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Review of the Sundown Audio X15

  #1  
Old 09-27-2014, 10:46 PM
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Default Review of the Sundown Audio X15

So I have had the X15 for about a year now and I just sold it off in favor of 2 E10 V2s. Altoncustomtech mentioned that I should do a review on it to show the beastieness of the thing so here we are.

First up, at $450 this thing isn't cheap, but when I got it out of the box I wasn't disappointed. It comes in at just a hair under 50 lbs and was almost as long as it was wide (remember that this is a 15" sub we're talking about.) The rubber surround seems to be about 1/8th" thick and was definitely designed for some serious power. While the sub is rated at 1350 W RMS, I've heard that people run them at 2K without issue. As I never pushed it passed 1000 W RMS I can't say for sure, but what I can say is that I never even came close to maxing out the extension of this thing on 1000. (Xmax for one direction is 30mm)

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It is so large that the correct sized box for it is 4.25 f^3, and that is a huge box for many applications, let alone the trunk of a 2 door car. I never got around to building the correct sized box for it so keep that in mind when I go on about the performance.

So I got it in a pre-fab box, which I believed to be a temporary solution but I never got around to building the correct sized one due to space constraints. But I will say, that even in a ported box that was half the size required by the X15, and only being pushed at 1000 W, the thing absolutely HAMMERED. You could feel the wind coming off it in the front seats and it vibrated the entire car so bad you couldn't use any mirrors attached to the vehicle. Not to mention the fact that it would actually vibrate your eyeballs within your own skull at the same time. The low notes with this thing were just incredible. It's got a Fs of ~20 Hz so there weren't any notes that I could tell that it couldn't hit on the low end. But the higher notes didn't really exist with it (this could be a box size issue but I'll still bring it up) I like to listen to rock, metal, electronic, rap, hiphop, pretty much everything, but this woofer only seemed suited to the rap, hiphop, and bass heavy electronic genres. The quick bass notes of the rock, metal, and country genres really didn't come through with this woofer very well. Probably has something to do with how heavy the motor assbly. is, but I'm no expert there. I always found myself turning up the bass when listening to those kinds of music, and turning it down when listening to the others. Because of the lack of 'midbass,' I found myself adjusting the x-overs of my components far lower than they were comfortable with (about 50-60 Hz) and I was actually considering getting midbass optimized woofers to fix this issue.

So, this is a great long deep bass note sub, but not such a great all around sub. It specifically says on the Sundown site that this is the case saying 'These woofers are designed excel in high output DAILY low frequency applications. If you are looking for a burp driver or a driver to excel on “higher” bass frequencies; this is NOT it.' But I guess I didn't realize just how 'low' the low notes they were talking about when I read it. 20 Hz is so low that it is considered to be the lowest point most people can hear, so when the Fs is at that point, you know there isn't a whole lot of range that you can get from this that is useful.

So here's my conclusion:
If you want the wow factor when listening to something like 'Woofer cooker' or 'Mercy', this is your sub.

If you want to have all around performance, this isn't the right sub for you.

If you want something to fit inside a car, any kind really, this isn't your woofer.

If you want to put this in your blazer, and are willing to give up the vast majority of your cargo area for low notes, then this is an option for you.


Some quick notes;

Build quality: Superb, this is the reason that I'll probably never buy a sub from any other company. Yes it was expensive, but I didn't get it and immediately regret it when I saw it because this thing was built like a house (not like the houses being built these days, but you get what I mean.)

Reliability: I understand that the mechanics of a sub are pretty simple, but when you get that amount of mass moving that fast, things can get ugly. And I never had any problem with any part of the sub.

Looks: The thing just looks fantastic IMO, I typically don't care for the dust caps that bump out, but that surround and the stitching on it were a thing of beauty, even when looking at the back end of it.

One last thing. My friend bought 2 new Rockford fosgate T1s (12") and when he pushed his to the maximum power that they were rated for, his were about the same volume as my one X15 at lower than max power. That says a lot about how much of a name brand price you could be paying for RF as opposed to the Sundown name.
 
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Old 09-27-2014, 11:31 PM
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I'm going to help to clarify on the output at higher frequencies, I hope you don't mind.

Much more than just the Fs of the driver, or it's own naturally resonant frequency, has to do with the overall response and that's not even factoring in the enclosure. There's a reason why optimal enclosure volumes exist. However, let me say that given the fact you had the woofer in a smaller than optimal enclosure and it still didn't give you much response at higher frequencies tells me that it's just not going to give them no matter what enclosure alignment you gave it. Typically a smaller enclosure will have a higher Q alignment and more of an upper end response. While a larger enclosure will have a lower Q alignment and better low end response. That's the reason that most midbass oriented enclosures are much smaller than an enclosure designed for a full or wide response. I used to quote and put a link up about enclosures for midbass speakers but the site that was on closed down some time ago. Suffice it to say the article on the subject was a good one and a learning experience for anyone who wasn't already acclimated to the information.

Now, back to reality, while it's no surprise that's its primarily a low end monster it is good to read a little about it in a real world application. Thanks for the write up!
 
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Old 09-28-2014, 10:49 AM
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Excelent reveiw!
 
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Old 09-28-2014, 05:24 PM
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Thanks for the clarification alton, I don't know nearly enough about how the Q of the sub and enclosure work to aid/ hinder the performance at certain frequencies. I have read somewhere that a smaller enclosure will push the higher notes more, but as I've mentioned, I'm no expert.
 
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Old 09-28-2014, 08:25 PM
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What you read was correct which was why I wanted to clarify that there wasn't anything else you could have done to help that sub with it's response on the upper bass notes.

It did affect the low end response/output though so if you thought it was badass in the enclosure you had it in just imagine what it would have done if you had ever put it in the optimal enclosure.

The sub would definitely require a STRONG front stage that had the ***** to keep up in the midbass department. I would imagine that coupled with such a system that sub would be at the top of pile of other comparable subs.

It's too bad you're set on the E series, there's a new company called DSS (Direct Sound Solutions) that has a sub called the Ethos that is VERY at home in small ported enclosures and has very good and flat frequency response (great SQ) with killer output.
 
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Old 10-04-2014, 12:46 AM
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I'm far from set, they just looked like what I was looking for. Something small and fairly powerful. Probably going to go with a sealed enclosure though.
 
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