Definitive Technology SuperCube Trinity Signature Subwoofer 
Home Theater Loudspeakers Subwoofers
Written by Bryan Southard   
Sunday, 01 April 2007

There are few more challenging tasks in the sport of home theater than selecting and setting up a subwoofer in your system. What makes a subwoofer such a challenging selection is perhaps best explained by its name. The operative section of the word is “sub,” which refers to subsonic frequencies that are defined by being for the most part inaudible. Although subwoofers also handle higher audible frequencies, the meat and potatoes of a sub are better felt than heard.

The Definitive Technology SuperCube Trinity Subwoofer is an incarnation developed specifically for the Trinity Church in New York. When Definitive Technology was approached with the challenge of amplifying and accurately reproducing the church’s massive pipe organs, Definitive rose to the occasion. Providing a single bi-polar tower for each organ pipe, the Trinity Sub has been designed to become the cornerstone and low-end reinforcement of the most challenging instrument in the world to reproduce – the mighty pipe organ.

The SuperCube Trinity Subwoofer is a necessary departure from the growing trend of miniature subwoofers designed more to hide from your view than to provide uncompromised sub bass performance. Although many of the mini-cubes provide a fantastic amount of bass performance for their size, there is no arguing the benefits achieved in larger packages – and a larger package the Trinity is.

The Trinity sub is styled in typical Definitive Technology fashion, with its black fabric covering and your choice of superbly finished piano black or cherry top cap. Measuring 18 inches by 18 inches and a remarkable 31-and-three-quarters inches tall, this sub does anything but hide in a corner. With a mass weight of 175 pounds, this sub begs to be positioned and left alone. The SuperCube Trinity Subwoofer has a rated frequency response of 10Hz-200Hz. As a reference, 10Hz is most often reserved for earthquakes and late-night mortar attacks. The Trinity uses two 14-inch-long throw SuperCube drivers coupled to four infrasonic passive radiators. Behind its speaker complement is a massive 2,000-watt digitally coupled class D amplifier, with plenty of juice to spare.

Connections are typical for the SuperCube line, with a continuously adjustable low-pass crossover capable of 40Hz-150Hz via an unfiltered LFE direct-coupled input. It provides a high-pass crossover of the same frequencies and variable 180-degree phase adjustment, an essential feature for optimal set-up.

I connected the Trinity Sub through its LFE input. Initially, I mimicked both position and settings of my reference Linn Sizmik subwoofer, which was professionally set up by renowned acoustician Bob Hodas. I set the low-pass crossover to 80Hz, the phase to 100 degrees and set the volume with my analog SPL meter to match my front loudspeakers. I then installed the spikes to keep the Trinity from vibrating across the room and reducing me to a pancake.

Music And Movies
As this is a subwoofer review, I lined up a couple of solid action films rather than dialing up such Oscar hopefuls as, say, Little Miss Sunshine, which wouldn’t exactly provide the thump needed to really test a top of the line subwoofer. 2006’s 16 Blocks (Warner Home Video) surprised few as a typical Bruce Willis saga equipped with whimsical one-liners and plenty of gunfire and car wrecks to exercise the Trinity’s low-frequency prowess. In this simple plot, NYPD Detective Jack Moseley (Willis) is assigned to transport petty criminals to their court appointments, a simple job for an old and tired officer who’s a stone’s throw from retirement. In Willis-flick fashion, the plan goes awry and guns are drawn. Although the action is mediocre at best, there is plenty of “bang” for my buck. The trinity sub produced an abundance of low frequency energy I had not yet felt in my theater. It took some minor calibration and adjustment to get the Trinity to blend with my Revel Salon loudspeakers. However, once tweaked, my low-frequency information became seamless and the SuperCube Trinity literally disappeared. I found this to be a tremendous early indication that there is more to this sub than brawn. It can be difficult to blend slower low-frequency drivers to ultra-fast loudspeakers. Although many suggest that any sub can be blended well with knowledge and patience, this is simply not true. I have had some of the better subs produced and have been unable to integrate them seamlessly. The Trinity subwoofer has a rare agility that transcends its massive shape. Gunshots had a percussive ring that was as convincing as I have heard. Being that my Revel Salon loudspeakers have been measured down to 18Hz at -3dB in my room, my patience for reduced performance in order to achieve a few lower frequencies is nonexistent. Because of this, I often reduce the volume of the subwoofer in order to not pollute my more pure bass information. The Trinity sub provided flawless low-frequency support that made me constantly want to turn it up. I remained enamored by the previously missing information that I was now hearing.

I upped the ante with some of my favorite war footage from We Were Soldiers (Paramount). Although this movie has its share of corniness from its director, our resident anti-Semitic poster boy Mel Gibson, it also has some of the best shoot ‘em up footage since Saving Private Ryan. Soldiers is set in the early days of the Vietnam War and has a plethora of flying bullets, mortar and air attacks. I first played this flick without the use of the SuperCube Trinity Sub, then added its might, and might it was. It made the difference between watching the war and actively dodging bullets as a live observer. What was most impressive was the Trinity’s ability to provide earthquake-like thunder without over-saturation. Large subwoofers often overcome my room. Once properly set up, saturation and overabundance were not a problem in the least.

