Arx forum readers will recall that an Arx subwoofer had been raised as a likely new Arx product (click). A few of you have spoken directly with us about it. Since then we've gained the insights I think we need to fulfill one of the Arx community's preferred categories for a subwoofer design and we're ready to start talking about it.
(Before we say more, a disclaimer is in order: This conversation is not a commitment to either produce the design we're about to describe, nor is it a commitment to schedule the rollout of such a product. The purpose of this conversation is to lay out a strategy for a type of powered bass speaker that we at TAI and some of our readers and customers feel is a smart design with a potentially smart placement in the marketplace. Should this strategy prove sound, at that point we'll start talking about a detailed product description, the firm price, the introduction, and the arrival schedule.)
This said, the parameters are approximately these (again, subject to too many variables to allow us to commit to any one of these parameters or a set of them). This is really our shared wish list:
- A 10" single-SplitGap powered subwoofer
- Approximately 20Hz bass performance (-3 to -6 dB) at at least 100dB
- Sub-$500 price class
- Under 18" on a side - a simple cube
- Typical minimal Arx cosmetics, but heavy construction and very good performance
- Perhaps most importantly, a kind of audio performance that lends itself to Arx. This is not to be just another box that goes boom in the room.
- Modularity. A construction style and an economy that when used in multiple units we hope can allow this one product to scale its particular response and sound quality to nearly any level.
TAI feels that this set of basic parameters should guide the development and the success of a new Arx "ASub 10" product that, like the other Arx models, represents a similar product category as the predecessor Acculine products but at a much higher performance level.
So far this design demonstrates an unusually high degree of accurate and musical performance for the projected price category, but it does not compromise excellent performance with the mandate that this one product fills all needs for loudness. This is an important point: This design we think has the basics to really sound good, but at under 18" on a side and under $500 (or even under $400 if I dare to suggest that) just not to be our #1 contender for the loud-at-any-cost engineering that dominates the market.
100dB (and probably more) is a substantial level for an economy high-performance woofer with a genuinely full-band, linear, good-sounding response, but for users who need more, a pair of these affordable subwoofers, probably for under $1000 (and positioned to interrupt standing waves), could reach some 110dB in the twenties in-room and do so musically. A quad of them would power all but the largest residential systems - with real sound quality - and for under $2000.
This would be a modular product in the economy + performance class, meaning that it'd be both competent enough and inexpensive enough to make all kinds of sense to use in multiples in order to build just about any level of really good sounding bass you'd want.
But the really cool thing about this product would be the level of enjoyment just one unit would bring to thousands of typical mixed-use music and home theater systems. Cost would be kept very low yet performance would be genuinely superior.
Such an Arx product we expect to provide the style of Arx, the value of Arx, but a sound quality that we think could be fairly unique in the market at this price level. Naturally we'll do everything we can to lower the price to really suit the Arx family it would be part of. And in a modular format like we're thinking, low = more = happy.
We'd like to continue work on the concept and should it prove productive, offer some graphical representations in the next few posts below this one of what this design can do.
Please remember that I'm sharing our thinking here, reporting on about half of the development project, and that the risks of doing so without a final model in at least prototype stage are still written on this project. Don't hold us to any of this yet.
But...TAI would like your opinions. How does a uniquely-engineered subwoofer, priced perhaps well under $500, and making the full spectrum of very good-sounding bass strike you? How do you feel about being able to take this building block - which gives anyone an entry level to great performance - and expanding your system with it?