With all the hoopla over ultra-thin electronics–TVs for which depth will soon be measured in microns, gaming consoles and Blu-ray players that have “slim” right there in their product names, and, of course, all of the on-wall speakers designed to go along with these ever-thinner sources and displays–the subwoofer, it seems, has been mostly left out of the Star-Jonesification of the CE world. And the reason for that is simple; the reproduction of ultra-low frequency sound at any appreciable sound level requires a certain volume of air and drivers of a certain size. It’s a physics problem.
Even within its slim 44.5- x 14.25- x 3.5- inch cabinet Sunfire’s new SRS-210R SYS SubRosa Flat Panel Subwoofer boasts not one, but two powerful low-profile 10-inch drivers and a gut-wrenching 2,700 watts of total power. All of that power comes from an external rack-mountable (1U) amp unit.
That doesn’t mean, of course, that Sunfire’s new SRS-210R SYS SubRosa Flat Panel Subwoofer is supernatural. But there’s certainly something magical about it. Within its slim 44.5- x 14.25- x 3.5-inch cabinet–a sight to be behold in itself, with 11 hand-rubbed layers of lacquer that require nearly a month to apply–the SubRosa boasts not one, but two powerful low-profile 10-inch drivers and a gut-wrenching 2,700 watts of total power.
Actually, that last statement is a little misleading. All of that power comes from an external rackmountable (1U) amp unit, complete with phase, volume, crossover, and EQ controls, along with a microphone input for use with Sunfire’s (included) Room Equalization system. My first inclination was to ignore the Room Equalization in lieu of my Anthem D2v’s built in Anthem Room Correction (ARC), which does a beautiful job with low frequencies. But in the interest of full evaluation, I gave Sunfire’s auto-EQ a go and found it to be a nice complement to ARC. Perhaps it’s because the SubRosa carries a quite different sonic signature to the pair of Paradigm SUB 12s in my system (which I engaged and disengaged quite a bit over the course of this review to see how they paired with and compared to the SubRosa), or maybe Sunfire is running some proprietary voodoo of their own. Either way, the SubRosa’s Room EQ works well, and perhaps most surprisingly, works very quickly.
The speed with which the Room Equalization runs and processes probably won’t be a significant consideration for the average installer, but for the reviewer dead set on trying out the SubRosa in every possible location and configuration, it was nice to be able to re-EQ the system lickity-split. And because of the SubRosa cabinet’s slim profile– combined with the fact that its only tether is a single speaker cable connection to the amp–I was able to test it out in a veritable Kama Sutra catalog of different positions and locations: horizontal on the floor in front of my display; standing on its long edge beneath my center channel with the help of a pair of included feet; leaning against the wall with the help of an (also included) wall anchor; in front of the fireplace; behind the couch; even mounted to the wall itself (using just about the only piece of SubRosa paraphernalia that’s sold separately).
Given its flexibility and slender form, you’d expect the performance of the SubRosa to be hung with all sorts of caveats, like, “It sounds quite good… for such a slim sub,” or “given the convenience, one can forgive…” But no; this beautiful little beast pumps out some startlingly amazing, mostlycaveat- free bottom end, once you’ve found the right place for it. With everything from Zappa’s “Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow” to Buke & Gass’ “Medulla Oblllongata,” the SubRosa delivers a rich, robust, musical bottom end, and even the unmitigated LFE assault of Blue Man Group’s Audio DVD-A couldn’t make the system sweat, even at ludicrous volumes.
I will say, though, that with the final chapters of The Incredible Hulk, the SubRosa struggled to pump out the lowest of low frequencies at the same volume as my pair of SUB 12s, unless I actually sat on it. And no, I’m not kidding even a little bit. At a mere 3.5 inches thick, the cabinet slides perfectly under the loveseat in my main listening room. Granted, it’s a shame to hide such a gorgeous cabinet under a piece of furniture, but there’s no denying that doing so is the most efficient way of delivering those butt-shaking low frequencies right through the cushions and directly into the posterior.
The only other thing about the SubRosa that even approaches caveat territory is that it’s probably not well suited to larger spaces without some assistance. Even my modest 400-square-foot den is pushing the limits of one SubRosa’s ability to rock the room. Then again, given that the amp only takes up one unit of rack space (and only needs one slot above and below for ventilation, it’s really sort of amazing how cool this little amp runs). You probably won’t have much trouble finding room for two (or more) in larger spaces.
SRS-210R SYS SubRosa Flat Panel Subwoofer is a beautiful, novel, wonderful-sounding, space-saving subwoofer that comes with just about every bit of hardware you could possibly require to install it anywhere in the room.
One SubRosa alone isn’t quite enough to belt out the lowest of subsonic frequencies at the highest of volumes.
■ Woofers: Dual 10” neodymium custom, high excursion drivers
■ Driver Impedance: 3.3ohm
■ Frequency Response: 18- 115Hz
■ Maximum SPL (inc. room gain): 110dB
■ Amplifier (SRA-2700EQ)
■ Power Output: 2,700Wrms
■ Tracking Downconverter Power Supply
■ Soft Clipping Circuitry
■ Power Consumption (120VAC, 50-60Hz): 800W typical
■ Cabinet Dimensions (W x H x D): 44.5 x 14.25 x 3.5”
■ Cabinet Net Weight: 59 lbs