Comparison, from Someone with Better Ears and Brains than I

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Charles Mallari 1 year, 4 months ago.

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  • #4306


    Hey Forum!

    I’ve a question, and I am regretful it is the type of question which sounds very pointed and conflict-inciting, but I simply don’t have the data to make the comparison myself. Hopefully one of you reading this will 🙂

    I have been in the market for a subwoofer for a month or so now, around 80 hours of debating options or thereabouts. The S12EQ from Elac was actually one of this first contenders all those hours ago, but it would not be until many conversations later I would find myself returning to it. Returning to it, with a raging beast on my tail. This beast takes the form of the Reaction Audio Gamma 21 Subwoofer- a 21 inch, 2400 Watt lovely little Sealed bundle from an ID company known as, you got it- Reaction Audio.

    The two models represent the extremes of my ideals, the S12EQ being the (slightly) more compact, feature packed, solid budget(I use this word because of the pricepoint that allows me to purchase two of these for the price of one Gamma 21, as I’ll mention in a moment) option. The Gamma 21 being the big hitter, whose purpose is to finally bring a slice, if not most of the pie, of an IMAX level experience into my house- adding both feeling and sound to my audio content via a beast of a driver and amplifier.

    If I had to be specific with why I cannot accurately envision how the two might compete, I suppose I would go with the lack of FR charts from third parties, CEA data or the likes- for the S12EQ. However, as I touched on above, for the price of one Gamma 21 I could get two S12EQs, and boy oh boy have I heard of the benefits of dual subs…

    So, as a listener in a ~2000ft cubic room(should that matter)- can anyone hazard a guess at what differences I would observe(hear) between a single Gamma 21, versus dual S12EQs? SPL, LFE, anything that is relevant- how will it differ?

    Thank you for taking the time to read this!


    • This topic was modified 2 years, 4 months ago by  AGumbs. Reason: Clarification
  • #4356


    This is not specific to the particular subwoofers you mentioned, but one of the most notable differences between one sub and two subs is the ability to set up two subs in a room such that their interaction results in smoother bass response (by getting the subs to cancel each other’s peaks & dips). Can’t do that with a single subwoofer (no matter how powerful, it can’t cancel its own peaks & dips).

    Of course, the cancellation won’t be perfect (you’ll still have some unevenness), but that’s where EQ comes in, to address left over peaks & dips that placement alone couldn’t address.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 4 months ago by  sdurani.
  • #4522

    Chris Walker

    Hi Austin,

    I am going to get Andrew to answer your question. He will be able to offer the best advice.


    Chris Walker

  • #4550


    I second two subs (or more) over one any day, even two cheap subs over one good one. It takes measuring (REW) and trial and error to find the smoothest response but the effort is worth it for accurate, full, deep, smooth bass.

    Knowing the volume of the space is important, but the type of materials used for the walls, floor and ceiling will also have an impact on absorption, reflection, standing waves…

    I would get two subs to demo, ideally the same model but they don’t have to be, and listen to them in your room with your furniture, etc. Anything else is just conjecture. Be ready to move them around, and/or your listening position to get them most out of them and then, and only then consider applying some digital correction to the eq the curve. Standing waves, peaks and nulls need to be ‘optimized’ first or the eq will likely make things worse or simply work really hard to not even get close to what is required.

    Good luck, and have fun.

  • #4577



    I’ve had a little experience with subwoofers, selling stereo equipment more than a few years ago and with my own home systems.

    There are so many variables in this situation, it’s difficult to make a recommendation. But I will give you a little to chew on.

    First of all, it depends on what type of sounds you are trying to reproduce. If your goal is to reproduce low frequencies in home theater, you probably want the SW that goes the lowest, which would be the Reaction Audio Gamma 21. Its claimed freq resp is 15-200 hz, whereas the Elac Debut 12 is 25-150 hz. Assuming both of the stated FR’s are true, you will hear lower freqs from the Gamma 21. If you want accuracy, esp in music, the Elacs are your ticket. Not only should they be tighter, they also have built-in room EQ.

    The amount of air moved by the woofer at low frequencies, is what should make you feel the lows. And that is affected by the total surface area of the woofers as well as excursion. Anyway, the single Gamma 21 has about 50% greater surface area than the two Elacs, but the Elacs should have a greater excursion. Generally, the bigger the driver, the less excursion. What I’m tryng to say is that even though the Gamma 21 may go lower, the two Elacs may be more overall, more satisfying.

    Of course, YMMV.

    Btw, I’m no expert, just giving you my experience.

  • #9311


    Chris I would like to see Andrew’s advice on AGumbs question please.

  • #9314

    Charles Mallari

    Hey Lourensdb,

    It looks like the company is out of business, so this may be a moot discussion.

    I will still seek Andrew’s opinion, based on stats.

    I would also like to point out that the S12EQ has a 12″ passive radiator, which may factor into the surface area. There is definitely a lot of tech built into our “little” S12EQ.

    Charles Mallari

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