Systems List › Chase Home Theater › VS18.1
This system is comprised of a passive vented subwoofer cabinet (Which is available separately if you wish to provide an amplifier for $725) and an outboard amplifier the Sub1. The total cost of the system is $1095. The subwoofer cabinet itself is large vented design measuring 40x22x22 which weighs in at 125lbs which makes it by far the largest commercial powered subwoofer that has been tested but certainly not the heaviest. This big cabinet contains an 18 driver in the bottom half of the enclosure face and a large slot port across the bottom. The tuning of this port system is just slightly below 20Hz. The enclosure is built from what appears to be 1 thick MDF with a double thickness baffle in order to recess the driver and stiffen the cabinet. The large slot port also provides some stiffening of the bottom of the cabinet. Meanwhile there is a large cross brace above the driver locking the 4 large side panels together. During use and testing I noted no significant resonances or other issues with the VS18.1 cabinet which can sometimes be a problem with very large panels and high output. The finish is a simple and industrial looking matte black. Combined with the imposing size and nondescript appearance of this unit it is certainly not going to win any style or d้cor points. This is a unit for those who want big performance without the big sticker and WAF be damned. Also no grill was provided with the VS18.1 cabinet but is available for a slight up charge. The packaging used on the VS18.1 was not the best and seemed like it was not as protective of the sub as usual but considering that the unit is shipped freight due to its size and weight it is likely more than adequate. Freight shipments seem to undergo far less wear and tear or risk of damage than regular ground shipping. This unit arrived without any damage at all so the packaging is probably sufficient.
The driver at the heart of the VS18.1 is an 18 piece sourced from Eminence with a pressed and coated paper cone with a paper dust cap. The surround is a moderate sized half roll of foam and the spider system is what appeared to be poly cotton of about 6 in diameter. The frame the driver is built on is cast aluminum with a cork front gasket. The motor itself appears to be based on a 3 voice coil diameter and employs a pair of ferrite magnet slugs along with a vented back plate. While not a massive motor it is commensurate with a driver of this type. The xmax of the driver is listed as about 19mm one way with a recommended power rating of about 800 watts. In use the driver would produce this much stroke but the xmech seems to be at almost the same point as the useful excursion and the surround and/or suspension seemed to be the most limiting factor. The driver exhibits a soft bottom behavior because of this. Also this driver probably has the softest suspension system that I have encountered. This combined with what seems like a generous amount of motor force and a relatively low amount of moving mass give it a rather good sensitivity. It is not a very expensive driver but certainly seems to have the money spent on the correct areas to improve and optimize its performance while keeping costs reasonable.
The outboard Sub1 amplifier sent with the VS18.1 cab is rated at 500w into 8ohms and 1000w into 4ohms. It comes in a large 2 rack space black chassis which has controls for the input gain, phase and low pass filter setting on the front panel along with a toggle switch to defeat the low pass filter and a power light. The back panel contains a pair of large binding posts for connecting the subwoofers and a recessed dial knob for adjusting the rumble filter settings from 20-35Hz. There is also a socket for the detachable power cord. The whole unit weighs perhaps 12lbs or so and is listed as a BASH amplifier. It is an easy to use and very cool running amplifier. It barely got more than warm even during the strenuous outdoor testing. If I had any gripes with the Sub1 it would be that the gain and phase knobs do not have detents, so I could see them being inadvertently bumped and knocked out of adjustment and perfectly repeating settings would be difficult. The Sub1 is capable of driving a pair of the VS18.1 cabs and in testing with one cab seemed to have just about as much power as the VS18.1 could make use of. The high pass filter also seemed to be a very good match for the VS18.1 cabinet when set to its minimum 20Hz setting.
After listening to the VS18.1 with the Sub1 for awhile I found it to be a good sounding system without any one note qualities and with plenty of power for even large rooms. Real world in room output into the 16Hz range with power is a realistic expectation. It is one of the more capable commercial subwoofers that I have listened to and with the cost considered in it offers a lot of bang for the buck. Only once did I hear any unpleasant noise with the VS18.1 in my home audition, that was with Horton Hears a Who which is known to contain lots of high level <20Hz bass. By that point I was intentionally pushing the SUB1 and VS18.1 system very hard trying to see what the VS18.1 could do. I suspect that this was caused by content below the vent tuning of the cabinet. Measurements later reinforced this. It is not a pretty or stylish sub by any means but if you want a lot of bass for not a lot of dollars you have to give something up.
During the measurement sessions the VS18.1 and Sub1 both performed well without any glaring faults. For more info on those results see the notes in the measurements sections.