I went from a V850 to an MX350MKII to then finally his last sub as what was formerly known as M&K the MX5100SF sub which was a truly magnificent subwoofer, meant for studios and dedicated Home Cinemas. This beast was in my living room for many years providing some of the best bass I had ever heard in my life apart from being at concerts or the very best Cinemas!M&K closed its doors in 2007 and in 2011 Ken moved on and this is where his new and latest incarnations of subwoofers have come to fruition in the form of Ken Kreisel Sound with the DXD 12012 and the smaller brother which I have here for review the DXD808.
These new subs have taken Sub Bass a step further for Ken and made it possible for multiple subwoofers to be stacked in either a DUO or Quattro combination, this then comes as close as you could possibly want to a line array of subwoofers, and his latest technology jargon used for this is 3D Balanced Push Pull Pulsar
The actual finish on the subs is really of high quality and from the moment you unbox it you know from the weight that it is some serious piece of kit, a lovely black gloss finish on either side of the cabinet and a nice Ken Kreisel emblem/badge giving it a real high end feel to the sub.
When you look at the back though you can still see the studio part of this sub and that is from the ease of the settings that are pointed out via a Green dot next to each switch or dial, so setting up is a breeze. It has normal RCA inputs and also balanced inputs and outputs for daisy chaining subs when stacking for either DUO or Quattro sub set ups when that time comes.
Key Features Listed for the sub from Kens site is as follows.
Key Features "BACK-SIDEFIRE" design optimized for very tight time domain pressure coupling with your studio or room Unique Modular Scalable Building Block Design, upgradeable to the DUO and QUATTRO Dual 8" Long-Throw KEN KREISEL PROFESSIONAL SOUND HIGH VELOCITY DEEP BASS PUSH-PULL-PULSAR Drivers Custom Moulded NBR Surround for Ken Kreisels Silent Running Suspension system High Strength Extremely Linear Spider made from a special blend of cotton and pure NOMEX Optimized Magnetic Structure using an undercut T-Style Pole Piece and Aluminium Shorting Ring Precision Ultra High Temperature Wound Voice Coil on Black Anodized Bobbin for Maximum Cooling Dual Class D Push-Pull Cross-Coupled High Current - Hybrid Bridge Monoblock Amps Delivering 750+ Conservative Continuous RMS Watts Dual Integrated Cross - Coupled High Speed Switching Power Supplies for Maximum Dynamic Peak Headroom Dedicated Monoblock Amplifier for each of the High Velocity Deep Base Drivers Professional Grade High Performance Pre-Amp using a Pure Analog Circuit Design Balanced XLR input with Pass-Through XLR Output for Multiple Sub Setup Variable Bass Level, with Fixed Level Setting, Phase, Low Pass Filter Controls with Filter Bypass Switch High Performance XLR input using Professional Instrumentation Type Balanced Circuit DesignThe 8 drive units used in these really do look the part with the logo on the dust cap of the sub saying High Velocity Deep Bass and a good size rubber surround. knowing that there is going to be some serious excursion going on, with 2 of these drivers in action it is going to be moving some air even though for 8 inches you would not think that they would be able to move that much. This is Ken Kreisel and I have past experience of his subs so he knows what he is doing!
Setting up was the usual affair and one that I have done hundreds of times before, with my trusty SPL meter. That is all I need and the auto set up on my processor setting the distances of speakers and most importantly the sub. Then once the test tone is run and everything is set to 75db I usually run the sub a little bit hotter at around 78db,which to my ears and set up is what sounds best to me, every room is different and so is every ones tastes, which vary!Once all done on with the show, so to speak and to the most important part and that is how does this subwoofer sound.PerformanceI must state that although my listening levels are loud, this is more about quality than outright SPL so my levels of listening were usually about -10db which is fairly loud but I will save the reference review until I get the DUO stack.Movies I have many test discs that I use and have built up quite a list of demo material over the years especially for subs as this area of sound can sometimes be the most fun and more so with movies!
One of my favourite animated movies and full of LFE is the wonderfully made Kung Fu Panda, now this soundtrack uses the sub from the off using the lower octaves containing lots of slams and punches and shaking of the sofa, and I have to say that I was utterly blown away by the way the 808 handled this film, it took everything with ease and I was not left wanting in all honesty.My room is smaller now than the room that I had my previous subs in, so I suppose this helps but the new KK really did not let up. One of the scenes is where Kung Fu Panda is trying to get into the arena to see the chosen one, and sits on a chair which he explodes with fireworks sending him flying up into the air with great affect and masses of explosions before finally falling to earth with one almighty thump. The 808 succeeded in making this part of the movie really feel as if you were right in the middle of the action. What I did notice straight away with the sub was that it was certainly a step up in SQ over previous M&K Subs and the speed in which you hear and feel the bass has dramatically changed. It feels as if the room is electrically charged with bass all around you. It is hard to describe it in words but you are wrapped up by the speakers around you, with the 808 integrating seamlessly with each speaker making them full range, it is as if the sound has become three dimensional with the transients so intense it makes for a truly immersive experience.
