I've been a huge proponent of subwoofers not only for home theater use but also for two channel or stereo use as well. Adding a subwoofer to your system not only enhances your system's full-range response, it can also take some of the stress off the amplifier charged with powering your left and right speakers - not to mention your center channel and rear speakers as well. However, just because you add a subwoofer doesn't mean you've necessarily solved all your low-end problems. Like speakers, subwoofers are critical of placement as well as room dimensions and like components, they too like to be isolated from their surroundings in order to sound their best. Enter the SubDude HD from acoustics giant Auralex.
The SubDude HD is isolation platform designed to help decouple your sub from the room itself, which according to Auralex will result in tighter bass, better accuracy and reduced vibrations. For me, it was the latter that I was looking to cure, for in my home my dual JL Audio Fathom f110s can be responsible for some serious 'shake,' thanks in part to my home's construction, which in 1940 was probably top-notch but not so much today. During spirited listening sessions vibrations are a serious issue for me and can rob my system of some of its low-end prowess. I learned of the SubDude HD's existence on our forum, Home Theater Spot, where several users had commented on it solving a number of their bass issues - including excessive vibration. Since the SubDude HD retails for $70 (though I've seen it offered online for less), it was worth a shot. Since there was no Auralex dealer in my area I called up Auralex directly and they assisted me in my purchase.
A week later two SubDude HD platforms arrived neatly packaged in individual boxes that basically tell you everything you need to know about the SubDude HD, including installation - thanks in part to a picture of a subwoofer sitting atop the SubDude HD. The SubDude HD itself is 15 inches square and two and a half inches tall. It features a velour wrapped platform attached to two thick foam blocks or legs front and back with Auralex's popular wedge foam between. That's it. Installing the SubDude HD is as easy as one-two-three. First, unpack the SubDude HD; second, place the SubDude HD where your subwoofer will go and third, place your subwoofer on top. For me, installing the SubDude HDs meant putting a SubDude HD on the outside edges of my reference Bowers & Wilkins 800 Diamond loudspeakers with a single JL Audio Fathom f110 atop. I wish all equipment was this easy to integrate into an existing system.
So, does the SubDude HD work? Yes, and the effects are immediate and noticeable. Right off the bat bass notes were firmer, with greater depth and control throughout, which resulted in a deeper, richer sound. I'm not suggesting the SubDude HD allows your subwoofer to play lower; it just helps eliminate the vibrations that confuse and muddy the bass notes it's already capable of producing. Speaking of vibrations, the SubDude HD instantly solved my vibration issues, which was apparent in the lack of judder heard from my recessed light fixtures. Picture frames on bookcases situated at the back of the room also ceased to dance. All that remained was taut, focused and musical bass that integrated more seamlessly with my reference loudspeakers as well my room.
Read about the high points and the low points about the SubDude HD on Page 2.
• The SubDude HD is easy to install and even easier to live with, for it performs as advertised.
• The SubDude HD's fit and finish is rugged but still stylish and is
capable of supporting, in terms of weight, some pretty large subwoofers
- up to 300 pounds to be exact.
• The SubDude HD is one audiophile and home theater tweak that doesn't cost a fortune and works without any placebo effect.
• The SubDude HD can also be used to isolate large amplifiers and even source components if need be.
• The SubDude HD's 15-inch square platform should be large enough for
most subwoofers; however there are some subs out there that will
require a larger platform. For subs with a larger footprint than the
SubDude HD's footprint I suggest multiple SubDude HDs or some of
Auralex's larger platforms.
• The SubDude HD won't completely eliminate vibrations but it does
reduce them dramatically. It had to crank my system to 11 with some
pretty bass heavy material (think Massive Attack's "Angel" in excess of
a 110dB) to get my JL Fathoms to overpower the SubDude HD's vibration
Competition and Comparisons
There aren't a lot of subwoofer specific platforms on the market today
but there are a number of isolation platforms that can pull double duty
as subwoofer platforms. One subwoofer specific platform is ASC's
SubTrap, which like
the SubDude HD looks to decouple your sub from your room, though the
SubTrap goes one further by raising your sub off the floor a good 18
inches, which should also combat vertical room modes. The SubTrap costs
more than the SubDude HD with prices starting at $469 and capping out
at $586 for the 22-inch model.
Another product that will help combat unwanted vibrations is
Mapleshade's solid maple platforms, which come in various shapes and
sizes, not to mention prices - but for something more on the affordable
side you may want to try out their Isoblocks, which start
at $32 for four. For larger subs you may want to use their larger
Isoblocks, which will run you $52 for four.
For more on home theater and audiophile accessories please check out
Home Theater Review's AV Racks & Furniture Review page.
There are few products nowadays in the home theater and audiophile
realm that perform as advertised and are truly affordable. Auralex
Acoustic's SubDude HD is one of those rare products that solves a very
real problem that plagues virtually every audiophile and home theater
enthusiast alike but does so without costing them their first born or a
kidney the way so many so-called "solutions" often do. I cannot
recommend the SubDude HD enough and consider it a must-own product for
anyone who owns a subwoofer. If you're planning on adding or upgrading
your subwoofer, budget an extra $70 so you can pair a SubDude HD