perfect Circle’s Thirteenth Step (Virgin Records). Having just seen them live in San Francisco two months ago, their sound was still very clear in my mind. One aspect of that show was the thundering bass and drums that shook us the whole event. This recording leans towards the warm side and pleasantly so, with deep accentuated lower register information. The bass lines on “The Package” are deep, crunchy and punchy, highlighting the SuperCube Reference’s ability to control with authority. The transients on this track demand articulation and deftness and the SuperCube Reference does an admiral job. Never does the attack sound like it collapses. The dynamics never seemed muddy or congested, especially when the music gets heavy. “Pet” attacks with powerful kick drum, bass and thundering guitar, but the SuperCube Reference never seemed to bat an eyelash under the assault. All layers of detail were faithfully rendered as previously heard without the SuperCube in my system, but now they were fleshed out and even more extended with whiplash accuracy. Slam and pace were maintained throughout this piece, never drawing attention to its location. The SuperCube Reference had become one with my system.
On to one of my favorite test DVDs, I popped in “Star Wars Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace” (Lucasfilms Ltd.) for the pod race. A subsonic hum of turbines firing up heralds the race’s start. The SuperCube’s ability to sort out the subtle details of the different thrumming engine sounds and still convey the unique sound of each in the melee of the start was impressive at high volumes. It never got overwhelmed or congested with the information it had to process, and what came out was truly spectacular.
The Rush in Rio DVD (Anthem) seemed like a good choice to air out the SuperCube Reference with some polyrhythmic sleight of hand with Neil Peart’s “O Baterista.” At loud volumes, the SuperCube Reference conveyed the subtle and dynamic impact of Peart’s drums with dexterity. There is a portion of his drum solo that is done on electronic drums, and some of the lower frequencies came across in such a way that it made this section sound new to me. This happened a few times during my listening sessions. It felt like a different perspective had been added, and I liked the view.
“Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World” (20th Century Fox/Universal) allowed the SuperCube to show me what SPL is all about. Starting with the first encounter with the French ship as it opens fire at a distance, you don’t as much hear the cannon shots as feel them. The visceral impact of the sound wave of the distant cannon shot is impressive. I’d not expect a 14-inch driver to move the air in quite that way. When the two ships face off the onslaught, it is intense. I overloaded my room at this point and had to back off of the volume a bit, but it got the neighbors’ attention.