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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Home Theater Speaker Review!
Episode Triple 10 Powered Subwoofer:
“Single-Active, 2X-Passive Complement
Deliver Major League Low-End Energy

Price: $999 (installer dealer only)
Likes: tight, clean, small sub bass
Dislikes: huh? this sub has everything
Wow Factor! big performance/small size
More info: Episode Triple 10

by John Gatski
 Snap AV’s Episode speaker line continues to amaze me with its high-end performance at great prices. The company’s Triple 10 Powered subwoofer reviewed here is perfect example of the Episode’s value/performance quality.

  The contractor-supplied Triple 10 Subwoofer, priced at $999, utilizes a single 10-inch active woofer/two 10-inch passive-radiator arrangement in a compact cube enclosure that pumps out really clean bass down to about 35 Hz. Its onboard 500-watt (continuous RMS), class D BASH amp puts out plenty of level, and its array of controls offer just the right amount of adjustment — without being complicated. To highlight its great utility, the Triple 10 also sports balanced XLR I/O and RCA connectors (including LFE input) and remote trigger capability.
  The crossover is adjustable from 40 Hz to 120 Hz, and the phase control is variably adjustable from 0 to 180 degrees. The Triple 10 also features always-on/signal-sensor turn-on options. To make the sub an even better value, it also has speaker level inputs and outputs for legacy products, such as receivers and analog amps, that have no line I/O. The LFE/crossover switch allows the crossover to be switched out when using the sub as an LFE-only speaker.

The Episode Triple 10 subwoofer is  feature packed, has plenty of power and projects excellent bass performance for its size, making it a killer deal! In any room scenario where you would want a high-quality subwoofer in a small package, the Episode Triple 10 is damn-near perfect.

  The Triple 10 measures a compact 13.7" x 14.9" x 14.7" (H x W x D) and weighs a modest 43.6 pounds. The driver complement features one active 10-inch woofer — a woven, fiberglass sandwich-cone with 2.75-inch voice coil —and two 10-inch sandwich-cone passive radiators.
  I have always been a fan of passive radiator bass driver. The design utilizes the in-cabinet energy to augment bass performance. The passive radiator, a speaker without an active voice coil, releases the primary woofer’s box energy like a port, but the passive driver better controls that extra air, allowing a tighter, yet extended, low-bass response. And good passive radiator designs help control the mid-bass bloom when subs are placed near a wall; in my opinion, the PR is cleaner sounding than a port. Plus, they add in low-end frequency response extension at higher SPL.
  Episode also offers a smaller version, with three 8-inch drivers, the Triple 8 at $799. Its rated performance is nearly the same, though we did not review it.

The setup
  After a week or so of general music playing through the system for break-in of the Triple 10, I played a series of test tones and warbles tones calibrated for subwoofer testing. In my room, the Triple 10’s low-frequency extension was just shy of 35 Hz at -2 dB, in reference to the 80-Hz test tone. This series of tests were conducted in the LFE mode with internal crossover disabled. The sub could play plenty loud at the lower frequency limit, about 95 dB, and sounded clean — without cabinet or driver noises.
  I utilized the Triple 10 in my primary home cinema room. I placed the sub against the wall on the room’s left side, about midway between the main speakers and the listening position. Main speakers included Westlake Audio LC 8.1 L/R speakers, Westlake LC 2.65 center and two NHT One surrounds. Signal routing and amplification was via my reference AudioControl AVR4 receiver. An Oppo BDP-105 provided the A/V signals. All line and speaker cabling was courtesy of Wireworld. Power cables and power strip were provided by Essential Sound Products.

Triple 10 is loaded: XLR/RCA  inputs, speaker-level routing, etc.

  With real world movie and music soundtracks, the Triple 10 surpassed my low-end sonic expectations. Its clean bass and ample extension for such a small box, created an impression of smooth, loud, low bass — without a hint of strain. No, it did not go anywhere as low as my Paradigm Pro-15 (17 Hz), but most of home cinema’s real-world low bass is in the 25 Hz-to 100 Hz realm, which the Episode delivered in spades. Other than the lack of any under-20 Hz bass, such as the dirty bomb blast in the Sum of All Fears Blu-ray, I was impressed with the bass performance on LFE delivered movie soundtracks.
  On music, the Triple 10 is a perfect mate for small speakers. Its 45 Hz to 80 Hz performance is clean without any exaggeration or overzealous midbass bumps, and it sounds acoustic-suspension tight. A pair of these would give you almost perfect bass for 99 percent of the music that you play. At a reasonable level, this sub even played the essential bass energy of the cannon shots from the famous Telarc-produced Tchaikovsky — 1812 Overture with frequencies way lower than you can hear. Many small subs I have tried with this recording and grossly distort. The Triple 10 thickened a little, but output was controlled at 38 Hz.

The verdict
  Like the Episode ribbon-tweeter stand speakers EAN has reviewed since 2009The installer-sold Episode Triple 10 subwoofer is a best buy product., The sub is feature packed, has plenty of power and excellent bass performance for its size, making it a killer deal. One does the job; two would be perfect. In any room scenario where you would want a high-quality subwoofer in a small package, the Episode Triple 10 is damn near perfect. It also gets selected for an Everything Audio Network Stellar Sound Award.

John Gatski is publisher/owner of the Everything Audio NetworkArticles on this site are the copyright of the ©Everything Audio NetworkAny unauthorized use, via print or Internet, without written permission is prohibited.

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