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JL Audio Dominion d108 Subwoofer Review Print E-mail
Wednesday, 30 March 2016
Article Index
JL Audio Dominion d108 Subwoofer Review
Set Up and Performance

Set Up

Here is a little secret. Having used subwoofers years ago with smaller satellite speakers, I grew tired of trying to integrate them, and gave up. I opted instead for larger, fuller range speakers that had satisfying bass. Having recently moved into a new house with with a listening space with high ceilings I began to wonder if the addition of a subwoofers to my Bryston Mini T stand mounts would make a difference. The Mini T has an eight inch woofer and according to Bryston goes down to the 33 Hz, which pretty decent extension. In other words the Brystons are not bass shy. just so happened the opportunity to review the JL Audio Dominion subs came about as I began to question my anti-subwoofer policy. I used the review samples in several configurations in two separate rooms. In my office system, I used them with Spendor S35/R monitors, an Aric Audio Expression tubed preamp, a variety of power amplifiers, and a Simaudio 280D streamer/DAC. In the main system, the speakers were as mentioned, Bryston Mini T, the just reviewed Rogue RP-5 preamp, a Simaudio 760 power amp, and a Bryston BDP2/BDA-3 file player and DAC combo.

There are several ways to set up subwoofers. One is with outboard calibration gear, which includes microphones, software, and DSP. And another way is by ear. It can get as complicated as you like it. I chose the “by ear” method. Also, with most subs, you have a choice of either using speaker level input, or line level input. Speaker level input means you run your speaker cables directly into your subwoofer, then an additional run of speaker cable to your main speakers. Line Level input means the sub receives the line output from your preamp or integrated amp, and you will use either your preamp/amp’s onboard bass management, or the controls available on the subwoofer. In either case, your speakers run full range.

In both my systems, I ran a stereo set of RCA cables from my preamps, both which have dual sets of variable stereo outputs, one for an amplifier, and one for a sub. The Dominion sub takes the stereo input and sums it to mono. After some experimentation, I set up each sub, in each system, just behind the left speaker. In the office system, I ended up with the crossover set at 60 Hz, and the gain control set at the reference point, twelve o’clock. In the main system, I ended up with the crossover at 40 Hz, and the gain backed off, set at roughly 9 o’clock. I experimented with, but ultimately did not change the phase and polarity settings. After using one each in two systems, I combined the Dominions in the main system for a stereo sub setup.


Listening to a variety of music, I did not specifically seek out bass-heavy stuff, but definitely material with high quality bass content. I called on one of my very favorite albums, System, by Seal. The near perfect blend of acoustic guitar, electronica, and moody grooves was great for helping dial in the Dominions. Stellar tracks like “Dumb”, “Amazing”, and the title track allowed me to hear the nice shimmering top end and mellow midrange with the Dominion’s low end reinforcement.

A recent remaster I have been enjoying -- Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall, 24/96 FLAC -- is full of amazing melodies, dazzling poly rhythms and, of course, classic bass lines. The Dominions allowed the entire mix to breathe, and the weight of the bass lines to propel the tracks forward. Shutting off the subs decreased the sense of drama and reduced the scale of the music.


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