Following on from this totally WOW moment I still cannot quite believe the size of this sub and the prestigious bass that it produces. I move on swiftly to try more of the same, another film that is one that is good for subs and well known to most people, Star Wars Episode I the pod race. This is a brilliant piece to challenge subs not just for how low they can go but for the speed of the race and the detail in there that is provided in this soundtrack, I do love this part of the movie and have tried many subs over the years to see which one stands out in quality and it takes a good sub to portray this to full effect.The engines start up with nice deep bass humming and whirring with electrical charges going off from side to side, off each vehicle and the 808 catches all the detail and gives you the definition and character of each vehicle.
Once the race starts it is manic and fast with nice deep bass moments and explosions, it is and old film now but a good subwoofer can show off how well this race can really sound and the 808 did not disappoint one bit!The War of the Worlds was next up and one that I was quite excited to try out on this sub as I have heard this so many times and the last time was on the mighty MX5100SF, which was a massive sub compared to this 808 and I was not expecting anything as spectacular. The moment the lightning strikes the ground, instantly you feel the bass through the sofa which is impressive as it feels like shocks going through the sofa, ok its not massive shocks but enough for you to feel it and for 8 woofers that is an impressive feet in my books. The next part where the machines emerge from the ground is one of the best bass moments in Home Cinema history, as for some of us as it has some great bass shaking moments.
When the ground starts to crack open the DXD808 really defines each crack nicely and you feel it, giving the moment the tension to the film that the soundtrack is intending. Then the buildings start to collapse and the earth moves up and down with an almighty surge, reaching the point before the machines emerge, I just sat there completely drawn into it and then the machines come up and the feet came crashing down, it had the impact but not the same as I remember from the 5100 but it was impressive all the same, but then again this sub is a third of the size of my previous sub which is exceptionally good considering!Overall with movies I have been very impressed with this sub in action and love the bass it produces which is so clean and punchy, with plenty of slam and punch when needed and reaches high SPLs when required.
MusicNow on to music which has become one of my favourite listening habits, I listen to music every day now and whether it is 2 channel or multichannel it does not matter but since getting the KK DXD808 I have been listening to a lot of my multichannel DVD-A and SACD discs and some BD music concerts.I started off with my infamous Police BD Certifiable, which is an incredible concert recorded Live in Buenos Aires in December 2007, playing in Dolby True HD this concert really does need a good system to hear it at its best and most importantly to show off Mr Stuart Coplands skills on the drums a good sub is required and I think the DXD808 ticks all the right boxes.I used to play this concert at near reference and loved the way the bass thumped you in the chest when Wrapped around your Finger was played and straight away I moved through the tracks to this one and WOW, the little KK sub was kicking out some serious bass that really hit you hard in your chest, so I increased the volume and the 808 did not give up but just went louder and with more power hitting harder every time Stuart Copland hit that big drum, amazing stuff, really great.
My ProAcs sound glorious and so does my sub, just gelling so well together, the sort of thing that makes you want to get up and dance it really is that good, Police is one of my favourite bands and the Bass Guitar notes played by Sting on some of the tracks just sounded so right, the 808 is such a musical sub.Next up was another of my old favourites this time on SACD and that is Herbie Hancocks Gershwins World this is a great disc with a bit of Classical, jazz & funk/blues music with bass lines and drums where timing and integration is so critical to sound so right and everything did just sound so good, in fact this is probably the best I have heard it sound in my current system with the 808 taking command of the low notes, Joni Mitchell sings The Man I love and bass lines are perfect and she is centre staged in this 5.1 feast, the 808 just disappears while producing the most convincing performance of making all front speakers full range, without a hint of the location of the sub.
Pink Floyds Dark Side of the Moon is a DVD-Audio disc that I play a lot and one that I never tire of and the KK just got on with the work thrown at it and produced some of the best bass I have heard from this 5.1 disc, Time spun out like it had never been played before and sounded just glorious, with David Gilmores vocals and the psychedelic soundtrack just drawing you in.More of the same from Wish you Were Here on DVD-Audio, the KK really has nailed it when it comes to music and is most certainly the most musical sub I have had the pleasure of listening to, I also have a Martin Logan Depth i sub which I always thought was the best sounding sub with music but I have now fallen in love with the 808 and the ML will be sold soon.Conclusion and Final ThoughtsI always knew in a way what to expect when I was getting the KK DXD808 as it would be a quality subwoofer and when Ken announced them and that they would be a advancement over his older M&K range that he used to produce. He really has outdone himself as this new range takes his subs into the next generation of subwoofers and beyond as there is no stopping with just the one as they can be stacked and this is where they are unique to his design as then they will be mechanically balanced when they become a DUO or QUATTRO stacks.
I have read on other reviews that the DXD808 did not reach the lowest of notes, or the reviewer felt that the sub was lacking in some of the lower regions, well in my room which is quite small it digs deep and I honestly did not feel it was missing any of the lower Hz even on the music which was so well balanced, with movies the power obviously generated by the 2 x 8 drive units could no way match that of say its bigger brother but I cannot wait to add a second DXD808 to see what that bring to the party as then I think the playing field will be a little more even, that is not to say one 808 is not enough but a DUO stack is so tempting!In all this is a fantastic subwoofer for the money, and at 1,150 I do not think you will find a better sub at this price level up to the 2000 mark which is where the DXD12012 is placed, and with the beauty of it being upgradeable, you do not need to sell it on, rather just add another.