The Terminator trilogy is perhaps one of the greatest action series of all time. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (Warner Home Video) dishes out a low-frequency pounding like few can. In the scene where the Terminator walks into the bar to acquire some much-needed clothes, the impending fights had huge impact. Although a subwoofer doesn’t provide much of the audible information, it does provide the bottom end, and when the bottom doesn’t mach the top, sloppiness prevails. The Trinity sub was having no part of any sloppiness and rocked with authority. As the Harley fires up and begins to idle, there was so much thump that I could almost smell exhaust fumes. Wow, this subwoofer can move some air. Looking to jump-start your pacemaker? The Trinity sub might just be the most powerful and energetic sub to grace the sub-$5,000 market. It is in fact the most articulate and dramatically energetic sub that I have auditioned.

Many subwoofers shake the rafters during movies, but bass that is agile and articulate enough to properly reinforce music is a whole different story. In lower-priced systems, this is a breeze, yet trying to compliment higher-performing speakers is anything but. It’s simply not easy to get a low-frequency driver to moves masses of air quickly enough to catch up with smaller and more efficient bass drivers found in the better loudspeakers.

Metallica’s Black Album on DVD-Audio is one the more bombastic rock releases of past decades. Definitely over-played on “alternative” radio, this recording still serves as a great reference for low-frequency extension and overall cohesiveness. “Sad But True” has enormously powerful bass that dips to the lowest octaves in solid fashion. I played this cut without the use of the SuperCube Trinity to get a good reference. I then added the Trinity sub and was surprised with the results. With my Revel Salons reaching down to a flat 20Hz, the audition without the sub in the system was tight and very deep, leaving me to wonder where improvement could come from. With the Trinity sub in the rig, the bass had the same quickness and snap, but with tons more energy. The kick drum had so much power that it felt like I was being squeezed. Even the higher ranges of the Trinity Sub (20-40Hz) sounded clean and nimble – in many ways better than what you will hear at a Metallica show live. The intro to “The Unforgiven” has proven difficult in the past for my system, thanks to its beefy bass notes. My fear was that standing waves could easily saturate my limited room size of 12 feet by 20 feet. There was some room resonance, but overall, there was great control at high volumes. Better yet, the low frequencies didn’t overburden the lush, higher-frequency information. The recording remained detailed and percussive.

Continuing on, I went with one of the early 1980s’ more successful classis rock releases, Foreigner 4, DVD-Audio (Atlantic). There are few who graduated high school in the ‘80s who didn’t dance awkwardly to this record at one or more of their proms. This album is a complete assault on the average guy’s manhood. Like the moped joke, I think this record is best reserved for private moments. The song “Jukebox Hero” has a lot of very heavy bass information that can be particularly problematic at high volumes in some systems. It’s no surprise that the SuperCube Trinity had the quickness to make this piece thunderous without congestion and bloating of the bass. I listened to this cut at greater than 100 dB and it sounded tight, with gigantically percussive bass. I found this particularly impressive, because it’s been a long time since this cut moved me. The Trinity Sub came up big. “Urgent” starts with the combination of mighty snare strikes and bass guitar. I again found myself looking for the remote to turn up the volume. As powerful as the sub frequencies felt and sounded, the Trinity blended seamlessly with my Revel Salons and never stepped forward in my soundstage – a very impressive audition.

As a final test, I grabbed an old test favorite with the band Yello and their 1989 release Flag (Mercury). This is an electronic, synthesized high-energy recording that has tight bass and drums that can really get the blood flowing. In this cut, the Trinity Subwoofer “huffed and puffed ad blew the house down” with tight and articulate bass. This was an old favorite of mine that got lost in relative obscurity over the years and the Trinity has brought it back with a bang. I forgot how powerful and engaging this recording could be.

The Downside
With its noteworthy performance, the Trinity sub has few downsides. One glaring consideration is the size of this sub. Although this subwoofer produces a tremendous amount of thunder, it comes in a physically large package. Although I have never had space constraints that necessitated a mini-cube style sub, the Trinity sub sits in my theater like an oak tree stump. I personally liked the size, because it played a dual role as an end-table, yet those who yearn to conceal their subs may find frustration. The fact is, if you want really big bass, you need a really big subwoofer.

Due to its sheer mass and extreme low frequencies, the Trinity Subwoofer, like all subs, performs best on a solid floor. This sub can turn your suspended wood floor into a rolling platform. To get the most out of this product, as I did, I recommend solid flooring beneath it.

Subwoofers live a fairly thankless life. They sit in the background, often concealed under coffee tables and in corners that are seldom seen. Once they are set up, they are often forgotten about. We consider the best performing subs ones that blend so well you can hardly tell they’re on. To add insult to injury, they don’t even get a whole number, as they are merely the “point one” in a 5.1 system. Subs are like the Rodney Dangerfields of the loudspeaker world, but once you hear a top-performing woofer do its magic, you will not want to live without one. Without question, the Definitive Technology Trinity subwoofer must be considered in an elite class of subwoofers at the absolute performance level.

The Trinity is incredibly tight-sounding and a great compliment to any high-performing entertainment system. It is deep enough to transport you to depths you’ve never been before, yet can stay agile enough to satisfy the most discerning music enthusiasts. At $3,000, it’s not inexpensive when you look at the overall subwoofer market, yet with regard to performance, the Definitive Trinity would be considered a killer at double its price. At $3,000, this subwoofer is a steal.
Manufacturer Definitive Technology
Model SuperCube Trinity Signature Subwoofer
Reviewer Bryan Southard

Like this article? Bookmark and share with any of the sites below.
Digg!Reddit!!Google!StumbleUpon!Yahoo!Free social bookmarking plugins and extensions for Joomla! websites!
Joomla SEF URLs by Artio