Definitive Technology recently sent me its SuperCube 6000 for a buyer's guide roundup of sub-$1,000 subwoofers. It was the smallest box in the roundup, but also the most expensive at $999. So why does a subwoofer that measures only 12.88 inches by 12 inches by 13 inches cost more than subs that outclass it in both size and power?
As the adage goes: different horses for difference courses. If you make weekly runs to Home Depot for drywall, you're likely not looking at a Mini Cooper as your main mode of transportation. Likewise, if you like the sound of big explosions and have a physically large AV room, you're likely shopping for a very different subwoofer than someone who primarily listens to acoustic jazz ensembles or string quartets.
To see where the SuperCube 6000 shines, let's first look at what it is. This diminutive sub is a little black box with status LED indicators only visible for a few seconds immediately after an adjustment is made. Its small cabinet is also a bit of a red herring, though. Hidden somewhere in the sealed enclosure is a 750-watt RMS/1500-watt peak amplifier driving a front-firing 9-inch woofer with dual 10-inch passive radiators on the sides. All in all, Definitive Technology claims an impressive frequency response of 14Hz to 200Hz for this little cube, though no half-power (-3dB) point is listed. As it turns out, that rated low-frequency extension is a little generous, but the SuperCube 6000 still cranks out a good bit of satisfying bass within its real-world frequency range.
The SuperCube 6000 features LFE, line-level, and speaker-level inputs, and can also easily be connected via third-party wireless kit. I first used the LFE out from my surround sound receiver in the home theater, and then tried the speaker level inputs from my Glow Audio Amp Two tube amp in my den to see how well the sub reproduced the finer details of concentrated music listening. My theater room has Definitive Technologies DI series in-wall and in-ceiling speakers and in the den I have DAS Monitor 8 studio monitors.
A final thought on the hookup: after experimenting with a few placement options, I found this sub to be extremely forgiving when it came to positioning due to the front-firing driver with dual side radiator design. That can be a real advantage if the aesthetics of your room limit where the sub can go. Remember also that this little box is quite easy to overlook--visually anyway. That makes installation somewhat easier in a wider variety of rooms, especially if décor concerns have kept you from installing an upgraded AV system.
I began my testing with Star Wars: Rogue One, primarily due to the fact that there are plenty of right-to-left and left-to-right action pans and even a few spaceship fly overs that made it easier for me to check the spatial localization attributes of the SuperCube 6000 and its integration with my main speaker system. Indeed, the rumbles followed the mids and highs around, over and under my seat.
But how well would the SuperCube 6000 manage the spacious details and bombastic bottom of Marian Hill's "Down" after switching to my tube amplifier with DAS monitor 8s handing the mids and highs? Really well, in fact. The song delivers its first real bass drop at roughly fifty-five seconds in--so be patient, it's worth it--and the SuperCube 6000 did not disappoint in delivering that slick beat. This is the sort of song that can kick up some dirt and muddy the vocals with a lesser sub, but thankfully the Definitive Technology SC 6000 kept everything right where it should be and just asked for more.
Comparisons and Competition
You can certainly spend more and get a bigger box subwoofer with a more powerful amplifier and larger bass driver that can pressurize a larger room more than can a single Definitive Technology SuperCube 6000. In my experience, the SC 6000 is plenty powerful enough to fill rooms up to 150 square feet with 12-foot ceilings. Go much bigger than that, and you're really heading into dual-subwoofer territory, which of course doubles the price. To keep the comparisons simple, though, I'm going stick to a range of ±$200.
If your room is larger than 150 square feet, I might instead point you in the direction of the SVS SB-3000 (reviewed here) at $999.99. Packing a larger, high-excursion driver with 800 watts RMS power, this sealed sub can really move some air. In my listening tests, the SB-3000 excelled at reproducing room shaking movie low frequency effects and is good for music as well, but I give a slight nod to the accuracy of the SC 6000 for music.
The HSU VTF-3 MK5 HP, priced at $799, measures a much larger 25 inches high by 17.25 inches wide and 23.5 inches deep, with a weight of 85 pounds. It has a hybrid design that can be configured for sealed, one-port, or two-port operation, with your choice of two EQ presets, and it relies on a front-firing 15-inch woofer backed up by 600 watts RMS amplification. Can it make those LF movie effects shake your room? Yes, indeed, and it also effortlessly transitions to any musical genre you throw at it. An excellent choice if you are OK with the size.
The Paradigm Defiance X10 at $999 is a ported design with a 10-inch driver, 300 watt RMS amplifier section, app control, and Anthem Room Correction. The app gives you access to movie, music, and night modes, and having Anthem Room Correction on tap really helps tune the sub's performance to your room. Again, size and aesthetics will be your guide in deciding on this sub versus the SVS, HSU, and the Paradigm, though you really can't go wrong with any of these.
There are a lot of very good subwoofers available right now: Some larger with more impact and some less expensive with more subtle design, but what we have in the Definitive Technology SuperCube 6000 is an excellent marriage of compact package with plenty of punch and great musicality. Audition one today and see if this isn't your Goldilocks sub. For many of you, it might be.